Is he stringing me along or genuinely wants to take things slow?
February 23, 2015 6:33 PM   Subscribe

Met someone almost a year ago and we get along wonderfully. We have wonderful conversations (can stay on the phone and/or hang out for hours), have great chemistry, and constantly talk about the future. However, he doesn't want to make things official because he wants to focus on school. Is this a cop-out?

He's said he wants us to work. He's said he would be with me if it wasn't because of grad school. We agreed not to see anyone else and haven't even gotten physical because we both want to take things slow to make sure we have long term success, but there's a girly part of me that thinks that if a guy cares about you, he would make things official and exclusive without hesitation. I really think he could be IT and I'm just a little worried that I'm being made a fool and wasting my time. I would like a tangible relationship out of, house, a dog...but not right now. I do see them with him and it's a bit scary for me, hence the hesitation in just going with the flow and seeing what happens because I feel like I'm taking a risk waiting for someone to get their ducks in a row. I do not mean to sound selfish, I back him on his decision completely, but I've also known couples who stayed together, and survived, through law and med school.
posted by penguingrl to Human Relations (47 answers total)
If you are already spending hours on the phone or hanging out = stringing you along.
posted by Neekee at 6:37 PM on February 23, 2015 [4 favorites]

What does "make things official" mean? Get engaged? Call each other boyfriend/girlfriend? You're not seeing anyone else, so then why do you use "exclusive" later, as if that's not the case?
posted by xingcat at 6:37 PM on February 23, 2015

Well, I don't think I can say whether he is stringing you along or not, but the facts are: you want a relationship and he doesn't.

Does it really matter why?

I say find someone who's on the same page as you.
posted by too bad you're not me at 6:37 PM on February 23, 2015 [8 favorites]

You aren't being strung along if you're free to go find someone else who is ready for a relationship. In that case allowing yourself to not be free would mean auto-string-along. It's been almost a year. Him saying maybe later sometime after grad school clearly isn't working with your time frame.
posted by waterandrock at 6:51 PM on February 23, 2015 [2 favorites]

It sounds like a nice platonic friendship.
posted by headnsouth at 6:56 PM on February 23, 2015 [18 favorites]

So you've agreed not to see anyone else but he won't sleep with you or call you his girlfriend and he wants to put you on hold until after grad school? Sounds like he's not interested but he doesn't want anyone else to have you either. Wouldn't surprise me if he's actually seeing other people but wants to make sure that you're not. Either way, run. There's some major game playing going on here.
posted by Jubey at 6:56 PM on February 23, 2015 [20 favorites]

If you're too afraid to ask for what you want, you shouldn't be with this guy.

Are you the girl in the corner who comes when he calls, and who politely goes away when he has things to do? My parents were married with children when my Dad was in grad school. He graduated top of his class at UC Berkeley while raising a family. So that whole, "I don't have time to devote to a relationship right now," that dog won't hunt.

If he views you as a partner in his life, he would be making plans with you as a partner. If he's deliberately keeping things casual, what that means is that he doesn't like you enough to commit to you.

If you know you want to be married with kids and a dog in the future, then you absolutely should be spending your time with someone who also wants that. Not someone who's not sure about, or someone who's non-committal about it, but someone who KNOWS what he wants.

When a person wants you in his life, you're not asking questions like this. If you want to be in a relationship, this guy is not the one for you. If you've been hanging around for a year, and he STILL is keeping you at arms length, he's giving you an answer.

Wouldn't it be more fun to be with someone you adore, who adores you in turn, someone who wants you to feel secure in his esteem and who wants what you want in life?

There will always be a reason why now is not the time. That also means that they don't guarantee that there's a time in the future that WILL be the right time. So why not find someone who is ready, just as you are.

If you want to be with someone, if you want to have sex with someone who loves you, if you want to be able to plan your future, then you need to be with someone who envisions a future with you.

It really is that simple.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 7:01 PM on February 23, 2015 [18 favorites]

Stringing you along? Who knows.

What is clear is that he doesn't want to be in a relationship with you. If he really wanted to be in a relationship with you you would already be in one.

