Ditch The Drama, Date More, Have More Sex & Stop Caring So Much

Name: Kelly
Age: 43
State: AL
Question: Hi, Moxie: I have a ? about online “fakers”, e.g. married men lying about their status. I have had a lot of dating experience, both from online and “real world.” Also been married before. My fear is that some of my bad past experiences are coloring my judgement. I seem to be getting a lot of emails from men who “travel for work” a lot, never seem to be able to call, only email me thru the website, etc. I know most of the tricks, but I want to be sure I’m not just getting jaded. Example: Guy emails me, seems to be type I’d be interested in. Says he is in NYC for two weeks as his corporate office is there (he is in some kind of sales where he travels during week). Wants to meet me when he gets back. Ok, great. We swap numbers. He calls me once, I call him once. Nice, brief conversations. He does say that his phone is a work phone and “I can’t text on this phone, they don’t have that feature” or something. My suspicions are raised. Then he says I’m back on Friday let’s meet. But I decide to go away for weekend last minute. So he says ok, no prob, I’m taking my two sons to their grandparents, I will be back next Thursday (this was last week). So again, cool, let’s get together when I’m back. This weekend comes and goes, I forgot about it as I’m seeing other guys, then yesterday, Sunday, an email thru the dating site (most of this was on the site, emails), hey how’s your weekend? I didn’t respond. Today, another email, hey I’m back in town this Friday, let’s set up a def date! Wait, you were supposed to be back LAST THUR. So we go back and forth, emailing, I say look, I think you’re shady, etc., he says no, I’m not, I really am single, want to meet. Then he says, oh, yeah, I just happened to spill coffee on my phone today, so that’s why I can’t call you now. But I am really single! I know this is BS, but again, I want to be sure I’m not just getting jaded and jumping to conclusions. This is only one of several examples similar to this one. Thanks!

 

I don’t understand. I mean, I do understand the overall question. What I don’t understand is why you care about any of this, since you have other options. Yes, he’s probably shady. There. Suspicions confirmed. Next. I’d have been outta there the minute I read “in town for a couple weeks” or “travels a lot.” Why set yourself up for frustration? He’s not going to be around. Unless that’s what you want. In which case, what’s the problem? You’re as flaky and unreliable as he is. Why are you holding him up to a higher standard?

I’m sorry to sound twatty, but this just feels like a self-created “problem” that only exists because you choose to allow it to exist. It’s good copy.  There’s no need to engage this guy at all. You have other options. Yet, there you are, calling him out as though that will make him break down and admit he’s just some dude looking for a piece on the side. You’re both relying on plausible deniability to justify your actions. You’re going to believe him if he insists he’s single. He just hasn’t been able to convince you…yet. That’s what you’re waiting for. So why not just be honest with yourself and avoid all this unnecessary drama? Go have sex with him! Go have drinks with a cute guy and flirt! Do whatever! You’re not obligated to anybody. If he’s cheating, that’s on him. You know he’s probably lying. But unless he comes out and tells you he’s otherwise taken, you’re free to do what you like. Even if he does reveal his true status, you’re still not responsible for other people’s vows and commitments. Personally, that’s not something I wish to get involved with just because of the inevitable headaches, logistics and, you know, being roped into someone’s divorce law suit. It would have nothing to do with feeling guilty.  It could be argued that, morally, you’d be wrong for being with a married man. Ethically? I’m not so sure. That’s debatable. Reason #578 why people shouldn’t get married unless they’re truly willing to make the necessary sacrifices. But whatevs. Honestly. I don’t get it. If you want to have sex with multiple people, don’t get married. Why is this so difficult?

The only reason you’re even bothering to  challenge him on his somewhat weak excuses is that you’re interested. If you weren’t, none of this would even matter. Your words and actions don’t align. What does align is your preconceptions about men and the men you appear to be meeting. It’s not a coincidence that you’ve had a number of bad experiences. You believe most men are shady. So you assume that most men you meet will end up being shady in one way or another, so why not date them since – in your mind – most men are shady. This just in…not all men are shady. Also? A man not seeking commitment is not necessarily being deceptive. You heard it here first.

Maybe all these “bad past experiences” were actually what you wanted? Maybe it’s not bad luck or bad timing, but that you actually don’t want a relationship? Which is perfectly okay, btw. I just think people would enjoy their love, sex and social lives that much more if they were just honest about what they wanted instead of trying to prove something to themselves or to others. People who enable this type of drama tend to, in my opinion, enjoy the drama. Know what I mean?

Go date. Meet guys. Have fun. Have great sex.  Settle down. Don’t settle down. Whatever you do, stop living your life the way you think you should and live it the way you want to live it. Stop with the faux frustrations and drama and just do what you want. If people were to do that, I can almost guarantee you 90% of all the dating dramas we hear about wouldn’t exist. The drama is just what these people who don’t know what they want use to justify why they’re single.

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63 Responses to “Ditch The Drama, Date More, Have More Sex & Stop Caring So Much”

  1. LostSailor Says:

    The real problem here, I think, is that Kelly likes the drama. Like Moxies says, it makes good copy, whether for writing on the web, sharing with girlfriends, or just for the benefit of the internal monologue.

    And I don’t buy a couple of these complaints. “Only email through the website”? Did Kelly provide an off-site email address? Hard to go off the site if no one knows where to go. Personally, I set up an email address specifically for online dating, and I don’t use it for anything else. But so far, I’ve only had one woman specifically ask to use off-site email. She “forgot” about this man because she’s “seeing other guys”? Hmmm. Don’t buy this. Maybe she’s seeing other guys, but I doubt she actually “forgot” about this guy.

    So, to sum up, it’s been at least, by my count, 4 weeks since the guy first contacted her (saying he’d be out of town for 2 weeks) and they’re still trying to set up a meeting, and only toward the end is she suspecting he’s sketchy, yet is asking for advice about whether to still try to see the guy. To my mind, that’s just prolonging the drama as long as possible.

    Moxie is quite right about her advice, but I think the siren-song of the drama will be too much for Kelly to overcome…

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  2. Joey Giraud Says:

    It’s not that she likes drama; she has leftover anger from previous situations and wants to either get to the bottom of it or make someone pay. To do that, she needs another example of that kind of man.

