Never Let A Man Hold Your Emotions Hostage



Alias (DO NOT USE A REAL NAME!!): Broken
Comment: Moxie, I need you to knock some sense into me.  I’ve read your blog enough to know you will be honest and not hold back.

I met this guy on an online website and we went on 7 or 8 dates.  We always have fun together and got pretty serious, and I left my last date with him before the holidays (and before I went home for Christmas) with us both saying we wanted to get together again.  We texted over the holidays as well, almost daily.  I came home after New Years, and it’s been very minimal to nothing on his end since then.  Like 100% to 2%.  He’s texted me a few times here and there, asking how I am doing or texting me during some of the recent football games (we’re both fans), but very minimal and sporadic, and hasn’t asked me to do anything since our last date.  Not even a hint of “I wish we could hang out but I’m busy.”  Nothing at all.   If I text him he will reply, but it’s not like it was before, and I’ve held off from texting him too much or initiating a conversation because, yeah, I get it.

I’m not looking for you to tell me it’s not over – I’ve come to the conclusion that either 1) he’s no longer interested and is just stringing me along so he has a backup plan in case someone else isn’t interesting, 2) he’s no longer interested and just doesn’t know how to stop or tell me he’s not interested, or 3) he’s interested but too busy with work/life/helping old ladies cross the street/etc.  All three of the situations are not what I want in a relationship or in a guy, and I know its done.  My only problem is that I really liked the guy, so in the rare situations he texts I still respond.  I suppose it’s easier to respond than accept that I did something to make him not interested/not like me/etc, but it’s getting old for me as well dealing with the little games. Plus in the few situations where I’ve been online talking to other guys, I still compare them to him and am hesitant to go back out there and date.

Moxie, I need an honest reality check from you.  How do I stop caring and move on?
Age: 31
City: Alexandria
State: VA

I wish I had some magic spell that people could use to turn off their feelings, but I don’t. A break-up or having someone fade on you is a loss. Like any loss, there’s a multi-step grieving process similar to the Kubler-Ross coined Five Stages of Death. You feel how you feel until you don’t feel it anymore. What is possibly compounding this sense of loss you’re experiencing is the not knowing. Maybe getting confirmation one way or the other  about what this guy’s deal is will help you move on. You’d be well within your rights to just shoot him a text and say, “Hey. I thought things were going pretty well, and every since the holidays, things feels off. What’s going on?”

Like you, I find the sparse flurry of texts with no real progress to be annoying as fuck. I don’t have the patience for it. I’d have confronted this guy the minute I noticed a shift. (That’s not necessarily a good thing, btw.) I don’t believe in hanging on to the What If. I like to know what I know and then move forward. Right now, you’re stuck with the not knowing. That’s what is holding you back, I think. You’re letting this guy dictate your grieving process. Ain’t nobody got time for that. As my father used to say, “If you don’t ask, you don’ get.”

So ask. As women, we’re conditioned to stay silent and wait things out for fear of coming off like a lunatic or too cloying and end up sacrificing our own peace of mind. Fuck that noise.

My fuse is shorter than it ever has been because I just don’t care anymore. I matched with a guy on Tinder a couple of weeks ago and after numerous messages back and forth, I showed him my site, and he said, “Hmm. I’ve had a bad experience with a reporter in the past. Thanks anyway.” Two weeks later he emails me again to say he misjudged me.

“Orly?” I said. “And what brought about this magical 180 degree turn?”

“Well, haha, I always thought you were hot.”

Bzzzt. Wrong answer!

“Dude, whatever. You’re low on options and swinging back around to me.”

“Not at all, but wow.”


Yeah. Wow. How dare I not be grateful for his attention. And he was British, so you know I have no fucks to give at this point.

Don’t let people strangers you meet on dating sites/apps hold your emotions hostage and don’t worry about looking needy or too invested. Speak up. Fuck this guy and what he thinks. He’s a nobody to you at this point and his opinion means nothing. So just diplomatically lay your cards on the table and see what he says. If he gives you some mumbo jumbo about being busy, then just say, “Ok. Well, if things change for you I’d love to get together again. But I’d prefer you not contact me until then.” Draw that line. Maybe he’ll cross it, maybe he won’t, but at least you won’t be stuck in some holding pattern anymore. It’s the fear of the inevitable hurt that comes from a loss that keeps us in denial. You have to trust that you’ll get through it.

