What You Can Learn From a Real-Life “He’s Just Not That Into You” Situation

two young couple sitting on the grass both wearing purple colored clothes

I am 41, divorced with two kids. Three months ago, I met someone, 38, no kids, never been married. We exchanged phone numbers, went out a couple times and ended up having sex on our second date. He has always been upfront with me about not wanting a serious relationship, which I agreed to because frankly, even though I’ve been divorced for two years I don’t feel that I’m ready for that either. He is the first guy that I’ve dated, let alone had sex with, since the divorce. Things seemed to be going pretty well, we were seeing each other a couple times a week, had a few incidents where I did things he didn’t like, one time I went to his house unannounced and he told me to never do that again. So we’ve had a few conversations about honesty, and about what each of us wants this relationship to be. I thought we came to an agreement, he told me he has gone out with other women since I came along and that he wouldn’t mind if I dated other people. He says he hasn’t had sex with anyone else, and if he did he would tell me and break it off with me. And he would expect me to do the same.

The last time I saw him was on a Wednesday almost two weeks ago, I called him the following Saturday at 10 p.m. and he was at a party, said he would call me later. Well, he did call at 4 a.m. and left me a voicemail saying he was sorry he didn’t call earlier, that he would’ve invited me but I wouldn’t have had any fun because it was mostly a bunch of guys.

So on Monday I sent him a text asking what he was doing, and he never responded. By Thursday (a week since I’d seen him last) he still hadn’t called so I called him and he did the ‘answer the phone and hang it up to make it look like a dropped call’ game twice before he finally answered the third time. When he did answer he was pretty rude, said I read too much into things, that he’s been busy and that’s the only reason he hasn’t called me. I asked him if he was seeing someone else and he said no. I told him that he could’ve at least had the courtesy to take two minutes out of his suddenly busy life to call me to say he wouldn’t be available due to being busy. (I don’t know what is keeping him busy, he never elaborated.) He did agree that he was pretty inconsiderate of my feelings, but never said anything about calling me again or anything. The conversation ended with me telling him to give me a call when he could find the time.

All I ask for is a little honesty, if he doesn’t want to see me anymore for whatever reason, just be a man and end it with a little dignity. Is that too much to ask? It’s not like we had only gone out a couple times, we spent a fair amount of time with each other and I thought that if anything else, he would always be a friend. But now I feel like I have to try to avoid him, I told my friend that if he shows up at the bar when we’re there I will leave, she says I need to just hold my head up and pretend I’m not hurt if I do see him. I guess I just want a little insight into the mind of a 38-year-old man that behaves like a high school kid. It is really frustrating, a setback to the confidence and self esteem that I did have before I met him, which wasn’t much to begin with. I see now that he was only using me for sex, that he either met someone else or is just done with me. I would be curious to know how many other women my age have been in situations like this. It makes me want to just give up on men altogether.


Dear Charlene,

Don’t give up on men. But please, for your own sake, read this very closely. Maybe print it up and put it on your bathroom mirror, where you can practice smiling in spite of what you’re about to hear.



He’s just not that into you.

But you already knew that. So let me continue with something that might not be as obvious….

Men do what they want. Unless they have a gun to their head or are trapped under a fallen boulder, they’re going to call you if they want to call you, and treat you well if they want to treat you well, and commit to you if they want to commit to you. This is the entire premise of He’s Just Not That Into You in 50 words.

Thus, if a man is not treating you the way you want to be treated, you have two choices — stay or go.

But you refuse to go. Instead, you stay and complain about how poorly you’re being treated.

Yet you realize that no one can treat you in any way that you don’t allow yourself to be treated.

Dump the guy and he can’t treat you any way.

Stay with him and he can treat you how he’s treating you. Trying to convince him to call you more, care about you more, and see you more is a futile endeavor. You can see this.

And thus, Charlene, despite your good intentions and big heart, you’re a classic enabler.

You allow him to walk on you and then act surprised when he walks on you.

So here’s what I want you to understand:

He WAS honest with you. You are the one who is not being honest with herself.

Sorry if that sounds like a bit of a verbal bitchslap, but the truth hurts.

