Dear Auntie Seraphic,
I was wondering if you could shed some [light] on this particular situation. I met a nice, handsome, physically attractive man at a monthly Catholic discussion group this past year. I continued to "run" into him for the next 3 months and we talked before and after each event for anywhere from 2-4 hours. We agreed on many things and had wonderful conversations; soon we were exchanging frequent emails and IMing with an occasional phone call. He brought up dating me, but told me that could not be possible because of a reason he wasn't free to tell me. Then, he finally told me he was dating someone else, but couldn't possibility end it with her. I was hurt, but we kept talking at the Catholic discussion group, I tried to avoid him, but he would always come and talk to me & sit next to me. He continued to email, etc., and I couldn't help but respond, as he had made me really like him. [Auntly editorial remark: Hee hee!]
One day he asked me out on a date. He suggested we go to Mass together and then brunch; maybe a walk. I accepted. When we parked in the church parking lot before Mass, I was about to open the car door, when he leaned over and kissed me on the cheek. (Now, keep in mind this is before a 10 am Mass on Sunday morning). I was surprised and flustered, mumbling something like "Oh, not so fast" with a laugh and quickly got out of the car. All through Mass the thoughts the raced through my head were that a) I didn't know him that well (for a kiss) b) this was our first date c) it wasn't even midway through or the end of the date. I'd heard of ending dates with kisses, but never beginning one with one. After Mass, he acted funny towards me and ended by a rushed drop off at my car and didn't take me out to brunch as he had planned.
I didn't hear from him for nearly 8 months, for he wasn't at my Catholic discussion group any longer. I moved on & forgot about him, dating a few other guys. This month he reappeared at my Catholic discussion group. He found me again, he initiated a conversation, and we talked. He told me he had broken up with the girl he was dating. A day or so later he called me up and wanted to go on another date. I agreed and he took me to an expensive restaurant and treated me like the Queen of Sheba all evening. We had a superb time and superb conversation.
I am confused by his behavior and am uncertain as to whether to continue the relationship. One part of me wants to think there is some reasonable explanation for kissing a woman one hardly knows before a morning Mass and curtailing a date so abruptly. The other half still won't let him pick me up at my apartment, meets him at a designated location and I wonder why did he kiss me like that at the odd time?
So, I am wondering if you have any bits of inspiration/ insight or such about this situation?
Confused By This Man
Dear Confused By This Man,
I see why you're confused. I was confused, too. My hair was standing on end as I first read your email.
When I read your first paragraph, I thought, "Game playing jerk. Tired of his girlfriend. Wants the thrill of being bad."
When I read your second paragraph, I thought, "Extremely fresh! Who kisses a girl like that right out of the blue BEFORE MASS?" When he ran away afterwards, completely breaking the date, I thought, "What a jerk!"
When I read your third paragraph, I softened up and reflected, "Well, eight months later is a long time. And he is certainly doing everything right now."
Then I read your fourth paragraph and perceived your ambivalence. Therefore, my question was "What do you want to do?" Do you really like this guy? Is this someone you respect? Or do you feel in your gut that he is addicted to drama? I am a big believer in women's gut instincts. I applauded your caution.
Now, more than a week later, I reread the whole thing and think the guy might not be that jerky or messed up after all. It sounds more like he got a massive crush on beautiful you, was unsure what this meant about his feelings for his girlfriend, ran away to try and resolve the situation with his girlfriend, and then when that was done, came back to woo you.
Because he is the one pursuing (and how) and you're not sure how you feel about him, you are risking nothing by actually asking what was going on in the church parking lot that morning. The next time you are out, and having a great conversation (when he's relaxed), you can say "About that time in the church parking lot. What was that about?"
It could be that he really liked you, risked kissing you in case you might kiss him back, felt awful all through Mass because of that other girl, and then ran off in guilty embarrassment. Having thought about this for more than a week now, I am inclined to think that this is the most likely explanation. He's probably THAT into you. But, more importantly, are you that into him?
My auntly instinct still says to ask questions about his weird behaviour and continue to be cautious until you know him much better.
By the way, I shake my finger at you for claiming he made you like him and text him back when you knew he had a girlfriend. Although I understand how seductive a young man can be, he could not actually steal your free will. You texted him back because you wanted to, poppet, and this suggests to me that you are (or were) that into him. And that bit is okay. Admiring an attractive man is in itself a beautiful thing in a woman. Although we should be prudent about it (e.g. not telling all and sundry), it's nothing to be ashamed of. It's what you do with those feelings that can be problematic.
Grace and peace,
P.S. To all readers: don't forget to tune into my interview on Salt + Light TV (being streamed "live" over their webpage) at 9 PM Eastern (e.g. Toronto) Time on Friday, November 26, 2010 (i.e. the day I wrote this post). At very least, you will hear what a very typical Toronto/Ontario accent sounds like. I think I sound disturbingly like Margaret Atwood and wish I sounded more like a Scotswoman, frankly!