Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

“Is He Really Too Busy, or Is He Just Not Into Me?”

New readers, welcome to Dear Wendy, a relationship advice blog. Read some of the most popular Dear Wendy posts here. If you don’t find the info you need in this column, please visit the Dear Wendy archives or the forums (you can even start your own thread), do a search in the search bar, or submit a question for advice at wendy(AT)

Today’s essay comes from “His Take” contributor, Dennis Hong, who writes about relationships and other topics at Musings on Life and Love.

I’m having a moment of crisis regarding this guy I’ve been seeing for six weeks. We’ve been on six dates and have progressed intimately quite rapidly, but I have a couple of issues with him and the relationship. One is that he cannot fit me into his schedule at all. I’ve asked repeatedly if there is a way we can work around his schedule to see each other. But he has point-blank refused, he just says he can’t give me any times as he apparently doesn’t know when he’ll have time off. What this means is that whenever he is able to see me it’s on his terms and I must fit into his life, no questions asked. The second issue is that he doesn’t communicate aside from when I’m with him. When I’m not with him I’ll be very lucky to receive an email or text message from him. He probably sends me, say, two to three messages a week.On the surface, these two issues arise because he’s a doctor and possibly has long working hours. But I cannot understand how he can’t find five minutes in his day to text me … Or ten minutes to email me before a shift. And why is his schedule so disorganized that he cannot tell if/when he’ll have an evening off? When do I put this down to lack of interest or just the life of a medical practitioner? I mean, I feel like I’m not getting anything from him, like I’m investing everything and he’s reaping the benefits.

He does say and do all the right things when we’re together, and has expressed genuine interest and enjoyment of my company; I get the feeling that he really likes me, but is this enough? Are those moments worth waiting for if I feel so utterly isolated and lonely when I don’t see or hear from him for days a time? Am I being irrational? Or are there some truths to my fears? — Playing Doctor

First off, it’s not a big deal if he doesn’t call or text every day, especially if you’ve only been dating for six weeks. As for his schedule, I have close ties to several doctors (or maybe Wendy somehow knew this, and that’s why she gave me this letter, in which case… umm, excuse me…. WENDY, STOP PEERING INTO MY SOULl!!!), so I hit them up for their thoughts on your situation. I figured some first-person insight might be more helpful than random speculations from my rear end. The overwhelming consensus was that he’s just not that into you. Here are some quotes from my doctorly peeps:

“Oh, he’s totally using work as an excuse. There’s no such thing as not knowing your schedule. It’s not like they can just make you come in whenever they want. Even when you’re on call, they still tell you beforehand when you’re going to be on call. Not knowing when he has time off is ridiculous.”

“Residents are some of the busiest people you’ll ever meet, but I still see them wooing the women they’re interested in. If they like someone, they’ll make the time. Sure, their schedules are hectic, and they’re on call all the time. But even then, they say, ‘Maybe we can just hang out until I get called in?'”

“Haha, yeah. I used to say that to [name redacted]. She always wanted to hang out, but I found her kind of annoying sometimes. Whenever I didn’t feel like seeing her, I’d tell her that I was super busy and didn’t know my schedule.”

“Oh, and who doesn’t have time to send a 30-second text or make a quick call?”

If four out of four doctor-recommended insights still haven’t convinced you, this page will give you an idea of how busy he really might be, depending on what specialty he is. Another possibility is that he has his own private practice, and because he’s just the most awesomely compassionate doctor in the world, he really is making himself available to his patients 168 hours/week. But if that’s the case, it’s not that he’s busy. It’s that he’s 1) choosing to be busy and not leaving room in his life for you, and 2) kinda setting the bar at a ridiculous standard for the medical profession, don’t you think? The bottom line is, “work” is the ultimate get-out-of-jail-free card for the relationship flake. And all the signs here point to you getting played.

For argument’s sake, let’s take him 100% at his word. What then? Well, as you’ve already realized, that means you have to compromise. But here’s the problem: compromise has to work both ways. And if he won’t budge, that becomes the brunt of the issue: not how busy he is, but how unwilling he is to acknowledge your concerns. And once you hand the reins of the relationship over to him and say, “Have at it, I’m just along for the ride,” then he will never have any reason to compromise for you.

My recommendation? Draw the line now. Decide for yourself what concessions you’re willing to make and what concessions seem reasonable to ask of him. If he actually likes you, he’ll bend. If not, then at least you’ll know it’s time to MOA, because if he’s not willing to compromise even a little (which, unfortunately, it already sounds like he won’t), there’s no way you will ever establish a healthy, two-way relationship. Just remember to eject while it’s still relatively painless.

Dennis Hong is a teacher of juvenile delinquents, freelance comedy writer, group blog overlord, and internet entrepreneur. His personal mantra is: “Always stay positive in life (except when taking a drug or STD test)!” You can read more of his musings on life and love here.

