Sometimes You Are Just A Pit Stop For A Guy

Today’s Dater X post over at The Frisky got me thinking about something that happened to me a few months ago. I told piteverybody about Ben, the British guy from OKCupid that I tore a new one when he told me he blew off our plans because he met someone else. (Note: I deleted that post after a few days as I do any post that discusses my personal life in any real detail.)

Ben was new in town. At the time that we met, he didn’t have many options. That’s where I came in. Because he was likely anxious to get laid, he was extra motivated to do and say all the right things. And so when he did have sex with me, and he finally got the poison out after a couple of months of celibacy, he calmed the hell down.

In every single Dater X post, the author describes relationships that appear to move at light speed despite the fact that both parties agree to take it slow. I’ve come to realize from reading this column that what most men in this situation mean when they say they want to take things slow is that they aren’t looking for a relationship any time in the near future or maybe just not with you.

In all of the scenarios she presents, Dater X finds herself involved with men who do and say everything right. She perceives there to be a level of intimacy present because they talk about certain subjects or are super connected during sex or whatever. The cuddle, they spend one or two nights a week together. The guys even make her coffee in the morning. All of these things she believes are signs that they both want a relationship. (Spoiler alert: they aren’t.)

But then something happens. In this week’s installment, she invites her Guy O’ The Month to a dinner at her friend’s house and he balks, saying he feels they’re not at that place yet.

“We agreed to take things slowly, and I feel like we’re not doing that,” he said. “All of your friends want to meet me, but I think it’s kind of premature to be going to other couples’ houses for dinner. We’ve only been seeing each other a month, and it makes me a little uncomfortable. It’s just … soon.”

“I’m sorry if I made you uncomfortable, and I agree that things have been moving quickly,” I responded. “I’m just kind of confused about why you’re hesitant to meet my friends if we’ve spent more time together in a month than most people do in their first several months of dating. I’m not introducing you as my boyfriend, and don’t need a label — I just thought it would be nice for you all to meet. If you think things are moving too fast, how do you think we should slow it down?”

“I just told you,” he said matter-of-factly. “I have no problem with meeting your friends— it’s the circumstances surrounding those introductions that make me kind of uncomfortable. These are couples who are inviting us to their homes for dinner, and I just feel like that presents us in a way that I’m not quite ready for. It seems quick. You and I haven’t even talked about what we are yet or where this is going, so what if we’re faced with questions we don’t have the answers to ourselves? I don’t know … I think it would be better to meet them in a more casual setting.”

Allow me to translate: Meeting her friends in, say, a bar at happy hour is one thing. It’s less formal and things could be passed off as more casual. But to be her plus one to a dinner at her friend’s place makes a statement, and that statement is, “This is my boyfriend.” He doesn’t want to be her boyfriend. He probably never did.

In every situations Dater X has written about, the men all leave around the 8 week mark. No guy is stupid enough to think that if he sleeps with a woman multiple times a week that she’s going to assume things are just casual. So the guy knows that he’s indulging this little fantasy of hers. Only when she wants things to go to another level do the men do a 180 on what they previously said. If, after 1 1/2 to 2 months, a guy is this certain he doesn’t want a relationship at this juncture, that’s a good sign that he never did. That doesn’t mean that after this amount of time he has to know where things are headed. He just shouldn’t be this dead certain that he knows where it’s not headed.

Since I’ve read every essay in this series, I’ve started to think that Dater X is getting involved with men who have no options for sex at the moment. That would explain how over the top all of these doofuses are and why they are so eager in the beginning and why everything is so perfect. That would explain why Ben was booking two dates at once and texting every day and checking in. He was motivated. He also knew from the start that I probably wasn’t someone with whom he was going to have anything serious. He was still in his early forties and “might” want kids. ‘Nuff said. I wasn’t what he ultimately was looking for. I was a pit stop.

Dater X, I think, is a pit stop for all of these men. She’s the woman a guy dates when he’s low on options that he eventually ditches once someone more his speed comes along. I also think she filters out the hints these guys drop that should alert her to where she stands with them. She seems to only listen to the flowery stuff they say and do. That’s why she’s always blindsided when they inevitably end things.

It’s easy to say that she could be pushing these guys away with her intense desire for a relationship. I don’t happen to think it’s that simple. I think that’s where most women who find themselves in Dater X’s shoes go, because they don’t want to believe that these guys were “faking it” or that what they thought was real wasn’t. I don’t think any of the men she’s met had any intention of ever dating her seriously. She could have played everything just right and still wound up kicked to the curb.

