Q: I'm a 26-year-old gay man living in Boston. I've been single for the past four years after getting out of a four-year relationship. I told myself that for the first year I just wanted to "find myself." I've always heard that to find true happiness with someone else you first need to be happy being on your own. I thought I had achieved that.
I didn't date anyone for the first two years because I had never actually been single for more than two months. I just had casual relationships that I never intended to pursue, and I made that clear to my partners. It wasn't until the beginning of last year that I truly wanted to get back into the dating scene. I had a brief relationship with one guy for about two months but we just ended up not being right for each other. I accepted that and moved on.
Jumping forward to this year, I was introduced to a guy by one of my good friends who thought we'd be perfect together. Our first date was incredible. We had great conversation, had a lot in common, and just generally clicked very well. No red flags at that point. We went on several dates over the next 3 weeks and I introduced him to my two best friends who I live with and they all hit it off immediately. I was overjoyed as to how well it was going. In retrospect, I should have noticed some red flags early on but I brushed them off.
After the third date he was already saying how he wanted to be with me and that he saw a real future with me, which obviously made me feel special. But in my head I felt it was a little premature, but I didn't express these feelings to him. Once we hit the one-month mark, I had fallen for him and I wanted to pursue a real relationship with him. Only problem was that he began to completely ignore me. I hadn't heard from him in over a week and I come to find out that he was actually seeing someone else. Naturally I was very hurt and confused. I texted him a few times to try and get answers out of him but all of them went unanswered. I'm not a believer in "closure" but I just really wanted him to man up and tell me what happened. It wasn't until three weeks after I'd moved on that he texted me saying, "I'm sorry it just didn't work out. I felt strongly for you at first but then it just didn't feel right." Very vague answer but an answer nonetheless.
I treated him like a king in the time we spent together. Took him out to dinner, movies, events, and whatnot. Nothing but respect, love, and kindness. This problem has occurred before and I guess I'm wondering if I'm doing something wrong. Should I just let love come to me instead of seeking it out? Should I not be so "doting" right off the bat? I just don't know what I should do when it comes to dating anymore.
– Lonely Boy, Boston
A: I have no problem with you doing nice things for someone who treats you well and reciprocates your feelings. In this case, the guy was great until he wasn't, and then he disappeared. It happens.
I don't think you're doing anything wrong. Sometimes things just don't work out. But the "dinner, movies, events" comment does concern me just a little bit. I hope that when you refer to "doting," you don't mean "spoiling" and that you're giving these guys the opportunity to do nice things for you. We all need to prove ourselves in relationships. It's always worth asking yourself, "Is this person working to make me feel nice, too?"
In this specific case, it just sounds like he was all talk. He told you he wanted a future with you when he barely knew you. If that ever happens again with someone after a few weeks, you'll know not to take it very seriously.
Honestly, this is how dating goes. Just know that you really shouldn't be showering someone with affection unless you feel showered in return. And there's plenty of time to work up to showering. It takes a few months to figure out what's real.
Readers? Did he do something wrong? Is he too doting? Was this an isolated incident? Help.
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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.