Should I just cut the damn bait already?
April 27, 2016 10:14 AM   Subscribe

I really like this guy, but I'm not sure if I'm seeing red flags where there aren't any or if I'm totally the rebound.

First and foremost, I have anxiety, but would consider myself more fearful-avoidant attachment style. It's really really "fun" when I'm dating someone. So when I say my gut is telling me to cut bait, I'm not always sure I should listen to it.

I'm in my mid-30s and got out of a serious LTR about a year and a half ago. Since then, I've been doing a lot of online dating with nothing really resulting. I've also been staying active in volunteer organizations, hobbies, etc. and lead a relatively good, fulfilled life. With that being said, I really really am ready to settle down and find that partner- with the hope of marriage and a family.

In January, I met a guy online who I instantly clicked with. Finally! We had a lot of similar interests and had a good conversation- basically, it was the first first date that I didn't want to end. We went out several more times after that with all good conversations- however, he would never make a move. I found out after our third date that he had just gotten out of a 5 year relationship (she moved for work) like 4 months prior. He told me it ended amicably and they were still friends- which kind of bothered me a bit, but it was more like a "Whoa, I don't want to be a rebound" moment for me- especially because he told me that he was new to the whole online dating thing.

Finally, after our fifth date, he kissed me. Things seemed to go great after that, moving forward (albeit VERY slowly), but he still initiated some dates, conversations, etc. I was really excited about the potential. He's 40 btw.

I was pretty upfront from the beginning- I was looking for a relationship, something serious, and if he wasn't in the same boat, we should probably continue dating others. He never really confirmed that he was looking for the same, but assured me that I wasn't wasting my time either.

It's now been 3 months since our first date and we see each other 1 or 2 times per week. I don't know- I just I feel like my past relationships have run smoother- like the initial flow was easier.

First of all, he's admitted to being very set in his ways- he likes his routines, which usually consist of him being on his own. I think he's more of an introvert/loner. He doesn't have that many friends and he has just started to explore hobbies and outside interests. He has also expressed that he feels unfulfilled in his career, but has no idea what he would rather do.

He has never expressed any interest in doing shared activities with me, traveling somewhere or meeting my friends. (Maybe it's too early) When I've brought it up, he's been willing, but doesn't seem that enthused and I've been the one initiating. I am very much a person who likes to get out and try new activities- I've expressed this to him and how I would love for him to join me. We are intimate, but he has no interest in spending the night together- he says he's a bad sleeper. He usually initiates a lot of the conversation, but only by text. He's also pretty passive when making plans- wants me to decide what to do, where to go, etc.

I should probably be better at navigating the dating scene by now, but in all honesty, I'm at a loss. Due to my stupid issues, I have a hard time getting out of my own head and things easily confuse me, which causes me to push people away. And maybe it's still too early to tell anything. I also have a tendency to jump into things very quickly and look at the potential of something and not how it really is. When we're together, I really really enjoy my time with him, but it's usually one on one. We have easy conversations and he makes me laugh. But lately things have been a bit strained (again this may be my own projections). I just feel like something is off and I can't figure it out. The thought of me getting back out there really really saddens me- especially because I really like this guy. Any advice from an outside perspective?
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (27 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
It doesn't sound like this is reciprocated. If people want to be in a relationship, they take the time to meet you on your level (meeting your friends, going out, even spending the night together.) 3 months is a long time! It sounds like he likes to be with you- because you make all the decisions so he doesn't have to. I don't think that you are the issue, here. Put your lovin' energy in to someone who will at least meet you halfway.
posted by Kestrelxo at 10:21 AM on April 27, 2016 [3 favorites]


3 months and he doesn't want to meet your friends? I say move on.
posted by brujita at 10:28 AM on April 27, 2016 [12 favorites]


Dude just wants a girlfriend. It sounds like he likes you fine but you two appear to have different ideas of what LTR and serious mean. If you have marriage in mind, I don't think you are on the same track. If you want a steady companion, he sounds like a sweet guy who will stay with you.
posted by bearwife at 10:28 AM on April 27, 2016 [2 favorites]


Think of this as proof that there are people out there who you can have an awesome first date with, cause he is most definitely not the only one, and it sounds like you were getting a little disheartened before you met him.

With that in mind, it's time to narrow your target to people who you can have that awesome first date with, and with whom things keep getting better and better, cause those people are out there too. Keep dating, keep doing what you're doing making your own life great, it will attract great people to it, and leave this guy gently behind. It sounds like he's nowhere near ready for what you are ready for. That's ok. Power to you - go find someone who is!
posted by greenish at 10:30 AM on April 27, 2016 [5 favorites]


Have you been to his place? Are you sure his relationship with his ex is really over?
posted by TestamentToGrace at 10:36 AM on April 27, 2016 [5 favorites]


This guys sounds like he might just be... boring. Or at least, boring to you. That's a perfectly good reason not to date someone!
posted by showbiz_liz at 10:43 AM on April 27, 2016 [21 favorites]


He kind of sounds like me. My current relationship took a year to evolve into some thing a lot of people would consider "normal" and even now, it's... not, really. But I am not looking for marriage and a family. And I'm not saying he's not, but not having the same timelines to achieve shared goals can torpedo a relationship.

