Sunday, March 1, 2015

What would you do about these men?

In my last post I wrote about being less attracted to men now than when I was in my 20s.  By "less" I meant that I'm far less motivated to pursue them. I might also be less physically attracted to them, but that's hard to know because lustful memories can easily become a tangled mix of fantasy and reality.

What is certain is that my recent over-the-top attraction to Jon was a big surprise.  Men aren't as impressive as they once were but thoughts of him sure drove me wild. I haven't been that infatuated with a guy since high school.

Trying to figure out if he had any interest in me was a major challenge. Sometimes he'd engage in extended, flirtatious eye contact, but other times he seemed completely indifferent.  I finally gave up on him in early January when he let our first email conversation drop after just one exchange.  I figured if he was interested, he would have kept the conversation going.

Well, shock of all shocks, more than two weeks after I last emailed him, he replied again.

Unlike his first email, this one was much friendlier and more personal.  He began with, "I wanted to check in and say hi.  Thanks for your concern.  I appreciate the friendship."  He went on to explain his silence by saying, "I've been trying to keep things very quiet and steady mentally and emotionally, take care of myself, and not let myself get too worked up over anything." He also (sort of) promised to see me soon: "I'm sure I'll get to one of H's parties soon.  Maybe on the 15th."
 He ended the email by saying, "Feel free to check in anytime you like.  Take care, Jon"
Of course I replied right away (and he hasn't responded) and of course he didn't show up at the party on February 15th.  

On February 17th I forwarded him an invitation to an Oscar party one of our friends was throwing the following Sunday .  Naturally, he didn't respond to my email or attend the party.

I can't figure this guy out....and I'm kind of annoyed that he sent a relatively nice email.  Now the fucker is back in my head again, although not as ubiquitously as he once was.  He's probably not anywhere near ready to handle a relationship with a guy so I would be smart to forget about him.  The thing is, I know I'll see him again some day so I can't help but wonder how that will play out.

Here's another somewhat odd situation -

In May of 2013 I deleted my online dating profile and I haven't been out on an official date since then.  The last guy I met was Hugh, an Englishman of Northern Indian ancestry.  I wrote about him in Six Weird Dates.

A short version of our story is that he texted me the day after our first date to say he was already seeing someone and wanted to be friends.  That was an obvious lie so I assumed he was blowing me off --- only it turned out he wasn't.  At his insistence we ended up meeting four more times in June and July.  During all those "meetings" not once did he say or do anything that made me think he was attracted to me. (Nor did he talk about the guy he was supposedly seeing.)

We continued to meet semi-regularly over the next four months.  I enjoyed spending time with him but eventually I stopped wondering if we were dating.  I was comfortable just being friends.

The last time we met was in January of 2014.  Nothing was different or unusual about that meeting.  I did notice, however, that the very next morning he re-posted his dating profile.  The same profile he had taken down two weeks after we first met.

When I saw that his profile was up again, I felt like I failed a test.  I felt like he'd given me one last chance to prove myself to him, and I hadn't, so he re-posted his profile.  I still believe that's true because after that meeting I didn't hear from him again.  We basically went from meeting every second or third week to never speaking.

At first I didn't take his silence too seriously.  I knew he was busy with work so I figured it wasn't anything personal.  But after six weeks I began to wonder if I'd said or done something to offend him.  I debated whether I should reach out to him but ultimately decided not to.  The reason was that he had previously told me he "cuts people out" when he decides it's no longer healthy to see them.  I assumed I'd been cut out. 

It was weird to have that happen without knowing what I'd done but eventually I decided that the friendship had run its natural course.  If it was his habit to suddenly and inexplicably drop friends, then he probably wasn't someone I'd ever feel 100% comfortable with.  Every meeting would feel like a version of Russian Roulette.  Will it be the last one or not?

Well, get this...

Much to my amazement, Hugh showed up at a Halloween party I attended that was 40 minutes out of his way.  I was so surprised to see him that my jaw literally fell open when I saw him walk in.  "This will be interesting," I thought.

