#1037: “What should I do when the guy I like ghosts on me?”

Dear Captain Awkward,

I’ve been dating this guy for 3 months now. He has this pattern of disappearing for a couple of days and then come back. At the beginning he was all super flirty on text and showered me with compliments and sent each other snaps and nudes and said all the sweet things like he wants to treat me like a princess and make me his. Lowkey I knew he was a fuckboy* because most of the time he wanted to sext and talk about fucking me. He said he wasn’t looking for a relationship but if we become more than something then sure but if we don’t then we continue being friends. I came out of a 4 year relationship couple of months ago so I have been out of the dating game for too long and I moved in here to California from a different country so the concept of dating is way here is new to me. He was showing all signs of “fuckboy*” but my mind ignored it and I got led on and I started to get feelings for him. I know, you must be thinking if I knew he was a fuckboy* the how the hell did I started to like him?

Well, first of all he is really charming and good looking. He is really smart and does all the gentleman things like open the door for me and pays for the food. He actually seems like a genuine good person when I’m with him. I forget every annoying stuff and red flags when I spend time with him.

I realized our relationship will not go anywhere and he will continue to play with me. Once I told him that I had feelings for him and this is getting too much for
me so I’m gonna end the “friends with benefits” thing and remain friends and he gave a simple response “okay your choice.” After 2 weeks he hit me up on snapchat after he saw a selfie of mine and said he wants to come over to my house in the weekend. I couldn’t say no. We had an amazing time and after that he ghosted on me again. He is emotionally unavailable and does not share much about his life. I want to end it with him but I’m too weak to do it. Every time I pull back, he then wants to chase me. recently I texted him ” are you ghosting on me or something going on with u?” then he replied with ” i’m just damn busy :/” .

I’m really confused what he actually wants. If he doesn’t like me anymore then why doesn’t he just tell me or stop texting me? The relationship is hurting me. I don’t blast him with lots of texts nor do I nag. I always try to stay civil and calm even when i’m hurt by him. I’m having a hard time opening up to him of what exactly I feel. I wanted to take the relationship to another level and spend more time with him getting to know him. I wanted him to be my boyfriend. But I didn’t demand it. I did not expect anything in return when I told him I liked him. Because I can’t force him to like me back.
What should I do Captain Awkward? Even though I make myself busy with things. But I can’t seem to not cut him out of my life for good.

Sincerely Confused

*Fuckboy = the letter writer is using it as a term to describe a man who is unreliable and untrustworthy around sex  or “Someone who’s distant but still craves attention.” It also has a history as a descriptor of prison rape victims and attaching men who aren’t traditionally masculine and is therefore a word we’re not going to use anymore at CaptainAwkward.com enterprises. I’m not telling anyone they can’t ever use it, but I’m going to personally stop. Not least because I am a big ol’ white lady and “well it’s more complex than that in AAVE” isn’t really the hill I want to die on in my comments section. Not every word that exists is an ok word for me. Cool? Cool.

Dear Sincerely Confused:

You say you’ve been dating for about 3 months and that you’re “confused about what he actually wants.

He said he wasn’t looking for a relationship. Ergo, what he wants is what is happening right now. He wants to flirt and have your attention and have sex with you sometimes. And then he wants to drop out of sight sometimes. He wants you to want him but he doesn’t want to be your boyfriend or have any obligation or deeper emotional connection. He wants you when he feels like it and he wants to be able to go away and ignore you when he doesn’t feel like it. He wants this. This thing that you say is hurting and confusing to you is the best this is likely to get.

You will never have a loving monogamous relationship with him where he is your boyfriend. If he wanted that, he would have said “Yes!” when you asked him about it. He would have made it happen. If you stay friends, or, um, “friends,” he will sometimes want to have sex with you, but it won’t mean anything has changed. Paying for dates and opening doors for you isn’t deeply meaningful. You’ve known/suspected this from the start, and he’s done every possible thing to confirm it.

It’s one of life’s great tragedies and comedies that we can have amazing chemistry and fun sexy feelings with people who aren’t actually good partners for us. That “omg this is the BEST” way he makes you feel should be illegal, right? Charisma isn’t the same as character.

The good news here is also the bad news: All the power to end or clarify this situation lies with you. You can stop this any time you want to.

You could decide “You know what, it’s worth it to me to have a fun diverting time with him when he pops up a couple of times a year, and I can safely ignore him the rest of the time, because I know 100% that it’s not going to turn into anything else.” To be clear, I don’t think this is where you are right now because you say that this is all hurting you. But I also know that there have been times in my life when a break-glass-in-case-of-emergency-need-for-uncomplicated-known-quantity-good-makeouts-dude has come in handy. No one would judge you if you changed his name in your phone to “Handsome Dumpster Fire” and didn’t delete it just yet. Winter is coming.

You could also decide “Hey, I really want a devoted, reliable boyfriend who loves me and I’m gonna hold out for that and not waste time on charming, unreliable dudes” and then deploy your new best friend, the block button. You’ll be sad and miss the thrill of the little roller coaster you’ve been riding for a while, but then you’ll feel better after a while of not being jerked around and there will be room in your life to meet someone else.

Back when she dated men, the lovely Samantha Irby (rocking it today in the New York Times btw) made a policy to protect her heart and reclaim her time. If she didn’t hear from a dude within a couple days of a date/sexy stuff/or simply her texting him, she deleted his number from her phone. That way she could resist the urge to keep pinging him or checking to see if he’d reached out, and if he did get in touch eventually she could legitimately be like “Wait, who is this?

If this sounds cynical, think of it as Sam deciding what she needed: Someone who, at minimum, texts back. Someone who pays attention. Someone who treated her like she was important and not some big interruption to the more important things he had going on. You can’t control your feelings but you can control how many times you leave a door open for someone who isn’t walking through it.

Letter Writer, you want love that shows up for you. You want love that is playing on your level. That’s not silly or “nagging” or annoying or needy, and the person who deserves you won’t see it that way. He also won’t act like it’s some chore to keep in touch except when he’s bored or wants something.

Sometimes the answer when someone ghosts on you, is “ghost harder!”

 

 

 

167 comments
  1. The Sassy Vulcan said:

    I love all of this advice. I also want to add that, if it helps you let him go, he is NOT kind to you. He ignores you until he senses you pulling away or wanting to move on and then jerks you back in so he can continue to feel in control and get his ego stroked. A kind man who wasn’t interested would respect your feelings and back off so you could have space to get over them. He’s not kind. He’s a jerk. Sure you have charisma, but you’re miserable! Been there, done that. Cut the cord; I promise there is someone else out there who will have the charisma AND genuinely be a kind person to you who wants what you want.

    • Right on. I know the Cap’n doesn’t recommend “diagnosing” people, but the mighty internet has revealing and interesting information on the subjects of “Sociopath” – with side of “Narcissism”. The yo-yo behavior is classic. It’s one thing to agree on fun times, another to reel you in, cast you back (or visa versa) and repeat. Good to educate yourself so your mind can take over when your heart is leading you down a dead end path.

      • JenniferP said:

        Huh, this is exactly the reason I have rules about not diagnosing people you’ve never met on the internet. He is incompatible with the Letter Writer and does not return her feelings or want to have a committed relationship. That’s enough for her to make a good decision.

        • The Sassy Vulcan said:

          Sorry, I definitely wasn’t diagnosing. I just meant to offer that in my history, at least, it’s been easier to move on when I realise that Perfect Man is only perfect in my imagination, because in reality he’s not a good guy. I find it a lot easier to move on from an incompatible match where I realise the person treats me poorly than I do from one where he’s a great guy but we have fundamentally different wants.

          • violetbl said:

            Sassy Vulcan, I think the diagnosis thing was meant for Juliette Dauterive, who commented after you.

      • fr said:

        You: I know we’re not allowed to X. Anyway, let’s X.

        The only person who can diagnose this man with a personality disorder is his therapist. The only one. You literally cannot know that. I was diagnosed with BPD by my therapist after three months of weekly meetings. Not by someone who ready about my dating style through one frustrated partner on an advice blog.

        And all that aside, it’s not relevant to the LW’s problem. They would be having this problem whether or not this dude had sociopathy. They would be having this problem if he had a cold.

        This is why it’s against the CA rules. Don’t be That Guy.

        • bydabayou said:

          It would be hard to top the excellent advice given by Captain Awkward. My caveat was supposed to reflect that.
          I only suggested EDUCATING oneself about BEHAVIOR. I’m not diagnosing the guy as a sociopath or a narcissist; I don’t know the man. There’s nothing wrong with learning how to recognize that kind of behavior because it certainly is out there. I wish I had learned about such years ago, and from what I’ve read, there are plenty of other people that wish they had too. But… there’s always learning the hard way.

          • Dia said:

            Probably it’ll take much different wording next time to come across the way you’re talking about here instead of coming across as diagnosey.

          • dinkdonk said:

            I hear you, Juliette, but also, you’re describing two different things. Suggesting that someone look out for selfish and cruel behavior isn’t actually related to suggesting that someone look out for symptoms of sociopathy. I guess, as a person with a personality disorder who has never abused anyone, it just bothers me that you’re equating those disorders with abusive behavior. “Sociopath” and “narcissist” are powerful buzzwords, but they don’t really have any relevance except to the therapeutic outlook of the person who has those disorders. What I’m saying is, “that kind of behavior” is just that. It’s behavior. Does that make sense? Sociopathy isn’t a list of behavioral patterns, it’s an observable psychological phenomenon, and behavior is always a choice, full stop. I think we’re just having a fundamental misunderstanding here: what you’re referring to isn’t “sociopathic behavior.” That’s just nebulous jargon, it’s nothing. What you’re describing is just abusive behavior. I think tying the two concepts together just reinforces the idea that the mentally ill are uncontrollable and dangerous.

            I’m not disagreeing with your sentiments. I’m saying that I think you’re approaching it from the wrong mindset. Going, “That guy is doing a NPD Thing. He’s a bad Narcissist!” has the dual results of (a) further stigmatizing people with personality disorders, and (b) giving abusers something to blame their terrible behavior on. Hold abusers accountable for their behavior. It’s not NPD behavior, it’s Greg Behavior, controllable only by Greg. Am I making sense?

            TL;DR Suggest that people educate themselves about abusive behavior, not “narcissistic” or “sociopathic” behavior, because you can’t diagnose anyone who you are not a therapist for and the mentally ill are heavily stigmatized in society already.

    • Mary said:

      Eh, isn’t he? He just sounds like someone who is assuming the LW listened to his words and knows that he doesn’t want a relationship and is ok with that. About the only thing I’d fault him for is contacting LW after they’d said they wanted to end it, but that’s hardly unkind. And LW could have blocked him on Snapchat and everywhere else if they wanted a clean break.

