What's my next move, if any?
July 26, 2008 3:28 PM   Subscribe

Guy is showing me all the signs, constantly contacting me and flirting with me. Then he disappears?? I have very little dating experience, so I need wisdom.

I am in my mid-20s, and not very experienced at all in dating, so I would like to seek some advice.

A short time back, I ran into an old schoolmate of mine. We were never in the same classes, but I remembered him from an extracurricular activity we both used to do. I barely noticed him at the time, and I think it was the same for him. We were always polite to each other, but never talked alone - always in groups. Literally I think I can recall about 3 maximum group interactions with him.

Fast forward 3 years. I've taken some effort since then to invest in my appearance and I look somewhat attractive now. Ran into this guy at a coffee shop, we both talked for like 10 mins just catching up. Walked out not thinking any of it.

About a week later, I get an email from him wanting to hang out and meet up. This really caught me by surprise, but I went with it. Had a good time with him, and we were both definitely smiling alot, laughing.

The day onward, he proceeds to call me, text, email - everything - pretty much everyday. I was flattered and I took these things as a sign that he was very much interested in getting to know me. We hung out a couple more times during the next week, and it was clear (to me at least) that we had chemistry.

A few days later (with him keeping up the same pace - its been like this for about 1.5 weeks), nothing has really "happened" between us yet... and I am getting antsy. (this is where I think my lack of dating skills comes into play). It seems to me like he is not going to say anything about how much we've been talking, hanging out (which is ALL initiated by him). I tell him I would like to know what's going on and where's this going--is this friendship or are we romantically interested in each other?

I thought that was a fair question. I tend to get really emotionally attached, and I was not in the mood to be in a relationship where we hang out like this ad nauseum with no idea if this is friendship or something more b/c he won't say anything. I am not looking for something serious, but yes, I do want to date him.

So he responds by saying he thinks I am attractive and likes hanging out with me. He also doesn't want anything serious and wants to just date, take it slow. I agree and say the same, but I told him I am really interested in dating (again NOT a relationship at this point in time). If this is just going to be friendship, then Iwould prefer we hang out less. (we were seeing each other like every other night, again, initiated by him). There was some light physical interaction after that, not really anything.

But since that night, we've talked on the phone once, when I called him. He then proceeded to tell me that since we are both busy, he will call me in a few weeks and maybe we can revisit the issue about us then.

WTF? Is this guy a jerk? Was I wrong for saying something? Is he just not interested anymore? I feel like I am not going to make myself look desparate, so I haven't contacted him beyond that phone call where he said "he would contact me in a few weeks."

I am just kind of annoyed though because I have no idea what just happened. I find him physically attractive and would like to date him. I made this clear by my words, I thought he was making this clear by his actions. But all of a sudden... he's gone?

Lost cause? If not, what should I do on my end to rekindle his interest in me? I feel so lame for writing that!
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (22 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
He has realized that while you say you want to date, you really want a relationship and because he's afraid of that, he ran.
posted by Maias at 3:45 PM on July 26, 2008

Possibly he’s a little flakey, young, and inexperienced in dating, too. I would probably let it pass and move on.
posted by ijoshua at 3:51 PM on July 26, 2008

Move on. Having a good relationship shouldn't be this complicated. When its easy, you know you are really "clicking".

at least that how it ended up being for me...

Also agree with first two posters.

posted by qwip at 3:57 PM on July 26, 2008

So you two have been hanging out for only a week and a half? I think it was a little early to have any kind of relationship/dating/where-is-this-going talk. If someone brought up that talk with me after such short a time, I would get all weirded out and probably lose interest. Some people take a while to feel someone out before they decide whether or not they are boyfriend/date-worthy material. Not everyone is like this, but maybe next time hold off on the serious talk until after at least a few weeks.
posted by MaryDellamorte at 4:16 PM on July 26, 2008 [1 favorite]

Some guys just can't handle having a label on what they're doing. If he's hanging out with you pretty much every night and you're having daily contact via phone, text or in person-then you're basically dating. Sometimes you don't have to specifically say "you're my boyfriend/girlfriend", it just is what it is. I think no matter how you phrased it, asking if "this is going anywhere" comes off as an ultimatum, which is basically what you gave him when you said you wouldn't hang out with him as much if he wasn't your boyfriend. Guys tend to view ultimatums in a negative light and usually run as far and as fast as they can.

