January 10, 2020 at 7:06 pm #332621
Sorry for this long story but if anyone can offer advice or feels like reading all the way through–thank you!!
I hooked up with this guy around once a month for about a year. I wasn’t wanting anything serious as I was going through a real healing phase after a painful break up–and had broken up with my ex of four years shortly before meeting him. and clearly he wasnt wanting anything serious either (although that was never communicated verbally–just seemed unspoken but understood). I was glad with how slow it was going and how we werent talking about anything too serious too fast.
We live in a very close circle, I know all his friends (they all really like me) and we see eachother pretty often because small town.
The last time we hooked up (after several times during the year) I simply suggested maybe we go on a date (He asked me out once before to a fancy dinner and we had a great time, it was clear we enjoyed eachothers company and have good chemistry/lots in common. I felt like I couldnt just keep having sex randomly though and not know what his feelings were or what his deal was, especially after a year has gone by…I was probing to see what he was feeling–maybe he was shy and wanted me to initiate that talk. Couldn’t tell, so thats why i finally brought it up)
He suddenly jumped to conclusions and talked about how that would mean we were in a relationship and he doesnt want to be in one and doesnt want a girlfriend, and one day he’ll just get married after he’s made more money and established his business. I simply said “ok, its not that black and white and all I was saying is we seemed like we would be a good match if we wanted to get to know eachother better” I then asked a few more questions and found out hes only had one real relationship and his last gf was toxic. He told me not to wait for him in case I find someone better.
I havent spoke to him since, though I’ve seen him around and am cordial and light, though brief, and he still lights up when he sees me/seems attracted and interested.
Since our talk(two months ago), he’s replied twice to my instagram stories, but only with one word response–doesnt ask me how i am or ask me anything about how im doing. I didnt respond either time.
It’s really bothering me because I took his relationship talk as a “rejection” in a way–he’s just not that interested in me. Yet why does he still seem interested and why is he reaching out but not saying anything really. I feel like hes trying to keep me on the hook to see if I’ll sleep with him again and see what he can get away with–with minimal effort.
Any advice? I still like him because we do have a lot in common and we laugh a lot together, we live very similar lifestyles, we have good chemistry and I’m really attracted to him. We also both have had toxic relationships….but I also don’t trust his intentions at the moment and have some slight evidence that he might hook up with a lot of women (mostly because I saw him out with a woman shortly after our talk, and it looked like it couldve been a date–which is fine seeing as how hes single so why wouldnt he, but how do I handle him seemingly still being interested in me still even after all of this? Especially when hes not really communicating anything real or wanting to actually talk? What is the point of replying to my stories/liking my pictures?)January 11, 2020 at 9:19 am #332689
I would like to connect some of your previous posts in older threads with your current thread and see where that leads me.
October 2015, four years and three months ago, you were living with a roommate you were unhappy with, in an apartment, far away from your parents, in a location you didn’t like. You had a boyfriend with whom you broke up, got back together, broke up again and got back together, “all because I don’t know what I want.
You wrote: “sometimes I still feel stuck and stagnate, and am unsure of where exactly that feeling is stemming from… the relationship? School? My job? I can’t seem to pinpoint it. The uncertainty I have felt about the relationship makes me feel anxious, and it definitely doesn’t make me feel good at all”.
January 2016, four years ago, you wanted to move back with your mother (and her boyfriend). You wrote: “If I moved home.. I KNOW after a week I’d want to get out of there. I am a very independent person and love living freely of my parents and exploring life on my own! Although I love the location my mom lives in, I just feel I’d become sad and bored and wondering why I didn’t try to make things work with my love”.
You didn’t want to move far away from your boyfriend who couldn’t or wouldn’t move location (to the area where your mother lived) and risk the relationship ending. And you considered suggesting to him that the two of you get a place together and live together in the current area.
You then came up with a solution: you evicted your roommate out of your apartment, planning on finding a new roommate, and you felt elated for not “moving out and running away from life”, and for choosing instead to face and practice “so much confrontation and conflict and honesty”.
You wrote: “I feel this new living situation will inspire a completely new outlook and perspective on life here, and I can’t wait for my new peaceful space! I think everything in my life will only get better now that my own home is a pleasant space to be in”.
