Dear Miss Lonely Hearts,
I started seeing someone about a month ago and, on the surface, it seems to be going pretty well. We’ve been on several dates and have a blast every time we’re together.
Seems great, right? But here’s the problem: this is the first time that I’ve ever dated someone casually, and I can’t tell if I am outside my wheelhouse. I might not know how “casual dating” works, but it seems like this guy is stringing me along. When we’re together, I am completely confident that he is interested in me, but lately, whenever we’ve tried to make plans, he’s come off as aloof and has even cancelled on me a few times. At first, this seemed like a clear signal and I assumed that he was no longer interested in me, but he continues flirting with me, texting me all night, making plans with me, and then backing out of those plans.
I really like this guy and want to spend more time with him, but it seems like he’s jerking me around. Is he just flaky or is he uninterested? Or is this all just part of the “dating game?”
Dear Romance Rookie,
It’s not just you—I think this guy is stringing you along too. While he may give you his full attention when you’re together, the fact that he’s hesitant to make plans suggests that he has other girls on the side. He probably does genuinely like you, as he wouldn’t go on several dates otherwise. But the texting and flirting sounds more like a way to pass the time, especially if he bails on plans that would allow him to actually get to know you. My guess is that he’s stringing along several girls, not just you, and has a favorite in mind. When she’s with him, he acts aloof and bails on your plans, but when she’s busy you become his go-to girl. He might even be in a relationship with another girl but still pursuing you, because, after all, it’s the thrill of the chase that keeps him interested. He’s not flaky or uninterested—he’s a player.
If you don’t want to call it quits, you have a few options. One, if you’re cool with casually hooking up with somebody who obviously won’t commit, you could tell him that you’re looking for something easy. He’ll probably be receptive to that, because it sounds like he’s looking for somebody to booty call when nobody else is around. If you’re new to casual dating, then embrace it! There are plenty of guys who want to go on dates instead of texting you all night and then blowing you off in real life. It’s called casual dating for a reason: if you want to hook up with the guy you mentioned, you should, and you should date other guys too.
Your second option is confronting this guy and telling him that you don’t want to play games. That being said, it’s casual dating, which means he doesn’t owe you much. With that in mind, think about what you want. Do you want to continue dating casually, which means getting blown off sometimes? Or do you want something more serious, where you can rely on somebody messaging you back and meeting up in real life? Casual dating encompasses a lot of things: friends with benefits, seeing a lot of different people at once, or dating just a few and taking things further. It sounds like the guy you’re interested in is looking for either the first or second option. Is that okay with you? Take time to reflect on what you want, especially since you’re new to dating. More importantly, meet up with a few other guys so you get a better sense of what to expect and of what you’re looking for. You shouldn’t continue your relationship on his terms if you’re looking for more, or else you’ll only end up disappointed.
After considering what you want, try to set a time to meet with this guy and have a real conversation. It might be uncomfortably blunt, but it will ultimately save you time and heartache. I don’t know him, so I might be totally wrong about him stringing along multiple girls. The best thing to do is ask him why he’s cancelled so many times. He either has an honest answer as to why he’s seemingly interested but blowing you off, or he has a great lie. It’s up to you to decide if his answer is good enough for you to continue seeing him.
Miss Lonely Hearts