A lot of women underestimate just how much effort a man will make if it’s steady sex that he’s after. “He doesn’t have to lie to get laid. He’s XYZ.” Yes, well, even XYZ guys still experience dry spells or times when they don’t feel like getting into anything heavy or serious. So they end up dating women like Dater X, who gets all caught up in the empty gestures and omigod great sex. They’ll even date down a little bit and lower their standards if it means getting laid regularly with minimal effort.

That’s what I think keeps happening to Dater X. She’s the woman they date “for now” until she tries to move thing sin a certain direction. then they come up with excuses about how they don’t want a relationship even though they almost all tell her they are looking for a relationship. They very well might be.

Just not with her.





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15 Responses to “Sometimes You Are Just A Pit Stop For A Guy”

  1. DMN the Wise Says:

    I don’t think these guys are desperate for sex. These guys are not making the effort you (and she) are giving them credit for. It’s really not costly or work to have sleepovers, sex and to make someone coffee in the morning. Really? Those things are actually fun. It costs literally nothing to tell a woman “we’re exclusive,” or even “we have such chemistry, don’t you feel it to?”

    I get the sense that the guys have plenty of options but, hey, what guy couldn’t use MORE options? I’d say more likely she’s shooting out of HER league – in the sense that the guys perceive themselves as having better and more options, not fewer. She’s the desperate one here, in my perspective. If they thought she was their best option, they wouldn’t be bailing at the precise moment that they have to make actual effort or commitment (which is really what they’re all doing, if you think about it.) They’d be making an effort to keep her around, not trying to get rid of her by telling her bluntly she has to pay more often, like the last guy.

    • ATWYSingle Says:

      I agree she’s probably shooting out of her league. I guess I didn’t make that clear.Its insane how every single guy she dates does the same thing and she hasn’t figured out the problem.

      • DMN the Wise Says:

        I’ve been in the same exact situation many times. Dating someone for a little while (though I would never go out three times a week) and they propose something that requires more effort on my part than drinks, dinner, sex, etc. I’ve had, several times, the “couples” dinner party with her friends proposal. I’ve had the request for a weekend away (to a place I didn’t otherwise really want to go, of course). At that point, and especially if I’m actively dating other women, I would find some reason to “slow things down” which usually ended up either in a breakup or a slow fade. I don’t think there’s anything especially unique or unusual about these guys. They’re just regular Joe’s with options who have no sincere longterm interest in this particular woman who they are currently dating That’s the picture that’s been painted.

        The only remarkable part of her saga is her abject cluelessness. I especially love that she tried to fix the issue in this case by offering to contribute more financially, and he acted like he would NEVER let her do that. Such a gentleman!

        • ATWYSingle Says:

          Agreed. She dates men who never have any intention of dating her seriously. She also must be embellishing the time they spend together. If thus guy lives 3 hours away, he’s not hauling ass to and from work twice a week. He’s crashing at her place on Saturdays. She idealized everything for the benefit of the readers and because she projects what she’s thinking and feeling on these guts.

    • D. Says:

      Gotta agree with you here. It’s really not heavy lifting to make coffee in the morning. You just got laid. Assuming she doesn’t have a particularly complex coffee maker, it’s a pretty easy thing to do.

      Also, some guys genuinely enjoy the “playing house” aspect of the morning after, and enjoy the process of wining and dining a woman, even as they start to suspect that this won’t go anywhere further.

      My read on the guy in the article is that he does genuinely like Dater X, and if she wasn’t attempting to escalate things, he might be fine with them keeping steady at “casually dating” until such time as he woke up and said “I want to be her boyfriend.” Instead, she’s forcing his hand.

      I think the real problems are as follows:

      1. I’m still not entirely convinced that DaterX isn’t just a professional train-wreck, and possibly a fictional one at that. I mean, she gets paid for baring her soul and writing about her fuck-ups in dating, no? If DaterX actually got serious with a guy for, like, 6 months, after a while, the articles would just be like “Another fantastic weekend with [Cutesy Name]!” and people would stop reading. So there’s kind of an incentive for there to be drama in her stories. That’s not to say that there’s no chance that she’s a genuine train-wreck who simply enjoys crafting her own narrative, but I think it’s reasonable to wonder “Is this for real?”

