Should I cut my losses or give friendship a chance?
November 20, 2018 7:11 AM   Subscribe

I hung out with a guy from a dating app a couple of times over the past week. He was kind of hot and cold. Almost immediately after we hooked up for a second time he said he thought we should just be friends because of a recent break up has left him all over the place. At first I was okay with how things went but upon reflection I'm kind of upset and feel a bit used. Is this reasonable? Should I give him the benefit of the doubt? More inside.

The first three or so times we talked we had long, involved conversations. They were upbeat and funny and we got to know each other. His replies were just as substantive as mine. We exchanged Snapchats, then phone numbers and then we made plans to hang out. We both agreed we were really only looking for something casual.

The first time we hung out went really well. I was nervous before but almost immediately upon meeting him I felt relaxed and we were talking and joking around. Within 20 minutes I was laughing more than I had with anyone in a long time. I originally figured we were going to hang out for an hour or so, but we ended up spending more than 3 hours together and ended the night by making out in his car. He initiated this but I was very receptive. We both said we'd definitely like to hang out again.

Over the following four days he was not very responsive to my texts. Though there were exclamation points and smilies in his, he would really only give short replies of a few words and didn't give me anything to respond to. Like if I asked how his day went he said it was good and didn't elaborate or ask back. On Thursday I asked him if he wanted to hang out again soon and if so when did he have free time. He said yes, he'd like to but he had a busy weekend so "maybe after?" I said sure.

Friday evening around 4pm he texted me and said he had a work thing that night and after he could possibly come by to hang out, around 10, but he can't guarantee it because he might be tired. I said that would be awesome. At 9:30 he texted me to let me know he was getting out early and asked if it was okay to head over. I said sure and I told him where he could park. About 5 minutes later he said "Sorry for the back and forth but I just decided I am actually really tired and I'm going to head home instead." He didn't say another time he could hang out.

On Sunday I asked him if he'd still like to hang out during the week. He just said "Hopefully!" and nothing further. At this point I was almost sure he just wasn't that interested. It probably wasn't the best idea but I sent him the following text: "I get the vibe that you're not that interested in hanging out again. Is that the case or are you just busy?" He quickly responded: "I'm working on a paper and I told you that I'm busy until the holiday." I felt like this didn't really answer my question but I replied: "I apologize, I misunderstood. I thought you said you were just busy for the weekend. Good luck on your paper." He said thank you and that was it.

After, I scrolled up through our conversation and he had in fact told me he was busy for the weekend, not through the holiday. I was conflicted so I just decided to dial it back and let him make the next move.

Monday night he said his class got cancelled and "if you're available I'd love to see you." I told him yes, he could come over and we could watch something on Netflix if he wanted.

Soon after he arrived he noted that he had been busy and in a bad mood over the weekend. I apologized if I had been annoying and he said that I hadn't been. We watched something and ended up cuddling and making out. I gave him oral. He was very intimate during, pulling me up to kiss, etc. After he finished he said thanks but then turned away from me and continued to watch TV. I kind of sat there in silence for a minute wondering if anything else was going to happen. When it became apparent that nothing was I excused myself to the bathroom.

When I got back he said he just checked his voicemail and he had missed a call from his therapist earlier. He missed an appointment that night he had completely forgotten about. He was very upset and said he was going to go. I walked him back to his car and on the way he said he thinks we should just be friends because he had gotten out of a relationship two weeks prior. He was worried about someone (didn't say who) developing feelings when he wasn't in the place to get involved. He said he felt bad because he didn't intend for anything physical to happen between us that night and that he probably should have told me this earlier. Then he spent about 15 minutes talking about his relationship, break up and missing his appointment. I listened and was supportive.

When he got home he texted me to say thank you for being so kind and understanding. I said it was no problem. I also said if he's worried about me developing feelings he doesn't need to be and if he changes his mind we could resume the benefits, but if not I would be happy to be friends because I thought we got along really well and had a similar sense of humor. He just said "very sweet :) thank you!" and that he had fun. That ended the conversation.

This morning I woke up and kind of put the whole week together and I'm not feeling great about it. I guess if I look at it from the perspective of him being in a fog because of his recent break up, the kind of hot and cold, back and forth makes sense. To be honest I'm not even sure he really wants to be friends and think maybe he was just letting me down gently, but I guess I'll find out. I feel a bit used. Also, him saying he'd be busy for the weekend and then insisting he told me he'd be busy through the holiday still bugs me a bit. I'm not sure if it's a sign of manipulation or more of his post-break up brain fog. I guess I could just wait and see how he acts now.

