If You Have To Chase Him, He’s Not Interested

May 12th, 2013

Cheating, Closure, Dating

Name: ANconfwoman
Comment: Hi,

Five years ago in college, I met a guy who I was very attracted to. He was very shy and quiet and it was hard to get to know him. Throughout the entire time we have known each other, we sent occasional text messages and hung out only a few times as friends. We were in relationships on and off and, quite frankly, did not know much about each other’s personal lives.

A few months ago, I messaged him to see how he was doing, and also wanted to get together to catch up. He responded around 11:00pm (hours after I had initiated a conversation) saying he has “always wanted me” but “never knew how to act around me”….And also that he always felt something was there.

He said “yes” to meeting up after I asked, and then bailed. And we made other plans, and bailed again. Disappeared. Please keep in mind, I was always the one initiating for months. Then, he finally said, “Look. I have a girlfriend. I always felt something was between us. I’m worried I’m going to screw something up and don’t think it’s a good idea for us to hang out. Maybe someday.”

Five days ago, I ran into him at an event. He spoke with me as if nothing was wrong. I actually apologized to him for texting to hang out so much knowing he has a girlfriend. I got a text from him (again, late at night around 12am) saying “I’m so glad to see you. I was nervous before but glad I saw you. I want to see you. Let’s meet up. Are you busy tomorrow night? I can meet you for a drink by your office. You looked really good. Sleep well.”

We said we would meet on Wednesday. Wednesday rolls around and I hadn’t heard from him. I texted him. HOURS later, he responded “I can’t today.”

I have texted him several times and called him once since. Have not heard back from him once. Please help. I really need advice.

Thank you for your thoughts.
Age: 24
City: New York City
State: NY

I’m not sure what there is to say here. He has a girlfriend. That explains why there are large gaps of time between your communications. He’s probably not alone. I’ll also guess that the texts that come in late at night probably occur after he’s been drinking. That explains his courage. Then, the next day when he’s sober, he realizes what he did and backs off.

He’s not really giving you mixed messages. His message is very clear: I am not available. When he said that he was worried that he might screw something up, I think he was referring to his relationship.  He’s trying to do the right thing, albeit poorly, by his girlfriend. You need to back off.

If he does ever cheat on her with you, he’ll regret it immediately and cut you off completely. You two aren’t star crossed lovers. You are not trying to help along fate’s design by pursuing him. This feels, to me, like maybe you looked him up one day because you’re currently single and looking for a boyfriend. Now, because he’s given you a tiny bit of attention,  you think you’re close to getting what you want and refuse to let go.

Let go.

You’re 24 years old. There is no shortage of men out there for you to chase around and beg to meet with you. Harsh? Sorry, but that’s what you’re doing.  You ran into him at an event? That’s convenient. I mean, maybe you did. I’m doubting that, though.You’re pestering him with texts, some to which he doesn’t even respond. Hon, time for you to grab some dignity and move on.

If you have to do this much work just to get a guy to meet up with you for a drink, he’s not interested. Forget about the fact that he replies to your texts and the things that he says. He’s being kind and a little self-serving. He likes the attention. He’s going to keep you around for when he eventually dumps his girlfriend. And then he’s probably going to do the same thing with another woman.

You’re never going to have this guy. Not completely. So why bother?

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28 Responses to “If You Have To Chase Him, He’s Not Interested”

  1. Ashley Says:

    I completely agree. He likes the attention he’s getting from you, but he’s got no real intentions on doing anything with you, at least not while he’s with his girlfriend. Sounds like they might live together actually.

  2. Kurt Says:

    He is not interested. If he really is shy, but liked this girl, he would definitely not be cancelling dates.

    • Crotch Rocket Says:

      If he … liked this girl, he would definitely not be cancelling dates.
      One lesson that took me forever for to learn (and that I still forget on occasion) is that if someone really wants to date me, they wouldn’t make it so damned difficult. What they say they want is irrelevant. Pay attention to their actions (and inactions), not their words.

  3. Nadia Says:

    The guy led you on, and he sounds like a real cad. Cut communication completely (except maybe a neutral/friendly hello if you ever encounter him somewhere out by chance), and find someone who is available and interested.