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  3. Baklava Says:

    I think the OP is trying to ask whether past negative experiences can temper with your ability to get adopt a relaxed approach to dating. I’d say probably, some people can become neurotic about stuff; OTOH, you can’t be so relaxed you clearly overlook red flags. I thing in this case, instead of “shady”, I’d say that guy was rather difficult to meet up with or clearly too clumsy and busy (childcare/work out of town) for your taste. That might have been enough. Sure, we can’t always dismiss people for those criteria and you can assess without thinking people are shady.

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    • Allan Says:

      They only way to reduce the impact of negative experiences is to simply care less. If that sounds callous, read on and you’ll get my gist. Of course at some point one starts to not care at all and it becomes impossible to hook up with anybody in the real world.

      Online “dating” should be focused on meeting in order to decide if chemistry exists. There may be none, or it may be platonic. At that early stage there should be no bitterness or hard feelings. Remember, life is hard and we each try to get by in our own way. Yes, that coping mechanism may involve ripping on others to bolster self esteem. Such is life, ans one needs to be prepared for that. Always have an exit strategy.

      People should focus on quickly getting together for an activity that they would probably enjoy no matter the company. What that activity is depends on logistics and finances, but coffee is a safe bet. No stress, no expectations.

      In the case of trying to line up an initial face to face, well, sorry to say this, but you are really at a point where the entity on the other end of the line may hold no interest to you were you to meet in person. I once called a woman up and I could tell that she had some serious degenerative disease that impacted her speech to the point where she was slurring. It was no wonder her photos were of a much younger woman. What am I to do then? Is this any worse than a married woman looking to get revenge on her husband (had that too by the way). Is it my role to pass judgement?

      So, yes, I could wonder if the authors of messages sent to me are from married women, manipulative, or disabled women (in one case a transgendered individual). In practice I assume the worst and prepare for any eventuality up until we meet. Even after meeting, and really dating things can go sour quickly. One might meet victims of sexual abuse or chemical dependency. I’ll not explore the reality of claims of D/D free given that 20% of the population has HSV2.

      You just have to go with the flow and keep meeting new people.

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  4. OP - Kelly Says:

    Baklava has it right, not really so much Moxie or Sailor: I am just second guessing myself because I have made bad decisions in the past and am determined to not make them again if possible. Nothing more, nothing less. I don’t enjoy the drama. And yes, I did think he was shady from the get go. I wasn’t only corresponding with just this one guy, I am dating others, talking to others, etc., so it’s not like I thought this dude was my dream man. Moxie is not correct in one thing, (actually more than one), I am not flaky and unreliable, don’t see where that comes in. Nothing about me questioning why some men do this indicates anything about me beign flaky. Nothing. If I were flaky, I’d date them. The point of my asking is do people like me who have had a good bit of dating experience, some bad, tend to have their judgement skewed because of that, and was I right in being suspicious. That’s it. I wasn’t asking for a therapy session. Maybe it is like Joey says, in which case I guess I need to stay away from dating for awhile till that stuff is worked out. And Lost Sailor, the guy had my phone number, he didn’t need an offline email. And I don’t knowingly date married men. And I def don’t agree with, eh, it’s ok, I’m not the one cheating. That’s a cop out excuse.

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    • India Says:

      When I see a snake, I walk away and lose the number and email. They are some people who are predators out there, just turn your back and move on. No reason to brood over it really. Ps confronting this person with back and forth emails or texts serve no purpose. Lean to just press the delete key and be done with it.

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    • Andthatswhyyouresingle Says:

      I am just second guessing myself because I have made bad decisions in the past and am determined to not make them again if possible

      Then why did you bother to engage this guy in the first place or even follow up with him? You knew something was off from the beginning. Why bother with him after that? You’re contradicting yourself.

      And I def don’t agree with, eh, it’s ok, I’m not the one cheating. That’s a cop out excuse.

      Again I’ll ask you, if that’s how you feel and you knew he was shady from the beginning, why did you continue to engage him? Especially when you had other options?

      The point of my asking is do people like me who have had a good bit of dating experience, some bad, tend to have their judgement skewed because of that, and was I right in being suspicious.

      Really? You wanted to know if it’s possible to become jaded? Isn’t that kind of a given?

      I don’t know. I guess I don’t understand how someone can rack up a noticeable amount of bad dating experience and yet not consider how they play a part in that. It’s not all a coincidence. You’re the only common denominator. You knew the guy was shady. If you knew that, as yous aid, then why did you need me to agree with you? Unless you didn’t need me to agree with you, but rather wanted this to to afford you the opportunity to talk about how shady some men are. Which brings me back to the point I made in the post: do you really not understand how that way of thinking becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy in some way?

      I am not flaky and unreliable, don’t see where that comes in. Nothing about me questioning why some men do this indicates anything about me beign flaky.

      Here’s why I think you’re flaky. You said:

      So again, cool, let’s get together when I’m back. This weekend comes and goes, I forgot about it as I’m seeing other guys,

      Forgetting about plans you made is flaky and unreliable. Regardless of what this man’s intentions where, you and he were equally responsible for following up and confirming plans. He emails you and you don’t respond. Yet you’re placing all the blame on him for how this played out, and that’s not fair.

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    • Angeline Says:

      The reason you’re getting the drama tag is that it all sounds frustrating and confusing up to the point you answered his email after ‘forgetting’ about him. I was pretty much buying it to that point. If you’d decided he was shady, and as you say see it as a cop out to say “they’re the ones cheating, not me”, then you would have deleted and moved on. You didn’t. You engaged him, whether to be convinced, or to call him out. Why the need to call him shady? That’s where the previous bad experiences are coming iinto play – as Joey said above. Someone else is going to *pay* for those other douchebags. Or, somehow plead his case and overcome your prior bad experiences to make you feel sure. You still won’t. Any of your other dates could be cheating as well. You can’t shortcut or bypass the getting to know someone, and in the meantime, some of them will be cheating on wives, girlfriends. Some of them will be stiffing their waiters, stealing from their bosses … it is a futile task to take on policing the world. And there is no set of criteria that guarantees dates free of imperfections.

