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. 61

    How do you not know that he could have been wanting to get back with his wife. I mean did you really check this guy out? Like see if he was divorced?

    Chances are you are better off without a guy like that. Giving you the run around. But just get rid of him. Treat yourself with respect first. Obviously if he keeps saying hes sorry he doesn’t care at all. Hes a user a cheater and believe me he knows hes a charmer and knows how to attract the opposite sex. If he did this you imagine what he did to his wife and how many times he must have cheated on her.
    Good luck to you. There are good men out there who wont play with a woman’s feelings and want to commit.

  2. 62

    From my experience I am 39 year old never been married. I had a six year old little boy “who is amazing”.i’am pretty sexy nice body professional smart… But dating for me is very difficult I always seem to meet the guys who are emotional not ready to be in a relationship or maybe they are just not in to me.
    I totally understand what you went true man like to play games they do make you feel they like you or have feelings for you even do they have been clear about not want a relationship and is very hart for a woman of we start to have a sex with benefits relationship not to get evolve and want more we are humans and we have feelings.
    It is very easy to say oh don’t give up on the 4 day dont sleep to soon, but every woman is different they way man attract you is also different.
    I hope everything work out for your happiness and if didn’t there is always someone us.

  3. 63

    Best advice, move on. No man, or women is worth the frustration of being ignored. Why put yourself in the position to feel devalued? You’re a rockstar, you’re awesome. You need to build yourself up, see in yourself the things you love.

    Until you love and respect yourself, it’s impossible for another person to fulfill this. I am currently in a position where the relationship is great, possibly the best relationship in general that I’ve ever had. It’s healthy and equal.

    We’re best friends, who just so happen to have amazing benefits. Because we get along so well, (we live together) he wants to remain friends, I want the title of boyfriend and girlfriend. That is how I came across this site.

    Just remember we’re all just reflections of self, so in a sense everything you see in him as flawed is on you, and same goes for him. So, if he has a problem with you, it’s something he doesn’t like about himself.

    Quite often, people mistake others actions as a form of attack. This is not the case. Actually, the only human that has any control over your outcome, your happiness, is you. You hold the key, you’re in the drivers seat.

    So move on, keep going and love yourself. You’re worth it, he’s just not secure within his own skin… run…run like hell. There’s so many fish in the sea who will love you, for you. But first you have to love you, for you.

    If you love yourself and don’t find any flaws within others, you will see that love is actually easier said than done. It’s quite simplistic actually, but years of indoctrination and generic stereotyping’s have left our culture in the dead zone to the reality.

    Life is yours, no one else’s. Take charge and be the best you can be.

    Good luck! Kaylee

    1. 63.1

      I love this post. And totally agree with you. There are many reasons a connection doesn’t work out, but in my experience, it usually comes down to what I think I’m worth. I actually know a man who regularly speaks that he’s in love with me for most of my life.   And while that may seem flattering, he’s also deeply hurt by other women and not believing he can have the happiness he wants.   He would be grateful if I threw him FWB crumbs. It’s the OPs situation in reverse. I won’t do it because his willingness to settle for so little reminds me constantly how we devalue ourselves. I admit that I cannot respect him if the only thing he brings to my table is a broken spirit and an occasional shag.

  4. 64

    Forget this mess. I was in a 6 year abusive relationship. It was awful, but it was consistent.
    It took another 5 years to seriously date someone else. And for *him* to then leave and act like it was nothing, doesn’t really make me think any of this is worth it.
    Because it’s not.

  5. 65

    I dated a guy like him once. Did all the calling, texting and etc.My advice is that he is interested in you. Let him go.