You should date someone who actually wants to date you.
posted by phunniemee at 7:16 PM on February 23, 2015 [2 favorites]

Over the course of the year last year, you will note that I was casually dating a guy; we are no longer dating, as basically grad school got too busy for him ( and the long distance didn't help either). So on the one hand, yes, grad school can eat a lot of people's time.

On the other hand, we at least had sex a few times. And instead of telling me he wanted to "take things slow" and "I'd be with you more if not for school", he was the one to first say "I'm not so sure the timing is all that great for this kind of thing, maybe we oughta stop so I don't string you along".

So while it is true school does take up a guy's time, there are much better ways for him to handle the relationship/school balance, and your dude ain't doing them.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:21 PM on February 23, 2015 [6 favorites]

Also, and this is a thing women are kind of socialized to do, so I'm not blaming you, but girl, you need to assert yourself!

From your description it sounds like you're hanging back a bit ("going with the flow ") and letting him decide the terms of your relationship. Maybe don't want to push too hard for fear that you'll drive him away? For a year? Do you really want to be with such a delicate flower that you have to keep your emotions at bay for fear of losing him? That sounds awful!

A person who cares about you and loves you won't run when you want to move the relationship forward, they'll embrace it with open arms. If you push and he pulls, that's him saying right there that he likes you but doesn't like like you.

It's been a year of intimate friendship and neither of you have put the moves on the other = this guy doesn't want to be in a relationship with you.
posted by phunniemee at 7:24 PM on February 23, 2015 [6 favorites]

If he really wanted to be with you, he'd figure it out despite school. That's an excuse.

(Mr. Meat and I met in undergrad, he's been through plenty of education after that, and 90+ hour weeks, and we are still together.)
posted by Ms Vegetable at 7:26 PM on February 23, 2015 [3 favorites]

N-thing that if he wanted to make it work, he would. Everyone I know who has done an Honours year and then a Masters and/or PhD has said that Honours was the most stressful year of their life. My boyfriend and I got together during my Honours year and made it work. I was stressed as hell and sometimes a complete mess from the stress, but we managed okay. So, yeah, I think that the grad school thing is an excuse.
posted by kinddieserzeit at 7:48 PM on February 23, 2015 [3 favorites]

If I were a betting man, and I am, I would bet he is stringing you along. But, before I jumped to that conclusion, I would put it to him. Tell him you want to heat things up and give it an honest try or you will need to move on. His reaction will tell the tale.
posted by 724A at 8:55 PM on February 23, 2015 [1 favorite]

I've also known couples who stayed together, and survived, through law and med school.

I think you already know the answer to your question. My boyfriend (now husband) and I got together while he was in grad school and I was in law school. We made it work because we wanted to. Your guy (is he even a boyfriend at this point?) doesn't want to.
posted by keep it under cover at 8:55 PM on February 23, 2015

I met my wife while I was working full time and getting my MBA at night taking 4 classes and group work on weekends. Time is not the issue. I am not sure what he is studying, but he seems to find the time and concentration level to talk to you on the phone or hang out for hours. I stand by my earlier response of putting a choice to him, but he is stringing you along.
posted by 724A at 9:01 PM on February 23, 2015 [1 favorite]

I'm sorry but he's just not that into you. He might be a bit into you, but not that into you. You're pleasant enough company for now and you've agreed to be exclusive while you wait for him. He's got a good deal.

It's not being girly to want someone who wants you. Go find someone who wants you (including wanting to touch you in many ways!!) and loves you enough to want you to be happy. Go do that.
posted by stellathon at 9:28 PM on February 23, 2015 [4 favorites]

It's a very easy thing to forget, especially when we are really hoping this is the right time/place/person, but things progress when both of you are heading in the same direction.

I've met a few people over the years that I've really liked and really wanted there to be something with, but there just wasn't. I've also met people in situations where we both felt the same way and those situations have moved forward in a way that felt comfortable for both of us.

I know it's painful to accept when you've invested so much and I really feel for you, but this isn't going anywhere.
posted by mewsic at 9:44 PM on February 23, 2015 [1 favorite]

I do not mean to sound selfish

Somebody's being selfish in this situation, but it isn't you.

