No Reservations
04/09/2010 - 10:46
Anonymous

How's this for a story?

An old friend got in touch out of the blue because she had a guy for me. That alone was newsworthy, but the thing that I could really write home about was the fact that this guy and I seemed to really click. And I mean, really! We had so much to say to each other on our first date that for a moment there I dared to think that maybe, possibly, I had even met someone.

So how to explain why, just hours before what would have been our second date, he called to cancel? And why he cancelled again on the rescheduled date? And why he seemed so surprised when I said I couldn't juggle everything around again to try to schedule yet another date, which, deep down, I wasn't even so sure he would keep?

In other words: We never went out. And he never called or emailed to apologize or to try to woo me back.

What's really sad, more than just the fact that a possibility presented and then removed itself before it even had time to take root, was that the longer I'm in this game, the more I second guess myself. Because even though I know that I would never cancel on someone twice in a row - the only exception being some kind of act of God - I was embarrassed to admit to our mutual friend what had happened. I was worried that I would be the one scrutinized. And I just can't stomach it anymore. The suggestion that I, the single woman, didn't try hard enough. Or wasn't open enough. Or wasn't accessible enough. I've even had people suggest that perhaps a guy didn't call because he was picking up on my ambivalence buried deep down even if I had clearly told him I was interested in going out again.

It's a vicious cycle. Because the longer I'm single, the more my defenses are down, and the more I seem to need outside validation. But the more I need my friends' validation, especially the ones already paired off, the less they are able to give it. Because when they hear me feeling dejected or upset they just want to encourage me to try again! To call that guy who never called. To be open to men who for whatever reason aren't open to me.

So what I really need to do is to listen to my own counsel. And what my counsel tells me is that a man who doesn't have the decency to keep his dates with me is not just a man who is not interested, but also one who is not worthy.

