Should You Give A Bad Dater A Second Chance?

Name: Michelle
State: Brooklyn
Age: 41
Comment: Had a date with a guy two weeks ago. Everything seemed to go well. We spent about 4 hours together and had a great time. At the end of the date we talked about seeing a movie we had discussed. The next day I sent him a text saying it was great to meet him. He replied back and said he had fun and asked if we could catch up later in the week. I said sure. I didn’t hear from him until almost 2 weeks later (yesterday.)  I logged in to my profile a few times in the past two weeks. A couple times a little window popped up telling me that this guy had logged on.(I marked him as a favorite.)  I assumed that he was dating others.  I didn’t expect him to take down his profile or anything but I did think I’d hear from him sooner than I did. He wants to go out this week. I don’t know if I want to go out with him now. I’m definitely less interested. Should I say something to him or turn him down?


No, you shouldn’t say anything, nor should you turn him down. This is the nature of online dating. What happened to you is par for the course. Especially because of your age. The sad fact is we are the ones that get put to the back burner more often. Especially if the guy is a couple years older or younger than us. Men are going to want the younger woman, whether those guys want children or not.

Here’s what happened. He went out with you and had a great time. He probably was already communicating with a couple of other women. He went out with them in the interim. Maybe those dates went well, maybe they didn’t. He’s keeping his options open. What he should have done was follow up with a text sometime later in the week, as he said, and done a little investing. Just a simple text saying work was crazy but that he wanted to get together next week. Anything to demonstrate that you were still on his radar. Now he’s back to square one and shown his hand.

Once again I’ll bring up the importance of experience and social aptitude. Somebody who is “good” at dating, meaning  has success, would have known the appropriate course of action here.  Online dating is full of bad daters.  There’s too many to make them all off limits. Sometimes you just have to be patient and wait things out and see if things improve.

I think many women in your position would be a little resentful. Listen, we know that we’re going to get the short shrift. Most of us accept that. But I think what makes it more insulting is that they actually don’t think we know what they’re doing. We do. We get put in a position where we just have to suck it up because saying something will make us look nuts. The only way to counter-act that is to not care and accept that it’s not as personal as we think. We should also do what they do and keep our options open.

The thing to remember is that this happens to everyone. Male and female. 25 or 45.

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25 Responses to “Should You Give A Bad Dater A Second Chance?”

  1. Badger Says:

    If it makes you feel any better, this guy has almost certainly been backburnered by women, it’s just part of the deal that we get moved up and down the priority list with other people and with real life.

    The synthetic electronic communication medium means that time and the “shelf life” of our personal interactions gets all twisted.

  2. offensivedan Says:

    He text you b/c he was horny. Go out with him at your own risk.

    • Badger Says:

      I don’t think that’s a fair assessment. Sure it’s a possibility, but the more likely explanation is that he’s been busy with other things and hasn’t prioritized her. That doesn’t sound very romantic but it is the way online dating works. In any case she’ll know pretty quickly if he’s just DTF and can drop out.

  3. Howard Says:

    Stop assuming. I have waited to go out with women from online dating more than two weeks. Women do this tpye of thing all the time. Guys work with it. They know it’s part of the dating game. They know she is working her options. But oh no, Lord forbid that a guy should do the same. I guess he should drop everything for someone he met only once.

    The greater issue here is the internalizing of anything that could be interpretted as rejection, and trying to get even, even if it means cutting one’s own face.

    • JS Says:

      Howard, out of curiosity, how many times have you waited 2 weeks when it was a woman you really, really liked?

      I understand that waiting is no big deal when you’re not that into the girl… but if you really like someone, do you wait 2 weeks without even sending a txt/email to let her know she’s still on your mind?

      Just curious because I always think that… “long silence/absence = not that into me”

      • Howard Says:

        I don’t do online anymore, but being very aware of how many overtures women get, I never had a time frame. I never get into a woman too much based on a profile and a phone call or two. For me, it takes three dates. I figured women seemed to have the edge in dating, so I stole a page, from their playbook.

