Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

His Take: “What Do These Relationship Red Flags Mean?”

For the last five months, I have been exclusively dating a guy friend. We were acquaintances for two years before we reconnected at a friend’s party in October and started going on dates immediately after. We’re both in our mid-twenties and I’d like to move things forward a bit, but I see two possible red flags. First, every month or two, he will just drop off the grid (he’s not online, doesn’t answer his phone, doesn’t answer his friends) for half a week, even if we had plans. Generally, I’m okay with him needing so much alone time, but I’m not fond of occasionally being stood up.

The second red flag: although he’s stayed overnight, we only kiss. He has no problem initiating making out, but any time I’ve tried to turn the make-out session into something heavier, he kisses me even softer or pauses altogether. When I ask if he is all right, he says he’s fine. I’m afraid to try for anything below the belt yet until I get more signs from him. I can tell that he’s turned on, but no action is taken. He’s pretty shy and I don’t want to make him feel bad by bringing it up in conversation.

Also, as a girl, I also feel uncomfortable being the one to bring out the “define the relationship” talk. I don’t need to be thinking about marriage or moving in together; I just want to go out with him more often and everything that comes with that in bed. How do I let him know I want to move this forward? — Stuck in Limbo


JOE: My suspicion is that he has either been abused or feels he has some reason to be embarrassed about being sexual with you. If he were very religious, you probably would have mentioned that. So I suspect he is afraid of something — either trauma from his past or your predicted reaction to his body (it could involve sexual orientation, but you mentioned that he’s obviously aroused, so I think that’s less likely). Generally, aroused men in months-long exclusive relationships with overnight stays are not going to turn down sexual advances, just as in generally, the sun rises in the east. When they do turn such advances down, something significant is usually wrong.

I’m not sure why he drops off the grid for days at a time, and there are too many possible explanations (migraines, secret agent missions, advanced yoga practitioner, really bad narcolepsy, and so on). However, I think that’s a secondary issue, to be solved later. It has to be resolved, but I don’t think it’s the first thing to work on. In my opinion, you should find a non-threatening time (maybe when relaxing during a sleep-over night) and say that you really like him and want the relationship to grow, but that you’ve noticed he seems hesitant to pursue anything physically. Ask him if he too wants more out of the relationship and gently ask him why he’s been so hesitant physically. If you have any future at all with him, that discussion should yield answers. If you cannot talk to him about it, you have no future with him. Be prepared, though, for some heavy answers.

JAREK: I’ve always had a problem with the delegation of responsibilities between genders in a relationship. I’m not sure what being a girl has to do with having the “relationship talk.” Guys don’t need to be the first to say “I love you,” girls don’t need to be the “emotional” ones, and it is no one person’s responsibility to address issues in a relationship. This is 2011 — if you want something go after it.

Regarding the red flags: half a week isn’t all that long, but when it involves blowing off previously made plans and not giving you ample warning, then he is not respecting your time or your friendship (regardless of relationship status). That needs to be addressed BEFORE the relationship talk happens. The second red flag could be a number of things. One is he doesn’t want things to progress sexually out of fear of leading you on or giving you the wrong idea. This would suggest he is not ready for a relationship just yet, but respects you enough to not just sleep with you anyway. Another is he is embarrassed for some reason, such as having an STD. This discussion needs to happen AFTER the relationship talk. There is no real point in discussing it before since sex isn’t even on the table now. So, figure out what is behind red flag #1, then see if you still want a relationship. If so, talk to him about it. If he’s on board, find out what’s behind red flag #2. Then decide if you STILL want the relationship. If so, go for it. If not, walk away.

DENNIS: Alone time is understandable, but standing you up is not. This isn’t even a relationship issue here. It’s common courtesy. If you’re going to bail on someone, you have to let them know. (Well, unless you live in Southern California, in which case “sorry, I flaked” is, like, a totally valid excuse for disappearing on someone.) Anyway, if you don’t want to have the boyfriend talk, then just explain that standing someone up, whether an acquaintance, friend, or significant other, is just not cool. Honestly, him needing a few days of alone time every month or two seems like nothing. Flaking on plans you’ve made… that’s something. So, if he continues to be flaky after you’ve talked to him about it, well, then that might tell you something about the way he handles relationships.