Read Abigail's The Matchup column here

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Wow! I just joined the 21st century and am reading all of this now. Thanks to everyone for taking the time to read my blog and for sending me such thoughtful responses. Definitely food for thought! And thanks, also, for the commenter who urged people to ply me with flowers on Shabbat. Now that's what I'm talking about....
I had a similar thing happen to me (as I am sure many many single women out there have experienced). And I felt truly discouraged. My main girl friend told me if I had any pride or self-respect I should forget him and be glad of it. And while he had broken the dates, I did leave the door open. Well, I was not very warm when he cancelled ("I understand, have a nice life" was pretty much what I remember was the gist of my response) but I didn't completely slam the door closed-I never refused a date. But he never rescheduled after the second cancellation-so I guess I didn't even get that option. And since the date itself had ended on such a positive note I had a hard time understanding what really happened. I wanted at least the chance for closure even, just for my own peace of mind so that I wouldn't be wondering what if for who knows how long. I have to admit-I really did like him alot-and after the countless uninteresting men..sometimes it is that one last straw that breaks whatever strength is needed just to be in the dating game. I went on a few dates after that but my heart just wasn't in it. So I took a break. A 6 month break almost. I got busy with work, and all sorts of excuses. And I beat myself up with all the same worries you mentioned, maybe I had somehow not been clear enough that I was interested..maybe I shouldn't have been so cold when he cancelled the second time. Was I at fault for letting my happily coupled girlfriend influence me and somehow let "the one" slip by? Well, its easy to second guess and wish things had gone differently. So, if I had read your column two weeks ago that is where this story would end. But the most unlikely thing happened. He got in touch out of the blue after all this time. Asked me out. And before my friend could shame me for jumping at the chance I said yes. I told myself..this is for closure. Now I'd at least get an idea of what happened. And he was just like I remembered. Not Mr. Perfect, which was probably why I hadn't turned into a stalker. And I am not sure now if he is really even looking to be in a relationship. But he was still the really nice person that seemed like we had all the right things in common and for me anyway-it all still just clicked. He even said that he wanted to send flowers before our date but didn't have my home address (I try to practice safe-dating and don't give out that information). After some time had passed with what seemed to be another very enjoyable date-I decided to just come right out and ask what had happened. I had wanted closure for so long. And it was completely not as I had imagined. I had dreamed up all sorts of ways that I somehow had turned him off, or reasons that he had not been interested to begin with. But he talked about how he felt bad for not being able to meet me those times, and for not being in touch, that as time passed he felt even worse, and that time had gotten away from him and then it was too long and he gave up the idea. He even repeated things we had talked about and seemed to have even thought of me. So. When I got home one thing I was so glad about was that I had at least gotten the one answer I really was curious to know: was I at fault somehow for pushing him away by my cold response to his cancellation, or not showing enough interest. I think my view now is that he is at a different stage in dating, he is busy, not looking to settle down this minute, and he had fond memories of a nice time talking to me such that even after the embarrassment of not having been in touch-he still took a chance. I am not sure he is right for me anymore, but either way I don't think my behavior had any affect on what occured. Since then, we have not had another date (he travels alot for work and hasn't been in Israel, so I have no idea what will happen. We exchanged a few emails but that was over a week ago now). And I have no idea if there will be another date even. But for the first itme in months, I went on a date this week, and I think that is the end of my self-declared break. Anyway..why did write all that? There was a comment from someone about how you had reacted in a judgemental way and that somehow you were at fault. I think if a man cancels twice, he knows it is wrong-and no matter if you slam the door or leave it open he knows it. The only question is what he does afterwards. Wooing at that point is appropriate if he is really interested, or at the very least an acknowlegdment and an apology. If the guy can't see he was rude or hurtful, then second-guessing what your response should have been or shouldn't have been would not have made a bit of difference. Trust your instincts! I don't know yet if this was just closure for me or if there will be more to my story, but I do think that having someone be rude and letting them pretend not to understand what they have done is not the answer. I love your column btw-thanks!
Abigail, your columns speak to my heart. I am so sorry for the thoughtless actions and words of married people and single men. Thank you for being there to teach us about consideration of those who are different from, or in different circumstances than ourselves. I admire your open and honest confrontation of your situation. I really resent the advice that seems to say you are either incompetent to handle it or that it is your fault and you should be doing something - anything - to change it. I agree with you that there is something lacking in a relationship where one person breaks a date twice in a row, and then doesn't come back with a blooming excuse, and maybe two dozen roses to boot. I agree there is not much future in contorting to fit into an imaginary schedule of someone who clearly is not accustomed to accommodating (potentially significant) other people. I do not at all fault you for what someone might call whining or complaining. I do call it honest confrontation of not only an untenable situation, but others' unhelpful responses to your situation. I would love to give you the piece of advice that would change the world for you, but then I would be acting like maybe you are incompetent to handle it on your own! So this is not advice. Just an offer of friendship, along with thanks for your courage. And any of you single men and women out there who are feeling anything like what Abigail is feeling, why not surround her this sabbath with flowers, or a cheese, or a loaf of challah, or a basket of fruit, or some lox, or a musical instrument, or a bottle of wine, and have a celebration with her of who you are, who she is, and where you all are at this moment in eternity. If you can all come together with her in this celebration, think how much joy you will add to the world! Now that will be some kind of tikkun ha-olam! [for Abigail, you may contact me, if you choose, at http://sabbathjourney.wordpress.com ].
Let's see. He canceled once, and the date was rescheduled by mutual agreement to what was supposedly a better time. He canceled a second time. When doing so, it sounds as if he was again willing to reschedule to a better time. At that point, your saying "I couldn't juggle everything..." in response was as much, or more, of a signal of YOUR lack of interest than his two cancellations in a row was of HIS lack of interest. And when YOU signaled YOUR lack of interest, there was no reason for HIM to apologize (no reason in his own mind, at least). YOU decided that it is unacceptable to "cancel on someone twice in a row" and his not having "the decency to keep his dates with me" makes him "not worthy." You decided that, but is he really indecent and unworthy? Maybe, maybe not. Don't get me wrong, canceling dates can be a coward's ploy when one doesn't have the guts to come out and say he's no longer interested and hopes the other person will "take a hint." On the other hand, it's sometimes a ploy when one IS interested, to avoid the appearance of eagerness and test the other person's resolve by making oneself unavailable (a best-selling advice book for women many years ago recommended just that). Or, believe it or not, canceling twice is sometimes genuinely necessary and not a ploy at all. We may never know which was true, because, even though you "seemed to really click," you put a halt to it on an issue of procedure, or protocol, or whatever you want to call it. I can't say whether that was right or wrong, but it's important to understand what really happened, and whether it ought to be repeated in the future, or whether some change is called for.
Hi Abigail, I really enjoyed your article. I sincerely believe you did the "right" thing for YOU. Doing things to please people only leads to resenting them later down the line. If this man did not desire a 2nd date with you, and it was quite obvious ( in my opinion) I felt it was to your benefit and "well-being" not to "pursue" him. KEEP YOUR DIGNITY. Your intuition is correct. Trust yourself. When a man is deeply attracted to a woman he is "RELENTLESS" when he pursues her. Believe that!!!! Even the most shyest guy will "break-out " of his natural state of introvertism (if there is such a word) and pursue like a mad bull after the target of his affection!! In conclusion, continue to trust your self, be yourself, (nothing wrong in that) and wait for the best guy for your personality. You seem like a smart girl to me. All my best.
Love is not about counsel. You have to wait until your soulmate comes to you. You don't have to look for one or reason about it. Love does not come from your brain, it comes from the heart.
You mean this only happened to you once? Happens to guy all the time. Means he's dating others at the same time. Get over it and move on: find another guy or two to go out with.