He TOLD you that he didn’t want a relationship. He TOLD you he was seeing other people. He TOLD you not to come over unannounced, and, in not calling for two weeks, he pretty much TOLD you he wasn’t interested. You could quibble that it would have been nice for him to call you, or maybe write you a note on letterhead, officially establishing his lack of interest. But is that really necessary? In what culture is “ignoring someone for two weeks” a sign of passion?

As to how you’re not being honest with yourself…at the beginning of your question, you wrote that you don’t want a serious relationship. And so what did you do? You got attached, you called him, you texted him, you surprised him at his place, you started getting angry when he didn’t invite you out. Doesn’t exactly sound like the behavior of a woman who is happy as a casual dater, does it? Sounds to me like a woman who has feelings, in spite of the fact that she doesn’t want to have feelings.

You know who sounds like the honest casual dater? Him.

For the record, I don’t think what he’s doing is cool. A very simple conversation could have saved you a lot of pain. But people don’t care about others’ pain as much as they care about their own pleasure. Which is why he’d rather avoid the uncomfortable break-up conversation and keep texting you at 11pm to ask if he can come over to sleep with you. Asking him to give up this privilege of having a sexual relationship without making any effort is foolish. It would be like expecting a homeless man to give back a $20 bill he found on the street.

Listen, Charlene, your last paragraph smacks of passive victimhood. And all I’m trying to do here is smack you out of it. So please don’t get angry with me for merely stating what everyone else can see. Get angry at yourself for allowing this jackass to treat you like crap – and vow to never let it happen again.

Join our conversation (116 Comments).
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  1. 41

    Beyond the desire for sex beyond the desire for nurturing.   I say desire, because we can provide both for ourselves. We do what humans have been doing for thousands of years.   We evolve and learn.   Knowledge is power.   Humans know that subconsciously.   So when you have an experience, you’re learning about human nature and allowing it in some way to evolve.   There is only one way and that is forward.   So think of all your relationships as “boldly going where no man/woman has gone before”
    How brave we all are to explore new relationships to seek out new experiences.   There will be battles, there will be the dark side, there will be alliances and there will be foes. But above all there will be choices.   YOUR choices, that is freedom, that is wonderful.
    Be an explorer, an adventurer in all your encounters, be bold, be excited.   Above all EVOLVE.   CHANGE.   AND BE VERY VERY BRAVE… COURAGE ya gotta have COURAGE !
    Think firstly that you will never find the planet you THINK you want to rest upon.   Think firstly that there is no such planet.   Think firstly that life if a mystery to be explored. Think firstly that your universe is in front of where your eyes are looking, so choose where you want to look or choose the wild card and see where that takes you.  
    Have a destination or just point in a direction and move towards it.
    If we continue to coin the phrase “they’re just not into you” we allow someone else to define us.   We allow someone else to stunt our evolution.   We go against the flow of humankind.   We put the brakes on moving forward.   We stop trusting in ourselves. We are actually allowing self abuse.   We are opening up the inner factory of painful grief.   If you find this, explore it until it is satisfactorily healed.   That in itself is still moving forward.   I once had a conversation that went like this:
    “Oh, I will never find a relationship, I decided to just be alone and get on with it”
    “But, you won’t find out who you are or what you want if you don’t have relationships”
    All our relationships would be better served if we said “I’m so into you, what can we learn here, what can we explore here?”
    Try that, be bold. Knowing nothing stays the same, everything by nature must evolve.   Try saying, “I’m enjoying our encounter, so before we part or remain together what can we learn what can we share”   Whether 5 minutes or 50 years.
    Watch kids in the park playing, moving, MOVING from one play structure to another, mixing it up with other kids, choosing freely their own route.   Do not loose your inner child.
    Don’t box humans in with men are form Mars, women from Venus.   There are how many planets, galaxies, universes?   Oh, I could tell you amazing stories about where people find themselves.  
    Are you excited yet?   I sure as hell am!

    1. 41.1

      JoJO, that was the best, most encouraging, creative comment I’ve read… You are phenomenal and thank you for that!!!