As for the kissing issue, first off, you might want to find out what his religious background is. That could answer your question pretty quickly. Yes, I’m only half-joking here, but there really might be something about his personal values that you’re not aware of. Also, if you don’t want to have “that talk,” you can always tell him that you’d like to go a little further physically, but you want to make sure he’s comfortable first. This way, you’re very delicately placing the, ahem, balls in his court, and the way he responds might also help you figure out what exactly he’s feeling. Given what you said about his shyness, you might want to tip-toe around the issue, but I think you can easily address it without grabbing the aforementioned balls and whacking them out of the park.

ART: That whole disappearing thing should be enough to send you in the other direction. That is a full-on boner-killer, and no one should put up with it. And it sounds like he’ll just keep doing it until: 1) he overdoses on whatever drug he’s on while he’s disappeared; or 2) someone finally has the balls to tell him to knock it the fuck off and he finally listens for once.

Is this guy worth working so hard for? He won’t even take your shirt off after five months, or, if he has, he won’t give himself the sweetest of releases. That is fucking weird. If you are going to move this forward, you need to be able to talk about sex candidly. If you’re in your mid 20s you should be able to talk candidly about sex with any partner you have, serious or otherwise. Yes, it’s always uncomfortable, but mild discomfort ahead of time will allow for fantastic pleasure afterward — and no babies!

And as for your last point: you need to get over your notions of gender roles, first of all. This is the early 2000s (I forget the exact year), and like it or not you now have the same responsibilities as a man. If you have a feeling, you are the one who has to talk about it. That is advice you should take with you for all future relationships, because it will never stop being true. Bottom line: he doesn’t respect your time or your needs. Get out of that shit ASAP.

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

67 comments… add one
  • avatar

    PFG-SCR April 11, 2011, 12:14 pm

    I don’t claim to know all of the dating “rules”, but something just feels wrong about this. You haven’t had a relationship talk, but you say you’re in an exclusive relationship yet it’s not progressed to a physical level besides kissing in five months.

    I think you need to talk to him and find out what is going on in his head.

    Reply Link
  • avatar

    MellaJade April 11, 2011, 12:20 pm

    “First, every month or two, he will just drop off the grid (he’s not online, doesn’t answer his phone, doesn’t answer his friends) for half a week, even if we had plans.”
    Do his eyes change from amber gold to flat black just before he disappears? Does he avoid direct sunlight? – j.k.

    Seriously though, don’t allow yourself to be stood up. I learned that one from Wendy. You wouldn’t allow a friend to get away with that crap, much less a guy you’re interested. As our resident male experts stated above, he is not respecting you or your time when he doesn’t show/doesn’t call/never aplogiezes for leaving you sitting alone somewhere.
    As a lady in today’s dating world, there are no specific gender role definitions anymore. You want to know the answer to these questions, you are perfectly capable of asking him. Don’t wait for him to do so. You are good enough, you are smart enough and doggone it, people like you. Respect yourself and get your answers.
    5 months and you haven’t made it to second base? ok, right there it sounds like an MOA sitch.
    Good luck!

    Reply Link
    • avatar

      MellaJade April 11, 2011, 12:22 pm

      Wow, my spelling and lack of grammar is atrocious!

      …”much less a guy in whom you’re interested”

      … apologizes..

      Reply Link
    • MissRemy

      Ally April 17, 2011, 4:52 pm

      “Do his eyes change from amber gold to flat black just before he disappears? Does he avoid direct sunlight? ” A massive, literal LOL right there 🙂 Thumbs up X a million.

      Reply Link
  • avatar

    Elle April 11, 2011, 12:20 pm

    I agree with Dennis on the first issue – it’s common courtesy to let people know you’re not available. And then I agree with Art – it’s a sign of other issues.

    About the second issue – maybe he’s a virgin?

    Reply Link
    • avatar

      MissDre April 11, 2011, 12:26 pm

      Sorry Elle, I didn’t see what you wrote before I made my post! Ended up writing the same thing as you!

      Reply Link
    • avatar

      Elle April 11, 2011, 1:12 pm

      MissDre – no need to apologize, really. Now I feel bad and I’d like apologize for hitting ‘submit’ before you did :).

      I’m actually glad someone else thought that at the same time – we didn’t influence each other

      Reply Link
    • MissRemy

      Ally April 17, 2011, 4:55 pm

      I wondered that too!

      Reply Link
  • avatar

    MissDre April 11, 2011, 12:24 pm

    As for the sex thing, maybe he’s still a virgin and he’s embarrassed about it?

    Reply Link
  • avatar

    ape escape April 11, 2011, 12:31 pm

    MOA MOA MOA MOA MOA MOA.

