Jeff and I met before as we worked at the same company, and he gave me his phone number a few months later when I saw him again at our company meeting. We casually texted back and forth for a while and dated casually here and there. He’d gotten out of a three year relationship prior to giving me his number, and I was still going through the merry-go-round of hellish dates, but I liked him, we had a lot in common, and seemed to have a good time.
Things were going well for almost three months, and then they came to a halt. The time between texts was almost two weeks, I suddenly felt like I’d been the one arranging all our dates, and now he had disappeared. I tried one last time, inviting him over for sex, and he stood me up with no explanation, so I wrote him off for good. He sent me a text about a week later that said he didn’t mean to avoid me. Since then, I’ve gotten random texts from him here and there, like one that asked if my power was on after a massive storm (I ignored it, as I wasn’t even in the area at the time), and one asking how I was doing and mentioning one of the common interests we shared.
I’ve been known to be a doormat in the past, and my friends think I’m desperate because I’ve never really had a boyfriend (just tons of bad dates I can laugh at now), but that’s not the case here. The question is: is he trying to be friends because we did have a lot in common and got along well? Or is he trying to weasel his way back into having sex with me? These texts occur at random intervals, and he’s not dangerous. I just think that he wasn’t ready to see anyone in any context, from casually to a real relationship. I could possibly accept being friends, as I do have several male friends and am able to respect the line between friendship and something more, but it’s the fact that his behavior went from being a really nice guy to being nonexistent that gives me pause. — Bad Luck Dater
I get questions like this a lot — almost always from women — who want to know whether a guy’s behavior indicates that he wants a friendship with her, just sex, or something more. And just like in your letter, what is almost always missing from the context is what the woman wants. Do you want a friendship with this guy? Just sex? Something more? Figure out exactly what it is you want — not what you’ll settle for or tolerate, but what you want — and then decide whether the guy’s behavior supports fostering that. Again, don’t analyze what his behavior means; decide what you want with him and whether his behavior is what you’re looking for in a friend/ boyfriend/ casual sex partner.
The reason why it’s important to pay attention only to the behavior and not what you think might be the motivation behind the behavior is because you can’t change the way a person behaves. So many women get it in their head that if a guy likes them — really, truly likes them — then with time, they can get them to behave in a way that supports a healthy relationship. Wrong! You have to START with good behavior and build from there. If a guy is already behaving with disinterest and disrespect, why would you want a friendship with him, let alone a relationship? Even if a casual sex partner is all you’re after — and I doubt that’s the case — a man who stands you up for sex is probably not the best candidate for that, you know?
In other words: MOA. Whether you want a friend, a boyfriend or a FWB, this guy’s behavior does not indicate that he will be good at any of those roles. And in the future, if you want to avoid terrible dates, then avoid men who behave terribly. It really is that simply. Unless you’re still looking for fodder for your book, in which case, carry on.