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He wouldn't meet in person

Posted by Meredith Goldstein  October 7, 2013 08:45 AM

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Q: I started emailing this guy I met online for a few weeks, and it eventually led to us exchanging numbers. We mostly texted (we talked a total of three times) during the course of a month. During the time that we were texting, I asked if we could meet. He has a young child that he is the primary caregiver of, so that was his excuse for not being able to get together (or even talk on the phone).

I really felt like we "clicked," and he would always say that he thought I was pretty and wanted to meet me and get to know me better, but I decided to end it because I was tired of waiting. He explained to me that his child and some of his other activities took up his time, but I shot back and asked him why was he on a dating website to begin with. After that conversation ended, I wondered if I should have given it more time.

Things are different from when I was younger. People talked on the phone and went out. This is not my first experience with guys not really making an effort to meet, but they want to continue with texting. How long are you supposed to wait before you know the guy is just leading you on? Please help me so that I can go into the next "online date" with more understanding.

Thanks so much!

– When is it time to meet?, Mass.


A: Your instincts are right. If a guy hasn't made plans to meet after a few rounds of messages, you have to move on. The point of online dating is to date in person. You're not doing this to find a pen pal.

As for the phone, well, that has changed a bit. People certainly talk on the phone, but they also email and text. Phone calls are important, but I wouldn't worry about them until you're in a relationship. Really, you probably shouldn't have more than one phone conversation with someone before you've actually met them. Some people just aren't very good on the phone, and you need the in-person meeting for context.

This particular guy wasn't right for you. He didn't have time to date, and he's all talk. And by that I mean all text, which is a common problem these days. There are many people who prefer texts to real interaction because it's stress-free, low effort, and a quick fix for pseudo-intimacy. Texts should be the icing on the cake of a relationship. You need to find the cake.

Even with crazy schedules, a date should happen within three weeks. Go find someone who wants to see you in the real world.

Readers? Any rules for this? Are the texts confusing? Should she have given this guy more time? Are the phone calls important? Help.

– Meredith



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ABOUT LOVE LETTERS: Welcome to Love Letters, the place for love advice (giving and getting). Globe relationship columnist Meredith Goldstein and Boston.com readers are ready to take your letters and tell you what's what. Have a question? Click here to submit or email us at loveletters@boston.com.
Blogger Meredith Goldstein

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.

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