Beware The Razzle Dazzle Guy

Name: kelsey

Question: This is a long one – but I need some insight into what happened within this six week relationship. Th ending is unbelievable to me. I keep replaying it over and over in my head trying to figure out what went wrong. I REALLY liked this guy.

I met Bryan on an online dating app. He is 39, never married, no kids. I don’t like messaging back and forth so we matched, made plans, and went out on a Friday night shortly after.

It was the best online date I have had. He planned this ridiculous beer hopping date hitting spots all over town. The date lasted five hours! I have no problem sleeping with someone on the first date if there’s chemistry (which I RARELY feel and so never do). At the end of the night, I invited myself back to his place and we hooked up. It was amazing. We hooked up again the next morning and had breakfast at a spot by my house. He kissed me goodbye and said he would be in touch.

True to his word, he texted me that same day saying he had a great time and made plans to see me that next weekend. Our 2nd date was even better. I spent the night at his house again after a long date of Halloween fun (haunted houses, drinks, dinner). The morning after he surprised me by inviting me to take a road trip an hour away to spend the day in a cool part of town. I accepted and I had my first 24 hour date! It was amazing.

The chemistry and fun was still there on the 3rd film festival date that next weekend. I had to be at the airport early the next morning so I wasn’t expecting to spend the night with him (plus I was on my period). When I told him this, he said…”Well, this is a good time to talk about whether this is only sexual or not.” I told him that I liked him and that I don’t usually hook up with people on a first date. He said he liked me too, and that he still wanted me to come over. It was a great night. He also drops me off at the airport that morning!  We texted my entire trip and as soon as I got back we made plans to get together in a few days.

By this time it felt like we we’re enjoying each other’s company no matter what we were doing. The 4th date was casual and during the week on a Thursday. I had a busy day so got to his place around 9. We grabbed dinner and I spent the night. I didn’t have to work the next morning (I work super early and he doesn’t) so we slept in and enjoyed the morning together. He even asked me about the holidays (Thanksgiving) and gave me the impression he wanted to see me that day.

I invited him to see my friend’s band play that following Tuesday. He showed up, met my friends, and charmed their pants off. But within an hour he said he had to leave to meet a buddy. This caught me off guard because I assumed we would be going home together like we usually did. He didn’t tell me he could only stay an hour. I brushed it off and hugged him goodbye.

He continued to text me the rest of the week but wasn’t making any plans. Up until now, he was always great about making plans. On Thursday, I asked him if he wanted to get together over the weekend and he said he was busy. He gave me valid reasons, and offered to grab dinner on Friday. Since it was Thursday, I had plans for that evening, which I told him. He asked if I wanted to get together sometime that next week.

At this point, I’m getting upset because I’m used to him being enthusiastic about seeing me and not being so vague. It’s been almost four weeks now of dating. I confront him by expressing that I was starting to feel confused about what we were doing. That I liked him and wanted to keep seeing him, so of course I wanted to get together soon. He said he wanted to talk in person and that the feeling was mutual. We scheduled a time to grab a quick meal before my plans Friday evening (that next day).

We finally had “the talk”…in a way. He said he had been online dating for about five months since his last on-off relationship ended. I was happy to hear ours was the longest relationship he had. We are only sleeping with each other. We talked about our dating history and I felt much closer to him. Our relationship still didn’t have a label, but it was definitely not feeling casual. He said he wanted to see me on Thanksgiving (!!!) but we didn’t make any definite plans. I asked him if I could come over that night after my plans and he declines. He says he needs his sleep for his work project tomorrow. This is weird to me, but I am accommodating and trust him. He kisses me, showing PDA in a public bar, before I leave to meet up with some friends.

This is where it all goes downhill. That next day, Saturday, I’m out with my best friend. I see a missed call and it’s him. He said he was in the neighborhood finishing up with some errands and wondered if I wanted to grab dinner. I texted him letting him know I was out, but that I appreciated the invite. He then invited me to meet his friends later at a bar. My best friend wanted to meet him, so I agreed to go. But remember, he had told me he was busy all weekend, and now he is making last minute plans!