      This situation isn’t good for LW, but that doesn’t mean he’s in the wrong. He’s playing perfectly fair, IMO: he’s not lied or cheated or claimed to want one thing when he really wants another.

      The only thing he’s done ne wrong is not reciprocate LW’s feelings, and that’s legit and not remotely unkind!

      • Jerry Larry Terry Gary said:

        Partial agreement. I think he’s been pretty straightforward, from the description- they just want different things.
        It IS unkind to keep sexting and hooking up with someone who has confessed to feelings you don’t return, and who says they are unhappy with that fact. Yes, everyone is an adult, but it’s taking advantage a bit.

        • canadakate said:

          Agreed!

        • Yeah, he was playing fair right up until she said, “This isn’t working for me, so let’s stop,” and he, like, totally paused, and then went right back to the same old thing.

          If he had truly been an upright guy, he would have said, “OK,” and then either been just a friend, without benefits, or pulled back, entirely. Either way would be upright and straightforward and kind.

          That’s why CA’s advice is spot on. He may have been good and kind at first, but he’s not being good and kind NOW. So, it’s time to lose the guy and regain the time to spend on LW’s own self, or on finding someone else who is good and kind to her.

    • Jolly said:

      Yep, I totally can’t fault anyone for being up front about wanting romance and a hookup with no plans to actively try relationship building. Heck, that is what I prefer most of the time. But when the one person says the relationship isn’t giving them what they need and they can’t do it anymore, you do NOT ignore their stated wishes and text them out of the blue to tell them you want to get together for the weekend unless you had a change of heart and want a relationship a shot like they want.

      Wanting a FWB situation is awesome and fine, but this guy is being a selfish dill about it and OP deserves better than that. Heck, even if I wanted a FWB situation, him being so unconcerned with her feelings and willing to manipulate the situation to his ends would put me off it in favor of someone who was more trustworthy/less of a jerk.

      Block this loser, OP! And don’t look back.

      • toot said:

        He’s probably assuming that if she caught feelings and wasn’t interested in empty hookups anymore, she’d just say so. I don’t disagree with you, but I think FWB men are sometimes willfully blind to stuff that inconveniences them lmao.

      • Mary said:

        Eh, LW, said “let’s just be friends” rather than “never contact me again”, so is it really texting out of the blue?

        Like, sure, it’d be great if everyone was mature enough to turn down casual sex after the other person has said that it’s not working for them, but I think once you’ve had that conversation, the responsibilities on both of you to stick to it. I’ve been on both sides, and “I don’t want a relationship but I’m up for having fun” is IMO *less* confusing and mixed-messagey than “I need to stop sleeping with you because you’ve made it clear that you don’t want a relationship but oh, well, go on then, wow this is amazing”.

        I think LW needs to end this thing, but I don’t think he has to be The Bad Guy. He’s just The Wrong Guy.

        • Purps said:

          I always think that this is a place where in a perfect post-Patriarchy world we’d all be able to be like “this is just sex, cool?” and then on the converse side say and mean “Cool!” or “Nah, that’s not my deal right now,” and then miscommunications would be on the miscommunicator.

          But I think that in man/woman dating occurring in conditions of patriarchy there are weird imbalances and power dynamics and cultural narratives that gum the gears and make it more complicated than it should be.

          • purps said:

            p.s: I just realized that I was thinking of one specific context. I was halfway through my first big run of therapy, on antidepressants that were working for me, determined to stay out of toxic dynamics – and I met this guy and we hooked up on date #1. (Fine!) He was like “I’m not looking for a relationship.” Fine! I was like “Cool, I’m looking for a relationship tho, so this was fun goodbye.”

            He could noooot handle it. I had to block his number because he would text me and either pretend to be “thinking about it” or genuinely would be thinking about it, and then of course we would hook up (he was not a terrific person but the chemistry was there). Then I’d be like “I’m not going to hang on as a booty call, bro”, and he’d basically throw a fit about that, which I would always feel bad abut because I was only halfway through therapy and genuinely thought it was somehow on me if he was unhappy about the things I needed. Like, look, some people of whatever gender really enjoy the power dynamics of go-away come-back yo-yo-ing.

            I’ve dated people who started off unavailable and got more available. There is no such twist here. The big twist? While laying awake with a cognitive dissonance stomachache after our last Big Mistake Hookup I heard the neighbor’s fire alarm going off and was able to call the fire department and rescue two dogs from a smoky kitchen (dogs were fine). For some reason, that really made it easy to put a lid on the whole thing and block him from there onward.

          • violetbl said:

            Purps, I love your dog-rescue story – it’s like the situation was saying, “This [lying awake worrying at the right time such that you could know the dogs needed rescuing] is The Good Thing that has come from your acquaintance with this dude. The Good Thing has happened! You need not wait for any other Good Things to come of this; that was it. Now all this can come to its rightful, overdue end.”

          • “The Good Thing that has come from your acquaintance with this dude. The Good Thing has happened! You need not wait for any other Good Things to come of this”

            I love this!

        • I don’t think it makes someone a Bad Guy™ on par with someone really malicious to assume someone is taking them at their word as far as what they want. On the other hand, behavior doesn’t have to be truly awful to hurt someone, and I think continuing to hit someone up for sex when they’ve told you (general you) they have feelings for you that you don’t share is at the very least, some willful ignorance, and pretty careless with someone else’s feelings.

  2. miss_chevious said:

    LW, what I do when a dude I like reveals himself to be a fuckboy is I don’t delete him, but I Zzz him out. That is, I put Zs in front of his name and a description of why he was Zeed out in the notes. This means and his name drops to the bottom of my contact list, so I never have to see him when I’m scrolling through my contacts and I know what his problem was so I can decide how to respond. When he pops up again in 6 months I know whether he’s ZzzBen (useless for anything but sex. Really good at sex.) or ZzzDave (potential rapist), and can proceed accordingly. This is only useful, though, if you think you can handle hearing from your fuckboy without getting your hopes up again. If you can’t, then I recommend deleting.

    • Demigold said:

      I usually lurk here but I wanted to pop in and comment because I love this idea! I will be keeping it in mind for myself; it sounds brilliantly useful for someone like me. Thanks!

    • Neat idea! Would avoid accidental texting with less advanced phones, too.

    • Jake said:

      Nice! I often put 1 at the beginning of a contact (or whatever) to bring it to the top of a list. It had never occurred to me to put Zzz to drive it to the bottom. How clever.

    • Jiggs said:

      I don’t want to tell you your life but I urge you to strongly consider just deleting ZzzDave the potential rapist!

      • Amy said:

        Eh, that’s useful information. I like keeping a record of that kind of stuff–that way if ZzzDave ever does get back in touch, even if it’s a year or two down the line and I’ve forgotten our original interaction, I know to be super wary.

        • wheat said:

          Exactly. I never delete anyone. I don’t understand people who do. If I get a text from an unknown number, it could be anyone. I would so much rather know it’s my abuser.

          • Can you Zzz AND block? Because with a “I want to be sure I always recognize the dangerous guy, so I don’t get sucked in again after a year because of a fuzzy memory hazing over the red flags I saw before” note, I can see how that would be very useful, indeed! But you still don’t want to answer the phone.

          • jo said:

            This is for Michelle C and anyone else with the same technical question: I’m pretty sure on iPhones you actually *have* to save someone as a contact before you can use the “block” button. You can’t so easily block an unsaved number.

            The other option (for probably any type of phone, smart or otherwise!) is to call your phone service provider and ask them to do a hard block on the phone number.

        • This is something I never considered–I just went scorched earth and deleted all my abuser’s info. If I ever wind up in a situation like this again ::knocks wood that I don’t:: that’s actually a good idea, although I’m pretty sure in this situation I’m good.

      • I would say it is important to keep him in there so that one does not accidentally re-hook up with him via not recognizing him. Having his number in the phone will prevent that.

      • Emma said:

        Yeah, I didn’t read this as “I may want to text Dave the potential rapist one day!”, but rather, “If Dave texts me down the line and mentions that date we went on last year, I want to immediately know exactly who I’m talking to, not have to do the fun game of ‘Hang on, is this Dave the sweet guy who talked way too much about Magic: The Gathering on our date? Or is it Dave the potential rapist?'”

      • JenniferP said:

        Eep, keeping him in there with that label warns her if he gets in contact again.

    • Sarah Gundle said:

      Ooooh, I like this! Normally what I do is have a contact called “NOPE” and I just transfer unreliable guys’ numbers to that profile. But keeping ZzzDave with a note about why is a great call – those things are really important to know. But for the blander type of bad, I like lumping them all together under a big NOPE umbrella.

      • I suppose you could have a NOPE, and a Nawww, and a OhHELLNawwww!

    • EH said:

      This is brilliant and I am definitely tucking it away for future use.

      I use a small set of contacts to sort out spammy recruiters (I’m jobhunting), scam numbers, numbers that call but leave no message so fuck them, etc. I add caller to the appropriate contact as I figure out what number goes where. A while ago, I put a side-eye emoji at the front of the contact name. This makes them show up at the top when I tap “add to contact” on a missed call, and has the bonus effect of amusing me when they call me yet again.

      (also: these contacts are all set to go straight to voicemail. I love that feature.)

  3. VioletEMT said:

    Tangent: I love that there are “friends” and there are “um, friends.”

    One of the many gifts CA has given my vocabulary.

  4. Dear LW: What if Fuckboy has a wife and kids?

    Or a whole string of other partners?

    Please, if you haven’t done so yet, get tested for STIs and get reliable birth control if your body can get pregnant.

    • Muffin said:

      This seems like concern trolling.

      • It think it comes across as a little concern trolly – I’m not cool with the implication that casual sex=irresponsible about safer sex practices.

        However: I’ve had a couple of experiences of finding out that a dude I was dating or hooking up with regularly, who alternated between being Very Interested and ghosting for days or weeks, was cheating on their partner, and I thought of that immediately when I read this letter. It’s something to be aware of I guess, although I don’t think it changes the appropriate advice very much.

      • Totally. Where on earth did the concern that LW might get accidentally pregnant come from?!

    • SarahTheEntwife said:

      Is there anything in the letter to suggest that they’re *not* using appropriate contraception and protection for STDs?

      • There’s nothing about that subject whatsoever. I’m assuming nothing. If they’re using protection, then they’re good. If the LW or their dude isn’t, then hopefully the advice from myself and other commenters about locking fertility down would be a wake-up call for LW.

