Unforgettable, that’s what you are. Well, actually, it seems some of you aren’t.
Up until recently, I had been exchanging emails with a guy I met at work…we are both huge movies fans, shy, nervous around the opposite sex, etc. It’s like my own little Nicholas Sparks novel….things seemed pretty perfect. Of course after almost a whole week of awesome emails, he just stopped replying. I didn’t think much of it because I realize that he has a life, but a few days went by and I discovered that he stopped emailing me because he met a girl at a wedding. I wasn’t expecting (hoping…but not expecting) to go out with him, but I was heartbroken that he just sort of blew me off. My question is, why do you think he just stopped talking to me like that? Give it to me straight, I can take it and maybe just maybe forget about the one guy who I just can’t forget.
— Hoping (But Not Expecting) In the Workplace
Tess: Dear Hoping: I have sympathy for you because you have been given The Cold Shoulder, that cheapest and most often used of all the weapons in a player’s arsenal. Why did he stop responding to you, even though you were just beginning to get to know each other? Because he doesn’t have any interest in you as a friend, and was only trying to see if the dating thing would pan out. And now that he’s got that base covered by the girl he met at the wedding, he doesn’t need to continue being polite to you. Since explaining this to you (even in a nice way) makes him squirm just thinking about it, he’s chosen to be a wimp and just say nothing. My advice to you is to treat this just like any friendship you’ve initiated and haven’t gotten much response on: give up, get over it. If you’ve offered someone your time and friendship and they’ve treated it as something to be ignored, you’re lucky to have escaped a relationship with such a careless soul. Of course you should still be friendly and polite when you see him, but since he’s made it abundantly clear that he won’t be putting out any effort to get to know you better, he shouldn’t take up any more of your time.
Jack: It’s not that this guy is a wimp (unless he mentioned the words “Nicholas Sparks” in one of those emails, because then yes, he’s a wimp) but the fact of the matter is, he forgot about you because of this new chick. I frequently go the cold shoulder route when I don’t really want to hang out with a girl anymore. While it’s an easy and a somewhat bitch-move on my part, it’s usually not intentional. I just tend to forget and move on. Yes, I’m an asshole when it comes to breaking up with girls, but at least this way I can avoid all of the ugliness that coincides with a split, and the girl can always wonder what it was that she did wrong, without ever getting a clear response. So those are good things…right?
A side note: Comparing an email exchange to your “own little Nicholas Sparks novel” tells me two things: You’re delusional and that you might be expecting a bit too much out of this whole dating and love thing. Let’s work on getting you a date with a real live human being first. After that your love affair can involve renovating houses and making out in the rain and long walks on the beach and other Nic Sparks chicanery (I had to Google “The Notebook” before I wrote those last few sentences).
I’ve been seeing this guy for three months now, and it’s been great. I can’t find a flaw with this guy. That is, until the other night. We were engaged in a romping act of the sexual variety when nearing the climax, he moaned out “Lydia!” The problem is, my name is Lisa. He had mentioned that he had a long term relationship that he had gotten out of a few months before we met. Her name was Lydia. I immediately stopped the good-lovin’ and got pissed. Should I be worried? Was this some type of Freudian slip? Has he been imagining that I’m this “Lydia” girl when we have sex? He denies it all and says that he was in the moment, couldn’t tell his ass from his elbows and it was simply a stupid mumbling mistake. What the hell is up, Robot Hearts?
–Definitely Not Lydia in RVA
Jack: Hmmmm, this is a good one. First, think of it this way: Have you ever imagined the person you were sleeping with was someone else? Even for just a second? I’d be willing to bet that you have. Now the question is, how often is this “great” guy imagining that your naked visage is that of his ex-girlfriend “Lydia”? You will never know because he’ll never admit it. So where does that leave you?
Well, you gotta sit him down and find out exactly where he stands. Does he still have feelings for this Lydia chick, or is he all about you? Even if he says you (which he will), it will take a long time to get over his faux-pas, especially when you decide to let him bang you again.
While I’ve never actually called a girl by the wrong name in bed, I have fantasized that she was a different girl. In fact my mind wonders almost every time I have sex, but it always goes back to the girl that is underneath me, or above me, or on the sex swing, or wrapped in the dead camel carcass, etc. I’m pretty sure every guy does this every once and awhile. In the end, I think you just need to accept the things you can’t control and simply “don’t ask, don’t tell.” Unless that idiot mentions any other girls name in bed again, because then you get a free pass to punch him squarely in the ball-sack and get the hell out of there.
Tess: Why, Jack! Did you bring the phrase “dead camel carcass” into this sexually-related conversation just to make me gag, or was it a happy coincidence? I knew for some time that you and I would need to find a problem phrase — much like “practice holes” for you and Susan — but I confess I didn’t think it would involve the body of an innocent desert-going mammal. You really know how to make a girl feel special.
Anyway, Not Lydia: Some of us are just terrible with names. It takes me way longer than three months to remember the names of most people, even ones that I see often. I can speak for the rest of the chronic name-forgetters when I say that whether we remember your name in no way reflects our level of affection for you. I realize that this happened to you during a moment of particular intimacy, but I don’t think it means you should cue the fit of rage. In fact, I’d say that freaking out over a one-time blunder indicates some insecurity on your part. “Of course he must love this mysterious Lydia more than me; I’m so boring / uncool / whatever enough to hold a man’s attention,” and so on, and so forth. Don’t sell yourself short. If his mistakes are few and far between, you are obliged to give him the benefit of the doubt.
Now if the Lydia problem starts to occur more often, and he makes no attempt to apologize or bring up the subject, then yes, it’s time for a chat. Like Jack says, you should ask him if he still has feelings for Lydia…whoever that is.
Would you like to be similarly fulfilled?? Send your relationship questions to firstname.lastname@example.org and start the argument. Also, check out past columns at Robot Hearts, keep tabs on Jack at Jack Goes Forth, and see what Tess is up to over at Parasol Party.