Was he being genuine or polite, and what should I do now?

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-21-2013
Was he being genuine or polite, and what should I do now?
Fri, 06-21-2013 - 10:45pm

Sorry for length, just very confused..

I met a guy at grad school a year ago (we’re both 24). We were friends til he asked for my number this May. On our 2nd date, he asked if I was dating casually, or looking for a relationship. I said I was a relationship type of person. He said “yea, I just take a little while to get there & make up my mind about that sort of thing.” I said I understood, and that we should go out and get to know one another because it was too early anyways. At that point, I *THOUGHT* he meant that he took a little time to make up his mind about wanting a relationship with a specific PERSON, rather than time to make up his mind about whether or not he wants a relationship in general, so I thought it sounded fine.

We’ve been on a total of 5 dates now, which I thought all went well. We laughed/joked the entire time, had great conversation, and seemed to hit it off. He came off as a gentleman, and there was no sex involved – just making out/kissing etc. We talked/texted daily.
On our 2nd date, he told me that he’s only had 1 gf, and that it only lasted 3 months – he called this a “serious relationship.” While I thought it was strange that he thought a 3 month relationship was serious, I didn’t say anything. He said serious relationships are “scary” and he feels like “it’s one of those things you want when you don’t have it, but when you have it you wish you didn’t.” Later, he invited me over to his house. He promised that his intentions weren’t for sex, and that he just thought it would be nice to stay in, but that if I was uncomfortable we could do something else. I trusted him and went over – he had candles out on the table and we had dinner, cuddled, and watched movies. He made no attempt at anything beyond kissing/cuddling, & kept asking if I was comfortable.
4th date: Things got strange. On Tuesday, he told me he was bored. When I said we should do something, he told me he was actually making dinner and hadn’t showered, but that we should do something Fri/Sat. I said sure. On Fri by 5pm, he still hadn’t mentioned anything about going out, even though we talked every day. I finally brought it up, and he seemed to have forgotten about it bc he said “Oh..umm..well are you doing anything tomorrow?” I was a little upset at this, so I told him I already had plans for the weekend. He told me we could do something on Tuesday or the following weekend “since we had been seeing each other pretty regularly.” I decided to let it slide and not overreact.

He called Sunday & asked if I was free Tuesday and/or Saturday. I said I was free Tues, and had no plans for Saturday yet since it was so early. We arranged plans for Tuesday, and he said “we’d see about Saturday.” Tuesday was another great date.
5th date: On Thursday, he texted me saying he would let me know if we’d be able to go out on Saturday. Apparently, two of his friends, who were unable to make it to his art show that Friday, had told him they would take him out Saturday to make it up to him, but he told me they were kind of flaky. I said that was fine. On Friday, he asked if I was still free Saturday, and I said yes. On the phone, he said “So did you want to go out on Saturday to see movie or you want to leave it for another day?” Unsure how to respond, I said either way was fine for me – that I didn’t have plans YET for Saturday, but that if he was busy I would be able to make plans for Saturday and we’d do something another time. He said he had no other plans, and we agreed to go out. His communication style is a bit weird at times.
On our 5th date, he was asking about my friends, and I mentioned that my best friend got married 2 months ago, and the couple just bought a home, and that my friend works night shifts. He said “Wow, that’s quite a miserable life at 24 – night shifts and marriage??” I laughed and didn’t think much of it. Later, he mentioned that he never maintains friendships with females because, jokingly, “you can’t talk to them about sports,” and he told me there was no point for me to have male friends because ” you can’t talk to them about sex and the city.” He was joking of course, so I joked back saying “Well I could talk to you about it, I’m sure you’d love to hear it.”

He laughed and said “well if you were my….you know..my girlf…umm you know, then yea, you could.” He couldn’t even say the words “girlfriend!!.” Since it was still early, his hesitation didn’t really bother me. From my perspective at least, this date was probably the best of any we had – we were both laughing and having a great time. Conversation flowed naturally, He put his arm around me, reached for my hand a few times when we were walking, and held my hand in the theater, or put his hand on my knee. I had no indication that anything was wrong even though I was still feeling that he hadn’t seemed as eager to go out as I did when we talked on the phone.
Two days later, he called & said “I told you I needed time to think. Well, I feel like if we keep going as we are, that I’d be getting what I want, but won’t be able to give you what you want, which is a relationship, and I don’t know if I can commit to anything. You may feel that I have wronged you…”. I said I just wish he had told me earlier, but that it was fine. He then said:

“I needed time to think. I DO like you as more than a friend, and I will always….(trailed off, paused, then started a new sentence, not sure what he was going to say there). And I really enjoying spending time with you, and I got you a birthday present (I had mentioned that my birthday was in 2 MONTHS), but I don’t want to be selfish by leading you on. I hope you’ll come to my art show on Saturday though.” We haven’t texted or called one another since then, and it’s been 3 days. I know he is not looking for a FWB thing with ME, because he knows 100% that I’m not open to it.
Do u think this was a nice way of saying “I don’t want a relationship with YOU” or did he really mean that while he does like me, he doesn’t want a relationship? Is this really a case of comittment issues? My gut tells me he’s genuine, and just really has a fear of having a girlfriend. But could be it that he just wasn’t into me? Opinions?

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-28-1999

I don't think you really need to decipher whether he doesn't want a relationship in general or just doesn't want one with you, cause either way you are losing out--I would think it sounds like he just generally can't handle a relationship though.  And it just sounds like he's very immature--he's 24 and he can hardly date?  I can kinda see that in a college guy but he should be able to have a relationship by now.  (My DD is 24 and it seems like a lot of her friends in that age group have committed relationships, so he's a little behind there.)  The only positive things I can say for him are that 1) he didn't try to get you to have sex with him, and 2) at least he told you fairly early on.

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-21-2013

I know it doesn't really matter, but I was just curious. I guess I just feel better about it if I could know that he was genuine, and that it wasn't anything about me that made him back off. That's all really.

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-25-2013

Everything you wrote indicates that this is the path that was bound to happen, and you missed the red flags of everything he was saying because he's cute, fun and has a nice personality. You are cute, nice and fun and did nothing wrong. Your goal is to have a long term relationship, and he's not capable of this at this time in his life, and it seems like it will be a really long time, if ever, that he is ready. There are men of all ages, even in there 40's etc., who don't want to put in the daily effort of being in a long term relationship. Some want the high of a new relationship and then after 3 months, they're outta there. Cut those guys loose. They are not worthy of your time.

I recommend you not let him stay in your world by giving you the birthday present he has (which I bet he's lying about) and by occasional texts, etc. If he tries to contact you again, tell him that you two are not compatible in your life goals, and that you need closure, which means that you two can't stay friends. It won't be fair to your future bf to stay in contact with someone you were once romantic with, and you have better things to do with your time and energy. I know how frustrating dating can be, but think of it as a learning experience. When you find "the one," you'll appreciate how great he is because he'll make you his priority and have 100 percent confidence that he wants to build a beautiful life with you. Good luck!