We go. It was a large group and it wasn’t a group conversation kind of vibe since it was at a bar. I thought everything was going great, but then he tells me he is leaving. I’m taken aback. Even more so when he says, “Yeah…you’re not talking to me anyway.” I’m not sure how to respond, so I apologize and explain that I was trying to get to know his people. Plus, I am VERY introverted, and this was a lot for me. He agrees to stay longer, and we start to talk about Thanksgiving. I tell him that yes, I was planning on seeing him at some point that day. I’m surprised when he says…”Oh, yeah…we should revisit that soon.” I’m now certified confused. We stay for another hour and then leave. He kisses me on the cheek and we part ways.

I don’t hear from him much the next day, on Sunday. He doesn’t bring up Thanksgiving (which is in 4 days), so I do. I ask him if we are going to get together this week. He doesn’t respond until the next day on Monday (not his usual behavior). He asks me if I want to get together on Wednesday, which is NOT Thanksgiving. I tell him I cannot get together that day, but that I was down to hang out on Thanksgiving. He says he is sorry if he gave me the impression that he wanted to get together that day. We have our first mini argument, and he ends up apologizing for the miscommunication. We also have tentative plans to get together sometime over the weekend.

My schedule ended up changing, so I messaged him that next day asking to get together on Wednesday. At this point, it’s been two weeks of no intimacy as we only met up in public places the last two times we saw each other. He asks if we can play it by ear because his work day may be exhausting. I am starting to see all kinds of warning red signals flashing, but again, try to be accommodating. He lets me know Wednesday afternoon that he is not feeling up to hanging out. He says it’s because he needs his alone time and that the holidays make him feel weird. I’m now convinced he is blowing me off. I’m sad, but don’t react. I tell him, “OK, yeah no problem! Talk to you soon.” He asks if we can still get together over the weekend, to which I respond…”Let’s play it by ear”.

Thanksgiving day he sends me the sweetest message and we text throughout the day. The next day, Friday, he asks if I want to get together that afternoon. I accept, and we make plans to cook at his house. We had fun making dinner, and decided to put on a movie. But then…he didn’t sit by me. The entire movie he sat on the other side of the room because he said his couch wasn’t made for cuddling. This is weird to me, and I’m feeling confused/hurt. We go to bed, hook up, and go to sleep. But something was off. There was no intimacy, no talking afterwards, nothing. I convince myself it’s in my head and the morning will be better.

The morning comes and I get up to freshen up. When I come back, ready to hook up (like we always do), he’s clothed and in the living room! I go back to bed, and he never comes back. I get dressed and meet him in the living room. We have small talk, and he says he should take me home soon (I don’t have a car) because of xyz reason. I tell him that’s OK and I’ll take the bus. I go to leave, and he doesn’t get up to kiss me goodbye. I have to ask for him to, he does, and makes the comment of, “Well…see you again soon I guess.” I am devastated.

We text throughout the week, but something has changed. I invite him over one night and he says he is too tired. He doesn’t make any plans to see me again. Sometimes he forgets to text me back. By Wednesday, I still don’t know the next time we’re going to see each other. He wasn’t making plans, and I’m getting frustrated. I confront him and tell him, “Rather than texting about our day, why don’t we talk about the next time we’re going to do something fun?”. He responds with…”I’m casual with plans but if you want to plan that’s OK too. But, I’m unavailable all weekend because of xyz reason. Maybe sometime next week?”.

This is the boiling point for me. He was never a casual person throughout the entire relationship. We had been dating for six weeks now and have always saw each other at least once a week. This is MAJOR red flag to me. So…I tell him that I am feeling confused because the only way I know he’s still interested is if we’re making plans to see each other. I say I’m going to take a step back, but that if he wants to actually date me then I hope we can reconnect. He gives me a vague response, but doesn’t make any effort to tell me how he is feeling or fight for our relationship. He never says he wanted to end things, or that he didn’t see this going anywhere. I’m not sure where we stand, but things were definitely out in the open.

Now, the end of the story that keeps me up at night. That next weekend, my friend sees him at a bar. With another girl! They are obviously on a date, and I have proof from how she saw them interacting.

