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

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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

Rose,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So let’s make it really clear.

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

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

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

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

This is common.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Really, I think I just feel sad for you.

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Comments:

  1. 41
    Greg

    @Miranda #39

    Great insight.   That type of thinking keeps a lot of girls in terrible relationships.   “He keeps coming back to me, so he must really love me.”   Or they think “He will one day see that he needs me.”    Pure trash.   Guys who are jerks will stop being jerks only when they decide to change, and not because some girl they meet is so great. There’s nothing any girl can do to change that.   Even the most beautiful girls to ever live will be abandoned by a person who is a selfish tool.   Check any celebrity gossip rag if you don’t believe me.  

  2. 42
    Sherell

    I am with you Evan!   She needs to hear the truth, plain and simple.   He is not worthy of your love.   He has shown that time and time again!   Are you thick!  

  3. 43
    Sherell

    No you lost you dignity; quite a while ago!!

  4. 44
    Terri

    It seems that Rose accepts abusive men/relationships as normal.   What I suggest is that she attend a counseling group of women who have had similar experiences.   She will not be “attacked” but will be able to see herself and similar behavior in other women which can be very helpful.    
      

  5. 45
    Dancing Faun

    Claire@28: I agree with you 100%. I also think that Goldie@23 was a very funny post and did not belittle the OP or contribute to the abuse.

    Miranda@39: Yes, an excellent insight. I never understood that either. It’s also a classic “blame the victim” thing. The douchecanoe says: “If you were just prettier/nicer/more accommodating/more pleasing I wouldn’t be abusive toward you.” In other words, the douchecanoe doesn’t accept responsibility for the way he speaks or acts toward others. They’re “making” him do it b/c they aren’t speaking/acting/thinking/looking the way  he thinks they should.   

    Terri@45: Good suggestion.   

  6. 46
    nathan

    David 41 – I don’t know if it’s more common for women to excuse “bad/abusive” behavior or not, but I can think of several examples of men I’ve known or at least have been acquainted with (former co-workers) who made excuses for their partners, and put up with abusiveness because they were “in love” or whatever.

  7. 47
    Claire

    Oh Evan, by no means did I mean to coddle her, just refraining from kicking her while she’s down was more my point. There’s a way of saying things to get through to somebody, and there’s a way of saying things to be a bully and get shock-value readers for your blog. Yeah, I’m sure you’ve answered hundreds of questions like this before, and if you’re bored with it, I mean, there are different avenues you can take rather than belittling a reader for everyone to read.

    You said yourself you’re taking a new (and I’m guessing edgier) approach to the same question. Which is fine (I appreciate it, but you don’t need my approval of your execution). But this woman was clearly emotionally abused. With that kind of emotional unstability, harsh…in your face…break you down to build you  up…yeah, not really going to work. Probably going to make things worse. That’s all I’m saying. And if you’re bored with answering the same quesiton, then I’m sure you get pleanty of other emails you can answer.

    Let me put it this way. I know you’re a new dad (congrats!). Would you want somebody talking to your daughter this way? Because if anyone spoke to mine this way, they’d be in a couple of casts.

    1. 47.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      Clairewiththefakeemailaddress – I stand by what I wrote. You can quibble with my tone and I accept your constructive notes.

      And I would hope that my daughter would be able to distinguish between a loving man and a bad man. If not, she probably does need someone to shake some sense into her. Thankfully, she won’t have to look very far.

  8. 48
    Goldie

    I’m going to side with Evan on this. This guy has messed with Rose’s head so much that she cannot tell an emotionally abusive moron from a warm, fuzzy sensitive boy who, deep down inside, loves her and is just afraid to show it. When facing a similar situation, I do appreciate a wake-up call, and am thankful to my girlfriends who provide one 🙂

  9. 49
    david

    @dancing — “The douchecanoe says: “If you were just prettier/nicer/more accommodating/more pleasing I wouldn’t be abusive toward you.” ”

    That’s EXACTLY what my ex friend’s boyfriend says to her, pretty much. If you were my puppet and don’t make me angry and don’t say things I don’t want to hear (even though they deserve to be voiced – HER VOICE, her opinions, her concerns, her needs), I wouldn’t be such a dick.

  10. 50
    Joe

    @ Flower White #12:

    There are also now  two generations of men raised by single mothers.   I’d expect there to be a contributory effect there too.

  11. 51
    Fawn

    Siding with Evan on this one too.   Evan, I like your tough love approach… don’t ever change.   If I was in the op’s place, I would hope that someone would care enough to give it to me straight.   Bravo!

  12. 52
    Cheryl

    I have to agree with Evan and most of the posters here.   Run!   As far away as you can get!

    Btw.. loved the style of this post!

  13. 53
    Marie

    Yeah, I retract my “gentle nudging” comment. I didn’t really mean it for this scenario. If someone did this to one of my friends, I’d be seriously PO’d and unable to hide it…ESPECIALLY if they were considering that person a quality person after their actions. I suppose my personal approach is when friends make a mistake, realize their error, and are hurting from it or are unsure what to think I take a more gentle approach.  But it’s hard not to get angry in this scenario where a guy is a cake eater AND mean.

  14. 54
    Margo

    This is good, this is sooo good. I don’t know if I’d call the guy psychotic, but I’d sure as heck call him a scumbag. 🙂

  15. 55
    Tontae

    I feel sad reading some of the comments – the areas of low self-esteem, co-dependency, emotional-psychological-physical abuse are subjects that most people know little about, and even less on how a person struggling with that kind of baggage will react, especially in a relationship.