73 comments… add one
  • atraditionalist November 7, 2011, 7:12 am

    yay! Spot on. Answer his next request to get together with “I’m sorry I’m not available that day” and see if he tries to work around it. If not, forget him.

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    • SpaceySteph November 7, 2011, 8:09 am

      I agree. First start managing your expectations now so you’re not shocked if he chooses not to put forth any effort. If he chooses to let you go, stay strong!
      Then go with atraditionalist’s advice and stop being so damn available all the time.

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  • spark November 7, 2011, 7:47 am

    I think you think that you’re in the beginning of a relationship, and he knows that, really, you two are just hooking up. I mean, you have “progressed fast intimately” and only see each other when he is in the mood. That’s hooking up! And it’s totally on his terms. If you want more than just hooking up whenever the whim strikes him–even if all you want if just hooking up, but also when the whim strikes YOU–it’s time to MOA.

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    • Carolynasaurus November 7, 2011, 10:06 am

      I completely agree. I would love to know if they have had the “exclusive talk”. If they haven’t, I’d say you don’t even need to MOA. You don’t really have any allegiance to him. Go out and try to find a guy who is a better fit for you and if the doctor texts you for a hook up and it fits in your schedule, great, but if it doesn’t and he doesn’t, maybe he’ll realize that you are, in fact, a human being with a life rather than a blow-up doll at his beck and call.

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    • atraditionalist November 7, 2011, 2:39 pm

      Agree 100%. You’re not going to get a relationship out of this guy-he’s slotted you in the hook up category. Get yourself out of it by not being available. And you don’t really need to explain anything to him since you’re not exclusive, in fact you’re just “really busy”

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    Ruby November 7, 2011, 8:08 am

    Whether this guy is being truthful about his work situation or lying to get out of seeing you…either way, it doesn’t sound like you’re getting your needs met in this relationship.
    You’re not happy being with someone who doesn’t have time for your, even if the guy is genuine.
    And if you’re not getting your needs met, then this is not the relationship for you. I say it’s time to MOA.

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  • TheOtherMe November 7, 2011, 8:38 am

    …”The second issue is that he doesn’t communicate aside from when I’m with him. When I’m not with him I’ll be very lucky to receive an email or text message from him.”…

    Sounds like he’s married.

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    • Flake November 7, 2011, 10:04 am

      That was my first though as well. Unless he is saving the world 24/7, he has got some free time and chooses not to spend it with the LW.

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    • silver_dragon_girl November 7, 2011, 12:44 pm

      Totally married.

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    • LennyBee November 7, 2011, 1:34 pm

      My first thought too.

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      bittergaymark November 7, 2011, 2:41 pm

      Yeah, to me this was the obvious conclusion to make as well. If he’s not married, then he is already in a serious relationship with somebody else… Meaning, the reason he never can schedule time to be with her is that he simply has to be sure he can sneak away from the ball and chain…

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    caitie_didn't November 7, 2011, 8:57 am

    girl, he is just not into you.

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  • Lydia November 7, 2011, 9:02 am

    “Are those moments worth waiting for if I feel so utterly isolated and lonely when I don’t see or hear from him for days a time?”
    No. They really aren’t. I used to date a guy who made me feel like that. I was incredibly happy when I was with him, but became a nervous wreck when we we weren’t together, because he always left me hanging and only made plans if it suited him (and regularly just didn’t show up at the appointed time and place). Trust me – you don’t want to date a guy like that.

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    FireStar November 7, 2011, 9:16 am

    Enjoying your company and wanting just a physical relationship are not mutually exclusive – in fact it works out better that way…for him. That he is nice to you when he is in front of you is not indicative of an intent to be in a relationship with you. In fact, telling you he has no intention of finding time for you in his life is a clear indication he doesn’t want one. Right now you are literally at his beck and call. Are you kidding me with this? You need to summon your self-respect and end this and then adjust your behaviour accordingly so that you don’t find yourself here again.

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  • Amanda November 7, 2011, 9:17 am

    This guy is married and cheating with you. MOA!

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  • Kerrycontrary November 7, 2011, 9:32 am

    He’s just not that into you. End of story. It sucks, but at least you found out early! Move on.

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  • MissDre November 7, 2011, 9:34 am

    I once dated a very nice guy for about 6 or 8 dates and things were just the way you describe. Things were great when we were together, but he wasn’t making time in his life for me and want making as much effort to keep in touch when I wanted.

    So you know what? I was honest with myself about what I wanted, for the first time in my life. I admitted that I wanted a committed relationship, with a man who would text me everyday and could see me 2-3 times a week. Maybe some other girls are ok with less communication but guess what, I’m the kind of girl who needs more attention from a man in a relationship and you know what? That’s ok because that’s who I am and those are my needs.

    So I told this guy straight up what I needed and asked him if he could or even wanted to accommodate. He was honest as well and told me he just couldn’t. So I thanked him for his honesty and told him I didn’t want to date him anymore.

