General Dating Questions/inconsistent behavior


QUESTION: Hi Dennis,
About a month ago I split up with a guy I'd been seeing because my feelings changed and I no longer wanted to be casually dating him and he did not feel the same. A few days ago I had lunch with him. I thought seeing him wouldn't affect me, but I quickly realized I was still into him. I was ambivalent about whether I should say anything. Just before I parted ways with him a woman interrupted our conversation and gave him her number. Seeing that made me realize I needed to take action. I left him a voice mail saying I realized I was still into him and wanted to know his perspective.

He called me that evening and we talked for an hour. We got interrupted and called me back later to say good night. Both conversations were good. We didn’t talk about dating at all. It was almost midnight and told me to call him the next day and we'd talk about that.

The next night we talked. The conversation seemed to be going well. He was being goofy and sending me funny picture messages. About 20 minutes into the conversation I casually asked, "Did you listen to my voicemail?" He said, "Yes," but didn't seem to know what I was asking him. I clarified, "I thought it would be no big deal to see you the other day. I realized I'm still really into you and I wanted to be honest and respectful and not pretend I just wanna be friends. I just wanna know where you stand."

He started to flip out at me. This is very out of character for him. Normally he is unflappable and ALWAYS patient and polite.  He said, "Look, we can hang out, but I don't want any bullshit or games or clarification from you." I stayed calm, though I was a confused about what exactly he meant. When I asked questions he kept saying, "Oh my god whatever WHATEVER," instead of answering me. I told him I understood he didn't want drama in his life and I didn't either. I also told him, "You inspire me and you're my idea of a fantastic person." He said, "What the HELL am I supposed to do with that? Whatever. I gotta go let's hang out next week." (He is going on vacation for a week.) I doubt he will follow through on that offer and if he does I'm not sure I want to see him.

The "games" he was referring to occured in two specific situations and I have apologized profusely. I can tell you exactly what happened if you want to know. He refuses to believe I was not playing games and keeps bringing it up and expecting me to apologize.

My questions are: Firstly, why is he acting like this? He obviously wants some kind of connection with me if he willingly talks to me on the phone for hours. Second, how do you handle a situation where the person you're seeing will neither believe you or accept your repeated apologies? I couldn't get past this issue with him.

Thanks for your help!

ANSWER: Hello Kristin!

First, let's clarify: those "games" he's talking about were you trying to be manipulative. Instead of being forward and direct about what you wanted you were dodgy and used things like misdirection and evasiveness while trying to get him to give you and absolute answer.

Now, before you go rushing off to tell me how wrong I am about that just stop. No, I'm not wrong. This isn't my first rodeo. Trust me on this - whether you can see it or not, it's absolutely accurate. If you don't see it, you need to really think about it until you do. It's a huge part of your (up-coming) answer.

Thus, to your questions:

He's acting "like this" because he doesn't want to be manipulated by someone who dumped him. I wouldn't either. He wasn't good enough for you to keep him and make things work or (worse!) you dumped him to punish him for something he did or didn't do. That's not how good relationships work. They agree to work through problems together - as a team. They don't throw away things just because they aren't "perfect". Remember: it's nobody's job to make you "happy" expect your own. That's not what a relationship is for.

They only way to get passed someone's disbelief with with total, complete, unwavering openness and honesty. You have to put ALL your cards on the table and do so in a very clear, unhidden way that least you totally exposed and vulnerable. Then, you have to accept when someone answers that with their own "honesty" - whether you like it or not; whether it's the answer you want or not.

That's pretty damned scary, isn't it? That's the point. It's absolutely clear that you've NOT done any of this and it's why you're in this situation right now. Thus, you have a choice: you can either stick to your safe, familiar way of being indirect, punishing and manipulative which got you right where you are now or you can decide that you want something better and suck it up and change it.

Trust me, he sees this just as clearly as I do. His reactions tell me everything I need to know. That may not be what you wanted to hear, but it's accurate and honest.

Best regards...

Dr. Dennis W. Neder
CEO/Executive Producer
BAM! Productions
Remington Publications
Producers: "BAM! TV" and “Love and Sex”
Publishers: "Being a Man in a Woman's World I, II & III”

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: We broke up because I wanted more commitment and he did not. I feel I have been honest and forthcoming with him, so maybe you can help me see where I might be inconsistent.

As far as the games, he is refering to two situations. In one, he asked me to come watch his race. I traveled two hours to get there. Once I got there he asked me to come to the bar where he was. I walked another 20 minutes to get to the bar. I sat down and ordered a beer and he stood up and said, "Gotta go!" and walked out. I flipped him off as he was leaving because I was pissed. He circled back and asked why I was flipping him off. I told him I didn't understand why he didn't tell me he was planning to leave before I ordered a drink or why he couldn't wait five minutes for me to finish it instead of leaving me there alone. I was there less than five minutes before he left. What really upset me was the fact the he didn't seem to care how much time I'd invested in getting there. He refused to talk to me for several days afterward.

