Did I Lose A Great Guy Or Did I Avoid a Selfish Player?

Hello Evan. Four months ago I met this guy. I had just broken up with my ex-boyfriend, so I was a bit reluctant to take the new guy seriously. However, he was so persistent and romantic that I finally gave in and started to have what I thought was a relationship with him. A week or two later he started to act really cold, not texting or phoning me unless I did it first. He would only see me once a week because he said he was busy (which he was). I felt horrible because I had fallen for him and he didn’t care much about us (in fact he did state that we were incompatible and that he couldn’t imagine a future with me). That’s why six weeks ago I started dating other guys. I didn’t tell the guy about this, which was totally wrong. He wouldn’t tell people he was my boyfriend and he wouldn’t hold hands with me on the street. A week ago a friend of his told him that he had chatted me up and that I had somehow responded. He went completely nuts. I told him all the truth and he’s now furious. He says I cheated on him and that I’m a slut and things like that. He doesn’t want to be with me anymore. I’ve now realized he did love me but he didn’t have the guts to admit it or to show it. I feel like crap. I’m desperate and don’t know what to do because I feel I’ve lost a great guy just because of a big misunderstanding. What should I do? Please help. –Rose


Although your question is very similar to this one, which I wrote a few years back, I wanted to tackle it and see if I could shed some light on your situation.

Quick, let’s play a game called “What’s my emotion?”

How it works is that I give you a choice of the emotions I could possibly be feeling after reading your question and you guess which one is the most accurate one. Ready? Go!

Bemused – Because literally half of my questions sound something like this: “I met this guy and the chemistry was really great and we slept together and I thought he was my boyfriend but now he’s acting distant and doesn’t seem to want a relationship. What should I do?”

Pity – Because even though this guy wouldn’t call or text you, see you more than once a week, commit to you as a boyfriend, and finally called you a slut for dating other men, you’re STILL delusional enough to think he’s a “great guy”, that you “cheated” on him and that he “loved you” after a few weeks of “dating”.

Anger – Because you need a dating coach to tell you what is patently obvious. Your guy is not a keeper, you didn’t blow it, and the fact that you’re in great pain over this “loss” drives me absolutely crazy. What does he need to do to convince you that he’s not a good guy? Burn your house down? Torture your dog?

Frustration – Because this situation is so very common and it’s so hard for most women to distinguish their feelings for their boyfriend from his feelings for you.

So let’s make it really clear.

Good men don’t call you “slut”.
Good men call you regularly to make plans because they’re excited about you.
Good men don’t freak out if you’re seeing other men – especially if you’re not exclusive.

You dated a man who, like many men (including good men), look for sex first and figure out the relationship stuff later.

What does he need to do to convince you that he’s not a good guy? Burn your house down? Torture your dog?

I’ve written volumes about this phenomenon and don’t think there’s much to add to that discussion. Men feel attraction, act on the attraction, but don’t determine whether they like you as a person or are emotionally ready for a relationship until AFTER.

This is common.

What’s not common is the amount of psychological abuse you seem to be willing to put yourself through in order to win back this douchecanoe.

He’s done NOTHING to earn your loyalty and EVERYTHING to hurt you.

I’m not going to try to play shrink to figure out how low your self-esteem has to get for you want to win back a psychotic, selfish, abusive commitmentphobe, but let’s say that what happened to you should have driven you far, far away from this guy.

So at this point, I’m not pissed at him.

I’m angry at YOU, Rose, for not getting it.

That is, I would be angry if anger were the emotion I was feeling in this hypothetical game.

Really, I think I just feel sad for you.


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  1. 1

    What should you do?  Move on to someone who will be your boyfriend.

  2. 2

    Questions like this make me sad, and their frequency makes me even sadder. Are women really so desperate for a man that they will put up with any amount of nasty, abusive behavior? 

    There is just nothing about this guy that indicates that the OP should spare him another thought. He intentionally kept her at a distance but freaked out when it looked like she was doing the same. Not a good guy by any definition.