  6. 66

    As a 38 year old woman, I don’t think he was necessarily behaving like a high school kid.
    It sounds like he was pretty clear up front that he was ultimately seeking something casual, no integrating into one another’s world’s, keep seeing other people until the sex or potential for sex is better with someone else but he’ll be monogamous with you for a good few weeks or months until that happens. And it sounds like on that Saturday night, that may have happened but he was afraid (not of you) but of your reaction to his honestly, so he thought he could fade off into the sunset or play avoidance until you dumped him due to his ‘rudeness’. He’s no longer interested. Let it go and learn if casual sex ‘relationships’ are going to evolve into your being hurt when they don’t want to behave more like a boyfriend, that this may not be the best arrangement for you.

  7. 67
    Maria Hill

    Hi Charlene:

    Sorry to hear what happened to you. All I can say is that it’s fair if someone’s “not into you” or not ready for a relationship but a simple communication and having a talk shows respect and dignity from both parties even if the relationship is causal or serious. Like you said you have spent more than a few dates with this guy and sex is involved so having a discussion when things are ending would bring closure to the story.

    I know the other side of Evan’s argument about “taking the hint”. I personally don’t like to play games and when I decided to end things with a guy I would still sit down in person to have the talk with them, no matter how awkward and painful it is. Part of growing up and being a responsible adult is to learn how to deal with uneasiness and pain in life, breaking up with someone is no exception. I am sure if you truly think about it, if that guy all of a sudden wants to be serious with you you will probably turn him down eventually because he’s not the right person for you. I am sure right now it’s just an ego bruise that you got “rejected” from a jerk but think about it if you end up in a long term relationship with him or marring (and divorcing) him will bring you much more pain and waste of money/time/effort….which one is worse? I will let you do the math.

    When you break it down like this you will feel better over time. This guy sounds really immature so no matter who he ends up with it isn’t going to work because he’s not a good partner. Just picture him leaving his next partner and just disappeared…and count yourself lucky.




  8. 68
    Just Me

    This is what I do: “Look, if you aren’t into me or just want sex, let me know up front.   That way I have no expectations of anything else and our time isn’t wasted. Don’t make me figure it out, because that makes you a jerk.” Interestingly enough, it works. 🙂

  9. 69

    Thank you for this article. I recently met this guy who has a girlfriend and eventually said they broke up. Anyway, how he treated me during that alleged break up spoke volumes of his interest towards me. He never asked me out on a date. He refuses to use the word date. Instead, uses the the words like hang out or kicking it. I applied all that I’ve learned from your blog and it works everytime for me. It sucks that he’s not into me and clearly wanted ‘hook up, kick it or takes me to Pinkberry and make out in the car. I felt like I was in middle school going to high school. Your articles has made me think clearly and I’m constantly assessing guys to find out if he simply wants to have sex or truly has feelings for me. As I told you before, I usually agree with you. Thanks!!

  10. 70

    I’ve read most of these comments and while I think its nobel and mature for women to ‘take the hint’, dump the guy and never let it happen again…It happens again and again. Even when you’ve learned your lesson.

    I think its about time Men take responsibility and learn to communicate. Men need to learn how to grieve a relationship and get in touch with their feelings and communicate them. Women are strong. We can take a hit – but leaving us on a leash or on an emotional roller-coaster will make a woman Mad.

    1. 70.1
      Karmic Equation

      A man can’t put a leash on you unless you let him. You have the ability to get off the emotional roller coaster.

      Assuming your needs are reasonable, if the man in your relationship can’t or won’t satisfy your relationship needs, dump him.

      That’s it. End of story.

      If you want to stay in a relationship with a man who doesn’t care if you’re happy, that’s on you, not him.

  11. 71

    I don’t assume that, by having casual sex, a guy will suddenly realize that what he really wants is the deeper, more intimate connection that I seek. That’s silly magical thinking. Counterintuitive.

    Sadly, women do make this assumption and then become heartbroken when they feel they’ve been used or misled. To some women, fantastic sex means happily-ever-after. If he can taste my Pringle, why wouldn’t he want the whole can?

    But when the empty place in her heart isn’t filled vaginally, she is deeply disillusioned. She’s angry because she failed to manipulate him into being something he already promised he wasn’t. Usually, it’s just that we weren’t listening when he said “I don’t know what I want” or “I like you but it’s moving too fast”.