  2. 42

    I’d also like to comment on people who offer empathy “I’m so sorry you had to go through this”   “I’m sorry he was just a jerk” “I’m sorry you are suffering”
    To those, why?   Empathy is not the answer.
    I’m not sorry for her, if she allows to accept your deepest and most sincere pity, she will feel a few things; self righteousness, false empowerment, self pity, possible revenge, shame..
    Do not stunt her growth, with “oh, you’ll get over it” – “stuff that down, hold you head high” “You’ll find someone better”
    We should encourage her to courageously look at and learn from the situation.   We can all learn from these posts.   The internet has empowered us to learn, to uncover, to dismantle and rebuild.   The internet has created immense power in that we can communicate from all corners of experiences on our planet.
    I say we all change, it’s a good day to change.

  3. 43

    I met a guy and we really hit it off, but as time passed I realized he was looking for a casual fling and I was looking for more.   While I let him know I was interested, I never pushed him to spend more time with me, call me more, or any other relationship demands.   I carried on with my own busy life, made plans with friends, etc, and figured he’d let me know if he was interested in more.   Unfortunately, as the months passed, things never evolved.   I’d get a phone call from him maybe once a week.   Occasionally I’d reach out with a “hey, how’s it going” text and there was a 50/50 chance he’d respond.   Almost 4 months in, he was only available to see me on a Tuesday or Wednesday night – never on a weekend – and even then it was always late in the evening, after he had finished some business networking event or been to the gym.   I was never invited to an event with him, never introduced to his friends.  
    It was pretty clear that he wanted nothing more than a casual fling and that I’d probably be dumped the moment someone “better” came along.   I didn’t fool myself into thinking the more time he spent with me, the more he’d like me – if this was how he was treating me early on, I didn’t want to go any further with HIM!   The decision was mine to make and I decided to cut him loose and move on.   I sent him a very pleasant text message saying that as much as I enjoyed spending time with him, I was looking for more than a casual fling and could see things weren’t going to work between us.   Surprise surprise, he never bothered responding to that text either, lol.  
    To be honest, it was a relief to cut it off with him and the fact that he never acknowledged my feelings about the “relationship” just confirmed I had made the right choice.   My advice to ladies in similar situations is listen to your gut instincts and walk away if you’re in any doubt as to their feelings about you.   I also looked at it this way: if there was a guy I liked but wasn’t crazy about, is there anything he could do to make me like him more?   Flowers, chocolates, wining and dining me?   I may enjoy that attention,  but is it really going to make me fall in love with someone I just don’t feel “it” for?   Not likely, and men are the same.   It’s either there or it isn’t and you can’t force it.   Trust me, I know it’s tough to walk away from that hottie, but like buses, there’s always another one coming along 🙂

  4. 44

    Alison 9 – I enjoyed reading what you wrote.   It is refreshing to hear a woman say what she wants and truly feels and expresses it so well.  
    I think somewhere, you are right.   And somewhere, you are wrong too.
    Yes, if a man says he’ll ring you, likes you, kisses you and messes you about, some woman should put him straight.   As long as that same woman can keep her dignity and self-respect. (:o).   The more cynical side of me laughs inside and says, why tell a man what he knows already? If he did want me/you, he wouldn’t be behaving like that, now would he?????
    Maybe silent dignity from many many women will teach him something too.   He will not have learned the lesson and will get into a relationship using the same old methods, messing about, not following through with commitments, and then she’ll walk out.   Why stay with a moron?
    Which woman will teach him the most? The one who tells him that he was wrong (and that maybe he can’t hear because he’s so full of himself) or the one that walks out?????
    Possibility number three which has occurred to me – there ARE gentleman who are out there.   They are maybe married or in a committed relationship.
    What these gentlemen can teach us single women is how gentlemen behave.   Some of us ladies have maybe not been lucky enough to know what that behaviour is.
    So signore, here are a few examples of my own.   Any gentleman who feels like completing my list, feel free:
    1. A gentleman will always behave in a respectful, kind way to a woman.
    2. If it’s raining, he’ll move you inside and he’ll stand on the pavement, maybe even with an umbrella.
    3. He’ll pay the tab at the restaurant.
    4. He’ll ring you when he says he will.   He’ll be on time for a date.
    5. He’ll ask you how you are.   What he can do for you.
    etc etc.
    (Ladies – that doesn’t mean that we don’t have to do anything – we have to reciprocate too – and no, that doesn’t mean an automatic subscription renewed at all costs for sex!!!)

