Straight Guy Desperate to Know What He's Doing Wrong

Comments

1

L-dub, you also might just be attracted to psychos. Some people are. Definitely explore both possibilities.

2

Any chance the first woman miscommunicated something about that sexual event to a friend, who then spread it around town (and/or the internet) as if it were truth? That's what it sounds like to me. Otherwise I can't understand a disconnect this large.

3

"I spent my late teens and early 20s as a full blown Nice Guy. Not all the way to Incel territory, but my internal monologue about women was pretty bad and generally I was just trying to get them to sleep with me. That lead to a relationship where I was physically, mentally, emotionally, and sexually abused for over a year."

Who did this thing where "nice guy" become synonymous with "trying to trick women to sleep with me"? If your niceness is motivated by what you'll get out of it, you're only being as nice as the form letter you got from the credit card company congratulating you on being pre-approved. If you're going to be nice, do it because you think a person is a peer and, despite what society may say, a human being not fundamentally dissimilar to you.

The irony is that "I do my best to be "safe," e.g. no unwanted sexual advances, very clear boundaries, respecting friendships." - are now, (I guess thanks to LWs like this one) indistinguishable from self-serving manipulative behavior. Let's also note that this guy was probably relatively successful with his previous 'nice guy' routine, just like men today are successful with their internalized-misandry pro-feminist nice guy routine. It's a fair argument that this guy's routine hasn't changed one bit - it's just the type of 'nice guy' you need to be to try to trick women has shifted, and he has shifted right along with it. Hot tip to everyone out there: If someone is telling you things that you like, there's a 99% chance they're trying to manipulate you. Your coworker, classmate, or stranger on an app/at the bar doesn't know you any better than a rando telemarketer cold calling you.

Gonna need a lot more details on this first post-ex proto girlfriend. Doesn't want to be a side piece, doesn't want to fuck or have family, doesn't want to be friends, and then tried to brow-beat you into fucking her and when you didn't jump on, told all your mutual friends you raped her? Take that shit to the police. If someone's going to fuck with your life that hard, do not feel guilty at all about putting them through the ringer. Make her have to sit down with a pair of police officers and recount the details. Let her out herself in her own lies when the story doesn't add up. That this rumor is out there and you aren't doing anything about it is... well odd to say the least. This should have blown up your friend circle in it's entirety, there really shouldn't be any fence riders. One of you is lying and whoever that is a definitely a POS. Don't roll with Schroedinger's Friendship, folks.

4

1 and #2 - not denying that there are psycho, manipulative women out there, but this guy happened to have interactions with 3 psycho, manipulative women is questionable.

Have to agree with Dan and #3- this guy maybe has incel like attitude. The letter has a Narcissistic almost Joker vibe, without a very clear version of events. No details about the LTR but details about a bad break up after the 1yr. relationship, and you reread that messy timeline? No specifics on the supposed friendly memes and text between LW and co worker? A lot of guys on dating and kink sites are great at following the letter of the law, not the spirit of the law. They send multiple polite "hello, wanna chat?" messages to the same female. If she doesn't answer by the second message than you aren't really respectful of her not being interested in you.
Of course it's possible that some of those guys and the LW just don't get it, they genuinely don't understand a variety of POV, or a female's perspective. This letter and the Savage Lovecast caller mentioned in the last column reminded me of New Yorkers "Cat Person" story and how disheartening it was for me - that my younger self could relate to that story.
Dan's response was honest, constructive, and diplomatic.

5

Disagree with Sporty that the “nice guy” routine was likely to Have been successful. Sounds more like the borderline incel stuff he also described which is notorious for being unsuccessful and then righteously angry, which is where he said he turned the page and got some help.

Going to give you some benefit of the doubt LW. If you are or ever have been tremendously awkward and struggled with women in the past, you may be attracting a type that wants attention, but that’s it. And you’re the doting nice guy who provides it , but maybe you aren’t dating or fucking material for them.

I feel like sometimes the commenters on here all have been having regular sex And leading normal social lives and don’t have enough understanding or empathy for how hard this can be for those who have the struggle— for whatever reason.

It sounds like you’ve take great steps to work on this. Dan’s Idea of a relationship coach is a really good idea. If you ever want to exchange some emails for practice I would also do so happily- hit me up in the comments. I’m off the market though, so it would Just be honest and kindly delivered feedback on your conversational approaches.

It sounds like you’ve been fucked over but you’re clearly missing some piece of the puzzle. I know this sounds like a patronizing question, but are you going for nice women in your respective bracket of attractiveness? I know Part of the incel thing was always going after women on the 8+ scale of attractiveness when the men were realistically 2-4s. The odds of rejection, or shallower interest (using you for cuddles, compliments) rather than REAL dating might be higher.

Did chick number one go out with you in public? Dinner dates? Or was it always sometimes house to cuddle? Your radar needs to learn to pick up normal v not normal relationship behaviors- faster. No matter if it’s them or you, you’ve got to get out of things that aren’t moving in the right direction faster.

Lastly, blanket advice- what i notice uniformly from the “nice guys” of my nerd friend group past- was a complete lack of personhood and autonomy once they started feeling like they had a shot with a woman. Suddenly it was all her interests, her needs, her availability, her timeline.. all in a bid to be gracious but also to get laid, so it’s still kinda “nice guy”behavior, even when the personality type isn’t insidious. Generally, women universally seem to hate this. They want the guy they are with to be a whole person. Opinions, some set in stone. Preferences. Not inclined to switch to whatever she wants to keep her happy. While it seems kind, it sets of this radar that you’re disingenuous. Major mistake. next time, try sticking to your opinions. If you want Chinese food, say it’s what you really want and ask if she’d be cool getting Mexican next time. Tell her you’d really like to watch this movie. Express disagreement with her (respectfully) over something in the news or whatever. Show you are a full human being. Small thing, but can be reflective of a bigger problem and pattern. It would mean you’re still being a “nice guy”— and still have some work to do .

Good luck.

6

One mistake a lot of incel men (and less egregious men) make is they rely on their sex partner for all of their emotional support. That leaves them lonely and desperate when they don't have a sex partner, which is both unattractive and will result in inappropriate behavior.

Build some intimate friendships, preferably with people you never want to sleep with. Aim for 3-7 friends with whom you can discuss your feelings. These should be people with whom you can share vulnerable things, things you are ashamed of, insecurities, etc. They should be people who like you, and share their own insecurities and vulnerable feelings with you.

This will do several things: it will make being single more bearable. It will reduce the pressure on any future relationships. It will build social and emotional skills that you can use in romantic relationships and every other kind of relationship. You'll have people who know you well enough to let you know when you're behaving badly.

The only way to find these friends is to try to build friendships with people you like and see if they respond positively. I have lots of acquaintances who are great friends, but can't be a great close friend to me because they already have as many close friends as they can manage. I tried being friends with them, and then moved on when I realized they didn't have time or emotional space for me. I've also had some really delightful surprises when I've become close to new people who just happened to need more close friends at the time that I met them and was looking for close friendships.

Nobody teaches us how to do this, any more than they teach us how to have a healthy romantic/sexual relationship, but it's extremely important to have healthy, strong, emotionally supportive friendships.

Finally, try group therapy. The therapist moderating the group can help you build better social skills as you interact with other group members. Those skills will be helpful both as you build emotionally supportive friendships, and eventually when you look for a romantic relationship again.

7

The parts that I thought stood out.. Your last ex, what was so big that you couldn't compromise on? Is this ex also the abusive ex? Did you have girlfriends before this one or two? Did or do you have close friends including women friends? Did you just pursue these 2 recent interests, it sounded like you dated the first at least.

With the first, why do you think it was a red flag that she told you that she wanted to date and take it slow? It is weird that she wanted to break up the next day, after making out. Also that you didn't ask why she wanted to wait to have sex, and why she was changing her mind about waiting or about wanting to date altogether, or why your mutual friend thought that a rape had occurred. It may have helped if you had told her that the condoms were actually next to the bed you were just really scared about sex, before she broke up with you.

The weird part about the coworker "pursuit" was that you flirted? with this coworker and told her that you didn't want to ask her out until some indeterminate time later while telling her that you didn't think she had her life figured out either.. or if she declined by saying that she didn't have her life together enough, then it was a rejection, and her next move. I don't know how you asked her out a couple months later, but her speech was weirdly aggressive if you just asked her out for coffee, so you may be attracted to aggressive women. If she had stopped responding to you, then it was aggressive of you to reach out further unless you were trying to understand if she was mad at you in a final message.

It doesn't sound like you can talk about your feelings or ask about your partner's feelings, explain your choices and seek to understand your partner's. Honesty, self awareness, genuine interest, and empathy are important parts of kindness. The awkwardness or messiness or childishness or difficulty is ok and can be charming so long as honesty and kindness are in focus.

8

I find this to be one of the least credible SLOG letters I’ve ever read, obviously excluding the ones that sound fake. The facts just don’t add up, which tells me there’s a hell of a lot more to the story.

9

Wow. Situations like WAIDW's are why I'm still in therapy for service-connected PTSD and remain happily asexual. I would FAR rather be single and be focusing on my own healing than be unhappily coupled (been there, done that).
I have experienced similar deal breaking circumstances (i.e.: physical and psychological abuse to the point of my life being threatened/ het sex partners who wanted to start families SO badly they pushed having kids; I have never wanted to bear children, and don't ever plan to / he was too clingy / he & I couldn't "just be friends").
Good luck, WAIDW. I hope things work out and you can find peace.

10

This is one weird letter. Accused of rape, by some third person. Did he confront that or let it slide.
Is this a #metoo mock or something. Because by this man’s words, these last two women have lied about what he describes his behaviour was.
Not sure how to help LW. Maybe you pick loopy women? Maybe you haven’t told us the whole truth?

11

WAIDW, I think your letter reveals a lot when you say your interests are "man-child" like, and you don't see why anyone would be interested in dating you. If you don't have even a little bit of respect for yourself, then you're not going to have respect for the women who actually like you, and they're going to pick up on that. (It's also possible that you might be attracting women who are attracted to insecurity, and that's not a recipe for anything good.)

If you really think that anyone who wants to date you must be either an idiot or a miracle angel/woman who swoops from the sky willing to ignore all your glaring faults, then you need to work on aspects of your life much more significant than just your texting-with-women skills. Get yourself some hobbies you're proud of. Take a few years to become a person you'd want to date.

And calm your nerves, sir! 30-something isn't old. I've got lots of happy friends who didn't settle down and start families until their 40's. You've got time.

12

I would like to point out that cuddle parties are a non-sexual alternative to sex workers for the touch-deprived of any gender. Generally, they contain a mandatory briefing on consent and boundaries which is useful, even as a standalone.