Did you mess up with asking? Yeah, but trust me, there's ALWAYS a next guy, so lesson learned and you won't ask for things to be so specific next time.
posted by hollygoheavy at 4:30 PM on July 26, 2008 [1 favorite]

Some people take a while to feel someone out before they decide whether or not they are boyfriend/date-worthy material. Not everyone is like this, but maybe next time hold off on the serious talk until after at least a few weeks.

I actually disagree. She says she gets emotionally attached quickly, so I think it's better for her to bring it up sooner than later so she can weed out the skittish ones before she's gotten hooked.

You (OP) were honest about your needs and intentions and requested he respond in turn, and he freaked out. You were upfront, and he won't or can't play fair. Don't let yourself get dragged into the vortex of trying to figure him out. There are lots of guys who don't see candor as a threat.
posted by granted at 4:31 PM on July 26, 2008 [2 favorites]

No next move- just let it go and forget about it. I think you jumped the gun on the whole "where is this going?" conversation by a few weeks, and it set off his alarm and he bolted. If he contacts you later and wants to hang out, say yes if you feel like it, but don't initiate any get-togethers. Don't dwell on it or beat yourself up about it either, just try to forget about the whole thing and move on.

Another piece of advice for the next guy you meet....maybe take things a tad slower at first, like only doing things together twice a week for the first few weeks, so you don't form an emotional attachment before an actual relationship develops.
posted by emd3737 at 4:34 PM on July 26, 2008 [2 favorites]

This sucks, but it's happened to me. He probably decided you're psychotically in love with him and he freaked out. I have never been successful in convincing a guy I'm only casually interested once he's decided I like him too much for his comfort. It can be immensely frustrating because it's usually a figment of their imagination. I still haven't figured out if this phenomenon is arrogance, low self-esteem or a mystifying combination of both.

My words are comfort are that a guy who's afraid of you and your scary, scary feelings (or possibility thereof) after such a simple conversation is not someone who would relate well to you on important matters down the road, and I would bet money that dating him would be an exercise in frustration.
posted by loiseau at 4:39 PM on July 26, 2008 [2 favorites]

He then proceeded to tell me that since we are both busy, he will call me in a few weeks and maybe we can revisit the issue about us then.

How did you respond to this?

If you said, "Yeah, okay," then, jeez, DMY. Stick to the agreement and wait a few weeks. Not that patient? Think he's flaking out? (Out of what, exactly?) Then, yeah, what they said. Move on.
posted by Sys Rq at 4:43 PM on July 26, 2008


a) a flake,
b) a player,
c) decided he doesn't want a relationship,
d) found someone else,
e) lost interest in you,
f) one of those people who always thinks he can do better than whoever's in front of him,
g) only interested in women whom he has to pursue and who will hold themselves out of his reach permanently,
h) too embarrassed about his bed-wetting issues to embark on dating you,
i) in traction,
j) any combination or all of the above.

But it doesn't really matter. No matter how much you enjoyed your time with this guy and how many good qualities he may have seemed to have, he didn't have one very necessary quality: a readiness to pursue things further with you. Forget about him and look for a guy who is so eager to be with you he won't pull crap like this.

And don't listen to the people who say you jumped the gun on the "is this friendship or are we romantically interested in each other" question. There's nothing wrong with communicating and wanting to know the nature of the situation between you. If a guy bolts because you asked him that, congratulations on weeding out a guy who expects a woman to give him a lot of her free time and wait compliantly until he makes up his mind about her.

