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How do I dodge this date? Is it even a date? Help!

(190 Posts)
Slaylormoon Fri 13-Oct-17 02:18:55

Long time lurker, first time poster in this topic, looking to anyone who has more experience than I do that can shed some light on how to proceed with this situation.

I'll try not to drip feed!
I am 22, attending University [late starter, worked in retail after dropping out of my A levels then eventually got accepted to University after a one year HE Access course]
The Uni is in the UK but not my home country iyswim, so I don't have a lot of immediate friends or any family to turn to about this, and we're not that close anyway.

At the beginning of the year I came into contact with a man considerably older than me, [52] on a forum about a mutual hobby, and we exchanged general chitchat before finding out each other's names, ages etc. He seemed very laid back and not at all pushy which was nice, but I was very surprised when he asked my birthday and then commented he'd been a practising lawyer since I was 2!

I'm fairly open minded and it's not the sort of hobby it would be unusual to find a mix of ages interested in [cooking related] so it didn't phase me and we continued to exchange very casual messages, first on the forum but after on the KiK messaging app.

All continued as usual, he would usually initiate messaging and I'm not always the fastest to reply but we would have normal conversations, what we had for tea, what was good on netflix etc, but nothing deep or revealing. He once mentioned that maybe we should meet up at some point but I told him I was too focused on University having finally got to this point and didn't think I would have time during my breaks as I usually fly home and spend time with my family.

Until today, when by chance I check the app and see I have three unread messages from him.

The first said: "I've booked a bit of time off over the weekend, how about I make that visit we spoke about?" (We!?)

The second message, sent an hour after the first said: "I'll have a look at flights, and let you know if it's reasonable (:"

Fourty minutes after the second message, he sent: "All done and booked! Premier Inn for Saturday night, best get a move on and book a place for dinner Missy!"
Now, I'm diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome and thus do admit I have a diminished awareness at times regarding social situations, but reading back every message we've exchanged I can't fathom how I have led him on in any way, or hinted that I wanted a relationship with his man. I have always been polite, jokey but not flirtatious, I wouldn't even really know how to start flirting with someone!

He has never called me 'Missy' or acted this strangely before so I thought perhaps he had messaged the wrong person, but after asking him if he was serious it seems he actually -has- on a mad whim booked a hotel, presumably just for him, but worst case scenario he expects to get me in it, doesn't he?

I've spent hours laying in bed now trying to draft a succinct but not unkind message that will get me out of this, I already have plans on the weekend and even if I was free, I don't think I would feel comfortable on a date with a 52 year old, he's older than my own father. It just feels very forced and like maybe he thinks I'll just go along with it?

If anyone wiser than me can come up with something, I'd be incredibly grateful. I was pretty sure he was just a genuine friendly person, but surely him booking a stay in a town he's never been to before, in a country he's never set foot in, to meet a 22 year old vulnerable adult is a red flag?

BoreOfWhabylon Fri 13-Oct-17 02:29:29

* I already have plans on the weekend and even if I was free, I don't think I would feel comfortable on a date with a 52 year old, he's older than my own father.*

This. Tell him this.

Slaylormoon Fri 13-Oct-17 02:36:42

It's probably that easy isn't it? I'm just worried that I'll get a an influx of nasty messages because he's angry that his money has gone to waste, or that he'll come anyway and turn up where I'm staying (easy to find the halls with a Google search) etc.
There's always the chance he won't but then I didn't think he was the type that would book a visit so randomly either.

BoreOfWhabylon Fri 13-Oct-17 02:39:17

If you get nasty messages or he turns up at halls you call the police.

Just send the message and block him.

You don't owe him anything.

SleepingStandingUp Fri 13-Oct-17 02:39:53

I already have plans that weekend that are taking me out of town - I really wish you had waited for a reply before booking
At that point I would invent a boyfriend to be busy with.

Is he from your home country or from a third country

Slaylormoon Fri 13-Oct-17 02:46:07

You're right about not owing him anything Bore, I don't know why I feel like I do, it feels like it's probably because he's older and has a career and I'm only now starting a degree.

We're both from England Sleeping.

I'm going to message him and tell him I won't be booking anywhere for dinner, because I won't be able to make a dinner on the weekend, how can I word it so that it points out that even if I could make it, I would still not like to meet him? Or do I block him after and assume that's the end of it?