  4. AnnieNonymous Says:

    I’m sure the guy really does like her, which is why she’s confused. She’s not wrong about the signals being there. But it’s not enough for the guy to like her. It’s an important lesson to learn and unfortunately some people never learn how to read the nuances in these kinds of situations. Moxie’s right: this isn’t a scenario where two people have floated around in the same broad social circle for years and finally realized their attraction to each other. They’re not destined lovers who were drawn back to each other by fate. The guy’s not single.

    • wishing u well Says:

      I think the word “like” is really relative here. If this guy “likes” her – it’s for a potential sidepiece scenario and nothing more. And from what was said originally, I’d wager that this guy has already evaluated the “can I hit that without my girl finding out without too much hassle?” question and came back with a solid “no.” (And IMO, he’d be fully right. It would be a sh*tshorm of drama that blows up in his face). When temptation not only throws itself at you but parades in front of you, dangling, what do you expect if the guy finds the woman attractive? This guy backburnered her multiple times, never actually met her (likely intentional), and finally said “he had a girlfriend” and added a disclaimer to “be nice.” I believe that he didn’t want to close the “possible hookup” door and finally had no choice but to shut it all the way down.

      OP – clearly he chose. Leave it alone…you seem “thirsty” here and that isn’t a good thing. He knows you exist. He knows you like him. He’s not responding after multiple initiations from you. Accept it for what it is. You’re young, single, and under 25 in NYC…stop limiting yourself and get back out there! I wish you well.

  5. Greg Figueroa Says:

    So he bails on you a few times in consecutive order and you want advice. Here’s my advice keep pursuing because that’s what you to hear. If you find it fun and cool, so enjoy.

  6. D. Says:

    Heed Moxie’s advice. This guy is unavailable and isn’t interested in a meaningful way.

    One of the toughest lessons to learn in dating is that the “why” very often doesn’t matter, or at least only matters as an afterthought. The end result, regardless of the reasons behind it, is the same: he’s not interested enough to meet up. Girlfriend? Attracted, but doesn’t want to screw up the friendship? Crippling agoraphobia? Something else? It doesn’t matter because it all plays out the same way: he’s not meeting up. End of story.

    I tend to think there’s three reasons why people analyze someone’s behavior in a situation like this.

    1.) They’re looking for a reason to explain away what their gut is telling them (“Move on. He’s not that into you.”) and are grasping at straws for some positive sign. They’ll obsess over minutia in an attempt to say to themselves “No, no, see…this proves it. They DO like me.” And that sustains them enough to keep paying attention. Don’t do this. It’s a waste of time and energy, and if you’re not careful it can leave you embittered not just towards the other person but towards dating in general. Just move on and spare yourself the headache.

    2.) They’re engaged in “sour grapes” analysis after the fact. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, to the extent it helps a person move on, but after a while it can get a bit self-indulgent. “See, she did XYZ because really she has all these issues stemming from her childhood. The truth is she was nuts.” “He was definitely into me, but he was still so hung up on his ex that he couldn’t get past that. He really should’ve stayed out of the dating game longer before messing with someone’s head.” And so on. If it helps you move on, ok, fine. But don’t belabor the point. And it’s still probably better to learn how to say “I have no idea what their problem was, but they sure weren’t giving me what I was looking for, so…screw ‘em. I moved on.”

    3.) They’re post-gaming in an attempt to learn from their mistakes. I think people SAY they’re doing this a lot, when it’s more often #2 happening. But, if you’re actually trying to say “How did I blow this so completely? What signs did I miss?” that can be a worthwhile thing. In the end, though, I think it’s more valuable to learn how to listen to yourself, rather than how to spot someone else’s baggage. Spotting their baggage is helpful, but you still have to ultimately decide whether, having spotted it, you want to go ahead anyway.

    • BostonRobin Says:

      D, this is the best dating advice ever, thanks!

    • fuzzilla Says:

      Yep. Re: a few entries back, #1 is exactly what the “Nice Guys” do that makes them bitter.

      Somewhat related to #2 – have you ever noticed friends asking you for relationship advice and going into this epic tale of how hard their person of interest’s life was/is? I had a casual friend e-mail me an attachment all about his lady friend’s hard life and mean mom and lousy ex-husbands. I was like “umm, I’m here to talk to you about how you feel. You’re so far up this other person’s ass it’s like your stories aren’t even yours any more.” Anyway, my point I guess is that if you feel the need to go into oodles of detail about the other person’s hard life or how complicated your situation with them is or whatever, it’s a red flag of codependence and/or you bending over backwards to read into things and see what you want. (OP: WTF does “he’s shy” have to do with anything? Does it really need to be pointed out that “has a girlfriend” trumps that?).