    I tend to trust that men are actually speaking their truth. In his situation, he is attracted to you for any one of a million reasons, but he has not decided that you have whatever his heart seeks. Or he HAS decided that you do NOT, but you’re a nice distraction from his own sense of emptiness. Either way, men and women alike have the power to manage our own needs and expectations. Life is so much easier that way.

  12. 72

    On one hand, I hate this guy for being confusing and not upfront….but on the other hand, when guys pursue me online with tons of messages and I give them none back because I’m not interested, I myself get angry that they don’t get the hint.   And I think to myself, “Why don’t I just tell them straight up that I’m not interested?” And the answer is: to protect myself….you can get some seriously nasty stuff from people who don’t like getting rejected or they’ll try to come at you even harder as to why you SHOULD be interested. So I do what this dude did, but it’s only because it hasn’t gone well in the past. Sometimes it’s “kill the messenger” out there.So even though I was initially upset with Charlene’s man of topic, I kinda get it.   You really have to learn to fend for yourself and learn that “no contact = not interested”.   They cut you off, you cut them off too and immediately move on. Don’t even ask for an explanation-they’re not worth it.

  13. 73
    Donnna P.

    I’d like to thank Charlene for posting her experience. As it similiar, to my recent experience with a man I saw briefly. I’d like to point out, that some of these men get very crafty with leading women on. But as you said, we can all learn to listen to our instincts, play it safe, and cut ties when need be. After my experience was done. I let the man in question know that he needed to be more clear on his intentions and a few other truths he needed to hear. To go into detail with what happened, what was said, and what he meant. Would confuse your viewers and take too much time. I’m not willing to give the past anymore power. And I feel I’ve learned some valuable lessons here. All clues she mentioned reached home with me. Due to this recent experience, I’m not open to giving anyone out of state a chance to get to know me. And am holding off on dating anyone at this time.

  14. 74

    Don’t settle for second best. If you do that you will learn a lesson the hard way. l feel for you whoever in a situation with a guy because l have been there and it left me with invisible and visible scares. diseases, heartbreak, left in a comma. All l want to say there is man out there waiting for you a man who worship your ground. Juss tell yourself enough is enough treat yourself with love and respect and the rest shall follow

  15. 75

    I was in a similar situation, but he had dumped me and wanted to remain friends and occassional sex buddies. I wanted more. Then he started turning to me for emotional advise about his lonliness and why women didn’t want him, nothing lasted with him, etc. I had been sad and depressed when he dumped me, but tried to be an adult and just accept it – be friends with the thought it may work out in the end – romantically mostly, but if not friends.   But I got too pissed off.   Yes, I was allowing the poor treatment of me, but he was also a part of it and treating me like crap. I let him have it full blast, double barrels – just open and honest about what I thought of how he treated me and that he had misbehaved as a man. I told him to go have a relationship with his hand. I’m a softy, but it felt good to rag him out before I left for good. He became very defensive and blocked me. I miss the good parts of him, but I can’t have that shit in my life.

