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Last spring I was being chatted up by a man I knew in high school when we were kids. He invited me to lunch and seemed very attracted. Red Flag #1: He's very openly religious. Red Flag #2: He told me he was 2 months out of a marriage where his wife had cheated. I kept him at arms' length, figuratively speaking, let him know I'm an atheist who will never be converted, and told him I was only interested in going on the occasional date, not becoming immersed in a full-blown relationship. Well, he messaged and texted me a lot after that, and I responded politely, but consistently as casual as I ever had, and suddenly the messages stopped. His public Facebook posts were very soon strongly peppered with posts indicating that he was head over heels about somebody, and so I thought "good for him" and considered that bullet dodged. A couple weeks ago he posted some cryptic broken hearted comment on Facebook, and I felt a pang of compassion, but was not surprised that something that flared up so quickly was snuffed out pretty quickly, as well. Par for the course. But this week, all of a sudden, he is messaging me again, as if that lull never happened. Asking me what libation I'd prefer if I came to visit him, and bla bla bla... I told him that several friends, many he might know (it's a small town) would be gathering at a bar this Friday to see an old friend who is visiting from out of state. He tried to get me to change this to a date situation, and I refused, telling him that he was welcome to join the group but I would not be his date. Frankly, I feel a bit insulted that he so suddenly turned his attention on me, again, after ignoring me during his hot and heavy romance. Way to make a girl feel like some kind of "back-up plan," dude. Am I wrong to feel offended? Any advice on how to politely and civilly get this message across to this guy? I mean, he's a fairly nice guy and is probably clueless as to how his behavior translates, but I am not interested at all any more, if I ever was.

Post script:
He did contact me. His excuse for ignoring me so suddenly (he must have been able to read my recent responses to his ardent attentions well enough to guess this might be the reason for the frost collecting around my smile) was to tell me, all these months later, that on that initial lunch date I "blindsided" him by telling him I didn't believe in god. His words. He literally turned my own honesty and transparency around in an attempt to blame me for his shitty treatment of me! How's that for a crimson, red, scarlet, magenta flag? I won't apologize for the fact that I reacted to his claim by letting my ire do the talking for me. It felt pretty good.

Deb57 8 Sep 18

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You've enumerated the brightly colored flags. Heed them.


i think that is called being "benched" in modern datespeak


When you see him...does your heart race a little, your breathing get quicker ... do you feel you want to get him alone somewhere .... do you even smile a little inside ..... I am guessing not - so walk away.


Hot and cool. A dessert in India made by cooling it at the top by blowing wind and heating it at the bottom of pan called RABRI


Being 2 months out of a marriage (where he felt rejection), he is hungry for affirmation and attention.
He pursued you for those reasons, and when you “tempered it down”, he looked elsewhere.

He found someone that was more initially “receptive”... but that didn’t last (probably because he tried so hard, so fast, to “be in a relationship”. So he’s back to trying you again (as you hadn’t totally rejected him yet.)

Just my thinking...


He is seeking validation! His ego is wounded since his wife cheated on him and he needs to know or feel that he is still wanted somewhere. Not to defend him, but this is fairly normal.

I would tell him that in general you feel uncomfortable being anything more than a friend and have no wish to date. Be honest with him.

This makes a whole lot of sense to me. I felt that way to a degree when my marriage tanked due to my husband's affair. There was a little part of me that wanted to go prove I was still attractive enough to go right out and find another man. Fortunately, though, my more secure and sensible side was stronger. And I had a mirror.


Listen to your gut. Your instincts are correct: He is not the right man for you.


Don't worry so much about being polite or civil...
It's like feeding a cat, you'll never get rid of him ,!


I once asked a co-worker out. She said no. I still saw her daily and we became friends. We had a good time at group gatherings. About nine months later she asked why I never asked her out again. I said because she said no. We went out for a while until she decided to move to a new city. I always took no as no and unless I was told otherwise would leave it at that.

That is wise on your part. And if she was the kind of person who said no when she didn't mean no, or was unable to risk her own pride by asking you out once she changed her mind, I'd say you dodged a somewhat manipulative bullet.


Men just out of a marriage are spooky/psycho/crazy/unstable. 2 months is JUST out.

Some turn to booze and drugs. Some go on binge dating (5 or more dates a week). Some, as your problem, wants another wife pronto. Some do it all.

6-9 months out of a long term relationship is about as close as you will want to play with if you don't want to get singed.

There is no polite way to shut it down. In his mind you are the one he should have married when he knew you in high school. This may very well be a continuation of a high school crush.

As a last desperate move you can always say he is a nice guy but you just prefer women. That should turn the switch off.


Some guys don't get the hint if you try to let them down gently or politely inform them that you're not interested in them romantically. You can try telling him that you see him as a friend not a potential partner, but you still may have to simply slam the door.

JimG Level 8 Sep 18, 2019

So a guy you were keeping at arms length meets and focuses on someone else - as he should if he's trying to make the relationship with her work - and once it doesn't work out he starts talking with you again, and you want to know if you should be offended? Why don't you ask him what happened, you know, as a friend?