13

Hmm. Setting aside for a moment LW's self-described negative attitudes towards women in his teen/younger adult years, what I'm reading is one relationship where his partner was abusive, some unknown number of relationships over the intervening decade, a relationship with a possibly asexual woman that fizzled following a weird sexual interaction (and after which a third party, not actually the woman he had been dating, accused him of attempted rape), and a woman who classified asking her out on a date as harassment. Running into a few people who behave oddly (and even a few people who assault one) when dating isn't exactly uncommon, so the issue may be less anything LW is doing than LW over-generalizing a few bad experiences (at least some of which sound potentially traumatic, so that's not an uncommon reaction either).

Getting back to LW's self-identified issues with women, he doesn't seem to be over them. Dating or nothing isn't a red flag, it's perfectly reasonable to decide that you're only interested in someone romantically (else not at all), not platonically. I'm also bringing some of my own baggage along here, but it sounds to me like she sexually assaulted him (and then possibly accused him of rape to cover herself), what with forcing herself on him after he said no to sex and then bailing when he went to get a condom. (The woman who raped me had, on a previous occasion, initiated sexual activity and started genital-genital humping during which I felt increasingly likely to penetrate her, then shut everything down when I said I should grab a condom. Which was fine - I didn't want to have no-condom sex, which she later forced on me, but of course I didnht yet know she would, and she didn't apparently want sex with protection, so stopping was fine. And I'm now realizing she had also refused to do anything other than kiss or have me finger her, citing previous sexual violence as a reason for wanting to date but avoid sexual activity - of any sort that might get me off - except for that time and the time she raped me. Is this a common trauma response? Or an abusive script for women? Holy fuck, she also told me that she thought I had been lying about my very real depression to seem more interesting or something; this could literally be the same woman - the likely age range lines up - and I'm now kicking myself for not reporting her if she made a pattern of this behavior. Predators tend to target vulnerable people, so maybe it's not surprising this guy had multiple abusive girlfriends. I've lost the thread, I'm having a sort of panic response, I'm with friends so no need to worry, but maybe believe victims and our narratives of assault can read as disconnected to outside observers. I have to be done with this for now, Jesus fuck.)

14

Glad you're with friends, John Horstman. So sorry for all that woman put you through.

15

There is a flaw in Dans usual 'you are the common denominator in your lovelife, if you see a pattern the problem is you' theory: less attractive, less confident and less popular humans often have to settle for less spectacular mates. Sometimes when you are an insecure, depressed nerd you end up dating a series of insecure, depressed women and things end badly, repeatedly. Not because they are all bitches, or because you are broken and should not exist, but because two sad sacks don't necessarily make a good match. That's definitely what happend to me. Fortunately, I had just enough charisma and luck to get a few decent humans to date me and it really helped my self confidence. Enough to end up mostly happily married to a person who likes me for who I am (most of the time).

To the LW: Your depression lies to you. Get as many second opinions as you can, but odds are you are doing better than you think and just ended up with a run of bad luck. Improving your game can't hurt, but doubting yourself constantly sure will.

Mostly this just made me very happy not to be dating in the current scene.

16

soulcrusader @8: yeah, by the end of it I was feeling like I was watching a movie that's gonna have a Shamalyan-level plot twist, or something like the new Joker movie. I mean, to quote Goldfinger: "Once is happenstance. Twice is coincidence. Three times is enemy action."

So either he's got a serious thing for psychos (and some James Bond level special radar for finding them) or he's doing something waaay different than what he's describing.

17

@3, I agree that it is super annoying that the term "Nice Guy" (letter-writer's capitalization) has come to be shorthand for a certain type of young straight self-obsessed entitled misogynist sad man, but shorthand it is :( It's like the term "states' rights" (in the U.S.). For a while I made the reasonable assumption that that was about maintaining a balance of power between the state and federal government, but it's actually about racism. Whoops.

18

WAIDW: Congratulations! With Woman No 1, you passed the "Don't Stick Your Dick In Crazy" test. This woman is no loss.

Given your history, I'm actually taking a leap of faith here by accepting your side of the story at face value, particularly given the "mutual friend" story. But since your side is all we have, and it's entirely plausible that you've just had a run of bad luck, I would echo Philosophy's observation that you just seem to be drawn to batshit women. WAIDW describes interactions with four women, only one of whom was sane -- but that's encouraging. The longterm girlfriend seems to have bucked the trend. WAIDW, answer honestly, did you grow bored of this woman because she wasn't constantly bringing the drama?

If the genuine answer is no, perhaps just accept the reality that most people are messed up in some way and you just had a two-out-of-two run of bad luck. That is nothing. I would urge him to date more in low-stakes settings, to practice his interacting-with-women skills, rather than thinking of each woman as his potential life partner. Join Tinder. Go to speed dating events. At least the women there are looking for dates/relationships, and many on Tinder are looking for sex. Women are horndogs too. If you're feeling like your libido makes you a creep, please read this excellent article: https://www.doctornerdlove.com/its-ok-to-want-sex/all/1/
And try interacting with women you're not attracted to socially, as friends. What's not creepy or weird is acting the same way around female acquaintances as you do around male ones. And sometimes mutual attraction develops. What are these "man-child-like" interests -- video games, RPGs? Join a coed group dedicated to your interests and treat the women there like people, and see what happens. Good luck, WAIDW.

19

There are many points in this letter where I'm unsure of the underlying facts. I do know that the lw has health problems, is clingy, insecure and has 'man-boy' interests. This is enough for him to persist with therapy.

There are places where WAIDW's judgment and self-knowledge strike me as questionable. The most glaring is when he describes himself as being emotionally 'abused' because he hasn't had sex for roughly two years. No. This is a dry spell. But no one has abused him. Women collectively or individually have not denied him anything needful, nor sought to exact a punishment on him. There is no rational reason for him to view any woman differently because of his sex drought--or (insofar as everyone is a person requiring respect) differently from any man.

He is probably questionable in his association of Nice Guys with Incels. I confess I didn't really follow the line of thought here--Sportlandia @3 did far better, I'd guess--but it seemed to have to do with his having adopted a posture of extreme pliancy in order to get laid. I'll say what I think has been already said: you get laid by being attractive, and you're attractive in being confidently yourself. The lw would not seem to me to have had many gf s, or lots of happy, mindblowing sex. Yet he wants to get married? Why? Whence this haste? Is it that he feels he'll always be going without, that he'll never get sex, unless he's married?

There are many good reasons for this guy to step back, to work on his confidence and self-respect, to start seeing women as fully human, to retreat from any Incel literature, before he throws himself back into dating. I'd say something old-fashioned, even simple or obtuse, to him: that dating (with the sex--with really, really great sex) is an extension of close friendship with a person. Sex is something you give someone, take from them, because you really like them. Not something you fearfully trick from a woman.

Good luck, for the long haul, to 'What...'!

20

Yeah, I'm surprised at Dan's incredibly aggressive perspective here. I get that the current trend is to absolutely lose one's shit when the words "nice guy" get trotted out, even by a guy who's looking to move away from that and properly establish his own boundaries, but c'mon.

It seems like we simply have a guy here who is socially awkward and anxious, who got in a few bad situations due to a lack of red flag awareness. They're bizarre, but if he HADN'T, he just wouldn't have sent the letter in the first place. (It's not like these problems are rare!)

He's got depression, but the bigger issue is clearly a lack of self-esteem, which is why he has the boundary issues to begin with. So, yeah, he likely needs relationship coaching, but the last thing he needs is to be torn down more than he already is. It'll just exacerbate the problems, making him even more of a disingenuous and anxious people-pleaser than he already is.

(It's why the "nice guy" discourse is grotesque. You're taking anxious wrecks and treating them like grandiose narcissists because they skeeve you out.)

LW, get the coach, and talk to your therapist about this stuff. Also, you may well have a cluster C personality thing going on, and mayyyyyy possibly be on the spectrum. Your therapist should be able to help you identify whether either is the case, and suggest appropriate treatments.

And under no circumstance should you start poring over either the pathetic incel shit or the foaming anti-"nice guy" blogs. Both are psychological poison.

Instead...hell, just go outside. Do stuff. Make friends. Log off.

21

Qapla @5, great stuff. I hope WAIDW reads your comment. Excellent observation about "Nice Guys" bending over backwards to be the guy they think she wants instead of being themselves, which only serves to annoy the woman and make the guy resentful that he's changed for her but she hasn't given him whatever it was he expected in "exchange" for all this "niceness."

Karan @6: Yes! By getting more social, WAIDW should be looking to develop a network of friendships too. He should make this his priority, with a girlfriend the icing on the cake.

Philo @7, I actually think pretending to go and look for condoms was the one thing WAIDW deserves a gold star for. He DID tell her that he didn't want to have sex, and she persisted. Excellent way to get out of a situation he knew that they would both regret, and it's a shame that she responded by ghosting (probably because she felt ashamed of having come on to him -- had she been drinking?) but he needs to see it as the dodged bullet it was.

As for the former co-worker, yeah. My guess there is that "a couple of months" was too long to wait to pick up the thread; she concluded he wasn't interested and moved on. Doesn't excuse her rudeness, or her failure, if she really wanted to see him, to message him herself -- but people be cray cray. Dodged bullet number two.

Bouncing @11: Ding ding ding. Emotionally healthy women aren't attracted to men with low self esteem.

John @13, yikes. Virtual hug and cup of tea for you. It's sometimes difficult to recognise a sexual assault when one has happened to you, and this goes triple for men who are assaulted by women because we are just not socialised to think about women raping men. I'm so sorry that happened to you and that this letter was triggering. More hugs.

22

Harriet @19, where does he say he's been emotionally abused because he hasn't had sex for two years? These are two separate things -- a partner in his early 20s emotionally abused him; he hasn't had sex for the past two years. Both of these things are affecting the way he interacts with women. But hurrah to your advising that he stick with therapy instead of taking a long walk and thinking positively. ;)
As for Nice Guys and Incels, they share a view that women owe them sex/relationships. The first type of man evolves into the latter type when his "niceness" does not result in getting him laid. He grows to resent women for not living up to their end of the one-sided bargain, concludes that if they don't want Nice Guys like him they must want assholes like Chad, and that therefore their lack of relationship success is all women's fault and they must be punished for it.
I'd also decouple his desire for a wife and children from his desire for sex. It's silly to think that he wants a wife because he wants a sex slave. He probably wants a wife and family for the same reasons anyone wants a spouse and family -- security, companionship, love, someone to care for, a legacy. And, quite possibly, social and/or parental pressure to settle down. Not to cure a sex drought; that's putting the cart before the horse.

