top of page

Is He Jerking Her Around Or Just a Flake?

Name: Katie


I go through phases where I use Tinder fairly actively, and then I get burned out and take breaks and start over. About a month ago I finally met someone I really liked and the feeling seemed to be reciprocal. At the end of our first date, which was 7 hours long and super fun, he said he wanted to see me before he left for Las Vegas. So we had our second date 4 days after the first. It was amazing. At the end of that date, he said he wanted to see me the night he got back from that trip - which fell on a Wednesday. He texted me every day he was in Vegas.

Here's where things go wonky....

During all of this texting while he was in Vegas, there was no mention of the date the night he got back from Vegas. I didn't bring it up - I just made other plans. On Wednesday, he asked if we could get together on Friday instead. No probs. Friday comes along, and at 11 am he texts me to say we should pick a place with an outside patio since it's so nice out. Perfect. By 3 pm, I get a text that he's all of a sudden not feeling so well and he's going to take a nap. I don't respond (I'm cynical) and I wait it out. An hour later, he says he'll rally and we'll meet at 7. At 6:30, he calls to cancel. All weekend long, I get a string of texts about how sick he is with the flu, including pics of digital thermometer readings of his temperature (overkill). At a certain point, you run out of ways to say "that sucks - feel better" to someone you don't know that well.

The nonstop texting continues and by Monday, he lets me know that he's feeling better but he's off to Charlotte for work. There's no mention of rescheduling our date. Here's the thing, Moxie: I get that people get sick, but if I'd gotten sick and had to cancel a date 30 minutes before a date, I'd be making every effort to reschedule - at least if it was someone I liked. The texting with no talk of plans went on for a few more days before I texted this:

"Hey, I had an amazing time the 2 times we went out and would have loved it if a 3rd time had worked out. If you ever decide you would like to go out again, I would love to hear from you...but I'm not sure it makes a lot of sense to text just for the sake of texting."

I didn't hear back for nearly a day, but when he did finally write back, he agreed and that he appreciated the straightforwardness...that he enjoyed being around me as well and genuinely wanted to know how I was doing and wasn't texting for the sake of texting. He said he wanted to get together that next weekend if I was up for it. He said he would call me (as in, on the phone - not texting) which he did - and we made plans, and we went out a third time. Another fun time.

And now.... we're in the same damn place!! At the end of the evening, he said he was going to Pittsburgh the upcoming week but he wanted to see me the same day he got back - one week from then (a Saturday). Texts me all week long, no mention of Saturday. Friday morning comes, he says he can't do Saturday because he has "to take a client to the game on Saturday" but that maybe Sunday would work and am I available. At this point, I call him on the phone and I say basically the same thing I've already said in my previous text (ie., if you're not interested, cool - but stop with the texting). He assures me he's just busy. Says he will call me on Saturday to make plans for Sunday. I get a text at 5 pm (PM!) on Saturday saying he has dropped his phone in the sink and that he's just gotten his old one up and running, which is why he hasn't been in touch sooner. Oh, and now Sunday won't work either because he has to fly to Chicago to be with his Dad at a medical consultation at Northwestern. (I did know the dad's medical issues were legit and he sent photos of his boarding pass AND a picture of the dad in a wheelchair in a respiratory mask. Again, seems like overkill, but whatevs).

This guy has texted me every day since I've met him a month ago and we have been out 3 times, I date enough to know what being blown off feels like and this isn't it, but it's also not unabated interest. I've already communicated once very clearly that I don't want him texting me if he's not interested, and he claims to have gotten that memo. I've given him a million opportunities to bow out gracefully or ghost me, and he won't. If i tell him to stop texting me unless it's to make a date, I just sound pushy. I don't want to have to twist someone's arm to go out with me. At the same time, I don't believe in texting someone every day until that person is legit your boyfriend. He's now got a 50-50 (at best) rate for keeping plans and the constant texting creates a false sense of intimacy and only makes it hurts worse when he breaks plans. My thinking is that I have to stop responding to the texts, but that will suck because it will convey disinterest and I am interested. But I'm feeling jerked around and that's worse. If this were an episode of Catfish - the sick father, the flu, the phone in the sink - I'd be like "you lonely idiot! This is a scam!" the only difference is that I have gone out with him 3 times in person in a month.

I feel like maybe he likes me but he's not really available - i.e., has another GF on the side.

WTF? Are his reasons for cancelling legit or is this guy another shady guy from Tinder? And what do I do? I feel like not responding now is my only option... at least until he makes plans he'll keep.


-Quasi-Dating a Phantom via Text Age: 34

First of all, you're not a lonely idiot. You met someone with whom you felt great chemistry and rapport and you like them. In 2019, with how counter-intuitive dating apps can be, that's The Holy Grail. I don't blame you for being concerned about what this guy's deal is.

You already have this situation pretty well interpreted: he sounds sincere-ish, but is a total flake with no comprehension of anybody else's needs but his own. While I don't think he's being malicious in any way, he does sound obscenely scattered and disorganized, which would drive me up the wall.

And don't get me started on the daily texting. Girl, who has the time for that? Worse, he's completely ignoring your boundaries! That's likely because he doesn't understand why you've set them in the first place: to protect yourself from getting more invested. Again, he's so trapped in his own world that it hasn't occurred to him that - maybe -you don't want to get attached this early on because you know yourself well enough to know you will be very disappointed if things don't work out.

That's what you need to explain to him. You need to humanize yourself to him, because right now, you're little more than a name in his contacts.He needs to get that there is a flesh and blood human being on the other end of that phone. One that has a job and a life and feelings. If he's sincere and a decent person, he'll get it. If he's just a self-absorbed flake, he'll be like, "Gotcha. Something something me something my schedule something my priorities. Me."

This suggestion might sound like a test, but it's not. It's a way for you to communicate and use your words while at the same time prioritizing your well-being.

To be clear, I don't think he's intentionally jerking your around or being malicious. I think he's someone who, at this stage in his life, has to decide just how how much he's willing and able to contribute to a relationship given his jam-packed schedule and hectic life. He needs to understand that how he's treating you isn't fair, and that he has to pull his head out of his ass for five minutes and acknowledge that his actions affect other people.

As for you, if you do continue to date this guy, you're going to need to accept that this guy might just be a Super Flake and need to be managed for a bit until he gets on track. You also need to accept that he may never change. Personally, I wouldn't be thrilled about entering into a relationship with someone when I already know there's something about him that really irritates me. That doesn't bode well. Once you're more emotionally invested and have a better understanding of why someone acts the way they do, it's easier to be more patient and forgiving while still setting boundaries. But off the bat? Hell no.

Hope that helps and good luck!

446 views0 comments


bottom of page