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His Take: “Did He Just Want Me for Sex?”

I just came out of my first serious relationship about six months ago and have begun dating again. Instantly, I really connected with this one guy at work. (We’re both post-grad minions, so it’s not too scandalous.) We would text ALL the time, go to dinner and movies, hang out with his mom…basically dating without dating. To make a long story short, we ended up making out after a few too many White Russians. It was great and he was very considerate. Since then, we made out two more times, but the last time (a week ago) he was much more interested in going way further than I am currently comfortable with, so I asked him to slow down, which he did.

The thing is, now he barely talks to me outside of work. He used to text me at least three times a day and in the past week he’s only texted me twice. At work he’s perfectly normal, but he hasn’t mentioned hanging out again. I guess my questions are as follows: did he just want me for sex? Or has he mistaken physical intimacy for relationship status? (e.g. Is he not pursuing me because he wrongly thinks that I’m not interested in him because I wouldn’t go further?) And, in case this ever happens again, how can you backtrack physically without backtracking emotionally? — Let’s (Not) Get Physical


ANDREW: Let me get this straight: this guy’s attempt at seduction involved making you hang out with his mom for a month and then getting you drunk on White Russians? And for some reason you didn’t want to have sex with him? How unusual.

The problem isn’t anything you did or didn’t do. The problem is that this guy has no idea what he’s doing. He probably hasn’t called or texted back because he’s mortified. I can picture him now sitting on the couch with his mom watching the Big Lebowski for the 40th time wondering where it all went wrong.

You’ve been out of the dating pool for a while so here’s quick reminder: you can do a lot better than this clown. Enjoy being single. Date different guys. Sooner or later you’ll meet one you actually want to sleep with. Or at least one who doesn’t have a milk mustache when he tries to make out with you.

DAVID JAY: The two of you just ended up on different pages. Apparently, after three make-out sessions, he assumed you were ready to step it up a notch. When you asked him to slow down, you unknowingly slammed the door on his ego, and now he feels like he put himself out there and got shot down. He isn’t about to let that happen again, so the next move (whatever you decide to make it) is yours.

I don’t think he just wanted you for sex. If that were the case, there’d be no emotional damage on his part and he’d still be trying to bed you. He clearly had some real feelings for you, and wasn’t planning on rejection being one of them. Physical intimacy, when properly administered, serves as a testimony to relationship status, but the two of you are measuring things with different scales. You cannot backtrack from what happened, so just face it. I recommend you give him a call, open with a silly apology for what happened, and see if you can arrange another date where the boundaries are well-established. Good Luck!

JAREK: To answer your last part, which I think will help to understand why this guy is acting the way he is, it is always best to qualify your request to slow things down. Be it “I just got out of a relationship” or “I only get physical with people I’m dating,” or whatever. If you don’t let the guy know why you don’t want to take things further, he’ll assume the worst. He’ll feel more comfortable knowing he is not the reason you want to take things slowly, but rather you have your own personal reasons.

The drop in communication from this guy, giving him the benefit of the doubt, could be due to embarrassment. He may feel bad he tried to take it too far and thinks you’re upset with him. This is especially true if you have not been texting him or making plans to hang out. Even if you have always relied on him to initiate plans, he’ll now associate your lack of texting with the incident. Guys, unfortunately, do often equate intimacy and a romantic interest; if you don’t want one aspect of the equation, we tend to think you don’t want the other. So do what a lot of people who write in forget to do: talk to him. Or text him. Or in some way initiate contact. If you do and he still avoids you, things may not work out. If things start to go back to the way they were, discuss what you’re looking for and find out what he’s looking for as well. Communication will sort, if not explain, most relationship issues.