        Gettting into someone too much too early is quite often based on the wrong reasons. That doesn’t stop me from escalting and being charming though. The downside is that women never see the fade coming, because of the combination of their ego and whatever little charm I possess.

  4. dimplz Says:

    When you’ve only had one date, I don’t think it matters how long he takes to contact you a second time. What matters is whether you want to go out with him a 2nd time. Doesn’t seem like you do, so keep it moving, because if it doesn’t work out you will say “Why didn’t I let him go from the beginning when I was turned off by his behavior?” You’re at an “all or nothing” state in the beginning. Go hard or go home.

  5. j Says:

    I’ve given bad daters 2nd chances.

    I believe that was the right thing to do.

    Has a bad dater ever redeemed herself in my experience? No.

  6. bo Says:

    What do we all jump to conclusions so fast and over analyze the situation? Has he treated her badly, been abusive, etc? It’s just a date and there is no harm in going out a second time. If this behavior continues then remove him from your list of potential people to date. Life is too short to sweat the small stuff. I dated a woman who always “sweated the small stuff” and spent 18 months which looking back was way to long to put up with someone’s else’s shortsightedness.

  7. Crotch Rocket Says:

    People are human and therefore make mistakes. In the grand scheme of things, this isn’t a particularly egregious one. There are dozens of innocuous explanations for it, so don’t take it personally.

    More importantly, don’t get so attached to someone after one date that you’re analyzing their actions (or inactions) to death. If you like him, go out with him; if not, don’t. In between, forget they exist. You need a few dates to get a sense of who they are, their behavior patterns, etc. and have a reasonable basis for getting more invested (or not).

    Also? Stop with the marathon first dates. Four hours is excessive; it’s like you’re trying to cram the first two or three dates all into one, which is why you are getting too invested too early.

  8. Selena Says:

    He spent four hours with you, then took 2 weeks to ask for a second date. Options or not, it sure doesn’t sound like he was that interested in you.

    If you’re cool dating someone very casually – why not go out with him again? If you’re looking for someone who wants to see you more than every few weeks…this ain’t the guy.

  9. joe-f Says:

    I am a bad dater. I don’t think we owe each other that much until we mutually agree we are ready for more commitment whether that is date 2, date 4 or date 8. Without that agreement, I think we should date others and expect the other person to do the same.

    I would have probably call you back after one week if I said I would. I don’t play games. However, he might had a really busy week so give him one more chance especially if you had a good time. If you keep throwing away opportunities for a good relationship, one day you are going to wake up with the feeling that despite dating so much, you are still alone.

  10. D Says:

    A girl has sort of been doing this with me lately. We went out a couple times at the end of November, but then I had to travel for a couple weeks, and I was also seeing another woman. But I did try to set up another date with her and she kept demurring. I told her the ball is in her court. Since then we’ve traded a couple texts and she’s said she was looking for a dance class for us to take together, but then never followed through. Weird.

    I figure she’s probably not that into me and/or seeing another guy. I’m on the back burner, but I think of her the same way, so I guess it’s all for the best.

  11. fuzzilla Says:

    Yeah, I agree with D. There were a couple guys doing this kinda thing to me before I decided to focus on one guy (we haven’t had an “exclusive” talk but things seem to be heading that way; mostly I just don’t feel like looking elsewhere right now).

    Anyway, yeah, one or two guys would be like “missing you…just a little bit!” and say nice things but only every two weeks or so. I’d assume they’d forgotten about me and then get a message and be like “oh! Uh…OK…” I didn’t get mad, I was just surprised. I kept talking to/meeting others, and just put the every-two-weeksers on the backburner.

    If this behavior bothers the OP, then it kinda sounds like she was rather into him at first and feels insulted/hurt that he doesn’t seem to be on the same page. If that’s the case he’ll always be a disappointment so listen to your gut and don’t meet him.