On preview... or what loiseau says.
posted by orange swan at 4:44 PM on July 26, 2008 [2 favorites]

> I think it was a little early to have any kind of relationship/dating/where-is-this-going talk.

Was the conversation like this, as it sounds?
You: "Hey it's been great hanging out with you. I would like to know what's going on and where's this going--is this friendship or are we romantically interested in each other?"
Him: "I'm having a great time too -- I think you are attractive and I like hanging out with you. I don't want anything serious and would like to just date, take it slow."
You: "Yeah, but I am really interested in dating (not a relationship, just dating). If this is just going to be friendship, then I would prefer we hang out less."

I think you were brave and straightforward. What might've freaked him out was that even after he said he was interested in taking it slow and dating, (essentially admitting that you are dating, without giving any guarantees for where it's going to end up), it sounds like you re-emphasized a distinction between being friends and being people who are definitely dating, which might've made him feel like he had to make a decision before he was ready. He was using "dating" as a verb (exploring whether romantic possibilities exist) and you were using it as a state of being (a destination that is distinct from friendship). The word ultimatum does come close.

I agree with the advice to just pace things in a way do you don't feel like you're getting too attached while letting others have time to think about where things are going. I also agree that this guy just sounds a bit young, and that there are plenty of people who would have been able to respect your candor and self-understanding, and respond positively to it.
posted by salvia at 4:55 PM on July 26, 2008 [2 favorites]

You didn't do anything wrong. If he is skittish, that's his problem, and his loss.
posted by konolia at 4:59 PM on July 26, 2008

Here's the things you did wrong:

1) If you know that you get emotionally attached to someone really easy, then you need to be responsible for pacing your new relationships in the early stages. If some dude wants to hang out with you 10 days in a row, you need to tell him "no", even if it seems very counterintuitive.
2) It's perfectly acceptable to ask a guy "So, is this a friendship thing or a romantic thing? Because I'd like to date you." But when he tells you "You're attractive, I like hanging out with you, I'm interested in dating you, but I want to take things slow", you should consider your question answered. What about his answer made you want to reiterate your point? If you reiterate that you are reaaaaallly interested in dating him, it sounds like whatever he said wasn't good enough for you: that you don't want to take things slow, you want to take things fast.
posted by 23skidoo at 5:33 PM on July 26, 2008 [1 favorite]

1. He doesn't sound like a jerk to me.
2. There's a lot of room between 1.5 weeks - and ad nauseum. I think that you need to work on tolerating ambiguity a lot more. Everyone wants to avoid getting attached to someone that isn't going to work out - that doesn't mean you get to demand answers about how they'll feel in the future. You can ask dudes you've known a few weeks where the relationship is going all you want - but there's no reason why they should know yet. If you don't know - how is he supposed to know?
3. I think you should also work on taking responsibility for the tenor of the relationship - if you didn't put any moves on him, then you don't get to be irritated that "nothing happened".
4. Candor is great, but baby relationships are delicate. It's like - no matter how much I liked hanging out with a guy and hoped that something would happen between us? Him saying "so are dating or what because I don't want to waste any more of my time" would change my mind.
5. Your desire to date him but not to be his friend unless you're dating is fine. Those are your feelings, and they're totally valid - but that doesn't mean it isn't hurtful for you to tell him that to his face. If someone I just met and was enjoying spending time with pulled that on me - I wouldn't want to date them OR be their friend.
posted by moxiedoll at 5:48 PM on July 26, 2008 [3 favorites]

I think it's possible that he still didn't really know where he wanted to take things, and "the conversation" may have emphasized to him how silly it was that he still didn't really know whether he wanted to be your friend or something more. And the fact that you needed to know right away whether it was dating or friends (when maybe he still wasn't sure) meant to him that you probably shouldn't go out as much because what if he ultimately just wanted to be friends?

I don't know. I think guys generally want to feel like they're being pretty smooth with their moves.