DENNIS: Now, hold on a second. Have you actually gone out on dates with him? Did he pursue you previously and stop recently? Or have you only hung out, presumably as friends/coworkers, with the occasional impromptu make-out session thrown in? Because from your recounting of events, it sounds to me like he’s seeing you as more of a random, casual hookup, but you’re wanting more. You talk about things like “relationship status” and “backtracking emotionally,” but honestly, I don’t see what kind of “status” you have, or what there is to “backtrack” from at this point. Yes, the two of you have spent a lot of time together, but I just don’t get the impression that he’s all that interested in anything romantic. Of course, all those details may have been in the “long story short” part that you left out, so don’t let my dubiousness depress you too much. You can certainly take the initiative and just tell him that you’re interested in taking things further, but you just want to take it slow.

On the other hand, a little more information about this dude might help. Does he come across as the “player” type? Is he a smooth talker and comfortable around women? Or does he strike you as not being all that experienced with women? If you work together, you should be able to get a good feel for this. The reason I ask is that the back-off-and-ignore ploy is a pretty typical gambit for the guy who’s looking for a hookup. But, if he’s the more socially awkward type, then he may sincerely be backing off in an effort to abide by your wishes. In that case, you may have to take the initiative. (Huge caveat, though: Some of the best players are the ones who exude a very slight aura of shy awkwardness, but in fact know exactly what they’re doing.) So, figuring out his “type” may help you decide whether you should make the next move, or wait for him to do so. My opinion, given the limited information you’ve given us, is to wait. Because if several more weeks pass, and he’s made no mention of hanging out again, then you probably have your answer.

ART: Here’s what I see: you said “don’t pursue me so hard!” to him and now you wonder why he’s not pursuing you as hard as before. I can’t tell you if he just wanted you for sex (but probably not—playing the long game for “just sex” is dumb), but it’s now your job to drive the relationship, because from now on he will think he’s a step or two ahead of you. You weren’t wrong to tell him no, but he’s not some mechanical monkey that keeps walking forward no matter how many times he’s pushed back. Men have feelings too, you know.

* If you’d like to ask the guys a question, simply email me at wendy@dearwendy.com with “His Take” in the subject line and I’ll pass your question along to them.

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{ 43 comments… add one }

  • avatar Stilgar666 September 27, 2011, 12:34 pm

    This guys sounds a little weird, as all men have been asked to slow down at some point. It is pretty universal, and most take it in stride.

    Still, have a talk with him, find out what is going on. You do see him at work, and are still interested.

    • avatar lets_be_honest September 27, 2011, 12:40 pm

      Idk, sounds like he put his time in, she seemed willing enough to make out, he expected to get more, didn’t, he’s no longer interested. No?

      • bagge72 bagge72 September 28, 2011, 10:28 am

        I think you are right, it seems everyone is way over analyzing this. Pretty much this guy put in a bunch of time, introduced you to his mom, and didn’t get as much as he thought he deserved so he has probably decided that he will keep contact with you just in case something happens, but now he has put himself out there to move on. This isn’t a bad thing, you two are just on two different playing fields when it comes to relationships. He probably sees being intimate as a big part of the relationship, and you like to take it slow, and really make sure you know somebody before you get that intimate.
        There is a chance that if you explain to him what’s going on instead of just telling him to slow down he might be willing to wait to get it on. I think you just need to decide if want to be with somebody who has to make that type of choice.

  • avatar MellaJade September 27, 2011, 12:46 pm

    Hey David Jay – I don’t get what the LW should make an apology for? Would you mind expanding on that a bit?

    • avatar amber September 27, 2011, 12:55 pm

      I didn’t really understand that either. Maybe explain to him the next time you hang out things were moving too fast for you. But, no one should have to apologize for feeling like they were rushing and asking the other person to slow down.

      • avatar David Jay September 28, 2011, 11:22 am

        Gladly. I suggest that she make a light apology such as, “I’m sorry if I hurt your feelings. I like you, but I’m just not ready to go that far yet.” That’s all. Apologies make wonderful door openers for conversations. An apology doesn’t necessarily imply you did something wrong… you can just be sorry for the way things were perceived.

