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Why Did He Suddenly Blow Her Off?

Bella asks:

I've been dating this guy for a few weeks (our last date was Saturday - our fifth date) and wanted to get your perspective on whether or not I'm blowing this out of proportion in my mind. Everything has been moving along fine with us - we're just getting to know each other and on our most recent date on Saturday, I met his friend and friend's girlfriend...We had dinner, went to a party, and checked out a new lounge in the city. I also ended up spending the night (while we didn't have sex, we definitely fooled around and did everything-but). He dropped me off yesterday morning, and an hour or so later, I sent him a picture that I friend took of us that was taken a few days prior when we went to a marketing agency launch event. He didn't respond. Complete silence. Meanwhile, he's been "active" on the online dating site where we met. I know he's sending me a clear message that we're done, but I guess it's unsettling that I thought I knew him, and it would dissolve so soon. Any thoughts/advice?

If I had to speculate - and it's only speculation - I would say this guy got tired of playing "everything but" and bailed.

From several years "in the field" observing various dating behaviors of men and women, one thing I learned was that - to men - there's little distinction between "everything but" and "all the way." In their mind, if you're going to perform one act, you might as well do all of them.

As women, we've been taught that sex is something to hold sacred and that our bodies need to remain pure (ish) if we ever hope to get a man to commit to us. We're raised to be gatekeepers of sorts. All of it is trash. Pure trash. Our bodies are no more or less sacred than a man's body. The concept of purity is something out of the Middle Ages. LITERALLY OUT OF THE MIDDLE AGES. We foolishly adhere to the not-at-all-a-thing "three date rule" because we think waiting an arbitrary number of dates before having sex will make a man respect us more. Here's the thing, though: if he's the type of man to judge you for doing the exact same thing he did, no amount of dates will make him less of an asshole. One date or ten dates, he'll still be a jerk.

Your guy probably felt like he'd done enough hoop jumping - including introducing you to his friends - and was out. This is a situation where two adults need to act like adults and have a conversation. In his mind, he likely felt like he'd done enough to prove his sincerity and was tired of feeling like he was being tested.

That said, you're allowed to hold off on having sex for as long as you choose. You're not obligated to enter into a physically intimate relationship before you're ready or just to hold on to a man. What you should do, however, is be clear - both in your mind and through conversation with him - about why you're waiting. If you're holding out because you fear he's just in it for the sex, well, you see how that worked out. Waiting to make sure a guy is invested before having sex often leads to what you're experiencing right now: the abrupt ghosting. On the flip side, waiting because you prefer to get to know someone better before you sleep with them and communicating that need will lead to better results.

Don't jump to conclusions just yet. He could just be pouting and sulking a bit. Let him. Wait a couple days and contact him and ask what's up. Tell him you appreciate his patience and make it clear that you're moving at a certain pace not because of anything he did or didn't do but because that's just how you roll. Any man who doesn't respect that isn't worth your time.

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