  16. 76

    I met this   53 year old 10 years older than me. Thought he would be mature. Boy was I wrong! So we go out to dinner have a great time and connect. He asks to see   me again. So of course I say yes. So we make plans for the following weekend. Then he texts me to cancel because it is father’s   day. Now   mind you I already   asked him on that Friday if he still wanted to do dinner cause I acknowledged it was father’s   day and he said no I will spend time with my son during the day and see   you at night. That was Friday and Sunday I   received the text to cancel. I let it slide cause it was father’s day. So the next week rolls around asks me through text again to go out the next weekend. Ok   let’s try this again! So I get a text saying he isn’t feeling well and he is canceling again. So I am starting to question at this point but give him the benefit of the doubt and try to be sympathetic. Kind of fishy that he doesn’t want to talk on the phone and texts me ba hours or days later. I told him about this and he said he agreed that we should be talking on the phone. I emailed him and told him what I expect and asked   why he cancelled so early if he only had a tummy ache. He texts   me hours later to tell me it was food poisoning. Ok whatever! So the next week rolls around and he asks me for Friday. Guess what happened? Did you guess? He doesn’t cancel! He flakes on me all together. At this point I. Fuming! I was like “oh! Hell no!” Total flake! So I emailed again and told him off and said he was being a jerk. Of course no response no apologies. So I let a fee weeks pass and I ask him what happened? He said “let’s   reconnect.”   At first I was hesitant, but said ok. I know! I know!   I said let’s give him a second chance. Big mistake!   I said I want to talk to you in person what my expectations are. He said ok. So he asks   me for that Friday and   I don’t hear from him for plans. So I blow it off like   I   don’t care. Then we talk on Sunday   by text and he says he will definitely see me on Thursday. (We actually spoke on the   phone the week before).   This jackass doesn’t answer my text and blows me off again! I had it with his bullshit! Told him off and said I deserve better than this and that I done playing his game he can play by himsef. What is this a sick joke?   How sadistic can you be keep asking someone out and either canceling or flaking altogether?   I guess this is what I get for meeting unstable online. No more! I am don. Too old for this shit! These guys today suck ass!

    1. 76.1

      sorry for the typos darn auto correct.

  17. 77

    Exactly a year ago I met the guy of my dreams. As nerdy as me (perhaps more), both of us were residents in hospitals at two ends of the country. We had common friends on Facebook he “friended”me and I happened to notice it almost year later. We used to chat everyday, all hours depending on our shifts and about everything for a few months.

    Finally he moved in my city we met and for me it was fun. I was attracted to him and I perceived he was too.   He never made a move. We used to go out for dinners and parties and dance. One day he told me he was in love with his ex girlfriend and for some reason they couldn’t get married. I was crushed. But wasn’t as emotionally or physically invested in him to take it to heart too much..

    We stopped talking . 2 months later I serendipitously bumped into him wHile i was out running and he was cycling. I don’t believe in signs and destiny, but it just felt oh so right. We ended up having coffee and started talking again. And the whole routine AGAIN! For a month .

    For some reason (unexplainable) i thought things would end up differently. They didn’t.   We ended up exactly the way we had. He didn’t kiss me. This time I was shattered. He said he never gave me any signals to make me feel like I as more than a friend. Then next day he apologized for saying that and hurting my feelings. For having strung me along that way.

    I barely said anything to him or his texts ( i hate when people apologize over texts, hey but atleast he managed that much)

    It’s been exactly a year and I just thought of these last year events today. With a bit of nostalgia. He just wasn’t into me


  18. 78

    I had a relationship with a neighbor who said he did not want a relationship with me. When he said this I didn’t have any feelings for him but I got lonely and bored, thought I could change him, he did the call of the pursuit and being so close by I said maybe its destiny.

    Slowly he got me in his clutches like an animal in a trap and it was only late night get together’s at my place, told me lies about having to be with his relatives (and he is 50!), no weekends and promises including possible marriage someday (I am in my 50’s too!) and other such nonsense.

    I began noticing he was out until 4:30am put things together and realized he was dating one – could be more than one other woman and said goodbye which he barely noticed only to fall back months later and then he changed his phone number. He still lives next door.

    Never again! I should have heard when he said he wasn’t looking for a relationship; I shouldn’t have let him make it late night visits; I should have stayed strong and not caved for the final time and ended it on my terms. And there were many signs as other posters here have said of broken promises, my initiating, confusing message and gas lighting me.

    Intuitively I knew he wasn’t really interested and there was no touching below the belt so to speak because I have been so burnt by these men before.

    Trying to stay positive and open but it gets difficult when these guys ruin it for everyone.


  19. 79

    Ps.. he was very experienced in bed. I was very rusty but passionate, I think I may have been a disappointment.

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