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. 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.

  2. 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 🙂

  3. 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!!

  4. 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.  


  5. 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.

  6. 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…

  7. 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.

    3. 28.3

      Totally agree with you, Claire. Sometimes people (such as Rose) find themselves in a bad spot. I’m no 16 year old, but I’ve been there too. You can get completely taken by a skilled manipulator when the timing’s right. For me, I had been divorced for a couple of years and had had no luck getting ANYONE to date me, so when Mr. Smoothie King came along, I fell right into it and found myself moaning and whining to my friends about why he wasn’t calling and why he wouldn’t commit, but he sure knew what to say when he did say anything. Damn, he was good! I’m sure my friends all thought the same things about me that Evan said to Rose. The only difference was, they supported me instead of bringing me down and making me feel even worse about myself that I already was. It took a few months (and meeting a great guy) for me to realize that I didn’t have to put up Smoothie’s BS, but I was a blithering idiot for a while there.

    4. 28.4
      Karmic Equation

      I disagree with you, Claire, et al.
      This is the problem with us women. When we are “supportive” of women who make bad decisions and go “There, there, you did nothing wrong, he was just a jerk, a manipulator. You got taken in.” — The message is that there is NOTHING she can do better and she’s only going to CONTINUE being a victim in the future because her CHOICES had NOTHING to do with her results.
      And while we women think we’re “helping” our friends with this kind of support, it simply ENABLES them to stay in that bad place.
      And you know what, while we women aren’t consciously “evil” (in fact we think we’re showing love to our friends) — by telling “vulnerable” women that they weren’t at fault ENSURES that the less vulnerable women have more power. Again, we don’t do this consciously, but the results are the same. The vulnerable continue to make bad relationship choices and, therefore, cannot take the “good” men off the market that we want.
      When women have choices, they need to recognize them, and own them. Period. Else she will NEVER grow.
      Evan DID give her advice. Make better choices. Move on to someone who treats her better.

      1. 28.4.1

        Sorry Karmic, but I DID grow after my experience with a bad guy and am grateful for my friends who were kind and decent to me while I got myself back to a better place. I take offense at your implication that good women who sometimes find ourselves in a bad spot romantically/emotionally are perpetually doomed to be insecure losers unless we get slapped in the face with rude comments about what pathetic individuals we are. Evan didn’t need to deliver his advice to move on and make a better choice next time in this way. It’s ineffective.
        SOMETIMES the woman HASN’T done anything wrong, and SOMETIMES the guy IS a jerk, but you’re so perfect you can’t see that, can you?

        1. Karmic Equation

          Wendy, you are so close minded that you refuse to accept that women CAN do things wrong WITHOUT meaning to or even WITH THE BEST OF INTENTIONS.
          What did Rose do wrong?
          1) She deemed something a relationship when it wasn’t one. It takes two people to agree to a relationship. If he doesn’t want to be called a boyfriend that is a BIG CLUE that she’s NOT in a relationship.
          2) Even though she was UNHAPPY in the relationship (which it wasn’t) she still wanted to BE IN IT, whatever “it” was.
          Women are not stupid. Blind, stubborn, prone to projection and self-denial, but not stupid.
          But women think stupid thoughts and want stupid things.
          Own that. Just be responsible for your own thoughts and dreams and recognize when they don’t match reality. Instead of making up stories about the reality to rationalize irrational emotions.
          It’s not about being perfect. It’s about taking responsibility for our lives and our choices.
          Rose had a lot of choices to make and she made the ones guaranteed to make her feel bad. She can change that. Maybe she can’t do it alone.
          But it doesn’t help her when her female “friends” give her support and advice that tells her what happened was beyond her control. That is NOT empowering. That is giving her emotional welfare.

        2. Wendy

          OMG, Karmic. I don’t refuse to accept that women CAN do things wrong. I said, and I quote, “SOMETIMES the woman hasn’t done anything wrong.” I even put it in capital letters for you and you still missed it. Get over yourself.

        3. Karmic Equation

          Nitpick, cherry pick.
          I answered the gist of your post, Wendy. The tone of them was to absolve women.
          And if you weren’t absolving them, then what was the point of your post in the first place, since then you would have been agreeing with me in principle? Why do you like to be so contrary? You just like to word things to start arguments and then argue the nitpicks so you can’t be wrong?
          I don’t get it.

