“Why Did He Discard Me So Easily?”

I met a guy online and we hit it off immediately. He was 20 years younger than I am, but since I wasn’t looking for a serious relationship and I am quite open-minded, this didn’t bother me. He also confessed that he was very much into older women. We chatted for three weeks, and he seemed smart, funny, and, judging by how much time he spent online with me and by the things he said, very attracted to me. He previously was in a 6-year relationship which ended a year ago and, since then, in a 6-month relationship with a married woman my age.

He was very persistent and insisted that we meet at his place. I refused at first, asking that the first meeting be in a public place. However, I ended up giving in, and I did meet him at his place. There were no sparks; I didn’t feel anything for him, but somehow things evolved into something physical. We did not go all the way, but what we did do felt good. I was hoping that we could have a “situationship,” as neither of us was looking for something serious. He kept saying that he knew things were going to work out between us – that he’s never wrong – and that I looked as great or better than in my profile picture and he was sure we would meet again.

After I left his place, he texted to thank me for an amazing evening. The next morning he texted me again to ask how I was, but when I asked how he was, he never replied. I waited for a day and then asked him what was wrong. He said he was sorry but he still had feelings for his ex and we should leave things alone between us. The messages were long but came very quickly, like he was copy-pasting them or something. I told him that there was never any intention on my part to have a proper relationship and that I didn’t feel anything either but that I thought we would have had a great physical relationship. I ended my messages by saying I hoped we would never meet again.

The thing is, I was terribly hurt and confused because he went from charming and persistent to acting like an inconsiderate jerk, and I found his excuse about still having feelings for his ex lame and insulting to my intelligence. When I asked what was wrong, I was expecting something like “I didn’t like your body,” because I do have 20 pounds extra and why else would a guy in his right mind refuse a non-committal, discrete, strictly sexual relationship? Isn’t this what someone who hasn’t gotten over an ex would be interested in?

I cried my eyes out for two days because I felt I had been treated like an object, lied to, manipulated, and then discarded so easily. It’s my ego and my value as a human being that is bruised, not my feelings, as there were none, but I’m still having such a hard time understanding what was on this man’s mind. Please help. — Feeling Manipulated and Discarded

Who cares about this man? This man is a creep who is completely irrelevant to your life and your well-being, and he has absolutely zero bearing on your value as a human being. I think you know this – deep down you must know this. You didn’t even like this man. You felt no spark with him. He was a creep for not respecting your boundary of meeting in public. You are right that he manipulated you. He boosted your ego by pursuing you intently and telling you how good you look. That his follow-up actions didn’t align with his initial intentions does not subtract from your value because your value isn’t based on what a man – one single, creepy man – thinks about you. If the value of women *did* depend on what one single creepy guy thought of us, we’d all be in trouble. Thank goodness their feelings about us don’t matter.

What does matter is what you think about yourself and how you quantify your own value. What do you like about yourself? What do you think your friends and family like about you? Do you think, in their eyes, your value is affected by your weight or by what some creep thinks about you? If a friend listed all the things she loves about you and you replied, “but this guy I met on an app who is 20 years younger than I am didn’t want to see me again after I made out with him,” do you think that that would persuade her to change her list at all? I really doubt it, and it shouldn’t affect how YOU value yourself either.

Going forward, I hope you will continue setting boundaries with potential dates and then STICK to those boundaries. Don’t let a date talk you out of meeting in a public place. And if you don’t feel a spark when you meet, you don’t have to take things to the next level; you don’t have to get physical with someone you don’t feel that kind of connection with. Remember your value and don’t settle for less than what you know you’re worth. And don’t justify settling with words like “situationship” or telling yourself you don’t want anything serious anyway. You deserve to feel desired, respected, and turned on before you become intimate with someone, regardless of how serious or non-committed you are to each other. Anything less is settling, and you’re worth more than that.

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If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at wendy(AT)dearwendy.com.


  1. Christina says:

    You feel used because you were used. And it’s you’re own fault. You had strict boundaries about not meeting outside of a public space, and went over to his place. He didn’t have to woo you, or chase you, or even take you out for a burger, you just showed up at his place like door dash. Don’t let someone push your boundaries.

    He gave you 3 weeks of pretty words online and you fell for it. Online relationships take no actual work because there’s no actions involved. It’s just typing.

    You felt no spark and yet you slept with him anyways. This is all a “you” problem. You aren’t ready to date or be in a relationship. You are unable to establish or set or stick to basic boundaries for your health and well being. Take time off, get therapy and seek out assertiveness training.

    He absolutely played you. He’s probably doing this with 4 other women. And half of them probably show up convient for him. You have to remember that a lot of men do not have any kind of emotional attachment with sex. It’s just pleasure for them. They aren’t agonizing over body esteem issues, or worrying about how you feel. These guys look for any in they can get, and say anything to get it.

    Saying he has feelings for his ex is an old trick because you can’t argue with it. And you can’t disprove it. And you can’t even make the other person out to be the villain over it. It’s a weaponized trick because it allows them to use you, and then gives a reasonable way for then to end the relationship with you without being the bad guy.

    I’m sure his ex wouldn’t touch him with a ten foot pole. And he probably cheated on her.

    1. If he even has an ex. The things he said about previous relationships might be part of his canned backstory he uses to make women think he might be serious and not simply playing a numbers game with older women for sex.

    2. Anonymous says:

      Always meet a potential date in a public place. Don’t go somewhere private. Always vett the person. Are they what they seem to be? I am not sure that all these hook ups are good.
      What happened to dating and hooking up with someone you have feelings for?

  2. Young guys are always trying to hook up with older women because it’s easy and older women are flattered by the attention. This guy was clearly, clearly, unambiguously just after sex. He didn’t get it and that’s why he ghosted you. He didn’t want any ongoing situationship. He wanted a one-time hookup. Maybe if you had sex and he liked it, you’d have seen him again, for sex, once or twice. But he has ENDLESS options online for new, NSA sex with older women, and that’s what he’s pursuing.

  3. Also if a guy ever says to come meet him at his, you should block him. It’s such a huge red flag. Any decent man with good intentions knows that’s not safe and wouldn’t ever ask you to do that. If he suggests it, he’s either negligently clueless or up to no good. Even a guy who just wants sex can meet you for a drink first.

  4. Anonymous says:

    I’m concerned about STD’s in these hookups.

  5. HeartsMum says:

    LW, I hope you will really read and re-read Wendy’s advice. It is so frustrating to see people—women—be treated badly and then spend more lifeforce wondering “what’s wrong with me, that I was treated badly?” The techniques which this guy used are as common as dogshit; if you’ve been out of things awhile then you might not have known. Testing you to see if he can break your boundaries is Scumbag 101. Young people are on the apps for sex, they seem to have fooled themselves NSA and situationships are all they want (mental health crisis is *a coincidence* I’m sure), but you haven’t or this wouldn’t have tied you in knots.

  6. I am sorry you feel so hurt but I think you ought to spend some time really reflecting on why you compromised your boundaries for a stranger in the first place, potentially with the help of a therapist. Meeting him at his place instead of out in public for the first time was risky.

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