    Seriously? Look, I got stood up this weekend for a planned date. No joke. Is it ever going to happen again? No. Because I won’t give someone who bailed on me with no explanation, no apology, nada, another chance. I refuse to be so blatantly disrespected. And you allow this to happen once a month? Girl. There are so many potential explanations for that behavior, but NONE OF THEM ARE GOOD.

    Reply Link
    • avatar

      SpaceySteph April 11, 2011, 1:53 pm

      Absolutely agree!
      If anyone stood me up, I would confront him/her about it as soon as possible. If he/she couldn’t muster at least a half-assed explanation and an apology, that would be it. Be it a friend or a potential boyfriend, there are a few good reasons for standing a person up (injury/illness/death of self or family)- outside of that, and especially if its a habit and/or they don’t even pretend to be sorry, then they are not respectful of me or my time and therefore don’t deserve to have any more of it.

      Since you didn’t confront him immediately, you ought to do it now. If you continue to act like a doormat, you have nobody to blame but yourself when people walk all over you.

      Reply Link
  • avatar

    Cherry April 11, 2011, 12:36 pm

    Ha Ha Art is rad. And while he may have an unconventional way of saying things, he is right. This guys has issues; you either have the courage to address them, or move along. If you decide to talk to him, his reaction will set the precedent for the rest of your relationship (if it turns into one). You are going to know whether or not you can talk openly and honestly with him about anything, or if he is the type to shut you down. You will have your answer then for sure and better to sacrifice 5 months then who knows how long if you continue to allow it to go on without an explanation on his part. Good luck!

    Reply Link
    • avatar

      Lucy April 11, 2011, 6:38 pm

      Art == Awesome. Great response.

      Reply Link
  • avatar

    Allissa April 11, 2011, 12:39 pm

    Anytime I’ve dated someone who disappeared for awhile it hasn’t turned out good. Having “me” time is different than completely dropping off the radar, I see this as the biggest red flag.

    Reply Link
  • avatar

    spaceboy761 April 11, 2011, 12:46 pm

    I think that the real question is how you managed to deal with his crap for 5 months.

    Reply Link
  • avatar

    rainbow April 11, 2011, 1:05 pm

    I know this is far-fetched, but are you absolutely sure he was born a man?
    Maybe he wasn’t and he’s still transitioning. And his equipment is not finished yet, so he doesn’t want to expose it? (it takes a string of surgeries to get a working penis)
    And maybe that’s why he disappears, to go get treatment and/or surgery? Have you noticed his body get more masculine very fast, as if he was taking testosterone?

    Reply Link
  • avatar

    IdaTarbell April 11, 2011, 1:06 pm

    I was in a similar situation with an ex on the kissing thing. I’d try to push it more (or continue doing what I was doing), and he’d slowly just stop kissing me or just kind of lie there. He ended up having some serious problems with expressing himself and being affectionate.

    MOA and find a guy who’s excited and eager to be your boyfriend in all aspects.

    Reply Link
    • avatar

      Hana April 11, 2011, 6:09 pm

      I dated a guy once who was a virgin and told me it was really important to him (I wasn’t one) then he would constantly try to get me to put my hand down his pants or play with him while we were kissing… I never did because of how important he said it was to him to stay a virgin.

      He was so weird and it turned out that he just used girls to get another one interested in him. Like a status of “I have a girlfriend, you should be jealous and want to date me.” We broke up and he did the same thing to a bunch of other girls so now my friends are all convinced he is gay and trying to cover it up (he told me he thought about having sex with men but he wouldn’t do it)

      Anyways, men who have problems expressing themselves are extremely hard to deal with. MOA, let him figure out his own problems. He has been a world class douchelord standing you up all the time. How do you deal with it? I would be do hurt and have almost no confidence or trust left.

      You should MOA, put on some sexy lingerie under a sexy (but not whore) outfit and hit the town with friends! Feel good about yourself and don’t let others fuck you up! Hint, if you have to write Wendy about a man standing you up you should probably move on to what you deserve! Better!

      Reply Link
  • avatar

    SGMcG April 11, 2011, 1:11 pm

    Hearing about this guy’s antics reminds me of that puzzle box in those Hellraiser movies – the deeper you are in it’s solution, the further into hell and torture you go. LW, PLEASE do yourself a favor and MOA. I understand that this guy’s appeal on paper seems good – you guys were acquaintences for about two years. Yet consider that there may have been a reason for that distance – and said reason may explain his current behavior. Yet why would you want more with someone who can’t even give you common courtesy or explanation? If you guys were meant to be together, it might have happened sooner than later – Don’t. Open. The. Box. LW.