He’s keeping you on the hook because you’re letting him. So don’t let him. Don’t be afraid of that sting of rejection or disappointment. Yeah, it’ll suck if he says he’s dating someone else or makes some other flimsy excuse, but you will recover from it. I promise you that.


Sometimes the love of your life is the love of your life. (R)


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15 Responses to “Never Let A Man Hold Your Emotions Hostage”

  1. bbdawg Says:

    “We always have fun together and got pretty serious”.

    No, OP, it did not ‘get serious’ … you were not exclusive or anything, you just went on dates … this is so complicated the whole dating thing I feel we women can’t assume ANYTHING. If the man is not making moves to make you exclusive or acting in a consistent manner then it’s not gonna happen. The fact that you WANT these things does not make them real. It’s so tough…there is no way around it. It seems so counterintuitive because when you meet someone you like and have fun with the immediate instinct is to let your guard down and assume things. But as I have read elsewhere and yup it’s corny, if a relationship is what you’re after, “a man isn’t real until he is your boyfriend”.

    Men do have the upper hand when it comes to establishing consistency and pace i.e. something that will lead to a “relationship” so if he is already showing you, through his actions, that he is not interested in going in that direction then you know the answer. Again, “serious” is something that can only really be established by men so the only thing you can do is to observe and read his actions. All you can do is enjoy yourself and be watchful and if he is not showing up literally, then you have to consider if you’re ok with that (i.e. it’s not going to turn into “a relationship”) or if you are better off finding someone else.

    I personally hate texting and texters so the best way to go around this is to be honest and say you really enjoyed meeting him and had a great time but since you’ve already started dating if he wants to talk to you, you can meet in person otherwise you’re better off focusing your energy on finding someone who is looking to date on a more consistent basis. Don’t be afraid to be honest with texters since they are using texts as placeholders. What probably happened is that he either met someone else or realized that things were going on the “exclusive” road and he doesn’t want that.

    So you either accept this situation or you tell him what you’re looking for/your boundaries, which will probably push him away anyway.

  2. fuzzilla Says:

    Yeah, the people who insist you “don’t pressure a man, they hate that”…they’re not wrong, but that advice is not applicable to every situation.

    If you’re unhappy with the situation, and your behavior and expectations have otherwise been reasonable, then things aren’t “chill” and fuck being the Cool Girl/Stepford Single. Be the Advocates For Herself Girl. I particularly liked this bit of Moxie’s advice:

    **If he gives you some mumbo jumbo about being busy, then just say, “Ok. Well, if things change for you I’d love to get together again. But I’d prefer you not contact me until then.” Draw that line.**

  3. SS Says:

    I’ve been stuck in this sort of situation before, and too often for my liking. My lack of action stems from the fear “what did I do wrong?” or “what is it about me?”… for some reason the pain of the uncertainty feels preferable. I don’t think it *is* preferable in reality – much better to rip that bandaid off fast.

    That being said, I believe many people are going to do what they’re going to do regardless. I’ve spoken here before about a male friend who has not been in a relationship since I’ve known him, despite actively dating (on multiple sites) for 3 years. He’s straightforward with *me* that he doesn’t want a relationship so every time it gets to the point where it feels like it’s getting serious with a woman, he pulls the plug. I can only imagine how these women feel when everything is peachy keen and then BAM out of the blue it’s over. But it’s nothing to do with them, it’s all to do with him.

    So don’t take it personally OP.. it could just be that this guy is a bit of a player or emotional cripple. And I second Moxie’s advice to draw that line asap. The sooner you have your answer, the sooner you can move on emotionally and get yourself out of this miserable holding pattern.

    • bbdawg Says:

      I feel like the key is being able to separate “the person” from “the situation” … there are a lot of “great guys” who don’t have much to offer in terms of a relationship so if you’re looking for that you have to keep in mind that in today’s world, it’s the exception, not the rule.

      So watch for how a man acts before you let you guard down and feel like you’re “getting serious” if there was no indication of “getting serious” from him. You have to be prepared to act and draw your boundaries pretty quickly and be ready to drop a guy when you begin to see that he is acting inconsistent or just acting like someone who does not see you as a girlfriend or does not want a girlfriend.