There's this ridiculous pressure on young women these days to be a Cool Girl. Cool Girls are undemanding and understanding. They're there when a guy wants them to be and leave him alone when he doesn't. They subsume all their needs and wants and desires and dreams for his needs and wants and desires and dreams... and then end up horribly unfulfilled or dumped anyway. The fact that you feel as though you're being the selfish one here shows how insidious and twisted this pressure is. This guy's doing 95% of the taking and you still think you should be giving more.

You deserve to be with somebody who will treat you with kindness and respect. Go out there and find him.
posted by Georgina at 10:11 PM on February 23, 2015 [15 favorites]

That's what I've been thinking lately. I've brought up letting him do what he needs to for school and I would go date others because I did tell him the situation was unfair and that we weren't in the same place. The conversation, which happened a few months ago, changed a lot with him. He's affectionate and loving, and even invited me to vacation with him and his family for the summer in California. He said that this was it for him, but he's always had trouble with school (learning disability) and really wants to give it 100%. I see the red flags, but when he brought up introducing me to his family...It made me wonder if he actually was committed. He spent a lot of time partying and living a wayward life, so he said he wants to do things right this time. And that the best marriages come out of a solide friendship, that he'd been with plenty of girls and moved too fast and he was over all of that.

I honestly feel like I should move on, but it's not like I want to get married next year. I know I couldn't imagine my life without him, so I'd definitely want to keep him as a friend, but whenever we've discussed me moving on, he's always been very serious about how "we're together" and that we have each other, he just needs time.
posted by penguingrl at 10:17 PM on February 23, 2015

He's holding you emotionally hostage. Big promises for the future but only in response to you stating your needs.

I get the feeling from your update that you know it's time to move on. Keep him as a friend, start dating other people. If it's meant to be with this guy, he'll pursue you.

If he's insistent on not formalizing your relationship until he's done with school, fine. You can date other people in the meantime and he'll still be there when he's done. And as a happy coincidence, you spending less time with him will free him up to focus completely on his schooling, which is what he keeps saying he wants to do.
posted by phunniemee at 10:34 PM on February 23, 2015 [9 favorites]

Before your update, my main question was going to be has he given you a clear end date? Because i'd feel more ok with this if the person was like "On this date, i'll graduate and i'll be done with this tumultuous school situation and can give you my full attention. until then i need to concentrate on that". Because honestly, yea, if i'm in intense school(as someone with a learning disability) i really can't concentrate on anything else seriously and have the school part work out. I really kinda hate that up hill both ways in the snow "well my dad/partner/whatever raised kids AND had a marriage while they were in school building rocket ships, that's a bullshit excuse!". For some people it's really not.

BUT, Big fat jiggly but, i think that reason/excuse is sort of burying the lede here.

I honestly feel like I should move on

If you're writing this, then do it. You have my permission, this is enough, you don't have to play this out to have given it enough of a chance.

He spent a lot of time partying and living a wayward life, so he said he wants to do things right this time. And that the best marriages come out of a solide friendship, that he'd been with plenty of girls and moved too fast and he was over all of that.

Well, you know what? It's not your responsibility or job to sit in the oven with the knob turned to "keep warm" while he figures his shit out. If he's taken a year to figure his shit out, then he's wasting your time, and it's unfair to you. I'd say the outside limit of this kind of thing without a Clear End Date is... six months? I wouldn't fault someone for walking sooner.

This guy sounds like a super advanced version of what me and my friends jokingly call a 15 minute guy. I know several guys who can put up an amazing first date front, and keep it up for some varied period of time. After that, it starts to fall apart... but the front was so good that people stick it out for extended periods of time with them. They're not liars, or really even conscious manipulators... they're just sort of emotional premature ejaculators. Good at wooing someone, but then they have a bunch of fucked up baggage about relationships or just don't know what to do and get locked in to this quagmire of "uhhhh" where they basically keep giving the relationship just enough CPR to not die, but don't really know how to give it life.