Overseer @20: What about the advice did you see as "aggressive"? It didn't come across to me that way at all. It was advice, which he wrote in for, not a pat on the head and a "there, there."

23

LW, well done for realising you need to work on yourself. Dan gave some good advice, as has everyone above. There is a good range of opinions up there, have a good read and use what is useful and applicable to you. I wonder if you have a poor relationship with your mother? Perhaps she is mentally ill, or possibly just very highly strung? This might impel you to seek out women that are troubled. That is one possibility. I also think that those who have pointed out that multiple women reading your interactions negatively may well mean you are not communicating how you think you are. I do feel like we are missing information somehow, and it would be great if you would visit the thread and tell us some more.

24

I don't think you should rule out the fact that you might have involved yourself with some not nice people, but I think you really need to engage in some serious self-reflection. I think you raised some red flags with what you tacked on at the end. Things like when your hugged you get hard, you are clingy, you seem have just recently have had engaged in some toxic thinking about women but you failed to give these things context in the narrative of your experience. Like when you went to hug this friend did you get an errection and then when they politley disengaged you continuied to send unwanted memes and text messages. I noticed you didnt phrase it like an exchange of messages between friends... Even the first situation seem in need of interagation, your own friend was like 'dude you crossed a line'. Maybe you should think hard on how others can interpret you actions and maybe you unintentionally engaged in behaviors that where manipulative. I'm not saying you are the bad guy or that you are wrong, but sometimes its us and not the rest of the world.

25

OK, I see it was a relationship that was 'abusive', not the dry spell. Sorry.

In the first pseudo-relationship or relationship, he kisses and cuddles for months, then /she/ asks /him/ what his intentions are. He says, 'marriage'. This puts her in a position where she's at once shamed for just wanting--or expecting--sex. So, giving it one last try (hypothetically), she thinks he'll maybe have sex if there's no discussion of his looking for sex, if she forcefully initiates and also feigns reluctance. 'Ye-e-e-ss?' could also mean 'do you want to?'. He takes the reluctance seriously, is an unconscionably long time out the room (supposedly looking for condoms) and shames her, or makes her feel unwanted, again. So she backs out. This is hypothetical--but it's a lot more plausible to me as a rough account of what went on than than the lw's confused retrospect--or commenters' suggestions that this near-gf is erratic. She just thinks (it seems to me) that it's not the part of the woman to say, 'enough cuddling; I want sex'.

26

Given the info Dan, I do feel you were a little harsh on this man. He says he knows he was trying to be a player, or modern word with a bit more menace, incel. Or is it intel. Whatever. Nasty boys. Then he saw the error of his ways,
However, the women he’s getting with sound off kilter, maybe caught by the moment and he’s maybe confused re some details..
Good idea re dating coach, when he’s writing stuff. Not so possible in the bedroom.
LW, stop for a bit. You are attracting a certain type of woman, your karma perhaps for past misdeeds.. and maybe you’re working something out with past female caregivers. Mother perhaps?
If you’re not in therapy, go back to it. Go to a woman, and work this shit out with her.

27

Harriet @25, wait, whaaaaat? Avoiding sex he knows she hasn't meaningfully consented to is shaming her for wanting sex? Okay, perhaps that's how she saw it, which is why she ghosted him. But I think we all agree that this woman has a disconnect from reality. What should he have done? Had sex with her? I think we all know that would have been a far worse move. She said she didn't want a family, she didn't want sex, but she didn't want friendship; what she wanted was to continue dating him -- exclusively? -- indefinitely without sex. I don't know many sexual people, male, female or otherwise, who would have found that an appealing offer. Who knows why she initiated sex and then changed her mind, but he did the right thing by seeing this as a non-genuine offer.

28

LW, I’m sorry you’ve been suicidal. I’ve got millions of sons and each has gone thru similar. Four sons. It’s painful to watch, and painful to hear their wounds from childhood. Being a man is hard work in this culture, and you’re making an effort, I feel, from what you say. Just keep on truckin’.. and seek out others to talk with. A poster above pointed to being too reliant on a woman to satisfy all of a man’s intimacy. Men’s groups, check if any are around. If not, start one.

29

Harriet @25: you're missing the fact that she had clearly said sex was off the table. If this was a more standard-style relationship, then his reluctance to take yes for an answer might be seen as weird. However, in the face of someone who explicitly said they weren't interested in sex, it's reasonable to think "wait, you're asexual and don't want this, but are doing it out of obligation," which is definitely the sort of thing you nope out of.

30

@10. Lava. Is the second woman pregnant and in a relationship when he expresses sexual interest in her? He says something like 'in other circumstances, I'd be really interested in you'; she generously gives him a hug--then, a few months down the line, he actually hits her up again?

It's hard to be sure, but that's what I think happened.

@3. Sportlandia. Your 'tip'--that everyone who tells you what you want to hear is softsoaping you--is too pessimistic. There is such a thing as genuine compatibility of interests and approaches.

@11. bouncing. I think the kind of women the lw will come to date (let's hope) are as likely to go for guys into Star Wars as guys into NASCAR and bodybuilding.

@13. John Horstman. I'm shocked to hear you were raped, and my heart goes out to you.

What you read as happening to WAIDW is nothing like what I read as having happened.

31

Harriet @30: "What you read as happening to WAIDW is nothing like what I read as having happened." Proof that you misread what happened.

Re the former co-worker, that is how I read it. He expresses interest someday, and she expresses same. They stay in touch lightly, exchanging memes and a Happy Thanksgiving message. A few months later he is ready to ask her out, but she's moved on, is in a relationship and pregnant. Either she works quickly or, possibly, she got back together with the original guy. Either way he missed his window, but either he's mischaracterised the nature of their communications or she overreacted big time.

32

@29. Traffic. She only says she isn't interested in sex after he tells her (in response to her question) that he envisions settling down and kids. Before that, it's his presumption that she doesn't want to take their kissing and cuddling further (presumably towards genitality or orgasm).

Here's what he says:

The first [woman I pursued post-painful breakup] I had insane chemistry with. Same humor, same interests, I always wanted to be around her and vice-versa. She really, really liked kissing and cuddling and I'm all for that. I wasn't in a hurry to get back to sex and she wasn't in a hurry either, so that was good. Then a few months in she asked me what I was looking for. I told her honestly: I'm at the point in my life that I want to settle down and start a family. She said she has no interest in having a family, let alone having sex, so that would be a problem. I said okay, well, before things get too much more serious, why don't we dial back to just being friends?

My read is that 'she wasn't in a hurry either' describes what he inferred as her attitude, rather than something she said. Moreover, he puts 'I wasn't in a hurry' first, indicating (maybe) that he needed a while (ie 'months') to be comfortable again with physical or sexual intimacy after his scarring breakup, or (possibly) an ordinary presumption on his part that women aren't interested in sex unless directly initiating or attesting to the fact.

We Savagistas are sophisticates who know of a lot of sexual subvarieties like asexuals; but the word and suggestion never appear in WAIDW's letter. Her saying she had no interest in reverting to friendship would also belie her being ace. I think this woman and the lw are ingenus in the sense that they kiss and cuddle for months without either asking, 'how do you see our sexual connection developing?'. Then she does, and his response is 'I'm at the stage of my life when I want to settle down and have a family'. She doesn't want that, says so--then (fearing shaming) adds that she's not interested in sex, either.

This is my reconstruction, admittedly. But I don't think this woman is a 'psycho'.

33

@31. Bi. The guy is a one-man Rashomon, so this one could run and run.

I've given my readings of what happened with Woman#1 & Woman#2. You would agree WAIDW is the archetypal 'unreliable narrator'?

You were absolutely on the money to say how he felt 'abused'. I got this wrong because he wrote 'lead' for 'led', past tense, an error I can't abide and never suppose people are making--leading me to read 'relationship' in his sentence as something like 'situation'. So if my quick readthrough was faulty wrt this fact, maybe my sense of this two abortive relationships is off as well.

34

Harriet @32: Please re-read the passages in the extract you quoted:
"I wasn't in a hurry to get back to sex and she wasn't in a hurry either"
"She said she has no interest in having a family, let alone having sex"

Why would you infer that she hadn't said that she wasn't in a hurry to have sex, when they are kissing and cuddling? I'd assume the opposite -- the kissing starts to get heavy, perhaps she notices he has a boner, she interrupts to state before things go too far that she's not ready for sex. Because when you date straight dudes, approximately 99% of the ones who want to kiss you also want to bang you, so if you don't want that you do have to say so.

Then, she asks his intentions, and after these several months of no sex, she literally states that she doesn't want to have a family or to have sex. He then says, if that's the case then let's just be friends. She doesn't want to just be friends -- which points directly at her being ace -- so the very next day, she does what she thinks she needs to do to keep him as a boyfriend, namely initiate sex. That all goes wrong because he knows she doesn't want to. She doesn't say she's not interested in sex because she fears shaming, but because she's not interested in sex. I don't think this woman is a "psycho" either because that's a very uncompassionate word, but I think she is asexual, has probably been sexually abused, and has issues around relationships. Issues that are a mismatch with his issues, so it's good that this relationship ended.

35

1- Philosophy and 2 Ciods-- Yours were my first readings too. I got the idea WAIDW had the bad luck to run into 2 crazies in a row and that the first crazy lied to her friend to make her own contradictory behavior seem okay. Then I read Dan's take and think he has a point too.

I was sympathizing with the first crazy. I was never anywhere close to that bad, but I do know what it is to be unsure of what I wanted, to feel turned on, scared, willing, unwilling, shy, forward, and all in the space of a few minutes.

I wish someone would define Nice Guy for me. I think we all might be using the term to mean different things.

I've reread WAIDW's letter and see a lot of shame about what strikes me as perfectly ordinary desire. He'd like to get laid. There's nothing wrong with that. As long as he doesn't take advantage of women, lie to them, rape them, and it doesn't sound like he's doing that, it's all good. He'd also like to fall in love, be devoted, and start a family with someone who feels the same way about him. Nothing wrong with that either! There is such a thing as moving too fast, and I get it that it's hard to get the timing right, but there's nothing wrong with the desire, and WAIDW seems to be putting himself down even for wanting sex and a family.

36

What does "my interests are man-child-like" mean?

37

Harriet @33, leading question, overruled. "Archetypal," no, and I don't know who Rashomon is. I do think it is likelier than with most letters that he has misinterpreted situations, but as I said @18, his side of the story is all we have. And is it plausible that something could have happened exactly the way he described? Yes, that's plausible. So I'm going with the more reasonable interpretation -- she didn't want sex but initiated it anyway out of a combination of fear and sense of obligation, then ghosted him because she was embarrassed that he turned her down, which may have been the first time this ever happened to her -- than that she didn't want sex for several months but magically changed her mind in 24 hours, and he, someone who described himself as a horndog, shamed her for initiating the sex he wanted.

