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What is this, and why is it happening again?

(19 Posts)
FrazzleRock Mon 03-Nov-14 21:27:54

So back story:
I was in a relationship for 10 years. Two DC. Relationship just fizzled out.
Previously to that I was in a 2.5 yr relationship, so the last 4/5 years I've been single are the first years I've really been on the dating scene.

Anyway, the first guy I fell for after my relationship ended (let's call him James) was very into me in the beginning, we didn't have sex but I was very much into him from the beginning too. We dated for a bit, but he got cold feet out of the blue and ended it. A few months later he got back in contact and we saw each other again every so often, generally as 'mates' going out and having a really good laugh, although pretty flirty. Eventually we had sex and it was amazing, but carried on the 'friend' thing.
But here's the thing. I wouldn't hear from him for weeks/months, then he would lavish attention on me, spending whole evenings begging me to be with him (via text), then the very next morning would text and say "actually we should just be mates". This went on for two years (Yes I allowed it to happen, I know)
Eventually, his birthday was approaching. He had moved away to another city. New life blah blah. He begged me via text to come and visit him on his birthday and spend the evening out with him and his friends. I was reluctant, but after a few days of begging, I buckled and booked the train.

Night of his birthday - He spent the entire evening, ignoring his friends, begging me to be back with him. Again, I was reluctant but eventually, and stupidly, said I might do, but he can't keep being a twat. He was totally in agreement and just wanted us to be together. The next day, I arrived back home and he was sending me texts suggesting he had changed his mind again and realised the distance would be too much.

Fast forward a few days, I had it out with him, I was so cross! Then we ended our friendship for good. I really struggled with this and ended up being diagnosed with severe depression.
I then heard a few months later through a mutual friend he had been telling people I had turned up to his birthday unexpected! Great. Good. So I now look like a raving loony.

I then met a lovely guy (lets call him Alex). Again we were really into each other from the beginning (hundreds of emails back and forth, texts, calls, dating). Again dated for a bit but fizzled out, again hadn't actually slept together. I've known this guy for nearly 3 years now, with almost the same pattern as James. Lavishing attention on me, meeting up, then hearing nothing for months. Difference being we would go out then say goodbye at the end of the evening, as mates.
We recently met up two weeks ago, went to see a band we both adore and I ended up back at his place, we had sex for the first time - incredible. The next morning he was very keen to meet up again really soon and more often, I should go to his place and he'll cook for me, he'll come to mine and he'll babysit for me so I can go to gym or running training as we're both doing to Bath half in March. He wants to book a hotel for us in Bath, make it really special, yadda yadda...

Anyway, that was two weeks ago and he's totally ignored me. I text him last Tuesday suggesting we go and see a film, something I know he would like, and nothing.

If relevant, both James and Alex have emotional baggage. James was on anti-depressants, and has been pretty shitty to other women, not just me. (Although, I now hear he is getting married)
Alex lost his sister to depression when he was just 15 yrs old and has been on anti-depressants for years.

Why do they do this lavishing attention thing, meet up, then nothing for months?

And why the hell do I keep going back? Both of them I totally fell for. I'm over James now, and can see what an awful person he was. However, I have adored Alex for 2 of the 3 years we've known each other. WHY?
It's stopping me from meeting a decent human being, and I'm in no control over my emotions. I just adore the man. In my defence we get on ridiculously well when we're together, love the same things, same sense of humour, just pure banter when we're together like we've known each other forever.

Maybe it's me getting caught up in my emotions? Or is it them with some odd social problem, I honestly don't know!

God, that's long.

CogitoErgoSometimes Mon 03-Nov-14 21:34:00

How do you meet these men? Online dating? The pattern you're describing is someone who wants something casual or FWB. If that's not what you're looking for you have to be really ruthless and get shot as soon as you realise rather than allow yourself to be picked up and dropped as it suits. If you have low self esteem to begin with, that kind of treatment doesn't improve it.

FrazzleRock Mon 03-Nov-14 21:40:40

Online dating. Both these guys were looking for relationships at the time, or so they had me believing...

Perhaps you're right. I don't think 'm very good at realising what they're actually looking for, and I think I'm just a sucker for words.

