8.10.2005

Ask The Celibate: Is he conflicted or insensitive?

The Celibate mailbag received this email, requesting advice. I already sent her my reply. Admitting that I do NOT know everything, sigh, I post this for my wise readers. Please comment with any sage words. I will post my response tomorrow. (O the suspense!)

All right, here it is. I have a thoroughly extraordinary male friend. He is brilliant, funny, charismatic, handsome and talented. The first year we knew
each other, he was dating someone else. Nonetheless, we always had extraordinary chemistry and a very intense rapport. The friendship became so stressful that I decided to move to another city to take a job.

About two months before I moved, we had a very intense evening during which we confessed our feelings for each other. We both seemed so happy, though he was still with the other person. Half a week later, they had broken up for other reasons. We had two or three wonderful evenings together...and then he disappeared completely until I left town. I thought he was depressed about his break up and terribly conflicted about me as I was leaving.

A couple of months after I left, he got back together with his ex-girlfriend.
This was all very painful for me, but I had moved away. All of the above occurred a couple of years ago, and now I am temporarily in my old city for a couple of months. We've seen each other off and on and been friendly. Here is what happened to me last week:

We find ourselves at the same social gathering. We have a subtextural tiff as part of a larger group conversation about this chick who flew in from out of town to meet him around the time of our strangeness two years ago, and I wander off for a bit. Anyway, he buys me another glass of wine just as the party is breaking up and then it is just him, me and this other guy. He suggests at 1:20 in the morning that we go to out dancing. All three of us go and dance for half an hour or so 'till the place closes. The music ends with a schmaltzy slow song and he pulls me in for a close dance that turns into sort of a hug. The music ends, lights go up and we are still standing there holding onto each other. He won't let go! It is very sweet and intense. Finally I pull away and lead him out the door.
>
> We get to his house and he says, "This is us." I say, "Well, this is you, anyway." He invites me in for a drink at 2:30 in the morning. We go out on the patio and chat for the next couple of hours about all kinds of fun things. His hands keep brushing mine while we are talking, so I brush his back and then he takes my hand in between both of his and we just hang out like that for a while, holding hands and grinning at each other. He mentions it is late and I get up to go. I ask him to walk to the
sidewalk with me. He does and I say goodbye and then he kisses me on the mouth.
>
> So there we are making out on his sidewalk for 15 minutes or so at 5am. It is very romantic and emotional. Lots of stroking my cheekbone and kissing my forehead and stuff like that. He asks if I'd like to stay over and I say no. Then I say, "You don't really want that either, do you?" He avers that indeed he does. I tell him I think we deserve better than that. He assures me with one hand halfway down the back of my jeans that it will be "very platonic." I tell him I'll see him again soon because this [chemistry] obviously isn't going anywhere.
>
> So, we see each other soon thereafter at a party. He is sweet, we talk off and on, and he finds an indirect way to tell me that he and his most recent girlfriend broke up on good terms. He didn't give me any hint of how upset he may or may not be about this. He asks if I am attending something a couple of days later, invites himself and firmly promises to be there. I am apprehensive, of course, but hopeful. If he is single and misses me as much as he appears to, then maybe we can finally spend some time together.
>
> But, he doesn't show up and I am crestfallen. I text him that evening to ask if he forgot, and I get no answer. In light of recent events and his firm commitment to come, this is really inconsiderate, wouldn't you say? If he didn't feel up to coming, he should have dropped me a line. Unless, of course, he is standing me up deliberately in order to reestablish emotional distance, which sucks. I email him asking for an honest update about what is going on. The next day he chokes out one paragraph about how he had been really tired and just read and napped all evening.
>
> I write a very sweet and lucid email back explaining that I had been excited to see him, and that he runs so hot and cold on me as to leave me extremely confused. And, can he help me to decide whether to trust signals like the ones I received the evening of the dancing...or the completely different ones I received in the last couple of days? I also told him straightforwardly that if he was actually single, and if he missed me as much as he appeared to last week, that I thought we should spend some time together in some capacity while I am here. (I need to leave again in about a month)

> It's been almost three days now, and I haven't gotten any response. Obviously given our history, he should not have kissed me if he didn't *really* miss me. And, at the time he seemed very serious, like his feeling for me is something that is bottled up inside him most of the time. But if that were true, why would he be ignoring me now? Either he is *really* conflicted or really being insensitive. Of course I would prefer to believe the former. What do you think?


Men. I've heard many stories like this one from friends and acquaintances. The men in our generation seem to hate responsibility and refuse to grow up. And we women are enabling them. My reply to be posted tomorrow.