    Love the “douchecanoe!” :-) 

    1. 2.1

      “Douchecanoe” had me in tears. I’ve used that word so many times. Oh gosh what a staple!! This is by far the best site I’ve come across. Hail to Google for keyword searches that allowed me to find this. Yes, I searched Douchecanoe.  Fantastic! 


    2. 2.2

      Evan, this is actually victim-blaming. You can’t blame women for not being heartless like men. They are not wired the same way. She wants to know what the hell kind of human being men are— if they ARE human at all.

      1. 2.2.1
        Evan Marc Katz

        1. Unless you’ve been sexually assaulted against your will, you’re not a “victim”. The OP made a choice – a series of choices, actually – and, for some reason, what’s patently obvious to all of us is not patently obvious to her. She chose to invest emotionally in a jerk and is shocked that he is, in fact, a jerk.

        2. Somehow you put that all on the jerk. I put that on the victim. If you touch a hot stove, you pull your hand away. It’s not the stove’s fault if you hold it there.

        If you can’t see that – of if you think that men (you know, HALF of the population) are not human because some women have incredibly low-self-esteem and a high tolerance for objectively bad behavior – well, then, I’m afraid you’re not going to like the rest of what you read here, as I urge people to take responsibility for the things they can control, instead of acting like victims and blaming men for years of mistreatment.

  3. 3

    I don’t mean to be harsh.   He told you that there was no future with you, refused to hold your hand and refused to be called your boyfriend.  What part of that is hard to understand as him not being your BF despite his irrational behavior when finding out his friend chatted you up?
    You didn’t do anything wrong and you didn’t lose anything.
    Forget about him and move on to someone else.

  4. 4

    Hi Rose,
    I think you need some downtown to think about what you really want instead of just reeling from one person to the next while still on the rebound.
    This guy is a DRAMA KING. 
    I’ve now realized he did love me but he didn’t have the guts to admit it or to show it.”

    Ok, that is totally wrong. That statement is insane.  First off, you should want to date someone who can show you he loves you.  And if someone doesn’t have the BALLS to show you he loves you (12 year olds have the balls to show people they love them), then he doesn’t care enough.

    This is obviously not the case here… The guy is just being dramatic, but to be honest, you seem to be acting dramatic as well.

  5. 5

    Agree with Evans response and the other posters. On a side note, what if the issue is not wanting the guy back, but wanting to get BACK AT him for bad behavior? Sadly, a lot of men go through life behaving badly with women and go to their graves without regret or facing consequences.

  6. 6

    << I feel I’ve lost a great guy just because of a big misunderstanding.>>

    I see absolutely nothing in Rose’s letter that says that her guy was “great” in any way. In fact, except for a very short time at the beginning of their relationship, she spends the entire letter telling us what a jerk he is! Is she just on the rebound? I think it’s too soon for her to be dating, but my guess is her previous relationship wasn’t very healthy either. 

    I love the word “douchecanoe” too! 

  7. 7

    A quick PS… Are you totally sure that you don’t just want attention?

  8. 8

    Rose, this guy didn’t love you. In fact, there is a chance that when he found out his friend ‘chatted you up’ he was embarrassed because he had previosuly been telling his buddies about ‘this chick that’s so into him’ etc., but this episode made it known that his game was not as tight as he thought. So now he looks stupid and is lashing out at you with the name-calling.

    Do I have hard evidence to back up that scenario? No. But I think it’s  more likely than the scenario that he was just too scared to tell you he loved you.

    I’m sorry you got hurt. You need to recalibrate so you aren’t drawn to men like this. As a start, I suggest you set some boundaries of dating behavior you are and aren’t okay with (regular phone calls, being ‘claimed’ after a certain amount of time, etc.) and if the new guy isn’t meeting them, you leave him.