Should I give him the benefit of the doubt because of his recent break up? Is it understandable that I'm feeling used or am I being too sensitive?
posted by blackzinfandel to Human Relations (33 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
You deserve friends in your life who don't make you ask yourself these sorts of questions a week into the friendship.
posted by aniola at 7:15 AM on November 20, 2018 [74 favorites]

I think you should pursue friendships with people who are looking for friends not with people you meet on dating apps where they’re supposedly looking for a relationship or a romantic entanglement. Why put more energy into this guy?
posted by SpaceWarp13 at 7:22 AM on November 20, 2018 [5 favorites]

Walk away. The minute he started withdrawing he knew he wasn't interested. Don't waste time trying to please/figure out this guy or get those lovely conversations back.
posted by windykites at 7:27 AM on November 20, 2018 [9 favorites]

Stop chasing after this guy. Move on.

Regardless of whether or not he's intentionally manipulating you, and regardless of whether or not he's in a bad place - this is just a toxic dynamic. You've been putting way more effort into starting a relationship than he has, and that's probably not going to change. It's probably the type of guy that he is.

This isn't a friendship that's having a rocky patch. You don't have any past behavior to indicate that this is an anomaly. This is a guy you just met on a dating app. He's not friendship material. Move on. Expect more from guys.
posted by Kutsuwamushi at 7:28 AM on November 20, 2018 [13 favorites]

You gave him oral and he assumed the sex was over? That is not a friend I would ever want. Cut your losses.
posted by greermahoney at 7:32 AM on November 20, 2018 [69 favorites]

Yeah, this isn't the behavior of someone who wants to be your friend. This is possibly the behavior of someone who wants to have sex with you. Not that friends can't have sex, but friendship is an active thing that both parties have to engage in, not just the consequence of being around somebody who isn't your romantic partner. You have no history with this person to suggest he's actually capable of better. Assumptions that he's ever going to be less shitty than this are pure wishful thinking; his actual behavior says that he's awful. When people communicate to you that they're terrible, believe them.
posted by Sequence at 7:42 AM on November 20, 2018 [4 favorites]

He sounds emotionally unavailable and, intentionally or not, blowing hot and cold to manage down your expectations and keep you around as a backup plan. Go no contact and move on.
posted by jazzbaby at 7:48 AM on November 20, 2018 [3 favorites]

This guy sucks and he isn't treating you like a real person. Don't waste your time.
posted by a fiendish thingy at 7:55 AM on November 20, 2018 [4 favorites]

This is a thing I've experienced multiple times dating via the apps. At this point, I assume "I'm just coming off of a complicated breakup and I'm emotionally unavailable and not sure of what I want" is somewhere between the truth and a convenient way for someone to hook up with me and then have an excuse to end things. He's totally not worth it. Sorry!
posted by ChuraChura at 8:02 AM on November 20, 2018 [4 favorites]

Sounds like he needs to focus on his own emotions right now. It sucks that you got dragged into that, but trying to date too early is kind of a common mistake, so I'm not going to say he's horrible (unless he keeps trying to date people). Plus you guys were explicit about this being casual (which in my view, is code for "not ready for something serious"), so while it might have been nice had he been explicit about why he wasn't ready, he might've somewhat justifiably thought that was TMI.

This thing you did where you "also said if he's worried about me developing feelings he doesn't need to be and if he changes his mind we could resume the benefits" seems like you're leaving yourself open to being with people who don't really make you a priority. It's as if he said "I don't have much to give, we shouldn't be doing this," and you said "that's okay, I don't need much, so we can still do this" -- it's almost as if he believes you deserve more than you yourself do. And man, why do that for someone who didn't reciprocate? What benefits did you even get? So I wouldn't get hung up thinking about him (angrily or wishing for more or otherwise) and I'd instead focus on moving along to other things, raising your standards, and (if you want to keep dating) finding someone who is ready to be more fully in a relationship or at least to more fully offer you a FWB thing.
posted by salvia at 8:07 AM on November 20, 2018 [10 favorites]

You are not being too sensitive. Even if you were, that wouldn’t mean you should give this guy more chances - it would mean you needed a more thoughtful, kind partner.
posted by bunderful at 8:08 AM on November 20, 2018 [3 favorites]

This guy is taking up way too much of your brain space. You just wrote a novel about a guy who is treating you like shit and who, I know from experience, will continue to treat you like shit for as long as you let him. You are clearly unhappy, so why would you want to keep doing this? Dump him, block him, move on.
posted by a strong female character at 8:33 AM on November 20, 2018 [3 favorites]

You’re not wrong to feel used, and I would have been pretty mad and verbal about it if sex ended with him getting oral. His “oh my therapist called and now I’m too upset to be here and also I’m just getting out of a relationship” is emotionally manipulative bullshit.

