New guy -am I worrying too much?
July 4, 2016 11:05 PM   Subscribe

I am 37, divorced....Recently, a guy from my hometown (same age) contacted me on Facebook...he lives a 4 hour drive from me. We agreed to meet at the halfway point, and our first date went really well. A few days ago he drove down to see me before heading up to camp with his buddies... He drove 10 hours out of his way for me, and stayed overnight. It was an amazing night, we had been talking regularly for 3 weeks, and ended up sleeping together. Now I am wondering if I'm worrying too much about his texting habits?

I don't feel any regrets as far as sleeping with him. He is still visiting family, so I guess he is busy...but I wish I would hear more from him. I get one or two quick texts early in the day, and that is it. Prior to this last visit, I guess it was the same amount of contact, except a little more texting and a few phone calls. Am I reading into things too much?I just wanted to add: This guy seems to have a history of dating women (I know a few of them) who are very different from may sound snobby, but it is the truth. One of them became a single mom at 18, which is fine, but she constantly complains about it, posts bitter memes about men on Facebook, looks about 10 years older than her age, etc...and I did he maintain a long-distance relationship with her, but is not showing more interest in me (a generally upbeat, attractive person?) In addition, I loved being close with him, but he had some "sexual performance" issues that he told me are ongoing...and I am wondering if he could be embarrassed about that as well? I am trying to just show that I am interested in him still, without chasing him...for the most part, I am letting him initiate contact, but am just hoping I am not getting too invested in someone who lives 4 hours away. He wants me to come visit him, but I think he needs to step up the contact before I do so (?) Is this normal behavior at this age??
posted by Maggsie97 to Human Relations (27 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

A couple texts a day seems like a decent amount to me. Nothing flakey or abnormal about it at all.

But... this post is SO TOTALLY NOT about this guy's texting habits! It's about his physical distance, his romantic history, his sexual performance... girl, what do you actually LIKE about this relationship? Because it seems like you're looking for just about every possible reason to end it. That's either because you genuinely don't think he'd be a good partner, or because you like him way way more than you expected to and you're super anxious about this new and potentially awesome relationship, but either way it has nothing to do with how often he texts you, not really.
posted by showbiz_liz at 11:18 PM on July 4, 2016 [26 favorites]

About him previously liking women of what you feel is a lower caliber and why he doesn't show more interest: when a guy feels you're out of his league it doesn't make them like you more, in fact it can make them act more indifferent so that when you end it they don't feel as rejected.
posted by catspajammies at 11:34 PM on July 4, 2016 [11 favorites]

If you gave off any whiff of judging his past partners the way you have here, he may no longer find you as alluring. He may just be re-thinking his regard for you. Which, to answer your question is -No, you're not worrying too much. You've come off badly and he's reassessing your qualities. You have every reason to be worried.

So really you should move on. It's unlikely a person of good character is going to feel comfortable dating someone who judges their exes in such a way and measures them unfavourably against themselves.
posted by taff at 12:15 AM on July 5, 2016 [7 favorites]

Response by poster: In response to Taff, I gave off no "whiff" of judging his past partners in any way. He is not even aware that I know about this past partner. I only know because I went to school with her. I've never even mentioned her name to him. It is only human nature for us to compare ourselves to exes and wonder sometimes...that is all. He has asked quite a bit about my exes...I have not asked a word.

As showbiz_liz pointed out, I am actually more anxious because i like him a LOT. The distance and all that concerns me, because I don't want to move. I asked about the texts because the last time I dated, I lived in NYC, where all of the guys were pretty aggressive, and daily texts/phone calls were the norm.
posted by Maggsie97 at 12:30 AM on July 5, 2016 [1 favorite]

You don't really know how their LDR played out. Maybe she was fine with or made do with a lower amount of contact from him than you need. Maybe she took the initiative in texting him. There's really no point in comparing.
posted by Omnomnom at 12:59 AM on July 5, 2016 [2 favorites]

Mod note: One comment deleted. Maggie97, Ask Metafilter isn't really for back and forth debate with answerers. Suggestions will vary, and we normally advise posters to just relax and concentrate on the advice that seems most helpful to them.
posted by taz (staff) at 1:46 AM on July 5, 2016 [2 favorites]

He's camping with his friends. Let him enjoy that and see what happens when he returns to normalcy.

