Should you tell him he’s crossed the line?

In the getting-to-know-you stage, you’re wrong if you tell a man he’s crossed the line and wrong if you don’t.

If you do, you can be seen as controlling. If you don’t, you give the impression that whatever he did/said is fine with you. Or you can just disappear and he’ll never know why.

Last night, I was having an online chat (which I don’t often do) with a guy who’s flirted with me for a week or so via email. This was the first time we chatted real time, although I’d given him my phone number, but he didn’t call. (That is a sign right there.)

After 15 minutes, this dean of a university tells me how “WELL ENDOWED” (his caps) he is. I told him that was nice, but too much info at this stage in getting to know each other. Since we’d been talking about keeping fit, and things related to physicality, I took it in that vein. After my TMI comment, he told me he was referring to his academic status.

Uh huh.

Later on, keeping in the academic theme, he offered that he wanted to study me to learn what I liked. He said he wanted to be ready for the “ORALS” (again, his all caps).

When I said I’d rather keep the conversation non-sexual at this point, he said I wanted to control the “pace” (whatever that means) of the conversation. I said I didn’t want to go sexual with our first real-time discussion.

While I’m not a prude and can banter and whip out the double entendres and innuendos as quickly as a man, there is a time and place. The first conversation is not that time.

I’ve heard men advise women that we must have standards on what behaviors we’ll accept. We must show men how we want to be treated and if they insist on not treating us with the regard we require, move on. I was attempting to do just that.

I’ve also had conversations with men where I didn’t speak up. I just extricated myself as soon as possible. He never knew why I didn’t respond to him after that. I debate rather to tell a man why we won’t be going out, and have decided if he is really interested he’ll ask. But for me to offer an explanation to an obtuse man is really just speaking to the wind as he’ll never get it.

What’s your policy on speaking up if a potential date crosses the line? Do you say something or just quietly drift away never to be heard from again?


Winning at the Online Dating Game: Stack the Deck in Your FavorFor more info on the do’s and don’ts of online dating, order your copy of Winning at the Online Dating Game: Stack the Deck in Your Favor.


16 responses to “Should you tell him he’s crossed the line?”

  1. Samantha Avatar

    If it’s early on -Boom – I tell them immediately… and then I’m gone. Game over.

  2. Seductress Avatar

    In the case of a man going ‘sexual’ upon a first conversation, I think you know all you need to know.
    Here is a man you’d never met or spoke to voice-to-voice and he thinks that talk was acceptable or cute or a turn on.

    He was clearly throwing it out there to see what you’d do….imagine what he’d do on your first date? Bring pepper spray!

    Men are not stupid (though many act that way…”what, I didn’t mean anything by that remark…”).

    A guy like him, I’d probably ignore and not bother with again.

  3. carol Avatar

    well, I’d be tempted to do so. sometimes, men assume too much and these remarks actually do work with some girls so maybe he’s not aware of its implications when used. let’s just say, sometimes they thought it was cute but it’s definitely not.

  4. Beth Avatar

    I was emailing a guy like that… shortly after I finally gave him my phone number, the emails (prior to any call) turned to how sexual he is and how much he wants a highly sexual long term relationship. When he finally called me, and continued in that vein, I told him that I found him pushy and that we obviously weren’t looking for the same thing and asked him not to contact me again.

    He didn’t, for just over a month, then I got an email from him telling me he still wanted to get to know me better. I informed him that my views on the subject hadn’t changed and if he wanted to get to know *me*, (personality vs sexuality) he needed to keep the conversations on that level. He managed one email without bringing his sexuality, his ability to “take you to heights you’ve never been before” (eeesh… cliché), etc, etc, etc. I told him that obviously things hadn’t changed and to not bother even responding to my email… that our “conversations” were over.

    I think, if a man (or woman) crosses the line in anyway, the other person is well within their rights to say so. I’d rather be thought “controlling” and lose a contact than listen or read conversations that make me uncomfortable.

  5. Anna Avatar

    Having tried both approaches, DG, I now just walk away and let them wonder. On the two occasions I tried to explain why their tone/conversation was inappropriate, both guys tried to put it back onto me. I was either too much a prude or I was being overly sensitive. Or both. Oh yes, and I was no fun!!Either way they did not see how inappropriate they were and blamed me! (And made me irritable). So my motto now is, that if the guy is so dense and inappropriate to bring sexual innuendos up at such an early stage, then he is a no-go area and will actually be too dense to even get what you mean when you try to explain. You are right, he will never get it. So why waste your breath, or your typing……..