I am so angry! I feel lied to and taken advantage of. Why couldn’t he be honest if he was losing interest? It’s not the dating other people that hurts the most, but the lying about being busy. The excuses and the mind games to keep me on the backburner. I see now that he forced my hand in putting the brakes on the relationship so he could be the good guy and not have to end it. It would have been different if this had been casual, but his actions were never casual. I guess I’m looking for validation that I didn’t do anything wrong so I can move on. That he was blowing me off. Has this happened to anyone else? What changed? Part of me wants to confront him and see if he will be honest. Should I?

Thanks in advance…
Age: 26

 

He said he had been online dating for about five months since his last on-off relationship ended. I was happy to hear ours was the longest relationship he had.

This sentence holds the key to unlocking your confusion. First, his last relationship was “on and off” which is synonymous with “hot and cold.” Then he shared that your four week “relationship” was the longest he’d had since starting online dating.  Add those two things together and throw in the fact that this guy moved at light-speed for the first three dates and you’ve got yourself a Crash and Burner.

It sounds to me like this guy really, really ridiculously enjoys those first few weeks of a relationship when everything is – like a cruise on the Love Boat –  exciting and new. During those initial few dates, he was all in, planning day-long getaways and marathon dates. That, too, was a red flag. We talk all the time ’round these parts how the first few dates are about getting to know each other. I would be very suspicious of someone I’d never met before planning some multi-spot beer tasting for a first date. Why the need to dazzle a stranger? Sure, we want to impress out dates, there’s nothing wrong with that. But who wants to constantly interrupt a flow of a conversation just to move around and, you know, drink more? I would imagine a date like that would be ideal for someone who didn’t want to get too deep into conversation. Beer tastings, haunted houses, film festivals; this guy needed distractions for those first few dates. Why? If you were to ask me (and you are) I would say thins guy wanted a buffer, something that would prevent things from getting too personal. Think about it: the only times you two were truly intimate was in the physical sense. Notice that things took a turn as soon as talk of spending a holiday together came up. That’s something a couple does, and he wasn’t ready for that.

Another red flag: he was hesitant to put a label on what you two were doing. That makes sense, since he was dating other people, but that should have immediately set off a warning bell for you, as that contradicted his behavior. He was acting like he was super into you, but when it came down to it, he couldn’t commit to anything.

Based on what you’ve shared, it appears as though this guy saw things going in a certain direction, one he wasn’t ready for, and he cooled things off when it became clear he was soon going to have make a decision: to commit or not to commit? That confusion you were picking up on was palpable, and he was going to great lengths to keep you at arm’s length, possibly to the point where you would walk away so he wouldn’t have to do the dirty work.

You didn’t do anything wrong. After a month of mega-dates and sleepovers, it’s natural that you wouldn’t to know where things were headed. Those nights he went home alone? Yeah, he wasn’t going home, and if he was, it wasn’t to be alone.  More than likely, he was keeping you on the hook while he felt out the situation with another woman. That’s a kind of deception I wouldn’t be able to overlook, but YMMV. Now, that doesn’t mean you weren’t his first choice or that he never liked you. Quite the opposite; I think he did truly like you but wasn’t ready to set things in stone. I doubt anything changed other than he got cold feet and enjoyed being a kid in a proverbial candy store. People might say that the fact he was 39 and never married was a clue, but ignore them. That’s not a thing anymore and anyone who says it is doesn’t get out much.

In the future, be wary of someone who does the razzle-dazzle the way this guy did with you. Yes, it sounds romantic, but it’s also a sign he’s disappear quickly.
Thoughts?

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19 Responses to “Beware The Razzle Dazzle Guy”

  1. Beta Male Says:

    When someone starts to fade, let them fade. He was definitely pulling back but you kept pulling him back him. Yes, he should have came out and said he wasn’t ready to move forward with the relationship. Fading and pulling back was his non-confrontational way of getting out of the relationship, unfortunately that caused further heartache for you.

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  2. Alex Says:

    This guy Bryan reminds me of a Brian I know in southern California who likes dating younger women and taking them to cool bars and to lots of showy events. I wouldn’t even be surprised if it was the same guy and lied about his age by cutting it back a few years. Also, this modus operandi is just like the Brian I know: hot and heavy in the beginning with lots of talk about how well it is going, creating the illusion that all is going fantastically well. Weeks to months later, it all falls apart because the guy has personal issues. Its a personality trait that is rare, but I have seen it all too well.

    To most other people, this is too much too fast.