Four years later, you shared that you are living in a small town (back with your mother?), that the relationship with same boyfriend (“my ex of four years) a bit over a year ago, that it was a painful breakup, and that shortly after that breakup, you had a fancy dinner date with a man, and then hooked up with him about once a month for about a year. Two months ago you suggested that the two of you go on a second date and you were “probing to see what he was feeling”. He then told you that he doesn’t want to date you, doesn’t want to be in a relationship, doesn’t want a girlfriend, and he told you to “not wait for him”.
My input: I don’t think he is leaving you on the hook (from the title of your thread). I think that he was very clear that what the two of you had (and may resume, if it is up to him, depending on his schedule and other hookup situations and the like) was just that, a hookup situation.
I don’t see a contradiction between the fact that he is still friendly with you and the fact that the hookup situation has been on a pause in the last two months. Another term to the situation is “friends with benefits”. The friend part means being friendly, which is what he is doing. The benefits part is on a break at this time, that is all I see.
I hope to read more from you.
anitaJanuary 11, 2020 at 9:49 am #332695
Wow! I wasn’t expecting you to read back to previous posts.. that’s very thoughtful and kind of you.
Yes, my relationship with ex ended over a year ago and I’ve never looked back. We never ended up moving in together (thank god–as I’d later find out he struggled with a sex addiction unbeknownst to me and had a secret email account he used to email hundreds of people online, i had NO idea that was happening!). That was a toxic relationship, and the first one I’ve ever had. And of course had a lot of pain do to the secrecy and almost betrayal I felt after learning more about his deeper issues. I learned a lot, and am so glad the chapter is over. Though I do wish him the best.
I currently don’t live at home with my mother… I realized a lot of the stagnation, etc. was due to that relationship. So many amazing things have happened since ending that relationship. I live somewhere new and am very happy here, with a great job, and spend my time doing the things I love. I hadn’t been focused on dating after my ex, because I realized I had a lot to work on in myself—yet happened to meet this new guy who I became attracted to and it just sort of happened.
I think what I’m struggling with is the pain from feeling rejected and like I’m not good enough to date. If I was good enough, he would want to date me. This pain is turning into anger and feelings of being “used” and “led on”–as HE is the one who asked me out, and suggested more dates, but never followed through. So I was sitting over here waiting, yet when I finally brought it up–he said he doesn’t want to date. I just felt hurt and confused by it all. Why wasn’t he just honest from the start? and why wouldn’t he want to date me if he likes me enough to be try and be friends and also is attracted to me?
Thank you Anita for your response.January 11, 2020 at 9:59 am #332701
I also wonder how you say “on a pause” and “on a break”. I’m not able to hook up with this guy again unless he showed me that hes interested in dating me in a real way. Which I don’t feel will ever happen– even though I’d hope it would because I do think we could learn a lot from each other and it could work, or would at least be worth a chance.
So I’m not sure i could say we are on pause. I feel like it’s ended for good, unless he wanted to give me a chance. But again, even he said don’t wait. It’s just hard to let go of the idea of it working out when I see him around somewhat often in real life, and hes replying to my social media. I just wish I could move on from the idea of it working out (because I know it’s not going to)January 11, 2020 at 10:14 am #332705
You are welcome. I am glad to read that you are doing well, that the relationship with the boyfriend at the time ended, that you didn’t move in with him, and that you are not living with your mother.
“I’m struggling with is the pain from feeling rejected and like I’m not good enough to date. If I was good enough, he would want to date me”-
– He “only had one real relationship and his last gf was toxic”, so he never had a monogamous relationship with a woman who was “good enough to date”.
What makes him then authority of what woman is good enough to date when his only relationship was with a woman who was toxic?
So he is not an indicator of you being not good enough to date, he is not qualified to make this evaluation of you.
“Why wasn’t he just honest from the start?”- because it wasn’t comfortable for him, because it served him better not to, I am guessing, because this is why people are dishonest in the context of relationships most of the time.
“why wouldn’t he want to date me if he likes me enough to be try and be friends and also is attracted to me?”- a lot of the time the answer to why a man, in certain cultures, more than others, likes a woman, is attracted to her, and yet will not date her is because he doesn’t have to. Meaning, if a man can have sex with a woman without dating her, it saves him money and the time and effort of courtship, and the money, time and effort of a whole relationship. It is convenient.