  9. 9

    Another plus for those who recognize that the dweeb is a douchecanoe! (Gotta love that one).
    It is not him we really have to worry about Rose but your comments do worry us that you are going to be ok. One key thing here is realize that abusive people are masters at manipulation quite often and I would easily say you have been totally manipulated by him. Beware too of angry men! Even scripture warns about them. You do deserve soooo much better! Move onward, upward and forward girl and leave him paddleless as he really is just a douchecannoe. Perhaps he deserves a ride on the rapids anyway…. but there are way more men in the sea – keep fishing and get yourself a great catch!

  10. 10

    I have to ask to my fellow women…what is the deal with the Rationalization Theater that some of you love to put on.
    A man who is flaky and ignores you becomes “too scared” of his feelings to tell you, or he doesn’t call for weeks because he is “too busy.”  
    Guess what, those guys that blow you off b/c of work or commitment issues will someday meet a woman who they do not want to let get away, and she won’t hear any of the lies and excuses that you do (or that really you make in your head).
    I hate to quote Oprah, and I’m sure this has been said by many, but you know, when a man shows you who he really is-  believe him.  Don’t make him beat you over the head with it.
    This guy didn’t want to be seen or known as your boyfriend, but calls you a slut b/c his friend hit on you?  Aside from being a misogynist, he’s a big hypocrite. You were only ever back-up booty, and he didn’t want anyone to know he had a girlfriend b/c it could limit his options.  
    If you are being nice, available, and easygoing and you are still getting ignored, he doesn’t want you.
    Life can get hard, but I really believe that once a man meets what he considers to be his keeper, he will fight to have her no matter what else is going on in his life and no matter scared he might be.   
    And it’s said b/c she is genuinely hurt and even if she takes this good advice, she’ll still probably have a hard time moving on.  

    Can I ask some of the male commenters…do you ever make up crazy excuses for why a woman treats you badly?  Or is this more of a feminine trait? 

    1. 10.1

      I find with guys they will just say the woman “is a crazy bitch” regardless of the facts of the matter. 

  11. 11
    Saint Stephen

    Great advice from Evan and other posters.
    Rose- a 10yo would know this guy doesn’t love you. your emotions i think
    have clouded your sense of reasoning and good judgement.

    Jennifer (#8) 
    you make drew up a good scenario, but coming from a female, your analysis might be wrong.
    Now let me give a male perspective.
    There is something we guys sometimes do when we aren’t anymore interested in a girl. We implicate her by setting her up with our friends, that way we can end the relationship still having our good guy label, while she is made to feel responsible and bear the brunt for the relationship failure.
    i’ll assert that he noticed you had been dating again and he probably set you up with his guy friend, through that means he will successfully get you to believe that your sluttish attitude, terminated the relationship prematurely. by that way you will be the one feeling the guilt.

    Oh! Rose.. please forget the drama- guys can act too. 

  12. 12
    Flower White

    Everything everyone else say and adding… there is now two generations of women raised by single mothers. Fatherlessness leaves women at great disadvantages regarding dating choices. I am positive that this young lady was not raise with her dad to  guide her. My parents divorced and dad checked out and therapy helped but in retrospect, being fatherless lead to me making poor choices of men.

  13. 13

    Rose, at the very moment he said that the two of you were incompatible and he couldn’t imagine a future with you, you should have thanked him for doing you a big favor and then walked away from him as fast as your pretty self could. What a selfish, immature, pompous, righteous jerk (and a few other things, too ;) ).
    Look, it hurts, and sometimes like hell, to grow emotionally attached to a man, only to find out what he’s really made of, but rather than focus on how hurt you’re feeling, focus on how you’re not going to give him a second of satisfaction or an ounce of your power. He’s not worth doing any self-evaluating or crying over, and he’s certainly not worth giving up your power to his childish ways and words. Hold you head high, and be grateful he’s gone.
    Remember … a man who truly loves you would never treat you this way. Try not to allow your own insecurities to cloud the issues.

  14. 14
    Sheba Wheeler

    Tough love but the honest to goodness truth, as I see it. Please, don’t take offense to EMK response or take it personally because he’s really trying to help you. You may want to bristle…but don’t allow that to prevent you from what he’s trying to say to assist you.