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  3. Parenting Says:

    OP – I think you already answered most of your own questions. He couldnt be honest because:
    1. He’s immature.
    2. He wanted to keep you on the back burner.
    3. He wanted you to do the breakig up.

    When I was 26, I dated older men because I wanted to be with someone emotionally mature and ready for a serious relationship. Thing is, by the time I was 39, I realized that men my age dated 26 year old women (more often than not) because they were emotionally immature and/or want something casual.

    Just like Moxie said, these guys come on very hot, They may even casually talk about marriage and children in the first couple of weeks but within a month you’re all wrong, everything about you is all wrong, and its on to the next woman.. This is just how they date. Nothing to do with you.

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  4. ? Says:

    Unfortunately, this razzle dazzle thing sounds like standard operating procedure for this guy. Setting up elaborate dates in the first few weeks of dating suggest a ploy to blindside a younger woman lest she clued onto what he was truly like, and what he truly wanted (like Moxie said, to avoid true intimacy not of the physical kind). It was probably his way of getting a younger woman attracted and falling into his bed faster than if he had to put in effort being personally attractive to her, over the many other competitors for her attention (you know, being a young woman and all).
    Kelsey, the only thing you did “wrong” was to be young, impressionalbe and taken in by all this BS – something which you will surely learn and recover from. I think you also need to be true to yourself and emotionally aware. Are you really upset that he wasn’t honest with you ? Would he being honest have made any difference to your feelings ?
    It SUCKS to be “discarded” no matter what age you are. Remember that you are on a dating app with little consequences for men and women alike when they decide to treat other people casually, cruelly and callously. Wish you all the best

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  5. ann Says:

    Am I the only one bothered by the OP’s cconstant use of the word relationship? What relationship? You had some sex and dates and he never promised you anything. It sounds like she was having a full bliwn “relationship” and she didn’t inform tbe guy who was only having sex and fun.

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    • Beta Male Says:

      Exactly. Reading her letter was exhausting because things were moving very fast and it was clear they both saw things differently. Her constant attempts at pulling him back in when he started fading is the one thing she should have done differently and probably would have reduced the anger and resentment she felt when they stopped dating. If you feel someone is pulling back let them, if that person have any real desire to continue things he/she will get back to you. If you ask why they are pulling back and you don’t get a definitive answer then that’s your answer and then just move as you see fit.

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    • ATWYSingle Says:

      re·la·tion·ship
      rəˈlāSH(ə)nˌSHip

      the way in which two or more people or organizations regard and behave toward each other.

      They had a relationship. They might not have had a committed relationship, but they had a relationship. It’s not like she’s calling him her boyfriend, so I’m not getting the outrage.

      Her constant attempts at pulling him back in when he started fading is the one thing she should have done differently and probably would have reduced the anger and resentment she felt when they stopped dating.

      He’s totally keeping her on the hook and going to lengths to do so. He obviously started dating and sleeping with someone else, which is why he stopped sleeping with her, but he still wanted to hang out with her just in case things with the other woman didn’t work out. He said he plans one weekend, then suddenly didn’t have plans, and invited her to meet up with him and his friend. Then she gets there and he announces he isn’t going home with her. Know why? The other girl popped back up and made herself available. This guy was constantly playing the odds at the OP’s expense. But okay, sure let’s blame it on her inability let go.

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      • Beta Male Says:

        “okay, sure let’s blame it on her inability let go”

        The thing is she was the one who wrote in for advice not him. What happened has already happened and cannot be changed. However, if there’s something she could take for the future is for her to see the signs of when someone starts fading and pulling away and to take that as a response in of itself so she could avoid getting snared into someone who has proven from his actions that he doesn’t care for her.

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        • ATWYSingle Says:

          She’s not stupid and neither are most women in this situation. The guy was actively stringing her along for his benefit. Had he not come on like gang busters, she probably wouldn’t be confused.

          You have a blindspot for men who lead women to believe they are more interested than they are or who don’t want to take responsibility for activelty leading women on.