    Reply Link
    • avatar

      rainbow April 11, 2011, 1:15 pm

      I’m all teary-eyed because of that Hellraiser reference. You rule.

      Reply Link
    • avatar

      LSS86 April 11, 2011, 5:44 pm

      Wait, a puzzle box that tortures you as you get closer to the solution! Why have I not heard of this movie?

      Reply Link
  • avatar

    fallonthecity April 11, 2011, 1:24 pm

    Yeah, I’d MOA. And maybe I’m way off base but I wonder if the guy is on drugs. I had an uncle who had a coke problem and he’d fall off the face of the earth for days on end when he’d go on a bender.

    Reply Link
  • avatar

    HmC April 11, 2011, 1:31 pm

    At first the no sex thing perplexed me, but after reading Joe’s answer I think he may be onto something. I’ve been extremely fortunate not to have ever dealt with the affects of sexual abuse, for myself or anyone very close to me, so my mind doesn’t go there very quickly when I hear someone talking about sexual problems… but then I recall that such a huge (and largely unreported) percentage of people experience some form of sexual abuse. If you guys have ever listened to Love Line, it’s pretty amazing how often sexual problems have some sort of tie in to abuse. So unfortunately, that might be the case with this guy. Or it might be some other thing- religion (which as Joe said, LW probably would know about as the guy’s friend and would have mentioned but who knows?), virginity, or just a plain old lack of interest in the LW.

    As far as the disappearing act, I think it’s normal and good for guys (and gals) to want some alone time. But standing you up is disrespectful. Tell him you don’t appreciate when he doesn’t respect your time by flaking on you, maybe hang out with him a little less in general, and see how he reacts.

    I’d also agree that the sex talk should follow figuring out where you guys really are and what you both want out of this. You say you’re exclusive, but how exactly do you even know he’s on the same page with you? I’d guess that he’d feel more comfortable confiding in you about any sexual inhibitions once you’re an established couple. So I’d say give him some space, stop initiating things physically, and talk to him about what you guys even are. 5 months is plenty of time to have that talk.

    Reply Link
  • avatar

    anna728 April 11, 2011, 1:31 pm

    The fact that there are two unrelated sketchy things about this guy is not promising.

    Reply Link
  • bagge72

    bagge72 April 11, 2011, 1:33 pm

    I may agree with Jarek, on the STD thing. Maybe he is disappearing when he has a flare up, and that could also be why he doesn’t want any below the belt play. He could be struggling with a way to tell you what’s going on down town.

    Reply Link
    • avatar

      thyme April 11, 2011, 5:20 pm

      but he wouldn’t NEED to disappear during a flare-up if they aren’t doing anything besides kissing.

      He may have an STD, but I seriously doubt that has anything to do with his flakiness. Some people are just flakey, and they don’t have a good reason.

      Reply Link
  • Jess

    Jess of CityGirlsWorld.com April 11, 2011, 1:37 pm

    So many possibilities as many have already suggested. Is he gay? Has he been abused? Cult membership? STD? Trans-gender? Secret agent? Or the less-exciting-but-all-too-common “he’s not that into you” scenario?

    Bottom line is that you will never know until you ask. Five months is far too long to be in the dark! Time to speak up.

    Reply Link
    • avatar

      Woman of Words April 13, 2011, 7:00 am

      Could be low testosterone too.
      And be prepared for him not to let on too much when you do talk.
      I’ve been there, it’s heartbreaking and gives your self-confidence a whipping…

      Reply Link
  • caitie_didnt

    caitie_didn't April 11, 2011, 1:45 pm

    ART FOR THE WIN!!!!

    Seriously, are you sooooo into this guy that you’re willing to delve into whatever crippling emotional issues he has surrounding physical intimacy? (Not that I’m making light of sexual abuse, because that is never, ever something to be flippant about). Especially when he disappears on you for days at a time….

    Reply Link
    • avatar

      TheOtherMe April 11, 2011, 2:53 pm

      I know right ? Team ART !!!

      I would have no problem with each person needing their space if it’s something that’s given advance notice.

      Half a week, whenever it suits him without any mention ?
      ( Does he even acknowledge/apologize for this behavior ? )

      I would so be gonzo.