      • D. Says:

        I find another aspect of #2 is, to some degree, absolving oneself of responsibility for one’s choices.

        Sometimes we do get snowed by someone who’s particularly good at manipulating us, and sometimes we get disappointed by someone else losing interest apparently out of the blue (and sometimes it really is out of the blue). Explaining that can be helpful, when you can look back and put the pieces together.

        Example: I’ve had someone towards the end of dating them explain some deep-seated psychological thing that they hadn’t told me before, and it ends up putting much of what came before into a clearer context. Like, “Oh, THAT’S why she did those things.”

        But even so, we’re the ones who ultimately choose whether to stay or walk. We ALWAYS have that choice. So, yeah, you may get blindsided once in a while, and someone’s psychological issues may explain their behavior, but chances are if you were spending a lot of time trying to decipher what they were doing, you weren’t all that happy anyway. And that means you had an opportunity to say “Screw this” and walk away. Even if they convinced you to stick around, even if they did so by misleading you, you still could at some point have said “Nope. Not what I want. I’m done” and walked.

        So, while #2 can be helpful in moving on, such as convincing yourself that this person you were hung up really WASN’T the be-all/end-all, it can also be a crutch to excuse ourselves of any responsibility for making a bad choice to stick with someone who wasn’t making us happy. And that’s where the whole “The ‘why’ doesn’t matter” thing comes in. Learning how and when to say that is really important, I think, but it’s also really difficult to do at times.

        • fuzzilla Says:

          Ah, I think you’re specifically talking about analyzing stuff after the relationship’s over and I was talking about struggling in real time trying to make something work where someone uses “oh, my ex-husband, blah blah” as an excuse for their current shitty behavior (and the person being shit on buys that excuse and tries to sell it to their friends). Of course it makes sense to analyze the relationship a bit after it’s over so you don’t repeat the same mistakes; just don’t get stuck analyzing it to death.

  7. Danielle Says:

    AN, Something like this happened with me a few months ago. A guy kept saying he wanted to hang out, but then never made solid plans or disappeared when he finally did. I kept pursuing it because there was a connection there. One day I got tired of it and stopped responding. Guess what? He messaged me back, but I was over it by that point.

    Listen to all of the good advice you’re getting here and move on. It might be difficult especially because you feel like you have a connection with him, but in the end it’s going to be better for you. The beginning of a relationship should not be this hard. He should be pursuing you to some extent. You should not be giving 90% of the effort…that is a big red flag that he’s not interested. I’ve come to learn that guys live and want things in the moment. At the time he texted you he wanted to hang out, but then (as others have said) he changed his mind later. A guy who is certain about what he wants (i.e., you) will not do all of this flip flopping. Take his wishy washiness as a sign that he’s not set on this happening – therefore you should not be either.

    There are plenty of guys out there in the city for you to meet. See if some of your friends can introduce you to people to make your social circle bigger. Maybe then you’ll find a guy who isn’t confused about what he wants.

  8. idezign Says:

    I always know when an ex texts me…they are looking for attention elsewhere

    • Eliza Says:

      Exactly–the ex reaches out when things are going sour in their current relationship–which is extremely immature and insecure of them. They want validation and a quick pick-me-up. Why play second fiddle to someone other woman. Find someone truly interested and available. He texts back at 11pm or midnight – because he IS literally with someone earlier in the evening..probably does live with his girlfriend. And this guy is not into you–he is into HIMSELF, and feeding his fragile ego. When a guy keeps saying he wants to hang out–but is unable to – he is TAKEN. Married, or has a girlfriend. that simple. Step off. That easy. Don’t listen to the talk – men who are serious walk the walk. And actually an interested man pursues a woman. He is not “confused”–he’s an attention-whore.

  9. Mark Says:

    To the OP;

    What are you doing?

    What is is it that you are looking for?

    To take a snippet from your original letter:

    “He said “yes” to meeting up after I asked, and then bailed. And we made other plans, and bailed again. Disappeared. Please keep in mind, I was always the one initiating for months. Then, he finally said, “Look. I have a girlfriend. I always felt something was between us. I’m worried I’m going to screw something up and don’t think it’s a good idea for us to hang out. Maybe someday.”