From my perspective we both acted inappropriately, but I don't see how it could be construed as a game. I was angry because he ditched me and I think I communicated that pretty clearly. He seems to think I was upset because *he* did it, but I'd be mad at anyone who behaved like that.

In the other situation, I told him I had to take my dad to the hospital because he collapsed and I thought he was dying. Five hours later I still hadn't heard from him so I called to ask if he'd get a drink with me so I could get out of the house. He didn't answer. I left a message stating where I was going and that he could join me if he wanted to. A few minutes later he texted, "Have fun by yourself." In the morning I texted saying it would have meant alot if he would have come through. Apparently, this comes across as being a game and he refused to talk to me for several days, again.

Clearly, if he refuses to talk to me when an incident occurs we will never achieve mutual understanding. I don't know how to get around that. I have apologized many times for what I did. I am not going to tell him I'll stop playing games because I never was. He was being an asshole and I called him out. I was swift and direct and addressed the issues I had a problem with; I never dragged his character through the mud or demanded he change. I didn't expect it to turn into this long, drawn out issue.

Let's say I wanted to follow your advice and lay all my cards on the table. What did I miss?

And lastly, what I meant when I asked, "Why is he acting like this," was: If he thinks I am a game-player and dislikes it so much why is he willingly calling and talking to me for hours? And seeming to enjoy it?

Thanks for your help.

Hello again Kristin!

More misdirection? Kristin, you came to me looking for help. If you're going to tell me stories and try to misdirect ME (someone who understands your language and techniques far better than even you do) we're never going to get anywhere.

First, these aren't the "games" he was talking about - and you know it. If you can't see that (or worse, think I'm so stupid as to not see it) there's really nothing more I can do for you.

I fully understand what you want from me. You want me to vilify him, "prove" that he's the bad guy (and that you're right) and give you some new manipulative tool to make him change his mind. The problem is; the premise itself is wrong. I can't give you something to further hide what's really going on here. You need to come clean about all of this and accept your responsibilities and deal with them - not try to hide them and find some other way to trick him.

Kristin, I know you don't want to hear any of this. I'm not here to sooth your widdow-biddy feelings. I'm here to help you. Do you want help? If so, go back and re-read my previous message and follow it closely. If you just want someone to justify your bad choices, there are many other experts on this site who don't know what they're doing and will happily do that for you.

To your questions:

"Let's say I wanted to follow your advice..." You don't - you want some new trick you haven't thought of yet.

"What did I miss?" More manipulation here and now you're trying to find ways to prove to me that I'm wrong instead of taking responsibility for your actions and fixing them. You know that as soon as I give you some list (which you're hoping for) you're going to turn right back around like you did with the "games" discussion above and say, "Oh, no I didn't!!!" Kristin, don't you see a pattern here? You and I both know you're not that clueless. You didn't miss anything. In fact, you're very aware of this. Accept it, fix it and stop being evasive.

As to your last question; it's simple: he's no longer invested in you, has completely (and surgically) removed you from his life so that any further games or manipulation has absolutely no effect on him. You've entirely lost any emotional connection and now, "'re just somebody that [he] used to know..."

If you want to change that you're going to have to give up the old tools and start working with the new ones I gave you.

Best regards...

Dr. Dennis W. Neder
CEO/Executive Producer
BAM! Productions
Remington Publications
Producers: "BAM! TV" and “Love and Sex”
Publishers: "Being a Man in a Woman's World I, II & III”

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Dr. Dennis W. Neder


I'm able to answer any sort of question related to the approach, meeting people, dating, sex, relationships, break-ups, non-legal marriage and divorce questions, and anything in between. I've helped over 30,000 people with their individual issues. IMPORTANT: Please, PLEASE don't ask me, "what was he thinking..." or "why did he say..." types of questions! I DO NOT READ MINDS! There are 1,001 reasons why someone does what they do, says what they say or thinks what they think. If you *REALLY* want to know what they were thinking, saying or why they were acting that way - go ask them! Be sure to check out my FAQ's on my website at: You can email me directly at:


I am the author of the books "Being a Man in a Woman`s World I & II" and "1001 Places and Techniques to Meet Great Women" and 11 others. I`ve spent the last 20 years studying the art and science of every aspect of relationships, and have answered over 30,000 letters from readers all over the world. My main focus is men`s relationships with women, but I also have many female readers and answer questions for them regularly as well.

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