        4. Wendy

          No, the tone of my post ISN’T that women should be absolved of all blame in relationship failures. I’m simply pointing out that SOMETIMES smart, decent women find themselves in a bad place and having some support while they get back to a good place is helpful, whereas chastising someone and making them feel like shit for simply existing on this planet is not helpful. YOU are the one who is nit-picking and arguing for the sole sake of arguing.
          I would see your point if Rose had said she’d been with this guy for years (we all eventually get tired of hearing someone complain eternally about a situation that they do have control over) but she’s only been trying to figure this out for a few months. She’s also not indicating this is a pattern with her, which is why I prefer to see her problem as a good woman who found herself in a vulnerable spot and get taken advantage of, instead of assuming she’s an idiot who should be blasted all over the internet.
          Can you honestly tell me that you have never ever not once EVER found yourself in a situation where your confidence was shaken a bit or you made a mistake in a moment of emotional upheaval? NOT ONCE EVER??? So if you’re willing to agree that it HAS happened (because we all know it has happened, even to the Almighty Karmic Equation), then why do you think it shouldn’t ever happen to any other woman? And if you’re willing to agree that yes, SOMETIMES bad things CAN happen to good women, then why is it so gosh darn AWFUL for her friends to help her through it?
          What I find most hilarious about your argument against women supporting their friends through a rough spot is that YOU YOURSELF participated in a supportive exchange with me in a previous post (https://www.evanmarckatz.com/blog/dating-tips-advice/men-are-most-attracted-to-20-year-old-women-so-what/   –start with my comment #15.1). You, my friend, are guilty of the very thing you’re arguing against in this post. Talk about arguing just for the sake of arguing!

        5. Karmic Equation

          Is it possible for you to have a debate without using hyperbole, putting words in people’s mouths, cherry-picking, or nit-picking?
          Maybe when you learn to debate like a logical adult instead of a woman who has to be right at all costs, I’ll debate you again.
          This is such a waste of my time.
          And I’m giving you free press and a stage you don’t deserve to display your illogic.
          Over and out. Peace be with you. Live long and prosper. All that.

        6. Wendy

          Since you can’t argue with my logic you drop out of the convo. No problem–I’ve made my point.

        7. Evan Marc Katz

          Please don’t mistake anyone’s silence with victory. I would suggest it’s more like submission.

          There is no point in arguing with you since you have never conceded the validity of anyone else’s position, you routinely make all-or-nothing, slippery slope arguments, and you have a completely fixed position based on an overall worldview of fear, anger, and mistrust of the opposite sex. Given this, I suspect that Karmic, like me, no longer chooses to engage with you because it’s as fruitful as discussing President Obama with a Tea Party member.

        8. Wendy

          Just answer this one question: Is it possible for a good woman to have a bad moment?

        9. Evan Marc Katz

          Absolutely! Just as it’s possible for a good man to have a bad moment.

        10. Wendy

          And that is my point, plain and simple. So why are you arguing with me if you agree with me? If that isn’t arguing for the sake of arguing, then I don’t know what is.

  8. 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.

  9. 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

    1. 30.1

      I know alot of people are gona hate me for this but got to say it any ways. If i could shake these guys hand i would. Rose i know ur upset but hush. the reality is that this guy has a alot of game . first and foremost if he did not display game u maybe would not give him a chance. if he had come to u straight as a good guy u and him would not have a history. personally i think women are gaming all the time weather they know it or not. however they start to cry when they meet a guy that plays it better than them. im speaking form the little experience i have gaming. women rush in to get intimate it is crazy and tiring some times. I have to wonder what the hell i was doing trying to be a good guy by trying to have 1 girl at a time. that was like a up hill battle. Now i have girls calling me to see if im free so they can come over , im getting a few 3sums, im in my late 30s, age dnt even matter. the thing is, all the girls im talking about originally claim they wanted relationship, now its like they enjoy whats going on. This is shocking to a young me.

  10. 31

    I’ve noticed something that this OP did — and many of my close women friends do in abusive/unhealthy relationships — they formulate a reason from the guys’ POV — “Oh, he didn’t mean that” or “He’s only doing that because he was wounded as a child and needs an open relationship for A BC and D” and really latch onto this imagined rational as what’s really happening in the guy’s head…. And it’s almost impossible to break them of these assumptions and make them stare at the ugly truth….

  11. 32
    Saint Stephen

    @david (#30)
    Exactly!!… you hit the nail at the spot.
    Too bad even right now she still couldn’t see it.  

  12. 33

    AQ, except many men won’t commit before they had sex.