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    • LostSailor Says:

      Kelly, of course you like the drama. You are way over-analyzing the whole situation and seem to revel in it. All this for a guy you haven’t even been on a date with yet. Of course he’s sketchy. Any guy that contacts you saying he wants to get together but he’s out of town for two weeks is a bit off to begin with. Combine that with the inability to set a date and meet up and I would have moved on then and there. But you keep up the communication and pass it off as just wanting to know if you’re getting jaded or if they guy is legit.

      Since you said several times you were suspicious of him and that you know he’s slinging BS, yet you are still looking for validation and a reason to keep up contact with him, no, you’re not jaded. Quite the opposite. Which is why I’ll stick with the idea that you just like the drama.

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  5. nathan Says:

    Kelly, there’s a lot of cynicism on this page. Assuming the absolute worst in people is almost a science for some around here.

    I think that any of us who have had enough negative dating experiences are going to have skewed thinking – if we view others through the lens of cynicism.

    Instead of cynicism and it’s best friend character judgement, I’d suggest focusing on what’s real. The signs suggest the guy has a busy life. You, yourself, sound busy and also doing a fair amount of dating, right? A few pieces of his story are questionable – the travel comments, the coffee on the phone.

    You have to decide if the questionable pieces of information are enough to make you not want to see someone. Are they actual major red flags, or are they currently little things that could mean something or could mean nothing?

    It’s so easy to dismiss someone as shady, a liar, and asshat, etc. based on having done one or two things that remind you of people from your past. But you really have no idea who these men are. And they don’t know anything about you either. If the guy is petty and cynical, he could take that “you’re shady” comment, declare you a bitch, and be done with you.

    That’s the kind of nonsense that keeps people from meeting. Keeps people single. Don’t be like that.

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  6. Kelly - OP Says:

    Nathan: That’s it exactly. Thanks for summing it up so beautifully. That’s the dilemma, I guess, trying to decide where to draw that line.

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  7. Kelly - OP Says:

    To Moxie: We didn’t have def plans. Just a vague “when I’m back, let’s get together” thing. I didn’t know that he was back, he was supposed to get in touch. That was it. Sorry, from the few times I read your blog, you seem to like to beat yourself up for some things that I don’t think you should take responsibility for. By the same token, you do have a lot of really good advice. Excellent advice most times. You just seem to be a really hardened, jaded woman and present it in rather a mean-spirited way. I guess I just wanted some different opinions (other than friends, already know your poor opinion of women friends’ advice) on whether or not I was reading such situations correctly or overreacting. That’s it. Nothing more. No major drama. I’m not sitting at home slitting my wrists over this one guy. Just wanted some differing opinions. And Nathan is hitting it exactly right. I am def on my guard and prob coming off like a bitch to some of these guys. But at this point, guess I’m more comfotable with that than just dating anyone and everyone, just because it’s a date. That’s old behavior I’m trying to correct. There’s the realizing my part in it.

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    • Andthatswhyyouresingle Says:

      We didn’t have def plans. Just a vague “when I’m back, let’s get together” thing. I didn’t know that he was back, he was supposed to get in touch. That was it.

      Then why did you seem annoyed that he said he was going to be back Thursday and didn’t follow up then? If you weren’t even interested in this guy enough to follow up with him about plans, then why do you care what this guy’s motivations where? THAT’S where the drama is coming in. Why do you care about any of this when you weren’t all that interested int he first place??? That’s the question. Either you do care, or you just like to victimize yourself.

      Sorry, from the few times I read your blog, you seem to like to beat yourself up for some things that I don’t think you should take responsibility for. By the same token, you do have a lot of really good advice. Excellent advice most times. You just seem to be a really hardened, jaded woman and present it in rather a mean-spirited way.

      My advice has nothing to do with my own experiences. You’re trying to make this about me in an attempt to undermine my feedback or put me on the defensive. Don’t do that. My feedback is based on what you share and the way that you share it.

      All you’re doing is trying to paint yourself as a victim when you’re not. People who self-victimize usually end up being victimized in some sense. That’s how it works.

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      • nathan Says:

        “My advice has nothing to do with my own experiences.” Of course your advice has something to do with your experiences. Every last dating advice writer I can think of has a fair amount of dating and relationship experience under their belts, and also has more than a casual interest in what is happening in the dating/relationship lives of friends, family and others. Personal experiences shape how we write and offer advice, as does how we interpret those experiences.

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  8. Kelly - OP Says:

    oh, and his just emailing and being vague saying ” how’s your weekend shaping up” is the other part of it. Why does he not have responsibility to just come out and ask if he’s truly interested? Why is that my responsibility and mine alone? I don’t agree. I still think some of the old “rules’ are true, if a guy is really interested, they will find a way to meet you, ask you out, call you, whatever. None of this vague BS, how’s your weekend looking, got big plans?” Man up and ask.

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    • Allan Says:

      If you never met in person, and claims as to being truly interested are more wishful thinking than reality.

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    • Selena Says:

      I think asking you how your weekend is shaping up is perfectly reasonable in light of the fact the last time he tried to meet you, you decided to go out of town at the last minute instead.

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      • nathan Says:

        Kelly, one of the problems with the old rules is that they were built during a time when people often knew each other in some context before going on dates. Online dating, speed dating, blind date luncheons – all of these kinds of avenues involve meeting total strangers. Any initial interest I as a man have in a woman I connect with through one of these options is either completely speculative (based on a handful of photos and some sentences), or completely based on looks (which is a shallow indicator of actual long term interest). It’s different from demonstrating interest in a woman you have known for awhile, have had some connection to through your community, which is how the majority of people started dating from in the past. There’s more of a need to step up, because you already have a connection.

        Point being that expecting too much formality or demonstrated interest from a stranger probably isn’t going to help you find someone who is really interested in you. It’s just another hoop you’ve set up to keep from getting burned, but which easily can lead to inaccurate judgments.