    …You bailed. If you were in his position, what would you expect?

    Any guy worth his salt is going to say and do the same thing this guy did, and for the same reasons.

    Sorry, but get your act together before you start looking for love… or whatever it is you are looking for.

    When you do, then proceed.

    Otherwise, given what you have said, try not to waste your time and those around you. At least until you are comfortable with yourself.

    Blunt, I know. But no other way around it.

    • fuzzilla Says:

      Honestly, the girlfriend could be a lie. I mean, not that it ultimately matters that much – unavailable is unavailable. The way you broke it down makes it seem like there was a pattern of her chasing him, him being unavailable, her not getting the hint, him pulling out a fake girlfriend to get her to leave him alone. The weird text messages might just mean he was drunk and/or figures she’d be an easy lay so he wants to dangle just enough hope to keep that possibility around. Yuck. Being alone is better than that, OP, seriously.

      • Mark Says:

        Fair point.

        So let’s hear from AN, the OP. if willing to do so.

        That’s the thing. It’s not about being right vs. wrong in the context of a forum such as this. Rather, it’s about what works for you.

        In this instance, there was always a missed connection From a few missed connections ending with haven’t heard from him since.

        Don’t know about you. But that tells me something

  10. LaMotta Says:

    Moxie’s got it.

    It’s obvious to me this guy now sees the possibility of “getting some on the side”, and he keeps going back and forth as to whether he’s going to go for it.

    He probably has matured and has more courage than when you two knew each other semi-regularly, and wants to have a “do over”. But he doesn’t seriously want to leave his girlfriend.

    You should cut off communication. This is probably not worth your time or angst. But if, when you do cut off communication, he comes back around and has decided to get out of his relationship, maybe then there will be an opportunity for you two to “try it”. But he’s got to decide for sure what he wants more.

  11. Ashley Says:

    I disagree with those saying he’s not interested. If he had no interest, he wouldn’t be texting her period. He has interest, he just has no freedom to act on it, being in a relationship and all.

    • fuzzilla Says:

      True, that he’s contacting her means there’s at least some interest, but so what? Even if she was okay with being the “other woman,” he’s not following through. She’s not getting any dick, just a bunch of weird hot & cold text messages. As was said, why bother?

    • D. Says:

      The level of his interest, insofar as it falls below the level required for him to get off his ass and meet her for a date, is irrelevant. If I’m trying to push a boulder off a cliff, the fact that I’m pushing on it doesn’t mean squat if that amount of energy I’m putting in is less than the amount required to move the boulder.

      If he’s not interested ENOUGH to get off his ass and go on a date with her, or to be invested enough with her to have a relationship with her or whatever, then it doesn’t matter whether he’s interested or how interested he is.

      Bottom line: the boulder ain’t moving.

  12. D'Alias Says:

    FWIW, my standard “let him down easy” method is to pretend I have rekindled things with an imaginary ex. The girlfriend bit could be a lie.

    Or he could be telling the truth, in which case he is trying really hard to remain faithful and keeping you on the back burner to screw if they ever break up. He prob wouldn’t go out with you now cuz he knows you would do him while he had a GF. Men are usually very into loyalty so he will prob extrapolate your behavior with him to mean that you would cheat on him if given the chance. Fair? No.

    I say cut your losses and move on. Leave him alone. He’ll be back in a few months or years.

  13. monica Says:

    Never, ever chase anyone (I don’t case how hot he or she is). When you do so you devalue yourself. That is one of the reasons that many people would rather save up for something expensive that they really want rather than settle for something they do not want just because it cost less.

  14. monica Says:

    care, (I don’t care how hot he or she is)

  15. Crotch Rocket Says:

    If he does ever cheat on her with you, he’ll regret it immediately and cut you off completely.
    Perhaps, perhaps not. Some guys can compartmentalize well enough to feel bad about something one day yet do it again the next–especially if such “slips” are under the influence of (i.e. can be blamed on) alcohol.

    There’s a simpler problem (and solution) here, though: if he cheats on her with you, then he’ll cheat on you with someone else. There is no happy ending when chasing someone who’s already taken, so just walk away. If it’s “meant to be”, then you two will reconnect after he’s broken up with her.

  16. Webb Says:

    If you have to chase, period, male or female, they are not interested. Full stop.

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