    I was honest with myself and the universe about what I wanted, and literally a month later, fate sent me the love of my life who gives me all I need and more. We’re going on 2 years together now.

    Moral of the story, even if this guy is great, if he’s not meeting your needs, he’s not the right guy for you. And that’s ok! Because you will find the right one if you want him. Do not feel bad about your wants and needs! They are yours and not what anybody tells you they should be.

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  • bethany November 7, 2011, 10:36 am

    Bottom line is, this “relationship” isn’t working for you- The reason why he acts the way he does doesn’t even matter. You’re not happy with how things are going and he’s unwilling to change. MOA.

    But for the record- Yeah, he’s just not that into you.

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  • ReginaRey November 7, 2011, 9:38 am

    Dennis, this was great! First flow charts, now primary source interviews? You’re really making the rest of the guest columnists look unoriginal! Haha.

    And as for this letter, Dennis was totally spot-on. Whether or not “he’s just not that into you,” it seems pretty obvious that he’s driving this train, and that he’s pretty unwilling to bend, compromise, or sometimes do things on YOUR timetable. You definitely cannot have a healthy relationship with someone if everything has to be THEIR way 100% of the time. And yes, when people use work as an excuse, it’s just that – an excuse. Plenty of busy people, men and women alike, find time for relationships that they really want to have.

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    • Dennis Hong November 7, 2011, 9:25 pm

      Aw, thanks. If you think this is fancy now, wait until you see my next few guest columns, where I will be answering all questions through interpretive dance.

      Look for them on YouTube!

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  • Valerie November 7, 2011, 10:47 am

    As the wife of a resident (we started dating when my husband was in medical school), I can assure you that if this guy wanted to make time for you, he could and he would. Unfortunately, it seems that he’s just not that into you, aside from the physical aspect of the relationship. Doctors ARE very busy, yes, but they’re not at the hospital 24/7. In fact, national regulations limit the hours that doctors can work in a week to 80 hours, and that usually includes at least 1 overnight call. On his BUSIEST months, the latest my husband will be home is 7 pm, which leaves PLENTY of time to hang out or go out and do something. Also, as one of the doctors Dennis interviewed said, not knowing their schedule is TOTAL BS. They know their schedules, at least for the next month. My husband and I will pull out his calendar for that month as we’ll plan fun things around his call schedule!

    Anyway, I would just like to add that from the time I started dating my husband until now, I have NEVER felt like I’ve come second. My husband has always done everything in his power to show me that I’m the first priority in his life, even though he is also very, very dedicated to his job. So LW, I suggest you MOA from this asshole and find yourself a guy who WILL make you his top priority.

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    • MW23 November 7, 2011, 11:14 am


      I’m dating a resident and he makes plenty of time for us to either be together or talk/text. Yes, he’s really busy and can work long hours, but we WANT to make it work, so we do.

      It sounds like LW’s guy doesn’t – whether that means he’s married or just not that into you, I don’t know.

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    • Playing Doctor November 8, 2011, 3:57 am

      I would love to say he obeys National regulations, but this is in South Africa, not the US and he doesn’t obey regulations, he works 7 days a week. I still find it slightly miraculous that he finds time for me!

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    Kate B November 7, 2011, 11:27 am

    The bottom line here is that you’re not getting what you need from this guy. That is enough reason to MOA. Maybe you should tell him first, I don’t know. I’d be more inclined to just stop returning his texts/calls and see if he notices. If he does, then you can talk. If not, well, you got your answer.

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    Kate B November 7, 2011, 11:32 am

    Oh, Dennis, I wish I’d read your blog before I dated the last guy I dated.

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    • Lydia November 7, 2011, 11:41 am

      MTE! (Honestly, I wish I’d read so many relationship-centered blogs before I dated my ex…)

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    • Dennis Hong November 7, 2011, 9:27 pm

      Thanks, Kate. I’ll take that as a compliment. Although, if you check the comments, lots of folks did NOT appreciate that post.

      And Lydia… you know, it’s generally not a good idea to date your exes. 😉

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    Budj November 7, 2011, 10:57 am

    He may not be that into you or he may be married….but six weeks (and I’m assuming more like 3 weeks in since you are writing in about it at 6 weeks) and you are pestering him about time commitments? That might have pushed him away. In the relationships I have been in when the girl is rushing it like this she ends up trying to isolate me from my social circles and extracurriculars and is never satisfied with my time commitment to the relationship otherwise. Not saying this is what you are doing…but it may be the unintentional vibe this guy is getting. Food for thought looking forward…

    If someone has a tight schedule already (he probably does as a doctor) he may have just needed a longer time frame to let you become more of a presence in his life. I essentially work two jobs and I know if I was casually dating someone that I just met for 6 weeks ( his mistake was rushing the intimacy here, imo ) that I would absolutely feel pressured and put off by someone trying to wedge time into my schedule because that sets off an alarm in me that says “this person is going to want to monopolize my time” and since I like my independence and you are giving off a threatening vibe to it I am going to cool this relationship off.

