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Nov 10, 2008

Flags instead of Fiascos

I wrote the following reflection months ago, probably back in June, and never posted it because I thought it was too long for a blog. But then I decided… if you don’t mind a few minutes read, take a look at another dating red flag that almost became a fiasco.  Here it is as I wrote it in June:

June 2008

Since I am presently taking a break from dating I thought I might not have as  many funny stories to share about my dating life. However, I have had enough over the last six months to probably keep me busy with blogging and sharing for those who enjoy the entertainment value of my “love-life.”

So today we are going to talk about a guy we will call Ben. This was just a couple months ago. Ben started out as a promising potential. We started talking by email after meeting through a dating website. Then we were talking by phone. The conversations were at great length and now looking back a good part of that was his sharing about his ex-wife and their relationship and the new battle with custody hearings, etc. Now let me explain, I don’t mind hearing about someone’s ex. As a matter of fact I can pick up some clues from how they talk about her and how they share about the way it ended. But if that is all they end up talking about, he might just not be over her or over it yet. Sorry I digress…..We talked for about a week before we made plans to go to lunch.

And lunch went well. He looked better than his photos and many times I have found that is the case with guys; or at the least the ones I meet. We had a nice lunch and nice conversation. I could tell he was a little nervous; but I still get nervous on first dates as well, so this was not an alarming thing.

Well the good thing about making a first date a lunch date is the fact I do have to get back to work and so an hour – or just less than an hour - is a good time to end the nervousness and the idle chatter. So I head back to work. A few minutes later I get a call from him that I missed and end up with a quick voicemail that he enjoyed lunch, etc.

Later on that day I am leaving work and the kids and I get a quick dinner because I have to take Kass to her Girls Scouts meeting. I have planned my trip so that after dropping her off I can run by Lowe’s to get a few things I need during the hour and a half that I have till I go pick her up. I returned the call to Ben while I am leaving her Girls Scouts – just to let him know I got his message, that I also enjoyed lunch and to thank him. He says he is about to head out the door to leave out of town on his business trip he had told me about earlier that day at lunch. He asks where I am headed and I tell him I am running errands at Lowe’s before picking up Kass. He immediately says, “I will meet you there.” I said, “Oh I know you are just kidding; I know you are heading out of town this evening to get to Richmond for your meeting tomorrow.” He then proceeds to tell me he has all night to get to Richmond and that he will be there in a few minutes.

OK, from the shock I don’t refute his insistence and we get off the phone. Well I get to Lowe’s and in a few minutes he is joining me there at the front door. I go through my list and get each of my items and then head back to my vehicle to load up. While here he continues to chat and we end up standing in the parking lot a good 45 minutes at least because the next thing I know it’s time for me to leave to pick up Kass. During all this conversation I pick up on a few “red flags.” He has four children and two of them are older teens and the others are closer to my children’s ages. One of the older boys Ben shares with me has “violence” issues and has been known to hit his mother and so he now lives with Ben. Well, I told him his son probably needed counseling and that the violence was something I think he wouldn’t tolerate. He’s a boy, Ben says; and the judge recommended counseling when they got divorced, but they never had him to go, he continues to share with me. I told him I was very much an advocate of counseling and that it can do a lot of good. Finally it was time for me to pick up Kass from her meeting so I had to excuse myself.

While driving to pick her up, I couldn’t stop thinking about all that he shared in this last conversation. I knew what I had to do; but dreaded doing it. I was going to have to tell him this was not what I wanted; and that I wasn’t interested. We have only been on one date, but because he was already very interested it seemed, I knew I would have to explain this and the sooner the better.

That evening not long after I had gotten home, he called. He was on the road and started immediately into some tangent about his ex… and I let him vent before I broke in and said “There is something I need to tell you.” I then started to explain it like I had rehearsed, that I wasn’t interested in a serious relationship and that I knew he was looking for something more serious, and “that it was me, not him…” (well you get the idea). Well after I spilled all this, I looked at my phone and the call was gone. I thought he was upset possibly and hung up. Minutes later he called back – he had lost the signal…. And no, he hadn’t heard any of what I was saying! So I started over, from the beginning and went through my speech one more time. This time he did hear me. His reaction was, “Well this will take some adjustment. But if this is what you want, ok.” I said yes this is what I want…. anyway it seemed to go well. Or so I thought.

However, I knew I hadn’t heard the last of him. His red flags had already warned me he was the “clingy” and “insistent” type. I was right. The next few days I continued to get calls from him, some late at night. I didn’t take his calls and his voice mails were long and disturbing. He knew there was something meant for us and that we were just meant to be together. The more he left on voicemail, the more I knew I was so glad that I ended it as quickly as I did. My instincts were right on this one.

Three to four weeks had gone by and he continued with long voicemails, text messages and pictures by phone. Thankfully none were obscene! But I had had enough. I had a good friend of mine to call him and tell him to please leave me alone and for the last time I was not interested. Well it was a guy friend and when Ben took the call, he continued to interrupt and insist over my friend’s requests that this must be my new boyfriend, etc.

That next day I checked email and I had two or three messages from him stating that he couldn’t believe I had a friend to call him and that he deserved an explanation for my not wanting a relationship with him. He deserved an explanation!? (Are you seeing a pattern here? This was after one date and about a week‘s worth of phone conversations.)

Now after sharing stories like this…. You probably think there are lots of these guys that become so intrigued after just one date. Oh if only that were the case… there were just as many that I went out with and was interested in and they were not interested. (I just wasn’t blogging much during those times.) So don’t get that impression. And also, I just seem to attract the “clingy” possessive type. It seems to occur in my history of relationships. I am just grateful after meeting guys with possessive tendencies, that I do sense the red flags early and get out of the way of a potentially “bad” fiasco down the road.

Oh and how did it finally end with Ben? Well I sent him one last email that read something like this:

Do not communicate with me in any way following this email. Do not text message me, call me, email me, leave voicemail, nor send photo messages. If you do it will be considered harassment and I will seek legal council.

After that I haven’t heard from him anymore. Sad you have to get ugly to get some people to leave you alone. Sometimes I think maybe I have the problem, but then weirdly, I think maybe their real issues have nothing at all to do with me. I just entertained a possibility, giving them a chance, trying to be open-minded and in this case came very close to being stalked.

Do you have any similar dating 'red flags' stories? 

How do you deal with letting people down "easy?"

Find yourself.... keeping it real.

Photo Credit:  http://www.vtrc.org/images/descrippics/flagger.gif


T said...

Dang girl... I love the whole "This will take some adjustment..." after you'd only met once!! Holy crap!

Gary "Big Hokie" Cope said...

"Ben" doesn't seem like he's ... how can I put this delicately ... "right in the head." :) Sounds like you handled it well, though! I hope both Ben and his son seek counseling for their issues. I'll keep them in my thoughts and prayers...

Katherine said...

Yes T, those were his actual words back to me that night... I know unreal. This experience kept me from meeting guys online for a while after it happened. (not too long mind you... but I became more cautious!)

They def need some prayer... and I am hoping he reconsiders the whole counseling thing. I am just such a strong advocate of that.

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