Block, ignore, move on.
posted by jeoc at 8:42 AM on November 20, 2018 [15 favorites]

Should I give him the benefit of the doubt because of his recent break up? NO

Is it understandable that I'm feeling used - YES

or am I being too sensitive? NO

Cut your losses and move on.
posted by Julnyes at 8:44 AM on November 20, 2018 [2 favorites]

Agreed with all the above - way too common for people to be "very busy" meaning they're only willing to message and hang out when they have nothing better to do. You deserve and should insist on better - casual/open doesn't mean no mutual respect or that you should put up with selfishness. Good luck!
posted by JonB at 8:45 AM on November 20, 2018 [2 favorites]

It seems like there is a consensus here. I suspected my gut feeling was right but I am often filled with self doubt and tend to go over and over things in my head until I'm not sure how I feel anymore.

I will be moving on. Thank you to those who found kind ways to give advice! And for what it's worth, my coming here so early to get a reality check on things is a vast improvement over where I've been in the past (often not seeking any advice or standing up for myself until months or years into a relationship/friendship). I will look at this as another learning experience. :)
posted by blackzinfandel at 8:47 AM on November 20, 2018 [19 favorites]

You're not even having good sex with him, geez. Abort!

(Early on sex can be quite tricky and awkward but it's a really, er, fucking good rule of thumb that any partner you're with who doesn't at least put a good-faith effort into getting you off the first time you're together, including following any expressed wishes of yours, is someone who should not get to touch you again.)
posted by praemunire at 8:49 AM on November 20, 2018 [1 favorite]

Way back in my dating days, I met a guy on an app who was a lot like this. And he was ridiculously good-looking, and I was naive, so I took him at his word when he said he wanted to be friends. The "friendship" that ensued was a big nothing, and I'm still a little embarrassed by my good-faith efforts to hang out platonically when he really just wanted to move on completely.

So yeah, good call to skip on this one. And no, you're not being too sensitive. I'd absolutely feel upset if something like this was happening in my life.
posted by witchen at 8:50 AM on November 20, 2018 [2 favorites]

You feel bad, and with good reason. You are not a therapist or a teddy bear. You are a human being and deserve to be treated like one. Lose his number.
posted by sockermom at 8:52 AM on November 20, 2018 [4 favorites]

Right call on moving on. He's not ready to be here, and it's not your job to make him ready.
posted by Capt. Renault at 8:59 AM on November 20, 2018 [1 favorite]

I think you may not be being honest with yourself. You stated that you wanted a casual relationship, then analyze every (and there’s too many for ‘casual’) text. It’s ok to want something serious, but your not going to get that from someone that is looking for casual. I think he was sensing that. He may not be totally awesome, but I don’t think he did anything too wrong. I think if you start off standing up for yourself and what you REALLY want, you will find better matches that suit you. You can do it!
posted by MountainDaisy at 9:24 AM on November 20, 2018 [3 favorites]

UGH. He sounds like a total pain in the ass. Lose his number, block his texts, etc. Your gut is and was right.
posted by 41swans at 9:43 AM on November 20, 2018 [1 favorite]

I think you genuinely like this guy and feel there is some sort of connection, but alas I doubt very much that he feels the same way and is simply using you for sex. He's trying to paint himself as some sort of damaged individual (from his break up) in order to somehow justify how he is behaving.
But that's just a lot of bullshit.
You can do better then this and if you continue to see him it will erode your self esteem and you will probably take a long time to get over it.
Dump him now and move on.
He doesn't sound like a nice bloke to me and personally I wouldn't be looking for male friends on dating apps.
Sorry if that all sounds a bit harsh and I'm sending you a hug.
posted by blokefromipanema at 9:49 AM on November 20, 2018 [6 favorites]

To clarify, I could write a novel and spend hours overanalyzing a 30 second exchange with a deli clerk that didn't go well. That is not necessarily indicative of the depth of my feelings for someone.
posted by blackzinfandel at 10:20 AM on November 20, 2018 [7 favorites]

this guy is not really interested in you but has not yet ruled out using you for sex.

if you've ever wanted to be totally justified in cold ghosting someone, now's your chance.
posted by prize bull octorok at 10:31 AM on November 20, 2018 [14 favorites]

Addressing your follow-up. Yes, good choice to move on. And yes, you were used and right to feel that way. However, while he used you, you allowed yourself to be used, and it was way easy for him to do so. While you're checking in with yourself before you meet someone else, I'd consider what you really want and need from a relationship. You said that you both agreed you wanted something "casual." However, your behavior doesn't match casual. I sense that you don't believe you deserve better but you really do. Higher your standards and look for what YOU want. Your whole post was about figuring him out and trying to work around him. You should change your perspective to go into a relationship or friendship with what you want and need and then what you can bring. Set your baseline high. Don't let someone else dictate the baseline. Also, next time, I would make sure you're given something first before you return the favor.
posted by jj's.mama at 10:31 AM on November 20, 2018 [4 favorites]

My advice above pertains to FWB. Don't let someone make you think "casual" means "shitty."
posted by jj's.mama at 10:36 AM on November 20, 2018 [6 favorites]

I had a similar feeling experience a year and a half ago or so (I was trying out dating apps, went on a date with this guy, hit it off in a friendly way, did a couple of non-romantic friendly things together, then tried out a casual, non-romantic sex thing with him. All of a sudden he was less available in a friendly way, but still into arranging casual sex in an extremely irritating low-availability, blowing-hot and cold (that is, warm and interested when he communicated, but not communicating much) kind of way.) I figured the experience was annoying me more than I was enjoying it, and the beautiful part about it being casual was that I had absolutely no obligation to stay in touch if I didn't want to.

