Question: Hi there–
Long time reader, recently back on the dating scene and just dipping my toe into things again.
I met a promising guy online and contacted him, and he was johnny on the spot emailing me back-. We traded emails and then switched to IM for a couple days before he asked me out.
There were a couple “pink flags” at times (see later in letter), but I tried to get a more complete picture to put them in context–he was married for 14 years, divorced for 1.5, and this is pretty much his second dating experience in life, so I was willing to give him so leeway.
He works 12-15 hour days in manual labor and can be scheduled as far as 1.5 hours from our mutual hometown. So with the commute and then getting ready for a date, a 4 PM end of day is really more like 6PM. He also works 7 days a week, by choice, for the extra money.
Both days we talked before our date, he said he would message me later but completely dropped contact, to pick it up the next day with profuse apologies and pretty reasonable explanations-family emergency, pre-scheduled party, etc.
I was okay with it, chatting online is not an obligation or commitment, dropping out of contact here and there before a first date is NBD.
I did politely ask if he felt that he had time to date, given the busy schedule he seemed to have and he swore up down and sideways he did, the person in his life was first priority, etc.
So, he asked me out for a Thursday, I accepted, and he then had to ask for a reschedule for another night because his grandmother called and wanted to go out. Okay, cool, it happens. Weekend nights are better anyway.
The first date went swimmingly, and he asked me out for the first available date he had open: the following Monday.
Okay, so Monday comes around and he has to ask for a reschedule *again*–he has to do laundry and grocery shopping. I mean…
At this point, I’m kind of frustrated. I plan ahead for a date night–pick out a cute outfit that can carry me from work to play, grab cash from the ATM, change my workout schedule, run errands at lunch instead of after work, get the house extra spruced up, whatever. It’s nothing huge, but ugh.
We scheduled plans for Tuesday instead of Monday, and I asked him “what time”?
7 PM. Instead of the 5 PM we had planned on–he’s an hour outside town and still needs to get ready before coming over.
I pretty much pulled the ripcord at that point, seeing the writing on the wall and asked if maybe we should put a pin in it, until his crazy schedule got less crazy. He agreed and that’s that.
My closest friend feels like maybe I’m being too rigid, and 7 PM isn’t too late, people need understanding, maybe I’m just not ready to really date, etc.
My question is: given the situation, am I being unreasonable for cutting this guy loose? Am I being too rigid or is this the kind of thing that signals someone who’s life really isn’t under their control?
I would have ceased all communications upon hearing “12-15 hour work days.” Nope. No fucking way. No, you’re not being too rigid. You have the right to want to date someone available, and this guy is not available. His life is under control, just not in a way that makes his schedule in any conducive to dating someone who doesn’t share a similar schedule.
This is why I balk at people who yap about working all these weird hours and not being able to respond to text at normal times of day. You know when your situations is atypical, which means you either need to make adjustments or seek out someone with a similar lifestyle. Like, if you live in a suburb, you are seriously kidding yourself if you think someone from a more metropolitan area is going to want to date you unless you plan on schlepping to that city 90% of the time. If you want to date someone who lives in a city, move to that city. Full stop. People live in cities for a reason, and it’s not so they can sit on a train or bus for two to three hours every weekend to go see you. Same goes for folks who work weird hours. No, I don’t want to wait until ten when you get off your bartending or restaurant management shift. I have to be up early in the morning. I get emails from people fairly frequently asking me to schedule events on weekday nights because they work weekends. I mean, how do you think you’re going to date without having weekend evenings free? Or, and I love these people, they ask for free or discounted admission to things citing money issues. Um, no? If you can’t afford $25 for an event, maybe dating shouldn’t be your priority. When I get emails citing “credit card issues” and an inability to pay full price for something, I do what I can to dissuade people from attending an event.
This guy seems to think it’s perfectly okay to cancel and reschedule and push dates back. It’s not. It’s rude. He wants the relationship (maybe) without making any concessions. That’s not how it works. He’s putting you out without a second thought. He could, I don’t know, go into work an hour early so he can clock off at a certain time. But no, he wants you to alter your schedule to fit his. Fuck that noise. Equally “Bitch, Please” is your friends telling you you’re being too rigid. You know who says stuff like that? People who cling to every sliver of opportunity presented regardless of the red flags. Those people are shocked at the idea that they can give someone a pass. Don’t listen to them. They’re the ones who end up in unsatisfying bordering on unhealthy relationships.