      Reply Link
  • avatar

    ReginaRey April 11, 2011, 1:53 pm

    In the early 80’s my mom and dad used to communicate with letters because they couldn’t afford long-distance calls. How charming and quaint! Let’s jump in the Delorean, shall we? Call me crazy, but in 2011 I think it’s a bit strange for someone you’re dating to TOTALLY fall off the grid for days at a time. He doesn’t answer his phone? He doesn’t send a text message here or there? My mind is quickly producing all sorts of scenarios where this guy can’t talk because he’s too busy with his wife, or on a 3-day binge, or burying the body in the abandoned field….

    Point is, any guy worth your time doesn’t fall off the grid. He’s usually pretty interested in keeping in touch, even if he’s not physically present for a few days. As for the extreme lack of interest in doing anything besides kiss you for 5 months…maybe he was abused, maybe he’s super conservative (he should have told you that!), or maybe he doesn’t want you to like him too much because he knows he’s doing to disappear again…but no matter what, the dude should WANT to jump your bones after this time! Run far, far away LW…there are too many things wrong with this scenario for it to end well.

    Reply Link
    • avatar

      SpaceySteph April 11, 2011, 1:56 pm

      Haha… maybe he can’t answer because he’s actually jumping in the Delorean and heading back to a time before cell phones! I mean the 80’s were good, but I hear the cell phone reception sucks.

      Reply Link
      • avatar

        MissDre April 11, 2011, 2:16 pm

        Omg Zack Morris phones were SO ugly! Haha!

        Link
  • avatar

    cmarie April 11, 2011, 1:56 pm

    His whole behavior screams skeavy to me. Talk to him, force him to talk to you if, and if he resists put down your foot. This is your relationship too. I will defend the LW saying she’s feel uncomfortable initiating the relationship because she’s female: a lot of advice we give young women regarding relationships is to not move too fast, try not to come off as needy or desperate. There are hard core believers that the man should be the one to say the L word first. There’s always the “studies” that show that women get deeper and more involved in relationship than a man and will often think there’s more to the relationship than there really is. I can understand the fear of being labeled the insecure, harpy demanding a relationship because she can’t read the signs. Frankly, the signs tell me he’s not that committed to you and you have to stop letting him get away with it. I hope you can figure this out and it turns out the way you want it though.

    Reply Link
    • avatar

      Jessica April 11, 2011, 2:01 pm

      i hate when people say ‘put your foot down’.. you can’t force anyone to do anything… like, what does that even mean?!

      Reply Link
      • avatar

        MissDre April 11, 2011, 2:18 pm

        No, you can’t force anyone to do anything but you CAN stand up for yourself and refuse to allow yourself to be treated like crap.

        Link
      • avatar

        SpaceySteph April 11, 2011, 2:24 pm

        Yeah its not saying “you must treat me this way” its saying “this is how I want to be treated.” They don’t have to do it, but you don’t have to stay and be treated in a way contrary to how you want to be treated.

        Link
      • avatar

        Jessica April 11, 2011, 2:38 pm

        yeah, so walk away then. ‘putting your foot down’ sounds.. i dont know, controlling?

        Link
      • avatar

        MissDre April 11, 2011, 2:47 pm

        It can be directed at oneself as well… basically just means to act firmly; either to tell somebody to eff off and stop being a dick or to tell yourself, walk away and don’t look back.

        Link
      • avatar

        SpaceySteph April 11, 2011, 4:16 pm

        And to this I want to reply with my new mantra, courtesy of Comments of the Week last week “Having needs is not the same thing as being needy.”
        And asking for what you want is not the same thing as being controlling.

        Call it ‘putting your foot down,’ or ‘taking a stand,’ or ‘drawing a line.’ Whatever you call it, ask for what you want. Either you get it or you’re gone. It is not controlling to ask to be treated with respect.

        I would further say that (although this case seems to be pretty blatantly rude) some people don’t realize they aren’t treating you with respect until you point it out. Maybe this is the epiphany he needs to stop being a jerk. Probably not, though… some people are just jerks.

        Link
      • avatar

        cmarie April 12, 2011, 12:31 am

        I was going to comment but everyone else explained it for me perfectly. Thanks for the defend.

        Link
  • avatar

    Jessica April 11, 2011, 1:56 pm

    why would you put up with that? why are you still with him?
    I’d definitely suggest anyone who treats you this way doesn’t deserve to have you in their life. MOA.. fast.

