Handle this one with kid gloves, please. Seems necessary.
Q: I am a 31-year-old who is very inexperienced and my social life is non-existent. I came to live in the United States five years ago and I had to start all over again. I was a student back home but I had not completed the course of study I was taking at a college because everything was a hardship there. I had a chance to leave my birth country, so I took it without hesitation.
Growing up I kept to myself. I love to read -- especially romance novels -- and I know the difference between reality and fiction. Living in the US has given me an opportunity to change my life, at least on a professional level. I work a simple job during the day and I am back in college pursuing a program in health. At my day job there is a man who is a regular customer. He has been given me these inviting looks for quite some time now and I am deeply attracted to him. I can feel the tension between us, and even other people notice the attraction. He had never asked me out, so I said to myself, "Maybe he thinks I have a boyfriend." So I called him to give him my phone number. We spoke on the phone as if we were old friends and for a few weeks we kept texting each other. He recently bought a condo, and he wanted to take me there, so I agreed to go.
Two days before the meeting, I texted him to inquire about the sleeping arrangements, and he pretended not to understand the question, so I made myself clear and I told him that I was not ready for intimacy on the first night and I needed to know him better before we moved ahead. He apologized and told me that we should forget the whole thing altogether. We do not text anymore. I see him most everyday at work and instinctively I know he is still interested in me. My head tells me to forget about him but, I am still attracted to him.
Am I a fool to hope that something good will come out of this dilemma?
– Rebbeca23, Hyde Park
A: You're not a fool for hoping -- you're just a romantic.
I am a little confused about why you'd be sleeping over on the first date. Did you make that assumption? Is his condo very far away?
Assuming the sleepover request came from him, this guy isn't worth your time. I don't know if he's secretly married, has a one-track mind, or is simply just a jerk. What I do know is that if his intentions had been pure, if he had really wanted to get to know you and pursue a relationship with you, he would have asked for a meal or a movie. He would have respected the fact that you were uncomfortable touring his condo and sleeping over on a first date. He probably would have called you and asked you out long before texting you.
You're inexperienced and new to this country, but let me tell you how it is over here. When someone likes you, they respect your boundaries. When someone wants to date you, they ask to spend time with you. When someone is the real deal, they don't confuse you and then disappear. And really, even if the sleepover assumption came from you, you'd think he'd say, "Of course you don't have to stay over! Whatever makes you comfortable." But he didn't. I'm just happy that you were clear about your concerns.
Keep reaching out, keep being social, keep approaching the guys who catch your eye -- and keep trusting your gut.
This guy was just a test. There will be more.
Readers? How can she stop hoping? Any words of wisdom for the inexperienced? What was this guy's deal? Discuss.
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Meredith Goldstein is a Boston Globe columnist who follows relationship trends and entertainment. She offers daily advice on Love Letters — and welcomes your comments. Meredith is also the author of "The Singles," a novel about complicated relationships. Follow Meredith at www.meredithgoldstein.netand on Twitter. Love Letters can be found in the print edition of The Boston Globe every Saturday in the G section.