      2. I’m not sure she’d qualify as a narcissist in the DSM-V sense of the term, but she’s pretty self-involved. Like, to the point where I think she tries to shoehorn all experiences with men into the narrative she’s trying to create, and when information shows up that doesn’t quite fit, she just…ignores it, or warps it so that it does fit. In this instance, the guy is telling her some really important stuff about where his life is and what that’s doing to his desire for a romantic relationship (at least with her).

      He cites some MAJOR STRUCTURAL ISSUES, including a really long commute, financial strains, and guilt over not being able to date her the way he might otherwise want to, all of which amounts to him not wanting to be her boyfriend right now. Her response is basically to keep pushing forward (albeit at a slower pace), rather than recognize that this guy is not gonna give her what she wants. He’s just not. But she doesn’t — won’t or can’t, I suppose — see that. She just sees another chapter in this novel she’s living. What’s astounding is that, given how many times she’s gone through this, you’d think she’d see the inevitable fade or confrontation coming. Or maybe she does, and just doesn’t give a shit because it’ll be good fodder for her articles.

      3. I think she says “I want to take things slowly” but I really don’t think she’s comfortable with or capable of that. She wants to be in a serious relationship with a guy in a way that must feel kind of…urgent or overpowering. I really question whether she’s capable of just enjoying dating for its own sake, rather than looking for signs and portents that XYZ behavior on the guy’s part or ABC thing he said must mean that he wants to get serious. When you’re consumed with desire to get into a relationship, you end up going through what she’s going through — a lot of “mini-relationships” or “not-quite-relationships” where you go through the motions of a relationship often, where things heat up really quickly and burn out just as fast, and often where you fall into a pattern with the people you date. I think her statements of “Let’s take this slowly” are, quite simply, bullshit. Her desire for a relationship will trump “take it slowly” every time.

      • fuzzilla Says:

        **If DaterX actually got serious with a guy for, like, 6 months, after a while, the articles would just be like “Another fantastic weekend with [Cutesy Name]!” and people would stop reading.**

        It’s certainly plausible that the stories aren’t real, anyway. Reminds me of the old “Tracey Ullman Show” skit (from way back when, the show that “The Simpsons” sprang from in cartoon form). There was a skit where she was this dour singer-songwriter with all these songs about doomed love. Then she dated a nice guy and was happy and all her songs were like, “La la la, Doug is cute!” and her fans turned on her. “That’s it! We simply must end things! Misery is my muse!” Something like that. (I kind of feel like the dour singer-songwriter who’s met her Doug and having a resultant identity crisis. But we’ll see. Fuck misery. Fuck it right in the ear).

        • AC Says:

          That happens all the time in music. The entire Seattle grunge scene tanked in the mid-90’s for similar reasons.

          About Dater-X. I’m not buying most it either, although there are people who act like that in real life.

    • Eliza Says:

      exactly, DMN…it’s not rocket science. When a guy or girl are truly interested–they naturally want you to meet their friends and family eventually, and “time spent” together involves other activities–including sex, but not limited to drinks, sex, and nightcaps. People do go out during the daytime too–you know. There are plenty of fun weekends/things to do that people who actually want to cultivate a relationship will do. Again, nothing wrong with having a casual thing, and a latte/coffee in the morning…nothing…but if a woman wants more, why be delusional about it?? When there is mutual interest–and not just physical chemistry….things progress seamlessly, nobody suggests to slow down.

  2. BTownGirl Says:

    This is going to sound harsh, but does Dater X not grasp that no one who wants to be with you in a real way anytime in the near future asks to slow it down? I mean, seriously, asking to slow it down means there’s a real chance of the other person saying “You know what? Let’s just forget it. ‘It’ being ‘us seeing each other again’.”. Especially if the person asking for the pull-back was the one with all the flowery gestures and sh*t. Every time I read Dater X, I want to be yelp “What in the name of all that is sacred is so wrong with a steady get-to-know-you progression?! Maybe just meet for dinner and drinks a few times instead of having allegedly soul-altering sex and declaring them the wind beneath your wings because they don’t cry when you mention that you get your period?!”. I don’t think I would be as vexed by it if all the other Frisky writers weren’t always clucking around her insisting that This One Is Different. Is there no one over there with some sense?!