It sounds like just seeing how things go for a bit longer is going to do nothing for your anxiety, so I see two main routes forward: breaking up, or investing in a potentially difficult conversation that gets specific about where you both are, what you want, and when you want it.
posted by EvaDestruction at 10:45 AM on April 27, 2016 [1 favorite]


He has never expressed any interest in doing shared activities with me, traveling somewhere or meeting my friends. (Maybe it's too early) When I've brought it up, he's been willing, but doesn't seem that enthused and I've been the one initiating. I am very much a person who likes to get out and try new activities- I've expressed this to him and how I would love for him to join me. We are intimate, but he has no interest in spending the night together- he says he's a bad sleeper. He usually initiates a lot of the conversation, but only by text. He's also pretty passive when making plans- wants me to decide what to do, where to go, etc.

I don't think you guys have compatible relationship styles and goals. You're looking for someone who actively wants to travel with you, meet your friends, stay at your house, and plan activities with you. It sounds like that's not his personality and it's not what he's looking for in a relationship. If you haven't specifically asked him to do anything different and been clear about what you need from him, it might be worth trying, but ultimately it sounds like this is a lot of stress for both of you with little payoff. I think you each would be better off meeting someone out there who will joyfully accommodate your personalities and needs - and I think that person exists for each of you.
posted by capricorn at 10:51 AM on April 27, 2016 [15 favorites]


It's now been 3 months since our first date and we see each other 1 or 2 times per week.

It takes 15-20 hours a week to establish and maintain an intimate relationship. You aren't getting enough of his time for this to ever be an intimate relationship.

I say cut and run. You are wasting your time.
posted by Michele in California at 10:58 AM on April 27, 2016 [2 favorites]


He sounds like he is depressed.
posted by AugustWest at 11:08 AM on April 27, 2016 [2 favorites]


40 years old and admits to being set in his ways usually equates to being thoroughly uninterested in you as a living breathing person. This is someone who wants you to be of little to zero hassle to him.

Move on!

Source: dated many men in this age range before finally getting married to someone not in this age range with a completely different, more involved, relationship style. This guy isn't well formed enough or still hung up on his ex - or both. Toss him back in the sea.
posted by jbenben at 11:12 AM on April 27, 2016 [13 favorites]


He has never expressed any interest in doing shared activities with me, traveling somewhere or meeting my friends. (Maybe it's too early)

No, it's not too early. My lady and I were already taking road trips and hanging out with friends after a month.

When I've brought it up, he's been willing, but doesn't seem that enthused and I've been the one initiating.

He's not that into you.

he likes his routines, which usually consist of him being on his own. I think he's more of an introvert/loner.

Introverts get excited about someone they're excited about. He's not that into you.

I just feel like something is off and I can't figure it out.

You're right - something is off.. this isn't going the way you'd like and you're better off without him. It would be much better to be alone or dating someone new than wasting your time with someone who's not that into you. Good luck! I know starting over is daunting -- but dating this guy is worse! Trust the chorus of internet strangers. We know.
posted by Gray Skies at 11:22 AM on April 27, 2016 [2 favorites]


Doesn't want to spend the night together? Doesn't want to meet your friends? Not enthusiastic about sharing activities together?

I dated this guy for several months- it turns out he was already in a relationship with someone else.

Be cautious.
posted by bearette at 11:45 AM on April 27, 2016 [8 favorites]


We are intimate, but he has no interest in spending the night together- he says he's a bad sleeper.

Oh. I missed this part. He hasn't spent the night with you.. after THREE MONTHS? Yeah, he's not single. He may even be married, to be honest. Note for the future: When people are super weird about being seen in public with you or hanging out with their friends or spending the evening (or weekend) together and so on and so forth, they're usually living a double (or even triple) life. Say goodbye and move on.
posted by Gray Skies at 11:49 AM on April 27, 2016 [12 favorites]


In fact, reading this question again, it sounds so much like my"ex" that I wonder if it is! Are you in Philly/South Jersey? ....
posted by bearette at 11:57 AM on April 27, 2016


however, he would never make a move.

Finally, after our fifth date, he kissed me. Things seemed to go great after that, moving forward (albeit VERY slowly)


Many of the women I know don't like this type of guy in general, and find the lack of initiative and self-confidence unattractive. Do you think this is going on with you? Aside from the fact that you "really like him" are you attracted to him?