Does this make sense to you?
anitaJanuary 11, 2020 at 10:32 am #332707
What you said about him not being qualified to deem me good enough to date, was extremely moving to me. I really needed to hear that. So thank you for pointing that out. After going to therapy last year I learned one of my deep core beliefs is that i’m not “good enough”.. so anytime that feeling is triggered it really hurts me. But i’m learning to recognize it now.
And yes that makes sense about how I pretty much gave him everything, made it extremely easy to go out with me and have sex with me, so of course why wouldn’t he keep going with that. With where he’s at in his life, he really doesnt have the money or effort to put into a relationship–which is basically what he’s told me. I do get that one hundred percent.
However, with sex off the table, as well as any of my attention anymore, I’m wondering if he’d change his mind and put more effort in. OR if he just doesn’t care about that and continues hooking up with other girls and enjoying his life as is, and occasionally messaging me on social media.
In the future, I suppose I shouldn’t jump into sex so soon without more communication? Its just SO hard to do that when I really enjoy sex and if the moment is right and attraction is there, why deny that experience. I guess I’m still learning how to communicate and what my boundaries are…January 11, 2020 at 10:55 am #332711
You are very welcome!
“However, with sex off the table.. I’m wondering if he’d change his mind and put more effort in it. OR if he just doesn’t care about that and continues hooking up with other girls”-
-I am guessing he will continue hooking up with other girls as long as there are other girls willing to hook up with him. I am guessing this because this has been his lifestyle for quite some time, he is used to it, it serves him well, so he is likely to continue it for as long as it is available to him, or at least for a long time.
“In the future, I suppose I shouldn’t jump into sex so soon without more communication? It’s just SO hard to do that when I really enjoy sex.. why deny that experience”?-
-your behavior has to fit your values, for you to be comfortable. If you are okay with hookups, if it suits you, then as long as you practice safer sex, as long as both parties are clear and upfront about the nature of the exchange, then .. well then it suits you.
But if you value commitment, then hookups don’t suit you, leading you to experience conflict and a mix of sexual pleasure and distress.
The solution: if you value commitment and sex, both, then you need both, not one or the other. So yes, in the future, communicate more with a man to determine if there is a match between values and objectives before having sex with him.
anitaJanuary 11, 2020 at 11:18 am #332717
Thank you Anita for all your advice. You are very objective, clear, and honest which I really appreciate.
I’m wondering if their are deeper issues here with this guy… he is 37 years old, has only had one “real” relationship and it was “toxic”. My friends often see him out at bars or around town, and he’s usually alone or with guy friends, with the exception of the time I saw him with a woman that seemed like a possible date.
He lost his father to drugs when he was a baby, grew up with a step father basically. Perhaps he struggles with his own deeper insecurities or pain from past experiences.
Maybe it’s my ego, but I wish he saw me as desirable enough to change his ways haha. I know that’s obviously unrealistic, but it’s a fantasy I have. I really need to accept his lifestyle and move past this idea that he would come after me and want to commit.
Something else I’ll need to work on is getting past the anger.. perhaps I’m angry at myself for not communicating more clearly early on in our encounters. But when I see him in person (which is actually quite often as we live in the same neighborhood) I struggle with wanting to ignore him and play it off as I don’t care about what happened, versus wanting to give him a lot of attention and ask how he is, etc. It’s in my nature to be so friendly and bubbly and talkative to people I like. But when I have this tinge of pain/anger I feel like I shouldn’t give him any attention or energy… even though realistically he did nothing wrong. Maybe having this time apart will help me heal and I’ll be able to see him as a friendly acquaintance around town but nothing more… and perhaps soon I’ll meet someone more in line with my values.January 11, 2020 at 11:40 am #332719
You are welcome and thank you for your kind words.
“I’m wondering if there are deeper issues here with this guy.. Perhaps he struggles with his own deeper insecurities or pain from past experiences”- most likely. I never came across a person who doesn’t have deeper issues, insecurities and pain from past experiences.
“I wish he saw me as desirable enough to change his ways.. a fantasy I have”- this is almost every woman’s dream and fantasy, at one time or another, to be the one that makes the difference!
(and when it does happen, that a non- committal man does marry one particular woman.. I don’t think that it ever turns out as fantastic as the fantasy felt like).
Regarding your anger at this man, it is the rejection of two months ago and that you had expectations and you are now disappointed that these expectations didn’t materialize. I wonder if it will help you to share this with him, to express to him your anger at him and at yourself (“for not communicating more clearly early on”), in a responsible way, that is, not blaming him more than you blame yourself, not aggressively by yelling or calling him names and such, but in a controlled, measured way.
