Have you ever dated a guy you liked,
and he seemed to like you back,
but things just didn’t work out?
What would you do if he tried to win you back?
Not too long ago, I dated a guy for a few months and things were going very well.
He was attentive, thoughtful, considerate and his actions matched his words.
He was getting through my screening gates with flying colours… but then, one day, out of the blue, it all changed.
We've spoken about "the two week curse" before, and while he did slip past the two week mark, eventually the all too familiar cracks started to show and what seemed to be out of nowhere, he vanished.
No call, no text, no “sorry I won’t be able to make our date today” apology. Nothing.
Days after the no-show, he sent an apologetic text and a vague explanation that hinted at the situation being far more complicated than initially thought.
I gave him the obligatory space to let him deal with it, because well, sometimes we find ourselves dating the right guy at the wrong time and we just have to accept the situation for what it is.
Despite his 'complicated situation', he continued to text and reach out to me, and eventually asked me out on a date again.
To be honest, I still rather liked him, and he hadn't broken my three strike rule, so I decided to give him another opportunity to show up.
Unfortunately, he didn’t, and once again the silence crept in.
I realised that I had been too quick to believe him. I was paying too much attention to his words and how good we could be together, instead of focusing on his actions.
So when he reached out again wanting to talk about what went wrong with us, I was confused to what game he was playing.
In his texts he was humble and apologetic and there was a sense of desperation to his tone in wanting to see me.
I’ll admit my ego enjoyed this a bit and I must have still liked him (even though I thought I didn’t) because I found myself curious to what he had to say.
He bought me dinner, drinks, and even earrings, and was expressive about how much he liked me.
But, when I challenged him on his patterns of behaviour, all he could say was “I just suck at relationships”.
At this point, I let myself have the realisation that this guy was never going to be the right man for me.
I know what I want. I want a beautiful forever relationship... not to be strung along by people who suck at relationships.
I experimented with one more screening gate and started paying close attention to the way he interacted with me.
And do you know what I noticed?
He always brought the conversation back to sex.
His texts were:
always after 8pm
more often than not sent after a few drinks, and
just superficial, keep me on the hook, type chat.
I knew that while he may claim to like me, he wasn't going to show up the way I wanted him to.
I've got a long history of overlooking the warning signs when I like a guy and giving them chance after chance to redeem themselves.
I don't think I'm the only one, I think that's pretty standard, but, at what point do we cut our losses?
I'm starting to #DateDifferently now, and I'm learning to notice what it is I 'always do', and think about how I can change my behaviours to get a different result.
In this case, what I have learnt is that if a guy I have already dated is attempting to re-engage, and I am still a little interested in getting to know more about him, then I need to approach it as I would any other new guy I date, by:
Maintaining my standards, he doesn’t get a free pass because I already like him
Continuing to screen
Giving him opportunities to show up in the ways that are important to me, and
Being prepared to walk away if he doesn’t.
I've got to admit, it feels a bit odd to approach dating from such a logical and intellectual angle, but it is starting to be less emotionally draining, and like Russ says, it's not my love life yet, it's just dating.
P.S. If you’re in dire need of a new perspective on dating. Hit pause for a minute and download our Dating Detox Guide.
It might help get your head in the game. Download it here.