    • katie katie September 27, 2011, 7:58 pm

      i think it would be an apology for the awkwardness that has been created. so, like, “hey, sorry about that one night. i just only sleep with guys that i am in commited relationships with. it was nothing personal!”, something along those lines.

  • avatar Ktfran September 27, 2011, 12:51 pm

    LW, as I was reading your letter, I was pretty much thinking the same things as David Jay, Jarek and Art. I was happy to see my initial reaction was confirmed by them since I’m not a guy.

    I’m guessing this dude is slightly embarrassed. The ball is in your court. Talk to him. You won’t know unless you communicate.

  • avatar SpaceySteph September 27, 2011, 1:11 pm

    My thoughts after reading this letter is more what Dennis said. He could be a shy guy who is embarassed and backed down; but he also could be a scumbag who was using the LW as a FWB without telling her thats what he was doing. Then the benefits went away, so he closed up.

    Its really hard to say which, unless you know him really well or like, talk to him. I would suggest you ask him to do something date-like that doesn’t involve his mom OR White Russians. If he’s a nice shy guy who actually digs you, he’ll go for it. If he was using you for sex, he won’t.

    • avatar kali September 27, 2011, 1:31 pm

      Seriously, white Russians? In my world, only people who don’t like the taste of booze drink those – and they’re super high calorie. I couldn’t get past that part.

      Seems like LW and her erstwhile beau are young and this could just be poor communication on both parts. I vote with SpaceySteph: give him another shot, without Mom or the sicky sweet alcohol.

      • avatar honeybeenicki September 27, 2011, 1:37 pm

        My husband LOVES white russians. Yuck. I don’t drink at all anymore, but when I did that was probably one of the last things on my list.

      • avatar dr bro September 27, 2011, 1:52 pm

        lol yeah that part stuck out for me too. I imagine having too many white russians would go like http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=enY771qAmvk (warning: “guy humor,” sort of gross)

      • avatar soandso September 27, 2011, 1:53 pm

        they are really cheap and sweet – definitely a good drink

      • CatsMeow CatsMeow September 27, 2011, 2:04 pm

        Whaaaaaaat! White Russians are DELICIOUS, although only in limited quantities. I used to get them for free all the time at one of my regular hangouts…. haven’t had one in a while, though (high calorie content turns me off as well).

      • avatar dtime September 28, 2011, 2:43 am

        Give her a break. Recent post-grads are still fairly young drinkers. Plus White Russians are honestly delicious. I had a bartender once offer to make one with Baily’s instead of cream and I about lost it.

    • avatar SpaceySteph September 28, 2011, 10:40 am

      It wasn’t the white russians specifically… but hang out with the dude without drinking. If you can’t be in each others presence unless you’re drunk, that doesn’t bode well for a lasting relationship. Ask him out, but not to a bar or oktoberfest or anything else that requires drinking. If he says yes to an activity that has no chance of getting you drunk, then he’s probably not looking for a quick score.

  • Budj Budjer September 27, 2011, 1:28 pm

    Jarek and David Jay said it best imo. (I think the apology comment from David was for a misunderstanding if saying slowed down was misconstrued as disinterest…he was not implying apologize for not having sex).

    Qualify it as Jarek says and he will feel comfortable pushing the boundaries again. If it took him three times he probably had to muster up some courage to try so…

    Talk to him? Because right now not talking is making you both assume the worst of the other.

    • avatar Ktfran September 27, 2011, 1:37 pm

      I also thought David Jay was getting at what you said, Budjer. Apologizing for the misunderstanding is a good opening. Or, LW, you could just ask him to hang out.

  • avatar MsMisery September 27, 2011, 1:31 pm

    Ask him to go bowling. Call him The Dude.

  • avatar camille905 September 27, 2011, 1:32 pm

    Did you give him a reason WHY you wanted to slow down? If not he may assume that’s it’s about him when it’s really not. And dinner and movies and meeting his mom with making out thrown in definitely sounds like dating to me.