    Regardless of how into someone I am….I need the time to get to know them well enough before moving my life around (yes if he has very little free time to rearrange then any of it is a huge deal) and that may be the case here too.

    I’m not recommending waiting around because everyone has different relationship paces and expectations. I would, however, back off of the physical aspect of your relationship and if he still wants to spend time with you you know it isn’t just a hook up. If you are willing to spend more time getting to know him at that point he will eventually start carving out time for you in his schedule and, in the event he doesn’t, you then have confirmation that he is a workaholic and not the right fit for you anyways.

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  • 6napkinburger November 7, 2011, 12:01 pm

    I am not a doctor but I have a totally unpredictable schedule. With crazy pants hours. And the way to show someone that you want to see them is to MAKE PLANS WITH THE CAVEAT YOU MIGHT BREAK THEM. Eventually, that will get annoying and you’ll have to figure something else out, because you can’t live your life with your plans never set in stone. But at the beginning of the relationship, if his schedule IS uncertain, he should be happy to try to make plans and then have to break them if work comes up. Because, best case scenario, he gets to see you.

    Doctors are on my “Do Not Date” List. Not for the same reason others are on that list (men who go to the country club more than 4 times a week, professional team sports athletes), but because the personality that makes a man a successful doctor and my personality do not mesh. In their jobs, they rely on others to do alot of the planning and organization, along with the detail/prep work and a lot of the times, it transfers into their home lives. They need wives who run the show at home and keep it on track. They need “when your father gets home” parenting. I will never be that kind of wife. I am jealous of those who ARE that kind of wife. I never know where my shoes or keys are. There’s no way I’ll know where his are.

    Of course its an overgeneralization and every person is different. But there are many traits that go hand in hand with what attracts someone to a profession. Now, if Dr. Prince Charming swept me off my feet and seemed like a great fit in all the right ways, I wouldn’t say NO! YOU ARE A DR! Cease and desist! and of course I would give it a chance. But they aren’t high on my “Descriptions that make me swoon” list. LW should consider whether being a Dr.’s partner is something you even want.

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    • ReginaRey November 7, 2011, 12:24 pm

      “But at the beginning of the relationship, if his schedule IS uncertain, he should be happy to try to make plans and then have to break them if work comes up. Because, best case scenario, he gets to see you.”

      Yes, this is so true. He should be trying to fit you in around his schedule, if he’s really into you, because “best case scenario, he gets to see you.” If he’s barely trying, obviously his best case scenario is something ELSE.

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      Budj November 7, 2011, 12:34 pm

      It may have started out that way and the LW may have flipped out over a cancelling of plans. Typically when a girl is pushing for more relationship type behavior in these situations and the guy has “sown his oats” already and isn’t interested in more then he will pull a fade out. Not saying that is proper, but the fact he is still trying to see her doesn’t absolutely mean he is just in it for nookie. The vibes the LW is putting out do not make for an “easy no-strings-attached poon” situation.

      This is why I recommended putting the brakes on the physical intimacy because if he is still interested in taking the LW out sans hook up then that is the true sign of whether he is using her, a workaholic, or just hesitant for something heavy and serious so soon.

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      • callmehobo November 7, 2011, 1:01 pm

        10 internet points to Budj for use of the word “poon”!

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    Landygirl November 7, 2011, 12:07 pm

    Awesome answer, Dennis! It makes me want to run out and get a bleach pen and clean your shirt for you.

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    • callmehobo November 7, 2011, 12:16 pm

      Where is an errant seagull when you need it?

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    • Dennis Hong November 7, 2011, 9:30 pm

      It doesn’t have to be a seagull, ya know. You can clean the crap from any animal off me that you want. 😉

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  • mf November 7, 2011, 12:09 pm

    I’m sure he is really busy. But it’s still obvious that he’s not making an effort to see or talk to you.

    I’ve mentioned this before on this site but it’s worth saying again: if a guy is into you, he’ll make you a priority. He will find time to see/call/text/skype/facebook/email you. He’ll send a freaking smoke signal if he has to.

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    • HmC November 7, 2011, 1:28 pm

      “He’ll send a freaking smoke signal if he has to.”

      LOL. Thanks for the visual of my boyfriend in a loin cloth on a mountaintop trying his darndest to send me a smoke signal!

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  • silver_dragon_girl November 7, 2011, 12:30 pm

    My first thought was, “married.”

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  • Angela November 7, 2011, 12:57 pm

    My boyfriend of 9 years was really busy too. He stood me up the week of Sept 23. I dumped him in a text that friday. I feel bad about dumping him and doing it by text. The problem is I tried calling him to see what happened but his phone was turned off. So I called his house phone. His sister said he wasn’t home but she’d have him call me back. He never did. I should have waited but how can a man that loves you not call you? We were supposed to spend time together on Tuesday. Friday came and I just lost it, I sent that text.

