Welcome to “Try Me.,” Elite Daily’s new advice column that shares the tough love your friends are too afraid to give you. You’ve got questions and we’ve got answers.
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So I met this guy on Tinder a few months ago, we had an amazing first date, but we didn’t hook up. The first date happened on the weekend; we went out to dinner, then drinking and I ended up staying over at his place.
Nothing sexual happened other than some making out. We had so much in common, and I believed that we both had a great time because we agreed to meet again on a second date.
The second date happened during the week. We hung out at his place, ordered takeout and stayed in. We played video games and didn’t realize that it was getting late. He offered to stay over and I accepted it. I slept in his room, we shared the bed, but then again nothing happened. We just went to bed.
We still talked to each other as days passed, however, one day he just disappeared on me. No contact in the forms of call or text, nothing whatsoever for almost three weeks.
So I thought we just drifted apart, and I kept telling myself to forget him since every time I tried to message him, I didn’t get a response back.
Surprisingly, one night he started contacting me again. This time asking me if I wanted to watch a movie with him. He’s done this in the past, but then he ended up flaking on it.
So we started talking again, and every time he asked me to go out, he kept canceling the plans. Also, he only texted or contacted me when I felt like when it was convenient for him. Whenever he asked me out, it was always around late night conversations that were happening.
So one day, I got tired of his behavior, I told him that I liked him and that I’d been wondering how he was in the three weeks of no contact. He didn’t explain himself very well.
In the end, I told him that I won’t be contacting him anymore if he keeps doing what he’s doing, canceling plans, and he didn’t even respond after I told him what I feel about him.
Both of us are employed full-time. I also am in the process of getting my master’s degree. He’s three years older than I am, and both of us just moved in to this new city last year. So we both hardly know anyone in the city other than coworkers, roommates and neighbors.
It’s been a while since I last talked to him, but I miss talking to him, hanging out with him, so I’m thinking of contacting him again and see if we could just be friends? I don’t know if I should do that? Or should I just forget him completely?
Dear Just Friends,
I want you to re-read your story again as if it you weren’t you, as if you didn’t know the players, and tell me: Does this guy seem into this girl?
He always flakes on plans. He only asks you out to plans when you’re having late-night conversations (cough booty call? cough). He only reaches out when it’s convenient for him.
He’s not reciprocating in opening up to you when you tell him how you feel. And he’s not fighting for you when you threaten to end it.
You’re in the process of getting your master’s degree (amazing, Mazel Tov, congrats!); you’re smarter than this. You’re not going to get anything from this guy. And even if you do become friends on paper, his actions above indicate that he will be a sh*tty one.
But, alas, this is a blind trap that many intelligent women and many intelligent men still often find themselves in (I’ve got a collection of letters similar to yours to prove it). When you want so badly for something to work, it’s hard to see that it’s not when you’re entrenched in it and way easier to tell when you’re out of it. That’s why hindsight is 20/20.
To me, this looks like a classic situation of “he’s a flake, looking for a booty-call and you’re subconsciously loving the challenge of tying him down.” You’re in a new city with limited contacts and limited interactions, so it’s easy to hold on to those two first dates that went so well.
But what happened after those first two dates (in which, I want to point out you didn’t do anything sexual together)? He distanced himself from you. He didn’t respond to your follow-up messages.
This kind of behavior should tip you off that he’s not into being “just friends.” He, like you, is new to the city and instead of wanting a partner-in-crime to explore with, he wants to explore the field.
That realization hurts and it’s hard not to take personally. But let me tell you something, Just Friends. It’s not personal. It has nothing to do with how much fun you two did or didn’t have.
It has nothing to do with who you are or what you said. He wants a simple girl who he can call on his terms and who will come over, get him off and go home. That can be any girl. To him, it’s not about the person inside — it’s about finishing inside her.
You don’t want to fill the “any girl” role this guy is looking for. You want to be THE Girl for a man who is lucky enough to deserve you. You want a guy who will respond when you message, who will make plans and keep them, who will reach out to you in earnest. You’re in a new city with brand new people and you will eventually find the difference.
I want to give you a ton of credit, though, for being upfront about your feelings and not indulging in his games. You and I both know by now that you won’t win them. If you reach out to him again, you will just keep playing without a finish line in sight.
Stick to your words that you won’t contact him again because the truth is, you don’t need to. It doesn’t sound like you’re getting anything out of this. You haven’t mentioned any benefits of your relationship with him, besides the fact that chasing him gives your mind something to do.
“It’s been a while since I last talked to him, but I miss talking to him, hanging out with him…” Could it be that in all the time since you’ve last spoken, you’ve romanticized your interactions with him?
Absence, after all, does make the heart grow fonder. You don’t miss talking to him — as a newbie in a city with a small social circle, you miss talking to someone.
Stop trying to make this guy into something he’s not. Stop putting all your energy and focus on winning his attention. Instead, channel this force into meeting new people who will better appreciate your friendship. You can’t let in new prospects if you’re still hung up on the old ones.
He is not the only one for you in this new city, but you’ll never realize that if you keep focusing on him and not the environment around you. Forget wanting what you can’t have. It’s toxic and it only ends in failure.
I’m not saying that it’s going to be easy. In fact, it’s much harder to break this mental-bind than it is to keep chasing after the same thing. You know the outcome of the latter, but you have no idea what will happen if you stopped running after him.
I’ve been there. I’ve been the new girl in the new city who hangs on to half-assed, one-sided relationships because I couldn’t bear the thought of not having something.
But you know what happens to those girls who don’t just give up on people who aren’t worth their efforts? They hurt their self-esteem even further because the only way for it to end otherwise is in disappointment and not on your own terms.
You’re not that girl. You’re too smart to be that girl. And you’ve already got your foot halfway out the door. So shut it behind you and open another one.
Editor’s Note: If you or someone you know is depressed or in need of serious help, please do not hesitate to talk with a professional and find the counsel you need. The following organizations offer support: National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, HelpGuide, The Samaritans or see a specialist. Most importantly, remember, you are NOT alone.