If no, try someone else. Or date around while dating this guy.
posted by Ironmouth at 12:11 PM on April 27, 2016 [1 favorite]


You're the interim girlfriend and it'll never progress from where you are. Been there, done that (for seven years!). You can cut it off sharply, or you can drift apart -- do whatever seems best to you but don't wait for him; he isn't coming.
posted by MovableBookLady at 12:31 PM on April 27, 2016 [1 favorite]


You're not happy. He's not providing the kind of relationship fuzzies that you like. Who cares what he's thinking? You want someone who wants to share your life, and at this point in time, this guy isn't that person.

You've had a nice enough time up until now. You can officially break up, if so do it by phone, to limit dramaz and hassle. "Clive, I've enjoyed the time I've spent with you, and I think we want different things in a relationship." Don't be surprised if he doesn't kick up a fuss, because I don't think he's as into it as you are.

Please, save your time, energy and emotions for someone who really does want what you want. You're worth it.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 12:43 PM on April 27, 2016 [2 favorites]


I don't think it is you, specifically. It sounds as if he's just not into a relationship in the way you are. He may like you, but just not have a large percentage of his life be relationship based. I don't think there are red flags, but I do think you guys simply may not be compatible.
posted by Vaike at 12:53 PM on April 27, 2016


Focus on you for a moment - is this the relationship you want? From your text, it sounds like it is not.

I will say that my boyfriend was like this when we got together, but I was too. It took years for us to get close. We lived together for a few months about a year ago when I was between housing and that worked well and got us a lot closer, but it was also hard since we are both introverts and set in our ways. And he just told me he loved me recently, after we had been dating for almost three years.

Are you ok with not hearing that for three years? Are you ok with seeing him 1-2 times a week for the next two? If he is moving slow, you have to presume he will always move slow. You are in the relationship you are in, and expecting change with a guy like this can be a long walk down a very lonely path.
posted by sockermom at 1:55 PM on April 27, 2016 [3 favorites]


You only see him once or twice a week, max.
He won't do shared activities, meet your friends or travel together - anything that will take you out in public together as a couple.
He never stays the night.
He won't talk to you on the phone, where other people can hear you exist. He only texts.
He doesn't seem to want anything serious.

I hate to say this, but it looks like you're the other woman. Proceed with caution.
posted by Jubey at 2:34 PM on April 27, 2016 [7 favorites]


He had a five-year relationship, but he's a loner and has to sleep alone and so on and on...

I fear Jubey's answer is one you want to pay attention to.

Have you explicitly asked him if the two of you are exclusive, in a way that doesn't let him 'lie by omission'? Does he expect you to be faithful to him?

I know dating isn't much fun sometimes and it's tempting to stick with the known evil rather than the unknown, but this dude doesn't sound like a boyfriend anyway, more just a FWB arrangements. He can't meet your friends yet -- huh? A lot of this isn't adding up.
posted by kmennie at 3:02 PM on April 27, 2016 [1 favorite]


I missed he won't spend the night + doesn't talk on the phone.

I thought not meeting your friends was just being selfish, but yep! He's highly likely a cheater, too. Do you even think you know his real name? Have you been to his home? Are sure it was his place and not a friend that was out of town??
posted by jbenben at 3:56 PM on April 27, 2016 [2 favorites]


I'm sorry if the answers here plant the "he is cheating" seed. Not to dismiss that concern, but it's speculation and it's unnecessary speculation. This is already not working. You know it's not working. It's OK to not want to be with someone who it isn't working with, for any reason.

I've always felt a lot safer getting an STD test both before and after I start sleeping with someone new, concerns about cheating or no.

Best of luck.
posted by sockermom at 4:15 PM on April 27, 2016 [2 favorites]


It's always perfectly fine for you to end something that feels "off." Not all break-ups have to be the result of drama.

We are intimate, but he has no interest in spending the night together- he says he's a bad sleeper.

Whether or not there's someone else in his life (or he's just plain not over his ex), this is not a good sign for this being a relationship that could lead to marriage (since that's what you said you want right now). I mean, not all married couples sleep in the same bed or the same room, but why not sleep separately but in the same place so that you could spend more time together? Plus, spending the night = more (awesome) sex, right?

IMO the sooner you are dating other people, the sooner you will find someone who is falling over himself to spend time with you and isn't cagey with his answers to your questions. I promise you he's out there.
posted by Pearl928 at 5:27 PM on April 27, 2016 [1 favorite]


The cheating suspicions are a red herring. He's not into you or your interests as much as you are into his and 3 months is plenty of time to give someone a chance. You really deserve a lot better.
posted by like_neon at 1:45 AM on April 28, 2016 [2 favorites]


I have known chronic philanderers. Your description doesn't strike me that way. But, none of us really knows what he is up to, nor does it matter what he is up to. You are looking to settle down. He is already settled and wants a relationship that won't disturb his dust. This is extremely unlikely to go where you want it to.

Best.
posted by Michele in California at 10:00 AM on April 28, 2016 [1 favorite]


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