Why sit around getting your feelings hurt with someone who seems great, but doesn't actually make you feel good? Especially if he hasn't given you a real end date, then this isn't a relationship... it's just a waste of your time.

And i'm really mad that he's giving a bad name to people who aren't assholes, but really can't deal with other serious stuff while in school. What a dong.
posted by emptythought at 11:02 PM on February 23, 2015 [10 favorites]

His end date was two years, just to answer you. He mentioned he knew he couldnt be 100% of what I needed and couldnt give me that until school was done...and that "once school is done, things will change and we can move forward with our lives together."

But feels like all words to me at this point.
posted by penguingrl at 11:07 PM on February 23, 2015 [1 favorite]

It's just words, yes.

"I like you a lot. You're great. And I need for this to be a real relationship, or for us to be only friends. Which is it going to be?"

I guarantee he'll waffle. Say thanks, and move on to someone who's actually interested in you. Yes, learning disability + grad school = much much harder than for someone who is neurotypical. At the same time, a supportive partner can be a blessing.

Basically you need him to shit or get off the pot. He won't, but it's absolutely reasonable for you to set your boundaries.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 11:47 PM on February 23, 2015 [8 favorites]

You're not getting what you want from this whatever-it-is. Go find someone who gives you what you want instead of wasting your time trying to figure out why this person won't give it to you.
posted by Solomon at 11:52 PM on February 23, 2015 [4 favorites]

I would be worried about the long term. That every time anything difficult came up in his life, I'd be ignored. I don't think I'd like to be with someone who could only focus on one thing.
posted by kjs4 at 4:40 AM on February 24, 2015 [3 favorites]

Oh HELL no! Two years??? My Dad has dyslexia. Again, married with a family while attending grad school.

He's willing to sacrifice you to grad school. I say, walk away. Here's what I'd tell him, "Lionel, I think the world of you and if the timing were different we could be together. There are a lot of people who manage to make grad school and relationships work. They do it because they want to make it work. I want to be in a relationship. I want to be with someone who calls me girlfriend, who makes love to me, who is serious about planning a future with me. I want to be with someone who sees me as an enhancement to his life, not an impediment or worse a distraction. I'm going to move on. I'd love to keep you as a friend in the future, but for now we should be no-contact."

Honestly, he's dangling carrots, who knows why? What I do know is that if someone is crazy about you, he can make grad school and dating work. This guy just isn't all that interested in doing it. Also, if you guys aren't having sex, I'd be WAY concerned that he may not have a compatible sex drive. Most people, after being together for a year, would work out the sex thing, because sex is fun. What if you DO wait all that time, and then discover that the sex isn't any good. What then?

Move on. Maybe in two years he actually is ready and you two live happily ever after. More likely, in two years you look back and say to yourself, "What the hell was I THINKING?" Because you can not get laid without him in your life.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 5:15 AM on February 24, 2015 [8 favorites]

I would not stay with someone that long without knowing if we were sexually compatible. So there's that.
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 5:30 AM on February 24, 2015 [5 favorites]

If he has time for these long phone conversations and hanging out, he has time to be in an official relationship with you. I'm actually struggling to think of what more people do when officially partnered that is more of a time commitment than talking and spending time together (besides the obvious of having sex . . . which, again, he has time for).

I mean, it isn't like you want to get a dog together and have 5 kids. And you are pretty obviously ok with talking/hanging out being interrupted with school work; it must have happened before now, yeah? And you're still friends and just as close as before.
posted by chainsofreedom at 5:39 AM on February 24, 2015 [1 favorite]

This is the definition of one foot in, one foot out.

Don't even make it a discussion, just tell him that this no longer works for you, good luck with school, you're going to start seeing other people now.
posted by St. Peepsburg at 6:52 AM on February 24, 2015 [2 favorites]

Tell your gay and/or robot fake-boyfriend goodbye! Today! Do it now! LIKE RIGHT NOW. Just text him or whatever. He doesn't care. This is all a big fake weird thing that happened. You're gonna feel so good when you toss him aside and start living for you! You may feel exactly zero minutes of sadness even! CONGRATULATIONS on moving on!!!
posted by RJ Reynolds at 7:32 AM on February 24, 2015 [11 favorites]

If you're not physical after a year, he's not into you that way. That's not taking it slow, that's not being interested.