At the party he was polite but not especially friendly. He acted like he was glad to see me, we hugged and then caught up for a few minutes, but that was about it.  I guess that's the best I could have expected after being cut out for nine months.

November is when my obsession with Jon kicked into high gear so I didn't give much thought to seeing Hugh again.  I didn't expect to hear from him and I didn't...but there he was at the Valentine's Day party on February 15th.

This time he seemed genuinely glad to see me.  He was quite friendly and chatty.  At one point he even said, "I made a terrible dinner for you the last time.  I'm a much better cook now, I should invite you over for dinner."

We talked for at least 30 minutes, not alone but with two other people.  Toward the end of the conversation we were standing side by side and he sort of nudged me a few times and touched my arm once.  That kind of subtle flirting drives me wild.  Guys only do it when they're into you so it's really exciting when it first happens.

A short time later another friend came to talk to me so I turned toward him.  Then, as the friend and I were talking, Hugh reached over and gently moved a lock of hair on my forehead.  It was a very strange thing to do but it was also a major turn-on. I couldn't help but grin from ear to ear.

Because I'd just started talking to my friend it would have been rude to suddenly stop and ask Hugh why he was touching my hair.  Instead I just kept talking to my friend.

I forget exactly what happened next.  I think someone started to talk to Hugh and my friend went to say hello to someone else.  I know I ended up being alone and I spent a few minutes wandering through the house looking for people I knew but hadn't really chatted with at the party.  I couldn't find anyone because the party was breaking up so I went back to talk to Hugh but he was gone.

I left a few minutes later, deep in thought about how flirtatious Hugh had been.  Touching someone's face is about as flirtatious as you can get without being sexual.
Hugh has a rock-hard body.  One that I imagine looks like this.

In the days since February 15th, I've found myself frequently thinking about Hugh.  There's no doubt in my mind that he's attracted to me.  I could easily arrange a date with him and "things" could progress quite quickly.  Two years and five months of celibacy might finally end.

So what am I waiting for???

A few things, actually.

First, I expect to see Jon within the next month.  I'd really like to talk to him face-to-face and see what's going on with him.  If he's at all flirty I won't be able to think about anyone else for weeks.  If he's not flirty, I might be able to get over my crush on him and that would be a very good thing.

Second - and this is horribly embarrassing to admit - I'm not sure that if Hugh and I ever got seriously involved I'd want to introduce him to my children.  He's smart, attractive, fit, funny and polite but I don't think my two younger kids would see him as being good enough for me.  Too ethnic.  Too not-pasty-white. Eventually they'd get over it but I'd hate all the awkwardness until that happened.

Third, and by far the most important reason I'm hesitant: I *hate* that Hugh is the kind of person who cuts people out.  How could I ever trust him?  How could I ever let my guard down?  I can't be constantly worried that he'll suddenly drop me.  I'm an extremely loyal person.  When I like someone, even when they do shitty things to me (Gabbie), it doesn't change how I feel about them.  The last thing I want to do is set myself up for another unhealthy relationship.

My fourth and final hesitation is that I'm nearing the point when I'll be ready to date again.  Getting into a consistently positive state of mind hasn't been easy or quick.  I wonder, if I got involved with Hugh, whether I'd later regret not dating more.  I don't expect perfection but it seems to me that there's a reason we mutually decided to be friends in the first place.  I wonder if I just need to start dating anew, with a good attitude, and see what happens from there.

I think I'll do nothing in the month of March.  Hopefully Jon will turn up at some point.  In April, I'll give dating a try, and depending on how that goes, I'll keep Hugh in mind.  I do find him attractive.  I just don't trust his constantly changing demeanor.

What would you do if you were me?


  1. It could be that Jon is not willfully playing games with you. He doesn't know what he's doing or what he wants. It's strange that he sends you this email, and then does not respond to the other emails. At some point you may get another opportunity for a 1-1 long deep conversation with him, and maybe then you can find out what's going on with him. I think even if you were able to get him out on a date, the outcome would disappoint you.