    The ball is in your court. Stop thinking so much and give him a call or text inviting him out. You really have nothing to lose here.

  • avatar HmC September 27, 2011, 2:04 pm

    Gosh, dating can really SUCK sometimes! All those times when the other person, who you don’t know very well yet, pulls away or starts acting in a way you don’t understand, and you start to run it by everyone you know and over think it in an attempt to get into someone else’s head to the point where you can’t even see the situation objectively anymore and you lose all touch with your own gut.

    It helped me to remember that you can’t get into someone else’s head, and no one else can either- people have got their own motivations for doing things and their own set of issues and problems. But at the end of the day, if someone really likes you and the timing is right, things generally work out. It’s cheesy and cliche I know, but true.

    As far as this guy, I’d give him some space to cool off (assuming he’s embarrassed or feels weird or something). At least you work together, so he can’t disappear off the planet. Take some time to explore whether this is even someone *you* want to date… do you even like this guy enough to date him? After you’ve thought about what you want, I might approach him casually about hanging out again. And once you’re along together in person, you could tell him you save getting physical for people you’re dating. That way he knows why you shut him down, and gives him an opportunity to address whether you even are dating. He may totally back off or freak out if actually dating you is not what he wants. But if dating someone is what you want, then good riddance. You’re free to stop worrying about this guy and find an even better one!

    Good luck LW! Dating is hard and frustrating and ego-crushing at times, but it can be so fun and give you such insight into yourself and others if you keep a positive attitude and refrain from obsessing too much over guys.

    P.S. And I have to disagree about David Jay’s advice that you apologize- you never owe anyone an apology for not sleeping with them.

  • avatar 6napkinburger September 27, 2011, 2:13 pm

    I know its off topic, but I’m seriously bummed out today. My boyfriend finally moved out today and hadn’t really prepped it at all because it was too hard to decide who got the drinking glasses or vacuum cleaner in advance, so my apartment is now a barren wasteland of trash and packing tape. And I’m really really sad, even though I wanted this. It’s really over. I’m going home to my (original nuclear) family for the holiday and staying until sunday so its not like I have to come home tonight to no one, but I’m so scared for sunday night and feeling so alone. Any kind words, friends?

    • avatar LennyBee September 27, 2011, 2:46 pm

      That’s tough. I personally like to clean thoroughly, rearrange furniture, and redecorate when I’m bummed out. That could help you in a couple ways: 1. it’s like reclaiming your space as your own personal sanctuary; 2. it’ll take your mind off things and leave you exhausted at night. You could also consider inviting a girlfriend over for a take-your-mind-off-things pyjama party.

      Good luck, and keep remembering that it may be hard now, but it’s for the best.

    • avatar TheGirlinME September 27, 2011, 2:47 pm

      Good for you for being so strong, first off. Maybe over the weekend, try to change the script in your head from “ugh, empty place” into “HA! now it is ALL MINE!! I can put things wherever I want them. I can listen to music I like. MY opinion is the only opinion that needs to be considered in this space! I RULE!!” – That helped me a little when I was in that situation, hope it helps you. Best of luck, sending you supportive thoughts.

    • avatar amber September 27, 2011, 2:52 pm

      i agree with the above posters. try and reclaim the space. go shopping (or get on craigslist or go to a flea market) and try to find some you things to put in your apartment that say you. invite friends over for a party to show off your new space. and also let yourself be sad for a little bit, buy a pint of ben and jerry’s, watch your favorite movie and be sad on the couch. but, then get off your butt and do the above things i mentioned. and in cases of relapses of the sadness keep wine and dark chocolate close by :)

      • avatar TheGirlinME September 27, 2011, 5:35 pm

        MMM… wine and chocolates… I forgot that part. One thing that very muched helped was a bottle of sweet red sparkling wine, combined with 70% dark chocolates. I enjoyed them in a bubble bath while reading total mind candy. I think it was a Travis McGee. No one to complain I was taking too long in the tub :-) Great call, amber!

