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Signs They're Stringing You Along

Alias Homegirl Comment: I apologize for the length of this, but I don't know if you can assess the situation without going into some major detail (and I could be wrong, I do tend to dissect details more than others) but if you're up for it, here goes...

I met this guy about three weeks ago through close mutual friends, at a concert. He was there with another girl, but I could tell he was interested. When I asked how long he had been with his "girlfriend", he said "She's not my girlfriend", and that they had only been dating 3 weeks or so, and he wasn't that sure about it since she had kids. As I had more drinks through the night, he admitted he was curious about me. He got my number from our friend and asked me to dinner a few days later. I told him I didn't want to be a part of hurting anyone else's feelings, and he told me that it had run it's course with the other girl, that he hadn't spoken to her in over a week. I said ok.

We seemed to really hit it off - just had a lot of fun, laughed a lot together, palpable physical attraction as well but both agreed we wanted to take things slow and not sleep together yet. After our 2nd date we sat and just talked for 2 hours, which was great. I stayed over his house after our third date (which we spent just at a casino with our mutual friends) and we cuddled a lot, it felt really natural & genuine. The next day we went to breakfast and he came to see this house I'm working on remodeling - he seemed genuinely interested in my life and my career. He kept in touch with me that night as he went out with the boys, and over the next few days as he had to go out of town for work and the next few days after. It seemed pretty clear how we both felt, and it just felt very natural. I didn't feel like we were overly excited or rushing in, but just genuinely enjoying each other the way two people are supposed to when they connect. While we were still refraining from sex, one night we got into some dirty talk over the phone - I hate to call it phone sex, but... yeah, phone sex.

Anyway, we were supposed to go to dinner the next day but he texted me around 5PM that day and said one of the partners at his law firm asked him to cover a meeting, which he said is rare, but that he wasn't sure when he would be free and so I said we should postpone. However, it was in the back of my head that he could be doing to me what he did with the last girl, so I said to him - just don't do the same thing with me you did with her (as in, the disappearing act). He assured me that wasn't what this was, so I said ok. I told him to have a good night, which made him think I was mad, but I just assured him I was just trying to give him space, since it appeared he had a lot of work to do. He said "Dont worry, I'll let you know when I need space".

The next day I knew he was playing at a local bar with our friend's band, but he never gave me details so I wasn't planning on going. I texted him an hour before and just said "Good luck!" and he asked if I was stopping by. I said I didn't have details so I wasn't planning on it, but he said a bunch of our friends were heading there in an hour. So I got ready and went. Oddly, he seemed a little stiff around me. He would touch me in an affectionate way but it seemed forced - don't ask me why, it was just a feeling I got. As I had more drinks, I think my annoyance came to the surface and I told him he was being weird. When we got in his car, I asked if we were ok, and he said yes in a kind of annoyed way.

We went to our friends house after and he didn't spend much time talking to me at all. My friend told me she thought she saw him Tindering, but she couldn't be sure. We both got pretty hammered and past out in one of the bedrooms. He didn't touch me once all night, which was very different from the last time we slept next to each other. In the morning we messed around a little, but it was initiated by me.

We were supposed to go to dinner that night (our rescheduled date), and he texted me during the day just saying he hadn't done anything all day, and just joking with me - "Are you going to get mad at me again tonight haha" - and I was joking back with him. It felt ok to me again. Then he started to get weird about what we were going to do after dinner, and it sounded like he was alluding to the fact that he didn't want to do anything after dinner. I asked if he had somewhere else he wanted to be, and he said no I just don't feel well from last night. I mentioned the Tinder thing, and said I didn't bring it up before bc he's obviously free to see other people, but that I didn't want my dates cut short for it. He insisted he wasn't on Tinder and asked if that's what I really thought he was doing. I said no, but we've only been seeing each other a couple weeks, so I didn't think it was outside the realm of possibility. He told me he wasn't seeing any other girls and even if he was, he wouldn't make plans with both of us the same night, and I said cool & dropped it. He said he wasn't feeling all that great but wanted to take me to dinner bc he canceled on me Thursday and didn't want me to be mad. This hurt! I told him I wasn't mad at him about Thursday, and we didn't have to go to dinner if he wasn't feeling great - we could just get a pizza and watch a movie at his place. He said, ok let's take showers and figure it out after.

I got out of the shower and I told him if you just want to hang at home by himself, that's fine. He said he was trying to balance the desire to be with me with the desire to "recharge". A half hour goes by and I hear nothing. I try calling him, and he texts me saying he was on the phone and he'd call me back. Another half hour goes by - so now we are past the time for our dinner reservation anyway, and he's just letting me sit here waiting. I texted him finally and said I was just going to go out with my friends downtown, that this was just too difficult. He said that he had been on the phone with a friend he never talks to and was sorry for being difficult. At this point I felt like he was trying to shake me off so I said, "Maybe this just won't work, I'd rather say it than just have you fade on me." He responded that he wasn't thinking that at all. I said earlier this week I felt really good about this but now I just had anxiety. And he said he still felt good about it, just that he had a shitty week and was feeling kind of distant because of it, but told me not to have anxiety over it. I said it's just how I am - I tend to pick up on other people's emotions before they do. I said have a good night, whatever you end up doing. He said you too, that he was just going to try to catch up with his brother. I told him the name of the bar I was going to and asked if he had heard of it, and we ended the convo on a lighter note.