    With Hugh, it sounds like he was on the fence about you. He went back online to look around, and didn't find anyone better. Now maybe you don't look so bad, so he's back again. It sounds like you're not so into him either, so maybe best to just keep him as a friend and leave it at that.

    1. Everything you said about Jon and Hugh clicks with me. I think you're exactly right about both of them, although I doubt anything will develop with Jon even if we did have a first date. My gut feeling is that he's not mentally or emotionally ready to meaningfully connect with anyone, including me.

  2. Gotta agree with RB, Two Lives. In fact, Hugh (in particular) sounds like he's stringing you along, playing you like a marionette (and you're letting him play you, too).

    I have to admit that I've played the Jon role fairly recently myself with a guy, but (in my defense) I did tell the guy that I was entering a period of depression (probably SADD, or regular depression exacerbated by SADD--all of which was true), so I wouldn't be in contact with him again until I felt better. At least I didn't leave him completely hanging.

    1. Thanks for confirming RB's insights. My gut says you're being a little harsh on Hugh but perhaps I'm naive.

      I hope your depression is lifting. If breaking off contact is what you need to do in order to concentrate on your own mental health for a while, I can't imagine that any guy who cares about you would begrudge you that. I have my fingers crossed that your story has (or will have) a happy ending. (MANY happy endings, actually!)

  3. Cameron, this is your friend from across the bridge.

    RD is, of course, correct. Having said that, the similarity I see in Jon and Hugh is one that I've seen in a lot of gay or bi men -- a failure to realize what effect their actions have on other men, especially, but not exclusively, ones who have more experience with straight romantic relationships than gay ones.

    In Jon's case, he doesn't see how the way he expresses an interest in you as *person* makes you think he might be interested in an emotional connection. In Hugh's, I think he enjoys being able to touch another man in a flirtatious way that he doesn't realize that you might think he's looking for more than some quick physical interaction.

    Welcome to reality. :-)

    1. Hmm. I haven't thought about their behaviors in this way. I can see your point...although, I'm not sure that it matters. What I mean is, if a person isn't self-aware, I can't fundamentally change them, especially in the near term. My option therefore is to accept them with their flaws OR not spend time with them. For the moment, I don't mind their obtuseness. But, eventually, my patience will run out.

      Thanks for reading and commenting!

    2. Accepting them with their flaws appears to mean accepting that they aren't really interested in pursuing anything beyond friendship. If you're okay with that, that's fine. Friendship is a good thing. Your question as to what you should do about these two men, however, implied that you were looking for something more.

  4. I agree with the above. Now I don't know how much weight my input carries because I'm not in the same age group as you guys (not trying to be mean), but I think you should really just find someone healthier to date/think about. Essentially you are being majorly mindfucked by people who aren't empathetic, and you should move on by recognizing that both of them are douchebags in your context, although not necessarily douchebags as inherent personalities.

    Jon honestly sounds like he's grappling a lot with his own issues, and it's silly to think of dating someone who doesn't love himself in the first place. Very unhealthy.

    As for Hugh, was there alcohol at the party? Some times that makes people flirtatious without wanting anything more than just some playful attention. From his perspective, maybe all he wanted was just to be flirty, and if he knew you gave it so much thought, he might think that's pretty weird.

    Got to wrestle back the confidence in you! You're sounding much less confident now in your posts after being mentally screwed by these two guys.

    1. My first thought was that age isn't meaningful in this context, but after more reflection, I think it is. For whatever reason(s), when I was younger, it was a lot easier for me to be very attracted to someone. Now, although I meet a lot of guys socially, it's very rare that I feel an attraction to any of them. Therefore, when it does happen, I'm willing to invest a lot of time, thought and emotional energy into pursuing the connection. I pretty much have to, unless I want to celibate longer than most Catholic priests.

      Hugh doesn't drink, btw. His flirting was a change from the past and, I'd say, quite intentional.

      Thanks for your thoughtful comment. I appreciate your point of view.