Friday, 26 November 2010

Auntie Seraphic & Confused By This Man

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!


Anonymous said...

Sigh. I think your first instincts about this young man were right, Seraphic. This story made my blood run cold too. A point to remember: a man may be genuinely attracted to you and STILL be a game-playing jerk - it just makes him more convincing.

Men like this are very good at playing on a woman's vanity (begging the pardon of the writer of the letter; I mean no insult), her feeling that perhaps she is attractive enough to land an otherwise elusive or reluctant man. In fact, giving women this feeling is a large part of the so-called "Mystery Method".

It's possible that this man is innocent in the sense of being unconscious of what he's doing. But player I feel almost certain he is. He's got all, and I mean all, the signs, alas.

Clio (One Who Knows...)

invocante said...

"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."
I think you are entirely right in your analysis Seraphic. I suspect this is exactly what happened. It can take a lot of courage for a guy to make his feeling known to a girl and then if having done so one feels one has overstepped the mark of appropriate behaviour and/or been rebuffed extreme embarrassment often follows for the poor man in question. men (

Seraphic said...

Clio, I thought exactly what you were thinking at first, but the fact is that this guy is a habitue of Catholic discussion groups, which is not really prime Player hunting ground in my experience. That said, the situation is certainly confusing, and I hope the man can explain to my reader's satisfaction what on earth was going on with him 8 months ago.

Invocante, thanks for the guy's eye view!

Kate P said...

I'm confused. I'm going to try to ask this as gently as I can and hope nobody thinks I'm scolding/judging: Why is it O.K. that the man asked the young lady on a date after openly admitting he had a girlfriend?

Are you saying it's O.K. to accept a date from someone who tells you he has a girlfriend? And it's O.K. to be alone with him and let him kiss you?

Or am I missing the "we're not exclusive" part implied somewhere?

Seraphic said...

No, no, no. That part wasn't okay.

The only okay part was that my reader was attracted to him in the first place. I pointed this out in response to her defensive "He MADE me like him" excuse which I found rather funny.

I think everyone agrees that Mr. Confusion's behaviour was very bad until he broke up with his girlfreind and then came back. If Mr. Confusion is a decent chap, I think he would agree, too.

Anonymous said...

Seraphic, I know that Catholic groups aren't great places for tracking mates - but where else is a NCB who wants a really, er, hot NCG going to look? You may not know it, but there is a substratum of gamesters trolling for religious girls - they tend to have been around less.

Now, if an NCG is hot, isn't NCB likely to face a lot of competition? And if he's got lots of competition, how better to increase his scarcity value than with Game, a large part of which involves appearing and disappearing, raising one's "Social Value" (yes, that's what the Gamesters call it) by hinting one has a girlfriend, even if one might not, and similar tactics?

What's more, a NCB who plays his cards right may even hope to persuade a previously virtuous NCG to lighten up a little. It's been known to work, if she thinks she's facing lots of competition from other women...

Sigh. I hate revealing that I know all this, and don't even think about asking me how I know. Just tell this NCG to watch out. Men are not all jerks, but this one has shown a degree of jerkiness already, what with indicating an interest in a woman when he wasn't free to do so, and with that ridiculous line about not being able to tell her why. Kate P. is right about that.


Easily swayed said...

Confused, I TOTALLY understand your "He made me like him!!" comment. For those of us who are very into Very Catholic Men, it's hard NOT to become emotionally attached to men who show an interest in us. Sure, we choose to like a man, but when a man meets all of our desired qualities it's hard to NOT like him.

I don't know how to NOT become attached to someone who simply has all the qualities I like in a man and shows me special attention on one or two occasions.

Seraphic said...

Clio, well, I did tell her to take care and get to know him better. I REALLY hope this guy is not a Gamer and was just a confused boy, torn between Girl 1 and Girl 2. It is up to Confused to ask the searching questions.

Easily Swayed, the way you do that is to remain rooted in reality. You shouldn't become attached to anyone just because he throws a smile or two your way. The Numero Uno desired quality in a man is that he is sincerely interested in you and could see himself marrying you. Of course, the only ultimate proof of that is him saying "would you marry me" and offering you a sparkler of appropriate size and wattage.

Rosemary said...

Seraphic, I think you are entirely right. This NCB has some explaining to do, and perhaps he can put the writer's mind at ease once he explains his actions. However, I would tread carefully as others here have cautioned.

Seraphic Spouse said...

I hope he is a NCB and not a Pick Up Artist/Gamer type, because a PUA/Gamer is never a NCB. Once a NCB starts using Game, he is no longer a NCB but an [very bad word].

theobromophile said...

Strong disagreement with one point here: he's being a total jerk in paragraph three.

Expensive restaurant? Queen treatment? Out of the blue, after eight months? Um... in your rush to be excited about men who take women on real dates (as opposed to this "hanging out" nonsense) and act In To You, you're ignoring the huge red flag right there.

This chap isn't giving Confused the room that she needs to let the relationship (if there is one...) move at a pace that is comfortable for her. The expensive date, in this context, is the same thing as talking to her for hours and hours after Catholic group when he has a girlfriend: it's pushing something on her that isn't appropriate to what is going on between them.

Hey, I've dated some seriously emotionally manipulative people and know emotional manipulation when I see it. Paragraph Three is emotional manipulation. Find me a woman who would go on that date, eat that expensive food and drink the lovely wine, get treated like a queen all night, and then put emotional limits (and most non-chaste women, and some chaste ones, would struggle to physically limit the relationship!) on their dating, which is what any sane, stable, emotionally healthy girl would do after all those months with this weirdo. Even if you can find me women who would do that, I'm here to tell you that they would feel a lot worse about it, and have a tougher time of it, than they would with a man who simply takes a woman out to a mid-priced Italian place.

(I should add that my second date with the Nice Catholic Man was at a ridiculously swank place - the type of place you get engaged at, not take a girl on your second date - but NCM was not an emotional F---wit for months prior. Rather, his line to our mutual friend was that he's at the point in his life that he knows what he wants and isn't going to mess around; Confused's "N"CB hardly gets that excuse.)

Seraphic said...

I have not really thought out the implications of where first dates ought to be. Meanwhile, I am very much hoping Mr. Confusion is not as scheming as you suspect, but just clumsily flailing about.

My original letter to Confused was still in the Very Suspicious mode. Anyway, perhaps she'll comment here and tell us what's been happening.

Alisha said...

There are def. creepers who troll about Catholic discussion groups - at the Newman Centre here, they were sometimes asked not to return. These were awkward men who came around, for better or for worse because people there would be nice to them. Whether they had bad intentions or not, they were a discomfiting presence...esp for NCGs. I was Catholic but not so nice, and not to be messed with, but for those of a more genteel character, it's sad; who knows how many of those girls stopped coming to the centre...