    I don’t miss being stood up but I miss him like crazy and I cry for him every night. I’m confused. I’m hurt and i’m lonely. I dumped him and i feel bad even though he was ignoring me. Its not the first time he has done this. What shsould i do?

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    • Matcha November 7, 2011, 2:24 pm

      And he didn’t respond to your text? I would think that if *I* stood someone up on Tuesday, I would be calling them that night (BEFORE I stood them up) to say something important had come up. If he didn’t call you back even after you left a message with his sister, I’d say you did the right thing. I wouldn’t treat an acquaintance, let alone my significant other that way.

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    • Christina November 7, 2011, 2:33 pm

      Since it’s been over a month, the break up has had time to “take.” If he hasn’t tried to contact you or explain then it sounds like it was a good time for you guys to have broken up. He may even be hurting too but right now that relationship is over. Let yourself spend less time each day feeling bad about the relationship and turn your interests outward to other men or other things you like to do. Become the girl the next guy will fall in love with. Enjoy being single and not being stood up by Thoughtless Guy.

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      • lk November 7, 2011, 4:20 pm

        I agree – it’s never easy to end a relationship, but it sounds like it was the right decision for you. Start “dating yourself” & practice living the way you want to live – happily! Don’t cry for a guy who would stand you up & not be calling to apologize the day it happened.

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      Landygirl November 7, 2011, 5:00 pm

      You should move on because your ex is a chump.

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    • Flake November 8, 2011, 9:11 am

      If it makes you feel any better, I have dumped BFs for the same reason. That is one of my personal pet peeves. No matter how busy you are, you can always always let the person you supposedly love know what is going on. I dumped one BF of a year after he repeatedly made me wait for him. He was always late. 15 minutes, 20, half an hour. He would never call and let me know, even after I have asked him couple of times. So the last time we were supposed to meet up after work, and he showed up an hour late. He gave me some excuse (something about the Metro not working) and was surprised when I told him that I was done waiting for him. Over the years, I have come to the conclusion that someone who can’t be bothered to show respect and consideration to me on a daily basis is definitely not worth my time.

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      • Avangelis November 10, 2011, 6:06 am

        Yea, He already has another woman. He’s sleeping with her. He’s show casing her on facebook and taking her to meet his family. I wasn’t worth that much to him for him to replace me so quickly

      • Avangelis November 10, 2011, 6:33 am

        It hurts though my heart has completey shut itself down. how could he do this to me?

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    Jess of November 7, 2011, 12:03 pm

    Excellent from Dennis.

    And really the bottom line is not what is acceptable to the outside world but that YOU are not digging it (and I don’t blame you!). He’s not giving you enough to sustain the kind of relationship that you want –whether that’s because of his work or his lack of interest.

    There doesn’t have to be a rule for how often you see or hear from each other each week or how much you’ve said or shared by now. But I’m a big believer in momentum as a measurement of potential in early dating. Are things moving? Growing? Are you getting closer? Are you having a good time? These are some good basic questions and the answers should guide your next move.

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  • HmC November 7, 2011, 1:14 pm

    “I feel like I’m not getting anything from him, like I’m investing everything and he’s reaping the benefits.”

    This is the problem, right there. It doesn’t matter if he has legitimate reasons to be busy, or he just isn’t that into frequent communication, or he actually just isn’t that into you. If you feel like you said above, that is enough of a problem to bring it up. Something has got to change here. And if he can’t adjust, even a little, in order to make you feel happier and more secure, then you should probably move on to greener pastures. You don’t want to spend your time apart fretting that he doesn’t like you. It’s great that you feel good while around him, but feeling good apart from your partner is a vital component of a happy relationship. If he has absolutely nothing to give to another person right now, then he probably shouldn’t be in any relationship anyway.

    My boyfriend and I have been together for about a year and a half. We’re very happy and in love, and seriously talking about a future. But you know what? He’s not really a phone person, so we hardly ever talk on the phone. But he told me this early in the relationship, and makes an effort to communicate in other ways when we’re not with each other. I know some people in relationships never stop communicating, but we’re both super busy people and we like our alone time. We both do what it takes for the other not to feel neglected, and it works for us. I think that happiness in a relationship, and having that inherent understanding and knowledge of how much the other person loves you, comes down to their actions overall and a feeling in your gut and not the exact number of text messages or emails or phone calls a day.

    So while you shouldn’t be counting texts or keeping meticulous track of phone call frequency, if you’re not feeling the love, so to speak, you are entitled to your feelings and you should say something. Maybe you happen to be someone that needs a lot of communication, and that’s ok too. Feeling neglected or like you’re putting in more effort than your partner is the type of feeling that’s only going to get worse if you don’t talk about it and adjust your behaviors, at least a little.

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  • Avatar photo November 7, 2011, 1:15 pm

    What I’ve noticed from dating, is it only gets harder the older we all get. You can have a good time with someone, but when they aren’t feeling it, they just aren’t feeling it. I’ve been on both sides of the coin and it stinks either side.