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          • Beta Male Says:

            Speaking for myself, I do not like it when men do that women and personally I do not want to be that guy who says what he thinks a woman wants to hear to get her into bed and then fade away. There’s a reason I call myself “Beta Male,” because I rather not make a move until I am absolutely sure there is real interest. I have taken your advise to heart including trying to limit back and forth texting before setting up a date and moving on if the person flakes and/or not committing to a date after I have asked; understanding that a fade is just a fade and it is not necessarily about me (Once I was talking to someone, we flirted, she eventually backed off, later I found out she started dating someone else through our overlapping social networks); and never ask a question you don’t want to hear the answer to. Honestly my approach does not lead to a lot of dates and I am trying to figure out how to articulate that what I really want is physical intimacy and companionship and nothing else in a relationship (really hard to convey at least for me). When I hear about dating stories from friends, a lot of times it’s about somebody stringing someone else along and it’s obvious as an outsider that one person feels more about someone than the other. My words often comes from a place where I attempt to put some “logic” into a place where emotion rules (yeah hopeless but still…). Based on my experiences it’s useless to get excited about someone until there’s a reason to. Yeah it gets frustrating and I go on and off the apps every so often but it’s hard to date in your late-30s, early-40s and frankly I’m too old for the drama so I do whatever I can to avoid it. And yes, it does get lonely and sexually frustrating to do so.

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        • ? Says:

          I know that many men feel they have no responsibility for an adult woman’s feelings amd the onus is on her to take the appropriate actions to “protect” herself. Fair enough in this age of feminism when women are supposed to be strong and independent and all that. But there are predatory men out there who specifically target young, impressionalbe women particularly because they are not as experienced in affairs of the heart, and more pliable. They use tried and true psychological techniques on these women – not saying that Kelsey’s guy is definitely one of those, but he sure sounds like one. Should these guys be off the hook morally ? If so, then con artists and scamsters should not be prosecuted at all then – since their victims were too stupid to realise they were being conned and wished their misfortune upon themselves.

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          • Troll Says:

            Yes. This guy courted a much younger woman taking her on marathon first dates, fed her the usual crap about being so different from all of the other women he dated, and wanted to define the status of their relationship by the 3rd date. He could be an immature, adrenaline junky or he could be a manipulator. I’d put my money on a little bit of both.

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    • Troll Says:

      What part of this sounds like a guy who is just having some casual sex and fun while the OP is in the throws of a full blown delusion?

      I wasn’t expecting to spend the night with him (plus I was on my period). When I told him this, he said…”Well, this is a good time to talk about whether this is only sexual or not.” I told him that I liked him…He said he liked me too, and that he still wanted me to come over…He also drops me off at the airport that morning!

      It’s been almost four weeks now of dating. I confront him by expressing that I was starting to feel confused about what we were doing. That I liked him and wanted to keep seeing him…He said he wanted to talk in person and that the feeling was mutual.

      We finally had “the talk”…in a way. We are only sleeping with each other. We talked about our dating history…

      If this is all fluffy and casual, why is *he* making it so serious? Why isnt he saying, “Whoa” and explaining that its all just too soon for this?

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    • Selena Says:

      *Am I the only one bothered by the OP’s cconstant use of the word relationship? What relationship? You had some sex and dates and he never promised you anything.*

      When I finished the letter my first thought was that it didn’t sound like a 6 week relationship. My impression was that they had a few dates that included sex for 2-3 weeks and then he applied the brakes. I went back and re-read the first part of the letter and there it was on date 5: “I invited him to see my friend’s band play that following Tuesday. He showed up, met my friends, and charmed their pants off. But within an hour he said he had to leave to meet a buddy. This caught me off guard because I assumed we would be going home together like we usually did. He didn’t tell me he could only stay an hour. I brushed it off and hugged him goodbye.” They had been dating for only 3 weeks. His availability noticeably lessened after that.

      I don’t think Kelsey did anything wrong, but I’m not quite ready to hang this guy as a dirty, rotten, scoundrel for backing off from a woman he had only been dating briefly. Could he have handled the situation better? Yes, no doubt about it.

      I don’t blame Kelsey for feeling disappointed and angry. But it seems to me the lesson is, it takes time to get to know someone. And having sex a few times in as many weeks does not make or guarantee a relationship. Be mindful of the expectations you might have of someone you don’t know well, and haven’t known very long.

      *Part of me wants to confront him and see if he will be honest. Should I?*

      No.

