When Is It Okay to Speak Up?

When Is It Okay to Speak Up?

Name: SurferGirl | | Location: Bronx , NY |Question: Your last post on "compromising" got me to  thinking about a recent crush -- and how he's slowly crushed me over the past week.  "J" and I were introduced several weeks ago by a mutual friend.  He's a never-married single dad, 45, well-educated, good job, sweet, reasonably attractive.  I'm never-married, no kids, also well-educated, good job, kind, fun-loving and generally considered very attractive for my age. J and I texted&talked on the phone for about a week, and it seemed like we had great chemistry.  He was slow to ask me out, and when he did, he wanted to have our first date over lunch -- with his kid.  I thought that was kind of weird, so I said, "yeah, sure," but was glad when he didn't follow up on the day he'd suggested. (In retrospect, red flags #1 and #2.)  He did call a couple of days later, apologizing for not having called, and then asked me out for last Friday night (w/o the kid).   We went out to dinner, had a great time, talked and smooched a bit at my place afterward, and he left saying, "give me a call this weekend."  So, I called him Sunday and left a voicemail.  He texted me Monday from work, saying that he had a great time and couldn't wait to hang out again, and I texted back and forth a bit, finishing up with "Call me when you're at lunch." He responded, "OK."  I proceeded to not hear from him all day Monday.  Or Tuesday. Or Wednesday.  I finally got a text from him tonight asking, "How u doing", to which I responded, "OK... been wondering if you'd been kidnapped by a pack of wolves...<smiley face>".  He then texted back, "What do you mean by that", so I pick up the phone and call him; rather than picking up the phone, he let it go to voicemail.  I left him a message saying calmly, "Hey, I just wanted to call b/c texting can give the wrong impression.  What I meant was just that I'd expected to hear from you Monday, and it's now Thursday, which is really not a big deal, so I would still love to chat if you want.  Talk to you soon."  No response.  Sooooo, my question is: was I wrong to send the "wolves" text?  Are women wrong when they express even the SLIGHTEST bit of disappointment when men say they're going to do something, then don't do it -- and then don't even apologize for it?  This is not the first time this has happened to me, so I am beginning to wonder if I should stop being honest in expressing my feelings and instead try to be a "Rules girl" this summer?  If I'd followed the Rules, I wouldn't have even responded to the text.  It's just that I really did/do like this guy, and hate to play games in general, but wonder how much rude behavior does a girl/should a girl swallow without speaking up (even in a lite tone)?  Part of me feels that if I'm willing to accept the "baggage" of his kid and (allegedly be-atchie) babymama, can't I at the very least be able to expect some common courtesy / maturity (like, "sorry I didn't call when I said I would") that should ostensibly derive from that "life experience"?  Or, should I compromise my standards for the sake of "nabbing" what seems like an otherwise great guy?  But what if what I wind up with after all that compromise is not so great after all?  Anyway, these are many questions and  this is a super long message, so feel free to edit as you see fit, Moxie.  Thanks. |Age: 38

My first question is:

On what planet is this guy a "great guy?"  "he's well-educated, good job, sweet, reasonably attractive."

Those thing do not a great guy make. A great guy follows through. A great guy recognizes that you have a life and a schedule, too. A great guy doesn't play the passive aggressive game. "what do you mean by that?" Please. He knew what you meant by that statement. He was trying to pretend like he didn't totally flake out on you. By acting bewildered when you teased him, he was telling you he had no intention of apologizing or even acknowledging that he didn't do what he said he was going to do. He was pulling back so either you would choose to drop the subject OR so you'd prod him further. That would allow him to do the whole "I don't think this is working out" thing, putting the blame on you.

Consider that a peek in to your future with this guy. The guy isn't all that interested in a relationship, which is why he's so lazy and careless.

Let the first thing you do be re-evaluate your definition of a "great guy." It's great to be forgiving of certain things. Single dad with a nasty ex? You're right. That's some baggage there, and it's great that you're willing to gloss over that. But the minute a guy with baggage like that fails to meet simple obligations, it's time to look closer. Note: Do not let a man's looks sway you. A man's looks, or his money, should never make up for an unsettledness in his life. Many of us (men and women) give the hotties a little more leeway, and we shouldn't.

There's nothing wrong with speaking up. You just have to choose your battles.I'm definitely one of those people that engages. I shouldn't, and I've toned it down considerably, but I definitely feel this need to let a guy know when he's screwed up. I wrote about a recent situation where an ex-lover emailed me out of the blue, you know "just to catch up" (*eyeroll*). I replied back and asked how he was and made a joke (also known as being passive aggressive) about how I was offended that he never accepted my friend request that I sent several months earlier. He replied back and told me that he only accepted friend requests from family and "close friends." Um..you putting your penis in to my mouth dozens and dozens of times over 6 years doesn't make me a close friend? And...scene. I deleted the email and never replied. Know why?

There was no point. He wasn't worth it, and he showed me that with his words. Sure, we could have debated the merits of oral sex and friendship, and it would have ended with him either pulling back or saying something that, really, I didn't want or need to hear. That being: he didn't care about me. I wasn't that important. We weren't that close. Yes, and I let someone like that inside me. He wasn't telling me something I didn't already know. So why debate it?

When someone shows you, with their actions and words, that they don't really consider your feelings or care, listen.  9 times out of 10, anything you say in response will go in one ear and out the other. You might feel better in the moment, but then you'll go to that place that you and and many of us go to and start over thinking it and beating yourself up. The goal is to always avoid that place.

The time to speak up in a situation like this - the early, early stages - is when you have let go of any possibility of a relationship and don't care what this guy thinks about you. Personally, I think people need to have certain things pointed out so they can be made aware of them. Just don't expect to be able to train someone to be considerate. If, by 40, a man doesn't know to call when he says he will, it's unlikely that he'll learn that trick. He flakes once? Give him a pass. But this guy was flaking all over the place. He needed to go.

There is one thing about this letter that strikes me. You sounded as though you got very invested in this guy after just one date. While I don't think the guy was ever going to turn out to be someone special for you, I do think that the reason he didn't pick up that phone is because he wanted to avoid the inevitable "why didn't you call" talk. By bringing it up, he saw that you weren't one of those women to just sweep things under the rug. That's not what he wants. He wants someone who will be more understanding of his life. He wants a doormat. Basically, he wants a woman who is as detached and self-involved as he is. 

It's actually good to stay somewhat detached in the early stages. You can't put too much importance on one really good date. Try not to let yourself get lost in that euphoria that many of us feel after a great first date.  Focus on other aspects of your life - friendships, projects at work, home projects. Enjoy it, stay open to it...just don't let your emotions revolve around it. No man should ever be given the top spot in your head, let alone your life, after one great date. But the most important thing to do is remind yourself that he's just one guy. There will be others. I think we forget that sometimes.

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