Keeping It Casual

QUESTION: Dear Chuck and Garland!

What a great website I just ran across! I had no idea something like this existed. I’ve only seen women hosting such pages.

OK, here’s the thing:

12 years ago, my piano class visits HIS piano class in another city. I don’t see any of these folks again – until one year ago: I meet HIM, the most gifted pianist of that class, at a summer party and HE REMEMBERS WHAT I PLAYED 12 YEARS AGO!! I had long forgotten it myself. We talk all night, we dance, I cuddle his arm, his beard, we walk home through the night and end up on my coach (no sex) where we talk until well into the next day.

Later on, we have an amazing 12 hours date and he asks me to spend the night with him. I say no, as I’ve already explained my moral standards to him (but he did get a kiss later!) He says it has been his best date ever.

He’s 31, I’m 33. I’ve never been in a serious relationship. He once had a girlfriend and moved in with her but got enough after 3 weeks… He’s told me he sees other girls occasionally, I’ve told him I’m not actively looking for someone. If we bump into each other, he’ll usually see to it that we end up in a good pizza place or something. But he seldom plans anything with me. When I occasionally make suggestions – either spontaneously or a few days ahead – he excuses himself (when I call) or does not respond (to texts, e-mails). But a few weeks ago he started to take some more initiative and we met a couple of times again.

He’s very attractive, intelligent and popular, yet admits freely to me that his confidence is up and down. That sex is (or at least was) important to him as self-affirmation. When I pay him a compliment, he seems to really take it to heart. At times, we’ve had these exceptionally close conversations. At other times, he seems to be lost in his own world. Every time I decide to forget about him forever, we’ll bump into each other again. When I think he must hate me because he’s ignored me for so long he’ll invite me for a gathering or something and be friendly and sweet towards me, stirring my feelings once again. He's the one to bring up topics like marriage, children, death at times when he feels comfortable.

About 4 weeks ago, I wrote him an e-mail, telling him that I care about him, value our friendship, admit a romantic note to it and wonder where it will take us, despite the potential major obstacle of me being a Christian and him being an atheist (we’ve discussed our different views in this respect very openly many times). I simply wanted to let him know where I stand, as we've had this thing going now for a year. (Yes, it would have been better to talk, but I’m so much better at stating myself clearly in writing; besides, we haven’t been in a private place for ages). He’s still not responded to this, but has to other casual topics we’re occasionally discussing on e-mail. Today: I happened to run into him and he stopped me, asking how I was, talking very nicely to me – then said bye.

So dear guys, forget about our differences in faith for now (WE have to sort that one out). But how can I even get him to talk? Is he just polite to me? Other plausible explanations? I want to understand him!! Sorry this got a little long.

Thanks in advance for a few thoughts on the man’s mind!

GARLAND: Thanks for thinking of us with your question and situation.  

Let me just jump right into the middle of your question first -  when you say, "[W]hen I think he must hate me because he’s ignored me for so long..." I just want you to know that it is rarely that deep with guys who haven't turly dated you or been physically intimate with you.   Talking about someone "hating" you because they've ignored you - in my opinion - is how a woman sees a situation but when you are seeing this in a guy, I think you may be way off the mark.  He's just not that into you at that moment and there is probably no hate ad no real deep emotions involved - he's just not giving your texts or calls any attention.  He probably just assumes that you'll be there in the following week or month.  I always hate to sound harsh, but Chuck and I try to be pretty straight and we don't want our advice to get lost in fluffy - politically correct commentary.  

Telling you that sex is "self affirming" to him made me smile.  I don't know if that is the coolest line or lamest line I've ever heard.  Probably the latter, but it tickled me.  

His assuming that you will be there in the coming weeks or months is not anything sinister or untrue on his part - you were still there when he called you back right?  This is where I have to let you know that this guy is all over the place.  He's either a turbulent emotional wreck waiting to go nuclear, or he's a Master Gamesman, dangling what seems to be a ton of frailties in front of you with the hopes that you'll either give in to him on a different level or you'll just stay with him, buying in to his drama.   Frankly, I don't know which it is.  His love-you, like-you, call-you, don't call you - approach seems like someone who may be emotionally unavailable to you [or anyone] and unwilling to change.  It just seems like deeper issues may reside in this chap and he may not be a stock you want to invest in. 

