When men are confused

by singlemomseeking on June 24, 2008

Maybe it’s because the world feels unsteady right now, as if there’s a constant undertow.

Or maybe it’s because there’s a Capricorn moon with Saturn in Virgo.

All I know is, there’s a comment awaiting moderation right now in response to my post about “Kate Hudson: “Boys, Meet My Son.”

The comment, however, has nothing to do with Kate Hudson or her son. It was sent by M’s father, from Ireland. He goes by the user name “Cupid Zen.” (Oh, the irony!)

I can’t remember the last time I heard from him. It has been more than a year for sure. The comment says, simply:

“Happy B Day Big Girl”

I’m assuming that the “Big Girl” he refers to is M, but her birthday was way back in April.

Perhaps the “Big Girl” is yours truly, but my birthday is towards the end of July. (And, am I really a Big Girl? I thought I was a woman.)

I haven’t responded yet. Should I?

P.S. Oh, and don’t even get me started about that cute, sweet not-yet-divorced dad who recently asked me out. I told him flat out that I’d love to hang out “as friends,” explaining that I’ve learned the hard way not to date men who are in the throes of a painful, bitter break-up.

My experience with not-yet-divorced men has led me to believe that they should either:

1. Not date because they are simply avoiding reality by diving into a new fling;

Or, 2. Date “recreationally,” for fun, because it’s so darn exciting to get back out there, but they’re too confused to be present for a real relationship.

So, we met a couple of times and had some insightful, open conversations. I thought we were off to a genuine friendship, it felt right. Then, without saying a word, he decided on the sly that he’d pursue a friend of mine. Maybe it’s a hunter man-thing I’ll never understand. What happened to good ol’ honesty?

If a guy is leaving sweet, flattering messages for both women, back to back… well, what was he thinking? Women talk, especially smart, honest ones. My girlfriend had the wits to call me and give me the scoop.

See what I mean by confused men?

Photo by Staci Becker

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{ 26 comments… read them below or add one }

Andy June 24, 2008 at 10:15 am

Rachel, it’s been a while since last I commented, though I have never stopped reading. But I felt I had to jump in on this one. I normally do not have insight to share, but am soaking up the insight of others.

Rattle snakes have rattles, bulls have horns, lions have roars and men not ready for an honest relationship have, well, habits of pursuing women as they come into view.

I’m not the sort to give advice and you probably do not need it anyway. With that said, I would be careful. I just told my sister, who is dating again for the first time after a very painful divorce and came across a man with the same haphazard manner, that it’s not about deciding what she can put up with. I would offer you the same sentiment.

You know what it is supposed to be like; how good and mutual it can be. Look for that…

You’re a keeper, find someone you feel is your equal. He’d have to be a heck of a man to be that, wouldn’t he?

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mc June 24, 2008 at 10:42 am

Stick to your guns, woman, you called it already, on both guys.

You don’t have to respond just because one of them pulls your chain.

Men like that—they feel low and try to get themselves an ego boost by trolling to see if you’re interested.

Not responding….is such a very good idea in both cases (IMHO).

A real man who wants a real relationship with you goes about it differently, and you know this. If you don’t want to play games, don’t respond.

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Legal Editor Mom June 24, 2008 at 11:00 am

Andy offers excellent advice, as does MC. I’ve learned firsthand in dealing with my ex that not responding is best. He can’t figure out why he is no longer yanking my chain. No matter what he says or how sappy, sentimental, or genuinely apologetic he may be, I’m just not fazed. I graciously accept his apologies, but don’t offer too much else in the way of promise or hope of the reconciliation that he’s again longing for.

Who knows what Eric is up to, but both you and M deserve far more than the once a year e-mail or phone call or whatever other feeble attempt he makes to get in touch. As far as the “friend,” don’t even get me started. But don’t give it a second thought. You’re doing fine as you are, and life’s too short to settle for any less than you deserve.

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Jim Everson June 24, 2008 at 11:17 am

I agree with the other posters that no response is the best response regarding your ex.

But as for the not-yet-divorced father, I beg to differ. Didn’t you just say that you’d love to hang out “as friends?” Does this mean he shouldn’t date other people?

Of course, the issue of dating your friend does smack of some insensitivity, but again, what exactly were you wanting? Your posting here betrays mixed messages running in both directions, his and yours.

Now, I know that in the kingdom of the heart, confusion wears the crown. So perhaps remembering that will allow you to cut yourself, and maybe even him, some slack. Please don’t think that I’m being critical here, or even asking for consistency. The only reason I’m even able to make this comment is because of the generosity of your spirit and your willingness to put your heart online. Its just that it might be best for everyone involved if you employed some of that generosity toward being patient with others who are standing where you once stood.

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singlemomseeking June 24, 2008 at 12:06 pm

Jim: I don’t see where I’m communicating any mixed messages.

Honesty is huge in my book. I’m raising my child to be honest. She knows that any healthy relationship — the seed of which is friendship — is planted with trust and honesty. I aim to model this.