        • Do you always offer random unsolicited “wake up calls” for women who talk about having sex and don’t digress on their contraceptive choices…?

    • Sheelzebub said:

      I had a FWB who definitely did not have a wife or kids. And I know people who had serious relationships with others who, they found out months in, did have spouses and children. Casual and/or NSA sex doesn’t mean that the people participating are ethical trashfires or cheaters.

      Finally, monogamous people who do not cheat can have STI’s. People can have STI’s and be asymptomatic or have symptoms that are so mild or aren’t part of the classic symptoms that they don’t know they have it (such as HSV 1 and HSV 2). Getting tested for STI’s is something everyone should do if they are sexually active (though caveat: HSV 1 and HSV 2 are not covered in these tests). This is not because people who have sex are dirty but because many people have no idea they have an STI.

      • I am aware of all that. I also do not assume that NSA/casual sex does not mean automatic wrong.

        I am a natural pessimist, so I brought up dude having secret wife and kids as a worst-case scenario right away, then started worrying about LW getting pregnant and then abandoned by this guy.

      • Also, people can be born with STI’s, such as HIV and syphilis. I agree with you that getting tested is something all sexually active people should do. STI’s can come from a prior relationship or be contracted through rape. It’s an illness, not an indictment of someone’s ethics/morality.

        • JenniferP said:

          Jenny, STOP.

    • thetigerhasspoken said:

      This comes across as fear mongering + slut shaming. There are thousands of worst case “what ifs” we could get into about total strangers we heard about on the internet, but I don’t see how this is helpful. And I am not entirely sure where you’re going with the wife and kids link to STIs?

      Yes LW, someone who is reckless with your feelings is more likely to be reckless with your health. Protecting yourself emotionally and physically around this person would be smart.

      And “get tested regularly + take whatever precautions you can if you are able to and don’t want to get pregnant/if you are able to and don’t want to get someone else pregnant” is baseline advice for anyone who is sexually active. Adding a note of panic, in my experience, rarely servers as a “wake up call” but usually just creates a barrier from getting tested because “oh god the shame! + the stakes are so high! I wont deal with this today, I think about this tomorrow . . . at Tara.”

      • As problematic as that whole book/movie is, I have to admit, I like Scarlet O’Hara, as a character, for her innate honesty, with herself, if with no one else. I mean, yes, she manipulates people, and surely lied to others, (and I’m not even getting into any of the other problems with the book/movie) but when faced with the knowledge that she did something actually wrong (as opposed to silly societal expectations, but actually WRONG), she would admit it to herself.

        Maybe it’s because I have such a hard time admitting my own flaws, or that I know so many people who will stubbornly refuse to admit to flaws, but for that one characteristic, I liked her.

        Mind you, just because she admitted she was wrong didn’t mean she actually changed her behavior. But she went on with her eyes open, without saying, “Yeah, but JUSTIFICATION!” or “Yeah, but NO! It’s not TRUE! I’M AN ANGEL!” or anything like that. More like, “Yeah, I’m a skunk who is trying to survive, and take care of my family, and I’ll probably go to hell and pay for it, forever. I hope I live a long time first.”

        I think the literary term is “anti-hero,” for a person who is just not a hero, but you still feel drawn to them, anyway.

  5. Morticia said:

    “Handsome dumpster fire” — I love this phrase. LW, if you’re cool with what he wants to give you once you understand that it isn’t a relationship, that’s great. Sometimes we just want someone to warm ourselves on. But if you are really looking for a monogamous relationship, he is not the droid you’re looking for.

  6. You deserve better than this, LW. Good luck!

  7. thewaffle said:

    Hi just a gentle reminder to please not use the term “fuckboy” because it’s a term used to denote prison rape victims.

    • Jerry Larry Terry Gary said:

      Can terms have multiple meanings?

      • Plum said:

        Yeah but one can overwhelm the other.

    • I don’t doubt that it’s a painful term used in that setting but the definition as used above is widely known and very common. I’ve never heard of it used any other way. Even my 60-something mom knows it.

    • hamsterpants said:

      I have literally never heard this before — can you point me to where I can learn more about use of this word in this way?

      • JenniferP said:

        Hi @thewaffle and @hamsterpant & @Jerry Larry Terry Garry:

        1) I didn’t know that association when I posted the letter.
        2) This piece about the history of the term came up in the first set of Google results. It took less than 10 seconds for me to find it.

        Good enough for me (a white lady without the complex AAVE history and context) to stop using it forever! Whether you keep using it off the site is up to you. No need to debate the usage here. Thanks @thewaffle for pointing it out.

    • Sorry, thewaffle. I did not see your comment before I posted. Also, I did not know that the term was a nasty name for prison rape victims.

    • KS said:

      Or we could stop falsely problematizing terms that have heavy roots in AAVE, because that’s kind of racist.

      • JenniferP said:

        Hi there! I am a big old white lady and “it’s really complex in AAVE” isn’t a hill I’m going to die on or a discussion that I can meaningfully moderate. If people use that word in conversation with each other, fine. I’ve seen plenty of black women beautifully draaaaaaag a deserving target with this perfect-sounding descriptor, and enjoyed this catchy song! But as a white lady, some words aren’t my words to use (“ashy”, “Hotep”, the n-word always & forever). Maybe they are yours to use, maybe they are the Letter Writer’s. I appreciate the information from @thewaffle. I edited the OP to add a moderation note about the word and this should close this discussion.

        Also, general comment: It bugs me that someone said “X is a slur, please stop” and the first comments were a flurry of “Wait, are you sure?” or “No it’s not.” We can do better.

        • thewaffle said:

          Thanks for listening to me. I wasn’t aware of the stuff with AAVE (not African American or even American) but I’ll go read about it. I don’t want to be racist but I also don’t want to further hurt rape victims.

        • Caroline Partridge said:

          ‘ut as a white lady, some words aren’t my words to use ‘

          This is a phrase I am stealing. This whole comment is awesomely succinct. Thank you.

    • amalite said:

      How about calling him Mr. Unavailable instead? I’ve come across this term on Baggage Reclaim, a blog/podcast by Nat Lue which is definitely worth a read. I also prefer it because it takes the focus away from enjoyable sexytimes (if “enjoyable” doesn’t apply then what the hell are you still doing with this guy??) and puts it on the, in this scenario, more important aspect of unavailability.

  8. JJJ said:

    LW, I agree with the Captain’s advice. I think the best thing you can do is accept that this fling has run it’s course and move on. In my experience, some of the most exciting flings actually have the least potential to turn into something serious. It sounds like you had a great time for a while. You had some good sex and fun dates and it felt all exciting and sparkly. But now, it’s hurting more than it feels good.

    This man will never be your boyfriend, and if you did somehow manage to get him to be your boyfriend, I don’t think he’d be a good one. You two had some good times, but it doesn’t sound like you’re a match for the long term. Break this arrangement off officially soon so that you can still remember the fun sexy times fondly ( which you won’t be able to do if this turns ugly)

    I’m sorry. It sucks.

    • Leonine said:

      I think this is on the mark. LW, I’ve wasted a lot of time (a LOT of time) on a lot of guys because I wanted to get with the guy I was so sure he *could be* instead of the guy he actually was. You’re seeing some good things about him and assuming there’s more good stuff where that comes from. The sad truth is that the good stuff you’re seeing is *all the good stuff there is*. He is giving you all the good stuff he has. If he were good at boyfriend stuff he would either a) be giving you that stuff, too, or b) giving all his good stuff to someone else. You are already seeing him at his best. He has told you in very clear terms that this is all he has for you. If what you are getting is good enough, cool, but it doesn’t seem like it is. I know it’s hard. Treat yourself gently for a little while. Do stuff that makes you happy. Reach out to friends. Eat stuff that makes you feel good. Don’t sell yourself short. You deserve someone who has as much good stuff to give you as you have to give them.

  9. hhhhhh said:

    tbh you said you were ending the friends with benefits thing and then he basically asked to invite himself over with the intention of…I’m guessing sex happened? If he asked for it when you took it off the table in the first place/slept with you knowing you had feelings he doesn’t reciprocate that makes him a huge jerk to be honest. I’d just block and run, the ‘holds the doors open’ could be a way to throw off the other red flags you mentioned (You keep saying he sounds like a fuckboy which means he’s done/is doing shit that isn’t great to begin with).

  10. Not That Jane said:

    One of my best friends had a similar fling with a dude who was charming, unreliable, immature, emotionally unavailable, etc… and they had a kid together. Now, despite the fact that she sees him for exactly the manipulative man-child he is, she has to deal with him and his bs because kid. So I’m going to second (third?) the advice to lock down your fertility HARD.

    • DonkeyCabbages said:

      Ehhh, some dudes are charming, unreliable, immature, and emotionally unavailable, yes, and others look that way if you squint because they want exactly what they are vocal and up front about wanting. Some women are the same. Having a child with anyone will be extraordinarily complicated, especially if the relationship is on it’s first or last legs.

      The idea floating about here that someone who doesn’t want a clear, monogamous relationship is a sociopath, a bad person, or a “manipulative man-child” is very distressing to me. Some people enjoy sex, enjoy company, and still want to remain largely single, and that’s ok as long as they are honest about it. Which this person has been.

      He cannot read minds, and like most people, he will be inclined to read the situation in a way that is favorable to himself– just like the letter writer keeps thinking “maybe he’s changed his mind!” when he reaches out, he might also think “maybe she’s cool with this situation!” when she does the same. So let’s reserve our ire for those actually manipulative people who refuse to disclose their preferences, and manipulate and lie to those around them, yes? At the same time, we can be sympathetic with the knowledge two people experiencing goals and preferences at odds with each other can be quite painful.

      • Mary said:

        Yeah, this is exactly what I’m thinking too. Yes, clearly there is cultural gender stuff which makes women feel like they have to be the Cool Girl and there are men taking advantage of that to manipulate people, and clearly in an ideal world after the first “I think I like you more than I’m supposed to like you” conversation, both parties would refrain from anything pants-related. But it’s really unfair to say that the entire responsibility for this not-a-good-idea relationship rests with the bloke. “I don’t want to do casual sex any more – well, maybe just one more time! Or two times, two times works for me!” is, to my mind, a much more mixed message than “I like hanging out and having sex with you but I don’t want a relationship.”

        It’d be great if everyone was mature enough to go, “OK, this looks like we want different things, let’s stop right here and stick to that” – but I literally don’t know anyone who got to that point without going through a fair handful of messy experiences first!