  5. 45

    from pro experience. if someone is confusing you. saying they dont want a relationship with you but want sexual pleasures affection etc, and doesnt want anyone to know that theire being sexually active with you, but tells you your the only one that makes them horny and they dont care if your in a relationship or not. but your too afraid to let them go because you dont feel likedealing with them to make you look like the bad guy. and they make you feel ugly tell u to loose some weight. but all in reality is that They Do Not know what they want. so try to scare them away. how dare they use all your precious time like that when youdont want to be used, if your a person that jus wants to be in a relationship not a friends with benifiets type of deal. it meant that that person just wanted a freind with benifeits type of deal with you not a commitful relationship with you. their looking for friend with benifiets and your wanting a commitful relationship. just throw them away it wont hurt them because theyalready hurt you, fair deal. now go out there and stick with what your looking for. thats called honesty.

  6. 46

    Guys should say exactly what they mean and stop leaving the women to fill in the blanks. I ” casually” dated my guy for 9 months and he was straight fwd with telling me that he didn’t want a relationship because his ex made him not be able to love again.( which I thought was bs) nonetheless I still dated him we spent alot of time together..I eventually ended up getting pregnant and for that reason he decided that he did wanted a relationship. I then lost the baby and gee was still there for me but we never really made it official. I knew he was casually seeing me and a few others. To make a long story short, he met another girl and told me that he didn’t wanna be with her or anybody. Guess who he ended up being with?(Her) I cannot help but to dinner what I did wrong. We were friends and it’s like he completely turned his back in me for her… when I was told that he was incapable of being in love or a relationship for that matter… I’m so hurrt.. this was a guy that sent mixed signals.. he didn’t want a relationship with me but if I spoke if another guy in his presence he had a bitch fit!

  7. 47

    Charlene #27 said “For the record, he did call me back about six weeks after he told me he was getting back with an ex girlfriend. I did start seeing him again and we were together up until about two weeks ago. When I have time I will write about that and what has happened since then.”

    Good Lord, you come on here complaining about what happened with this guy and you didn’t like it. You then went back to him????? Are you going to complain about him again after the SAME thing happens???? Take a step back and analyze yourself.

  8. 48

    I Am in a similar situation aa charlene. I met a guy fresh out of a relationship such as myself and we hit it off. He didn’t understand my past pain and insecurities. We hung out, he spent the night after a month. Met my kids and then the Intercourse came. I caught feelings and I guess he didn’t. He soon didn’t call as much because he said I had too much pain in my heart. But I wanted to see him all the time, talk to him everyday and he changed. When we first met he would blow my phone up, come by unannounced, text me all day, take me out, and then he just stopped everything. No calls, no texts, no visits, and he ignored m y calls and my text messages. It hurt me really bad but I had to let go. We havnt talked in a week and Idk how to move on. I told him I would no longer contact him and he never replied. Men should never start something that they cannot finish.

    1. 48.1

      I really don’t understand men who start off blowing up your phone, texting all the time, and wanting to hang out all the time, then as soon as that is what you want also, suddenly YOU are too clingy.

      But men and women BOTH “start something they can’t finish”. No one can possibly know if they will be able to “finish” a relationship without “starting” it first.

      I find Evan’s mirroring advice to be best, but as soon as someone try’s to “walk it back” I walk out. If a relationship isn’t moving FORWARD, it will go nowhere.

      Also, if someone tries to move it forward sexually TOO FAST, I bail, chances are, a guy who is getting aggressive for sex on date one or two, just wants sex and not me. I want the whole package. If he doesn’t want the whole package, (or at least be exploring the possibility of a package deal) then it’s NEXT !

      I know right now it seems as if you don’t know how to move on, but you WILL. Maybe take a break and go for some “girl friend therapy” (a girls night out just for fun, with no intention of meeting men)

  9. 49

    Pinky #48,
    He realized you were extremely clingy and got turned off and pulled out. Happens all the time for various reasons by BOTH parties. What in the world do you mean by the line “Men should never start something that they cannot finish.”
    Does that mean any guy who starts to date you is expected to marry you?? You gotta be kidding, right? I don’t blame the guy for running away. Your actions are borderline psycho chick actions.
    Lastly, why are you jumping right into trying to meet someone after just getting out of a long term relationship? You also say you have insecurities that you somehow are trying to explain it is the guy’s responsibility to deal with? They are your OWN responsibility to get over- with or without therapy. You need to take time off and correct yourself before even thinking about dating anyone.