Frankly, taking it slow is overrated. All my strongest relationships got physical within 24 hours. Because chemistry.
posted by musofire at 8:15 AM on February 24, 2015 [1 favorite]

I agree this is some fake weird thing and that despite the 12 months of contact, he is only using you and does not care for your wellbeing at all.

You must go no contact after dumping him. He will try to worm his way back in. Protect your precious time and your emotions - don't let him back in.
posted by jbenben at 9:33 AM on February 24, 2015 [2 favorites]

I think you should just start dating other people. You don't need his permission to date. You're a single woman. Just tell him you're dating others. Or don't, if you don't want to. Because your love life is none of his business. If you want, you can tell him, "If I'm still single in February 2017 maybe you can call me then." But I doubt you will be.
posted by Asparagus at 9:34 AM on February 24, 2015 [2 favorites]

If we could quit with the "suggesting a guy is gay when he's not interested in sex with someone" meme, that would be great. The two things are not at all related.
posted by Solomon at 10:39 AM on February 24, 2015 [4 favorites]

It feels like it's all just words because it is.

I'm halfway between Ruthless Bunny and emptythoughts, so I'll give you two suggestions:

1) I worked full time and went to school full time, 18 credit hours, hard science major. My now-husband and I worked it out, but yes, it was rough. It did involve things like him cooking dinner for me at midnight when I got home from work. So if you are neurotypical you CAN pull it off if you really want to.

2) To emptythought's point, I have a friend who is not neurotypical and did a nursing degree. She just flat out did not date during school. Guys would ask her out and she would say, I can't while I'm in school. Don't wait around for me. I'm just not going to be available. End of story.

Yes, the best relationships are between good friends - but I strongly feel like that's being used to keep you hooked in. You're providing all the things he wants - emotional support, companionship, etc. without putting any demands on him - of COURSE he's going to keep you around for as long as you'll put up with it. And I know that hurts, I do, I've been there, it sucks and UGH I wouldn't wish it on anyone. Because the end game I've seen more often than not is, he graduates, has all this time, and suddenly, guess what? He's met a girl. He's really sorry, he knows how he promised you and everything, but she's amazing, and you'll understand, won't you? You've always been so understanding......

Yeah, I would walk away. Start dating around. There will be someone out there who wants what you want.

I'm tossing this out here because sometimes there's the question beneath the question, you know? I'm going to make an assumption due to your username that you identify as a woman. And so I'm going to run with that assumption and say that as women, we're fed a lot of stuff around The One. And he could Be The One and True Love Waits and Sacrifices and If It Was Meant to Be You'd Be Patient. And I would say, be mindful to how this messaging is influencing you. Be mindful to how this messaging REALLY benefits him and doesn't really benefit YOU at all. Be mindful to how he could be using this messaging to manipulate you, whether it's consciously or not.

I have friends who met Their Person at the exact wrong time in their lives, and years later, ended up getting together with them anyways when the timing was better. Move on, and maybe in the future when he's free it will work out. But don't hang your hat on this future. It's all empty promises right now, and they aren't going to keep you warm at night.
posted by RogueTech at 10:54 AM on February 24, 2015 [4 favorites]

Also I'm with Georgina that the Cool Girl thing needs to go away. I've fallen for that trap and it's not good. You get to have needs. You are not crazy, bitchy, pushy, or any other negative thing because you have needs like "I'd like to be acknowledged when I'm in a relationship with someone" and "I would like to have sex with the person I'm dating".
posted by RogueTech at 10:57 AM on February 24, 2015 [6 favorites]

We agreed not to see anyone else and haven't even gotten physical because we both want to take things slow to make sure we have long term success, but there's a girly part of me that thinks that if a guy cares about you, he would make things official and exclusive without hesitation.