Maybe I try too hard sometimes to be honest, maybe I expect others to be as honest — and this is unrealistic.

When a man is dishonest with me, from the tender start, there is no slack.

As you say, dating “other people” is great. I was thrilled when this guy told me that he was on Match.com. Exciting! But trying to entice a single mom friend of mine into bed — without, uh, at least mentioning his intentions — is clearly insensitive.

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littlemansmom June 24, 2008 at 12:23 pm

The *biotch* in me would respond with a simple “and which big girl were you referring to…the 8 yr old who’s birthday has past, or her mommy’s who’s birthday is yet to come ?”

The grown up in me would let it go and pretend I never say it, somehow tucking it as far in the back as possible.

I’m with you on the dating though…I never date a man who is ‘separated’….I just can’t wrap my brain or my heart around that one.

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singlemomseeking June 24, 2008 at 12:24 pm

Andy, I love this image you describe: “Rattle snakes have rattles, bulls have horns, lions have roars and men not ready for an honest relationship have, well, habits of pursuing women as they come into view.”

I’ve always thought of still-married men as having a pocketful of change as they enter the candy store. It all looks so delicious, they don’t know where to start. They want to taste everything at once.

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Dr. Leah June 24, 2008 at 12:43 pm

Still married divorcing men are more like kids in a candy store with a pocketful of change who devour everything in sight without savoring or enjoying any of it. The women wind up like so many discarded candy wrappers on the floor.

Andy is so right… they just pursue as women come into view.

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dadshouse June 24, 2008 at 1:32 pm

Good insights, Rachel, on men going through divorce. I dated recreationally for a while after my wife and I finally separated (which was 10 months after we decided to split – it’s complicated with kids involved). You get a little stir crazy, and affection from any woman is a good thing.

That said, 8 months after my separation I met a wonderful woman and entered a committed, deep relationship with her that came very close to marriage. I don’t think there’s a magic point at which divorce people are suddenly ready for a real relationship, it’s different for all. But it does take time.

btw – I think this guy leaving messages for you and your friend at the same time says more about him being a creep than a statement about divorced men.

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Carrie June 24, 2008 at 2:27 pm

I agree with dadshouse on the separated issue. My divorce became official (i.e., court document showed up in my mailbox) almost 2 years after we separated. By that point I was very much over my marriage and ready to move on. The man I ended up in a serious, long-term relationship with was also at the tail end of his divorce process when we met and fell in love. Sometimes the “officially divorced” title really is just a technicality. When there are custody/support issues and court battles, these things can take a long time.

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GLSD June 24, 2008 at 3:12 pm

Rachel,

So glad your friend was up front and told you about the loser… obviously he’s trying to play you both out…to boost his ego!

M’s biological father… I’d say just go on with your life. Obviously if it takes him a year to try to get in contact by leaving a msg that is either too late or too early, he’s not worth your time!

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singlemomseeking June 24, 2008 at 3:25 pm

Carrie and Dad’s House: You’re right about the “official” part, thanks for pointing this out.

There’s a difference, say, between a man who just moved out of his home — and is still getting his own bank account, let alone his own linens — and a man who is close to signing the paperwork.

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jeanie June 25, 2008 at 2:07 pm

As dadshouse said, I think the “leaving sweet, flattering messages for both women, back to back” says a lot more about the man than the man’s marital status – I would like to think that the former had more to do with the latter, rather than vice versa.

The reason I chose to respond to my man’s profile (and kiss) online? He mentioned the concepts of “honesty” and “integrity” – any man who (a) knows those long words, (b) can use them in a sentence, (c) can use them in such complex sentences that he appears to know the meaning of them, and (d) knows the meaning of them and applies them to life – well, in my world that ticks all sorts of boxes.

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deesha June 25, 2008 at 3:46 pm

Hey, Rachel…

I dated while separated (DWS!), and my boyfriend of nearly 2 years was just starting the legal process when we first met. I never doubted his resolve to end the marriage, and I realized too that he had mourned his marriage for years, while still in it, as I did. Before him, there were guys who would not date me on principle because I was still legally married (and I respected that). And I encountered separated men whose status didn’t sit well with me because of specific circumstances (e.g., vengeful exes, heavy feelings of guilt or fear on the part of the guy)–and so I didn’t date them.

As others have said, it really depends on the individuals involved, how they are coping with divorce/separation.

As for M’s dad, his message isn’t worth a response, imo. Sounds like he’s testing the waters with you, and not seriously interested in making a healthy overture to M (which is the only important factor). I could write a book about things like this, but for now…*hugs*

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Lori June 25, 2008 at 5:58 pm

I agree, don’t give ‘Cupid Zen’ more time than you already did on the post. He’s not worth the energy.

As far as the man, I would say just let it go, even as far as the friendship. It’s really not useful to be in that relationship. Friendship or otherwise. He’s obviously not ready for anything especially not dating. He just re-entered the ocean.

I know in my case I was long over the loss of my marriage by time the official papers came in. I thought last August I was ready for a relationship. So did the man I was dating. Neither of us were really. But that’s a whole other story(you can see that one on my blog…it’s a doozy ~we’ve been split up for 2 months and he’s getting married!)