38

@3 What's ironic about this is that this guy is not aware of it but has actually rather adeptly connected the concept of seeing yourself as a "nice guy" and being an incel when most of society doesn't do so. He doesn't see it that way, he thinks he's just nice but he's actually just a dick.

If I ever hear some guy complaining about how "nice guys finish last", I know there's something wrong with them. You're not being nice, you have weird boundary issues and an inability to express yourself to others. You're hoping that someone will come along and do all the risk taking and feelings sharing for you so you won't have to. You're not concerned about the other person, your entire framework for reality is self-focused.

39

@35 Yeah, part of his issue is that he's conflating two separate desires. He's trying to break a long sexless streak and trying to find "true love" in the same person. That usually isn't going to work, especially if you have his levels of social skills and history of depression. He needs to separate those two endeavors. On one track, sex workers or some one-night-stand tindering where he commits himself to just focusing on that night and on the other track, some targeted online dating where he removes sex from the table and gets to know someone who also wants to be relationship focused.

40

Interesting Larry, @38, why is that a problem, to be self focused if your behaviour is seeming to freak others out.
/ This man feels like he’s a creep, is piling it on going to help here. Being self centred, what’s so different than with a lot of men, especially some young ones. He’s asking for help, he knows he’s caught by some weird vortex he’s just not sure why, and how he got there and he’s frozen. Which way to go now, is what he’s asking.

41

@31 Woman #2 may have thought that he knew that she was pregnant and was making a move anyways. Also, as someone with a wife currently pregnant with our first child, you can catch a pregnant woman on the wrong day and get your head bitten off for almost anything. That's not her fault and not his fault, that's just timing. What's weird is his reaction to the whole thing - far too betrayed by it. A nice message back that he didn't know she was pregnant and is very happy for her might have been better.

P.S. Anyone else think that the message sounds like it came from her new boyfriend who was looking at her phone and not her? Seems so over the top that it might be a "dude back the fuck off" from another insecure dude (if she likes LW, she may have a tendency to go for insecure dudes).

42

@27 I don't think its that black and white BiDanFan. Yeah, it would be worse to just have sex but there are better ways to handle it. This guy needs to learn how to talk in that situation. "I'd like us to just keep cuddling tonight because of what you told me you wanted earlier. I'm very excited to spend the night doing that. If we still want to do that some other time, we can do it then." The thing about going to get a condom and taking his time is okay but it doesn't signal that he's someone she can trust. He looks like a guy desperately looking for a condom. She may just have wanted to give him a handie or something.

43

@37 as a frequent SLLOTD commenter, BiDanFan, please go see Rashomon! https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rashomon

Almost every human interaction and experience has a Rashomon-like quality, especially if it's high stakes emotionally. Just ask a Trump voter about the impeachment vs. a sane human's opinion of what's going on...

44

BDF: OMG, you should totally watch Rashomon! It's a classic!

45

Larry @39, good call. The Tindering will help build his confidence around women. And if one of his hookups does end up turning into a relationship, so much the better.

Lava @40, I didn't see Larry's post @38 as piling on, rather crediting WAIDW with at least being aware of this tendency where most of the "Nice Guys" are not.

Larry @41, yes, those are good possibilities too. I can't imagine sending a message to say congratulations and all the best when you've just been accused of sexual harassment, but it might indeed have been good for him to get it out there that he wasn't aware of her situation. Re your PS, I know this sounds quaint but he says he CALLED HER to ask her out. Perhaps that's the lesson, WAIDW -- it's 2020, don't be calling women, send them a nice WhatsApp message.

Larry @42, WAIDW says he did tell her "no, let's not, I don't really want to either," and she persisted, unconvincingly. Perhaps there were better ways to handle it but in the heat of the moment I think his ruse to stall and buy time was quick thinking.

46

I'm speechless.

47

I'm glad Mr Horstman was in safe company during that posting - I've had similar sudden realizations.

Ms Ods - I could see how some version of "What happened wasn't what I wanted to happen," could get twisted into practically anything.

Various interpretations of the occurrence remind me a little of whatever Charlotte observed happening between Clara and Sir Edward on Sanditon. Later Clara implied to Charlotte that she'd been coerced; Sir Edward's account to his (no shared blood) sister suggested that Clara had "taken him in hand" and initiated an "unmanning". I wonder what Miss Austen would have had to say about this adaptation.

48

I've got nothing to say about this letter or the writer, but John Hortsman, I hope you're feeling safer and more calm now. I'm glad you weren't alone, but trauma is still trauma.

50

Hello lovely BDF,
"I actually think pretending to go and look for condoms was the one thing WAIDW deserves a gold star for. He DID tell her that he didn't want to have sex, and she persisted.
What should he have done? Had sex with her?"

I don't like that he lied and ran away and banged around doors in his cover up. I think he should have stopped things when he was uncomfortable and talked to her very specifically about what she and he wanted with sex. His language was so vague. "are you sure?" (about what?) "I don't want to either" after she said she was sure about.. Something.. Is there a chance that she was trying to get off without intercourse, how did he know that she wanted his penis in her vagina, instead of just being horny and wanting to get off in general, without explicit talk? Maybe a script works better.

When she said that she wanted to date but not have sex:
"Do you mean you don't feel comfortable yet with me, or that you are uncomfortable with sex and don't want it with anyone? Do you feel uncomfortable with all types of sex, or are you just saving intercourse for marriage? Have you ever gotten off with a man before? How do you like to do it? "
When they were making out and she touched his junk and removed her shirt, I think he made a mistake assuming that she wanted intercourse. He could have suggested any activity besides intercourse that might get them off, and if she answered vaguely to all suggestions,
"What do you want to do?
This doesn't feel right, I'm going to take a break.
I'm going to have to stop for awhile, let's pick this up after dinner.
This seems like a big change and it's happening really fast, I'm not comfortable continuing right now. "
He could have sat at the edge of the bed, or stood, and handed her her clothes.

Even if he could have explained to her why he changed his mind and ask her about her behavior change and what she really wanted, afterwards in the kitchen, that may have improved things.
I do understand that everyone sometimes needs to take some space to calm down, but he could have done so politely and directly, instead of lying and running away. It's not even clear who broke up with whom after that.

I meant to suggest that he talk more, ask women more questions instead of asking Dan to explain them, tell women what he wants and ask them if they might want something similar. also it's ok to say "no" and he should expect to be taken seriously. It is a red flag to ignore someone's "no", but it's unclear that they knew what the heck the other was trying to get or what he was saying no to.

& dating coworkers is risky, maybe play it safer for now

52

cocky - You have a troublingly short memory. The woman in the threesome got all sorts of shit for calling her third an asshole. No one gave her the benefit of the doubt...

55

Former coworker, my bad.

Cocky, I don't assume that her change in behavior was insane, it's possible she was saving herself for marriage but still wanted to get off in other ways and felt more ready after their talk. Neither one of them sounded like a good communicator. If she told people that he raped her, that would be insane, he should find out if that happened, ask the mutual friend why she flipped out and thought a rape had occurred, ask his old date if she's running around lying to people that he raped her.

56

If only Kurosawa made this letter into a movie, with each scene (as in "Rashomon" [1950]) seen from all the parties' perspectives. And added a scene about some idiot spellcaster.

57

@36 I assume that means he's into D&D and gaming and other activities which are overwhelmingly make and associated with being juvenile (other then engineering, is there a mostly male activity that ISN'T considered juvenile?)

@37 you don't know Roshomon!?

@51 I worked consider any type of "put on" personality for the purposes of getting laid to be a form of trickeration. Connecting emotionally only for the purposes of connecting sexually feels wrong. The other person believes you're connected when you actually aren't. That's painful.

58

@57 sports, fishing, hunting, woodworking, metalworking and cars are all considered "masculine" interests, and that's not even counting things like cooking which is feminine when done in the home but masculine when done professionally. (Sincerely, the only woman at my local Friday night magic).

Faking anything in order to get laid is manipulation by definition, but you seem to be implying any emotional connection for the sake of casual sex must be faked. (I might be misinterpreting your point though). It's possible to be kind, interested, and connected to someone sexually without the expectation of an ongoing relationship. It just requires more communication and self-awareness than anyone in this letter appears to be exhibiting. thanks

59

And here's my practical advice to the LW: hug from the chest with a firm squeeze while keeping your hips at a firm distance. Lean forward and don't pull her waist anywhere near yours. That way even if you do get a boner she can't tell.

60

cbu@49, I think Dan set the tone, not believing what the LW says, not showing much empathy. His story is pretty wonky, you got to admit that. I agree, lots of people out there with “ issues” around intimacy, and now women have more of a voice, and men are confused what the rules really are.
With any dysfunctional behaviour, once one owns it’s going on and one is in the middle of it, it’s time to pause, step back and really look at the picture. Women everywhere misreading his cues or he misreads theirs or they are all crazy as fuck.
Be proactive with your own healing LW, because you need to heal something. One does to a point create one’s own reality, and yours is a slightly bizarre one. The whole rape accusation, did you close that down? Confront the woman who spread this lie? See. It’s your life, and you have to do the inner and outer work to manage it well.

61

JibeHo @52: Thank you.

I was just about to say: fuck off with your fake oppression, cockyballsup @49 - just 2 days ago the LW to write in was a woman who got an equal amount of 'are you sure YOU'RE not the asshole in this situation' questioning, not to mention the follow up letter from the 'I didn't tell my husband I'd kept seeing my boyfriend' lady got called out as well. So... yeah. If something in the letter doesn't add up, people point it out and ask questions. You're not being oppressed because of your precious penis, or whatever.

62

@49 I consistently find myself on the opposite side of the commenterati w/r/t/ my estimations of the trustworthiness of various LW's, including this one. IMO Dan has significantly doubted writers with much more reliable stories, and to me more commenters are leaning towards benefit of the doubt whereas I see a story which contains mutually exclusive expressions - even though in general I agree that Dan and the commentors tend to give much more benefit of the doubt and sympathetic interpretations towards damsels-in-distress compared to guys who struggle socially, that dynamic is flipped here for reasons I don't understand.

63

I don't know what to think here -- I'm inclined to sympathize with the LW, but I'm not sure they're not leaving out some details. I'm also a little distracted because me brother is about to be committed (voluntarily, but only because they're threatening to do it involuntarily) by the hospital at which he's been receiving outpatient treatment and I have to decide whether I want on-campus housing for the semester to get away from the situation at home with my brother and I also have an organic chemistry quiz on Friday on reactions I cannot seem to be able to get myself to memorize. Personal problems do sometimes get in the way of impartiality.