Listen to the "girly" part of you! If he knows it is important for you to be his girlfriend and he is not making himself your boyfriend then he is being clear about his priorities. I'm honestly more intrigued by the lack of sexual intimacy than the lack of commitment since lack of commitment is a pretty familiar story. Unless he or both of you are from religious backgrounds, I'm confused about why someone would be talking to you about going to meet his parents and building your lives together after graduation before you are at the stage where the two of you would want to sexually intimate. Have you asked him about the mixed messages he is sending? I would be thinking about how to have big conversations about the contradictory messages you are receiving from him in between "Meet my parents" and "Let's not have sex" and "Let's build our lives together" and "Let's not be boyfriend and girlfriend for the moment." Like a nice, frank "Dude, what are we doing here?" conversation.

I do not mean to sound selfish, I back him on his decision completely.

No, be selfish. What about what you need? Also echoing others' suggestions to date around. If you are in close communication, I think it's also fine to inform him in a non passive aggressive way that you are doing so, because it is your intention to find a boyfriend and/or eventually a husband.
posted by mermily at 1:36 PM on February 24, 2015 [1 favorite]

It is so utterly strange to me that in the last year, you have not even hooked up or had sex with this guy yet, but you're nevertheless dreaming of marrying him... someday. I mean, why are you voluntarily putting your love life on hold for this man who won't even kiss you or show you any physical tenderness? What kind of life is that when you are so young and beautiful and full of life?

I've also known couples who stayed together, and survived, through law and med school.

And my now-husband of 10-years and I were one such couple, years ago, so let me let you in on a little secret: we always made time for sex. He also put a ring on it before I could get away. There was no doubt he wanted me and I wanted him.

You're only young once, OP, and your Ask reads like some heartbreakingly misspent youth is happening up in here. Stop talking to this guy. He is fucking up your life and you don't even see it. You are right to be deeply worried about him wasting your time. New rule for you: Put Yourself First. Get on OKCupid and start dating other people yesterday. [or on preview what mermily just said, exactly!]
posted by hush at 1:44 PM on February 24, 2015 [2 favorites]

And my now-husband of 10-years and I were one such couple, years ago, so let me let you in on a little secret: we always made time for sex.

Ok, so i slept on this and wanted to kind of add an addendum to my previous response, after reflecting on my own life.

While it is true that i had the issue of either school or life, and kind of fucked off school for relationships and playing music and wanting to have a social life because of the amount of mental space and energy school took up for me...

My partner, who isn't necessarily non-neurotypical, at least in any officially diagnosed way, but is just uh... weird(or we never would have gotten along lololol) balanced two jobs and a double major right after we met. We actually moved in together during this. And yea, even if we only had two hours after she got home from work to eat dinner, and even if that dinner was trader joes turkey wraps and cheap beer because no one felt like cooking after all that in a day, we still made time for hanging out with eachother and fuck dammit still made time for sex. She'd get home at 6 or 8 and have to go to bed before 11 most of the time, but we'd still make time for eachother and wedge fun stuff in to whatever extra surprise free time we had. That's what giving a shit looks like.

I'm a lot less sympathetic to this dude for creating this situation after sleeping on it and reflecting on it. I think it was mostly the "well my partner did EVERYTHING and still worked it out" that bugged me. But yea, this is a shit or get off the pot thing. Either admit you can't make time for it or you make it work, you don't hold the light switch half way between two poles.

And hell, if he can't deal with it right now, you'd be helping him to go "ok bye". My ex certainly did when i was in a similar situation at the beginning of undergrad. Definitely reflect on that part. He's saying he can't deal with it, but trying to do it anyways. If he really can't, then he shouldn't be. This is like, the emotional and mental space equivalent of wanting to go out drinking with an alcoholic partner who now abstains, who's saying "ehhh maybe". Just because they want to doesn't mean they should be. It probably just means they don't have the willpower to say what they really want or need.
posted by emptythought at 2:18 PM on February 24, 2015 [2 favorites]

once school is done, things will change and we can move forward

Well, except for that stressful new job that he wants to focus on doing an absolute perfect job at, just at first, ya know?