    Reply Link
  • avatar

    AnitaBath April 11, 2011, 2:02 pm

    Are you absolutely sure he’s not in a relationship? Maybe a long distance one? It’s obviously just one possibility out of many (there could be soooo many reasons for those 2 red flags). My first thought was that he’s in a relationship, but his girlfriend isn’t easily accessible (perhaps just recently?) Maybe while she’s away, he feels like he can get away with whatever he has with you, but would feel too guilty actually doing anything below the belt with you. They might see each other once a month (she could come visit or he visits her), which would explain why he completely drops off the map and pretends you don’t exist for a few days.

    Reply Link
    • avatar

      SpaceySteph April 11, 2011, 2:27 pm

      I like this explanation.
      What I can’t figure out though is why he makes plans with her and then stands her up. Like, if you’re going to visit your long distance bf/gf, don’t you know in advance and then can not make plans for the days you’ll be gone.
      Him: lets get dinner next week.
      Her: How about this thursday instead?
      Him: Sorry, really busy this weekend, how’s Monday?

      Easy enough. In addition to whatever shady thing he disappears to, he’s being extra inconsiderate by making plans when he will be off being shady and then standing the LW up.

      Reply Link
    • avatar

      spaceboy761 April 11, 2011, 3:14 pm

      True. But how many cheaters turn down sex? Unless his paramour is a paradude.

      Reply Link
      • avatar

        TheOtherMe April 11, 2011, 3:16 pm

        “Unless his paramour is a paradude.” hahahah e-kiss !

        Link
      • avatar

        AnitaBath April 11, 2011, 3:17 pm

        Everyone’s thought processes work differently. It’s not like he’s completely devoid of emotion if he’s cheating. I’ve known some people who don’t even consider it cheating if nothing happens below the belt.

        Link
  • avatar

    Bricka April 11, 2011, 2:11 pm

    Talk, talk, talk! If its important for you, he will listen and explain himself, if he freaks out or gets upset, maybe he is just not the guy for you. Be brave and speak your mind!

    Also…anyone else wonders what Art is looking at in that photo? n_n

    Reply Link
    • avatar

      TheOtherMe April 11, 2011, 3:10 pm

      He’s looking at Joanie’s bum like the rest of the men at Sterling-Cooper 🙂

      Reply Link
      • avatar

        Art April 11, 2011, 3:27 pm

        In fact, that picture was taken at a Mad Men Party. I am probably looking at something sexist.

        Link
    • avatar

      Bricka April 11, 2011, 5:28 pm

      Good to know XD

      Reply Link
  • avatar

    Maracuya April 11, 2011, 2:13 pm

    There are way too many possible explanations. I think the bigger flag is him dropping off the face of the earth. You haven’t even jokingly said, “Hey, what’s up with that? Flake.” I’d be livid if someone did that to me once a month.

    Reply Link
  • avatar

    Lindsay April 11, 2011, 4:20 pm

    I agree with those who say the flaking out is the bigger flag. That’s just not OK. I’ve dated guys who stood me up, and I’m done with that. There are plenty of people who WON’T flake out, so there’s no need to put up with it.

    Reply Link
  • avatar

    Fairhaired Child April 11, 2011, 4:25 pm

    While everyone brings up valid points, I’m not ready to jump on the “MOA” train just yet. I think you should talk to him, voice your concerns (IN PERSON – do not do it over email or another media because it can come off wrong etc). I agree with Jarek, to split up the conversations of the red flags into different discussions and not necessarily all at once/jumbled up.

    In defense of the guy, I dated someone once who we did not go past kissing for a long time, at first it hurt me because I kept doing the “what am I not attractive enough that he doesn’t want to see my naked body?” Eventually I asked him if it was something about “me” because at that time I had extreme “body issues” of my own. I found out that the reason he held back was that he was worried about my judgement about his size, and also because both of his older sisters had kids out of wedlock and his Mom pretty much drilled it in his brain what a disappointment he would be if he were to do the same (we were like 19 at the time so totally understandable). After that I respected his decision more and actually appreciated that he was so worried about not hurting his mother, and possibly “derailing” my life and his. I realized that we both had certain things we were uncertain of, so we worked more to complement each other more frequently. Eventually we did start being more physical (and man I loved it) and I even thought that maybe one day we would get married – unfortunately we drifted apart during college (we had LDR for it) but I always think of him very fondly.