What's resonating with me is being accused of faking depression to be manipulative, not because anyone has accused me of that, but because I've accused myself of that. When I was at my worst, I often convinced myself that I wasn't actually sick and I was faking it and just wanted everyone to think I was sick for some unclear reason. I never told my parents about how serious my suicidal ideation got because I both didn't want to worry them and thought that telling them that would prove I wanted them to feel sorry for me. I also wasn't totally clear with my therapist about the frequency and intensity of the ideation. Mental illness is the ultimate mind-fuck, and it's your own mind doing the fucking. In retrospect, there were times I should probably have been hospitalized, like when I seriously considered jumping in front of the train I was waiting to get on (that event did convince me to go into non-hospital residential treatment, though). (It's funny that my brother and I both seem fixated on jumping in front of trains.) If anyone had externally accused me of faking my illnesses, it would have seemingly confirmed everything I was telling myself and I think it would have basically destroyed me.

64

I don't believe this guy.

At the very start of his "background" he tells us he wasn't

"all the way to INCEL territory, but my internal monologue about women was pretty bad and generally I was just trying to get them to sleep with me...a full blown Nice Guy."

Way to get me on your side right off the bat, bud.

His crazy story about GF#1 of 2 doesn't match the story that comes back to him through the grapevine that HE RAPED HER.

His crazy story about GF#2 of 2 doesn't match the story in GF#2's own words that he "need[s] to stop SEXUALLY HARASSING HER".

He says "I just sound pathetic"; I think he is far worse than pathetic. I don't like this guy.

He /then/ tells us he's no "saint. I can be a horndog". He thinks others "will think [he's] A CREEP" no one will be interested in, and will be seen as CLINGY and THREATENING.

I think Dan had two good options. Throw the letter in the garbage, or write exactly what he wrote.

Yes....maaaaybe this guy found two GF's in a row who were messed up, but I think it would've been wrong for Dan to gamble on that possibility by believing him. But at worst why should we think they were any more messed up than him, and that he didn't at best create at least half of what happened after picking them? (Picking them at best being an additional huge fuckup.)

People tell stories in such a way as to get their audience on their side. As was this guy: imagine the story he would have told had he been telling it straight?

And he wasn't. If it actually happened like he said, THAT would be the big story, and nowhere in the letter does he address how remarkable it would be if it happened like he said.

People were concerned that the update LW (who had done something terrible then gone through hell and come out on the other side feeling she didn't deserve to live) was trying to manipulate us onto her side. If you think she did that, but you don't think this guy is too, I find that incongruous. Particularly since, FFS, what would the update LW's motivation be to get us on her side, since SHE WASN'T ASKING FOR ADVICE, SHE WAS SIMPLY GIVING US A BLOODY UPDATE!

65

@13 John Horstman
I'm so so very sorry you got raped. Her not believing your depression was abusive.

Please forget about the LW's GF's similarities to your rapist. Perhaps, like me, you should just not believe his GF even exists as he related. (Which please know that I'm not saying yours didn't, I'm saying I trust you and I don't trust the LW's story, I consider him an unreliable narrator.)

@43 delta35
"Almost every human interaction and experience has a Rashomon-like quality"

I don't remember the movie very well, having seen it a billion years ago. But it's value in discussions about POV is important.

@53 Philophile
"I don't like that he lied and ran away and banged around doors in his cover up. I think he should have stopped things when he was uncomfortable and talked to her very specifically about what she and he wanted with sex."

Yes, his behavior was significantly lacking. But at least all the banging gave her a chance to think.

(Think about what? Oh, likely to remind herself of who exactly she was with [which I elaborated upon already @64], I'd say, with his unsecure banging around in the kitchen.)

/Break/

WAIDW, I'm glad you're in therapy. Particularly if it was true that you "did try to kill" yourself. Please don't. Please keep working on yourself; if you do it gets better.

Try not to put so much pressure on yourself. Go for a relationship. No need to (as you said in the very first line of your letter) skip directly to "trying to find a wife and start a family". A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. There are all kinds of complications with attempting a thousand miles all in one step. Even with everything I said about your letter, I love you and want you to find happiness. You can. The whole reason everything exists is about growth; I know it's very difficult, but in difficulty is also opportunity, and with that opportunity comes the most precious rewards of all.

66

I'm not going to touch this one with a 10 foot pole

67

I definitely had the same thought as @41. The second message definitely sounded to me like it was either written by the boyfriend, or written by a woman who thinks her boyfriend might see her messages.

Giving the benefit of the doubt, I could also see someone who is asexual and a little unhinged trying to force sex to keep a relationship and, I suppose, reacting badly after the fact (the unhinged part being the potential to have falsely claimed rape).

I also think that it is possible to be awkward, I'm guessing nerdy (ala "man-child") and to give off or believe yourself to give off creepy vibes if you also have low self esteem and not stellar socializing skills.

All that being said, there are a large number of red flags in the way the letter is written that suggests that the letter writer's perception of these situations may be off. I am happy that the LW is in therapy and I hope that continues. I know from experience that coming to believe that you are worthy of love is the first step towards confidence in trying to find it.

68

@34. Bi. We're on the same page in thinking it's a good thing this relationship ended. It's clear, too, she tried to initiate sex awkwardly, in a way that allowed him to think she was half-hearted or ambivalent, one day after their conversation about where they saw the relationship going.

It's common ground that they spent 'a few months' kissing and cuddling without--apparently--their physical contact proceeding to either having an orgasm. You adduce two possible reasons she didn't want more: 1) she's asexual; 2) she has been traumatised by bad or abusive sex in a previous connection. (There's a more obvious third reason: that the couple are living with a religious prohibition against premarital sex, with the social norm in their context being 'cuddling--OK; fucking--verboten'). You think that, during their months of kissing and cuddling, she's told him that she doesn't want sex. I don't think this; I think it's his assumption. He says:

"She really, really liked kissing and cuddling and I'm all for that. I wasn't in a hurry to get back to sex and she wasn't in a hurry either, so that was good. Then a few months in she asked me what I was looking for."

Why doesn't he say something like: 'when we first started making out, [Charlize] was clear that it remained in my pants'?. (The guy doesn't want to lie; and we know he's at major, distressing cross-purposes with the last two women he's dated / crushed on / flirted with, and with his friendship group). My take-away would be that he only assumes she doesn't want sex, possibly because he thinks women want it less than men (say, on the Incel line that women can withhold or go without more easily). The 'either' in his sentence looks as if it implies 'she was in no hurry to get back to sex either'; but this isn't necessary, and it may even be that the woman is a virgin.

It's also agreed that, after a 'few months', she's the one who asks him where he sees the relationship going. In my reading, this is because she's impatient for more action. (In yours, presumably, it's because as an asexual / sexually traumatised person, she fears losing him unless she offers something more. Still--why would she ask, if she has all she wants--and no more?). As I see it, he springs a surprise on her by saying not sex, but commitment, 'settling', 'kids'. She says honestly that she doesn't want kids, at this time in her life, then--this is on the suppositon they live in a context where independent, nonmarital female horniness is frowned upon--adds, in the spirit of shame or being shamed, that she wasn't angling for sex either.

Their mistake (on both sides) lay in not asking after, say, two or three sessions of canoodling, 'where do you see this going?'

This is a case where our understanding of the facts is sharply at variance, while our advice, and pretty much everybody's, broadly coincides: meet women socially; see them as human beings; don't think you have to get married at once; continue with therapy and maybe find a dating coach; try to be round sane people and steer clear of Incel grievances. After being in error (at least a bit), some civil disagreement and lots of typing, once again I understand the wisdom of Dan's advice, which pertained to what WAIDW should do, not to what he did or what went down. What happened is cloudy.

@35. Fichu. In this context, I think, a 'Nice Guy' is someone who fakes interests or feelings in order to get laid.

@37. Bi. 'Rashomon' is a film where the same events are presented from four or five different angles. It inspired Star Wars. The cinema should have stuck with Kurosawa.

69

Maybe Lucas should have hired Kurosawa to direct Star Wars. Lucas' story was good, and he was a good producer, he just wasn't a good director. Star Wars was still cool though.

70

I’m going to set aside questions of benefit of the doubt and intentions and whatnot. LW is clearly not in good working order for a relationship. He needs to continue with his therapist, the life coach for skills to learn is a great idea, and he needs to do some standard basics, like find a social group for human interaction and start reading books written by women and watching movies written and/or directed by women. Learn how to interact with women as people first and foremost, not as potential wife or girlfriend or lay. Sort more stuff out first, then try dating again.

Something else he should consider is massage. His letter sounds like he is starving for touch. If he is in a town with a Whole Foods, they usually have someone doing chair massages that are inexpensive. Bonus is clothes stay on and if he gets a boner, he will be behind a screen with the massage therapist behind him so they don’t see. Or he can see about reflexology, where again clothes stay on and they’re inexpensive. That’s a much more immediate and repeatable solution than looking for a cuddle party and far less expensive than a sex worker. Which in turn meant he can deal with the physical need to be touched as needed while continuing to work with the therapist and life coach.

71

Show this letter to your therapist. Talk about it. If you can't do that, you need a new therapist. If it's an easy conversation, you need a new therapist. Good luck.

One or more people in this story are going way off from reality in a way that doesn't really allow us to engage from over here. But whoever it is, you have work to do.

The idea that "... you're the problem" is kind of shitty. Somebody who's been abused, or come out of a family that screwed with their head, sometimes shows a pattern of finding a specific kind of bad relationship. They have a problem. Dan noted this but leaned more on being the problem, and I can have opinions too, but this is one of those advice-column cases where it doesn't matter which radically different reality is true, because the advice is the same.

72

You know what I'm stuck at is "so if you hug me too long, I will probably get hard".

1) So how does this get noticed? Are you putting cock into a friendly hug? Or is she checking out your crotch? Or is this bothering you alone?

2) Look at the agency here. "If you hug me too long", if this is a problem, what are you doing about it? Loosen up, move out of the hug, talk about something.

73

Something about this letter is so off-putting, that it made me feel like commenting. The thing that I'm getting is he could stand to work on socializing more, so he could learn to read signals and communicate better.

I'm picking up on some distortions in his narrative. On the one hand he thinks of himself as a "nice guy", yet in the not so distant past admits a hatred of women self-described as "almost an incel". What he describes is that he constantly worries about appearing creepy.....perhaps he should focus more attention on actually being genuinely not creepy?