      • Esme said:

        I’m gonna second the assertion that this man is not a Top Quality Grown Up. I can see a few folks here really like the idea that their hook-up opportunity is more important than the stated feelings of the other party to the hook-up. ‘Her feelings are her responsibility. He’s not a bad guy.’ Uh, yes, but a TQGU, when made aware of a vulnerability in someone else, does not make use of said vulnerability purely for the purposes of transient sexual pleasure–or, worse, for the power trip. This dude is demonstrating what he’s made of. It’s not integrity. He is likely to demonstrate similar behavior when the stakes are higher than hurt feelings.

        • neverjaunty said:

          Commentets who don’t feel as negatively about dude as you do are themselves selfish and manipulative? Wow.

        • hhhhhh said:

          I’m kind of stumped on the “but he said he wasn’t looking for anything serious” comments as well. LW wouldn’t of called him a fuckboy and said herself there was red flags if there wasn’t any and she describes being blanked and then chased when she pulls away from someone pulling away from her. Like…I’m just gonna quote the OP here.

          “At the beginning he was all super flirty on text and showered me with compliments and sent each other snaps and nudes and said all the sweet things like he wants to treat me like a princess and make me his. Lowkey I knew he was a fuckboy* because most of the time he wanted to sext and talk about fucking me. He said he wasn’t looking for a relationship but if we become more than something then sure but if we don’t then we continue being friends.”

          Bombarding with affection, giving confusing statements (“I want to make you mine and bombard you with affection and compliments early on to hook you in and keep pressing for sexual dialogue during that, I’m not looking for a relationship but if we become ‘more than’ possibly maybe then sure”), fucking sleeping with her on a visit when she said she had unrequited feelings and that the sexual things needed to stop – that’s not “oh it’s just a guy being all nice and upfront about not looking for anything serious” at best he’s being reckless as fuck. His communication isn’t ‘clear from the start’ or commendable its’ confusing, contradictory as fuck and pushing for an end goal whether he’s exercising self-awareness about that or not.

          • Sammy said:

            I appreciate your point of observation!!! Everyone has is been very kind and supportive with excellent advice but some of the comments stood out for me like yours!

        • hbc said:

          “I can see a few folks here really like the idea that their hook-up opportunity is more important than the stated feelings of the other party to the hook-up.” That is a complete strawman misstatement of what the other people are saying. No one here is all “Who cares if OP gets hurt as long as he’s getting some action?” They’re more looking at it as a matter of communication, where he has been crystal clear about his relationship parameters through word and deed, and she has been…less so. If it’s hard for her to figure him out, why can’t it be hard for him to do it?

          Plus, we can’t know what’s in his head anyway. Figuring out whether he’s nice or a jerk doesn’t change the fact that this isn’t working, and it’s 100% in the OP’s power to make it stop.

      • Angle-a said:

        I’m with you here, DonkeyCabbages. Its okay to want different things, honesty & communication are best options & unrequited love sucks balls.
        OP, I think many of us have been in this situation, I’m sorry, but block & get busy. You deserve better, for your own sake.
        Cap, I am totally stumped by all the acronyms that are the hill you won’t die on… me & my friend google are going to figure them out.

        • African American Vernacular English. I also had to Google it. If you’re English you’d call it Black English. And I also learned that these are called ethnolects, so I’m well pleased to have learned all this today!

        • JenniferP said:

          Google is your friend!

  11. honk said:

    It sounds like you’re pretty deep in this thrall, LW! I’d hard-rec taking a breather from this whether or not you want to cut him loose. Just get a week or two of distance to figure out which way you’re leaning and where this guy pings on your meter.

    Just so you can assess your sitch with a clear head! You’re smart and strong and it’ll make sense eventually.

  12. Convallaria majalis said:

    As a child who was born from a relationship like the one described by the LW I also second (or fourth?) the advice of making sure you do not get pregnant by accident. As long as there is no child involved drifting apart from an unavailable man-child is much easier and has way less consequences. It sucks being the child of an unavailable father because despite some romantic movies telling us otherwise, getting a child does not necessarily change a man into a committed father figure.

    I have been in a relationship like this – and it was the shortest of my relationships, even though I tend to fall in love easily enough emotionally. It is easy to open doors and to pay for meals, it just means that he has enough money to do that and that he has found out it usually impresses women. He is not there when you need him, he only thinks of his own needs.

    Just like The Captain said, if that is what you truly want for yourself, cool – but if not, kick this guy out of your life (or Zzzing him also sounds like an option, if you want to treat him like he treats you which is also a cool option; at least now you know what the deal is). Still, I cannot help thinking that if and when you tell him that you want to end your sexual relationship he will somehow protest, not perhaps using words, but the way he treats you might change. If he only needs you for sex and he is not getting any, why be friends? I somehow got the impression that you did not know him before your relationship.

    Best of luck to you finding what you want! I got lucky and got something I had not even realized I was missing and now I would not change my life for the world. I hope a suitable version of this happens to you, too.

    Take care, dear LW!

  13. subliminalflicker said:

    I twice dated guys who weren’t “relationship people” and who had no intention of settling down when I started dating them. Both times the relationship ended up lasting a good 3-4 years, ending with a proposal (from them), a realisation (on my part, finally) that they were the same person who didn’t want a relationship, who wanted to fuck around and do what they wanted, but thought they’d found someone who’d hang around and do the dirty parts of life for them and give them a warm body to come home to when they felt like it. (I’m a doormat, and I’m in therapy for that reason).

    My therapist said something to me that I think applies here, dear LW, “When someone shows you who they are, BELIEVE them.”

    One more time so it can sink in:

    “When someone shows you who they are, BELIEVE them.”

    Don’t give them endless benefits of the doubt, don’t reason away their behaviour, and don’t let your feelings about them cloud what they are showing you with their actions. It’s hard as hell, but it will help you to be more true to yourself if you do that.

    If this “relationship” isn’t good for YOU, if it’s hurting YOU, his motivations or intentions are entirely beside the point. Ending it for yourself, so you can find someone that can come into a relationship on an even level with you is worth the heartache of making that decision.

    • MrsLokiofAsgard said:

      “When someone shows you who they are, BELIEVE them.”

      This is great advice, but also can be difficult to follow advice…at least at first. I once put a lot of time and emotional energy into a man that wasn’t interested in me the way that I was interested in him. He behaved like the guy in this letter – he’d be there for me with sweet words, nice dates, some decent sex but then was gone for weeks afterwards. It took me YEARS to finally realize that I wasn’t going to get what I wanted with this guy. During that time I’d blown off some really great guys who were genuinely interested in me and wanted something real. I finally decided I had enough with letting myself play a game that I didn’t like and didn’t fully understand the rules for and started believing him when he told me who he was. I met the man that is now my husband and a few months into our relationship the guy called me and wanted to know if my new boyfriend and I wanted to join him in a group sex thing with him and this girl he knew. I said no, that I wasn’t interested and that this wasn’t something I really wanted to do. He told me I wasn’t fun anymore and I never heard from him again. It was a moment that was sobering in the fact that I realized how much I had twisted myself into knots for this guy before and I knew that if I wasn’t in a happy, healthy relationship I probably would have done something I didn’t want to just to make him happy. It was also a freeing moment because I knew that my being in a healthy, happy relationship that didn’t make me become a human pretzel finally showed me that I didn’t have to play that game anymore and I wouldn’t have to deal with him.

    • Sammy said:

      imma write that quote down and put it on my mirror

    • “If this “relationship” isn’t good for YOU, if it’s hurting YOU, his motivations or intentions are entirely beside the point. ”

      THIS!!!

      Look, we can debate all day whether or not the guy is a good guy who’s been honest about the relationship, or if he’s a (insert your internet diagnosis here) manipulating villain, and it does not matter, one bit!

      All that matters is that LW is not happy with this situation, and the best thing to do is to walk away, and block him from her life.

  14. Nopetopus Cowgirl said:

    Whether he is or isn’t a jerk is perhaps of secondary concern. This man has told you who he is with both words and actions. His words and actions are even consistent, he isn’t saying one thing and doing another, he is doing exactly what he told you he wants to do. So yeah. It sucks to have a bonfire of chemistry with a person who is so wrong. And it feels so, so confusing! Believe me, I know! But the confusion is all from within. It’s your heart, brain and loins all telling you different things and making you feel dizzy and miserable. Whereas his actions and words? Not confusing.

    • DonkeyCabbages said:

      Yes yes yes yes

  15. DonkeyCabbages said:

    Dear letter writer, I’m in a situation that is the direct opposite of yours. I recently emerged from a very long relationship that I was completely, wholeheartedly invested in. The end of so many hopes, dreams, and memories was a bitter experience that I’m not eager to repeat. But while I’m not looking to settle down right now, a person did show up in my periphery who claimed to be completely ok with a fling– dinners out or in, great sex, fun conversations (we work in different disciplines at our university, but it makes for interesting counterpoints and intersections of interests). But the thing is, he wan’t telling me the truth. He wants the whole shebang, and he’s growing kind of weird about it. He’s pouted when I haven’t been available to accompany him to social gatherings (and he’s very grabby in public, which bothers me). And although I told him that I will most definitely blow hot or cold moment to moment, as I’m dealing with my own grieving process, he gets incredibly huffy when I’m not in the mood for sex. He talks about buying gifts for one another next year, and future trips we might take, and he’s starting to use pet names for me (which grates on my nerves).

    Obviously this is something I need to call off. I’m so exhausted by the past six months I haven’t yet dredged up the energy for a second breakup. I wasn’t expecting to be in a situation that calls for a breakup!

    I’m writing this because I wish he would remember that he agreed, out loud, and in writing, and in action, that a casual affair was exactly what he ventured into. I wish that since a casual fling is obviously not what he prefers in practice, that he would break things off rather than forcing me to do it. I resent feeling like I am somehow manipulative or narcissistic for not ending things now that it is clear his feelings are on the line– it is really hard to walk away from the good parts, and he still says out loud that things are fine (though he doesn’t seem to mean it).

    So I guess I’m trying to say, that if you realize that the terms under which he’s happy to engage with you don’t work for you, it’s time to leave. (It’s time for me to leave, as well). But it’s not good for anyone to have their clearly stated preferences met with various kinds of verbal or non-verbal resistance. Dont’ try to change one another! Just stop engaging. I’ll do the same.

    • I’m sorry you have to deal with this and I have so much respect for you for explaining clearly that you’re going to run hot and cold because you’re grieving.

      Here’s a reframe that might help you:

      The problem isn’t that this isn’t working for him. It’s that it’s not working for YOU.

      He’s grabby in public, pouts about you having other ways to spend your time, and gets upset when you don’t want sex? Any one of those would be enough for me to want out.

      So it doesn’t matter in the least that he insists he’s fine with things; you aren’t.