39 comments:

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately - this story is SOOOO familiar. I think I've lived it - more than once. He is being insensitive. He's giving her just enough "attention" to make sure she is still hanging on after all this years. She's a security net for him. Something to fall back on just in case he doesn't find "something" better.

I call it the revolving door syndrome. I have it and so do alot of my girl friends. We care so much that every little thing - one kiss - means the world and just inflates the balloon in our chests. Then nothing and the balloon deflates slowly - painfully. I wish men would just have the guts (or other choice word) to POP the balloon outright. That way we wouldn't be left hanging on & hoping. Let us move on already!

My new motto - "You either want me or you don't". Maybe is not an option. 

Left by Michelle

Anonymous said...

My reaction is that maybe he was caught up in the moment that first night, which sucks for us women, b/c we get our hopes up. I dont' doubt at all that he was genuinely glad to see her that first night. As the night went on, maybe he was being more selfish than glad to see her. Sorry if thats rude. I'm hugely impressed that the girl said no at the end of the episode b/c if she thinks this is a mess now, just think how much of a mess it would be if she would've stayed w/ him that night. And subsequently this behavior[his] were to follow, which, most likely, it would've. So, he's obviously not sure, and we shouldn't have to convince anyone to want to be with us. I think the young lady has handled herself very well thoughout all of this. Even in the last paragraph when she clearly expressed her feelings about how she's been treated. I say look at past behaviors and patterns - that usually helps explain current and future ones. If he was flaky then he most likey still is now.  

Left by adw

Anonymous said...

"Conflicted or insensitive"? BOTH!! 

Left by Anonymous

Anonymous said...

Maybe suggest to her that she read the book, "He's Just Not That Into You". I HAVE the book and can mail it to her if she likes! Tell her that she's better than that and she doesn't need to get played any longer! :) GO SISTA! 

Left by Feather

Anonymous said...

I agree. No man is worth this kind of treatment. Sad as it may be, I think she needs to let him (or, more aptly, the "idea" of him) go. A REAL friend would not be acting this way, nor would someone who is whole-heartedly interested. There could also be a million other "what if" scenarios, like maybe he lied about his ex, etc., etc. EVEN SO -- he's not worth it. You deserve better than that.  

Left by Jill

Anonymous said...

He's playing her. He wants to sleep with her, she wants something more. He is not capable of giving her what she wants.  

Left by kneight

Anonymous said...

If this guy wanted to be around her, he would call and ask her out. He is just looking to get laid. My guess is he is still involved with someone, but still wants to bed down "the one that got away".

She needs to cut this loser loose. He is just looking to score. If she lets him, he will dissappear back to his old (and probably current) girlfriend by 9:00 the next morning. 

Left by James

Anonymous said...

I look forward to your answer! I haven't received it via email. 

Left by questioner

Anonymous said...

Ummm. She needs to just let the dude go.

Within the first three paragraphs I'm told everything that needs to be told.

"All right, here it is. I have a thoroughly extraordinary male friend. He is brilliant, funny, charismatic, handsome and talented."

So, it appears he's everything she ever wanted.

"We both seemed so happy, though he was still with the other person. " then "Half a week later, they had broken up for other reasons."

This guy is more than willing to be untrue to what I can assume was a girlfriend that he'd had for a while.

"We had two or three wonderful evenings together...and then he disappeared completely until I left town. I thought he was depressed about his break up and terribly conflicted about me as I was leaving.

A couple of months after I left, he got back together with his ex-girlfriend.
This was all very painful for me,"

So he shows that he's going to be a flake. She also still keeps in touch with him, or is semi-stalking him since she knows what's happening in his life.

Why girls do this, why they continue to talk/crush on someone over a "couple" of years, expect the guy to change, and then complain and carp about it befuddles me.

Cut him lose. The chances of him changing are nill. Move on.

Of course, I think women of this generation have their own set of problems, but I don't think blog comments are the best place to discuss this ;)


 

Left by Chris

Anonymous said...

All men are conflicted, but in very simple ways.

Though it seems like his problem is he has some chemistry going, but not much else, so he keeps flip flopping. Especially since she is sending the message "hey, I'm temporary" when she means "hey, make it worth my time to develop something."

Until he gets straightened out ... or is responding to the right message, there is going to be trouble. 

Left by Stephen M (Ethesis)

Anonymous said...

So ... "Is he conflicted or insensitive" -- or both? Probably both. 

Left by Stephen M (Ethesis)

Anonymous said...

You people have got to be kidding. This guy isnt "conflicted" at all. He has a definate plan to get her in bed, do his business, then dissappear forever unless he can bed her down with no strings attached for a second time. Girly, if you think for a minute this guy has any long term plans with you.. you are dreaming. 