    1. 49.1
      Dina Strange

      What is wrong with a woman expecting a man to help her out with her insecurities. A man shouldn’t be there in good times only, the man should be there for you when you are at your worst as well.

  10. 50

    You must get help for your insecurities, professionally or through books.
    That’s YOUR job. You can’t keep doing things the same way and expect a different result. There is much help out there for you, track that down before you attempt to track down a significant relationship.. Good luck to you..

  11. 51

    WeWomen play the victims and really believe men use them to have sex but we. Really use each other

  12. 52

    Ladies….since “the pill” came into existence, men have gotten free sex.   that is almost 50 years of no strings fun for them.   Ladies…it is your job to retrain their thinking….make them COURT you.   You may have to gently guide them….tell them you want to date.   If they bulk, drop him.   DO NOT PAY FOR DATES unless you have been together 6 months.   Do NOT give it away for free.   Making out is ok….but the woman has to put the brakes on….it is unfair but that is just the way it is.   Unless you are a “pro” woman, a prostitute, you are very likely to get emotionally attached once you start having sex with a guy.   Women are just programmed that way….have been for eons.   Men want sex, women want romance….   Believe me….it is hard to walk away from that hottie guy…..but what is ever HARDER is dealing with hurt feelings for weeks and months.  

  13. 53

    He is absolutely right. I’ve just experienced a similar situation and I held on with this loser for a year. What a waste of my time. I wish I could have seen the red flags from the start. I learned a big lesson and will never make this mistake again. All it gave me was heart ache and low self esteem.   

  14. 54

    Idk about some of the advice. My last boyfriend- it’s been a year and we had sex on the first night (but lots of facebook messages prior to meeting). He wanted to get married~

    The next one- I did it right. I followed all this advice. I made him wait, the whole 9. We had phenomenal sex once and he immediately dumped me.

  15. 55

    I never really feel satisfied with the “he’s just not that into you” rational. Sure it happens sometimes that that someone who treats you shabbily meets someone new whom they seemingly are *a lot more into* and treat much better, and it turns out be a fairy tale. But I think the “he’s just not that into you” rational often excuses too much bad behavior. Yes, it may be partly due to a lack of compatibility, but more likely is that people who treat people shabbily often have unresolved emotional issues and no perfect person who comes along is going to fix them like magic, even if it does looks like the relationship is a whirlwind romance/fairy tale to those looking on.

    1. 55.1
      Maria Hill

      I totally agree with you Shelley-Ann. A guy I dated for 2 months just disappeared on me for 2 weeks. From what he told me about his relationship records (his longest relationship was only 4 months and he’s 31), his view on marriage and that’s its not necessary, his confession that he makes a horrible boyfriend, his string of ex-girlfriends, his seemingly troubled childhood, and a lack of motivation to look for a real job…honestly while it hurts to think that he’s not into me…but at the same time with all these damaging emotional issues I wonder what woman can really “fix” him and turn him into a family loving, honorable and mature man?

      My other guy friends told me that they have to make the decision at certain points of their life to grow up and be responsible like a real man then they would go on and find their wife/long term partner. An important lesson is that women should stop trying to think they can change/fix a man but that if they will change it will have to be in their own time and terms. Nothing before that would make them grow up even you are a hot/smart/mature woman…you can’t fix what’s broken.


    2. 55.2

      oh I so agree about the “unresolved emotional issues” and them moving on to a “fairytale romance”. It might seem happy on the outside, but somewhere down the track it will come tumbling down. I’m would not be jealous at all. I believe if you are   unable to communicate properly and respectfully tell someone your not interested, then you are not “relationship material”.