    I think what is a major real flag is not only that he disappears but that he doesn’t contact you to give you heads up that he will not be able to make it (at least that’s what I’m assuming from the letter) and he doesn’t give you an explanation as to WHY he disappears.

    I think the LW needs to figure out if she can WAIT for physical part of the relationship to progress and if she feels like it needs to be a bigger part of the relationship then step up and SAY SOMETHING. And if the “distance” in the bedroom continues, with no valid reasons, then yes she needs to either MOA if she doesn’t want to wait longer. Its all a matter of values for things that happen in the bedroom (his AND hers) and if they mesh, as well as how important people feel it could be in a relationship.

    It could be that he used to get really physical really fast with previous girlfriends only to get burned later in the relationship when it fell apart because they had nothing BUT physical contact (or possibly literally burned in the sense of an STD) ,and now he’s trying to get to know someone better with out having to “loose all the anticipation and mystery” of the bedroom quickly in a relationship. Granted 5 months is pretty long to wait for most 20somethings now, but I kind of respect that in the sense that he seems interested in YOU (besides the disrespectful disappearing acts which may be explained if asked about).

    Another view is that he could be still in love/lust with someone else and it could be difficult for him to want to be that intimate with someone else if he cares deeply for another female. And you are just a casual dating experience. (I also semi-dated a guy like this but it worked for both of us because we weren’t looking for super physical but the comfort of having someone “there” without the pressures of full intimacy, we didn’t want a relationship, but we didn’t want a FWB, we both needed something in between to lick our wounds from previous relationships while still having “a body to curl up next to and make out with occasionally”)

    Best of luck, but really just ask about whats bothering you before the MOA train takes off, and that way you can decide to either board the train or stick around a little longer.

    Reply Link
  • sobriquet

    sobriquet April 11, 2011, 4:53 pm

    I would give this guy one conversation. If he can’t explain himself or doesn’t want to talk about it, I’d drop him. After 5 months of dating, you should be able to talk about sex and you should definitely be able to talk about why he stands you up occasionally. I don’t think the reasons even matter at this point, since there really are so many explanations. If he can’t communicate with you about it, don’t waste your time.

    Reply Link
    • avatar

      cmarie April 12, 2011, 12:36 am

      Love this. Even if he could come up with a good reason would it really be worth it? He already showed how little he respected you by not volunteering the info, at least as to why he randomly disappears. The sexual aspect doesn’t need to be big deal but consistently standing you up without explanation is inexcusable.

      Reply Link
    • avatar

      Fairhaired Child April 12, 2011, 8:53 am

      I don’t know why you got any thumbs down, I completely agree with this, they need to talk and 5 months should be plenty of dating time to be able to seriously have the conversation. And it def. says something about how he values her and the relationship if he wont communicate about something that is concerning to her.

      you pretty much said what i said with less rambling and side stories lol

      Reply Link
  • avatar

    mandarin April 11, 2011, 5:52 pm

    Not having sex with you is not indicative of respect. Being honest with about why he’s not having sex with you, is. Something like “I have major body issues” “I want to wait till marriage” or “I don’t have a penis”, are perfectly valid reasons to be hesitant, but someone in their mid twenties in a five month relationship should be able to talk about them with you. Even more importantly, someone who respects you recognizes that your time is important, and doesn’t stand you up multiple times.
    Someone with self respect puts on her big girl pants and asks about this. He might just need an opener and it could all come flooding out. If you’re not satisfied with the explanation, and he doesn’t attempt to correct at least the flakiness, MOA.

    Reply Link
    • caitie_didnt

      caitie_didn't April 11, 2011, 7:48 pm

      I know you’re probably talking about the possibility that he’s FTM but “I don’t have a penis” struck me as absolutely fricken HILARIOUS! Can you imagine having that conversation???

      But seriously, I on-and-off dated a guy throughout my undergrad who wasn’t prepared to have sex before marriage but wouldn’t tell me that when we were together!! (I found out that was the case from a mutual friend) We’d fool around, but if I ever tried to initiate a conversation about sex he’d get all weird; and it did a number on my self-esteem. It is so.not.worth.it. to date someone who has serious intimacy issues. I respect wanting to wait until marriage, although I wouldn’t be able to date someone like that, but not being able to talk about means there are some other issues going on.