Thanks for your response. I can't believe how long that was!

CogitoErgoSometimes Mon 03-Nov-14 21:51:13

If you're going to use OD, I think you have to have your bullshit detectors set to high sensitivity rather than take anyone on face value . There are a lot of chancers and time-wasters who make all the right noises about wanting relationships (because they know it's what you want to hear) but are just topping up their little black books.

Friend of mine discovered her 'serious' boyfriend recently was not only married but also had two other women on the go as well. She tracked everyone down on FB & exposed him.

FrazzleRock Mon 03-Nov-14 21:57:56

That's awful! I have certainly heard some horror stories. I always thought I was good at judging characters. All other dates I've been on, I've spotted their game a mile off.

It's just these two I fell for.

And now having known Alex for three years, and the fact we get on enormously well (even without sex) makes it bloody hard going.

I wish I'd got rid ages ago. I'm just so angry he'd treat me like someone he's just met that night and had a one night stand with.
I'd rather he just be honest with me. Then we'd both know where we stand.

Stupid bloody twat.

CogitoErgoSometimes Mon 03-Nov-14 22:27:30

If he's getting what he wants out of you he has no reason to change strategy. If you're not getting what you want, put him on the spot rather than think you have to accept whatever crumbs he throws your way

niceupthedance Tue 04-Nov-14 07:46:38

When you say you dated for a while with no sex and it fizzled out - that's probably a big indication that they were not after anything serious.

GoatsDoRoam Tue 04-Nov-14 09:15:09

And why the hell do I keep going back? Both of them I totally fell for. I'm over James now, and can see what an awful person he was. [...] WHY?

I think you respond to intensity in romantic relationships. You speak of hundreds of messages, attention lavished, etc. Intensity such as this is rarely or never a harbinger of solid relationships.
It's an intoxication.

I would say, next time you feel that rush of sexual attraction towards someone and are tempted to start up the whole dance of intensity with him... it's probably a sign that he's an unavailable fuckwit.

Maybe take a tour of the Baggage Reclaim website?

CogitoErgoSometimes Tue 04-Nov-14 09:29:32

Oh I disagree that feeling a rush of sexual attraction necessarily means that the object of the attraction is a unavailable fuckwit. They could be a perfectly nice, genuine, available person and the affection could be quite justified. I think it means that the person feeling the rush of sexual attraction, knowing it has led to past mistakes, has to understand that it may be clouding their judgement. Treat it as a cue to hang back a little, ask the right questions, be more objective and less heart-on-sleeve, that kind of thing.

SelfLoathing Tue 04-Nov-14 09:58:25

I'm not a big fan of OLD. I think that generally speaking:

- you could be lucky (and their are some success stories) but the odds are very much against it. You shouldn't rely on it as the sole way to meet a man.

- it is better for men than for women - in the sense that a lot of guys are looking for just sex and a database of a lot of (often vulnerable) women is like a candy store. It's on coincidence that money scams via OLD are frequently reported.

- the "candy store" scroll-to -the- next- profile mentally it causes means that guys who are doing OLD are unlikely to just be seeing one woman or give it up easily. An acquaintance told me about a mate of his in his early 50s who had just left his wife (long marriage) was boasting about having had sex with 2 different women in a day!

- it takes a long time to get to know someone properly. In real life people come with a context. You know their colleagues or friends. People talk. You get a sense of whether they are a good guy, a bad guy or an intermediate guy. OLD there is no context. It's easy for a scammer (Even someone just trawling for sex, pretending they want a relationship) to fake the intensity of true love/lust.

-finally, men come out with a load of cr.ap when they want sex. They will say pretty much anything to get it if they are up for it. so when you ask:

Why do they do this lavishing attention thing, meet up, then nothing for months?

The answer is, they have an eye to the main chance and will do the attention thing to get sex.

Sounds to me like you are a bit vulnerable and falling for guys who aren't really offering you anything. Been there, currently wearing that t-shirt so I now how painful it can be.

Only real advice is don't rely on OLD and try to meet men other ways. As far as OLD is concerned, take is slowly and be very suspicious it is just about s.ex.