    While I do not know Rose’s background, seeing that she feels bad about the fact he does not love her as opposed to being treated so badly, is a clue.
    Let’s be clear – victims of child abuse end up in two ways: as either abuser or victim.
      
    Those who seek help by the time they are in their 20’s statistically have a better chance of overcoming the trauma and in seeking normal relationships.  

    There are a lot of relationships like Rose and DC. And no small wonder, they seem to find each other, unfortunately. Women are especially vulnerable – many of their coping skills are at a level a child would use.

    I know that Evan has covered this area before and this is not his forte – he is not a psychologist, and can’t fix these problems – and as stuck as you feel, Evan, giving the same boring “get help, you don’t have to take this abuse” line – sometimes a troubled woman needs to hear that.

    It is very easy for a person with low self esteem (who may have been abused) to lose their way and become confused and submissive in a childlike manner while in an abusive relationship (they start to believe what they are being told, just like a child)

    Abusers just hone their skills over time, and they are not about healing or trying to help themselves or anyone else.

    As a child abuse survivor, and someone who spent some hard time in relationships that were horrific, I support anyone getting help – sometimes a little tough love is needed.

    Judgement? Never.

  16. 56
    marymary

    I defend Evan though he doesn’t need it.
    i was abused as a child. Had the crap relationships. Read the self help books. Got counselling. I still didn’t see what I was doing wrong.
    finally I found baggage reclaim, link to the left. If you think Evan   is tough you should read some of the stuff on there. I found an older male counsellor and pretty much begged him to give it to me straight as I was sick of my relationship experiences.
    some of us are so deep in we need a rocket up the arse to get us out. And even then many won’t get it, it’s more likely that the afflicted just continues in their thinking for another x years or forever. They aren’t that hurt by the advice, they ignore it as not applying to their wonder boy. Or to themselves as they are likely pretty, smart and a good catch. Can’t be a self esteem issue can it?
    i hope the OP got out.

  17. 57
    janie1256

    Rose, you are a kind, decent, loving person – and you’re trying to “project” these qualities on a man who has shown you anything but.   This is  quite common.    Some of us  can’t believe that someone we like and care about can treat us so terribly so we paint a rosy picture of them in our minds instead of accepting what is right in front of our faces.   We start making excuses for them.   We start “analyzing” them (“He’s just scared.”   “His mommy didn’t love him enough.”   “He’s afraid of committment.”   blah, blah, blah)
    This is something I learned the hard way.   If you have to start analyzing  a man you’re dating to “explain away” or “understand” his bad behavior – that’s a really good sign that he’s a putz.   You’re not his therapist, nor his mommy.   Sometimes, I think we women waste our time with men like this because of issues in our past.   We think love can’t be “easy” or “obvious” and that we have to “work” for it.   We waste our time on the “doucecanoes” and miss out on the   great guys out there who have REAL integrity.   You’re trying to love a “boy-man”.   Boy-men play games.   Boy-men mess with your mind.   Boy-men have double standards   – and so on…….  
    The longer you waste your time and mental energy on this douce – the more likely you will miss out on someone out there who you can have a real relationship with.

  18. 58
    m

    “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? ”

    @Goldie – This.

    I can’t believe Rose is getting all the blame here, when she waited for six weeks before seeing someone else, and the man who *then* proceeded to call her names and behave like crap is getting no scrutiny here whatsoever.

    I also notice no one has called out “Saint Stephen” (g*d, the irony) for his behavior in actually *setting up* former girlfriends of his he couldn’t be bothered to keep … because in his eyes (and the eyes of other guys; not to rhyme, but I’ve seen this cr*p behavior a thousand times) that would let him *keep* his “good guy” label??

    Newsflash, Saint Stephen — “good guys” DON’T BEHAVE LIKE THAT.

    And the women get all the blame — and this after the guys heavily pursue them.

    *sigh*

  19. 59
    m

    “And I would hope that my daughter would be able to distinguish between a loving man and a bad man. If not, she probably does need someone to shake some sense into her. ”

    Yeah, I”m thinking it’s not so much that women are positively unable to distinguish between good and bad men.

    It’s more about this — which you’ve (FINALLY!) admitted yourself

    “From what I can gather, society is so judgmental of their single status that they feel like second class citizens.”

    It’s not so much that women can’t tell the difference. It’s that society has beat it into them (us) that a bad man is better than nothing.

    These things *are* related, whether men — and some male-identified women, for that matter, both of whom prioritize mens’ wants & needs over the needs of both people in the partnership — want to look at the relationship between those things or not.

    Once that stops happening —once women stop getting the crap beat out of them societally for being single — the “poor woman” headshaking and “Where’s your boyfriend?” and “Is she gay and just in the closet?” and “She’s so pretty — TOO BAD SHE’S STILL SINGLE” on holidays, not to mention being excluded from outings with now-married friends because they’re “afraid” you’ll “steal their husbands” (not that you’d be interested in some of those trogs) — if THAT stops happening, I’d give you 10 times Vegas odds the behavior Rose is being blamed and scolded and excoriated for here will be cut way down.

    WAY down.

  20. 60
    Kim

    I met my ex 6 years ago, he broke up with me on Tuesday and on Thursday, he confess that he is seeing a colleague at work. He’s a very selfish guy and his previous girlfriends last only no more than 6 months. Family & Friends are surprised that we lasted more than one year. He’s kicking me out of HIS house and removing anything that contains me. He says, he love me but not in love anymore. We never fought, argue,etc. I gave him his space, took care of him and the house.  I’m slowly healing and moving on but do you think he will come back to me after we had so many years together. I sometimes wonder if he still cares bc he is totally thinking the wrong head right now.

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