False start

When dating, it’s common to get one’s hopes up at the beginnings of a new connection. If things go right at the start, we’re encouraged that the relationship will blossom.

But what if there are hiccups near the beginning? Giving grace is admirable. However, what if there are too many to continue with that forgiving attitude?

Case in point — a recent smart, funny, right-aged and conversationally appropriate man contacted me online. He started with a fun email listing specific details from my profile. I soon offered my phone number and he called. In our chats he shared the conversation, even seeming to listen to my responses.

After a week, he said he’d like to meet me. We compared calendars and agreed on lunch that Friday. Thursday he texted that he was at a client’s site about 20 minutes from my house and he was going to work there late. I told him to let me know when and where we were to meet the next day.

Hearing nothing back from him that evening nor Friday morning, at 12:15 I texted him, “Should I eat lunch at home?” He said, “Yes. I’m still at the client’s office. I’ll call you when….” I interpreted that as “…when I know I’ll be done with this client and we can meet.” I thought it would be that day.

I busied myself for the afternoon, thinking we’d get together for coffee, a drink or dinner that evening. I realize this was total conjecture on my part, but he’d been clear he wanted to meet that day.

At 5:30 I texted him that I needed to plan the rest of my evening so to let me know what he was thinking about our getting together. I got no response.

Monday he texted that he knew he was in trouble with me. He had been working on the client’s problem all weekend. How could he make it up to me?

I was irritated. He didn’t have 2 minutes to call or text me what was happening? I found this highly inconsiderate. Was I not being understanding? Was I being too rigid? I didn’t think so, but on the off-chance I was, I decided to give him another shot. Forgiving doesn’t come easily to me when I feel slighted and know it’s a muscle I need to develop. So I resumed the calls and texts.

He said he’d make it up to me — would I like a foot massage, flowers, or just him groveling? He was trying to be funny. Would I consent to letting him take me to lunch that Friday? OK. I’d give him another chance. I told him when I look forward to something, as I had our lunch, and it doesn’t happen, I feel like Charlie Brown having Lucy snatch the ball from underneath his kick. He said he understood.

He texted me Friday morning to see if I was available for a call. I immediately texted yes, in 10 minutes. I called and left a message on his voice mail. That’s the last I heard from him until Tuesday — Valentine’s Day!!!! —  when he texted, “Do you have time for me today?” I had a full day scheduled. And besides, who asks for a first date on Valentine’s Day for that same day? I wrote back, “Since I didn’t get a response to my email nor voice mail on Friday after you said you wanted to get together, I figured you’d thrown me under the bus. It doesn’t work for me when I’m left hanging, with no communication for days.”

So he is gone. It’s sad after you’ve had some initial good interactions with someone then they jack you around. You want to be able to forgive hiccups, but you know if you let inconsiderate behavior go it will just be repeated. You have to take a stand for a minimum behavior that’s acceptable to you.

What’s your experience with dealing with repeated inconsiderate behavior? How many times do you forgive before cutting off the person?

Dating Over 40: Moving On GracefullyWant to understand other signs of when to move on and how to do it? Get your copy of Moving On Gracefully: Break Up Without Heartache


15 responses to “False start”

  1. Richard Avatar

    “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.”

    The first time, I will make my schedule to fit her. After that, I plan accordingly, and she will not be high on my priority list. A great thing about cell phones: You can live your life and not miss a call/text. After the 2nd time, it will have to be: call me when you are free at that moement, and I will let you know if I am free.

    Note: The scenario you described seems a lot like he has someone else in his life, and he was hoping to get away for a little while to meet you.

  2. Lynn Avatar

    I don’t know if online dating makes men over 40 flaky, or men over 40 these days are just flaky, but I think I will stick to younger men. Something about the loss of testosterone just makes guys my age very cranky, unappealing, and just not worth it. I also don’t let me text me. I block them if they try texting me at all. I just won’t make myself available for texts. Texting is for people who are being furtive and sneaky, and don’t want anyone to know they are talking to you. If a man doesn’t want to be overheard talking to me, he’s probably not good enough for me.

  3. Lynn Avatar

    Sorry, I meant “I don’t let THEM text me.”

  4. Brenda Avatar

    Richard is right on! The info about being at a client’s house late 20 minutes away did not really make sense unless he was hoping you would invite him over for a drink? Whatever the reason was, he was not interested in making a lunch or dinner happen.

    Re the Friday date, when he did not set up a specific time, I would not have texted him or called…….I would have simply planned my day and if he called, I would have said “oh, I didn’t hear from you so I assumed we were not meeting. I have plans now.”

    A considerate man will give you date and time so you aren’t left wondering.

    This man probably has a very big relationship happening.

    I would not entertain any further calls or texts from him again – and would not ever plan to meet up with him.

