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.

Join our conversation (110 Comments).
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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.

        1. Wendy

          Evan, I think what you may be missing is that some women only have dating experience with this type of guy; this is what they consider “normal.” They don’t try to win jerks over because they have zero self-esteem, it’s because this behavior is all they know. It’s not until they meet (IF they ever do) a genuinely great guy (per your definition) that they go, “OOOOooohhhhhh!!!!! THIS is what it’s supposed to be like!” THEN they “get it” and no longer put up with this kind of guy. The reason you get so many questions like this from women is because there really are that many douchcanoes out there. I’ve been there, and fortunately have had that “ah-ha” moment because of ONE great guy.
          But if 99 out of 100 stoves are hot, how can you be angry at us for accepting them? We may get burned but we gotta cook sometimes, too, ya know?

        2. Danielle

          I don’t know how to reply to Wendy but … Wendy, it isn’t because it is all she knows that she is putting up with this kind of treatment.   It is because she is not respecting herself that she is putting up with it.   If she were not so needy that she was willing to sacrifice her dignity to be with him, and raised the bar FOR HERSELF, she would never have accepted this kind of behaviour. It is all about what we accept.   And if all we ‘get’ are shitty partners, it says WAY more about us than them.   My two cents.

      2. 2.2.2

        not all men are like this particular person however…..

  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?

    1. 7.1

      She saw him once a week-she was not exactly an attention whore with the douche canoe.

  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.  

    2. 10.2
      Steve in Big D

      Making up excuses for someone treating you badly is probably more of a feminine trait, but guys are not immune from it.   I accepted a lot of bad behavior in my 25-year marriage because I hadn’t been in a serious relationship before I met my wife and I thought that behavior was normal.   When you don’t know better it’s difficult to call someone out for bad behavior.

  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….

    1. 15.1

      U saiD it so well . Your last para hit me hard. U right . No more showin my guy friend I need him. Rather he needs to know he lost a gem ! He behaved similar manner as Rose guy friend ! I started doubting myself ! Maybe I the one wrong. “Oh boo hoo I shouldn’t have done this nor said that !”   U made it so clear ! I am not desperate woman.   I have faith a   loyal ,loveable , compassionate man will cross my path

  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

    1. 18.1

      yout comment gives me

      hope !

  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….

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