Keep your chin up. You are an awesome Mother to M, and that special man is out there. Every bad one is just one step closer to him. :)

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Dan June 26, 2008 at 9:40 am

I’d delete the Ex’s post out of spite just for being a clueless tool.

As for the other confused man…

You told him “as friends”…why would it bother you if he was interested in your friend? If a woman told me she wanted to go out “as friends” that pretty much feels like a subtle “I’m not into you”. And NO guy wants to get into the friend zone with a woman he’s interested in. Did your friend flirt with this guy or give him a reason to persue her? More details!

I swear, if a woman said to me “Lets date as friends” I’d first laugh and then never call her. I have enough friends…I’m looking for passion and chemistry…the basic building blocks for starting a relationship. You can be BFFs with matching Gap sweaters later.

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singlemomseeking June 26, 2008 at 9:59 am

Great questions Dan! Your matching Gap sweater line cracked me up.

To clarify: I’m NOT bothered by the fact that this guy has the hots for my friend. She DOES like him, and I think they will hit it off!

Their romance is not the issue. What bothers me is: his secrecy and dishonesty. (Yes, I have some triggers around these issues.)

All this guy had to do was tell me, “Hey, I have the hots for your friend.”

I wish he’d been a man about it, and come clean with me. Instead, he asked my friend to call me.

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Dan June 26, 2008 at 10:46 am

Eh…yeah sounds like he has confrontation issues. I mean it IS an odd situation…sounds like he was trying to dodge out of maybe hurting your feelings and felt it might come off better from your friend.

So…you’re friends hot huh…interesting.

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singlemomseeking June 26, 2008 at 10:53 am

Dan: yes, you’re right. I think the issue at hand is more about not wanting to be confrontational. It can be hard to be honest, but in the end, there’s nothing more genuine. This will all pass, I hope.

Funny, just this morning, I ran into another guy on the street corner, whom I’d dated very briefly last summer. He wanted to apologize for hitting on two of my girlfriend afterwards — by email! He said that he’d been feeling “desperate.” Oy.

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singlemomseeking June 26, 2008 at 10:54 am

Deesha: two years!! Congrats. I remember your first emails when you met him… I’m so happy for you!

Lori: I’m catching up on your blog. Thanks.

Jeanie: I hope you let your boyfriend read that comment of yours. Beautiful.

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Dan June 26, 2008 at 12:06 pm

SMS: You need to stop dating guys you meet on street corners IMO ;b

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BlueBella June 26, 2008 at 1:06 pm

Oh lordy my dear! As the others have said, no response is the BEST response. I even would go so far as to say giving the situation with M’s father’s comment the significance of part of one of your posts is going to far – he obviously reads your blog and is getting satisfication right now that people from all over are contemplating his actions and your response.
Same goes for Mr. Doubleplay – your warning bells mean RUN far away! And if your friend knows anything she will do the same – if he does it to you he will do it to her!
The bottom line? People worth your time will NOT play games with you – they will be honest, open and direct. Anything else isn’t worth a second thought as you toss it into the void of insignificance.

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dadshouse June 27, 2008 at 5:56 pm

“Instead, he asked my friend to call me.”

Um, pardon my French, but this guy is a pussy.

I know “confrontation issues” is more eloquent (good job, Dan), but sometimes you need to hear it straight. Where’s Lance when we need him?

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Crazy Computer Dad June 28, 2008 at 6:16 am

No idea what to say on M’s father.

On the other one, people make mistakes and hopefully they learn from them. You might want to let him know rather than be mad, it is quite possible he just didn’t know how to handle it. Making mistakes, especially of this type, isn’t a trait unique to men though and there are just as many female predators out there as men.

Remember honesty isn’t the same thing as truth. Integrity is a lost, or at least extremely rare, character trait.

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Tara June 30, 2008 at 7:34 am

Oh my goodness. Something weird *did* happen to men everywhere on June 24. I have a horrid story about how confused my man is and what he did that day. But…the sordid details are still too painful to share. Suffice to say, I think it’s in the atmosphere.

Just found your blog today and saw this post, so I don’t know the whole story of M’s father and how much or little you’d like him in her life. I think your response should be in line with your hopes for their relationship though.

My daughter’s father and I split up when she was 11 months old. She’s 11 YEARS old now (eek!). Been doing the co-parenting thing for a long time, most of which by myself. Looking forward to sharing more and reading more (especially your book) about being a single mom.

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Ms. Single Mama June 30, 2008 at 7:37 am

I agree with Crazy Computer Dad. And I think there’s probably more to the story. In my experience … guys caught in a situation like this usually don’t know what to do. Did he really ask your friend to call you? That would be totally weird … maybe she offered because she wanted it to come from her. Just a thought.

I feel for recently divorced guys getting back out there. They just don’t really know what they’re doing. Like learning to ride a bike all over again. I know I had issues dating before my divorce was final. It was a whole new world.

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