    I dated a girl that was a 1st year med school student and it clearly did not jive with my personal goals and ambitions. She lived a 17 hour drive away and it put all the pressure on me to make the time to schedule a trip. She could never leave unless she was on a 10 day break, because she always had to study. I couldn’t picture my life traveling to see someone 8-12 a year for the next 5-7 years. She had no control of her destiny and was truly a slave to the program.

    Also, when you are educated and have a successful career, you tend to lean more on the options that you have as an individual. I know for myself, when I was still in college and not really doing anything with myself, I was a bit more desperate. Now that I’ve graduated and have a career, my standards have clearly stepped up. Many people want an equal or very close equal, unless they just want a trophy wife/husband that they can dress up and make look good.

    I just know the things I would have settled for 3 years ago, have clearly changed now. I rather continue to make strides in my own personal life alone, then dragging someone that I don’t feel is ever going to reach the potential that I would like. Like they say, there’s someone out there for everyone, but I also believe, just because you believe in true loves doesn’t mean you will get the opportunity to have it.

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  • AKchic November 7, 2011, 1:55 pm

    My second ex-husband works nights as an EMT. In a different time zone (four hours ahead of me). He still manages to text me to say “hey, got called in so I can’t call tonight – here’s my next scheduled night off {insert day here} – I’ll call sooner if I get a lull on the job”. Every few weeks, I get an email of his schedule. It’s not difficult in this modern age.

    You’re clingy and from the tone of the letter, even I’M feeling a little put-off and demanded of. He isn’t THAT into you. Stop calling him. If he’s interested, he’ll call you and make time. If he’s not, he won’t call and won’t give you “pity dates”.

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    • 6napkinburger November 7, 2011, 2:09 pm

      I don’t think she sounds clingy. He’s awesome when they are together which is why she wasn’t getting the “he’s not that into” vibe, but she hates his schedule and his inability/reluctance to communicate and/or plan. She wants to know if she’s being unreasonable in wanting more.

      If she’s in an exclusive relationship with the dude, then hearing from him almost every day and seeing him 2-3 times a day is not weird nor is it clingy. If she isn’t in an exclusive relationship, 6 weeks is a perfectly valid time to figure out whether they are going to be exclusive. It’s also enough time that he should be willing to do things to make her happy if he likes her, like call/text/email more frequently, or make plans, understanding that he may have to cancel.

      She doesn’t sound clingy to me. Just someone who really likes the guy and is getting mixed messages and wants to know which one to believe… The way he acts when he’s with her, or the way he acts when he isn’t. I’d say: go with the way he acts when he’s not with you. That’s going to be most of the time.

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  • Natasia Rose November 7, 2011, 1:13 pm

    If he’s seen you once a week for six weeks and things have progressed “intimately”…but it’s never preplanned AND he will NOT EVER schedule a date with you…that’s a booty call babe. MOA.

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  • Sistine November 7, 2011, 2:14 pm

    I didn’t read the response yet but reading this letter, my first thought is he’s married.

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      bittergaymark November 7, 2011, 2:46 pm

      Yeah, I agree… Sure, I already said as much earlier in this thread, but it bears repeating. Everything about this letter screams that the guy is in a relationship with somebody else… She is a fling on the side and that’s why she is being treated this way… Logistically, being married, it’s much harder to make plans and what not. It’s also infinitely more difficult to respond to texts and phone calls when you’ve got somebody else in your bed — right by your side — at home all the time, too.

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  • Christina November 7, 2011, 2:57 pm

    Good advice Dennis. You are always entertaining.

    LW, your guy sounds like he might be one of those over-schedulers. I have friends like this who have a constant routine and a simple lunch date request upends their whole schedule. They always go to the gym, get to work early, plan cleaning, groceries, weekly night out with so-and-so. I had one friend who planned his day down to 15 or 20 min increments. This guy has made all the room he has for you right now. He enjoys your time together but that’s all he’ll do right now. You enjoy your time together but want more and more notice to fit your schedule. I’d say do like Dennis says and draw the line and see if he bends. If he’s only fitting you in if nothing better is going on that night then that line should get rid of him and you can move on and find a guy you have more fun with. Not hearing from him for days doesn’t sound that fun to me.

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  • lk November 7, 2011, 4:24 pm

    I think the problem with the situation is that you feel that “I’m investing everything” and later you say, “I feel so utterly isolated and lonely when I don’t see or hear from him for days a time.” I just cannot fathom getting that hooked on someone after only 6 dates!

    Also, the way he’s communicating/scheduling does make it sound like he is married or dating someone else.

    But, still! Why’d you put all your eggs in that basket after just meeting him! 6 dates…that’s like…imagine how you felt about your boss or co-worker at the end of the day on Friday your first week at a job. Not representative.