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    • LostSailor Says:

      You’re upset about an email asking how your weekend is going? Seems like a normal email, one that I would send myself. From your OP: then yesterday, Sunday, an email thru the dating site (most of this was on the site, emails), hey how’s your weekend? I didn’t respond.

      Hard to make plans if you don’t respond to messages. But a good opportunity for drama, such as reading all sorts of subtext into this exchange. He’s not taking “responsibility”? What responsibility? He emailed you, you didn’t respond. How do you know his next email might have been a dinner offer?

      I honestly don’t get what the problem is here. You say you’ve had a lot of dating experience; I’m beginning to doubt that.

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  9. Kelly - OP Says:

    Angeline, that’s another great comment, thank you. I think maybe I am trying to police the whole world at this point. Maybe another reason to stay away from dating for awhile.

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  10. Selena Says:

    Maybe the guy is taken, but maybe he’s just a single parent who has to travel a lot for work and who’s free time is limited – lot’s of them out there. But if there’s so much work involved for the two of you just to meet in person a first time…what do you think actually dating each other would look like?

    You may be a little jaded. You may sometimes jump to the wrong conclusions. You won’t know though unless you take the chance and meet right? I agree with Nathan, you have to determine if the little things are really red flags, or just little things you may be giving too much weight because of persons in your past.

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  11. Kelly - OP Says:

    Thanks, Selena, that’s a good point. I didn’t think of that, maybe because I had gone away at the last minute before, that made him ask it in that way, more casual. That makes sense. These are great comments, making me look at my behavior and why I wanted to write in. Thanks!

    And thank you, Nathan, for pointing out to Moxie, it’s virtually impossible to not have your past dating experience influence the advice you give here. Almost impossible. Unless you’re a trained psychotherapist, you can’t not let it all creep in, at least somewhat. I think you have even said that here on numerous occasions, and that’s why you stopped talking about your personal life so much. You’re a human being like the rest of us, not a programmed dating coach machine. You can’t be objective 100% of the time, Not possible. And boy, do you bash your own sex. A classic Freudian scenario, right there. But I still think you give good advice overall. Sometimes people need to be slapped in the face with it. Sometimes. Again, I didn’t write in here to ask you what you thought of my mental health. I wanted advice on whether or not I was too jaded, possibly. But I know from reading this what I was walking into, so I can’t claim I wasn’t aware that I would get bashed by you. I knew I would.

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    • Trouble Says:

      Listen, Kelly, if your gut says there are red flags, and you think the guy is a flake, why waste energy on him? Trust your gut, delete his e-mail, and keep looking. You don’t have to put a lot of emotional energy into “ZOMG, why are men so evil and flaky on the internet???!!!!” You just have to know that some of them are, and when an interaction suggests the guy is shady, don’t engage with him any further. You don’t need to tell a shady guy that he’s shady…there is no possible way for him to prove that he isn’t. Just trust your gut and stop being so dramatic about all of this.

      If your gut says he’s shady, he probably is. Let it go, move on. The reason people are saying that you’re overdramatic is because you think a guy is shady, but you’re still continuing to engage with him. That’s where you’re making the mistake here, and that’s why you keep getting burned.

      I know there are a ton of guys out there who are married or whatever who are just looking for tasty slice of sex on the side. When your gut tells you that you’ve encountered one of those guys, block him and move on to someone who isn’t.

      Stop using up your energy on losers. That will make you bitter, and that’s what you’re doing right now.

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    • Trouble Says:

      And boy, do you bash your own sex. A classic Freudian scenario, right there. But I still think you give good advice overall. Sometimes people need to be slapped in the face with it. Sometimes. Again, I didn’t write in here to ask you what you thought of my mental health. I wanted advice on whether or not I was too jaded, possibly. But I know from reading this what I was walking into, so I can’t claim I wasn’t aware that I would get bashed by you. I knew I would.

      This is your pattern. You know what you’re going to get, but you just can’t stop yourself from putting your hand on that hot stove, can you? And then, whining when you get burned.

      This is the pattern you need to break.

      If you see a hot stove, you don’t need to test it with your hand to see if it will really burn you. You’re doing it here, and you did it in the scenario you described in the OP. In the future, try to get smarter.

      If it looks like a hot stove, it’s probably a hot stove. TRUST YOUR GUT. If you knew that this was the response you’d get from Moxie, why cry about it at this point? You did it to yourself.

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  12. Kelly - OP Says:

    Trouble: I don’t think I explained the timeline correctly, maybe. I had suspicions, but nothing too big until YESTERDAY. I think you and some others here think I have still been in contact with this guy. I told him yesterday, thanks but no thanks. End of story and delete. Up until then I had just some vague feelings but wanted to give him the benefit of the doubt, which some other people here are saying I should. See, trying to be flexible? Once I heard the coffee comment, I was done. And told him so. So this is not a case of me still emailing, arguing, engaging. It’s done. I just wanted feedback on whether or not my judegment was too harsh, too soon. Again, that’s it.

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    • Trouble Says:

      You had his original story, which was shady. See Moxie’s reply to you, first paragraph:

      I’d have been outta there the minute I read “in town for a couple weeks” or “travels a lot.” Why set yourself up for frustration? He’s not going to be around. Unless that’s what you want. In which case, what’s the problem?

      As soon as I read your post, I had the same thought. The phrases “travel a lot” and “in town for two weeks” are pretty good tip-offs of what he’s looking for and the fact that he’s only going to have limited availability for dating. What do you think those phrases actually mean? They mean: “I’ll see you and fuck you once every couple of weeks, but I’m not available for a real relationship.”

      IMO, you actually need to start paying attention to what people say and using it to screen better.

      What’s the point of even trying to initiate a relationship with a guy who’s only here briefly and won’t be around much?

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  13. Kelly - OP Says:

    Oh, I’m not crying. I knew she would be harsh. I wanted to see what other people had to say. So I’m def not whining about her. I know she is harsh. That’s her thing. That’s fine. I have, however, gotten two or three really useful comments today. But not from you. You’re a Moxie supporter, no matter what she says. And that’s cool, too. And I see she has “hidden” a couple of my responses here because they were unflattering to her. Can dish it but can’t take it, I see. That’s what I’ve always noticed with her, she controls this so it makes her look good. Her blog, I guess. That’s why I stopped reading it initially. Not objective.