  15. 15

    I puked in my mouth a little when I read “ I’ve now realized he did love me but he didn’t have the guts to admit it or to show it.”
    With all the blogs and books out there educating women about dating and men’s behavior, there are still some that just don’t get it. Come on, we’re in the “he’s just not into you” generation….
    It saddens me that while some women learn and accept this, there are still some with such low self esteem that it never sinks in for them. It sounds like she needs a therapist more then relationship advice…
    Never make someone a priority when they only make you an option! Never accept abusive behavior from anyone- boyfriend, friend, co-worker… If someone or a situation is making you feel bad, anxious, sad, or worthless then that’s a red flag that your boundary has been crossed and to stop accepting it….

  16. 16

    Wow! Hold on now people. I have to admit I was really shocked to read both Evan’s response and all of the comments below. And please don’t get me wrong – I’m a big fan of Evan’s. I think he’s terrific at laying things out clearly, with love but no mercy. I also really appreciate that instead of just going the “He’s Just Not That Into You” route (i.e., it’s the dude’s fault if he doesn’t appreciate wonderful, gorgeous you), Evan tells women WHY the dude isn’t into them. That’s why I was so surprised that Rose was written off so quickly as being merely a delusional woman and Douchecanoe was written off so quickly as a douchecanoe. 
    Rose tells us that she had broken up with her ex mere weeks before meeting Douchecanoe. She also tells us that she took a lot of convincing before she finally gave into his romantic and persistent advances. Isn’t it possible that she was sending him mixed signals and he responded by pulling away? When women write in to Evan, we only get their side of the story, and it usually makes them look innocent but clueless. She doesn’t tell us what ‘giving in’ means – everyone just assumed that Douchecanoe was just into her for sex and fell off the face of the earth once he got it. Sure, lots of men do that and hey, this guy could have done that, too. But I think I need to hear a bit more about how Rose behaved with this man before I write off Douchecanoe as a Douchecanoe.

    1. 16.1

      a guy who was getting mixed signals wouldn’t have responded by calling her a “slut”. Only an asshole does that. This guy sounds manipulative as hell; instead of leaving her alone after her breakup to heal, he knew to swoop in and take advantage of her vulnerable state. 

      Not saying Rose isn’t being clueless here, she is, but master manipulators are VERY good at twisting around your own emotions and logic, too 

  17. 17
    Still Looking

    Nicole @ 10 asked, “Can I ask some of the male commenters…do you ever make up crazy excuses for why a woman treats you badly?  Or is this more of a feminine trait?”

    I can only speak for myself but yes I have made the mistake of rationalizing why a woman has treated me poorly.  It was when I first started dating and I was blinded by “chemistry.”  It is amazing what we will put up with when the chemistry is off the charts :-(  Now with more experience and some words of wisdom from this site, I have learned to just say “Next” as soon as the red flags start popping up. 

  18. 18

    Hey Rose…hope you have taken what Evan said and most of the other posters.  Nicole and Bridget….those two posts…you need to read over and over again my dear.  I managed to marry someone who gave me all the signs in the beginning but because I was determined and pushed it I married him and now divorced.  Divorce is costly and hurts.  Generally makes you really pissed off as well. Don’t waste your time even thinking this guy loved you.  He didn’t, I am sorry to put it bluntly but he didn’t.  It was a game to  him.  You are now relieved of a Player in every sense of the word.  Find the guy who will love and adore you.  He will call you and want to listen to your voice, talking hours on the phone.  Holding your hand and telling you how wonderful you are and happy that you are in his life.  Hold out!  It’s tough and you will go through some toads like this last one. Hold out…get the RIGHT one!  It will be worth it. Wishing you success finding the right one! Carrie XO

  19. 19

    Really!! Why are you settling for so little?   You need to work on your self esteem a bit before you date again.  You deserve so much more and you need to build yourself up so you don’t even entertain this bullsh*t!