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  • XanderTaylor November 7, 2011, 5:14 pm

    I dated a guy like this once. We dated for about 3 months, saw each other once a week and when I asked for more he said he couldn’t give me any more. I found out about a year later that he was dating multiple women at the same time. Poor guy must have been exhausted. LOL.

    If you are not getting what you need MOA.

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  • Playing Doctor November 8, 2011, 3:44 am

    Hi Dennis and all of you who responded to my letter.

    Thanks for your comments, most of them were very helpful and insightful which was great!

    So here’s for a small amount of closure on this whole saga.

    It’s now been a a further 6 weeks since my letter, which brings us to about 3 months. Things have progressed, and I think in my favor.

    What I did was take Dennis’s advice and draw a line. I emailed the doctor one morning to say that I was struggling with the amount of communication, and in the interest of “getting to know you” would he please up the communication ante. His response was to apologize for being so distant (it was work) and that he would try to do so.
    And he did.
    Since then I’ve been hearing from him almost every day, usually more than once a day. I’ve also been seeing a lot more of him, as he seems to have figured a way of fitting me into his schedule.
    We have even progressed to having “the talk”, though I hate the idea of it, and would rather have avoided it altogether, I think that relationship do sometimes need a bit of a nudge in the right direction, as long as it’s done sensitively. So we did have “the talk” and as it turned out, he wanted to make things exclusive.

    I would like to say that I did feel needy and demanding for the same reasons as stated by other posts; I thought it was too early to feel so strongly for someone. But I also understood that some of what I felt was legitimate and I needed to express it. I eventually came to the conclusion that I can’t really control when I fall in love, but I can control how and when I express it, and that is what made all the difference. I never expressed to him how hard it was for me, and I kept things as light and easy as possible right up until the point where we had our “talk”. I think this was the key, because if I’d expressed early on how much of an impact he had on my emotions he would have run, screaming, for the hills. It would have been too much too early.

    I obviously can’t see where we’ll go from here, but I can say I feel far far more comfortable and in control of my emotions. I don’t feel lonely, isolated or needy at all and instead am confident that whatever happens from here on out, I’ll be able to handle it.

    Thanks for all the tips and suggestions, I really appreciate the support! 😀

    Playing Doctor

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    • Dennis Hong November 8, 2011, 1:50 pm

      Hey, glad it worked out for you! Thanks for the update.

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  • Shae November 15, 2011, 10:12 am

    Absolutely right! Dated a guy very similar to this for (I’m ashamed to admit) 4 years, on and off. Never once did the “I’m too busy, I have so much work” mantra change, not even during the year and a half we were steadily “on”. Drop him, before he drops all contact and makes you feel even worse.

    (For the record, even when someone is very, very busy – if they’re truly interested, they will make time. True fact, from my now-fiance who, when we got together, had three jobs.)

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  • chi October 10, 2012, 5:37 am

    I’m dating a guy who I was already friends with before (worked together).I feel loved & have a great time when we r together.his friends & cousin also treat me well & call me the gf but, now he’s got ‘too busy’ to call or see me cos he is swamped at work. Last time he travelled he got me some nice dresses etc n even told me its hi time we tasted each other’s cooking. He rily says & does some things that make me feel he is ril into me but I don’t understand the extremely limited calls &
    Texts these days. I am considering that he as multiple gfs but I dunno. I rily don’t wana be used. I’m into this big time!

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  • Lela March 8, 2017, 11:36 am

    Ok, I met this guy at a party, briefly. The next day our mutual friends tried to set us up by giving my number to him (once we both agreed we were interested). We texted for a week I always responded and never initiated. All of our text were playful and he called a couple times and wanted to know everything about me, our conversations have been great. He said several times we should get together, but hasn’t made plans or asked me, so I invited him to a friend outing, and he was to “busy” and wouldn’t commit, so I deleted his number, He immediately texted me “but we can do something mon, tues, wed, thurs, fri or sat. I can make dinner reservations and we can just go”……he said he doesnt make plans and he is very last minute. I have tons of other guys who I am not interested in who are trying to lock ME down to dates, so. Anyway, i decided its been 8 days, and he texts at lest once a day, that I would initiate contact. I said “happy hump day, cowboy!” (thats my nickname for him) he repied, “I was just thinking about you…so weird” I replied “are you ready to stop thinking?” and his reply was “oohhhh..i get ya….of course hun…i have just been unusually busy probably like you here lately (which I don’t know what that means, he has no clue what I’m doing, we don’t ask those questions during our text) “i need to make some ME time…lol…for you”. So I am thinking this cat is a fool and is prob juggling other woman. I could give him the benefit of the doubt that he is busy, but c’mon. So, I have feel I have invested time in texting him and a couple phone calls for over a week and if he hasn’t stepped up his game, I will cut him loose, and just be vague and barely respond to him. Part of me feels like thats harsh, and the other part of me says slooowww your roll and have fun. What do you think his story is? I refuse to be strung along, am i overreacting?

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  • Lela March 8, 2017, 11:55 am

    and what does he mean when he says ” I need to make me time for you” ?????

