What Do I Do When I Run Into a Guy I’m Seeing While He’s On a Date With Someone Else?

I’m romantically interested in a very good friend and I believe he is interested in me as well but the timing has always been off. When he was single I was not. When I was single he was not. He also travels 2-3 weeks a month for work and last year was barely here. We’ve agreed to date but not sleep together and see where things go. And he’s been spending time in our small town a lot more and we see or speak to each other 2-3 times a week. He’s met one of my sons, he sends his sons my Facebook posts he thinks they’ll like and they are well aware of me.

At the last minute this week, I went to a lecture at the Ivy league college in our town I thought he might also like so I sent the email invite from the college but he didn’t get it. No big deal.

However, he arrived and sat in the row ahead of me about 5 seats away with another woman. He didn’t see me until about 1/2 way through and he panicked. He didn’t acknowledge me, smile or wave and when it was over he bolted from his date, scooted across the room and stood in line to speak to the introducer. His date seemed utterly baffled at his disappearance and not sure if she should go or stay but finally left. I went to the bathroom and when I was about to leave, she was packing up her things and leaving. By the time I got to my car, within 15 minutes there was an email from him explaining that he was sorry he missed me but the introducer was a dear friend and he wanted to catch up.

I call this bullshit. He was totally panic stricken and had no plan if this should ever happen and so my question is, what is the protocol when you both agree to date others but you run into each other at an event with a different partner? Do you smile and nod, stop and chat, introduce the date? It’s bound to happen again.

I feel he should have at least smiled and waved. And it upset me. I felt dismissed and I think his explanation was not truthful. He even stopped half way across the room and did a little jig trying to decide what to do. I thought we had an agreement that if we dated anyone else we were going to tell each other so we wouldn’t hear through the grapevine. In his email he pretended he was there alone and just needed to catch his friend. But I am sure that isn’t true based on their seat selection and body language before the lecture started and when it ended. He acted like he was cheating and got caught.


Ready for Lasting Love?
Ready for Lasting Love?


Example 652 of why “casual dating” for long periods of time is a shitty idea.

Let’s begin:

Very good friend. Travels half the month. Dating casually without sex or commitment. Already introduced to your kids and has a relationship with them on social media. What could go wrong?

Another woman! That’s what could go wrong. Because when you are not having sex and you are not boyfriend/girlfriend and you’ve agreed to these terms, you shouldn’t be too surprised that there’s another woman. And yet you are. Furthermore, you’re SHOCKED that he would be blindsided by running into you on another date — as if he should have a graceful way to handle this incredibly awkward situation that completely took him by surprise.

Step outside your own shoes and it’s really easy to identify with him.

In other words, of COURSE he was panic-stricken. I don’t know if you’re dating anybody else (from the tone of your email, I’m assuming no), but if you were and he ran into you on a date, how would you handle it? Remember, this is the guy who has been seeing you 3 times a week and talking to your kids. Wouldn’t you feel embarrassed to be on a date? Wouldn’t you feel busted? Wouldn’t you feel like a cheater, although technically, you weren’t cheating at all?

Step outside your own shoes and it’s really easy to identify with him.

You just don’t want to do that: it’s easier to feel aggrieved that the man you’re casually dating is, in fact, casually dating you as well.

No sex. No commitment. No promises. Let’s “see where things go,” in your words.


I have no idea if this friend of yours is a good guy or a bad guy. But that’s neither here nor there. What I do know is that when you date someone without commitment, you’re not allowed to get angry that there’s no commitment.

You came up with the terms of the deal; you just don’t like the terms you negotiated.

In reality, Kathleen, you don’t want to casually date him. You want him to be your boyfriend. So may I suggest that, given your history with him, his relationship with your kids, and this new revelation that you step up and tell him the truth:

In reality, you don’t want to casually date him. You want him to be your boyfriend.

I want to be your girlfriend. I don’t want to see anybody else.

Either he will tell you that he agrees and wants to be your boyfriend, or he will tell you that he enjoys dating casually the way you are now. Which would mean you’d have your answer about where he stands and would (theoretically) be able to cut him loose and find a man who DOES want to be with you.

Without any judgment, this current arrangement is just not working for you. It’s up to you to change it.