      • Thanksforallthefish said:

        Agreed here. You don’t have to pull up the subtext and lay it on the table. You can actually just say..this is not longer working for me…I thought it would be enjoyable and ease tension…it’s not…we’re done here.

        • Yeah! And can I just say, the fact that you *got it in writing!* at the beginning just goes to show how awesome and honest you are! DO NOT FEEL GUILTY about breaking this off! Or carrying on, either, because DANG! You’re so upfront!

          He is the one refusing to honor the agreement, and proving that he is not worth your time, even part time. I know it’s hard to break-up, but I’m glad you’ve decided to do so.

          Jedi Hugs to you, and a bunch of high-fives, too.

    • Claire said:

      Maaan I have no patience or sympathy for men/people who “get incredibly huffy when I’m not in the mood for sex”. Fuck that guy! Maybe he unintentionally caught feelings but he’s pushing your physical and sexual boundaries. NOT OK LET’S ALL STOP PULLING THIS SHIT FOREVER!

  16. Dear LW: I, like several other commenters, am fighting the urge to diagnose him as a Jerk or a Pick Up Artist (arguably a distinction without a difference) but here’s the thing:

    Not only is it unnecessary for your purposes, I feel like maybe it’s part of the trap you’re in: trying to work out what he “really” is.

    Dearest LW, he REALLY IS bad for YOU.

    Who he might be under some different set of conditions is relevant to HIM, not you.

    This is what he’s offering and sadly your options are take it or leave it.

    If you decide to take it, I recommend continuing to date. Don’t put what you want on hold for what you don’t want.

    • Madb said:

      This stood out to me. “Jerk or a Pick Up Artist (arguably a distinction without a difference)”.

      Jerks are not all pickup artists, although all pickup artists are jerks. It’s important to keep that in mind so you don’t get someone saying “well, he isn’t a pickup artist so he musn’t be a jerk”.

      • Marna Nightingale said:

        Fair point, it was a bit of sarcasm that could perhaps have been better done.

  17. J said:

    If he was a real friend, after you told him you had feelings for him he would have done the morally correct thing and not put his weiner above his friend’s feelings. The needs of his penis are more important than your feelings. I suspect he also needs attention and if you ghosted him would chase you and pretend whatever to get you back to admiring him. If you’re finding it hard to go cold turkey get onto a dating site like bumble and titrate him out by finding other distractions. Date more than one guy so you don’t end up putting all you eggs in one potentially unworthy basket. This guy is a sad cliche and he doesn’t deserve the booty….

  18. Hysteria said:

    LW, i created a little ritual for myself for a desperate unrequited crush many years ago. The ritual itself is private but it involves a little song i sing to myself, a little litany towards letting go. Now I use it whenever I I am just yearning for someone who isn’t being kind to me. It never works quickly, but it has gotten quicker over the years.

    • Sammy said:

      *new rules* by dua lipa is on repeat on my playlist

  19. Dear LW,

    As usual, the Captain is right on all fronts. I’d write him off and delete all his contact info.

    He won’t make a good boyfriend for you.

    Jedi hugs if you want them.

  20. attica said:

    My first suspicion is that he’s got other women, like even a spouse, in the picture. Which is a reason a person might ghost. Maybe he doesn’t, but maybe contemplating that as a (hypothetical) reality might make it easier to disengage?

    • Sammy said:

      we r actually the same age 21 and nah he is not married.

  21. Nopetopus Cowgirl said:

    One of the many wonderful things I have learned (or am learning) from therapy is how to grieve. The poster who mentioned her letting go song and ritual brought this to mind. It is an amazing, amazing thing: grieving. I know, who’d have fuckin thought? But it allows you to let go and not live in constant fear of loss because loss is inevitable. Holding onto something that is bad for you, that is dead literally or otherwise, that wields toxic power over you—well, it sucks the life out of you. And your hopes and wishes are good and true and real. You are worthy of the love you dream of and you aren’t dumb for wanting it—there is no need to be cynical or chastise yourself, but when you have encountered someone who will not or cannot give you what you need and your dreams are dashed, it is not time to grab that someone or chase them harder, it is time to grieve. And you let go and keep being awesome and living your life and being open to the love you want.

    • Redgirl said:

      I wish someone had told me this 20 years ago! Excellent advice.

  22. I don’t think that internet diagnosing what kind of rotten this man might be is any more useful than internet diagnosing an illness.

    He might be a scallawag, or he might not. Who cares? He’s a man who doesn’t want to be in a serious relationship with the LW. He’s made it clear that he will make no effort to suss out what the LW wants and needs. He wants a booty call, with occasional date.

    I don’t think he’s lousy, because I’ve had lovers like him, and I’ve been like him.

    We say Friends With Benefits, but that’s often not accurate. It’s certainly not accurate here.

    • killiara said:

      Agreed. To be a ‘Friend with Benefits’, you have to be friends first. This guy isn’t treating the Letter Writer as a friend, not really. Part of the expanded social network, yes, but not an actual Friend, unless we’re talking Fair Weather.

    • Buddy With Benefits? Pal With Benefits?

      How about simply “Playmate”?

      • I usually refer to them as casual lays.

  23. Anon, Goodnight said:

    “This man will never be your boyfriend, and if you did somehow manage to get him to be your boyfriend, I don’t think he’d be a good one.”

    Yep. I dated a guy who periodically ghosted for several days throughout our relationship. If he’ll do it to you in the early days (when people are making an effort to make a good impression), he’ll do it to you as long has he’s part of your life. With my ex, every time there was a good-sounding reason for each individual instance. He apologized profusely, promised not to do it again, and then a few months later, did it again. And again. It didn’t matter how many times (or ways) I explained that it made me worry, that it made me feel like I didn’t matter to him, that it hurt me and made me angry. (He made noises about caring about those things when I was saying them to him, but it never, ever caused the ghosting to stop.)

    • Ginger said:

      Ah, I see you dated my ex, aka Mr. Secret Baby (this only overlapped somewhat with the ghosting – that was happening years before the Secret Baby).

      • Anon, Goodnight said:

        Thankfully, that situation didn’t involve a Secret Baby. Just a guy who took me for granted that I put up with for WAY TOO LONG.

  24. Ducky said:

    I was in a not-quite-relationship with this man for four years. I’d beg him to just stop talking to me if he didn’t want a proper relationship, but somehow he always managed to never respond to my plea. I broke it off multiple times, but a few months later he’d be all “Hey, want to do X?” and I’d be lonely and say yes. I just couldn’t understand him or what he wanted and I wasn’t 100% certain he was being malicious (he was also depressed and having Issues and such).

    I only managed to break it off for real when I read Why Does He Do that, when I recognized him in every word about the Player personality type. It spelled out out *exactly* what he wanted, and I knew right away that that wasn’t for me (and also became quite angry and bitter for having allowed myself to hope otherwise.)

    If you can’t find the book at the library or buy it, the profiles are available if you google around a bit. The most damning part for me was the motivations:

    The central attitudes driving the Player are:
    • Women were put on this earth to have sex with men—especially me.
    • Women who want sex are too loose, and women who refuse sex are too uptight. (!)
    • It’s not my fault that women find me irresistible. (This is a word-for-word quotation from a number of my clients.) It’s not fair to expect me to refuse temptation when it’s all around me; women seduce me sometimes, and I can’t help it.
    • If you act like you need anything from me, I am going to ignore you. I’m in this relationship when it’s convenient for me and when I feel like it.
    • Women who want the nonsexual aspects of themselves appreciated are bitches.
    • If you could meet my sexual needs, I wouldn’t have to turn to other women.

    • Allison said:

      Girl, I have been there! Five years! I dated other guys here and there, but kept going back to him. I don’t blame myself, and I don’t blame others for doing the same, these guys are so charming it’s hard not to get wrapped up in their games. But I will advise others to extract themselves from this garbage as best they can. If he says he doesn’t want a relationship, take that as truth. If he’s vague on whether he wants what you have to ever become a relationship (lots of “possibly” and “maybe someday”), it’s not gonna happen, it’s only gonna be a string of booty calls on his terms, and maybe occasional dinner dates that go nowhere (and be prepared for him to always act like the food is “just okay”). If you want a long-term commitment with someone who genuinely cares about you, and only wants to be with you, this is not the guy, and staying wrapped around his finger might get in the way if finding someone who will make you happy.

      • Sammy said:

        OMG YES. like why does he have to be so handsome and genuinely charismatic god damn.
        and the harsh painful truth- yes he can’t be my boyfriend. Sigh lol

    • So the ideal woman, according to this guy, is someone with no appetite of her own who will do anything he wants.

  25. Olsonam said:

    LW, you asked what you should do. I agree that you would ideally ghost him back fully.
    Beyond that, take care of yourself! Basic self care but lots of fun things, and not just busy things. I recently had a similar break up and I dipped into savings and bought myself nice coffee drinks everyday and bought a nice pair of earrings. I’ve heard this called “soothing the nervous system,” because the negative emotions suuuuuck.
    It sounds like you’ve got a big, new life ahead of you so don’t give this guy any more room. It also seems like maybe you wrote to Captain Awkward looking for the courage to do what you know is right? You can do it, you know you have the strength.

  26. Rhoda said:

    To put it bluntly, you’re a booty call. He likely has a lot of other women in his life in the same capacity and that’s why you don’t hear from him – he’s with them. He isn’t ready to settle down with one woman right now, perhaps will never be.
    Forget the charm and the door-opening. That is superficial surface stuff. Anybody can put on the act for a day or two.

  27. Sammy said:

    Hello, this is the Letter Writer.
    Firstly I apologize for the using the word FB. I was completely unaware of the actual meaning.
    Thank you everyone for your kind support and advices especially captain awkward.
    I honestly don’t see him as the bad guy nor do i have any resentment. Those are my hurt feelings and I chose to continue being with him despite knowing what he is. I have learnt to love someone without expecting to get feelings return.
    I needed captain awkward to tell me the some of the things I already knew. Sometimes we need people to put the problems into our faces to see them. hahaha! But I’m kinda mad about something. He wants an easy way out. He does not want to confront with me. Instead of saying, yeah I probably don’t wanna see u again when I confront him, he instead says i’m just damn busy. He just wants to cut things off without officially having to say “yeah this is over” . I didn’t want to make him easy for him. I wish I was able to make him talk. I also have a problem opening up. My feelings get all bottled when I wanna blast on him lol.

    • hhhhhh said:

      Yeah he’s not going to give a satisfying break up conversation, I’d personally recommend you just block and cut contact. It’s annoying that they won’t just end something they know isn’t working for the other person but continued contact just runs the risk that he’ll rope you in again. Relying on the dude to grant you closure before you leave is gonna keep you stuck unfortunately.