The next day (Sunday) he texted me in the evening just asking how my day had been. I didn't look at my phone for like 2 hours but I responded and just kept it casual, saying I had been updating my blog. He was at the office he said, and it was 8:30 PM by this time. He asked me for a link to my blog and said he'd check it out.

Monday I heard nothing from him - which was the first time since our first date I hadn't heard from him. The next day I texted him and just asked if he ever read the blog; he responded that he had and gave me a few compliments on it. Otherwise he was not engaging me at all - normally he would ask how the house was coming, what I was working on, etc. It occurred to me that I might have pushed him away. So, I thought a lot about it and then texted him this:

"Listen - I know I kinda put you on the defensive a lot the last few days, and I feel like a jerk bc you didn't deserve it. You're obviously a good person. I know I may have screwed everything up and I'm sorry for that."

Two hours later he texts me back and said "You shouldn't feel like a jerk at all, and I don't think you screwed anything up."

I gave him another out and he didn't take it. So I returned it to a lighter note and said "Ok, well then you owe me a date :D". And he didn't respond, so just trying to be light-hearted I said "if you don't wanna it's ok, someone else will ;)" I think he got that I was being playful and he responded, "lol hot commodity eh? I suppose I do owe you a date." But that was it.

He was answering my texts but he wasn't doing anything to continue the convo or engage me, and I never heard anything from him yesterday. I don't get it - I gave him an easy out twice and he didn't take either of them, but he has pulled away from me so much compared to this find last week he has to know that I've taken notice. I know with the last girl he just stopped talking to her, is he doing the same to me and just responding bc we have mutual friends and doesn't want to be a dick? Or is he just trying to slow things down? I know you can't read his mind but just curious what your assessment is. I am well aware of the mistakes I made but I didn't think they were enough to push him away for good, considering how well things were going for awhile and how much he appeared to like me. Did I really screw up that bad? I know there's nothing else I can do or say to change anything, I just have to wait & see if he gets in touch... but it's distressing me every day I don't hear from him and just wondering if I should bite the bullet & move on? Age: 30 City: Philadelphia State: PA

I'll start by saying that anyone who flirts with a person who is not their date is letting you know exactly the type of person they are - insensitive, rude and dishonest. Before you and he ever had a date, he was communicating that he did whatever the hell he wanted, regardless of how it affected other people.

In the back of your mind, you knew this guy couldn't be trusted. That's why you were always suspicious and wondering when the other shoe would drop. That niggling voice in your head wasn't you being pushy or paranoid or any of the other especially obnoxious engendered terms used to make women feel bad for not wanting to be treated like crap.

I'll cut to the chase: yes, you should move on. While I obviously can't prove my theory, I believe he is still very much involved with the women he was with the night you met. If he's not still dating her, he's definitely dating someone else. More than likely, his friends know this other woman, which is probably why he was stiff around you when you showed up at the bar. He didn't invite you for a reason, and it's probably because he wasn't sure if any of the other women he's dating would be there or because his friends knew he was dating someone else and he didn't want them to see him with you. Or because, well, he just didn't want you there because he wasn't invested in whatever it was you two had going on.

From the sounds of it, this guy lost interest, either because he just enjoyed the thrill of having another woman go ga-ga for him or because he's not looking for anything serious and felt you wanted more than he was interested in giving. When you thought he was trying to shake you, I think you were right. Telling you he wanted to take you to dinner so you wouldn't be mad at him was not a compliment. You were right to be hurt, because he was insulting you. You don't ever want to go on a date with someone who is mediocre about seeing you. You definitely don't want to go on a date with someone who would actually tell you they're mediocre about seeing you.

Whether he was ever genuinely interested is unclear. What is crystal clear is that this guy was either stringing you along for the attention or was trying very hard to frustrate you enough that you'd walk away. (I don't know when men will learn that this approach rarely works. If you have to go so far as to be a rude and thoughtless to someone to get rid of them, they're too into you to give up without a good fight.)

You thought he was blowing you off because he was blowing you off. The whole time you knew what he was doing. You just didn't want to believe it because you liked him. That's understandable, but hopefully in the future you won't be so forgiving. For the good of your self-esteem, when you feel like you're constantly apologizing and initiating contact and communication, take that as a sign the guy isn't all that interested. People like him will engage you when it suits them, enjoying the attention and ego strokes, then disappear when things stop being fun for them i.e. when they meet someone else or just get bored or annoyed.

As for all the outs you gave him, you have to understand that most people aren't going to be honest in that moment. Some don't want to hurt the other person's feelings. Others don't want to deal with conflict. You can't use his refusal to take your Get Out of Jail Free Card as a sign of anything, especially when he made zero effort to see you again.

Finally, before you wonder if it was something you did, it wasn't. Whether he lost interest or never had it, he was always going to bail on you, just like he bailed on the other woman he was with the night you met him.

That's his thing.

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