  20. 20

    Hmmm…”E” posted an interesting side to it that I never would have seen….

  21. 21

    Oh, man. Do I feel like I’ve been here before. Rose, please don’t do this to yourself. Two years ago, I made a similar mistake. I broke up with my boyfriend and maybe a month later, I met a guy off of OKCupid who seemed to fit perfectly with me who was totally on my wavelength in every way I could have possibly desired…except that he was TERRIBLE at making time for me, showing up to our dates, and committing to a relationship after five months of wishy-washy emotional reeling. To this day, whatever that situation we had was is still a big confusing, torturous mess to me, because there are so many unanswered questions. This guy would text me all day, call me multiple times a day, but would always “fall asleep,” or “forget,” or just plain no-show on me all the time when we made plans. He never once met a single friend of mine and went out of his way to avoid meeting them or introducing me to his. He was super weird about intimacy, and I can count the times we actually made it to home base on one hand. One day, after about four and a half months, with no commitment, and disappointed by the lack of intimacy (emotionally and physically), I reactivated my OKC account and he found out. Our relationship dwindled away, and he attacked me, much in the same manner that your fellow did to you.
    Needless to say, that situation was INCREDIBLY painful for me and took me a very, very long time to recover from, because he had me hook, line, and sinker. I was lost in him, almost entirely, in a crazy, delusional, masochistic kind of way. While I will never have the answers I wanted and needed in that situation, I can tell you that it’s NOT something to put yourself through. I can tell you are in a place of pain right now, and what’s most important at this point is to allow yourself the time to heal, to rebuild, and to grow from within. It is a process, and not an easy one, but it is necessary to get yourself back on your feet and in the right mindset to be open and ready for the right kind of love that you so rightly deserve.
    Just remember to take the time you need to heal, and spend time getting to know and love yourself. Spending time with friends really did wonders for me in that process. I wish you the best and I’m sending tons and tons of hugs your way. Hang in there!! And stay away from these kinds of people. It’s sometimes hard to figure out who is real and who is not, but EMK gives us a lot of tools to use for this process. Keep reading the blog — I’ve been a creeper for the past two years (since my incident) and I can’t tell you how much that’s helped me, as well.

  22. 22


    Where is the misunderstanding in these statements?

    A week or two later he started to act really cold, not texting or phoning me unless I did it first. He would only see me once a week because he said he was busy

    (in fact he did state that we were incompatible and that he couldn’t imagine a future with me).

    He wouldn’t tell people he was my boyfriend and he wouldn’t hold hands with me on the street.

    He says I cheated on him and that I’m a slut and things like that. He doesn’t want to be with me anymore.

    You’re desperate to get THIS man back? Why??

    And why are you so ready to let him turn everything around on you?

    Read the bold print again and again until you get it !!

    Good luck :)

  23. 23

    Oh my. Rose, you don’t have any Jewish close relatives, do you? This was your first guilt trip, wasn’t it? See, he wouldn’t be able to pull this trick on me, because I grew up on that stuff, and can spot it from a mile away. He’s been a crappy BF all along, and now all of a sudden it’s your fault? Have you asked him how is it even logically possible to cheat on a man who said he doesn’t want a relationship, cannot imagine a future with you, and wouldn’t call himself your boyfriend? How is it cheating, when you two are not in any kind of relationship, according to him?? He did you a huge favor by saying he “doesn’t want to be with you anymore” (yeah, like he ever really was with you to begin with). Good, let him take his passive-aggressive douchebaggery elsewhere.
    I totally understand that right now, you’re physically and emotionally attached and that isn’t allowing you to think straight – BTDT. A while ago, someone on here posted a link to a site that I found very useful, and wish I’d found it a month earlier than I did – would’ve saved me from doing and saying some asinine things to myself and others. The site has a ton of very good post-breakup instructions, here it is: http://www.baggagereclaim.co.uk/ Hope it helps you snap out of this funk you’re in! Good luck!!