And yeah, you and probably half the women he knows he considers as a back up plan - that's how dating works when the person seems to need to be in a relationship.

In all honesty you should do both of you a favor and just quit talking to him, though.

1of5 Level 8 Sep 18, 2019

I had told him on that first date that I was not looking for an intense relationship but would be fine with an occasional meal or movie. He said he felt the same way, however his behavior said he wanted to be very involved, until it stopped abruptly with no explanation. It's not that he focused elsewhere. That was fine with me. But to start addressing me with the same intensity as before, also without explanation, just days after his other relationship apparently tanked... I don't think it's inappropriate of me to feel a bit insulted. I ask for advice on how to civilly address this with him, since I'm torqued off enough that I may not be nice about it on my own.


Brush him off nicely

bobwjr Level 10 Sep 18, 2019

2 months later and he is ready? He is desperate. Sounds risky and perhaps should you back off, slowly.


This sounds like a job for mister "Never Was".
Be chatty and send him a photo of some obscure man or perhaps a distant relative, and say that you've started dating him, and how you hope the two of them would get on really well.


If you were sure, he was not for you, why not make it clear to him that you were not interested in any relationship in the first meeting?

I did. on our first get together I stated that I was open to an occasional date, but was not looking for anything too involved.

@Deb57 Open to an occasional date can mean open to some guys. I meant.. if you were turned off (which sounds like you were from your description), why not put a full stop right there? Bad mouthing him later is not right.

@St-Sinner did I bad mouth him? I said I was offended by his treatment of me since he started abruptly lavishing attention on me immediately following his break up, as though I've been just sitting here waiting my turn. Commenting on somebody's inconsiderate treatment of me is bad mouthing? Do you think I should just be a "nice girl" and silently endure it, instead? Also, am I supposed to make allowances for how some guy might interpret my well spelled out level of interest? He asked if he could call me this afternoon, which hasn't happened yet and may not if he sensed my tone and has chickened out, and I agreed that he could, because I definitely plan to let him know why I don't find his overtures acceptable. I do worry, however, about finding the patience to be tactful and civil in the process. While honesty and forthrightness is important to me, I think his lack of consideration stems more from tone-deafness and self absorption than any actual malice.

@Deb57 I have a problem with women critically talking about men they went on dates with, especially on a public forum. The men are not here to tell their side of the story. I cannot fathom why it is necessary.

@St-Sinner I can't help it that he's not here. I would not stop him from saying whatever he wished. If it makes you feel any better, he did contact me, and instead of offering any kind of explanation for the way he treated me, he blamed me for "blindsiding" him with my lack of belief in his god as his excuse for ignoring me later, instead of the fact that he became interested in someone else. I told him I was an atheist, for the sake of transparency, when we had our first lunch. He was hardly blindsided. So what the guy just did was to try to blame his own poor treatment of me on me. I will absolutely badmouth that bullshit.

@Deb57 He sounds like a real piece of work. Blindsided him w your atheism? Is he entitled to your faith in his god?

I did have a weird theory or two about his short-lived flame, tho. For a moment, as I was reading your original account, I thought he was raving about you. Inaccurately in terms of the nature of your relationship, obviously, but I've seen stranger things. Then I wondered if he was making up some other woman to make himself appear more desirable ... and didn't think it all the way through, realizing only later that he'd have to abort the fiction in order to secure a real woman. Again I've seen stranger things ...


What to do with irritating men; ignore, delete from social media, change the subject when he's brought up, or if he encounters you in a group and tries to chat you up, act bored, then excuse yourself and go talk to someone else, preferably a tall male, but anyone will do. Or just leave the room whenever he comes around.


If you're not interested and you never were why would you be offended? Just out of curiosity if you really weren't interested and there were so many red flags, did you keep him at arm's length literally?

lerlo Level 8 Sep 18, 2019

Yes, literally. I am not offended that he stopped paying attention to me and focused elsewhere, but it is insulting that he thinks he can address me with the same intensity as before just days after his other relationship tanked. I do resent being treated like some kind of "Plan B."

@Deb57 Sadly, in the dating world, until you find "the one" everyone is plan B

@lerlo I have never been that desperate, and it's unlikely I ever will be. Being without a partner isn't the worst thing that can happen to a person.

@Deb57 Not sure where desperation comes into it. Because there are many choices for sating, until you settle on someone everyone is Plan B. Some people get lonely and find that it's more fun to share things with another person. To each their own, that's why there is chocolate AND vanilla 🙂

@lerlo I understand what you mean by everyone being a Plan B until they become a Plan A. To be as blatant about it as this guy is being, however, is very insulting. I suppose there are some women who want a partner badly enough that they would settle for being treated like a Plan B. Settling for less than one deserves smacks of desperation. I have settled in the past without fully understanding that I was doing so, and paid the price for it. I will never be desperate enough for companionship that I'd do that again.


Not insulted....just amused by his frankly juvenile behaviour would be my response....but definitely keep it friendly, platonic and at arms length!


His philosophy....always have a plan B.

I know, right? I'm not interested in the position. 😉 are doing good @Deb57


Thanks, not interested

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