Left by James

Anonymous said...

I'm with James, cut your losses and get out.
He is a user and a jerk. 

Left by Linda

Anonymous said...

This situation sounds very familiar. You see, once upon a time I acted much like this guy. I knew a beautiful, bright girl, we got along great, she was sincere, sweet and fun to be around. And yet I never found myself "head over heels" for her. We would go out, we would kiss, and then it would be a few weeks until I'd call again. Sometimes we had plans, but I just didn't feel motivated to go.

I really can't explain it... other than, I guess I wasn't that interested, but I liked to have her company. I really liked her, it's just for some reason I couldn't commit at that time.

Now I look back and can't believe I would string someone along like that. Some of the above comments are true... this guy just wants a pretty face, a warm body, and a set of willing lips (and probably a few rounds of non-commital rumpy pumpy).

I ran into my past "friend" after a few years. She was married, and was very distant with me, and I completely understand why. She made the smart choice and let go.

I can say that I am now reformed. But the questioner had better not wait for him to reform, it's obvious he doesn't feel the emotional chemistry with her, just the temporary, physical chemistry, and that won't get either of them very far. I hope for her sake she continues to resist his attempts at getting her in bed. 

Left by A Reformed Emotionally Distant Jerk

Anonymous said...

Men. I've heard many stories like this one from friends and acquaintances. The men in our generation seem to hate responsibility and refuse to grow up. And we women are enabling them. My reply to be posted tomorrow .

I'm looking forward to the answers ;)
 

Left by Stephen M (Ethesis)

Anonymous said...

The guy isn't into the girl. He wanted a fun night with her and that's it. She should move on for good. 

Left by Gay Mormon

Anonymous said...

http://www.renderosity.com/viewed.ez?galleryid=950037&Start=1&Artist=karen1573&ByArtist=Yes

A great render that kind of captures this as well. 

Left by Stephen M (Ethesis)

Anonymous said...

Sorry to comment about this in the wrong place . . . but I just read your "Preamble: I'm a 28 Year-Old Virgin." It made me laugh, because I can't tell you how many times I've done that. I recently moved to a new city, have started re-establishing a friend network, mostly secular friends, and I deal with my celibacy in much the same way. I just let them make the assumptions, and never correct them. Generally people assume things without any questioning, and what do you know, I'm just like them.
I also have had a lot of struggle with the hypocrisy . . . it was so nice to hear someone else felt the same way.
Thanks from a Presbyterian girl.
Coral Rose 

Left by Coral Rose

Anonymous said...

Too much suspense! Am looking forward to your wisdom. :) 

Left by questioner

Anonymous said...

JL : " My reply to be posted tomorrow"

RiR: "Two weeks does not tomorrow make"

Seriously, hope all is well 

Left by Russel in Retrograde

Anonymous said...

still waiting... 

Left by MZ

Anonymous said...

okay, I agree with everyone before - i just have to shoot out my rule on this - this guys is what I like to call the "I Don't Know" guy. If you find yourself talking about him and going on and on about how great he is and then at the end you say "but.. I don't know" because there is something undefined or ambiguous or something, alas, it will never ever work. Try it with your friends - the I Don't Know guy NEVER works out! The guy you DO know about doesn't let you have a moment of I Dunno about him becuase he makes sure you know. He's the right one:)
 

Left by reva

Anonymous said...

I wouldn't say these actions are exclusive to men. I experienced similar events with an LDS woman. 

Left by jkj

Anonymous said...

Hope you are totally wrapped up in your work, or have a new relationship starting, or have won the N.Y. lottery and are cruising around the world. In other words, we miss you and look forward to "the next chapter". 

Left by hanna tycc

Anonymous said...

I'd say he's being pretty clear, actually. His actions, as a whole clearly indicate that he's not nearly as into her as she'd like to think, or hope, he is.  

Left by anonymous

Anonymous said...

do you all think she (our favorite celibate) is okay? 

Left by trs

Anonymous said...

i hope our favorite celibate is ok... hurry back please JL we miss your words and thoughts 

Left by irishman

Anonymous said...

http://www.timesandseasons.org/index.php?p=2569 for another story of some other celibates and a "set-up" and how it went. 

Left by Stephen M (Ethesis)

Anonymous said...

This is definitely not a new story. It has happened to me over and over again and then when the real thing does come along, you question it. It would be really nice if men (and women) would just be honest. It would save so much heartbreak. Hmmm, honesty..what a concept. If you are just looking for a piece of ass for the night, say that..we might oblige you but don't play with emotions.  

Left by Sky

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