    • Sheelzebub said:

      Hi, Sammy.

      I get wanting to have closure, I do. Remember, though, that this was always a casual thing for him. So wanting to “make” him talk or “make” him officially end it doesn’t fit with what the relationship is. And it won’t satisfy you, anyway. He doesn’t need an easy way out because he was never “in”.

      If you want to indulge some petty feelings (and why not), I’d recommend the advice you got upthread to either ZZZ out his name (that’s brilliant) or just delete his number. And when he texts you, you can reply, “Who’s this?”

      Or better yet, delete and block him and just focus on moving on. Do things you enjoy, learn new skills, indulge in a new (or old) hobby, hold awesome brunches for you and your friends, etc. Life’s too short to spend your mental energy on people who aren’t into you. I know you can’t stop feeling your feelings, but you CAN acknowledge them and think “This isn’t helping me to move on.” You can spend the energy on making your life awesome (or more awesome).

      Make your life more awesome, Sammy!

      • Sheelzebub said:

        Also–want to add: I don’t know how new you are to the US or if you have a solid group of friends here. A lot of people (including me) can be vulnerable when they feel lonely or if they don’t feel like they have a social group. Do you have a solid group of friends you hang out with and who truly have your back?

        Either way, try Meetup.com–it’s good for finding people who share your interests. You can develop new friendships and do things you enjoy. I suggest this with a caveat-don’t try to date people there (not yet). Maybe find women’s groups that are doing things. Build your base. Do awesome and fun things.

      • I heartily second the recommendation to take up a new hobby. May I recommend throwing darts?

        You can make an effective target with just a piece of cardboard and a large photograph of his face.

        This serves a dual purpose of giving you closure, regardless of what he does or doesn’t say/do, and gives you a physical outlet for those feelings of anger.

        By the time his picture is totally punctured, you’ll have learned a new skill and gotten him out of your system.

    • amalite said:

      Hello LW,

      why would he end something that’s working for him? By not slamming the door shut but ambiguously keeping it a little open, there is always the chance for a get together down the line. It’s also way easier for him to reset your relationship back to a state where things are on his terms (i.e. you don’t have a lot of expectations and go along with him blowing hot and cold) if there wasn’t a big relationship and *feelings* discussion. I know from personal experience how frustrating it is when someone takes the easy route. Sometimes, I called them out on it and it made me feel better, even if it was just for getting it off my chest. Be careful, though, you’re not insisting on a closure conversation just so you can engage a little bit longer with him. This is one of the cases where you have to find closure in yourself and the knowledge that you both sadly want different things which makes you incompatible.

      I hope you’ll get out of this trap, even if it takes a few tries (that’s ok, it’s hard to unlike someone just like that). Unless he turns around and comes to you, saying that he wants to give a romantic relationship a proper try, you two will just repeat the push and pull cycle you’ve established. It’s really on you in this case to pull the plug. Yes, he should be mature and step away since your feelings are mismatched but chances are that he won’t. He gets most of his needs met (sex, enjoyable company) and the only downside for him is some low-key “drama”/questioning by you. So far, going cold on you has had the desired effect. He’ll keep doing this over and over again as long as what he gets out of it outweighs what he has to put in.

    • Hi Sammy,

      Yeah, it’s really frustrating when people won’t own up to what they’re doing.

      Fwiw, I think he doesn’t want to break it off because he likes you as an occasional lover. The current situation works for him.

      But it doesn’t seem to work for you.

      There are better men.

      Jedi hugs if you want them.

  28. Amy said:

    So here’s the thing: This guy has told you he doesn’t want anything serious. It sounds like he’s been pretty clear about what he’s offering, actually–he likes flirting but explicitly isn’t looking for a relationship, he’s up for fun hangouts but is super busy/not willing to make you a priority. He’s not cutting contact with you because he does like you, he just doesn’t want anything more than the relationship he currently has with you. Those aren’t inherently bad things–it’s just not compatible with what you’re looking for.

    At some point, if you don’t want what he’s offering, it’s on you to find a way to say “Nope, I don’t want that” and stick to it. I think you’re at that point here.

    There’s no one way to do this, but some things that help many people include: getting really busy so you don’t have time to see him anymore; dating other people so you have other, better matched prospects to remind you that he’s not your best option; getting together with a friend or two and bashing him, aka reframing him in your mind from ‘cool guy I really like’ to ‘jerk who’s missing out on how awesome I am’; blocking him for a while
    to remove temptation. In general, whatever you would use to move on from an ex is applicable; in this case, the ‘ex’ is your idealized vision of the boyfriend he could be (rather than the actual not-going-to-be-your-boyfriend person he is), but losing dreams can be pretty painful too.

  29. Gabs said:

    Hey LW, I have been there so many times I can’t even count anymore. One time I even got the person to actually have the relationship I wanted and, spoiler alert: it didn’t work either. I genuinely think that we stay in these situations because of fear, and more, I think that these feel so “great” and “awesome chemistry” because either consciously/sub-consciously, they tap into our fear in the first place. I have been realizing myself that whenever I feel great chemistry (and I mean the butterflies//anxiety, not genuine care and love) is because the person is somehow indicating to me that they are not quite on the same page or available, or whatever. The people I have had my successful relationships kinda grew on me with time, I always felt at ease, and more than that, we were on the same page. I will share a couple of stories, hoping something will click for you.
    One time I fell in love with someone who seemed to understand me. She stated with all words she didn’t want a relationship (even though she did like me) because of mental health issues. I have no clue wtf was wrong with me back then, but from where I stand now, I can clearly see that I completely ignored it and reframed it as “if I am completely understanding and nice to her, her severe anxiety will go away, and I can have the relationship I want”. It was completely disrespectful (and now that I struggle with anxiety myself, severe at times, I can appreciate how strong and self-caring she actually was). Over time we ended up in some sort of relationship, and although she was complying it was clear it wasn’t a direction she wanted to go. It ended pretty badly and I almost went insane over that (probably my darkest period in life). I just wanted to have someone love me and I also believed we only get one. Recipe for disaster.
    Recently I met a woman that I could see myself with for my entire life, but communication was so, so, so poor – can’t emphasize how poor it was. She never had the guts to tell me she lost interest, or that she was uncomfortable somehow, and expected me to guess it based on very childish passive-aggressive behavior that was very downgrading. And she continued to do this shit even after I completely stopped talking to her. It is REALLY hard to see her for who she is, after I have dreamed an entire future with someone who doesn’t even really exist. And I am pretty sure that if we had actually dated (or God forbid, married or something serious like that), it would have been awful. She wouldn’t turn into great feelings communicator just because I wanted/needed her to. I am still pretty shaken, but I am sure that when all of this is behind me, I will be SO glad that I dodged this giant bullet.
    Please, just be honest with yourself, your needs, and expectations. It doesn’t seen like this guy is meeting it, actually, it seems like he was always clear about what he wanted, and if that doesn’t work for YOU, just leave. Put your own boundaries. Maybe you fear you won’t meet someone else, or you are lonely, or both, or something else, but whatever it is, it is up to YOU to do something about it, not him.

    • AllanV said:

      I have been realizing myself that whenever I feel great chemistry (and I mean the butterflies//anxiety, not genuine care and love) is because the person is somehow indicating to me that they are not quite on the same page or available, or whatever.

      This is really important. It can be easy to mistake the anxiety of “this person may not be available to me in the way I want” for the excitement of a successful romance; for some of us, the former is consistently more exciting and therefore seems more romantic. If you think that might be your tendency, LW, then you now know to examine those feelings carefully whenever they come up and pay heed to what they’re telling you.

    • Sammy said:

      thank you for sharing your story and i’m sorry for what happened to you. Love is hard but we can’t help ourself wanting it. And yes I am kinda lonely that’s why i’m looking for love.

      • Redgirl said:

        Hi Sammy, thanks for joining in the comments! I can really relate to staying in a bad-for-you relationship because you are lonely. I moved 3,000 miles away from my family and friends to go to grad school, and I was very, very lonely. I met a guy and fell in love with him very quickly. Our situation was different from yours, but he also wasn’t a good partner for me. In addition, because I was spending all my time with him and he had a lot of insecurities, I failed to start building new social network in my new location. I couldn’t bring myself to leave him because I was dependent on him in a lot of ways. But the fact that he was bad for me never changed, and it became much harder to leave him as more time went on. So, my recommendation to you would be to pour your energy into building a social group. Try meetup.com, find a church if you are religious, join a club or hobby group, do some volunteer work, anything. If you work with people you like, try inviting one of them to coffee or lunch. Throw yourself into finding people you can relate to in a non-romantic way. It will simultaneously give you something to distract yourself while also (hopefully) helping you find people who can ease your loneliness without breaking your heart.

  30. Proffie Galore said:

    Dear Letter Writer,
    You said you have dated this guy for three months, and that you are new to the U.S. and to its dating customs. You also have been sending each other nude selfies.

    First, three months is not enough time for anyone to earn your trust. Second when you share nude selfies, you lose all control over them. If your boyfriend wanted to hurt you, he could send them to your friends and family or to your boss. They could be on the web for the rest of your life and could affect your dating and employment.

    Anyone worthy of your trust will not pressure you to follow American customs about sex or anything else. You get to choose each custom to adopt, whether it’s sexting with photos, singing at baseball games, owning some guns, giving kids candy on Halloween, or eating soft, flavorless bread.

    And, welcome to California!

    • I realize that this comment is coming from a well-intentioned place, but it goes beyond reassuring the LW that she doesn’t *need* to send nude selfies to fit American dating norms (our customs aren’t uniform and she gets to set her own boundaries regardless of local custom in any case), into implying that she *shouldn’t* be sending selfies.

      I just want to say that it’s also OK if she has made the choice to trust this dude with her pictures. I’ve made that choice myself, sometimes with people I’ve only known a few months, and I don’t think that makes me foolish. You’re of course welcome to disagree, but it would rankle, personally, if I asked for advice about handling a breakup and instead got a lecture about selfies that presumed I had made terrible decisions and was unable to evaluate risks for myself.

      • Sammy said:

        It’s ok for you to point the selfie part! I don’t mind at all! I love reading all kinds of comments and opinions of everyone!

    • Sammy said:

      Thank you for your concern I appreciate it!
      I know I shouldn’t have sent nudes to someone like him but I have never sent nudes with face on. just letting u know lol.
      I used to think it was normal/okay for young people to exchange nudes in snapchat here! but i was wrong.