SleepingStandingUp Fri 13-Oct-17 02:54:43

I'd say you can't make it and insinuate you are away so you don't get the "well what about or before your ". See what he says. If he suggests another date tell him you are happy to talk online but you aren't looking to meet up in real life as you're so busy with Uni life. He MAY take the hint and it doesn't have to get messy. If he's an arse just block him

Cricrichan Fri 13-Oct-17 02:57:45

Tell him just that, that you've got plans and that he was ridiculous booking stuff before checking. Tell him that he's older than your father, have never considered him as anything more than someone with a mutual hobby and then block him. He sounds dodgy op and the reason he didn't wait for you to confirm is because he knew full well you'd say no but if he booked it he hoped to guilt you into meeting him.

Slaylormoon Fri 13-Oct-17 03:01:16

You're right Cricrichan, the more I re-read it now I've typed it all out the more I can see a sinister side to it that I just didn't consider before.

sykadelic Fri 13-Oct-17 03:07:41

I'd reply and tell him you have plans this weekend that can't be changed (tickets purchased etc) but would be free between X and Y. Point him to some websites that outline fun activities. Look up the weather perhaps and remind him to bring certain clothes for the weather. Tell him you feel bad (as I would anyway) that he's coming to visit when you already have plans and you hope he's planned other things to do.

I don't think it's a date and I wouldn't treat it like a date. He hasn't asked you to date him, he's asked to have dinner with you. I think he's lonely and would like a friend.

Do you have a friend who would be willing to come to? Make it a group thing to make it more comfortable for you?

Littlefrogletx Fri 13-Oct-17 03:07:54

He has been totally inappropriate, do not feel bad about this.
Tell him you are busy, block him anyway.
It's really not normal behaviour, dont feel bad about this.
try to get some sleep and don't beat yourself up

sykadelic Fri 13-Oct-17 03:08:55

I'd perhaps even drop a "plans with my boyfriend this weekend" in there if you're really unsure if he thinks it's a date.

Schmoopy Fri 13-Oct-17 03:11:33

I agree with the others. I have AS too and you will get better at this sort of thing as the years go by. I'm in my 40s and almost have a handle on it.

The one thing I have learnt is that much older men are rarely friendly because they want to be your friend.

And that if someone behaves in a way that makes you feel uncomfortable and fearful of asserting yourself then you absolutely must assert yourself.

A person who has your best interests at heart won't mind if there has been a misunderstanding.

WellThisIsShit Fri 13-Oct-17 03:13:18

Agree with the other posters. You have no responsibility to him, although he's tried his best to make you feel like you have to agree to this plan he's foisted on you.

I'd write back something like 'oh dear, what a shame you didn't wait to hear back from me, as I'm busy this weekend, and in general'.

Then don't respond to any more messages, as he's bound to try and brow beat you into submission. What an unpleasant man.

Slaylormoon Fri 13-Oct-17 03:14:06

Sykadelic I don't think I'll go as far as planning him a nice activity filled day out but I will send him a link to the local cinema if you think that would help.

The reason I got the 'date' vibe was because he put a ;) after mentioning he had booked the hotel which seemed out of place because he usually just puts smile.

Slaylormoon Fri 13-Oct-17 03:17:05

Thanks Schmoopy, comforting to hear there's the potential that navigating these things gets easier with experience.

WellThisIsShit + Littlefrogletx thank you for your comments, I was worried I was overreacting.

BrokenBattleDroid Fri 13-Oct-17 03:19:16

He doesn't know where you live presumably? Or what you look like? Basically, can you end your chats with him and be confident that he doesn't know where to find you (not that I especially think he'd come looking for you, just to feel completely safe).

Schmoopy Fri 13-Oct-17 03:20:07

sykadelic he is an adult. She doesn't have to suggest alternative ways he can soend his time, nor check out the weather and suggest clothing options.

He's 52, he'll be capable of doing both of those things himself.

At 52, he will also be aware that it is not 'the done thing' to book flights/accommodation with the intention of meeting someone 30 years younger than himself when this hasn't been discussed or agreed.

I think she needs to protect herself by not being available to him at all. Once he suspects her boundaries are easily manipulated he'll push for more.

