DEAR DR. NERDLOVE: I keep encountering this same issue with girls that I take on dates or girls who have expressed a certain degree of interest in me. The issue is they run off with other men in front of me.
I took a girl swing dancing a few weeks ago as a first date. We had a really fun first hour or two dancing, then this guy (who was a much more experienced dancer than me, swing has a steep learning curve) danced with her 4ish times in the span of 20 minutes, walking up to us when we were talking and whisking her away into a world of dips and spins. When I came back from a cigarette he was taking her into the side room (which is where I take girls when I want a more intimate environment). I told her that I wasn’t ok with what was going on and she insisted that it was alright because we weren’t in a relationship. She stopped dancing with him and spent the rest of the night with me, but she was cold and standoffish and the date ended not long after.
Last night I went out dancing at an EDM show and spent most of the night grinding up on a friend of a friend who was in town for the night. She pulled me away from dancing with other girls to dance with her and started being more physical with me after I told her she was attractive. I went for a kiss and she didn’t pull away but didn’t kiss back. There was a linebacker looking guy who occasionally stood on the periphery. After the show they started talking and I didn’t know how to deal with it. I took her to leave and at the exit linebacker found us. He made a joke about if he was allowed to shake her hand then the two of them started making out. I had no idea what to do and what I tried failed so I just went home.
Another girl a few months ago I met a campout expressed interest in a relationship and told me she lived in my home town. There was a time when I told her to pick between me and another dude and she picked me. Two days later into the campout she told me she’d want to spend the evening with me, within 10 minutes she had run off with another dude and told me she was actually traveling out east with him and didn’t live in my town. When the other guy came up he had a way of putting his arm around her and drawing her into a circle of people that made it difficult for me to talk to her.
I realize these girls aren’t right for me. I do have some insecurity about girls who are attracted to me choosing another man, that’s how my only relationship ended. I used to not be jealous, thinking if I let girls do what they wanted they would come back to me eventually. Now I am jealous and I believe too domineering when threatened, this solution doesn’t seem to be effective. I know the trick is just to be confident what what specifically can I do in these types of situations? I do have a lot of faith in myself and am not upset up about any of these rejections, I’d just like to stop them in the future.
– Bravest Warrior
DEAR BRAVEST WARRIOR:You have a problem BW, but it’s not the problem you think you have.
You think you have a problem with women ditching you. What you have is a problem with insecurity and reading certain social situations correctly.
Let’s start with the most obvious example: the etiquette of dancing, since they seem to be tripping you up fairly often.
Social dancing (swing, salsa, merengue, ballroom, etc) and club dancing both have their own rules and if you’re not familiar with them, it can result in some confusion. The dance floor at the club especially can trip people up who aren’t used to club culture.
In your first instance, you took your date swing-dancing. That’s cool – swing dancing can make for an awesome first date! But here’s the thing about swing dancing: it’s generally understood that when you’re at a swing event, you’re going to dance with many people. In many swing dancing communities, the general rule is one dance at a time; in some groups, it’s two consecutive songs. In general, you’re not to dance with the same person the whole night through. You’re expected to go up to strangers, dance with them, talk while you’re dancing and generally have a good time. You’re going to be interacting with people with a wide range of skill and experience, which means that occasionally you and your date are both going to be dancing with people who are way better than you. Trust me: this is a feature, not a bug. This is part of the fun of going swing dancing.
Now on the other hand, we have clubs, DJs and EDM. At clubs and DJ shows the generally accepted rules is that the dance floor is an entirely different world from the rest of the club. People will grind with folks, get freaky and generally come across as though they’re two seconds away from just straight bangin’ right then and there… but that doesn’t mean that they actually want to screw you. This is especially true if it’s not someone you’ve already had a lot of chemistry and flirting with earlier. People will practically dry-hump you on the dance floor but not want to so much as hold your hand off of it. This is just part of the club atmosphere. If you want to hook up with someone at the club, you don’t treat their behavior on the dance floor as an indicator of interest; you look to see how they respond to you when you’re at a table or flirting in a corner or by the bar. When you went for the kiss and she didn’t kiss you back you were being given the message: she’s not into you. She didn’t dislike you, but someone who’s interested in going home with you isn’t going to just passively stand there while you try to plant one on her. She may have appreciated your being into her. She may have liked dancing with you. But at the end of the night… well, you just weren’t her type.