  6. Found a good one Avatar
    Found a good one

    I had one guy who was fun to write to but couldn’t stop talking about leather chaps and a pink tank top. I cut him off, and he sent one or two other inappropriate emails. I live in a small area, and I found out later that the girl he started dating had to file a restraining order against him. So phase these guys out early ladies, and save yourself some court time!

  7. Mark Avatar

    That guy is an idiot who doesn’t understand women. I’d tell him that and end the conversation.

  8. maria rose Avatar

    as soon as it gets uncomfortable bow out of the scene asap with whatever excuse you can use and don’t respond when they try to call again

  9. Lilybeth Avatar

    I am really “wide-eyed shut “for these men. And they profess tobe highly educated? I got few of them and I just vanished like a thin smoke and blocked them right- off.

  10. Torance Avatar

    This is definitely a no no in such a early stage of getting to no someone. There are boundaries that we as men tend to over step. Sometimes a man may try things just to see how far he can get. I blogged about this — things not to do on a 1st date.

  11. Richard Avatar

    If there is something else about the other person that interests you, I say you give them a warning. Otherwise, let it pass and leave gracefully.

    Sex too early in a relationship inhibits the development of the personal relationship. People who are so blatant about sex so early are basically saying they don’t care about the non-physical relationship.

    If the person has other redeeming qualities, and you gave a warning, then at least you tried. It doesn’t matter if you are controlling or not, or a prude or not, you are who you are. You won’t find someone compatible if you start giving up your standards.

    Regarding whether they have a right to know: If they ask, then tell them. We are all adults and don’t need to be spoon fed.

  12. KB in NYC Avatar

    I read your post with a lot of interest. My problem is that if a guy starts talking about “ORALS” (love that btw) I can’t help but do the same thing but really, if you want something other than a romp, then this is not the way to go. Making it all about sex from the start, makes it hard to move beyond that. And if a guy starts on that tack? Well, it’s pretty clear where he’s coming from.

    So, to answer your question. If you feel he is crossing the line then say it. If he is a guy with a genuine interest in you he will appreciate your honesty. And if he doesn’t. Well, do you really want to date him anyway?

    Oh yes, and you make a great point about the first red flag. You gave him your number and he never called. That says a lot as far as I’m concerned.

  13. Simone Grant Avatar
    Simone Grant

    And this is why I never use chat with men I haven’t met first. There is something about chat that “moves things along” just a little too fast.

    Beyond that, I’m pretty vigilant about letting guys know they’ve made me uncomfortable. If it’s a small thing (a hint) I’ll hint back that it wasn’t welcome. If it’s overt and really over the line then I just walk away. IMO, A guy who brings up sex before we’ve met is not likely to be wanting more than a quick lay. I can do better.

  14. Melissa Avatar

    I’d say, Game Over.

    I’m going to piggy back on other’s comments regarding men.

    They are NOT stupid.

    They know that alot of women are creeped out by double innuendos
    early on.

    They also know how it feels when women start stating financial demands early in the game, example: that she won’t waste her time
    on a man unless he makes over 100K + per year. Men can feel vulnerable to being used, as well….

    So for them to this indelicate so soon in the process really bodes poorly for them….they KNOW that quality women will NOT put up with this behavior, and will tell them to go hang out at the neighborhood bar if that’s the extent of his interest.

    “Nuff said.

  15. Karen Avatar

    I read an interesting thing recently….about how we have evolved to judge a potential mate’s “fitness” in part by paying careful attention to how well he plays our culture’s “mating dance” social interactions.

    The article talked about chimps and baboons, and how when studying these animals t was clear that female chimps paid close attention to which males were most adept at negotiating the social heirarchies and social cues within their local group, choosing to mate only with chimps who were adept socially. These monkeys, just like humans, live all their lives in an intensely social environment, and in order to survive and thrive in that environment, they need to be able to understand and appropriately respond to myriads of subtle social clues.

    So, don’t feel bad about turning down a boorish guy! He’s just demonstrated his “un-fitness” by showing his profound inability to fit into the social/cultural world that we live in. In other words, a man who doesn’t understand what’s appropriate to bring up in an email with a new acquaintance, who doesn’t understand how distasteful a crude sexual come-0n would be to a new romantic interest–that man is not someone who is going to be someone you are going to enjoy being around in later years. He’s probably spent his entire life acting inappropriately in many areas–offending people, stalking people, getting fired for insubordination, making enemies, fighting with family members etc.

  16. Lynn Avatar

    In this particular case, I would be completely turned off and wouldn’t give it another thought. Except for making jokes about it later with my girls. Now if I’ve known the guy for awhile and we’re friends, I’d bust his chops (in a joking manner) that he even tried that with me in the first place and immediately drop it. Men respect that.