Hi Captain! I’m 22, she/her, and relatively inexperienced romantically, if it matters.
Last summer I met a guy on Tinder and we hit it off right away. He actually asked me to be his girlfriend the first time we met up in person (my friend insisted this was a serious red flag, but I didn’t see this as a huge concern as we’re both pretty young—at the time I was 21 and he was 22, so I thought he might just be a romantic and not necessarily a sign of emotional immaturity). We went out for two months, during which he told me he “really, really, really, really liked” me. But then he went through some really rough things financially and emotionally and started messaging me less. I asked if he still wanted to see me, saying I understood if not. He said he did but needed some space for a while. I told him if he was still interested by then, I’d be around.
He never got back to me, so I figured he’d move on, but I never really stopped thinking about him. A month ago I texted him, asking how he’s been. I swear I wasn’t expecting to rekindle things or even an answer, but he said he’d been thinking about me too and wanted to see me again. We were going to have lunch but later admitted we both wanted to have sex. We did, and after that, radio silence.
I know we weren’t in a relationship, but I’m hurt that he’d say he didn’t want it to be the last conversation and then vanish on me again. I thought he genuinely showed signs of interest: He was the first to say he missed talking and that he had been thinking of me, without me asking. Since he was at work when we reconnected, I asked if he’d rather talk on the phone later, and he agreed but added “yet I still want to keep talking” i.e. still keep texting. He called me as soon as he was done with his shift, while still at his workplace, then while going home he texted me saying even though it was only for a bit (meaning 18 minutes) he missed talking to me over the phone, and then he called me again when we got home. All our calls were over an hour. The day before we met up, he asked if I still wanted to have sex or do our original plans, saying he was fine with either—even after I asked if he was sure.
Also, I asked him if he had any problems from when we were going out. He said it was honestly great except one thing that was ‘mostly just his insecurities’ but that that was something better addressed another time. Maybe this doesn’t mean anything, but I can’t imagine someone saying something like that if they’re just gaming to get laid.
I really thought I had tried to be communicative and make sure we were on the same page, and I’d like to know if I had somehow misread the situation. Also I’m just sick of thinking about him. Any clarity or insight would be appreciated.
One more thing: days after meeting up, I discovered that he deleted both his Instagram and Facebook accounts. Not blocked, deleted. I saw him scrolling through Facebook when we met up, so he must have done this very soon after that. That made me wonder if something else is going on in his personal life or if I should be worried, but I’m not sure if I’m grasping at straws.
-Tired of Overthinking
Hi Tired of Overthinking:
You were honest and forthright and did nothing wrong, though your friend is right that “I want to be your boyfriend” the first time you meet someone is a bit of a red flag.
What happened is this: You met someone who is charismatic and interesting and sexy who comes on really strong at the beginning but who is not good at following through. Whether he’s not interested in following through or not able to follow through ultimately doesn’t matter – either way, he doesn’t follow through.
It happens sometimes. It sucks, but it happens sometimes.
Deleting all social media presence is possibly a worrying thing for him to do, but presumably this dude has friends and family and other people who can check in on him if something is not right. If you check on him, here’s what will most likely happen: He will tell you a story about why he hasn’t been around. (Fill in the proper space on your Confusing Dude bingo card if this sad story involves baggage from a past relationship.) You will have some intense conversations again and sleep together again, and then he will disappear or otherwise disappoint you again.
So here’s the lesson: Now that you know that he’s unreliable, you can break the cycle of overthinking and being disappointed by letting his self-imposed disappearance from your life actually work. Don’t chase him. He is either unwilling or unable to be the dating partner he seemed like at the start.
The next time you meet up with someone from Tinder or another dating site, you will probably be a bit more skeptical about grand pronouncements like “I want to be your boyfriend” right after they meet you. You’ll be like “Cool, we just met, so slow down! How do you even know I want to be your girlfriend?” You’ll be a bit more skeptical of someone telling you “I have a lot of insecurities, that’s why I am [unreliable/annoying in some way].” You’ll be like “I hope you have a good therapist to talk those over with! So are we on for Saturday or not?” And hopefully you’ll continue to be your wonderful, forthright self, and look for people who consistently show up. This dude is probably not that dude. You didn’t do anything wrong by liking him a lot or giving him a couple of chances.