Come on. There's always a reason to not have the time if you want to find one. The scenario that's much more likely is he's keeping his options open in case a supermodel inexplicably falls for him like in a romantic comedy movie. If not, well, then maybe he'll think more about settling for what he's got after school's over.

Maybe he doesn't even consciously think this; it doesn't have to mean he's a bad guy doing this on purpose. It just sounds like "the spark" isn't there for him and he doesn't know it.
posted by ctmf at 6:58 PM on February 24, 2015 [1 favorite]

I'm a bit confused by the "meet his parents" thing too. Are you meeting them as his girlfriend? He says you aren't his girlfriend, and things aren't physical, so being introduced as "the girlfriend" sounds like a weird move. Or are you being introduced as "one of his friends"? Because most of my friends have met my mum, and that is not a momentous thing at all. Meeting your friend's parents is like meeting your friend's housemate, it's kind of a non-event and means nothing about his future intentions towards you.

I'd also agree that if you've got time to hang out, you've got time to have sex. It doesn't take that long, you know? So this is more about him not wanting to have sex with you. You'd have to ask him why that is, but it isn't lack of time. I would not want to date somebody who did not want to have sex with me, regardless of their reasons. If it isn't lack of time, I can't see how not wanting to have sex will magically change in two years' time when he graduates either. I would just start dating other people now since he's telling you loud and clear that he's not available.

I have no idea whether he is stringing you along in the full knowledge that he never wants to date you, or whether he is just a bit lazy and likes keeping you around, but the end result is the same. After a year of this it is clear that he is never going to date you, let alone marry you.
posted by tinkletown at 5:42 AM on February 25, 2015

He is stringing you along so bad. If he were into you he would be all over you. The grad school thing and the learning disability thing are no excuse at all. He would make the time if he wanted to.

Sorry to be taking such a downbeat read of this, but really, if I were you I would run a mile from this guy and never look back.
posted by Pechorin at 5:48 AM on February 25, 2015 [3 favorites]

I am really sorry that you have been conditioned to think of your needs as a girly part of me that thinks... thinks all of the things that you legitimately think, because your needs are not wrong or inappropriate or too much and I think it's precisely the way you've been trained to distance yourself from what you know you need for yourself, which is totally not your fault by the way, that has gotten you into this deeply unsatisfying situation. I'd encourage you to really examine why you need to put distance between the parts of yourself telling you "fuck this" and "run" and the rest of your rational reasonable compromising self. This guy doesn't deserve you and I hope you find the fulfillment you are entitled to.
posted by kaspen at 10:27 AM on February 25, 2015


Just met him for coffee and ended it. I told him I couldn't star friends either. That did not go well and, to be honest, I didn't care. Between what my gut has been telling me and the affirming posts on here...everything out of his mouth was just excuses and no guarantees. He said I was being irrational and that we could remain friends, etc. I flat out told him 'why would I want to be friends with someone who can't fully appreciate me?' We have to do the awkward return stuff back, so that should be interesting to deal with.

Regardless, thank you for all of your support. I needed this push.
posted by penguingrl at 10:34 AM on February 25, 2015 [10 favorites]

Fantastic news, and very nicely done!! You say it "did not go well" and he called you "irrational"? Nope. Not ok. This is the part where sometimes guys like this who were vague and noncommittal for so long might very suddenly and frighteningly pull a complete 180 and begin taking extreme measures to keep you from leaving, such as frantically proposing marriage, stalking you, and/or engaging in various microaggressions as part of refusing to take your no for an answer. I hope this is not the case, but better safe than sorry. Please be extra aware of your safety and space, and maybe ask a trusted friend to go collect your things for you.
posted by hush at 7:15 AM on February 26, 2015 [2 favorites]

I flat out told him 'why would I want to be friends with someone who can't fully appreciate me?'


This was the perfectest thing to say. Good for you and congratulations on your freedom!
posted by phunniemee at 7:15 PM on February 26, 2015 [3 favorites]

Super douchy of him to say that you are being irrational*. What he was demanding of you is irrational.

*Plays into the "Cool Girl" thing above. Classic move by men who can't win an argument.
posted by Neekee at 3:25 PM on February 27, 2015 [4 favorites]

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