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    • Kate March 8, 2017, 12:15 pm

      I think it means he’s telling you what he thinks you want to hear, but probably won’t follow through. You could have replied with a “sounds good, can’t wait!” And then just gone about your business. He sounds like a time-waster and not really motivated to see you. Texting takes no effort. Women give men too much credit for it. He can text you in line at the store. On the toilet. While with someone else. At work. It’s not meaningful.

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    • dinoceros March 8, 2017, 12:32 pm

      I’m a little confused by what happened in the area where he turned you down, but then made suggestions about getting together another evening. Did he mean that you’d have to decide the day of, or was he trying to actually make plans in advance? If it’s the former, then sounds like he’s not that into it and just trying to keep you around in case he gets bored. If it’s the latter, then I’m confused about why you guys didn’t just make plans?

      And if it’s the former, then move on. If it’s the latter, then try to make a specific date/time for a date, and if he can’t go and won’t make any other exact plans, then move on.

      You can’t “have fun” if you’re not even spending time with this person. Texting words back and forth is meaningless unless you have an actual relationship with the person.

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      • Lela March 8, 2017, 1:15 pm

        Right about the have fun part. I just meant guys seem to get away with boring, meaningless chat via text, why shouldn’t I get better at it? lol

  • Lela March 8, 2017, 12:43 pm

    Thank you. I think you are correct and I shouldn’t underestimate my gut feelings. Part of me wants to tell him , in a nice way, ” hey, I feel as though you are not interested or have other things going on, either way it’s cool. I wish you the best of luck! ” we are also neighbors, so I will have to be neighborly and don’t want a stigma, or bad feeling out there. Thoughts?

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    • Kate March 8, 2017, 12:48 pm


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  • Lela March 8, 2017, 12:49 pm

    I was confused too. He said, ‘we could get together Monday-Thursday, or he could make dinner plans for this Saturday(last weekend which I had plans but didn’t tell him) and we could blow off all our plans and go. Or we could go for a walk around the block.” I asked him if that was his way of asking me to dinner on Saturday and he replied “maybe (insert winky face).” I just went about my plans and don’t think I even replied.

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  • Lela March 8, 2017, 1:16 pm

    I was confused too. He said, ‘we could get together Monday-Thursday, or he could make dinner plans for this Saturday(last weekend which I had plans but didn’t tell him) and we could blow off all our plans and go. Or we could go for a walk around the block.” I asked him if that was his way of asking me to dinner on Saturday and he replied “maybe (insert winky face).” I just went about my plans and don’t think I even replied.

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    • dinoceros March 8, 2017, 1:52 pm

      So, I do think that he’s not putting a lot of effort in, but I can see how he’s getting mixed messages if he acknowledged that he was inviting you to dinner and then you never replied. I think there would be more clarity on your end if you had answered the invitation as to whether you could go or not. I feel like you both sort of turned each other down.

      Regardless, it sounds like neither of you is really interested enough to nail down plans when the other suggests it. It shouldn’t be this hard.

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  • Janelle March 8, 2017, 1:55 pm

    A rule I live by (or at least try to), if someone isn’t excited to be with me then good riddance.

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  • Hotchicktoughtimes November 3, 2017, 7:11 am

    I just found myself in the same boat as this poor girl. I guess it does not matter what profession one’s is. My sypnopsis: Psychiatrist dude (which can be considered Dr., too) whom I met on a dating app (didn’t think twice about his profession). I just wanted hook-ups; I guess so did he. He looked alright in picture but crazily attractive to me in person (he’s chubbyish, and I am extremely fit and toned & can turn heads wherever I go), which is mind-boggling to me. We have off the chart chemistry. He pulled away after 2nd date, telling me he wanted to set expectations going forward. I was offended and tell him to take a hike without contacting him. The dude pulled back on his own term 1 week later telling me how he’s been fucked up since meeting me, yada yada. It’s been 4 weeks since we first met, 4 dates later, 2 of which he spent the night at my place. He constantly wants me to spend the night at his but I have not approved. Whenever we get together, it is like fireworks though. We have made out heavily, had sex once, handjobs and stimulations etc. But I told him I won’t want to have intercourse with him unless we are exclusive and he’s been respectful. He still wants to come over (40 minute drive) even when I am on my period, including clearing his schedule for the day.

    However, the dude does not text often (he’s single, confirmed by himself and FB). When he does text; they are small talks about his workouts and shit here and there during the day, then some heavily sexual stuff about my body. He compliments my body all the time. Sometimes he does not text at all 2 days on end. And I don’t respond to stupid nonchalant texts from him either. Those nonchalant includes (LOL, cool, Emojis), just an FYI.

    I am crazy about this dude but also have high self-esteem. This message may give you the vibe that I am self-absorbed as I want to keep everything short and drama-free. But I am an unsually kind person in real life situations.

    Where do I go from here? This dude is on my mind like 24/7 without knowing it.

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