Probably better than “to ignore him and play it off as I don’t care about what happened”. Tell him that you do care.. because you do. Not for the purpose of making a relationship with him happen in the future, but for the purpose of creating a closure with him, a closure for what it was between you and him.
Then carry the lesson you learned for what is next for you. What do you think?
January 11, 2020 at 11:59 am #332723
- This reply was modified 2 months, 3 weeks ago by anita.
I actually did see that happening at some point, a time coming where I can say “I’m mad at you. And I’m mad at me for xyz”.
But I don’t think I could do that by reaching out to him out of no where through phone call or text. It would need to happen naturally, when I see him in person around town. I’m sure he wonders if something is going on in me because I don’t respond to his messages, when in the past I always would. And when I see him I give less attention and enthusiasm. I’m never mean.. just not as upbeat as my usual self is.
Or perhaps next time he responds to my social media I can say, “I’m mad at you and mad at me” . Otherwise he’s over there thinking everything is fine and he can be friendly to me when in reality I’m over here still upset about what happened. I just need to be clear on why I’m mad… and it’s because we didn’t communicate earlier on about what we wanted or what our intentions were. But to be truthful I really didn’t know what mine were… I just wanted to get to know him first before deciding if I wanted more… and how can you know if you want more before hanging out with that person for a little while?
But this is something where I’d need him to make the first contact in order for me to express that to him. Otherwise I will just continue to find focus in other areas and accept his lifestyle and decision. And this time of not seeing him so much will help me heal and forgive both of us I hope.January 11, 2020 at 12:19 pm #332727
Maybe, just maybe it will be a good idea for you to message him and ask to meet him in person for the purpose of expressing yourself to him clearly and honestly (when you are clear enough yourself about what happened). Point is that what happened was significant to you: It wasn’t Nothing, so it needs to be addressed as Something, in a meeting.
But of course, it is your life, your choice. I am not invested in you doing this or that. Plus, what I know is limited to what you shared.
Post again anytime and I will be glad to reply when you do.
anitaJanuary 11, 2020 at 4:57 pm #332771
Thank you Anita for your wisdom. I believe the time will come to talk with him. Especially since I see him so often around town, and I happen to hang out with the same crowd as well, and I’m just certain in time we will reconnect. When we do, I will let him know. Seems like he wants to be friends or at least keep some connection with me, and if thats the case he should know my feelings. Thank you for asking me the right questions and telling your observations. Really its helping me accept the situation as it is and move forward with my healing and own self-love and growth.January 12, 2020 at 7:29 am #332853
I found this article helpful while I was having some doubts about the relations I had with men. I am from a different culture, so I am not sure but maybe you’ll find it helpful too.
(It says: Engaging in hookup culture while craving love and stability was perhaps the least feminist action we could take.)
At the time I felt like I needed to look cool and look not that interested with the man I was having sex with. Because I thought that was what a strong, independent women would do:) I turned a blind eye on the fact that I also needed a connection, attention and warmth from him or from anyone really.
By the way I also think it is completely OK to change your mind on the course of the relationship. Maybe you just wanted a hook up in the beginning but later you started to care about him, or your expectations have changed by time. There is nothing wrong with it. You need to think about what you really need, instead of analyzing his needs.January 12, 2020 at 10:53 am #332895
You are welcome.
“Seems like he wants to be friends… if that’s the case he should know my feelings”- I agree. And I will add to it, he should know your feelings and then respond to what you tell him respectfully, sending you the message that your feelings are important regardless of what happened in the relationship, your honest feelings then and now (communicated responsibly) are valid and are worthy of consideration and respect.
I will be looking forward to read more from you regarding this man, and maybe regarding anything related to what you mentioned yesterday: “one of my deep core beliefs is that I’m not ‘good enough’.. so anytime that feeling is triggered it really hurts me”.
Wishing you well on your “healing and own self-love and growth”!
anitaJanuary 12, 2020 at 1:51 pm #332933
Thanks loveandkisses! I really like what you said about thinking of my own needs instead of analyzing his needs. I think in our culture as women, we often want to care for others so much, and worry about others emotional states or how they are doing… so it’s almost natural to put others needs first and try to meet them. But that doesn’t do anyone any good if I neglect my own needs in order to do that. Thanks for the article!