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January 18, 2015

Ask Me Anything: “He’s Just Not That Into You.” {Weekly Advice Column}

he's just not that into you

Dear Elephants,

Welcome to this week’s Ask Me Anything, where no question is out of bounds! To submit questions for next week, please email me at [email protected] or private message me on Facebook.

I look forward to hearing from you!

~ Erica

 

Dear Erica,

In August of 2013, I met a man online.

Everything started out perfectly—we text messaged every day and had three hour conversations via telephone.

We finally met in person the first week of September (a month after meeting). At first I was not physically attracted to him. I am used to attracting jerks in the last three years since my husband of 20 years passed away and I started this online dating disaster.

(My marriage was also not the greatest—my husband loved to tear me down. I stayed for my kids and thought that he would magically change…he never did)

Knowing that I have a pattern for choosing arrogant jerks, I decided to give this new guy a chance since he was different—sweet, kind, and caring. We lived two hours apart so we would meet half way, sometimes bringing our kids along (we both have daughters in their early 20s and we also have teenaged daughters who still live with us).

We spent Thanksgiving and Christmas at his house and things couldn’t have been going better. We were intimate for the first time at Thanksgiving—I offered to sleep on the couch, but he refused.

We started seeing each other once a week, sometimes just to meet for dinner, other times I would drive to his home. He cooked for me, waited on me, made me feel very special. I could tell he cared for me as much as I did him.

In January 2014 a friend said she saw him on a dating site. She told me that she had a conversation with him and he told her he hadn’t been in any kind of relationship, at least not one that amounted to anything. (We had never had the exclusivity talk, but things were going great so I saw no reason to question it.

I asked him about it and he said it was a friend playing on his computer, and trying to get him a date…trying to help him out, as he hadn’t told this friend about me, and that he hadn’t been on the dating site in months. I asked him how he felt about me and what this was between us. He told me he loved me and he agreed to delete his online profile, which he did.

We both were sick a few times and couldn’t see each other for about a month but we would mostly text and had a couple phone conversations. Things were still good between us but I noticed he got very distant and wouldn’t answer my texts for a while (sometimes four hours) and acted like it wasn’t a big deal if we didn’t see each other. I always drove to him, he would make up excuses for not coming to my house. I always initiated the conversations and he would reply a short answer back.

I told myself that after a year if he hadn’t been to my house and made me a priority that I was ending it…so I did…and he let me. He didn’t even try to fight for me.

I started reading articles about emotionally unavailable people and everything I read described him perfectly and described me perfectly too. We stopped all communication for two weeks, but then he texted me wishing me a happy birthday. We started talking again and he told me he hoped we can have a future but he realized that we both had alot of work to do on ourselves.

I started sending him the articles that I had been reading—not to fix him, that’s his job—I am too busy working on myself, but I thought if they helped me they would help him.

We haven’t seen each other for three months and rarely talk unless I initiate the conversation. I stopped initiating and decided to let him come to me…he did sort of…when we don’t talk for a couple days he sends a one word text a simple “hello” and I wait a little while and then respond.

I still want to talk to and see him, I miss his company terribly. He says he misses me too. Shouldn’t he want to talk to me and see me also, if he really wants a future with me?

I have been spending time in solitude learning how to truly love myself and soul searching to finally let my past go. I don’t know what he wants. I am a great catch. I’m a very faithful woman who loves with all I have and I deserve the same in return.

I know we are working on ourselves and he said that we don’t know where our personal growth will take us and that I might look at him differently later. He told me that nobody has ever truly loved him before me. I’m so confused and still cry a lot, but know how amazing a person I am. I just wish he would tell me where we stand…so any insight you could give me would be amazing.

Should I hold out to see, or should I walk away?

Holding Out

Dear Holding Out,

There seems to be an epidemic of women in this mad, mad culture of dating grey areas who refuse to see what is right before their eyes.

You are one of them.

Just because this guy isn’t an arrogant jerk (though I commend you for trying to break that pattern) doesn’t mean he’s the right guy for you. He is being as crystal clear as anyone can be without actually forcing himself to utter the difficult words that for whatever reason he finds true, “I’m just not that into you.”

If a man who “loves me” hasn’t bothered to see me in three months, and doesn’t care if he talks to me or not—merely issuing a vague “hello” when he senses he may have pushed me too far to keep me as an emergency dating option, I’m slamming that book shut without seeing how the story ends.

For us moms, it lends perspective when we imagine our children being in the same position we are in, and what we might say to them if we were. If your daughter came to you and told you the exact same story you just told me, how would you advise her?

If I’m not mistaken, you would tell her that this relationship—if you can really even call it that—is not good enough for her. You would tell her she deserves to be passionately loved and respected, not chasing after some “emotionally unavailable” dude who texts her a single word once in a while.

Do yourself a favor and continue to welcome “spending time in solitude learning how to truly love yourself,” but this time, actually allow yourself to really be alone rather than focusing on somebody else who offers you nothing.

**

Dear Erica,

Now that Christmas is over, the eternal wait for thank you letters begins.

Every single year this happens. I give what I think are loving, thoughtful gifts to the friends and family in my life and not one of them ever thanks me!

I was raised to say “thank you” when someone did something for me, why is this so hard for people to do?

It’s getting to the point where I don’t feel like giving anyone anything anymore.

Am I being too old fashioned? Have times changed? Or are people just rude?

—Not Thanked

Dear Not,

You are being old-fashioned (not necessarily a bad thing, by the way), times have changed—and yes, sometimes people are just rude.

But we don’t give gifts to be thanked.

As much as I appreciate and sympathize with your frustration, you are focusing on the wrong thing. If you feel that your friends and family’s rudeness leaves you unwilling to give them gifts, then don’t give them. There is nothing worse than a gift given in bad faith.

If you can convince yourself to truly give your gifts with love and then release them without expectation, you will find much more peace and enjoyment in the process.

Meanwhile, keep writing your own thank you letters. People do learn by example, and maybe one of these days someone will catch on!

 

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Author: Erica Leibrandt

Editor: Renee Picard 

Photo: Rory Parle at Flickr 

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