Are you initiating, or waiting for him to? Do you text him when you have something you want to talk about, or do your conversations tend to be "Hey how are you?" "What are you up to? I'm just clipping my toenails." Some people text more so for a purpose (making plans, telling you about something interesting that happened), others just to chat.
posted by blackzinfandel at 3:18 AM on July 5, 2016 [2 favorites]

He's camping.

I think most people would think 1 text over the whole trip would be sufficient.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 3:35 AM on July 5, 2016 [29 favorites]

Do you want to text with him more often? Start texting him more often, don't wait for him to initiate. I get that you don't want to come on too strong, but it's foolishness to expect someone to act in a way you've neither asked for nor modeled yourself. How could he possibly know you'd like him to text more often?

As an aside, you may not have talked to him about your extreme disdain for his exes (seriously, how is an ex looking older than her age relevant to anything?) but the way you bring it up here makes me think that it's likely to reveal itself sooner or later, whether you intend it to or not. Let it go before you bring that negativity into your relationship.
posted by Metroid Baby at 3:42 AM on July 5, 2016 [5 favorites]

He wants me to come visit him, but I think he needs to step up the contact before I do so...

I'm 42, male and divorced, so pretty close to your guy's demographic.

That quote that I clipped there is something that I hope you've been clear and open about. If it's an unspoken rule that exists only in your head you're running the risk of your guy thinking your hesitation to visit him is a clear sign that you're not interested.

People are different and have a variety of life experiences that stack up to bring them to adulthood, but I know personally that if someone I was interested in didn't seem to want to treat our new potential relationship with equal physical, emotional and logistical effort, I'd be quite likely to either think she wasn't as interested as I was or, worse, resent her for making me be the one to constantly show investment.

I get there's tradition and expectation behind the man's courtship of the woman. That being said, if he's demonstrably doing the right things when you're together, but then asking you for something resembling equality in investment, that's not non-traditional, that's just being an adult.
posted by GamblingBlues at 3:45 AM on July 5, 2016 [35 favorites]

how did he maintain a long-distance relationship with her, but is not showing more interest in me? ...I am trying to just show that I am interested in him still, without chasing him...for the most part, I am letting him initiate contact, but am just hoping I am not getting too invested in someone who lives 4 hours away. He wants me to come visit him, but I think he needs to step up the contact before I do so

Maybe she wasn't so coy? Maybe she just said "Yes" to seeing him when he asked her to see him? Maybe she didn't subtly make him feel rejected by not initiating any of the contact?

On the other hand, she posts bitter memes about men on Facebook and he is a man she was involved with. So don't be so sure they had some great relationship. He may be one of the reasons she is bitter.

I am actually more anxious because i like him a LOT. The distance and all that concerns me, because I don't want to move.

Eh, there are two ways to view that: 1) OMG! If this gets serious, I will need to move! (Hyperventilate) 2) Meh. He dated this other gal long-distance and it didn't change her life.

(Also: Maybe he will move. You assume you will move, yet you barely know the man.)

It is early, too early to worry about that, really.

I think you should initiate contact more. If he reacts badly, DTMF. You are getting yourself all bent out of shape over hypotheticals. It is time to test reality and see what it tells you.
posted by Michele in California at 4:38 AM on July 5, 2016 [5 favorites]

I'm going to try to leave the snobbery behind but i'd just like to point out that he would not have been with her had he not found her attractive. She may also have been outgoing with him. People can behave differently in terms of enthusiasm depending upon who they're with. I'm glad you had fun and he sounds like a nice bloke - 10 hour drive for sex(!), 3 weeks of regular contact. All great. I think, however, if he has left a young girl looking 10 years older and bitter about men, that might be a little red flag. A little one. People can grow and change, though, so we don't know - but I like to notice clues and how he makes people feel is a good one. What do his other ex partners have to say about him?