    So Trouble, I will take your excellent advice, and I am going to stop engaging in THIS waste of time, arguing with the blind Moxie supporters who can’t think for themselves. But thanks to the actual useful comments I received from mature people. They are appreciated. See, I learned my lesson, I’m breaking the pattern lol. Not that anyone but her will read this.

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    • John Says:

      Kelly-
      I think much of the advice given to you by Moxie and others is way too harsh. All you did was ask for some opinions as far as being suspicious about certain behaviors.Y ou used this shady as an example of your question and somehow it got misinterpreted as something specific to him. But in the end, Moxie (and Nathan of ocurse since he is the best commentator on these boards) are correct in their advice.

      Guys who are away, seem inconsistent in their messages and avaialblity are red flags. Moxie has already pointed these red flags out in her products and articles. She has already addressed the very issues you are asking. And FWIW, women are also guilty of the same red flags so her advice is always spot on regardless of gender. She will force you to improve your filter.

      I do think it is unfair to you if people seem to overanalyze your basic question and then assasinate your character. You just asked a simple question about obvious red flags. Now you have learned the hard way what those red flags are. Welcome to the club.

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      • LostSailor Says:

        John, the comments and advice that Kelly disagrees with and calls “wrong” (if she knows it’s wrong, why did she ask for advice in the first place?) aren’t harsh or character assassination. They’re just truths that can be unpleasant to face.

        The salient points from the OP:

        I have a ? about online “fakers”, e.g. married men lying about their status…My fear is that some of my bad past experiences are coloring my judgement. I seem to be getting a lot of emails from men who “travel for work” a lot, never seem to be able to call, only email me thru the website, etc. I know most of the tricks, but I want to be sure I’m not just getting jaded….I want to be sure I’m not just getting jaded and jumping to conclusions. This is only one of several examples similar to this one.

        She seems to attract men who are at least partially unavailable, and she knows that they’re a bit sketchy, yet she engages them anyway. Her example, one of many, involves multiple rounds of communication that strengthens her suspicions yet she continues it, and seems surprised when they guys turn out shady. And this particular example with a guy she never even met. So, the question is, why does she persist?

        Anyone who has done online dating for any length of time has encountered men and women like this. Usually you learn from experience not to waste your time on these people. If you don’t learn to not waste your time on these people and continue to engage them, there must be a reason. One very likely reason is that the person enjoys the drama.

        Having a niece who is particularly prone to this type of drama-fomenting, I’ve had years to study the phenomenon up close. The first thing a person like this will do when called on it is vehemently deny it…and create more drama over the accusation. It’s a very difficult thing to face up to. People who enjoy the drama, while claiming otherwise, tend to repeat the behavior that generates the drama, perpetuating the cycle.

        Kelly’s subsequent behavior here only reinforces my impression: “accepting” comments that place the locus of the problem on the guys and rejecting comments that would call for any self-examination, and blasting Moxie in the process…and creating drama.

        Soothing advice that she’s not jaded, it’s just the guys and she need to learn to look for the red flags is fine as far as it goes, but it doesn’t address what might be the underlying problem and won’t help Kelly make better choices. I’ve had to do some serious self-examining since diving back into the dating scene after many years, so I know that it can be both hard and unpleasant, but ultimately it leads to better choices, better dates, and more happiness.

        Kelly may not want to hear it, and you and others may think it harsh, but the evidence is there. In the end, only Kelly can take a hard look at her behavior and the reasons behind it and determine if it’s true and decide to change.

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        • nathan Says:

          All of my comments towards Kelly call for self examination. The difference is that I didn’t try and take her down a peg in offering them. In my experience, the only time really blunt and/or harsh sounding comments about someone’s behavior actually work are when the people involved actually know each other. Even then, the timing usually has to be right. Online, this kind of thing nearly always leads to defensiveness and drama-filled, never ending threads. Which seems to be some kind of perverse entertainment for some folks, but that’s about all it’s worth.

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          • Andthatswhyyouresingle Says:

            All of my comments towards Kelly call for self examination.

            Your comments barely scratch the surface of the issues because you aren’t even able to see what they are. While you’re busy pandering to these people so they’ll flock to your blogspot blog, the rest of us are listening to and pointing out the underlying issues that cause people like Kelly to create this manufactured drama.

            Let me put it to you another way. Whose comments do you think Kelly will be discussing with her friends – yours or ours? She’s not listening to you, Nathan. She doesn’t care what you say. She’s pretending to care about what you say because it makes it seem as though people actually support her narrative. Which is exactly what you’re doing. You’re enabling her. Your words are going in one ear and out the other. At least ours will marinate for a few days.

            Which seems to be some kind of perverse entertainment for some folks, but that’s about all it’s worth.

            Yep, and then you come in to show us all how harsh and bitter and jaded we are by spewing your free to be you and me crap and you can play Pied Piper for the deluded masses and they’ll follow you to your blog.

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          • LostSailor Says:

            Soft bromides usually yield soft results. I’m certainly not trying to take anyone down, but I wish that someone would have shaken me by the shoulders years ago with blunt advice; instead I took the harder path.

            When someone asks an online forum for advice, and then rejects it because it’s too “harsh” and instead want easy palliatives that will support preconceived notions, then they’re not really looking for answers, just validation.

            But I’m sure you know best, dude…

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            • nathan Says:

              Moxie, your comments demonstrate exactly the kind of cynicism and judgment I was speaking about above. I don’t give a rip what you think of me, but I would assume that you would care how your readers might view you. Apparently, not so much.

              Lost Sailor. a few someones have shaken me with blunt advice over the years. I’m grateful to them for doing so. You want to know how they got through to me? They were brutally honest in laying out details about how I was screwing up big time. They didn’t toss about generalized judgments; they were painfully specific without assassinating my character.