        • avatar TheGirlinME September 27, 2011, 5:37 pm

          *much helped* Damned mini keyboard

    • avatar VegasNative September 27, 2011, 2:53 pm

      I know it’s totally Cliche, but it will get better with time. The pain and sadness will diminish until one day this guy and this relationship is just a memory and a life lesson… And after you’re over this relationship you’ll be free to be with someone who is more compatibale, etc…

    • avatar Ladybug September 27, 2011, 2:57 pm

      Hang in there, and try to find a way to enjoy having the space to yourself. Plan something for Sunday night that you enjoy doing alone, like a marathon of a guilty pleasure tv show or a long soak in the bathtub. Speaking for myself, after a holiday with my family a night alone to decompress is always welcome–if you look at it that way instead of coming home to a barren wasteland, it might not be so sad. After that, have some fun turning the apartment into your own space. Maybe you could change up the decor or the layout and then have a house re-warming party with your friends. Good luck!

    • avatar silver_dragon_girl September 27, 2011, 2:58 pm

      You could get a book on Feng shui (how the F do you spell that? Fung Shway?) and rearrange your furniture, that might be a good project…or bake. Personally I like to keep busy after a breakup, so I plan my time out the wazoo. I make these long lists of things to do, most of which never get done, but still. Movies, bubble baths, books, TV, baking, knitting, drawing, talking to friends, working out, etc. etc.

      Hang in there, 6. It’ll get better.

    • avatar mcminnem September 27, 2011, 3:24 pm

      Clean really thoroughly, in order to reclaim your space. Vacuum, mop, move the furniture and clean under it, reorganize your things, sort the kitchen, run laundry, clean out the fridge. Open all the windows and let the place air out. When you’re too exhausted to do any more, go buy yourself a box of your favorite cookies (I was recently rescued from emotional breakdown by some double stuf oreos) make some tea, and sit your pyjama’d self down for a Discovery Channel marathon. Or anything really, but something that’ll present you with some interesting things to think about. I recommend lots and lots of Planet Earth, or anything else featuring David Attenborough’s wonderful, soothing voice.

      • avatar amber September 27, 2011, 3:27 pm

        i love david attenborough, i’m a sucker for the life of birds!

    • avatar Elle September 27, 2011, 5:04 pm

      The first night in my old apartment (new town, I didn’t know anyone), I had to go to Walmart for some necessities. Walking around the shelves, I saw a “Live Love Laugh” painting with a red flower. I bought it, and it was the first thing you would see walking in my house. I’ve moved twice since then (last time was this weekend haha), and it’s still the first thing you see walking through the door. I know it’s cheesy, but it gave me some kind of purpose. If you’re crafty, maybe you can make one yourself? It will keep your mind off of things for a while too. Hugs 6napkin, you’ll get where you need to go.

    • avatar Elle September 27, 2011, 5:15 pm

      Oh, and for me, getting a haircut is very helpful in getting over a breakup. It makes me feel like a new person, and every time I look in the mirror, it’s like I see myself for the first time. Maybe try color therapy – wear bright colors, or decorate your place/cubicle/screensaver with colorful stuff.

    • avatar Nadine September 27, 2011, 7:04 pm

      No advice, but kind thoughts coming your way. also, structure your evening, with a friend who arrives then leaves, then its reading for half an hour time, then its feed the cats, then its answer some emails, then its shower time, then do the dishes…. start your new routine, and pack it all in!
      (Just realised i gave advice when I said I didn’t have any, sorry!)

    • avatar SpaceySteph September 28, 2011, 8:38 am

      Agree with the others about changing your mindset on the apartment. Not desolate wasteland, but blank canvas for you to express yourself on. Shortly after getting dumped by my ex, I bought a house and painted the living room purple. Deep, bright, ridiculous purple. Every day that wall makes me happy, even a year later.
      You don’t have to go as drastic (its probably gonna take me 5 coats of beige to cover it up when I decide to sell), but take the opportunity to decorate or organize your way. Savor the fact that you can have things exactly how you want them, in your favorite color, etc. Breakups aside, living alone is totally awesome.