  31. Sammy said:

    First of all I’d like to apologize for using the word “FB”. I was completely unaware of the actual meaning.
    Thank you for all of your kind support and advice.
    You all were right. Deep down, I knew what i had to do but I lacked the courage and I needed to hear someone tell me this is all wrong for me. Sometimes we need someone to smack the right answer to our face. I do not think he is the “bad guy” nor do i have any resentment towards him. He has his own story. He is a flawed human being just like I am. It’s sucks when the person doesn’t love you back. Why can’t I be the one he will love forever in his life? I make him laugh and he says he admires my weird and funny personality. Why can’t I make him laugh all his life? Why can’t he see that I can make him happy? All these questions go around my head. But I have to accept the truth and move on.
    I realized I’m emotionally unstable. My breakup of 4 year relationship with my ex made me have a lot of emotional wounds even though I have moved on. I want to seek help from a therapist because one moment i’m like ” I’m happy and content and I’m totally over him” another moment I get these minor mental breakdowns and cry and miss him.
    I want to know why am I like these and how I can be emotionally strong.

    • n.b. said:

      I think you’re like that because you’re human and that’s what heartbreak is like. Yup, it’s very hard to break up with a long time love and it’s very hard when somebody doesn’t love you the way you love them. Please take good, gentle care of yourself.

    • Marthooh said:

      Hi, Sammy, thanks for replying!

      From your first reply:
      I have learnt to love someone without expecting to get feelings return.

      This made me so sad. Nobody should have to love this way.

      Mr. Ghost doesn’t want to break up with you, Sammy; he wants you available for the occasional booty call, without any emotional responsibility.  Please drop him and block him on social media, because even though you don’t think of him as the bad guy, he’s distracting you from bigger problems.

      From your second reply:
      I realized I’m emotionally unstable. My breakup of 4 year relationship with my ex made me have a lot of emotional wounds even though I have moved on. I want to seek help from a therapist because one moment i’m like ” I’m happy and content and I’m totally over him” another moment I get these minor mental breakdowns and cry and miss him.
      I want to know why am I like these and how I can be emotionally strong.

      You have a lot going on in your head and heart right now. We all seem to have missed what you said about that breakup, so I’m glad you brought it up again. Hysteria and Nopetopus Cowgirl have suggested letting yourself grieve for lost love. I will add, please be kind to yourself in your grief.

      Are there commenters from California who can give advice about finding a therapist?

       

      • Sammy said:

        You are very kind Thank you so much!!
        I did make appointments for a therapist today!
        But today I don’t know why, i feel stronger and better! maybe because you all are here with me as emotional support and cheering for me with a big banner ” BLOCK HIM” “DELETE HIM GURL HE AINT GOOD FO U”

        • Marthooh said:

          Here’s another American custom for you: cheerleaders!
          *\o/**\o/**\o/*

          • Rah! Rah! Rah! Goooooooo, Sammy!

            Yaaaaay!

      • I’m not from California, but I can give a piece of advice about finding a therapist:

        Audition them, like you would audition someone for a play, and realize that just because you have an appointment with them does not mean they *are your therapist* now and forever. You can meet a time (or three) and decide, “Nope. We’re not clicking,” or even “Nope. This person is making things worse.” OR, you can meet with a therapist, and think, “YES! THIS IS THE ONE!” and after six months, change to, “That was great at the beginning, but now I need something else.”

        In other words, don’t therapists are the ultimate “Try Before You Buy” deal. Yeah, you have to pay for the trial periods, but you are NOT committed forever, and it’s OK to find a new therapist if you don’t like the one you have.

        A bad therapist will make you feel like you’re not allowed to leave, probably because they are so bad, they bleed patients like a stuck pig, and will do whatever to keep their money flowing in.

        You are the CUSTOMER. You pay them, and they cannot dictate to you! And YOU choose when it’s over. In fact, if the first meeting doesn’t work out, you don’t have to waste your time staying until the end of your appointment. Some therapists are fantastic! Some are middling, and some really should never give advice to anyone, including in the comments of an online blog.

        Mind you, most of the time, this isn’t even an issue. But it does happen from time to time, and you, LW, are particularly vulnerable to this sort of thing right now, should you wind up with a bad one. I really, really, hope that this bit of advice is completely irrelevant for you.

        Jedi Hugs to you!

    • Mary said:

      >> I want to seek help from a therapist because one moment i’m like ” I’m happy and content and I’m totally over him” another moment I get these minor mental breakdowns and cry and miss him.

      I think you feel like that because you are human, and that is how humans behave! But getting a therapist is a v good idea for all humans who want to human better, so I definitely second that thought too.

      Good luck kicking him out and letting him go!

  32. Traffic_Spiral said:

    Um, LW? Ignoring whether or not F_B is a problematic term, I think that even in its non-problematic interpretation, it doesn’t apply here. You just have a guy who isn’t the sort of relationship material you want him to be. He’s perfectly up-front about the fact that he’s not going to text you all the time, that his interest in you is primarily sexual, and that if you decide to leave him because you want more than a FWB relationship, well, that’s your choice (and probably the right one). The fact that he treats you well when you are with him – even if he doesn’t want a long-term relationship – doesn’t mean he’s a bad person. In fact, it’s kinda the opposite – you SHOULD treat all your lovers nicely, even if they’re just sex buddies. Was he supposed to be more of a jerk to you when you’re together to ensure that you never want anything more than a casual relationship?

    At the end of the day, you can’t fault people for being up-front about what they want, even if it’s not what you want. You gotta take responsibility for your own needs and actions. It seems like the current status of “just here for a good time” isn’t working for you, so you need to be honest with yourself about it, and end the relationship – not talk about how you just “couldn’t say no” when he texted you out of the blue with basically “hey, wanna have some sex?” If you find you really have trouble saying ‘no’ then tell him honestly “please don’t contact me again – I need some space to get my head on straight and this on-and-off relationship really isn’t emotionally healthy for me.” Then block him on all social media and focus on finding the sort of relationship you do want – or just focus on yourself.

    I mean, no judgment for not saying no to something you might regret later – we’ve all been there. However, when I tell myself “ok, I gotta stop eating Krispy Kremes – yeah they’re good, but I feel like crap in the long run,” Step 1 is to unsubscribe from the Krispy Kreme mailing list that contacts me every week with another offer to ship a box of free donuts to my house.

    • Traffic_Spiral said:

      Ok, I typed this before you posted your reply, LW, so I guess you already know all the stuff in paragraph one. I am gonna say, definitely tell him that you need to go no-contact and block him. Be nice about it, but tell him that this relationship isn’t working for you and since you need some time to get yourself together, you’re going to go no-contact. Then block everything. You’re just torturing yourself by continuing to stay in contact.

      • Sammy said:

        Thank you so much!! you also gave me a new perspective to look on. Yes we should treat every kind of lover right. but having said that. Not to treat someone a who is not a girlfriend/boyfriend like a girlfriend/boyfriend would be kind of misleading.

    • Ginger said:

      ” However, when I tell myself “ok, I gotta stop eating Krispy Kremes – yeah they’re good, but I feel like crap in the long run,” Step 1 is to unsubscribe from the Krispy Kreme mailing list that contacts me every week with another offer to ship a box of free donuts to my house.” This is AMAZING thank you.

  33. Megan_NJ said:

    My recent favorite thing from the internet –

    My girlfriend said she wanted to be treated like a Princess, so I forced her into marriage with my neighbor’s son over land acquisitions.

  34. chiaro said:

    Dear letterwriter,

    Ghosting is horrible (google it and you’ll find lots of people confirming it). Not sure if it’s the circles I’m in, bad luck or something else but 90% of the guys(and even women) I dated/had sex with have been like this. They’ll reach out when they want to, always wanting to keep control(when I would delete their nr and my whatsapp photo would disappear so often I’d get a text immediately!). These kind of people are not relationship material for you, the good thing is… he showed you pretty early on! Guys usually let me know right on the first date if they are looking for a relationship, if they are not I keep going, I keep meeting new people, I don’t wait for them to change their mind or leave time in my schedule for them. Maybe it will be a one time thing for you though.

    Also give yourself some space to breathe! It’s okay to feel sad and disappointed.

  35. Sammy said:

    hello all. Thanks again for the wonderful support!
    • *he has already told you what he wants…* Yes I get it!! lol. I know he already told me. But I was one of those girls where you dream that one day this bad boy gonna fall in love me and we gonna gallop onto the sunset or kiss in the rain kind of thing!
    •. Sometimes he hits me with the ” i miss you :(” and “i like u” texts and it lowkey gave me a little hope even though he was just flirty and trying to keep me around.
    • One thing I have learnt is that only time heals heartbreaks and pain. I got over my most painful breakup with my ex for 4 years. i’m pretty sure I can get over him too.
    • all of your support is giving me strength and please do keep on sharing your stories too! i love reading them!

  36. chocolate tort said:

    Oh wow, this post brings up so many memories of a… I like a comment upthread that used the term “Mr. Unavailable.”
    He would:
    1) tell me that he didn’t consider us girlfriend and boyfriend but then slip and oopsie call me his girlfriend. I was 10000% one of those girls who dreamed that he would realize he was wildly in love with me and really ask me to be his girlfriend and introduce me to his friends and maybe go on little weekend trips… ah ha ha ha.
    2) Answer the phone (this was just before texting got really big) when I called just often enough that I always hoped he would answer but not often enough to be predictable.
    3) Be really flirty and sweet and ridiculously charming when he wanted some ummm together time and then legitimately hide from me on the street when he saw me but didn’t want to say hello. (I didn’t even know it at the time, he told me later as a funny story… yeah, real funny).

    And he was ludicrously good at all the physical stuff. Just, it’s not fair how good our chemistry was in that regards. So my head was just spinning all the time, and he did a lot of push and just enough pull to keep me hoping for more. Sigh. And I was clear that I wanted us to be officially dating, and he would always kind of slide past that… no, he didn’t consider us to be dating, but we spent time together and went out dancing and I spent weekends at his house… okay then. It’s a cliche but so true: he TOLD me he didn’t want to be dating. I desperately read what I wanted to read in his actions, but I should have just listened to the words he used and noped on out of there when it didn’t mesh with what I was looking for. Le sigh.

    (Tangent: someone upthread commented that a lot of ‘chemistry’ seems to have anxiety as a key component, and looking back on it that has totally been experience. I’m married now and had way less of the head-spinny-whirly feelings when I started dating my now-current. I just felt GOOD. It’s hard to explain, but it was so different.)