As a woman, I'm creeped out by the awkwardness and overthinking, but I can appreciate that he might not be the bad guy. I'll give him all the credit due for going to therapy and working on himself. However, I feel like, even if he did nothing inappropriate, he may have either misunderstood or had poor communication.

He needs to be completely honest with himself about his attitudes and behavior. In both incidents, he kept connections going after they should have already stopped. The makeout session that went bad happened after they already broken up, because they wanted different things. The harassment accusation came after he probably should have taken the hint that she wasn't excited to hear from him.

I believe him that he is not a rapist or harasser. I think the issue is he's a clingon- he's so scared no one wants him that he's holding on too desperately to any and all potential dates, but instead he has to really listen or communicate the right way. When it's over let it really be over/when a girl doesn't message back take the hint. The girl who changed her mind about sex at the last minute shouldn't have been invited back at all to begin with; before it happened she already was signaling she doesn't want sex or a future with him.

As for the misconstrued non-sexual messages, I am guessing she got to the point where threatening him with the possibility of harassment charges was the only way to make it clear to Mr. Clueless Clingon. Maybe she was annoyed and went to extremes just to make him stop messaging, whether or not she felt harassed.

Something to keep in mind...when it comes to dating: Only yes means yes. Mixed signals almost always mean no thanks. Also, this guy needs to be the one to move on first for a change. By holding on too long, LW is letting things get into a murky, grey area where a woman might feel pressured or unsafe, even if he never did anything explicitly shitty or rapey. I really think that is why things keep going bad. Time to stop being so clingy.

74

@49. cockyballsup. But look at the fallout for the LW after these non-relationships, or unfortunate encounters, among his friendship group. It's been awful for him. He doesn't know what happened; and it would seem that whatever happened has to be something other than what he thinks happened.

@56. curious. Ha! I'm waiting for some lw to get back and say that Dan's advice, though clearly well-meant, was labored and intricate, and the commenters' offerings frankly baffling, while the only thing that worked was the herb libation of Dr Yakuza.

@55. Philophile. They clearly break up, and their friendship group will naturally be interested in an explanation. The reason is that she forcefully initiated sex and he recoiled in confusion. This story seems to be so bad for her among her friends--to threaten such ignominy--that she feels she needs to invent a counter-story.

Why doesn't she just say eg 'I couldn't be living with his man-boy interests'? Then, when it's pulled to her that she tugged lustily at his dick, doesn't she say eg, 'sure, it wasn't happening in the bedroom; and both of us tried to push it at times. But you don't break up someone for something like that. Or at least I don't. The reason was his man-boy interests'? The reason she doesn't come up with something like this, in my reading, is that premarital sex, among their friends, is--intake of breath--generally a 'no'. There's a presumption that seeking out sex, especially a woman seeking out sex, maybe, is wrong.

As a background comment, I would think that very many of the straight men who write to Dan are Evangelicly-raised young men schooled to continence in a state of sexual perplexity. They trust Dan on sex more than the elders of their community. They don't bring up their religious upbringing 1) to seem more sophisticated than they are, and 2) because they don't want to invite a deal of extraneous (to their mind) God-bashing.

75

@69. curious. There's lots of good, rousing stuff in Star Wars, but it's aimed at eight year olds. Nashville and Five Easy Pieces aren't. This (contentiously) is when America became a nation of man-boys.

76

Its not you it’s them! None of these girls sound stable. Whatever 180 degree turn they pull on you likely has nothing to do with you. They are likely taking out their own unhappiness and frustrations with their present situation on you. For example getting knocked up after only being single for 2 months or not being able to maintain a steady boyfriend so they make you out to be the bad guy to their friends etc. Tell them all to fuck off. Stay the course and you will eventually find a decent girl there are lots out there. Get out and socialize with real people and stay off the chatting and dating apps. If not you will only find more socially handicapped rejects to date. Since you sound like a sucker for punishment anyway why not try a dodgeball league and maybe you can find true love while being beaned it the nuts at the same time for once.

77

@13 John Horstmann: I'm really sorry to read about your traumatic experiences, John! Good thing that you're with friends right now. I hope you can find peace.

@69 curious2: WA-HOOOOO! Congrats on scoring the Lucky @69 for this SL thread. Savor the envied glory. :)

78

Cocky @49: Um, it was Dan who jumped right to "there’s a big disconnect—huge—between the way you think you’re presenting and conducting yourself around and with women and the way you’re being perceived by those women." And indeed TODUMP and TTCUMM were both challenged on their accounts. Please cancel your enrolment in Sportlandia's School of Commenters Are All Sexists.

Philo @50: Your advice is stellar, of course, but I was laughing at the idea that someone like WAIDW, with his history, would be able to think of scripts like that at a time like that! Few of us would be able to be that clear and composed in such an unexpected situation, and when horny. If WAIDW is reading these comments, I hope he reads yours as "if this happens again" advice, not "you screwed up and this is what you did wrong" advice. Remember, he has low self esteem already; he did the right thing by not having sex with this woman, and I don't think it's helpful to tell him he did the right thing in the wrong way. He's coming from a Nice Guy/PUA background. A lot of guys would have taken the insincere "yes" at face value, but he didn't. That's why I'm saying he deserves kudos.

Philo @55, she wasn't "saving herself for marriage"; she told WAIDW that she had no interest in marriage, "let alone sex." I don't see what difference it makes to think that she was initiating non-PIV sexual activity. She was initiating sexual activity that she clearly did not want; the specifics are unimportant, what's important is that WAIDW put a stop to it. Also, no he shouldn't talk to this woman to find out why she said he raped her; he should run as far away from her as possible. (Remember that she ghosted him? How is one supposed to initiate a conversation with someone who is ghosting you? You seem to vastly overestimate most people's -- particularly these people's -- ability to communicate rationally. If they were capable of doing that, there wouldn't be a letter.)

Traffic @61, commenters (aside from Raindrop) weren't alleging that TODUMP herself was the asshole, but that both she and the third seemed the victims of the boyfriend's controlling behaviour.

Calliope @63, I'm sorry about your issues at home. Sending hugs. And thanking you for your perspective on the mental health side of this story.

Curious @64, don't you think that admitting his past wrongs makes WAIDW a -more- reliable narrator? He accepts that he had some messed up ideas in the past, but he's doing his best to learn and grow. Kind of like the guy who wrote in asking whether it was so bad to engineer a breakup that results in your ex hating you. I think this guy has a lot of issues but is trying to be a better person, and I think that should be taken into account when deciding how much sympathy and credibility he's assigned.

Mtn @72: The "probably" indicated to me that this is just something he is worried will happen. I just read it as, "I'm really horny and I'm worried that will cause me to send desperate signals to any woman I get involved with, no matter how casually."

Girlie @73, he doesn't describe himself as a nice guy but as a Nice Guy.
https://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Nice%20Guy

Harriet @74, finally something you say makes sense. Why did she tell her friends he tried to rape her? So she could get a story out there before -he- told people that -she- tried to rape -him-. Now, if he tells the truth he won't be believed.

79

The problem with the "you are the common denominator in your lovelife, if you see a pattern the problem is you" theory is that EVERYONE is the common denominator in their love life, and everyone who is single is thus going to blame themselves (including the people in your love life, since your failed relationships with them are also failed relationships from their perspective). It's one of those things that sounds very reasonable but is actually utter bullshit once you stop to think about it (and is a really popular piece of advice from people who are no longer single and not at all judging you for not being as fortunate as them).

80

Mr Balls - The LW who was Ms Cheating Cheater who negated her husband's agency did get roundly disbelieved and told off, especially by Mizz Liz in the original thread. Comments on Ms Threesome's letter seemed more concerned with whether she'd provided sufficient evidence to convince the jury of her assertion or with sympathizing with Third's situation than with proclaiming the assertion a lie, though I found the assertion so mild that it didn't bother me either way.

Mr Curious - The incident with Initiating Woman was the most credible part of the letter. It may have happened a bit differently, and LW doesn't seem in a high tier of reliable. As for the story, running a vague statement or two through a filter of three or four people who think women understate wrongs done to them and pass on what each thinks the previous statement meant seems to make it plausible to arrive at He's a Rapist.

M?? Harriet/Ms Fan - Malice is certainly possible, though I don't think I'd want to commit to that guess. A couple of years ago, there was a university case almost exactly along those lines; I'll try to recall the details for later.

81

@78 BiDanFan
"don't you think that admitting his past wrongs makes WAIDW a -more- reliable narrator?"

Calling his background as

"..a full blown Nice Guy. Not all the way to Incel territory...internal monologue about women was pretty bad and generally I was just trying to get them to sleep with me."

a PAST WRONG is too generous I think. Yes he said he made /unspecified/ progress in therapy. Yes he said he DOES HIS "BEST to be" (/not/ is, just does /his/ best) ""safe," e.g. no unwanted sexual advances, very clear boundaries, respecting friendships."

But I don't think these statements add up to a conclusion that he is no longer a person who is that stuff I just quoted he said he was as background. (It leaves it quite possible that inside he's now just a guy PUA with quite minimal principles he tries to live and a perhaps less than mature desire for a family.)

And to me, a person who ever was that stuff needs to be specific about disavowing it before I give him credit for no longer being it.

So when he lays down further evidence that establishes a pattern consistent with a person WHO STILL IS that stuff, that's what seems most probable to me, not that he's had a run of unprecedented bad luck.

p.s. When I wrote @64 I'd forgotten that he told us he'd tried to kill himself. Forgetting that was extremely wrong of me.

82

And Rashomon did not inspire Star Wars (though that would have been interesting...). It was another Kurosawa movie, Hidden Fortress, that was one of the influences.

83

Chase @79, the point is not to "blame" oneself but to self reflect. Why are you choosing people who fall into these patterns? How can you avoid them? How can you improve your radar, exercise better judgement, see red flags and heed them? Perhaps those no-longer-single people whom you see as "not at all judging you" are actually people who learned this lesson and want to share it with their friends?

Venn @80, I'm assigning more embarrassment and Issues than malice. You're entirely right about the grapevine effect. She could even have said to a friend, "some things happened that weren't entirely consensual," and the friend interpreted it as him being the one in violation of the consent. We don't know what was said, but the wrong end of the stick has been gotten somehow, and I can't see how an attempt to give his side would help.

