Cant make use of it but cant throw it out?
June 14, 2021 10:30 AM   Subscribe

Ok. Picture the scene: conversation between two people in a dating/friendship that has just blossomed over two months time. They have three dates and four phone conversations and on the fourth date (more to follow)

He leaves with a kiss and "I love you". While there isnt a sign or mark on this date or the relationships potential up to that point the comment is a little misplaced. The idea is not that he loves her but that he blurted out of habit. But now she knows (feels) it was out of habit she thinks it makes sense to ignore it. She doesn't draw attention to him to make him feel bad but also she doesnt reciprocate to encourage the habit. Or does she? It isnt genuine or even a casual remark. Or is it? The conversation ended with that remark and he hasnt called her in two weeks. Is this a brain teaser or just a flighty dude? What should she think? It is worrisome because I liked the guy it just didnt seem worth talking about. Should i have said something?
posted by The_imp_inimpossible to Human Relations (11 answers total)
This reminds me of a current co-worker who has, on two occasions and to her complete mortification, said "goodbye love you" to customers on the phone who were not her husband.

It's hard to say as a stranger on the internet, what he may be thinking about what happened. If it were me in this situation, I might send a text along the lines of - I have this feeling you said something out of habit that you did not mean, and it's no big deal I have done stuff like that! So if that's why you have not called you don't need to be embarrassed. And then see if he responds to that?
posted by Glinn at 10:39 AM on June 14 [6 favorites]

I remembered your name and just confirmed...didn't you move 2 weeks ago? And he stopped calling you 2 weeks ago? Did you move away from his location? That seems like a more likely reason for him to fade away than something he might not even realize he said.

Also, with 7 interactions across 2 months (4 calls and 3 dates), a 2 week gap doesn't seem egregious. If you want to talk to him, call him.
posted by Nickel at 10:47 AM on June 14 [8 favorites]

If realized I had I said "I love you" inadvertently, to someone I was just starting to date, I'd wait for them to make the next first move, especially if they seemed a bit freaked out by it. If they didn't reach out to me for two weeks after the incident, I'd assume they were very freaked out by it, and not pursue things further.

Is there a reason you haven't contacted the other person for two weeks?
posted by sagc at 10:53 AM on June 14 [10 favorites]

Okay, rather than dance around it I'll just ask the question:

Are you assuming that it is the responsibility of the guy to make the phone call, and that the appropriate behavior of the gal is to just sit and wait for her phone to ring? And while she waits, she dreams about the man who is going to come for her? That's an outdated, dysfunctional, and destructive attitude to have about relationships. Please don't do that to yourself or to him.

If you are interested in the guy, call him. If you don't call him, it's on you. Any thinking you do beyond that is just wheel spinning.
posted by Winnie the Proust at 11:15 AM on June 14 [11 favorites]

I'm a little unclear on exactly what happened here:

The idea is not that he loves her but that he blurted out of habit. But now she knows (feels) it was out of habit she thinks it makes sense to ignore it.

After he said, "I love you" did he then walk it back with an "oh, didn't mean to say that, it just kinda slipped out from habits formed in my last relationship"? Or something more vague like "Oh, I can't believe I just said that, no worries if you don't want to say it yet"?

Because if it's something like the latter, then from his perspective, for better or worse he made himself vulnerable, and having a moment of vulnerability get ignored generally feels....not great. Not that you need to do a big to-do over it, but a simple "Oh, I'm not quite there yet but I'm flattered and I am really enjoying getting to know you" would be in order.

And yeah, I agree with all those saying that if you're into him, the thing to do is to call him to set up date #5.
posted by coffeecat at 11:36 AM on June 14 [2 favorites]

The worrisome part of this story is the part where it sounds like you ghosted the guy for saying something that was either unintentional and embarrassing or heartfelt and vulnerable -- or somewhere in between -- but something that I do think deserved some kind of response.
posted by sm1tten at 11:38 AM on June 14 [10 favorites]

As a guy, I think you're thinking WAY TOO HARD, trying to read the tea leaves and all that.

Ignore all that. What do you FEEL about the guy, APART from this parting gesture? Did you have a good time? Do you want to see him again?

If you do, then contact him. "Hey, haven't heard from you in a while. Missed you. What's going on?"


I can just imagine he's asking in some relationship forum somewhere else: Had a great time with this girl on multiple dates and phone convos. Our interests align and we seem to be a good fit. On the fourth date, I kissed her goodbye, and told her "I love you." Then left. I felt the ball is in her court, and so far she hadn't made a single move. Did I push her too early? Does she not want to see me long-term? What do I do?

And he's going to get all sorts of advice, from "move on already, plenty of fish in the ocean" to "if you want her you have to go after her" and everything in between.

But again, that's not the real question here. What do YOU want?
posted by kschang at 11:46 AM on June 14 [8 favorites]

I find people, especially women, sometimes use "I was being nice and considerate of the feelings of others" as a way to practice avoidance.

In a relationship, it helps to be able to actually talk about things, not quietly hope it will go away. As others have said, call the freaking guy. The phone works both ways, how is it his responsibility to call you?

Call him and see where things stand. It sounds like you like this guy, make the effort!
good luck.
posted by rhonzo at 12:26 PM on June 14 [3 favorites]

Get out of your own way.

If you like this person and want to see them again, call them right now and ask them out for Thai food this weekend.

If you don't like this person, move on.
posted by phunniemee at 1:04 PM on June 14 [4 favorites]

I accidentally said "bye, love you" to a female work friend who gave me a lift to the train station after we had been hanging out at her (and her husband's, who I also work with) place and having a few drinks, I didn't "mean it mean it" in "that" way, after I said it I felt like a goof but she didn't say anything and I think there are worse things to say to people anyway so I reckon this is just basically a neutral-to-good thing to have happened!
posted by turbid dahlia at 9:42 PM on June 14 [1 favorite]

What was the kiss like, I'd sat that's more telling than the I love you.
posted by starfish at 10:13 AM on June 15

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