    We did have something resembling a break-up conversation–not a “break up” for real since I guess he didn’t consider us to have been “together” for real, of course–where he said he couldn’t see me this weekend and I just kept pushing for some date, any firm date, and couldn’t get one. It hurt so much, but also I felt an immense lightening. I made up a little ritual of my own (incense was involved), played a lot of Shakira, and made it through. Now I just look back and laugh ruefully at him and want to hug younger me.

  37. Lapis Lazuli said:

    You think this guy is a “f*ckboi” anyways, so you shouldn’t put much thought into him. Ghost this dude for good.

    In the meantime, spend your emotional energy finding a person that doesn’t treat you like an escort.

  38. Sammy said:

    I know most of you won’t recommend this but If he and I are going down, We r gonna crash and burn. I’m gonna confront him.I want to die just one day instead of dying every single day. what I mean is I’m not the kind of person that can just leave him like that. I need to have a fight with him so it’ll help me block him and move on. I know he set his intentions already but he mislead me number of times. Maybe I mislead myself but this has to go down. I can’t put every single detail in my email. Im just upset.

    • Maybee said:

      The thing is though, the person you are now can change. I don’t think anyone knows exactly how to deal with difficult and confusing relationships from birth. These are skills we learn. I know you probably feel really upset right now, but i also know you probably don’t want to go through the rest of your life unable to walk away from people or situations that are hurting you without having a big blow-up.

    • Traffic_Spiral said:

      Come on, don’t go there! You CAN be the sort of person “that can just leave him like that.” Just tell him goodbye and block him on everything. You aren’t going to get a good fight out of someone that doesn’t want to fight you – especially when your main argument is “you told me you didn’t want a serious relationship but you treated me real nice!”

      You gotta learn to be able to walk away from things that are bad for you without burning it all to the ground. You’re going to have lots of things in life that aren’t right for you that aren’t objectively awful – you just gotta be able to go “this isn’t right for me, I’m out.”

    • Ducky said:

      Been there, done that, and I’m really, really sorry, but it 100% won’t work. 😦

      He will ignore you and not respond, or if he does respond it will be to some trivial detail that has nothing to do with why you’re actually angry so you get distracted. He will not face what he’s done to you, not now, not ever. You will only give him ammunition to describe you as “crazy” and “a stalker” and when he gets another not-girlfriend and he will explain you away with those words.

      Meanwhile, you’ll be still thinking about him, angry and sobbing ugly tears and not moving on, which is the only possible way to deal with this kind of man. And because you will never, ever get an apology or acknowledgement that he hurt you, you will start thinking once again that “well, he never actually promised me anything…” and you will eventually forgive him or at least be willing to try again, only to set the whole cycle up to repeat.

      Even telling his social group about the problem is extremely unlikely to work, no matter whether your goal is confrontation, revenge, isolation, or just bringing the missing stair into focus. They are people who are still in his thrall as charismatic guy, and yeah, he’s a womanizer, but he’s upfront about it and it’s not his problem if the women inevitably “go crazy.”

      Again, I am so, so, sorry. The only thing you can do is recognize the pattern and ignore him, even when your latest date has ended badly and you just want some affection and think you’re strong enough to handle things this time but that’s a sweet lie, you’re just setting yourself up for another round of heartache that will feel like it’s your fault even though you have been manipulated and taken advantage of from day 1.

      • Sammy said:

        I’m sorry: what was I thinking. You all are right. Im not gonna do that. It will be like hopeless battle. I will walk away from this. Thank you.

        • Ducky said:

          ::jedi hugs:: These kind of men are awful; they prey upon women who are willing to put in all their time and effort and love into making them comfortable, and never, ever return the favor. (Or if they do, once, when it’s convenient, constantly remind you about that one time they were nice.) The urge to smack them in the face with what they’re doing is overwhelming, and it’s so hard to accept that it doesn’t do any good.

          On the bright side, you’re recognizing the pattern early and you’ve reached out to others and you’ve got a plan for cutting him out of your life. That’s really huge! I wish I’d been able to do as much as early. You’ll be okay. 🙂

  39. Please, please reconsider “burning it down” as the only way to move on from someone. I’ve been on the receiving end of that, and it makes things so much more confusing and painful and difficult than they actually need to be. Sometimes things just don’t work, and having to cast the other person as some kind of terrible villain for it is not a healthy coping mechanism. Deliberately exploding something that you have the option to just walk away from may feel “good” in the moment, but it’s just going to hurt you more in the long run by setting up a pattern of unhealthy behavior. You said you are 21 – you are at the point of your life where you are just starting to figure these things out! Please consider Future You and give her the best learning experience you can with how you handle this.

  40. Gabs said:

    Well, I won’t say it is wrong to do it, but have to agree with Ducky completely.
    You are very unlikely to get what you want out of this. In fact, what the heck do you want out of this?? He won’t: 1) commit to you, 2) change this mind, 3) apologize, 4) feel bad for his actions. Honestly, I just wonder myself if this is one last desperate attempt to change his mind and make him like you. Like, seriously, if you really wanted to get over him, you would walk away from him because you’d need space to grieve and heal! And if what you want is revenge, make him suffer for “not wanting you”… let’s be honest he’s not even gonna care.
    Sorry if I sound harsh but I have been there and know from my own experience that you are just torturing YOURSELF. Not him, YOU. Nothing’s gonna change for the best and might even get worse.

    • Sammy said:

      Thank you so taking your time to read my letter and giving me advice. I have not done it and just decided to just walk away and not talk to him anymore. It physically hurts as much as emotionally. like my body is just numb. I can’t explain it the feeling but it feels like my body is anchored to the ground and I can’t get up or move. I wish it’ll go away soon.

      • Traffic_Spiral said:

        Think of it as withdrawal symptoms. They suck, but tough ’em out and they’ll fade.

  41. LW, when I was a girl, I read a poem that at the time I thought was silly and hilarious, but over the years, I have come to understand is really deep and wise:

    I dismiss you, my dear, with this parting thought,
    Both comforting and true:
    If you’ve such lousy taste as not to want me,
    Then I certainly don’t want YOU!

    I believe it was by Carol Lynn Pearson, but I could be wrong.

    About a decade ago, I made up my own mantra: Any man who doesn’t want me, can’t have me.

    Mantras can help. There are plenty on this thread to choose from, or make up your own, but definitely choose something to cling to, when he breezes back in, and the sexy-hormones are pumping, and it’s hard to resist.

  42. LW, I’ve had a years-long epic intercontinental romance that is the stuff of which legends are born.

    For both of us, the limitations have been a feature, not a bug — we’ve both had reasons and major commitments that made this suitable for where we were in our lives (well, okay, we’d have preferred a lot less separation, but neither of us was ready or wanted to be ready for the Progression On Schedule To Bonded At The Hip Coupledom because we had other things we were doing that came first).

    But sometimes the separation can be hard, and so we’ve both always been careful with each other, checking in that the other is okay, that this is still working in a positive way. The agreement was there from the start that this doesn’t continue if it becomes too hard or not healthy in some way for one of the participants, and each of us has carefully checked in with the other on that regularly and been prepared to bow out for the other’s benefit should it ever not be working for the other person. That’s what it looks like when a Top Quality Grown Up, to borrow Esme’s phrase, tries to have a romance with those kinds of built-in limitations.

    That’s not how this guy is acting. Hold out for something better.

  43. Hi Sammy! You’ve already got a lot of solid, excellent advice from the Captain and crew here, but I’d like to highlight a couple of things. First and most importantly, please remember to be kind and patient with yourself. The breakup of a long-term relationship is a hard thing. The pain lingers. Moving to a different country is a huge adjustment. Getting sexually and emotionally involved with somebody who’s not right for you (regardless of whether he’s an okay guy or a manipulative shit or what his motivations are) is rough on a person. I’d like to really emphasize that if you’re emotionally raw and volatile right now, that is very reasonable!

    On the question of whether this dude was being shitty and manipulative, or just pursuing exactly what he said he wanted from the beginning: it sounds to me like a bit of both? I mean, it’s entirely possible to have the superficial-level honesty to say in words “oh I’m not looking for a relationship” but send all sorts of confusing “but maybe you can change my mind” signals, whether it’s on purpose or not, and it kind of sounds like that’s what this dude did with all the “princess” and “make you mine” stuff. At the very least, if I’m reading right and he invited himself over for sexytimes two weeks after you straight-up told him you were getting too emotionally involved and needed to end the FWB arrangement… I would definitely say he was reckless about whether you got hurt. Like, if I were in his shoes there, even if you initiated, I’d have to file it under “consent fuzzy; do not proceed” until we had had a clear-headed conversation–NOT in the heat of the moment–about whether you were genuinely cool with the FWB situation after all. (Similar to when someone is kinda-maybe-intoxicated.) But most of all, the Captain is spot-on that none of that changes the outcome. Dude is clearly not good for you (which you already know), and also it makes sense that you would have confused feelings in this situation.

    And I can’t tell you how glad I am that you’ve decided not to pursue the big satisfying breakup fight. I agree with the other commenters that that never turns out to be satisfying, and it generally ends up being just a bunch of energy wasted on another pointless argument. And there’s no avoiding the fact that it consists of more contact with this confusing dude who’s bad for you when the whole objective is to get away from him. Basically it plays right into the addictive temptation, and rarely if ever pays off. There’s a lot of writing out there about “the myth of closure” which may be relevant if you want to go look that up. So, good on you for deciding not to bother with that.

    Now that it sounds like you’ve decided to just cut this guy out of your life with a minimum of fuss (which I think is exactly the best thing you can do), remember also that it’s okay to miss him. Even in a relationship (or friendship or FWB arrangement or fling or any other variant) that turns out to be bad for you, the good parts were still good. You don’t have to deny that he was really fun when he wanted to be, and please please don’t beat up on yourself for having enjoyed the compliments and the charisma and the chemistry while it was going on. Sometimes you know you need to end a thing but you still miss it and grieve when it’s over. This is normal and okay. Let yourself grieve, just remember that the feelings of sadness and loss don’t mean you were wrong to end this thing which was causing you more hurt than happiness.

    Take care of yourself.

    • Sammy said:

      Thank you for your kind words and advice.
      I’m feeling much better than before. Today suddenly after days of no talking. He sent me a snapchat photo of him wearing a costume of something.
      I just kept it on seen without replying. I felt strong.
      and wanted to give him an indirect message that i don’t care about him anymore. I think the reason why I couldn’t let go because his face and presence became so fimiliar and comfortable for me that other faces are nothing to me. I don’t find anyone else handsome or like them other than him. But i told myself I CAN find someone else who I will have a good sexual chemistry and I will be comfortable with him.

      • Traffic_Spiral said:

        Good for you. Now block him already so you stop seeing pictures at all.

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