Name: Sheila | Location: New York, NY |Question: I recently had two dates with a man from Match.com. Both dates lasted 3 to 4 hours. At the end of the second date he told me how much he enjoyed hanging out with me and that he really liked me. I reciprocated and said the same. He also said he wanted to go out again this week. Our last date was Friday night. I sent him an email on Saturday thanking him for dinner telling him I looked forward to seeing him again. This morning I received and email from him telling me he had fun too, but that he had been seeing someone else and has decided to see where things go with her. I didn’t know what to say. He had just told me two days before that he wanted to see me again. He said that people are often tempted to date multiple people that they connect with online and that that hasn’t worked for him in the past so he’s decided to focus on this one particular woman.Then he said that, should things not work out, maybe we could reconnect in the future. That made me feel like he didn’t value me or my feelings and was thinking of me as a possible back up plan. What kind response should I give him? |Age: 37
Well, let’s back up for a minute.
That made me feel like he didn’t value me or my feelings
This sort of self-flagellation just isn’t healthy. He didn’t value you? That’s an extreme thought, isn’t it. Isn’t that brutal? I hear women say this to other women, and I don’t think they really understand how statements like this chip away at a woman’s sense of self. Really, this is us projecting our own feelings of low self-worth on to the man (and possibly other women.) It’s an ugly way of trying to taint or poison our minds in to believing that men are crap. Convince yourself that men are crap and they’ll treat you like crap. That’s how that works.
I value things that mean a great deal to me. Usually, those are things that come with sentiment or serious purpose or that fulfill an important need. I value my friends. I value my mother’s cigarette case that she bought at a church bazaar. I value my laptop and phone. I don’t value my furniture. I don’t value my clothes. Don’t get me wrong. I like them. I enjoy them. But should my furniture all go away, I’ll survive. I’ll just replace it. My laptop dies? I’m screwed. It’s hard to attach a lot of sentiment in to someone you went out with twice, know what I mean?
This guy took you out twice. His decision to focus on one specific woman that is not you is not a statement to your value or the value he is supposed to have had for you. It was two dates. If anything, the fact that he communicated his thoughts in an honest and timely fashion should tell you that he likes you and respects you. Our value is not based upon what others think of us. We determine our value. How a man that we barely know treats us is not a reflection on what our worth is.
Now, let’s discuss the back-up plan idea. That’s an unattractive way of describing it, though to some degree it is accurate. He is leaving the door open should things with the other woman not work out. Is he wrong for doing this? I don’t think so. He’s just keeping his options open. Is he foolish for putting it to you in this way? I think so, yeah. But he’s probably thinking, “Hey, I’m being honest. Women say they want us to be honest, right?” He probably thinks he’s doing the right thing. I don’t think he’s trying to put you down or disrespect you by saying it. I also believe he’s trying to say, in an awkward way, that he was genuinely interested/attracted to you. Most men are just not going to break down and write some love letter or testimonial about what a great date/person you are. I don’t think this should be held against him. If he comes back around, go out with him if you’re available. But only do so if you can let go of any possible resentment, or else you’ll be trying to make him pay for something you think he did, but that maybe he didn’t actually do.
Of course, it’s going to be hard to get past feeling like second choice should he contact you in the future. But you don’t know that you were second best. He could have had 5 dates with her and 2 dates with you. You weren’t so much second choice as you were late to the party. He could have based his choice on various things. Maybe he took things to a physical level with this woman and prefers not to juggle. Maybe he feels obligated to her because he’s been out with her more. And, yes, maybe he likes her more right now, but that makes sense since he may have gone out with her more and spent more time with her. There are dozens of reason why he’s choosing her that have nothing to do with you.
And, yes, he very well might be lying, cushioning the blow because he doesn’t want to hurt you or doesn’t want to leave the situation ambiguous or open for discussion. Again, this might not be about you.
What you do know is that, for now, the door is closed on this possible relationship. The whys and details don’t matter. You should reply and say you understand and good luck. DO NOT thank him for his honesty, though. That will make him think that what he said was appropriate. It really isn’t. I think men are confused about what constitutes honesty, at least as honesty is defined by women. We need to figure out what sort of honesty we prefer before we start requesting total honesty from men.