    • fuzzilla Says:

      Also I know Moxie is always stressing that you need to spend lots of/increasing amounts of time together for a relationship to be “real,” but what if you just really, honestly, can’t swing more than 1-2x a week and it has nothing to do with interest level? Social obligations, conflicting work schedules, school classes and whatnot just get in the way? (I do think that even if you can’t swing lots of face-to-face time you should call/e-mail/text often to foster a feeling of connection).

      • DC Phil Says:

        This is problematic. I’ve thought about it and have no good answers except that, if the person, man or woman, is just “too busy” to make time, then he or she shouldn’t be dating.

        I realize that there are many people out there who are working long hours, and have bad commutes. (Order of the day in DC.) I don’t have this, as I have a 9-to-5 job and live in the city. I have my weekends free and, therefore, have time to date.

        On the other hand, I’m not going to drop everything in order to go out with someone that I barely know. Unless she’s invested in me to some degree, it could be “cancel at any time.”

  12. Saywhat! Says:

    i get where she’s coming from. I think the hardest part with a guy like this is the fear of inconsistency because regardless he did things ‘right’ from the beginning or not, inconsistency is going to come up anyway. We don’t really need it to start this soon. It’s just part of a realationship. No one is perfect all the time but I do think in the beginning everyone should approach things best foot forward, because you just don’t know who your going to meet. It gets tiring at times, but that’s the price you pay when you are on your quest for a long term mate. Personally, if I were her, she should maintain her dignity. A women should always stay consistent with that. If she took his word by saying he would call, and he took his time she should stand her ground and speak nicely but confident and stand your ground. My rule is you get one fuck up and if the next time he slacks then I would let him know that you appreciate a person that stick to their word. Done. A man’s word is everything. If they were raised as true men, then they will respect you for standing your ground. If not, and think you’re ‘crazy’ as Moxie puts it. Walk.

    • DC Phil Says:

      As some have noted, keeping your word is something that men have been raised to do since they were younger. They also believe more in reciprocity and clear instructions.

      Women, on the other hand, don’t seem to do this very often — especially the younger ones. The stereotype is that men use “logic” and women use “feelings” in making decisions. If her “feelings” (hamster) tell her that she shouldn’t do something, at the same time bolstered by her fear of rocking the boat with her single friends, she’ll follow her “feelings.”

  13. mari Says:

    I think the secret is to have other dates in the meantime. You went on one date, it went well which is definitely a good thing – I would go on the second date and not mention that he didn’t contact you at the end of the first week – just let it go. Assuming the second date is good, see if there is a third. In the meantime, go on some more first dates with other guys..

  14. Elaine Says:

    ” We get put in a position where we just have to suck it up because saying something will make us look nuts.” Oh this is perfect. Thank you. I’m 49 and became single last year after being partnered for 24 years, and I have run into this situation time and again in the past year. It’s nearly useless to expect someone to keep their word, yet I keep falling into the trap of expecting it, and then I get annoyed when it doesn’t happen.

    Saying something not only makes us look nuts, it doesn’t accomplish the goal of getting better treatment, because we’re not at a point where our opinions or feelings matter to the other person. They may be comparing their treatment of us to their treatment of strangers they haven’t dated, in which case, say, texting instead of phoning to postpone or cancel a date is very considerate behavior, where we are comparing their treatment of us to treatment of someone who is a potential life partner in which case the text is sadly impersonal.

  15. ctygrl917 Says:

    If I had a nickel for every time this has happened to me over the years! Not once did the guy suddenly become more attentive and it turned into a relationship. She should go out with him again but not put too much effort into dating him. If a guy really likes you, he’s happy to schedule something sooner or at least make sure to communicate so you don’t get frustrated and disappear on him!

  16. Carina Says:

    Dont waste your time!!! Move on. Follow your instinct. If he liked you, he would have contacted you sooner.

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