      This is very counter-intuitive but it is what it is. If you’re looking for a boyfriend – i.e. the exception situation – you have to do suss out things a little more and to be a bit more detached so you leave the emotions out of the picture until HE has demonstrated that he is looking for a relationship. Starting out by assuming that the “great guys” you meet do not what anything serious until THEY start acting like they do.

      The female assumption that because you had a great date or many dates or had sex with someone for a month you are now in a relationship is completely misleading. That is like saying you went on a job interview and you are now employed by X company. Until the offer comes, you are just a job candidate like many others. It sounds harsh but it is what it is.

      Sex and “fun” is as easy to find for single women as tap water. Anything else takes time, preparation and detachment.

      • DrivingMeNutes Says:

        This is 100% the best advice no one will ever take.

      • K Says:

        Starting out by assuming that the “great guys” you meet do not what anything serious until THEY start acting like they do.

        Best advice in a long time. Wrote it down.

  4. BostonRobin Says:

    The first month or two of dating someone, I figure is the probationary period. Nothing is guaranteed, no matter how awesome everything seems. Anyone can keep up a facade for that long. So enjoy that period and pay attention. If inconsistencies start creeping in, it’s usually time to back off. Two people who are dating are trying each other on for size.

    LW, this guy doesn’t seem to be a good fit for you. Don’t think twice as to whether you’re a good fit for him or why-oh-why he doesn’t want to treat you right. Like others have said, draw that line. Get out and meet new people and give them a chance! As for comparing them to this other guy, think again about how he treated you and how bad that has made you feel. THAT behavior is a big part of who he is, so he’s not all that great after all. Much easier to move on when you tattoo that inside your brain :D

  5. Coffeestop Says:

    I disagree with the idea of confronting or clarifying, those scenarios where somebody is fading and people think some kind of magic words are going to get them to either admit they treated you badly and apologize or rev things up never actually happen.i would just stop responding to the texts and make sure his checking in texts go to your spam folder so you do not get one and are tempted to respond. The checking in people who clearly not really interested in a relationship are just a nuisance because they are clearly saying hey man you are low on my priority list but if I am bored and need an ego massage I will touch base.

    • fuzzilla Says:

      I probably would’ve asked him out for a drink – once – and if he flaked/didn’t follow up with concrete plans, I would’ve been done and moved on.

    • D. Says:

      Moxie once discussed a technique for getting rid of time wasters if you don’t want to just come out and say “Look, fuck off, ok?”

      Basically, you never initiate conversation, and you give polite but closed-ended answers to whatever they say, without inviting further conversation.


      “How r u?”

      “Doing well, thanks.”

      “You up to anything?”

      “Headed out in a few.”

      The responses here don’t ask the other person how they are, what they’re up to, etc. While the presence of a subtle queue like that doesn’t prove someone is interested, its absence is a pretty clear indication that they aren’t interested in continuing the conversation.

      • BostonRobin Says:

        I get the impression that the LW is still hoping this guy might come around. She’s got Them Feelz bad! This guy’s game seems to be to keep her on a back burner, just in case things with his new girl don’t work out. Or… who cares what his game is, because he’s not giving LW what she needs. I would suggest the nuclear option, which is to quietly block his number and forget about him, since it’s really hard to be disciplined when feelings run that deep.

        Otherwise, the closed-ended texts work. Personally, I can’t be bothered. As soon as someone starts that nonsense with me, I just sort of yawn and go WTF and eventually just ignore them.

  6. BTownGirl Says:

    Totally agree with this advice and I’d add that if you do ask him what’s going on and he winds up being the type to either (a) act like you’re being irrational or (b) try to turn it around on you like, “Oh hey, I WAS going to ask you out again, but now you’ve annoyed me!”, sweet cracker sandwiches do not take it to heart!

  7. EANx Says:

    The same advice is for both women and men: someone who is into you, will find a way to be with you. While you need to give people a chance to be into you, once that happens, the message is plain when they stop coming around or making time to see you.

  8. Dayna Says:

    Say whatever you want. Text him hate messages if you feel. Or describe the turmoil he’s caused you. Fuck it. He’s out of your life and nothing’s going to change that. Might as well feel free to let go and vent all your pent up frustration. He’s nobody and nothing to you.

  9. Jo Says:

    Just wanted to say I thought this was a spot-on response from Moxie in every nuance. Also, it was very compassionate while simultaneously straightforward. Good luck to Moxie and all her readers in 2016!

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