Slaylormoon Fri 13-Oct-17 03:23:23

BrokenBattleDroid he's seen a face pic but only the one cropped profile pic on the app, which makes it even weirder thinking about it. + As I said earlier he knows I live in halls, though I don't want to hype it up like he's going to come after me or something, its just he's already done some pretty strange things by booking this trip so you can see why it's a worry.

GoldfishCrackers Fri 13-Oct-17 03:36:08

He asked you before about meeting up and you said no.
He’s now (allegedly) made arrangements and spent money on getting flights and hotel without confirming that a) you’ve changed your mind about meeting him and b) you’re free. And now told, not asked, you to book dinner.
This is not normal behaviour. It appears to be to try to manipulate and guilt and railroad you into going on a dinner date (at the very least) with him.
Predatory people test your boundaries to see if you can be made to do things you don’t want to do.
Don’t tie yourself in knots trying not to hurt his feelings; be clear that you won’t be meeting him. “Sorry I’m not free this weekend, and I’m busy with my studies for the foreseeable.” If you’re worried he might become abusive, all the more reason not to put yourself in his presence. Call the police if he shows up.

Slaylormoon Fri 13-Oct-17 03:44:03

Ty for your insight Goldfish.

I've messaged him, "It doesn't look like I'll be avaliable at all this weekend, sorry."

Didn't mention a fake boyfriend, something about that would feel like he would be respecting another man's claim on me more than my own decision not to want to meet him iyswim.

Absolutely shattered so going to get some sleep, will update when I check for a reply in the morning.

arousingcheer Fri 13-Oct-17 03:48:11

OP the 'we' thing you picked up on is mentioned by Gavin deBecker in The Gift of Fear, someone just posted about it recently.

He gives an example of a stranger getting into a conversation with a woman (maybe at a supermarket?), mentioning the fact that she has bought cat food and saying something like 'We should get home and feed that cat' or 'We've got a hungry cat to feed' to imply a shared interest/concern, as though you made the decision together. (Someone else may be able to quote it properly.)

OP this is not a simple misunderstanding, it's nasty, predatory behaviour. Consider that maybe the reason you both 'shared' this interest is because he saw an opportunity to manipulate you. If it's feasible I'd also tell the folk who run the forum where you met.

The reason you feel guilty is because he understands that a nice young woman with manners won't want to offend him and he's counting on that so you'll end up in his bed. I remember years ago being in a pub and an old fella pestering me to buy me a drink and when I finally obliged because I ran out of ways to say no politely (and I imagine he hung around until I'd finished the drink I'd bought myself) he plonked himself down and propositioned me, then when I said no (horrified, he must have been 60) he pestered me to pay for the drink - a Coke! - that he'd pestered me to buy. I had been sitting there quitely enjoying a drink and was made to feel unsafe and unwelcome. Men like this ruin public spaces for women.

I can't tell you how cross I feel on your behalf. What a complete dick.

Tell him whatever you like, or don't reply, block him, whatever works for you, but don't waste another minute on worrying about how to break the news to him. He may well turn nasty but this is how he is, the nice part was just an act. Focus on protecting yourself. You don't need to read or respond to anything but please do not meet him and if you do reply tell him not to contact you again. Don't be drawn into a discussion about it. This is not normal behaviour for a 52yo.

Sorry this is so long, I am just so cross for you!

arousingcheer Fri 13-Oct-17 03:49:34

Sorry, cross-post. Good for you OP. Hope you get some rest now.

ownedbySWD Fri 13-Oct-17 03:53:51

You've definitely made the right choice. I agree with pp that a 50 year old man doesn't need "friendship" from a university student ... He's manipulating you. Probably has had practice.

LilyMcClellan Fri 13-Oct-17 04:22:59

As a 42-year-old female, I can’t imagine any platonic reason to try to make friends with a 22-year-old man online and then spring a surprise cross-country visit on him. Even more so for a man a decade older doing it to a young woman. Just no.

You’ve been far to polite with your “It doesn’t look like I’ll be available” line. What you should say is “We didn’t discuss you coming to visit. You suggested it and I declined. That still stands. I’m not going to have dinner with you, nor meet up, and it was extremely presumptuous of you to book a flight without waiting to hear if I wanted you to come.”

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