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  6. Laura Says:

    Things like this bother me to no end. Because, for one, I still firmly believe you need to have at least some good faith in people if you’re going to date. On the other hand, I’ve learned that as soon as someone shows the first signs of pulling back, more often than not it means that they’re moving on or at least putting you on the backburner (which is something you should deduct for yourself, because, of course, no one is going to use actual words) – and there’s little to nothing you can do about it.
    And I don’t know how to reconcile the two. You can’t go around looking for red flags, warnings signs and waiting for the other shoe to drop. And yet, even if you do everything right, like this woman did; that is, notice the warning signs in due time, articulate how you feel and try to find a solution through communication – and you still end up with your heart broken.
    I mean, maybe Beta Male is right and there’s really no point making an effort when you feel the other person is even considering fading. I admit that’s how I sometimes feel too. But, if we ever become so cynical that we reduce all our dating activity to looking to dump someone before they dump us, then the whole dating scene can officially go to hell. If it hasn’t already.

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  7. Zaire Says:

    Girl, been there. You didn’t do anything wrong or misinterpret his actions. He was laying it on thick. However, if I were you I would have completely backed off at the first signs of trouble (flaking) to see what he would do. It saves time because their lack of action and inconsistency becomes obvious. From there you downgrade your expectations and move on. To your credit you were open and honest (the good kind) about your feelings and gave him ample opportunities to dip out graciously.

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  8. Mandy Says:

    Two people can see the same actions/activities and it can mean two totally different things to them. Here, the guy saw the actions/activities as lots of fun until he got bored. The girl saw the actions/activities as the start of a long-term committed relationship. That’s no one’s fault, but the girl would be wise to realize that what seems like “starting a relationship” to her is just dating to some people.

    He was fading fast, and she kept pulling him back in. I think he clearly likes this kind of drama–it goes hand-and-hand with the razzle dazzle of a few great dates then the fade. It’s this type of guy’s lifeblood. But now that she’s seen it done, she can recognize it. Don’t contribute to the drama. Let it go. If he’s ACTUALLY busy, it will become clear that’s the case and he’s not fading. Otherwise, he’ll just fade.

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    • Parenting Says:

      I tend to disagree. There’s viewing the same actions differently and then theres deliberately using someone. Give you an example. Suppose I go out to dinner alone with a platonic male friend on a regular basis. At these dinners, I regularly bring up sex because I enjoy talking about sex, but I have no intention of sleeping with the guy. Would it be stupid of him to feel mislead and humiliated when I shoot him down for sex because I just saw things differently?

      I dated a razzle dazzle guy. After our brief relationship ended we became platonic friends. One day he told me he got a long letter from an ex-girlfriend asking to take her back which he thought made her sound unstable. He read the letter to me and was really taken aback by the fact that she was still hanging her hopes on him a year or two later. The thing that struck me (aside from the fact that she was in her early 20s and at least a decade younger) was a reference to “still believing in Tommy”. He paused his reading of the letter to explain that “Tommy” is the name the two of them gave to their imaginary child. He said it like it was completely normal and no big deal to invent imaginary children as part of a relationship with an emotionally vulnerable 20 year old girl you dont see a future with. He really wasnt a bad guy. He had no clue that he was doing anything wrong by manipulating this girl to get his fix of drama. If thats what you mean by “seeing things differently” I suppose I agree.

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  9. Selena Says:

    Mandy: *Two people can see the same actions/activities and it can mean two totally different things to them. …The girl saw the actions/activities as the start of a long-term committed relationship. That’s no one’s fault, but the girl would be wise to realize that what seems like “starting a relationship” to her is just dating to some people.*

    From the letter:

    “He was never a casual person throughout the entire relationship. We had been dating for six weeks now and have always saw each other at least once a week.”

    I’ve read the letter through twice. They had 4 apparently good dates in the span of 3 weeks. The last 3 weeks describe sporadic contact with only one sleepover where he was different? in the morning. Sounds like casual dating to me.

    I have empathy for Kelsey, having been where she is right now more than once. And having been so, strongly suspect that 5 years from now if she thinks about this guy, it will be in terms of “a guy I dated briefly” rather than a “relationship.” 15 years from now she might find it hard to remember his last name, if she thinks about him at all. ;-)

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