  5. Lisa Avatar

    Sorry DG you had that experience. Similar things have happened to me. I am learning that when a guy seems to think we are so right for each other before we’ve even met, it means he is an emotional wreck! It has nothing really to do with all my wonderful qualities (which really are there for the right person.).

    Over and over it is the guys who seem so interested that often just disappear or are woefully unable to be in a relationship, but I have finally told myself that I will not let myself be suckered again!!! I have learned my lesson. They may or may not be decent men at the core, but they are almost always looking for some fantasy person to relieve them of their grief, frustration, loneliness, bordedom, depression, etc.

    I have found that I prefer to exchange e-mails, see if we have something in common, and meet for coffee in person. A phone call is too two-dimensional. If someone really wants to meet you, he will pick a time when there are no conflicts and meet you in person. He will not ignore you. Men like that make me so mad. I struggle too with giving someone some grace, but if he did not even let you know he was running late, etc. that is a red flag bold enough to set the bulls running from Spain. There is hardly any excuse. If that happened to me now, I would just e-mail him that I value my time too much to put up with that behavior and wish him all the best.

    If I do the on-line thing again and someone seemed really really into me, I would find out why he was really really into me before we even met. I guess it can be a challenge to balance optimism with practicality, but, alas, it seems to be the act that needs to be mastered.

  6. Lisa Avatar

    I just thought of something I wanted to add–I used to teach English. So many times, I’d start to read a student’s paper and be immediately confused by the muddled prose, etc. However, wanting to give the student some help, I’d read and re read the paper until suddenly I found myself asking myself, “Is this starting to make sense?” when in reality I knew right off the bat that it made no sense at all!! So, if you have to start asking yourself, “Is this making sense?” you know right off the bat it’s not. In the world of dating, that means the immediately senseless man is not woth a second reading.

  7. sue Avatar

    Am more on old-fashioned type, so I won’t reply with text if he initiates the text, I’ll call and hopefully he picks up the signal. Communication is the key in relationship, I learnt that the hard way, so if he’s not open enough, shows little effort, then I’ll see him just as a friend. I don’t mind any dates to pick for first date, why so rigid on valentines day? it must be cute to observe other couples and the feel of love is in the air. I guess ladies don’t think too much, it’s just a first date, a preview, if it’s valentine day’s it’s just quite a bonus. If this day doesn’t make it easier to connect, then other days wouldn’t give much hope.

  8. MM Avatar

    Some are not great communicators. It is hard enough in relationship when you do have the mature communication style. Each expectations are different and most likely he had another in the wind. I think of it as, If you are worth it they will make the time.

  9. p Avatar

    What a jerk! I would have been a lot less forgiving than you were! The beginning of relationships are when people are on their best behavior….I can only imagine him down the road!

  10. Marie Avatar

    Ugh I am another who hates texting. Surely if he was that interested in you he can go to the effort of picking up the phone and dialing your number? Definitely sounds like he has a his fingers in a few pies so to speak, and even if he was busy with his client a quick call to say he would be late and could he reschedule is not too much to ask. If he treats a lady so badly when he is trying to woo you, imagine what he will be like down the track!

    With a guy I have not yet met I would not put in any effort to chase him if he stood me up. You snooze you lose!

  11. Mitsy Avatar

    If you’re still doing dating sites, it’s the same song, different dance. The scenario described sounds so very common with online dating. Not very many serious contenders on most of those sites. That is why I gave it up several years ago. If I can’t meet someone through someone else or through some other social setting, I’ll stay single. I learned my lesson. It’s not worth the grief.

  12. l Williams Avatar
    l Williams

    Mitsy you should never give up! Some dating sites are junk and some are vibrant and full of honest singles over 40.

    Excellent blog post Dating Goddess!

  13. Ken Avatar

    I think you did the right thing in the end. If a man can’t take 5 minutes to return your call about an arrangement which you too planned out from the start really shows how unreliable he would be later on in the relationship.

  14. Mitsy Avatar

    I don’t think someone should necessarily give up on dating but sometimes dating sites are just a crap shoot & you have to have a really tough skin to do it. Many don’t have it & I didn’t. What I’m saying is that sometimes you have to step back & realize if something doesn’t work, maybe you should try a different path on meeting someone.

  15. josie Avatar

    Just wanted to add, there is a thin line between manners and behavior. On the first occasion, if he says sorry but didn’t call in the first place, so what? Why we have to expect so seriously in the beginning? Or have best attitude ? That applies for high school teenager, not with grown man/woman with many things going on. Dating online inherently means taking a risk to meet strangers, who are very likely not serious at all. In my view, that doesn’t count as rejection, he might feel at the first place he made her so uncomfortable and decided to avoid the second time. End of the day, he seemed to turn her down again, so why over analyzing ? The older we are, the smarter we should know how to move on. The world is a huuugggeeee place, there are many more to meet..