Have you asked him what he is looking for? I think lot of people are scared of asking that question because they're frightened of the answer. I know it can seem pushy but it's better than this anxiety.
posted by ihaveyourfoot at 5:13 AM on July 5, 2016 [3 favorites]

Worrying about not wanting to move for him when you've only been talking for a few weeks is putting the horse so far before the cart they're in different zip codes. Anxiety and the things it makes you do can be a big turn off so try to relax and just enjoy the unfolding.
posted by cecic at 5:38 AM on July 5, 2016 [10 favorites]

Clarification: are you worried about the texts while he is camping, or is he back from that? It's normal to expect more texts post sleeping together, but if he's camping, any texts at all is rockstar.
posted by corb at 7:10 AM on July 5, 2016 [2 favorites]

You say you wish you heard from him more....does he know that? How could he possibly know unless you tell him? Use your words. He might not be much of a texter and uses it to just touch base or get info. You seem to want him to text you all day to chat. That may not be his style. It's certainly not a dealbreaker unless you let it be. He is actually texting you daily. I think that's pretty great. If you want the frequency amped up, initiate texts yourself during the day. Don't wait for him to do something he doesn't know he's supposed to do - it will just build up resentment on your end.
posted by the webmistress at 7:24 AM on July 5, 2016 [1 favorite]

I have a little bit of a different view as another 37 year old woman who has been dating quite a bit recently. From what I'm reading it seems he may not still be camping, and if what has happened is that he has decreased contact after you've slept together, well... All I have to say is that it happens kind of frequently in dating, is probably nothing you did but unfortunately usually indicates that the guy was mostly interested in sex. I may be misreading this, though. Hopefully I'm wrong!
posted by bearette at 8:25 AM on July 5, 2016 [1 favorite]

I really don't do well keeping up with texts and emails when I'm visiting people because I want my attention to be on them. Maybe he's like me.
posted by Miko at 10:11 AM on July 5, 2016 [3 favorites]

I'm curious to know how you are showing him how interested you are, if he's doing most of the initiating and most of the driving, and yet still not meeting your (unexpressed) expectations.

But yes, it's totally possible that your mutual interests are mismatched.
posted by sm1tten at 11:13 AM on July 5, 2016

I don't think the frequency of texts is necessarily that big of a thing, but there are two red flags for me:

1. Why is he dating women long-distance? Is he in a really rural area? Did you happen to start talking because you're from the same town, or did you meet on a dating site?

2. How long ago did he date the single mom? If they broke up in the last year and she's really bitter, she might just be a bitter person, or he may have given her reason to be bitter. Was she a terrible person in high school too?

I am trying to just show that I am interested in him still, without chasing him.

Honestly you are too old for this shit and most likely he is too. Just text or call him (if he's back from camping) and start a conversation. If he's not the texting kind, he should say that, and you can call each other. If he's just slow to respond (more than a day), there's your answer. In the meantime, keep yourself busy with hobbies and friends.

However, some texts really don't go through, so try some other means of contact - ONCE - before you completely give up.
posted by AFABulous at 11:45 AM on July 5, 2016 [3 favorites]

You've had two dates, he's on vacation with friends, and you're considering 1-2 texts per day to be not enough contact? I'd consider that to be somewhat excessive contact from someone who is basically a stranger, and it would freak me out to have someone I've only been on two dates with trying to take over my day with texts and phone calls.

That's not to say that you're wrong. That's to say that your view of what is the best amount of contact to have with a person you just started dating is not objectively correct, because there is no such thing as an objective standard for what is the right amount of contact to have with a new potential dating partner. Reasonable people can differ about how these things should progress.

If you want more contact, you need to ask for it. First, try texting or calling him more often yourself, so that he can see that you are interested in more contact. If he doesn't get the hint, ask explicitly. As in, "hey, I've missed hearing from you and would like for us to be in touch multiple times per day. How does that sound to you?" Because then he has the option to either say, "yes, I would like that too," or "no, that's not what I want," and then you can talk about it.

You are both old enough that you should be able to have a civilized conversation about this. Stop stressing out until you have had a chance to have that conversation at a time when he's not on vacation and has time to actually talk with you about it.
posted by decathecting at 12:16 PM on July 5, 2016 [5 favorites]

Give him a chance. Limerance makes you want more contact. Acknowledge and let go of those feelings. You know nothing of these people he dated or their relationships.