              Generalized judgments just piss people off, and create defensiveness. They don’t provide any insight what so ever into what or why someone is making poor decisions. So, maybe she doesn’t listen to a word I say, but she sure as hell is spinning off comments like “you’re a drama queen” as nonsense.

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              • Nathan Says:

                One more thing, Lost. Forget about Kelly. If you were seeking advice about something that was clearly causing you a lot of trouble, and what you got was
                a) blunt, detailed criticism from people who know and care about you or
                b) blunt, generalized judgments from strangers who know almost nothing about you
                Who are you more inclined to listen to?

                The way I see it, the main avenue people are positively influenced through is trust. Which takes time and familiarity. That can happen with relative strangers online, but rarely through a single comment or two. Certainly, someone might both need a blunt talking to and respond to it positively online. But I would argue that it is the ones a person has developed some kind of connection with that they will listen to. Not random person X calling them a drama queen, a loser, cheap, or whatever insult is the flavor of the day.

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              • petitemimi Says:

                Nathan, your advise is boring. I usually read the first sentence only, then I skip your comments than everybody else here who comments regularly. Oh, I think I visited your blog once, not memorable at all, cant remember it. If I want to hear advices like yours, I call my girlfriends for some up-lifting emotional supports.

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          • Crotch Rocket Says:

            The difference is that I didn’t try and take her down a peg in offering them.
            No, you kiss their ass, validate their feelings and tell them what they want to hear–the same as all their female friends have been doing all their lives. Hint: if that worked, they wouldn’t still have those problems after 10, 20, 30 years of dating.

            This blog is where people come for the harsh truth, because deep down they know that’s what they really need, because anything less won’t be able to penetrate the layers of bullshit they’ve been fed all their lives.

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        • John Says:

          Lost Sailor-
          Looking back at the advice given to Kelly I see things like, “she wants the drama”, “she doesn’t actually want a relationship”, “she attracts guys that do that”..to me this sounds like a bit of an attack on her.

          What the heck is she supposed to do if she is interested in a guy and it starts off normal and then he pulls his red flags? SHe didnt know these guys would pull their stunts. Neither does anyone for that matter. She isnt attracting that behavior any more or less than anyone else. And she is asking if this is normal or if she is overly jaded. She sees something is amiss is asking if others experience this too. Thats all. Nothing nefarious going on here.

          And even though maybe she should have learned her lesson, sometimes it takes someone to state the obvious that “this is red flag behavior, this is common and when it happens just move on”. And thats what is happening here.

          She isnt attracting any more or less red flag behavior than anyone else. She is in the learning curve of how to deal with it and that is the reason I think she came here.

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          • LostSailor Says:

            John, she explicitly said that she’s encountered this situation many times. She is clearly responding to guys whose behavior she finds problematic. Either one learns from experience or one doesn’t really want to learn from experience. Whether she’s attracting those type of guys, she’s responding to them and keeping the contact going.

            She says she’s experienced with dating online and off, but is still wondering about the sketchy guys. That raises it’s own flags.

            I never said she doesn’t want a relationship or that there was anything nefarious going on.

            Frankly, she doesn’t seem clueless, so something else must be going on. It’s not an attack to suggest that perhaps there is something that she is doing that might be a problem.

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          • Angeline Says:

            Saying she’s not ready or willing to engage in a real relationship isn’t an attack, it’s a wake up call ‘re ready but engage is self-sabotage such as prolonging contact with someone who has red flags, there’s a reason, or several, that bear examining. For example, Kelly took my comment as positive, and it really wasn’t, but something in her view of herself was stroked by the ‘police the world’ comment, and that’s what she took away from it. It was actually a call to let go of that. She touched on a nugget of the truth when she said her past experiences were coloring her actions. Not making her judgment better though, which is what Joey G pointed out, and I tried to highlight. Speaking of policing the world, to come to a website known for straight shooting,, no coddling, and then stamping feet and trying to shame the commenters into a cushier, more comfy mode is exactly that.

            One of the biggest internal hurdles towards being fully engaged and ready for a relationship is the self-examination and personal growth that might be necessary, but HARD. So we back off, and point at the other flawed person, because God knows that’s an easy target. We’re all flawed. One can avoid personal improvement forever by pointed out how fucked up others are.

            Possibly part of the reason the OP is here, to put a positive spin on it, is that she’s gotten plenty of the hand-holding advice from trusted friends. And she’s ready to hear something truthful, instead of something designed to keep the friendship safe and friendly. We random internet commenters have no such investment, no personal stake, so we can be *freer* than known friends to call it like we see it. Since we’re all different, there is some variation in opinions. When you get a group this varied coming up with similar reasons for the problem, take it and examine it for truth, and maybe grow from it. Or not. If you like your results, keep going with what you’ve got. No skin off our noses.

            And regardless if Kelly is ready for truth or growth, perhaps some other reader/lurker *IS*, and will take it and use it to really change and take a shot at happiness. Truth is only harsh if it is the enemy.

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          • Crotch Rocket Says:

            What the heck is she supposed to do if she is interested in a guy and it starts off normal and then he pulls his red flags? … She isnt attracting that behavior any more or less than anyone else.
            She’s supposed to “next” them and walk away, just like other people do. Instead, she chooses to continue to engage them–and that is what she’s getting bashed for. Choosing to repeatedly get burned by these guys is unhealthy and wastes time she should be spending with guys that don’t act shady.

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    • petitemimi Says:

      Kelly, you knew what you would get into when writing to moxie, you will get the honest opinion. If you read in her response, she actually writes go out and date, have sex! But know what you want! If you truly know what you want in your dating life, you wouldn’t write to Moxie and ask about your little problem. I’m 32 and in a healthy committed relationship. Ever since I turned to moxie’s blog, my dating life improved. Before I stumble upon this blog, I faced many common problems that most women here asking for moxie’s opinions. I over analyzed, forgot to enjoy the process, focused on getting a guy n of course victimize myself. I read most of moxie’s post and took what I could apply to my own experience and indeed dating is a learning process of knowing myself, being able to listen to my instinct. Since then, I dated relationship potentials, I had few casual dates, avoid red flags immediately without second-guessing myself and the result?? I had enjoyable ride without drama-rama.