84

@83 BiDanFan, that was a good parsing of the situation and thanks for the phrase 'grapevine effect' --- I was struggling for it and it was eluding me. It's pretty clear that while the LW has plenty of problems, in this case he was involved with a woman who has her own. Whether or not she's ace, we don't know. But this IS someone who specifically wanted to be in a cuddling / kissing, DATING relationship, which would not ever include sex or become a marriage. This can't be the first time that hasn't worked out for her. The nose-holding attempt to seduce him was a poorly thought-out strategy to delay the reasonable, sensible rollback he had proposed... it's bad enough to do something you don't want to do in an attempt to get or keep what you want, but when it then doesn't even work, it really sucks. And there's a predictable hailstorm of self-loathing and regret that frequently follows. That's not an emotional state that makes you the most reliable narrator of events, and if we add in the inclination of a friend listening to the story to side with her and be supportive/protective, things can get tangled pretty quickly.

85

@68 @69 last I checked star wars is closing in on over half a trillion in total revenues, and meanwhile BDF hasn't heard of Roshomon. I think Hollywood made the right choice.

86

BuDanFan @78 Thanks. He did get admitted yesterday, and it's causing a lot of stress in the house. My dad doesn't think it is necessary, but my mom does and she's going to be visiting him every day. I can't seem to get focused on studying. I'm going to sleep early so I can hopefully get some work done before class.

87

@80. venn. She's saving her own hide, rather than malicious. The consequences of its getting out that she put out (as it were) among her peers would be bad for her.

@79. Bi. Not wanting to do it to death--but drawn ineluctably to doing it to death anyway--I'd say that it's prima facie likely that anyone initiating sex by saying 'yee-e-e-s' invitingly and grabbing at a guy's dick wants to have sex.

Anyways, supposing she is asexual and was content with cuddling, why:

1) did she not (apparently) announce herself as such, either using the word or not, during their months of making out?;
2) was she the person, rather than him, to ask where he saw their relationship going?;
3) when he replied to the effect, 'I'm at a time in my life when I'm thinking of settling down and having kids', did she not reply something like, 'oh, so you don't want to have sex before marriage?' ?. His answer would have been workable for an ace--not something that would have driven her to a botched attempt to hold onto him by putting herself out the next day.

Supposing she didn't want to settle down with him, her first response is honest--then she feels compelled to add she isn't angling for sex, either.

I would think she's sexually inexperienced and didn't want sex after the sixth eg or even eighth time they cuddled. After the hundredth, her mind was open to it.

Incidentally, I don't see WAIDW was a sap or wuss for not taking it further. Kissing and cuddling can be satisfying in itself if it's what everyone wants. His mistake was in not communicating without embarrassment.

/break/
I'll go off on a tangent and say, further, that the descriptor 'straight guy' in the headline sheds little light on the specifics of this story. 'Guy' would be better--'Guy Desperate to Know what He's Doing Wrong'. Or 'Person', 'Young' or 'Inexperienced' Person. Are we to suppose Savage has some cohort of semi-committed straight guy readers, unsure whether to read a letter or not, but open to persuasion if it features a 'straight guy'? (And that they're culturally similar to this guy? That he'll resonate with them?). What would I go for, I wonder? 'Promiscuous Bottom Needs to Lay Feminism 501 Aside to Find Relationship'? 'Oooh, that strikes a chord--I'll read that!'. I'd think, rather, that headlines should give some indication of lw s' predicaments, rather than pegging them to often empty socio-sexual categories.

I've said before that I guess the majority of straight guys writing to SL are either husbands wanting another guy to tell their wives to have sex with them or guiltily / confusedly struggling men of a religious background. Straight men--sigh.

88

@79. Chase. Someone can be happily single, after (say) a number of rewarding relationships have run their course, or between relationships, or unhappily single, desperately trying to work out why all their connections upended so painfully and incomprehensibly. The advice to look for patterns, and to try to understand yourself, if it always seems to go wrong, is good advice.

@85. Sportlandia. It made the commercially correct decision, but was this the artistically correct one?

@86. Calliope. Hoping for the best for your brother. Maybe you are less like him than you would naturally suppose? You have anxiety; he has autism/Asperger's? I can't know this, of course.

89

@20: One of my first thoughts was that this guy may be on the spectrum. He may be wired in such a way that he has difficulty interacting with others, recognizing danger signals (or other signals) or interpreting them correctly, etc.

I wonder if he has been tested for this.

Re "Nice Guy": It took me a while to understand that "Nice Guy" is a code phrase. It does not describe nice guys in the literal senses of the words. Instead, it describes men (perhaps there is a woman equivalent as well--I leave that to others) who erect the facade of being a nice guy but who are anything but. Of course, this can lead to all sorts of communication issues, if you want to talk about a literal nice guy but someone things you're talking about a Nice Guy (or vice versa). Then there are women who think that every nice guy is in reality a Nice Guy, which is false of course.

90

Calliope @86, would it be possible for you to request an extension on your school work on grounds of extenuating circumstances? Hugs and good luck.

Harriet @87, she didn't say "ye-e-e-e-s" invitingly, she said "ye-e-e-e-s" reluctantly. Even he, a self-described horndog, could tell she didn't mean it. But thanks for confirming my assertion that a lot of men would have taken that insincere "yes" at face value instead of holding out for enthusiastic consent.
To continue with your cross-examination:
1. She may not understand what asexuality means, or that she is one; she may have lost partners in the past by revealing herself as ace, and adopted an alternate strategy of saying "let's take things slow" and seeing who sticks around. Honestly, you're perplexed as to why one might withhold information that is a dealbreaker for most people?
2. Perhaps the months of cuddling encouraged her to think that perhaps she'd found a guy who wanted what she wanted, but she wanted to make sure. Perhaps her friends had advised her, "girl, you need to find out his intentions, you can't string him along forever." Perhaps they'd seen a romcom or it just came up in conversation some other way. You really can't summon one of your classic flights of fancy to answer this question?
3. I don't understand this question. I don't think it can even be asked without knowing the context of this conversation and the actual words that were said. All we know is that he said he wanted marriage and kids, and she said she didn't want marriage let alone sex, meaning they both laid their cards on the table about what they wanted out of a relationship (which seems the thing to do a few months in, no?), and discovered they didn't match up at all. How would saying he wanted marriage and kids be workable for an asexual? Would they adopt the kids? Perhaps she has issues with marriage because her parents' was abusive, or for some other reason? (Such as, if she is indeed very religious as you hypothesise, this would require her to put out for her husband?)

Sure, it's possible that she's demisexual and it takes 100 cuddles to get her interested in sex. But it seems an odd coincidence, doesn't it, that this would magically happen in her mind one day after she is told that without being open to marriage or sex he just wants to be friends. And that her "desire" for sex was so painfully obviously faked that even a horny straight guy could see it.

Your key piece of evidence here is a strict religious background, which you've made up. Absent this, your theory makes no sense. And at any rate, it doesn't really matter. Let's say her desire for sex did magically manifest completely unrelated to his suggestion that they dial back to friends, but she's inexperienced and expressed it so clumsily that it came across as faked, and he turned her down and she felt ashamed of wanting to have sex. The fact of the matter is that she still ghosted him and spread an inaccurate story about what happened, so either way he's well rid of someone who isn't in good working order to date.

And why is "straight guy" in the headline a red flag for you? It's a bit heteronormative to assume that "guy" means "straight guy" unless otherwise specified. And a bit bigoted to suggest that straight men only read articles about themselves, as we all know from the presence of straight men as regular commenters isn't the case.

Music @89, yes, it does seem likely he's on the spectrum. Good call. And indeed -- a woman can encounter enough Nice Guys that she wonders what a genuine nice guy is masking. In written form we use capital letters; in speech air quotes might suffice to denote the difference.

91

Also, Harriet, if she did truly want to have sex, wouldn't she have waited for him to return with condoms instead of telling him that she'd changed her mind?

92

I wonder how often the letter writer sent memes and other "friendly check-ins", and how the women reacted. If he sent her one every day and she never responded, for example, that could be perceived as harassment, and could suggest that the letter writer has Asperger's.

93

Harriet_by_the_bulrushes @88, BiDanFan @90 Thanks. We are very different people (I wish he had been as supportive of me as I'm being of him, or supportive at all, or not abusive of me, for example) with very different issues, but we both have anxiety and depression (though we're anxious about different things and our depression operates differently) and, strangely, our suicidal ideations (which is what he's hospitalized for) seem similar. He's having obsessive, intrusive thoughts that sound similar to the way mine used to be (at one point I was thinking "I'm just going to fucking kill myself" about every 5 minutes), and, very weirdly, we both have/had thoughts about jumping in front of trains. Actually, my parents have had thoughts about trains as well (my mom very passingly, as she's never been seriously depressed, and my dad during one acute depressive episode caused by Ambien addiction/withdrawal). It's quite strange -- are suicide methods genetic somehow? Or cultural?

The main difference between us at this moment, and probably the only reason I didn't wind up in the hospital at several points, seems to be that he has been much more transparent about his ideation than I ever was (until after the fact). Even when I did talk to therapists and the like about my thoughts, I was always careful to emphasize that I was having thoughts but was not making any plans. I was acutely aware that this, planning, is the trigger point for more serious steps to be taken, like hospitalization (what my brother said to trigger the hospitalization was that he was thinking about looking up train schedules). It's sort of the next step up from ideation, and to some extent it was true that I never made any plans, except for that one time on that train platform. I did at one point figure out how much of my Xanax prescription I would have to take to get a lethal dose (which turned out to be far higher an amount than I ever had on hand at one time), so maybe that could be considered planning? I don't know.

I've been thinking a lot about my own mental illness in the last 6 weeks or so since my brother has been home on leave from his job. The thing is, I can't identify exactly what about residential treatment got me to stop thinking about suicide or what about the confluence of events 16 months ago finally snapped me out of non-functionality (these are two separate times of progress -- I was in treatment for a year from June 2016 to June 2017, and I became fully functional, finally, in late August of 2018), so I can't offer any real advice as to what might help my brother. And that's unfortunate, because he's afraid it's going to take him as long as me (almost 10 years, all told) to get out of his depression. It's funny -- since he's been home and critically depressed, we've gotten along better than we ever have in our lives. Maybe it's made him more empathetic somehow, or maybe he just doesn't have the energy to be nasty. But it's difficult having been though what he's going through and not have any concrete advice to give.

As for my school work, right now I have very little that's actually due, so that's not the issue. My main problem right now is that I have a quiz tomorrow morning in organic chemistry that is mostly topics from last semester I never memorized in the first place. So I can't really ask for an extension for the quiz, because it's stuff I'm supposed to know already. It's probably going to be okay, though -- the professor drops the 3 lowest quiz grades, so this will probably be one of those. I just need to get my head back in the game.

...

Sorry for all that. I probably shouldn't post it. No one here really needs all this detail about my troubles. I just don't have a lot of people I can talk to about this right now (other than my therapist, who is great, but sometimes that's not enough). We're also worried my brother could lose his security clearance over the hospitalization, so that's also in the back of my mind. I don't know.