      Reply Link
  • avatar

    Hana April 11, 2011, 6:21 pm

    Honestly I would not give him another chance on the standing you up alone. Leave him. If he wants you he will try to stop you from leaving, and he will try to get another chance. Being stood up once a month is a huge red flag and a huge sign of disrespect. I will probably get major thumbs down for saying this but there comes a time when you need to fix a situation, and if you don’t whatever happens after is your fault. Don’t let him abuse you. Yes, being stood up one week a month for 5 months is abuse. I’m sure all your friends have already told you to leave him so now your writing here. Tell him its over and if he wants you make him explain himself and prove himself to you. Nice people need to stop letting others walk all over them and treat them poorly. Be your own person and stand up for yourself. Don’t be a doormat.

    Reply Link
  • avatar

    anonymous April 11, 2011, 6:37 pm

    one possible explanation that I immediately thought of was that he could have been sexually abused as a child. This could explain his disappearing act (as he is afraid of getting close to someone/has extreme trust issues) and that he doesn’t want to do anything “below the belt” (sexual abuse victims can often experience traumatic flashbacks).

    I don’t know if this is the situation or not, but this is a really helpful website about male sexual abuse survivors. it also has resources for partners and loved ones.

    http://www.1in6.org/

    if you think this is the case, approach it delicately. either way, you should find out if it was abuse, if he is a virgin, has an std, or is just conservative. If you can’t communicate about these things after 5 months, then you should MOA. And if it is not one of these situations then he is a jerk and you should definitely MOA.

    Reply Link
  • rubyroo

    RJKUSER April 11, 2011, 6:59 pm

    What ART said.

    Reply Link
  • avatar

    kerrycontrary April 11, 2011, 7:44 pm

    If you think someone is being shady (aka the disappearing act), they ARE being shady. Are you sure he doesn’t have a kid that he visits once a month?

    Reply Link
    • avatar

      Elle April 11, 2011, 8:12 pm

      Wow, the kid explains the disappearing act, and the ‘no sex’ means he doesn’t want to get her pregnant. I’ll go with this one 🙂

      In all seriousness, it looks like all LW needs is some communication. I’m really looking forward to an update.

      Reply Link
  • avatar

    crazymary April 11, 2011, 8:40 pm

    Ok, LW if you are reading these responses please let us know how he responds when you call him out on disappearing? I’d be interested to hear what those conversations sound like. I could almost deal with the no sex but I couldn’t stand for the no contact when he disappears. THAT would totally piss me off and I would want answers immediately.

    Reply Link
  • avatar

    convexexed April 11, 2011, 10:01 pm

    Hmm, I agree with what Art said about gender roles, but with some clarifying sympathy for the LW. I don’t think it’s that girls expect GUYS to initiate the ‘define the relationship’ talk. I think the conventional gender role is that GIRLS do this, because they are the ones so needy and monogamously inclined that they can’t fully live until the relationship is defined. I fully agree that LW needs to bite the bullet and have the conversation. As a reasonable person who likes things cleared up, but also as a girl, I hate the implication that falls on me that my desire for clarity is actually a symptom of my innate grabbiness for relationship status.
    In other words, it’s less that the LW is hoping the man will be manly and take the lead as his gender role prescribes, and more that the LW is averse to being cast in the role of restless, clingy wannabe girlfriend. Which happens. Desire for clarity is read as need for reassurance. Initiating conversations is read as ‘Ugh, girl wants to have A Talk’. Not by all men, sure, but by too many too often, still.
    LW, if this sketch of a man is that worthy to you, you have to risk that interpretation and have an honest sit-down talk about all of your concerns. But, Art, she’s not trying to stick with status-quo gender roles—she’s resisting that this has defaulted to her.

    Reply Link
  • avatar

    Sarah April 12, 2011, 1:06 pm

    Ok, this is the first time I have ever commented on here, but I HAD to. I was in the exact same position as you, stuck-in-limbo. I was dating a really great guy, yet had the EXACT same red flags as you have mentioned. We would be dating for a few weeks, and then all of the sudden he would go MIA. His friends or family wouldn’t know where he is, I certainly didn’t and he would always pop up a day or two later saying he was just out with friends. He would also stand me up every once in awhile. He also was resistant to doing anything more than making out or heavy petting. I ended things with him, and you know what I found out a few months later? HE. WAS. GAY. While he was dating me he was trapped in the closet. He would go off the grid (which I found out he did to other women) because he was tired of keeping up the appearance and needed to push away. He was gay, and I would gamble quite a bit that your fellow is too. I just wish he came out before we dated, we would’ve had so much more fun!

    Reply Link

Leave a Comment