  24. 24

    @ Hunter

    If I someone isn’t making it clear you’re in a committed relationship but is critical when you see other people I see it as having your cake and eating it too situation. 

    It seems your suggesting it would be possible that he was playing it cool in order to win her over. Aside from a plot line for a movie I’ve never heard of this actually happening. Regardless if they’re were some confusion relating their relationship status belittling someone for considering their options is a jerk move.

    So maybe the guy isn’t a full time douche, he could be a great guy to someone else somewhere down the way. But he was certainly acting douche-y Rose. And she doesn’t need to throw good time after bad trying to figure what she did that made him lost interest. 

    Not every that treats you badly is a terrible person through and through but it’s better for Rose to write the guy off as a douche in the long run than to analyze everything detail in her behavior and his psychology that made them not work as a couple. 

    Possessiveness and Jealousy can be negative attributes that come with love but they can exist just as well in the absence of love as well. 


  25. 25

    Nothing about this guy’s actions suggest “great catch.” However, I do think that E’s point about mixed signals could also be part of the story here as well. Being in that post breakup place, it’s rare that someone is really ready to date seriously again. I’ve been on both ends of that stick, and it’s always filled with mixed signals. So, although I doubt – based on what Gem highlighted above – that this guy was a good match, I also imagine that Rose hasn’t been open and emotionally available in a way that would attract a good match.

  26. 26

    On a positive note, I think Rose did make one wise decision, which was to have started dating other men. Good for you! Now carry on that attitute and date more until you find one that doesn’t play head games. Don’t commit to any until they show you via their actions they are committed to a relationship.
    Take away the words, and then look at their actions…

  27. 28

    Wow. Um, I can’t believe I’m the first one with this but, here it goes.

    I know that Rose may have been a a little blinded by what sounds like an emotionally abusive relationship, so why are we answering her with more abuse? That’s what emotionally abusive men do, the wittle you down until you don’t know what’s good and bad in the relationship. Shouldn’t we be trying to help rather than pushing her down even further?

    Seriously people, criticism is good when it’s constructive. “I feel sad for you.” Really? Hearing this is just disappointing. Women write in seeking advice, comfort, and yes, the truth. But this is not the way to deliver it. I get the whole “I want to be edgy and throw down the truth, in your face” spin Evan is taking here, but I sure as hell would never write in with the chance of being humiliated like that. There’s a line, and I think it’s been crossed here.

    I get that you need to be edgy to keep readers, but taking it too far just makes you look immature and kind of likea douchcanoe yourself. I know it might not be intended and it’s all for the show of the blog (unless your really are a, ahem, douchecanoe), but there are real women behind these emails, with fragile emotions. Saying stuff like “I’m not going to try and play shrink to figure out how low your self esteem has to be to want to win back…” and “I feel sad for you” is so uncalled for. I’m ashamed of you and all of these readers who have piggy backed on, thinking that this post is just hilarious. It’s always funny when you’re sitting there with the other kids laughing at the harsh comments your ringleader throws at the girl in the corner, but just wait till you’re the girl in the corner and see how funny it is.

    Put yourself in Rose’s emotional state. Put yourself in an ending emotionally abusive relationship. Do you really need harsh right now? Or did you alread get enough of it….

    1. 28.1
      Abuse is Not Cool

      Abuse is Not Cool – Taking Advantage of Vulnerable People is Not Cool

    2. 28.2

      Thank you, Claire. You said exactly what I was thinking. Rose sounds like she is 16. If so, this is especially uncalled for.

  28. 29
    Dancing Faun

    At least Rose stands a chance of having something good and sane because she’s trying to figure things out. The douchecanoe probably isn’t able.

  29. 30

    I think the stages are out of whack
    1. date many to find the one and be picky here until you find one into you
    2. be in a committed girlfriend/boyfriend relationship
    3. THEN have sex when you are sure – enjoy it a whole lot more and build a great relationship
    There is a whole lot less confusion and a whole lot more value for the woman

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