  13. 34

    @ David #30: They might be on to something, because a normal, balanced, sane man wouldn’t engage in an abusive or unhealthy relationship, so yeah, there is a chance that he’s “doing that because he was wounded as a child”. Which, to me, is even more puzzling – why would a woman want to stay with a supposedly grown man who is still so much haunted by his childhood issues from 30-40 years ago that, because of them, he cannot help acting like a douchecanoe(c)? Even in the unlikely case that this is true, the man needs professional help, not a girlfriend.
    In my early Internet forum days (90s), an online friend once shared with us a principle that she lived by: “Never let another person’s insanity become your reality”. When you’re into a guy who’s got issues (and that’s not as impossible as it sounds – crazy guys can be fun and spontaneous, you know!), it is so easy to enter his crazy world and start viewing your own life events through the distorted lens of his irrational mind. And that messes you up big time, long term. Why do that to yourself?

  14. 35

    @ Claire.  
    Great Point!
    I think people are most irritated by other’s weakness that are most like their own. Nothing wrong with a little tough love we all need it time to time but there’s no reason to kick someone when they’re already down.

    And so do I. If i have it down to a couple contenders I don’t want to jump into a serious relationship unless I know we’re sexually compatible.

    love that quote.   

    1. 35.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      @Claire: I can understand where you’re coming from and don’t think you’re incorrect that my tone was harsh.

      At the same time, I’ve got about 5000 queries over the years that pose the same question. What would you write to her? “I’m so sorry. He’s being a jerk. Go get some therapy. Find a better man.” Not only is that boring and hackneyed, but I’ve written some version of that column twenty times (meaning, it’s very clear that I’m nice, I care about women, and I want to help).

      This last post was a new way of approaching a question that had a very obvious answer. Sorry you didn’t approve of my execution.

      Oh, and by the way, someone who is convinced that a bad man is a good man needs a lot more than “gentle nudging” and “aw, sweetie” type support.

  15. 36

    @Claire. I couldn’t agree more. I tried to focus on her positive actions, and give a little outside perspective. I’m sure many, if not all of us on here have made some stupid relationship errors. Otherwise we wouldn’t be on here looking for advice!  Lord knows I have.

    I tell my friends “learn from my mistakes!” Some of us (me for example) are just slower, or more stubborn, than others and believe what we want to believe, and need a bit more ‘gentle’ nudging to snap out of it.

  16. 37

    Goldie #34

    I don’t think we have any actual evidence that DC (DoucheCanoe) was wounded as a child. It’s more about the fact that women so often make those sorts of excuses for men, like, “I’ve now realized he did love me but he didn’t have the guts to admit it or to show it”, and when he called me a slut, it was just because he was hurt and jealous, blah, blah , blah. Hence the popularity of the book, “He’s Just Not That Into You”, subtitled, “The No-Excuses Truth to Understanding Guys.” But even if he did have a wounded inner child, he should be dealing with his past and his issues, rather than dumping them on someone else.

  17. 38

    Thanks Evan, great post! This is spot on. He is abusive and even if he changed his mind about the status of the relationship and his intentions concerning Rose, he will forever remain a douchecanoe :). This is never going to change unless he does some serious soul searching and maybe therapy.
    On this note, I have a general question to everyone and especially Evan:
    Quote from reply 10:
    “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 how scared he might be.    ”
    Don’t you all think that type of thinking is deeply deeply flawed? I think there are people who don’t all of a sudden become available and ready to love because they met someone who is soooooooo great and just right for them? In my opinion this type of thinking leads to girls/guys being stuck to douchebags because they thought they could be that one or were made to believe it. Only to find out much later that in fact s/he didn’t change because of them and has been cheating for years and so on. I think the ability to love lies deep within ourselves and is not triggered by “the one”. There are many ones we meet throughout our lives but a guy or girl who can’t love will not be able to fight for any relationship with all of his/her heart… never ever… no matter how great the person they are with is.
    So what do you guys think?

  18. 39

    Goldie#34- That quote is fantastic!!! I often say ‘Don’t let someone drag you into their nightmare’ so I’m happy I’ll have something to change it up a bit with 🙂

    Sharon #35- Agree. I would also be hesitant to commit until sexual compatibility (along with all of the other kinds of compatibility  people often  look for in a romantic relationship) has been sussed out. And for me, just talking about it isn’t enough.

  19. 40

    What’s interesting is I never hear my male friends going to “that place” — of concocting some/a theory to excuse inexcusable behavior.

    I had to drop a very, very close female friend ’cause I couldn’t take the lies she was feeding herself regarding her very emotional abusive (either saying “I love you, I miss you so much” or “Get away from me you stalker psycho” to her)…I had to get off the ride.

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