 If he isn't emotionally unstable, then he's just not really feeling you right now.  I hate to see guys spoonfeeding their time and attention to women. DON'T GET ME WRONG, some women do this to guys too, but as far as your question goes... I hate to see him doing this to you. You are really hanging on too tight to this guy,  If you're satifsfied with a mere text or a single call or a good deep-dish pepperoni slice once or twice a month from this guy, you are most likely short changing yourself if you are looking for a boyfriend or serious relationship.

I don't know what his issue is, but he's not giving you a lot of himself and he may not be as excited about you as you are with him.  That's not a crime, but you have to decide what you are worth and what you will and won't put up with.  There is NO RULE that says you have to answer his calls, read his texts or make time for him when he sees fit to grace you with his presence.   

Good luck with whatever you decide.  

CHUCK: This is clearly a case of two people who are in no way matched in their level of commitment. This guy runs hot and cold with you, first of all, because he can, and, second of all, he's most likely seeing someone else during the rest of his time.

Garland is 100% correct, when he dismisses your suggestion that this man must hate you. With guys like this one, feelings rarely run this deep. More likely, he just doesn't think too much about you at all. Otherwise, he wouldn't be able to be so inconsiderate of your feelings. If a guy hates a girl, though, he just will cut off all contact completely. So, at least you have that comfort.

But not much else. He seems to resist every effort that you have been making to move this relationship foreward even one inch. Maybe you were hesitant to discuss your differences of faith with him because of nervousness, but it seems as though you have more differences than just religion, which I think could at least be worked through.

You need to get to brass tacks with this man, and ask him if he sees any future between you at all. At least then, you can get things out in the open, and you don't need to wonder.


The Road to The Moral High Ground - might be paved by jerks.


M boyfriend of 4 years broke up with me after he caught me Texting a guy. To him, Texting is as good as cheating and he cannot bring himself to trust me again. We have been through many ups and downs these 4 years and what we had was really good. I deeply regret for throwing that away and has been trying to get back since. When I text that guy, I don't have that kind of feelings Towards him like my ex bf has said. I swear. But he refused to believe.

Occasionally, he will call or text to see how I am doing but yet, when I asked for a patch back, he does not want.

It kills me to be in this cycle. Is there hope for reconciliation or should I just cut it off and spare myself the heart aches?

GARLAND: Thanks for your question.

Your ex bf calling or texting means one of two things two me - (1) he cares about you as a person ONLY and he just wants to make sure things are okay in your life or (2) he's still chaffed about your breakup and wants to tease you periodically with the hope that maybe he wants you back only to smack you down and say he's not interested.

With regards to the former, he could have honorable and friendly intentions and he may still like to hear your voice once in a while and just truly wants to say, "Hello." While this is sweet, it could be very negative in the long run - I'll explain why in a minute.

Now, as far as the latter goes - with him just being mean, I'm bothered that this could very well be the case.  I think that he may still be pissed [or hurt] that you were texting another guy.  Now keep in mind, he could have a new girlfriend right now, or at a minimum be trying to get a new girlfriend, but he still wants to keep that wound open with you.  He knows that EVERY SINGLE TIME he calls or texts you - YOU ARE REMINDED THAT YOUR RELATIONSHIP ENDED BECAUSE OF SOMETHING THAT YOU DID.  It's not my place to say what was right or wrong on your part or his, but part of me is bothered by the fact that he may be trying to "play up" the assumed moral highground on his part by shoving your failed relationship back in your face every month or so.  Frankly, I don't like it.

I can't say for sure if there is a chance for you two in the future or not, but I strongly recommend that you take the... "If you love something, set it free..." approach.  The next time he calls or texts, just tell him that this has to be the last time he calls you.  Tell him that you appreciate him wanting to check on you, but your relationship is over and there is no need to reopen that emotional box every few months. Make sure he understands that you don't want to hear from him again, no calls, no texts, no E-Mails and unfriend him on Facebook.  This will take any moral superiority from him and force him to either determine he does want you back or it will force him to stop playing games with your heart and your head.  You have to take that control from him and be prepared to move on completely.  But make sure you tell him - no more contact.  He'll either never call you again; call you and act like a rude jerk; or call you and ask for another chance.  Either way - YOU ARE TAKING CONTROL BACK.

Good luck!