(I’m also willing to bet that she already knew the linebacker. But that’s another issue entirely.)
In your third example… oy. This part is so unclear that it’s almost impossible to tell just what the hell happened. Near as I can tell… you were flirting with someone, she was flirting back but she was kind of hanging out with another dude? And you told her “Yo babe, it’s him or me”, and she kinda said you but then told you that she was actually traveling with him so… yeah? So we’re going to disregard a lot of this.
Now let’s break down what else is going on here.
In your first example, this guy is dancing with your date then he was walking off with her into a side room. Now, you don’t mention whether anything did happen or that you were assuming something was going to but either way… this is bad behavior on her part. You (general you) don’t ditch your date to hang around other people, whether there’s going to be sloppy make-outs with said others in the near future or not.
The idea that she was about to slip off to tongue-wrestle with a guy while she’s on a date with someone else is so cartoonishly over the top that I’m wondering whether there’s some serious failure to communicate involved in this. I’m willing to bet that either you misunderstood what was going on between them or she didn’t see this as a date date.
Is it possible she was a big enough asshole to ditch her date to go share mouth-bees with a rando? Well, it’s not impossible – I… may have stolen a guy’s date before… – but it’s vanishingly unlikely. And if this IS the case… well, she’s an asshole and you’re well rid of her. However, if I’m right and there’s some miscommunication going on? Then you need to be much more clear about the fact that you’re taking her out on a romantic date, not a platonic friend hang-out in order to avoid possible confusion.
If there’s one ongoing thread in these situations it’s that you get threatened when women you’re interested in talk to other dudes and you’ve been unable to shut them down when they seem to be squeezing in on your territory. And I suspect this comes down to the fact that you once got dumped for another guy. That sucks. That sucks a lot and it can totally shred your ego. But I think you’ve let this go to your head; you sound like you get incredibly defensive when other people talk to women you believe are “yours” on some level. Let me tell you: this isn’t attractive in anyone. I don’t care if you’re Quasimodo or Ryan Gosling – if you’re going to start to bristle like Big Moose whenever some dude talks to Midge, you’re going to lose a lot of value and respect with everyone around you. You end up coming off like you’re having a temper tantrum, which is going to turn anyone off… doubly so if you’ve only just met them.
So. What do you do about all of this?
Well, in the short term: you calm the hell down. You learn to assess the situation more accurately – especially with an eye towards understanding the social contract. Don’t assume that a dance is more than just a dance – especially at a nightclub. Be much more clear about your intentions with people you want to date. Don’t get so overly invested in someone you just met that you let it destroy you if they don’t go home with you at the end of the night. Don’t throw a fit because someone you like doesn’t like you back. If she’s decided she wants to make out with someone else there really isn’t much else to do besides wash your hands of her and move on.
In the medium term: the way you avoid having women ditch you for other guys is that you learn how to connect with the women you meet. The worst thing you can do is to try to constantly chase off other guys – this inevitably comes across as though you believe the only way she’d choose you is because you’ve removed her all her other options. A woman who’s into you, who you have chemistry with, who’s digging what you’ve got to offer? She’s not going to leave because Studly GoodNight wandered up and told her to ditch the zero and get with the hero. Avoid the women who are like that because they aren’t the women you want in the first place.
In the long term: you need to work on these self-esteem issues, man. It sucks that your last relationship ended with your girlfriend leaving you for another guy, but there comes a point where you have to be willing to let go and move on. If it’s still hurting you – and it sounds like it is – then the best thing you can do is talk to a therapist or counselor. And in the meantime: start cultivating an abundance mentality. You seem to be treating every woman as your last chance to get into a relationship, and that’s only going to hurt you in the long run.
You can do better than this. You can BE better than this.
Please send your questions to Dr. NerdLove at his website (www.doctornerdlove.com/contact); or to his email, firstname.lastname@example.org)