  16. 56

    For the men out there, how can you not care if you spend that much time with someone? I mean if you see each other that often for a year. She didn’t wanted a serious relationship too. She just expected to be friends, or a friendly break up. I mean i still see the guys i dated except for one. We just taught that we meant too much for each other to just shut each other out and now they are just friends. With two i had sex, i know, too soon. But after the sex stopped we just acted chill and still saw each other like once in a month or two months and we text regularly. I mean can you really be that heartless that you don’t start to care a little but after that much tine that you just can’t give a friendly call or tzxt or conversation that its over. Certainly when you know the woman isn’t searching for anything more and if you know you can just call hed that you have sex with someone else.

  17. 57

    Finally, Aimee, a comment that I’ve been sitting here waiting to read! I couldn’t have said it better myself! And if I may add something to Aimee’s comment for Charlene…..One of my teachers in college said the same thing, “fake it till you make it”, and pretty soon you will have the confidence that you didn’t think you had. Never let him see any signs of weakness and exude confidence, sexiness and a non-chalant   attitude. I personally don’t believe in love at first sight, and you are not really being untruthful about your feelings. Like Aimee said, give it at least; six to eight weeks before you let him experience your true ‘inner slut’. Some great advice by the way, Aimee. I took a huge mental note of that myself! Try not to get too attached until you REALLY get to know what kind of guy you are dealing with. Some of us women need that love and affection and physical touch so much, that we jump in feet first with blinders on when we DO meet someone we finally are attracted to as a good man is hard to find. I know that there are lots out there though, and they won’t just fall into your lap. You have to put yourself out there. After all that hard work, it just seems logical to get a grip on your ‘inner slut’ and take it slow and easy at first. If he cannot wait, then you should have your answer. It really does help to read and reply to everyone’s point of view. It is much more healthy than keeping it bottled up inside if there are not many friends around to share your thoughts and feelings with, and thank you all for the comments!

  18. 58

    it sucks, and it hurts- especially when you get your hopes up, and you end up getting craoped on. I, myself, don’t like dating. Either I have an attraction to someone that is deeper than just a physical lust, or I just don’t. I had been married- had been in a serious relationship- and had been cheated on and lied to more times than I care to admit. When I was in
    these relationships, I didn’t ask for this to happen. We never do. Generally we get into relationships because we truly want to experience a real connection with another human being. Sadly, not a lot of people are
    on the “same page” mentally, physically, abd spititually. That’s why it’s often so hard to find a decent person. We may be attracted, but attraction is only part of it. I just keep praying- praying that someday God will
    bring someone into my life who will truky love me. Who will treat me with dignity and respect. I have to believe He will.  

    1. 58.1

      You are liable to get some pushback on that here as the majority of posters here are secular-minded.   I share your point of view.   I have found the dating world not to bear any good fruit in my life.   I’ll just beat everyone else to the punch and say that no doubt the fault is all mine.   I have left a significant other up to divine providence.   I have been single and unattached now long enough that as long as I have close friends and family and a good faith community, I will be fine whether someone enters my life or does not.   We still have gifts and talents that we can use to make a difference and have a life of joy.

  19. 59

    I had a f buddy relationship with a local man. He was upfront. This is nothing just fun. It was fine I agreed to it. Until I started to get feelings. And boy did I. However , big mistake do not get feelings for someone who only wants fun. It hurts like hell and now I have to see him everywhere I go. He has his men staring at me all the time and even got in contact with my ex and told all his mates in his local. I can no longer go there due to him. He has moved his woman in and even though we both had partners he says he is better than me and never wanted men quite frankly I feel sick. My marriage had been wrong for many years and I thought I had met someone who made me laugh and who at least would be decent and end it properly face to face. But no. Never really ended it just stopped seeing me and started ignoring my texts and letters. I realise he only wanted sex and it meant nothing. My husband realised he really loved me and wants to be with me. He forgives me totally and we are trying to move on. But quite frankly it’s difficult. I am finding it difficult to forgive myself as I had never done anything like that in my whole life. Hopefully in time his work mates will stop staring and so will he. But who knows Don’t make the same mistake as me it can ruin the way you feel about yoursel

  20. 60

    I agree with the posters who said to hold off on sex. I have a five date rule, sometimes longer if I am unsure about the man. If he is only into quick sex, he will certainly not take you out on five “proper” dates……..it is much easier to go to a bar and pick someone up! Many times you will find out before five dates, that YOU have no interest in a LTR with this man………then you will feel especially happy you never had sex with him!

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