Also you cannot read his mind, so you don't know what he's thinking or why. So feel the anxiety and need and then let it go.
posted by Ironmouth at 2:28 PM on July 5, 2016

Many people find that their cell phones don't have reception when they are camping, because camping is usually done in remote areas that often don't have many cell towers. Or if there is reception, there aren't many electrical outlets in the woods to plug in the charger, so phones tend not to be working for long.

YES, you are reading into things too much.

His sexual performance and what his ex looks like probably don't have much to do with his texting habits.

If you want him to text him more, you need to say that with your words.
posted by yohko at 3:33 PM on July 5, 2016

Response by poster: Thanks all...I appreciate the responses. He is not what I'd consider a total stranger, since he was from my hometown (and we have mutual friends), but we hadn't spoken in many years. I only wanted to know what people consider "normal" commuincation levels...because when I dated in the past, it seemed to be more than this. He is no longer camping, but is visiting family now. At any rate, I have not conveyed any "snobbery" to him, and I was only being open with my thoughts on here. I will ask him relatively soon what he is looking for, but I am pretty sure it's a serious relationship/marriage. I don't think he would have contacted a girl from his hometown who now lives 200 miles away, just for some random fun. If it works out to be serious, great...if not, I will do my best to just move on.
posted by Maggsie97 at 6:05 PM on July 5, 2016

I only wanted to know what people consider "normal" commuincation levels.

"Normal" is a setting on a washing machine. If you want more communication, you are totally allowed to want that.

But I will suggest you are applying Guess Culture rubrics to a situation that calls for Ask Culture assumptions and tactics. You don't think he would have contacted a girl from his hometown who now lives 200 miles away for random fun. Why not? Has he been married before? I am hearing he has had long distance relationships before, but no mention of marriage.

There is research into High Context Cultures and Low Context Cultures and the different ways they communicate. You are operating like a small town girl who thinks you and this guy have the same values, expectations, assumptions, etc. I see zero reason to believe this.

I strongly suggest you get some actual information from the man, and not necessarily by asking him straight up, but by doing X and seeing what his response is. Because your baseline assumption is "This is heading towards marriage" and there is really no evidence of that.

Internet strangers cannot tell you what his intentions are. If you want more communication from him, you need to tell him that and find out if that is cool with him. If it is not cool with him, you need to decide if his position is cool with you. And if you are "the marrying kind" and think that sleeping with him once is a first step towards marriage, you need to start signalling your expectations here and stop guessing and asking internet strangers. That may be the polite thing to do in Guess Culture, but Guess Culture is extremely dependent upon high levels of shared context, which you do not really have here.
posted by Michele in California at 6:35 PM on July 5, 2016 [1 favorite]

"Normal" is totally dependent on the people, though. With my SO, I'd say we probably communicate more now that we live together than we ever did in the initial phases of the relationship, and I am still a pretty lazy/disinterested texter.

I also don't want to be a total Debbie Downer but I would feel remiss if I did not say that just because you live 200 miles away and he drove it to see you does not mean that he is serious about you. This is just my experience (and relayed experience) talking but...

Don't just ask, but observe.
posted by sm1tten at 6:38 PM on July 5, 2016 [1 favorite]

Agreed with sm1tten. Long distance flings are a great way for commitment-averse guys and gals to "future fake" - go through the motions of having a real relationship without any danger of it actually sticking. Someone with a history of LDRs could have some commitment issues (I should know - I was one of them).
posted by chestnut-haired-sunfish at 6:54 PM on July 5, 2016 [1 favorite]

I don't know, he kind of sounds like a fuckboy. He sleeps with you then just so happens to be gone on two consecutive trips, from both of which he'd be very busy and during which you'd be "crazy" to demand a response. Camping then parents... Just seems like a way to let it fizzle out so he doesn't have to deal with such a level of intensity when he talks to you again.

The combo of the fact that he seems to like dating women outside of his physical jurisdiction and that fact that he is so busy so constantly makes me feel like he's just trying to play as many chicks as possible.

I hope not. Good luck.
posted by jitterbug perfume at 10:13 PM on August 13, 2016

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