Q. I have been talking to/hanging out with James for a few months. We’re both in our mid-20s, have mutual friends, but only met recently. Our first night together, I had no idea he was even into me until after we got home from the bar. Our two mutual friends had made plans to hang out and we got dragged along. Others were supposed to come, but it ended up just being our mutual friends and us. Throughout the night, he made no advances and I also didn’t make any. After we got home that night, our mutual friends retired to the bedroom and James and I were on the couch. I assured him I’d be fine on the couch and that he could go to bed. Instead he suggested we watch a movie in bed together. I agreed (and was somewhat shocked because I didn’t think he was interested). We ended up spending the entire weekend together and I slept in his bed (without sex, just fooling around) for the next couple nights. We also spent the following weekend together (from Friday night through Sunday). That weekend we did have sex and I knew I definitely wanted to see him again.
Fast forward to today. We text every day (literally) but have only hung out once in the last two weeks and it was on a weeknight. He constantly asks me what my plans are for the weekend and on Friday and Saturday I receive an inevitable text asking me what I’m doing for the night, where I’m going, and what time. However, he never seems to follow through. I have stopped initiating contact. I don’t text him at all unless he texts me, but he frequently texts me (as I stated) asking about plans and just making general chitchat. I should also mention that he is not very straightforward about his interest. For example, I didn’t know he was interested in me that first night until after he propositioned me to the bedroom, and every other time we have hung out, he’s not very physical at all. He usually initiates kissing, but then it’s me who initiates everything else. Obviously I am very confused. Why text me and ask me what I’m up to if he doesn’t have any intention of hanging out? What is up with the physical part? Why wouldn’t he show me affection if he asks me to sleep in his bed?
I’ve thought about being forward with him and just asking him if I’m misreading signals, but I’m not exactly sure that would be the best thing to do. Maybe he has just been with friends the last couple of weeks and timing didn’t work out the way he thought. Maybe he’s gay and he’s just putting on a facade for others in his life. Maybe he doesn’t want to hang out but is too nice to stop talking to me. Whatever it is, I’m pretty sure I can handle it. I don’t know him that well and, although I am interested, I’d get over the rejection pretty quickly. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. I just want to know what is what so I can either keep devoting some attention to this or let it go.
For the record, my upfront text was going to read something like, “Hey, can I ask you something? We talk all the time, but don’t really hang out. Am I misreading things or has it just been conflicting schedules?”
A. Two things:
1. Sometimes we’re so confused by a person’s intentions that we forget to decide how we feel about them. Your whole letter is about decoding the mystery of James. But are you into James? What makes him worthy of this work? Is this about trying to partner with someone you really like or about avoiding rejection? Please don’t forget that you should be deciding whether James is an appropriate partner. If his actions are annoying and making you feel bad about yourself, you’re allowed to move on without answers and let James wonder what happened.
2. If you confront James — and you should — please don’t do it by text. Call him. Show him that there are other ways to communicate. I fear that he’s going to receive your text and write back, “Just been busy. It’s cool,” and then you’re stuck waiting again. You need to ask, “What are we doing here? Do you want to see me?” That’s a conversation that requires hearing someone’s voice.
Really, you never tell us why you like James. You’re just trying to figure him out. My gut tells me that your energy is better spent looking for a guy who wants to see you — and get it on with you — when he has the chance.
He wasn’t interested until he knew he could sleep with you. Now that’s he’s slept with you, he’s moving on. I think he keeps up the contact to have you on the back burner. If he really wanted to see you, hang out with you, date you, he’d make the time and follow through.
Actions speak louder than words, so don’t even bother with asking for explanations. He’s just not that into you. He’d be moving heaven and earth to see you if he really was into you.
So you are playing the old “I’m not going to text/call you unless you text/call me” game and you think you’re the one that is confused? He must be scratching his head wondering how he got involved with a high school junior.
This sounds like it was just a fun fling. Why is this guy worth all of this sweat on your part?
Why are you writing in to LL about this and asking us? Ya know that guy you have been texting and intermittently sleeping with? Remember him? Yup, he’s the one you should be asking.
Don’t send the text. For crying our loud, you’ve had sex with him — you should be able to ask a simple question in person or at least on the phone. Going forward, no more inquiring texts unless he wants to see you, otherwise, what you’re doing/where you’re going is none of his business.
What ever happened to dating? Anyone remember that ritual? You know, a phone call, will come by your place to get you at 7, dinner, long walk, longing. . . . Ah, the good old days, I bid thee fond farewell.
.com/loveletters. Meredith Goldstein can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.