GoatsDoRoam Tue 04-Nov-14 12:49:52

Yes that is what I meant Cogito. Not applicable to all people, but probably a warning signal to the OP if other poor relationships also began the same way.

pompodd Tue 04-Nov-14 13:04:16

I think the answer to your question is that it is happening again because you allowed it to.

The constant going back to them because they were lavishing attention on you (and then disappointing you) will have given them very clear messages about how low your expectations were from men and how little you were prepared to settle for. That made you vulnerable.

In these two cases they may have just been arseholes or it may be that their mental health issues made them unsuitable relationship material. But I'd look at yourself rather than them because you could and should have dropped them much quicker.

OliveGreen Tue 04-Nov-14 13:21:03

This is probably old news but I've just read "He's Just Not That Into You" and it made me howl with laughter...also feel a bit sad that I've wasted SO much time trying to figure out "why he..." (Fill in the gap!). I'm working hard on identifying my boundaries and "red flags"'s never too late.

FrazzleRock Tue 04-Nov-14 18:31:55

Do you know what, reading back my post as if it's been written by someone else, it's bleeding obvious. The FWB is so clear. Yet, being there and going through it I couldn't see it. Such an idiot.

It wasn't like this before. Two people met, fancied each other, hung out, got to know each other, dated, then a relationship naturally occurred. I can't remember ever going through this before I met my children's father.

As the above happened with both James and Alex (Alex more so, I suppose), I just assumed we would naturally fall into a relationship. FWB didn't even cross my mind. I remained friends with James because I assumed being friends and getting to know each other would lead to a happy ending.
Exactly the same for Alex. I've stuck around for the past three years as I assumed the friendship would escalate into a relationship, as we click so well and clearly like each other.
Perhaps it's big headed of me to think "Why wouldn't he want to be with me? It's obvious we were meant for each other" Pah!

It's only since Alex and I have now slept together, and he's been avoiding me that I realised how similar his behaviour is to James.

You're all absolutely right. They were never 'that into me' and I've been taken for a complete ride, whilst my head has been in the clouds imagining all sorts for the future.
And there's me thinking I'm good at this dating malarky... Honestly, I have got rid of a lot of fuckwits along the way as I could see what they were really after. How I missed these two is beyond me!

I feel really stupid. I'm 35 years old ffs with a ten year relationship and two children under my belt!

OliveGreen Tue 04-Nov-14 18:36:18

Well if it's any consolation Frazzle, I'm 54 and only just got it!!

FrazzleRock Tue 04-Nov-14 18:40:56

Oh dear Olive!
Oh I have seen that film, seems I need to watch it again and pay attention...

AcrossthePond55 Tue 04-Nov-14 18:52:03

I think the idea of FWB has really blurred the lines in new relationships. We aren't far enough along to announce that's what we're looking for, so the old 'romance' actions make it seem as if a person is interested in more than they really are!

I think if I were dating now, I'd take anything any man said with a huge grain of salt and tell myself they aren't interested in 'forever' until they prove otherwise, not with words, with actions. What else can we do?

FrazzleRock Tue 04-Nov-14 19:21:00

It's just so confusing when you clearly get on so well and there's clear attraction from both sides.

These two were both from a paid dating website. Do men really pay to find FWB? I just naively assumed paying meant they were a bit more serious.

Or maybe they were looking for something more serious, but don't want anything serious from me, which is a bit tough on the old ego sad

SelfLoathing Tue 04-Nov-14 22:01:09

It wasn't like this before. Two people met, fancied each other, hung out, got to know each other, dated, then a relationship naturally occurred.

OLD didn't exist or had more of a stigma so men were more invested in meeting people in real life. Now OLD serves a lot of needs for a lot of men.

These two were both from a paid dating website. Do men really pay to find FWB?

Yes. Not friends with benefits, just sex. These men aren't your friends. Look at how they have behaved towards you. And yes, men do pay on OLD sites to find sex. Hell, men pay for actual sex for gods sake!

Obviously unless it is a site like Ashley Madison they aren't going to brag about it, so most of the time a man just after a quick (or repeated but no commitment) sha.g will dress it up as a date/potential relationship etc.

Not all men on OLD sites are like this, some are genuine and looking for a relationship. But you just need to be very cautious.

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