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  14. Trouble Says:

    Other signs that the guy is married or otherwise shady…brings up sexual topics with you early on and waits to see how you respond, tells you that he just broke up with someone and isn’t ready for a relationship (wants NSA sex), only wants to see you on week nights and never weekends, says he’s looking for friends or “casual dating,” etc.

    Why even tell him that he’s shady? What did you hope to accomplish with that? You already knew he was shady, and then, at that point, you started looking desperate, because what woman wants a shady guy, except someone who can’t get any better?

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    • Allan Says:

      And what if he really is just looking for friends first, then what should he say? Or is that impossible with men? Sure people lie, but should the alternate explanations have more credibility than the pima facie explanation? That’s when everything degenerates into funhouse mirrors.

      I will repeat once again, until you meet a person, everything claimed is suspect (but not necessarily false). And when you do meet, do not rush into anything, unless you are seeking or are otherwise okay with something devoid of deeper meaning.

      Interestingly, people hook up casually all the time, but nobody admits that they want that. What’s with that?

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      • Trouble Says:

        There’s nothing wrong with hooking up casually, if that’s what you want, and you advertise that fact. But, if a woman is looking for a serious/exclusive/committed relationship, she probably should skip over your profile and look for someone who wants the same thing. It is my experience that a guy who wants and is ready for a relationship is generally able to express that. A guy who just wants friends or casual dating probably isn’t ready for a serious relationship. And, that’s okay, but people will avoid getting burned more often if they avoid members of the opposite sex who clearly aren’t looking for the same thing.

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        • Allan Says:

          That much is given. My point is there clearly is a disconnect between what people want, and what they say they want, otherwise women would not be reading into claims that one wants to establish a friendship first as really indicating a desire for simple sex. Similarly I have only once met a woman what told me outright that she was interested in a one nighter. More often it needs to be presented as something that results from external circumstances, as in “I would love to stick around, but I must return to my work with Moldovan orphans.”

          I feel sometimes that the lies are expected.

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          • Trouble Says:

            If I’m looking for a romantic relationship, why would I contact a guy who is only looking for friends? I have plenty of friends in real life, Allan, I don’t have to go online to meet them.

            So, when a guy says he is only seeking friends, he’s saying that, in my opinion, to make it clear what he isn’t looking for: a relationship. It’s a way of lowering a woman’s expectations and putting some distance there.

            The statement about traveling frequently..I travel about 60,000 miles a year (around 50 nights a year in hotels). My husband travels the same, or slightly more. It was the same when we met. Somehow, we made time to date each other, in spite of jobs and kids and traveling. It was a priority for us. People who make a big deal about how much they travel are using it as an excuse for why they can’t spend time with you, which is just another way of lowering a woman’s expectations and putting distance there. A person who wants to have an exclusive committed relationship is going to find the time, and is not going to use work travel as an excuse for failing to connect.

            Call me cynical, but these are things people do to create artificial distance, even in an online personal ad, so that there is no expectation of longevity or exclusivity. And, I think they’re intentional.

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            • Allan Says:

              All of my commentary is general. How anyone reads a specific critique of personal preference is beyond me.

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  15. The D-man Says:

    Wow, given all these stories of liars and flakes. I think I’m going to add “I’m a snowflake: a non-flaky, unmarried guy who tells the truth” to the top of my profile. I’ve had tons of dates that didn’t go anywhere, and a couple of flakes, but never any out & out liars.

    At least that I could discern; maybe I have bad instincts, but nothing has ever come back to bite me.

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    • Trouble Says:

      I’ve actually decided that people often broadcast exactly what they are in their profile, and it’s sometimes the opposite of their claims. For instance, guys who say, “I don’t play games.” Kind of counterintuitive, because guys who don’t play games don’t typically think or write about playing games. They just do their thing. So, if you advertise that you’re not a liar, you probably are. People who tell the truth don’t think that telling the truth is exceptional, it’s just a part of their innate character, so they’d never advertise it as a positive trait, it’s just part of who they are. And, truth-tellers generally assume that most other people tell the truth, too.

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      • Brad Says:

        This is the best comment of the day/week.

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      • peppermint Says:

        So true, totally a case of “the lady doth protest too much.”

        I met a guy who made a point of saying in his five-line profile, “I’m not at all pretentious or arrogant.” I thought that was a weird thing to specify and, sure enough, he turned out to be very pretentious and arrogant.

        Generally speaking, take out the “not” or the “don’t” and you’ll be closer to the actuality.

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  16. J Says:

    Wow this blog and the people who support it are all jaded and miserable…no wonder you are all single, who the hell would want to date any of you. Kelly was just asking some questions unfortunately she picked the wrong forum. I think she got her answers from a small select few but good gosh some of the reply’s to this post and other posts are just too funny and bitter. I am 45 years old, single and nowhere near as warped as most of you. I have had my heart broken more than once. I have met and dated some crazy men, rude men, selfish men, shady men, heartbroken men, horny men, great men, sad men, rich men, poor men, odd men, redneck men, worldly men and guess what they were all my choices and I have learned from each of them something about myself – so I quietly thank them for showing me something about myself that I either have to improve or embrace. Seriously everyone that comments on this blog on a daily basis needs to get over themselves and stop being so bitter. Kelly if you want some good advice read Steve Harvey’s Act Like A Lady, Think Like a Man book. He dead on about dating and relationships, his section about who’s a keeper or a throwback will help you more than this group of numbnucks. Good Luck

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    • Regina Tingles Says:

      “I have met and dated some crazy men, rude men, selfish men, shady men, heartbroken men, horny men, great men, sad men, rich men, poor men, odd men, redneck men, worldly men”

      Slut!

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    • petitemimi Says:

      that’s probably why you met all those douchebags. You took advice from a guy who cheated on his wife!

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  17. offensivedan Says:

    I think women, who online date, secretly don’t care that a guy is probably married. It’s all about whether they are interested in the guy or not. If they are, they will convicne themselves he is not available.

    I don’t know what it is, but some women are just attracted to that mess rather than to guys who are actually available.