    • fuzzilla Says:

      **no one who wants to be with you in a real way anytime in the near future asks to slow it down?**

      I think there are legitimate reasons to ask to “slow things down” that don’t have to do with “eh, I was really just here for the sex…you want me to act like a boyfriend/girlfriend now? Fuck, my cover’s blown…” Such as asking to move in together too soon. You can legitimately like and be excited about someone whose perception of relationships are different enough from yours that you can freak out and want to slow things down. Although it does signal hesitation, I suppose (“Hmm, they seem awesome, but maybe they’re really not for me after all if they think this speed of escalation is normal…”).

      Dinner at her friend’s house doesn’t require any legally binding paperwork, just the perception of the two of them as a couple, so yeah, this guy’s a dud/dead end. I’m not totally up to speed on the Dater X stories, but she does sound to be projecting onto the guys and only paying attention to the positives. I’m so afraid of being That Girl any more, that sometimes I fear I went too far the other way and only see negative.

      • BTownGirl Says:

        “Dinner at her friend’s house doesn’t require any legally binding paperwork…”

        Are you QUITE SURE about that? ;) Yup, I totally agree that you can be into someone and have a “Are we moving too fast?” moment, I just think that people who really want a relationship work it out in their own noggins instead of saying it! I don’t think you need to worry about either being That Girl (Hell, haven’t we all been at some point? I know I have.) or only seeing the negative, because all you, me or anyone else has to worry about seeing is reality. You do that, you’re good!

  3. Lucy Says:

    How do you know if you’re dating one of these types of guys, in addition to spotting the signs you already mentioned? When is the appropriate time to bail?

    I’ve been in situations like this, partly because I get attached more easily than I should. But I usually find it difficult to woo a man because they want me to be more outgoing than I naturally am and I ain’t exciting enough. Quiet girls finish last hehe :)

    • Eliza Says:

      Don’t worry Lucy–I am pretty much the same way–I don’t provide enough “drama” – for these types…and as much as they go on about not wanting drama–that’s what gets their adrenaline going. And I don’t give a sh$#%%t either! lol. Next. If being myself, somewhat quiet–fun, but not crayzie biotch is not enough, then he’s not the right fit. One thing I did read and want to point out: Just because 2 people are spending a lot of time together, doesn’t necesarily mean it’s quality time, or “couple” time, or a relationship in the making. It’s all about what 2 people are doing during that time spent together. If it’s all about sex, and nothing else…who cares, if you get together 3-5 a week and some weekends….so what he makes you a latte the next morning, and calls during the week. He is getting “Booty”! That’s the carrot dangling before him…his incentive to connect in person. The writing is on the wall…it’s purely a physical connections. Nothing wrong with that…but if a woman wants more, you are wasting your time.

    • D. Says:

      How do you know if you’re dating one of these types of guys, in addition to spotting the signs you already mentioned? When is the appropriate time to bail?

      Listen to your gut, for starters.

      A lot of people — men and women — end up sticking around in relationships where they’re frustrated, unsatisfied, not getting what they want, etc. That leads them to spend a lot of time trying to figure the other person out, figure out what’s driving them or making them tick, etc.

      All that energy is being focused in the wrong place. You probably won’t figure the other person out. You don’t have enough information. You don’t know what else is going on in their life, what baggage they bring to the table, their personal history, etc., etc. You just don’t know. So, you can guess as to why they’ll wake up and make coffee for you, but won’t meet your friends, but in the end, it’s kinda pointless.

      I think the better questions to ask are “Am I getting what I want out of this?” and if the answer is “No,” then follow up with “Why do I want to stay in this, if I’m not getting what I want?” Far too often, people like Dater X lose sight of these questions and focus their energy on trying to figure the other person out, usually as some means of controlling the situation so they can make it go the way they want. Personally, I think if you’re at that point, you might as well just bail. But sometimes getting to the point where you know you want to bail requires you to pay attention to your gut and what it’s telling you.

      • Lucy Says:

        Thanks. You’re certainly right about that. I was just remembering a conversation I’d had with my hair stylist about a guy I was seeing who was acting like that. She had her head screwed on and taught me the difference between ‘seeing each other’ and ‘going steady’. Whilst I was getting myself in a tizzy, she just told me that if something’s not making her happy, she doesn’t bother analysing it, but just ends it. She also has a great guy now who she knew for a few months before becoming exclusive. Now he buys her lunch and takes it to the salon every day. I think she’s found herself a keeper. Oh and she told me she’s never had to interrogate guys to figure out where she stands with them.

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