But I'm not disagreeing with the other people in this thread who said that you were just asking for some emotional honesty and if he wasn't up for that he may not have been easy to communicate with later in the relationship with even trickier emotional issues.
posted by onlyconnect at 6:06 PM on July 26, 2008

You were honest and straightforward about your feelings. That is a great thing. Did someone call that an "agressive approach"? That is crap, it is not agressive to ask questions about what he wants when he is aggressively pursuing you.
posted by osloheart at 6:13 PM on July 26, 2008

is this friendship or are we romantically interested in each other?

It may be too late for this one, but in the future "show me, don't tell me."
posted by StickyCarpet at 6:35 PM on July 26, 2008

When I (female) was single, if I met someone attractive whom I liked being with, I'd just do whatever was fun. Getting together, contacting the guy by whatever convenient means, paying as much attention as seemed natural, enjoying things and kind of wondering what would happen next. If a third party had said to me, "Where do you think your thing with X is going," I would have said... "Uh...going? It's not even a thing yet. It's a pre-thing. It just is. It's spontaneous." I wouldn't have been thinking, "The guy might have a different take on things." I was caught up in my own experience, and assumed that he was experiencing it the way I was. I was sometimes wrong about that, but that's still how it always went. Once in a while my new friend-boy would ask a question similar to yours... "Is this a date, or are we just friends?" If I couldn't deflect it by saying "I don't know yet," then our flirtation collapsed with a thud.

It's possible that your cute guy was in this sort of frame of mind. The spontaneity was maybe part of the fun. It could be that your question got him thinking something: maybe he figured he was being too self-centered (possibly true), or that you weren't as into spontaneity as he was (true). More likely, something in his attitude just shifted without his giving it a whole lot of thought. He just lost his compulsion to pursue. I bet he doesn't know why.

I don't see any fault in your asking about what was up; I don't find fault with someone who goes with the flow at that stage, either. You two might just be different in a way that makes it hard for romantic things to get off the ground.
posted by wryly at 7:30 PM on July 26, 2008

I thought they put a book out a few years ago that cleared these questions up? It was called something like "he's just not that into you?"

It sounds like you were clear enough about what you wanted and what you had on offer that he was able to evaluate it and decide he didn't want it. Maybe you scared him off, maybe he wasn't interested from the outset. Doesn't matter. Move on. Next time don't wear your heart on your sleeve. That is the game.
posted by ikkyu2 at 9:37 PM on July 26, 2008

You did good. You were true to yourself and you communicated your needs.

If you and a man are not compatible, it's much easier to get rid of the man than it is to get rid of you. It's even easier when he leaves of his own accord.

At some point, when you conform your behaviors and your dating strategy and your hair and your makeup and your clothes and your personality to what you think some man wants, some man you're not even in love with, some man who does not necessarily want to have anything to do with you, some man who might not even really exist, you will find that the good men who are attracted to your genuine self can't find it. They can't find it under all the layers and strategies and tactics and Ten Tips to Keep Your Man.
posted by sondrialiac at 11:12 AM on July 27, 2008 [4 favorites]

I agree and say the same, but I told him I am really interested in dating (again NOT a relationship at this point in time)

To me, ¨not a relationship¨ implies that the future of where things are going is not yet planned. You are emphasizing that you are interested in dating as an ongoing activity. If you don´t have an official relationship-ish thing going on, you don´t know that this is someone you will be continuing to date.

If you are interested in going on multiple dates with someone, you need to start by planning one date. Additional dates are not generally committed to before going on the first date. If you are wondering if the person would want to go on a date with you or just wants to be friends, this indicates that you have not yet gone on a first date. Bringing up the idea of multiple dates at this point is one of those ¨not done¨ things.
posted by yohko at 4:34 PM on July 27, 2008

did you mess up by asking? HELL NO

forget about all those stupid games "say this, not this" "blah blah"
you said what you wanted and he's not into it. now you know.
posted by swbarrett at 6:52 AM on August 3, 2008

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