94

Calliope @93, I know this isn't the SL comments section's intended purpose, but if it's a safe space for you to share your thoughts completely anonymously, please don't feel you shouldn't do so. I would much rather read a stranger's mental health concerns than what some trolls come here to post! As for the trains, I think that may be perhaps as universal as dreaming one has shown up naked to class. I live in London and take the tube, and I've never been suicidal but quite frequently, when the train approaches, the thought "I could just jump in front of that train" pops into my head. And I have to mentally stop myself. It's an impulse, nothing more, but there it is, so don't feel that your family is weird! Perhaps the train thing is because it's both final and dramatic. (I would also highly discourage anyone who is actually suicidal from making one's last act on this earth traumatising an innocent train driver and screwing up thousands of people's commutes. Heh.)

I'm also not surprised that you and your brother are getting along better than you did as children/teens. I think this is common among siblings that have intense rivalries. When you have some modicum of independence, even emotional independence, family interactions become far less fraught.

I hope hospitalisation helps your brother as much as it helped you, and doesn't have the long-term ramifications you're afraid it might. And good luck on your quiz.

95

BDF, thank you, I think we have generally similar perspectives. I don't necessarily agree with some of your conclusions, like what she classified as sex or why she said she wasn't interested in it. I agree that he may be better off without the serial cuddler ex and the probable turncoat, but I also think that he would benefit by learning to exert more effort to investigate confusing behavior before cutting and running.

I want him to love himself so he can love others.. But honesty is so important. So many things add up funny. He's two years celibate and one year out of a mediocre ltr. He didn't have girlfriends so much as sex partners or maybe conquests until a year long abusive relationship, after which he got therapy and.. Was the mediocre ltr in the period between starting therapy and the last year?

I want him to cultivate success, mutually happy relationships, and the confidence that goes along with success. And while anything he does with kindness and honesty is not wrong, some courses of action are more or less effective than others.

Chase, life is full of pain and danger. Sorry. It makes a lot more sense to try and identify and protect yourself from tornadoes, then blame the tornadoes and be mad at them and otherwise ignore the dangers. Some people will blame and attack you for being a tornado in their lives, we can just try not to hurt others or ourselves. But we will. People make mistakes. There's no point in blaming ourselves for making mistakes, they are opportunities to learn better methods. It's ok if we can learn how to protect ourselves and others better. Explain ourselves and listen instead of blame and ignore. Keep good boundaries with dangerous, cruel or dishonest people. They don't have the strength to be honest kind and still survive well. But just because someone is incompetent in some way, even morally, doesn't make them worthless. One who has a loose moral compass will be dangerous though. I'm in the camp that helping someone learn how to live a kinder more honest life, or just protecting yourself if you can't manage more, works better than blame. LW can't tell what was in these women's hearts, he can just learn better ways to protect himself and others. Learn better ways to respond to others and achieve his goals. Maybe he wants sympathy too but he doesn't explain what he does when women confuse him or get upset at him, he seems to ignore them and then ask other guys what they were thinking. It's hard to be sympathetic without hearing their side, their answer when he asked "why are you acting this way"? It doesn't seem like he asked, just hung up or stopped responding and asked Dan.

He still has the chance to contact them and say "why did you accuse me of rape, I didn't even have sex with her" or "why were you mad about my call, I wanted to be respectful?" (but if she had not been responding to his texts, then calling was intrusive) (he'd have to give her the benefit of the doubt and apologize for her pain and congratulate her on her child to maximize the chance that she will respond calmly). If you catch someone at the wrong moment, they may overreact, but some people flip out worse than others, men and women are not so different this way, and a loose moral compass is dangerous.

Calliope, I don't think you're supposed to understand it all, just try to figure it out when it seems important. Like, listen to him. Good luck.

96

@88 of course it was artistically correct. 95% of Americans who are into Kurasawa probably only know so due to the doors of interest being opened /by/ star wars. They both exist, in the same timeline even! This whole idea that art must be zero sum (as evinced in the debates over American Dirt) is ludicrous.

97

@90. Bi. Well, before you read the guy's letter, would you have said--do you think--that the word 'yes', with extra 'e's added, connoted reluctant sex, while eg the word 'yes' with extra 's's implied happily enthusiastic sex? 'That damn air conditioning! With all that background noise, I couldn't tell whether she was saying 'yeeeees' or 'yesssss'!. She had hooked her bra to the chandelier and was two-handed round my schlong ... but what's a guy to do? I made a half-assed excuse and ethically fled'.

Your bigger point is, of course, right: that an on-the-spot sexual partner will have a better idea of whether someone initiating sex with them really wants it than a person reading a later report; and that, of course, it's wrong to seek to accept less-than-enthusiastic consent.

On my talking-points:
1) I allowed for her being a 'gonzo' asexual--someone who didn't know the word, or the 'culture' or characteristic beliefs of aces, but knew she wanted personal intimacy, cuddling but not genital sex. I think she could have communicated this to WAIDW in some way without it threatening their relationship--since it's apparent, supposedly, that he' was 'in no hurry to get back to' orgasmic sex after a year of abuse. His response, had she laid her cards on the table, could easily have been that he didn't anticipate sex before marriage either.

2) If she 'wanted to make sure' he wanted what she wanted--which, in your mind, was companionable cuddling but nothing genital--why didn't she use her words to ascertain this? She has /already/ used her words, found her voice, in asking him what he wanted from the relationship. Given that he's had sex before (he describes himself as something of a 'horndog', and may project as 'sexual'), his answer--that he wants to settle and have kids--would be good, rather than otherwise, for her, were she ace; after her first question, it might actually embolden her to say words to the effect of 'I'm ace and would rather not fuck'.

Your idea--that she wants to make sure he doesn't need sex, so offers him half-hearted sex in the hopes he'll refuse (?) or not like it (?)--is a far greater 'flight of fancy' than I've ever offered. We're both filling in here, surmising, since he's at a loss to understand what happened and his account appears contradictory and incomplete. Your pointing (in your view) to my previous 'flights of fancy' is characterisation and would immediately be deemed inadmissible in any court. ('David Boies is a liberal pinup, a brilliant and universally respected man, who would never do anything wrong'). Anyways, you think I have flights of fancy and I think you're a rigid literalist.

3) Why does the conversation lead to her initiating sex the next day if she doesn't want it? It's more readily imaginable that it leads to her initiating sex if she does want it--and understands or believes that, to get it, she has to initiate without its being the subject of discussion.

Further, I don't think it's 'demisexual' to be up for exploring genitality after (say) three months of cuddling but not less. Many young women are trained to think sex a big psychological threat. It could take an inexperienced woman that amount of time to be assured that, when things escalated, her partner wasn't going to force or take advantage of her.

The idea 'straight guys' only read about themselves was a joke. I was saying WAIDW is more an actually 'confused guy' than a paradigmatically 'straight guy'. Indeed, the anti-bigoted assumption of my comment/joke is that gay guys might be equally confused.

@91. Bi. In my 'reconstruction', the delay shames her for wanting sex. You're right what actually went down no longer matters.

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@96. Sportlandia. The 'American Dirt' debates are about misrepresentation and appropriation--not the same issues as artistic quality.

@93. Calliope. I don't know whether it's important that you can identify the thing, or conjunction of things, that changed to make you more functional or not. One school of thought would be that it's good to know your formula for security (and even more your triggers), so that in a situation of psychological stress, you can return to, fall back on, what makes life tolerable for you. But it may not be possible to do that; knowing may not be enough. I guess you just keep on taking baby-steps and try to cement, cognitively, that the grounds for your anxiety are unfounded.

Please don't feel embarrassed about writing personally--especially if there are things you can write but not necessarily say.

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.....and this SL comment thread's Big Hunsky winner IS......

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@Calliope, please do post whatever is safe and helps you, how often does the internet get to be for good instead of for evil? Best wishes to your brother and to you. Wish I had more.

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Philo @95: "I also think that he would benefit by learning to exert more effort to investigate confusing behavior before cutting and running." He spent several months with Ms Cuddler, and she ghosted him. Good catch on the one year single vs two years without sex -- if that's to be believed, he went sexless for the last year of this relationship. So he's used to not getting sex and may even have grown to accept this as normal in relationships, which compounds his guilt at wanting sex.

Harriet @97, here's how he described it: 'I ask her if she's really sure and she said a "yes" with what sounded like a lot of extra Es and a dozen question marks at the end. ("Yeeeeeeees???") In other words, no.' He was there, he heard her answer, he knew her fairly well by this point. He could tell she was not being seductive. But what if he did misinterpret it and she really was trying to be seductive, but was too inexperienced to convey this accurately? What a guy is to do is if in doubt, don't have sex, which is what he did. Playing devil's advocate, even if she was ready to have sex, that wouldn't have obligated him to have sex with her if he had doubts. Better for him to say there's no hurry, let's wait until we are both sure. Funny how your brain can conjure up hissing air conditioning units and chandeliers but not women who say yes when they really mean no.

As to your talking points:
1) We could conjecture all day long about things they could have said but didn't. It's pointless.
2) She did use her words. Wut? She used her words to ask what he wanted, and she used her words to say she didn't want marriage let alone sex. And I'm still confused as to how a marriage that would include sex could possibly be tempting for an asexual. "I don't want marriage let alone sex" sounds like a reasonable translation of "I'm ace and would rather not fuck."
2b) Who said her offer of sex was made in hopes he would either refuse or not like it? If the former, she would have been relieved when he did refuse. If she was offering sex with the understanding that he required sex to stay in a relationship with her, as is my theory, why would she want him to not enjoy it?
3) I already explained why, multiple times, she offered sex; see above. Because he told her that without sex (and potential future marriage), he'd rather be friends, and she didn't want to lose him. You have never heard of anyone putting out to not lose a partner?? (Ha, first I engage in bizarre flights of fancy and then I'm a rigid literalist; which is it?)

It makes far more sense in my mind that she didn't want sex, she continued to not want sex, but she offered to have sex anyway once she understood it to be his price of admission, than that a genuine desire for sex arose independently and coincidentally to the security of the relationship being threatened.

And the defence rests, having just missed the hunsky. Darn!

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Thanks everyone. I really appreciate it. Best wishes back at ya.

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@101. Bi. Rigid literalist. You're usually a rigid literalist. ;)

Most women who say 'yes' when they really mean 'no' are responding to a guy's often forceful offer of sex, not the initiators of sex themselves.

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I also think Calliope, SadMama (or was it HotMama?) and Horny-Widow-who's-not-your-Typical-Widow could all do a lot better than some of the recent confused and sex-starved male letter writers!