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    • Allan Says:

      That’s a pretty broad brush. Lets face it, beyond one’s 30’s, the majority of people on dating sites are either passing up most other prospects as beneath them, or they themselves are often passed up by others. More than that nobody can say.

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  18. Mark Says:

    Are past experiences coloring your judgement? Maybe. Then again maybe not. It’s one thing to live and learn, it’s another to automatically jump to conclusions and go into prejudgement mode.

    As to the type you say you seem to attract, ie the traveling salesman type, maybe a profile review is in order

    With respect to the guy who always seems to have an excuse, just consider this: if someone really wants to meet, then is a fair bet they will try their darndest to do so. Non of this my phone doesn’t have that feature, I spilled coffee on it. Those come across of the old my dog ate my homework excuse. Everyone has things that pop up from time to time. That’s just a fact of life. But if that seems to be the rule, then there is something else going on. Doesn’t really matter what, because the end result is still the same. If these men are always having stuff crop up, or are too busy now, why think that things would get any better in the future. Try do cultivate a better man-picker. Also, In your own mind say thanks but no thanks and move on your merry way.

    At this point in your life if you are a well rounded person of ordinary sensibilities, you should be able to assess the situation, make good judgements about what to do and follow through accordingly.

    Best of luck.

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    • Selena Says:

      Is it really a stretch to believe a company that issued cell phones to their employee’s wouldn’t include the text feature? I’ve opted for plans that didn’t include that before simply because I didn’t use it. I can see some businesses not including it as a cost cutting measure across the board depending on the provider they use.

      I’ve replaced two computer keyboards because of beverage spills. My father has had to replace two phones due to leaving them in pockets of clothes that went through a washing machine. Is it that implausible someone could short out their phone by knocking over a cup of coffee onto it?

      I know people who DO have to travel a lot for work. It wouldn’t occur to me that stating “I travel a lot for work” is code for “I have a signifcant other and am looking for some sex on the side.”

      Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.

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      • Mark Says:

        Is a cigar sometimes just a cigar? Yes. Absolutely, no disagreement there.

        But there is a difference from the occasional happenstance vs. a pattern. Kelly, the OP, seems to be experiencing s series of patterns. So there is a big difference from my POV.

        Sure corporate phones may not allow some features. If that’s the case, use your personal phone. Don’t have one? Get seriously consider getting one.

        Do some people travel a lot because their work requires them do so? Again, entirely true. So you know from the get go there are some time and logistical issues. But if they have difficulty even making a meet and greet after a time or two, then that’s something else.

        We could go on and on coming up with “what if” scenarios that might affect the outcome of this post…or any other post for that matter. But the fundamental truth remains: if someone is legitimately and seriously interested, they will do their best to make things happen despite the roadblocks that crop up from time to time.

        We have only one chance to make a good first impression. If something, anything happens that requires someone to cancel or bow out, then you had better have a good plan B to make amends as a show of good faith on your part.

        Interestingly, a number of Meetup organizers have found recently that an increasing number of people would respond Yes to an event. Only to find that a material number of those responding yes would simply not show up. So much so that they started instituting penalties of sorts to discourage that sort of behavior. Doesn’t matter what the reason was, it was simply becoming a logistical issue. Not to mention disrespectful if it was a repeated occurrence.

        Reasonable accommodation of the everyday occurrence is something that we all learn to do. It’s the normal part of everyday give and take. That’s very different when you always seem to be on the taken side.

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      • Crotch Rocket Says:

        Is it really a stretch to believe a company that issued cell phones to their employee’s wouldn’t include the text feature?
        Yes, it is. My last four employers, all penny-pinching idiots, have given me a company phone, and all included free unlimited text messaging. That’s standard for corporate plans. Heck, these days it’s included in $30/mo phones from Wal-Mart.

        Is it that implausible someone could short out their phone by knocking over a cup of coffee onto it?
        Of course it’s plausible, as is dropping it in the toilet. I’ve lost and broken several phones myself–and had them replaced within hours, because the reason my employer pays for my phone is that it’s critical for me to do my job (and for them to extract maximum work from me, even after hours).

        I know people who DO have to travel a lot for work. It wouldn’t occur to me that stating “I travel a lot for work” is code for “I have a signifcant other and am looking for some sex on the side.”
        I travel a lot for work myself. However, I would never put that in my profile because it could cause women to deem me “unavailable” or “too much work”. That revelation can wait until at least the first date and preferably later, once she’s gotten to know me. Saying it up front means he’s trying to get women with reasonable expectations to filter themselves out, leaving him only the ones with low expectations. And why would any person looking for a relationship do that?

        Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.
        You, like the OP, are falling into the trap of taking a pattern of plausible excuses and accepting all of them. One is bad luck. Two is coincidence. However, three (or more) is a pattern–and it’s definitely time to forget about the person and move on.

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  19. Crotch Rocket Says:

    When I was a kid, my mom brought home a bag of jelly beans. I tried a black one first, since that was my favorite color (save the snippy comments about black not being a color at all). It tasted like crap–I hate licorice–but I just had to try another black one. It tasted the same, so I thought I hated jelly beans. My mom convinced me to try the other colors, and I liked them, but I just had to try a third black jelly bean. That one tasted like crap too. I quickly realized that it was only the black ones that tasted like crap, so I put the black ones to the side (and still do to this day). I eat the jelly beans that tasted good instead. Problem solved.

    Kelly, like many women, whines about how bad jelly beans taste, but rather than try the other colors, she just keeps eating the black ones. When Dr. Phil says “your picker is broken”, this is exactly what he is referring to.

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    • Allan Says:

      My problem is that I am attracted to women who look fine, but are usually otherwise not so fine. Still it just doesn’t work when I try to date women that have great personalities but are otherwise unattractive. I cannot will myself to be engrossed / head over heels.

      I keep looking for that rare combination of looks and personality (furthermore I want children, so lso fertility), and as I get older, the women I am attracted to stay the same age. I pretty much give up at this point. Why even pretend that it’s more than a friendship, in fact without the physical attraction, I enjoy hanging with the guys much more anyhow.

      I’m not proud of this turn of events, but I accept it.

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