CHUCK: I find myself in partial disagreement with Garland. I don't necessarily think that your ex is trying to lord some moral superiority over you. It could be that\, when he broke up with you, he went farther than he meant to go, regrets it, but can't bring himself to take you back. He may have staked out a position for himself that he doesn't care for, but pride won't let him take it back.

He calls you because I think he recognizes he wants you in his life. But when you do the expected thing, and ask to get back together, his walls go up, and all he can think of is how he thinks you've betrayed his trust. But then he calls you again.

I agree with Garland completely that this situation can't continue, though. Nobody wants to feel like a bad person ("I broke his trust, and I'm telling him not to call me!"), but this rending of garments and gnashing of teeth on both your parts needs to end. The next time he should call you, put it to him straight: Can he ever forgive you, and have the relationship with you that you once had? If he can't, then tell him that he needs to put you out of his mind. You both need to finally get out of this cycle and try to find some happiness.


The writing on the internet wall, page... thingy...

QUESTION: Dear Chuck & Garland,

I am 22 and my boyfriend is 23. We started our relationship out in November of 2011. So it's been a few months now. At first, we spent ALOT of time together we saw each other just about every other day seeing as how he lives walking distance from my house. Lately we haven't been spending much time together and when I ask him he always has something else to do. We are both still enrolled in college so that takes up time too. Neither one of us live on campus. He often uses social networking sites and he is and was very popular with the ladies. He flirts on the Internet and I asked him to stop and he did for awhile but then started back up again. His reasoning was that it's only the Internet and it's not like he's flirting with these girls to their faces. Then he went on to say he doesn't even notice when he's flirting sometimes. I definitely went off in him about the last statement. He will stop flirting and then start again. When he came over one morning I noticed he was texting a lot while sitting right next to me. He picked up his phone one time and I noticed it was a woman's name he was texting. One of the texts said "the thought of you caused it"... That was all I saw. Ever since then my mind has been going insane wondering if he has someone else. Also, just last night I told him I wanted to take him out somewhere and it was my treat for everything and he said he would let me know later. He never got back to me at all. So I told him not to worry about me asking him anywhere ever again because I found out he had been out drinking with his friends. I don't know what to do. I care deeply for him but I feel like I am being taken for granted. Am I wrong for wanting to break up with him?

Fed Up

GARLAND:: Hey there, Fed Up - thanks for your question.

Reading your question, it doesn't seem to me that you "don't know what to do."  Your boyfriend doesn't sound like an evil person or a bad guy, he just sounds like a young man that is not ready for a real commitment. He's 23 and you're 22... in "relationship ages" he's 19 and you're 26.  What I mean by that is - he's a lot younger than you when it comes to the maturity and desire it takes to be in a serious commited relationship.

The fact that he doesn't even realize when he's flirting on social media and he's stupid enough to text-up another woman right in front of you confirms 100% that he is far too juvenile to even bother with.  Like I said, he's not evil he's just childish and years and miles away from being ready to be a committed man. Don't feel guity about pounding sand and walking away from this guy.  The writing is on the wall and it reads - LEAVE NOW, DON'T LOOK BACK!

Best wishes to you.

CHUCK:  Always in the interest of answering the question that is posed: No, you are not wrong for wanting to break up with your boyfriend. Primarily, because it seems that he's already broken up with you. He is not spending time with you, he doesn't return your messages, and he's hitting it off big time with whoever on the text. He's already moved on, but hasn't shown you the common courtesy to say the words.

In the only defense I can come up with for him, he is 23 years old. The vast majority of guys that age lack the emotional maturity to settle down with one woman. Especially when he thinks he has other options elsewhere. And unfortunately, a key component of that immaturity is dishonesty and selfishness. He's investigating his options, but he has no interest in being truthful with you about it. He tells you, "No, I won't text no other women anymore." But he keeps doing it. And claiming not to notice is he's flirting is sufficient fertilizer with which to build a sizable explosive device. Come on.

The ultimate display of disrespect, though, is texting some chick right in your presence. People talk a lot about "the Game," in relationships. The Game is rarely played this shoddy. I'm blowing the whistle on this fool , and sending him to the penalty box.

You're 22. You've got no reason to be wasting your time with this liar. Let his lack of contact with you be the last word on the subject. Garland's all-caps statement above goes double for me. Enjoy your life.