He still texts with something friendly every few months. No grudges held, but whatever he was looking for, it wasn't enough fun for me to figure out what was going on with him. I would ghost your guy.

That sounded pointless, didn't it. I guess what I wanted to communicate was that your story sounded familiar in detail -- something about the friendly casual sex feeling very weird and irritating where the guy was behaving in a way that would be annoyingly distant even from a non-sexual friend.
posted by LizardBreath at 10:45 AM on November 20, 2018 [3 favorites]

Whether or not he's using you, whether or not he's being dishonest, he's clearly not the right person for you romantically or Platonically. That in and of itself is enough to cut him out of your life.

All that said...

he thinks we should just be friends because he had gotten out of a relationship two weeks prior

Waiting until after you blew him to bring that up was an asshole move. Just out of curiosity, does the dating app give you any timeline on how long ago the account was created?
posted by Candleman at 11:05 AM on November 20, 2018 [4 favorites]

It could be that he's recently out of a relationship and doesn't want something serious. It could be that his ex called him to get back together. It could be that he liked you but wasn't as into it as you were. And the thing is, you probably won't know, and that's just something you'll have to be fine with. I'm not sure you have enough here for a friendship because it sounds like you actually like him, at least a little bit. Also, you said this:
We both agreed we were really only looking for something casual.

Is that really what you are looking for? Did you have a conversation about what that means? Because in my mind, casual means it'd be okay to hook up a few times and not really interact all that much in between except maybe to work out logistics. But casual might mean something else to other folks.

It's also okay to want more than casual. To say, "Hey, I'm not sure what I want with you, but I am looking for something a bit more regular now, like [dating, a relationship, fill in the blank]." And then use your time and energy to look for that, not to hang out with guys who won't give you what you want.

Also, yes, saying "let's be friends" can really mean, "I'm not interested in dating you/sleeping with you." It can also mean, "I'd like to have sex with you but I don't want more obligations." But it sounds like he doesn't know himself well and/or can't quite articulate his wants to do. So I'd try to move on.

If you find yourself ruminating a lot about relationships, especially intimate and romantic relationships, I recommend the book Attached: The New Science of Adult Attachment. It was incredibly helpful for me in understanding some of my own patterns of behavior and why I found some relationships simultaneously challenging and compelling.
posted by bluedaisy at 12:20 PM on November 20, 2018 [2 favorites]

For what it's worth, my instincts say that he is seeing other guys.

When he said he was busy at the weekend, he had dates, club visits etc. set up. When he said he might be able to meet you later on Friday evening, he was leaving his options open if things didn't go well that night. When he said he'd be getting out of his work event early, it was because he hadn't had any luck and was about to use you as a backup. When he changed his mind 5 minutes later, it's because someone replied to his text.

His cancelled 'class' on Monday night was probably a cancelled date and the 'voicemail from his therapist' (which he conveniently listened to when you were out of the room) was a message from another guy.

I could be totally wrong, but it feels like you were being kept just interested enough that he could get something from you when he had time for you. Whatever the reason for his behaviour, congratulations on getting better at standing up for yourself!
posted by Busy Old Fool at 12:20 AM on November 21, 2018 [4 favorites]

He told you he wanted to be friends right after getting oral from you? Without even reciprocating? uhhhhh hahahaha
No, this is not a friend you want to have.

In the future, if any guy (or person you're invested in) texts you and says he "might be free, but late tonight," do not make yourself available, even if you are bored and lonely. Half the time they will blow you off and make you feel more bored and lonely and you'll have spent hours planning your life around whether or not they might show up, and the other half of the time you'll probably be disappointed by how long they make you wait or how disrespectful they are after they arrive. It's never worth it to wait around to see if last-minute plans work out or fall through. Just live your life and tell them you'll make actual plans with them for another day.
posted by Penguin48 at 1:46 AM on November 21, 2018 [8 favorites]

Nope, that doesn’t sound like a healthy relationship, whether it’s a friendship or a romantic relationship. I wouldn’t waste my time.
posted by FloridaLife4345 at 3:56 PM on November 21, 2018 [2 favorites]

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