      Also, use the holiday to your advantage. I always love that I get TWO new years. TWO times to make some resolutions, wipe the slate clean, start fresh. Plant some flowers. Make a new years resolution and get started on it sunday night. Breakups suck, there’s no question there. It’ll take time. In the meantime its important to force yourself to be positive. Until you don’t have to force it anymore.

  • landygirl landygirl September 27, 2011, 2:17 pm

    Thank you, Drew for The Big Lebowski reference!

  • avatar LolaBeans September 27, 2011, 2:26 pm

    hahahahahahahahaha… drew! always hilarious.

  • avatar silver_dragon_girl September 27, 2011, 2:55 pm

    White Russians? Seriously?

    Consider this a bullet dodged, LW…

    In all seriousness, though, he probably just backed off a lot because that’s what you said you wanted…you really have to spell things out for guys. I think the ball is in your court: Ask him out on a real date, momless, and maybe order a grown-up drink while you’re on it. Then kiss him at the end of the night. If he expresses confusion, say that you still like him, and you still really want to see him, you just aren’t ready for anything past second base yet. If he’s the kind of guy you want to be with, he’ll understand. If he’s not, he won’t. Simple as that.

    (PS- Just kidding with the WR hate…they’re pretty tasty. But still an easy target.)

  • avatar fast eddie September 27, 2011, 8:49 pm

    Trying to look at this from his perspective, you want to hang out and date but not interested in having sex right now. ooooK but if it’s not gonna happen then why spend time, money, and energy on a casual friendship that isn’t going anyplace in the foreseeable future if ever. With all you time you’ve spent with him and you say slow down? If it were any slower you’d have to be embalmed. He took you to meet his mom, if that’s not solid evidence of being interested in a committed relationship I can’t imagine what it would take. I bet he thinks your frigid which is deal killer of the highest order. At any rate if you pry you way into his pants now it will only increase his suspension of your intentions. Both of you have wasted your time and the damage is permanent. Move on and try to not be so up tight with the next guy.

  • avatar Lindsay September 27, 2011, 9:10 pm

    I think all the guys make good points. It really depends on how the LW told him that she didn’t want to go further. Saying that you aren’t ready or something along those lines shouldn’t send a well-intentioned guy away. But I can see how he might misinterpret it if she simply backed away with no explanation. I was casually seeing a guy once, and my response to him saying that he didn’t want a serious relationship was, “OK.” Somehow, he took that to mean that I just wanted to be friends, when I honestly just meant to acknowledge what he said. It’s easy to get on different pages.

    However, Dennis makes a good point. If there have been no real dates or any kind of expression of liking each other, it may just be a hookup to him. If that’s the case, then he probably would take your hesitation to mean that you’d rather pursue a relationship, or at least be more serious that he intends.

  • avatar Nick September 28, 2011, 3:14 am

    I don’t mean to get off on a rant here, but this notion of “he just wanted me for sex” is, well, sexist. She should get off it. Check the script and figure out how that line of thinking got inserted in there. As for the mixed signals, yes, that’s something she should make an effort to explain to his satisfaction if she wants to rekindle interest. Is she trying to have it both ways, romantic relationship, but without physical affection? That tends not to fly for good reasons. Look, if it doesn’t feel right, you can goooooo oh.

  • avatar AndreaMarie September 28, 2011, 11:53 am

    I agree with the guys. He’s probably embarrassed and feels stupid and probably thinks you might have negative feelings towards him now. Look at it from his perspective. He’s been hanging out with you, texting, chilling with Mom, so he thinks you’re interested. He makes out with you a few times. Now he’s super into and thinks it’s mutual. He makes a move and you push him away and say Stop. Now he thinks he just blew and and now you think he’s a creep.

    Ball’s in your court. Ask him out.

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