Dear Captain Awkward,
Since February I’ve been meeting a guy I matched on Tinder a year ago. We live relatively far apart so become online friends for the first half year, chatting sporadically while dating other people who neither of us seemed invested in.
This spring, he messaged asking if we could meet as I would be in his city for an event. I found him very charismatic and attractive in person. He messaged later that night to say “I like you and find you very attractive.” He’d been out drinking so I didn’t take it too seriously. I thought it would be obvious that the feeling was mutual since I’d flirted a lot.
After that he made little effort to meet, so I went on a date with someone else. I assumed we were friendly again, so never hid this. It was only recently that he “relented” in his words and met up three more times. Meeting him always felt like going on a really good date with great chemistry, except he’d just kiss me on the cheek at the end.
After dropping a lot of hints, I realised I should start dating someone else in case nothing ever happened with him. I went on two dates with a nice, though slightly dull man who was enthusiastic about seeing me again. I’ve always found it easy to find dates, while my male friend allegedly gets no response on dating sites.
Last weekend we met up again, and he worked out that I’d been on a date the previous night. He complained that I was leading the other man on, and generally acted like a boyfriend all evening. He kissed me for an hour. I was delighted since I’d waited months for it.
However, two days later he announced “we’re just friends!” When I told him I don’t kiss my friends he responded that it had been a mistake, stating that I don’t share his values – giving my vegan diet, left wing political beliefs and dislike of big weddings as reasons. I was shocked. He added that there was no chemistry and he’d always just viewed me as a friend and was sorry for leading me on. When I mentioned his earlier message about finding me attractive the first time we met, he said “Isn’t that a nice thing to hear? I have no idea how you could read anything into that.”
He’s very old fashioned in terms of gender roles. He said I’d probably challenge him too much. I also get the feeling he’s implying I’m ‘slutty’ for kissing one man on Friday night and him the following evening.
Can I stay friends? He’s ignoring me today.
I get the feeling that this guy is a lot of work. “I don’t know where you got the idea I was attracted to you when all I did was tell you I was attracted to you and then act like I was attracted to you to the point of getting wicked jealous when you went on dates with another dude and then also making out with you.“The fact that he’s keeping such close track of alllllllllll the ways you are not a good fit for him (You don’t like big weddings? Sure. That’s a thing he’s not only clocked but is actively holding against you? HILARIOUS.) tells me that he’s thought about all of this waaaaaaaaaay more than you have.
Then he’s blaming you for accidentally slipping and falling against his willing, open mouth. No. It’s okay to make out with someone once or twice and then quoth “Nevermore.” But can we all agree that when a person makes out with you and then implies immediately afterward that there is something wrong/”slutty” about you for doing so, he forever disqualifies himself from all future sexy touching on your part? That is a “change his name to ‘HARD PASS’ in your phone contacts + NEVER TOUCH AGAIN + throw in a slight grimace when mentioning him to female friends who might be tempted to make out with him”-level offense.
You can do whatever you want here going forward, but I’d fall short of calling it a friendship. Friends have to meet a higher bar for good behavior than anything he’s doing. At the very least they have to own up to their emotions and behaviors and not try to pin them all on you and your “challenging””sluttiness.” If he wants to be a good friend, he can stop ignoring you and then stop acting like your connection was all in your head, not necessarily in that order. He can throw out an “I’m sorry, I realize things got confusing there for a bit, I wasn’t sure of what I wanted and I’m sorry I didn’t communicate well,” too. You could maybe build a friendship from there, if you had enough in common.
Here’s my three step plan for getting him out of your system:
- Do not get in touch with him. If MR. HARD PASS gets in touch with you, fine, but do not chase after him in any way. Consider deleting his number from your phone (more as a measure to remove the temptation to check to see if he’s contacted you than anything else). Unfollow, hide feeds, make yourself invisible on IM programs, etc.
- Distract yourself. Idle hands are the Devil’s/Bad Idea Makeout Partner’s plaything. When you’re tempted to contact him, call/text/hang out with an actual friend – someone who is nice to you, someone who is not full of ulterior make-out motives, someone who makes you feel great, someone who can remind you what a friend is and does.
- Let some time go by. Chances are someone with all his good points in terms of chemistry with you and none of his annoying, confusing, double-standard points will come along into your life.
Six months from now, if you’re like “I really miss that one awkward dude and our talks about how challenging I am,” you know where to find him. Until then, chalk this up as one of those near misses that many of us have: A fleeting connection with an attractive person who was ultimately not for you.
I know your head is still a bit spun but I promise you will laugh about all of this very, very soon.