Don't Wear Your Heart, or Your Vagina, on Your Sleeve

Dear Dategirl, There's this guy I've known for a few years. We flirted and exchanged numbers, but after a few weeks of phone calls, he disappeared. I let it go, and when I run into him at my (our?) local bar, we chat a little. But until recently, I figured he wasn't interested. Sometimes when I see him he's friendly, and other times aloof. (For the record, he's kind of tightly wound and a little socially awkward.) Lately we've been having longer conversations, things were less awkward, and he was more gregarious. The last time I saw him was a few weeks ago, and we ended up going back to his place. This was actually the second time I'd gone home with him, but the first time was last fall and we had to stop fucking because I was so wasted. This second time went much better. He let me stay, but I decided to just go home. Then I saw him last week at "our" bar and we made plans, but then he canceled. He asked when my next days off were, so I told him. No response. Then I ran into him the last night and he was receptive again. I honestly don't think he's playing head games, but I don't want to just come out and ask him what's going on. —Bewildered You don't need to ask him what's going on. You need to step away, turn around, start walking, and don't look back. This is a dude who'll bang you if he runs into you at the bar, yet is incapable of committing to activities that involve planning and fully clothed adult interactions. You shouldn't worry about what he's thinking—you should worry about what you're thinking. Please understand that I went through a long period of undervaluing myself and throwing myself at guys who treated me like crap. Which is why this letter was so hard for me to answer—it easily could've been written by me 15 years ago. It pains me to look back on that time—not because anything truly awful happened, but because it reminded me how little I thought of myself back then. To clarify, I don't regret being slutty, just my choices in partners. Like you, I was thankful for any small crumbs of affection and behaved accordingly. It was pathetic. Look at your language—he was going to let you stay over. He just had his penis all up in your babymaker, yet you sound kind of grateful that he was willing to let you stay over? I can only imagine the gratitude if he'd made you coffee in the morning. One should not be gobsmacked by decent human behavior. It should be expected. I'm going to tell you what I wish I'd believed back then: You deserve better. If someone likes you, they should make no bones about telling you. The right person will make you feel smarter, sexier, and wittier than you actually are. The right person won't confuse you with mixed messages, and he'll be capable of calling (or at the very least, texting) to make plans. I'm not advising that you play games; I am advising that you step back from the male population until you're in a healthier place, self-esteem-wise. Don't wear your heart—or your vagina—on your sleeve. If you need to get laid, recycle an inoffensive ex or buy a new vibrator. If you tend to fuck around more when you're drunk, drink less. Even if you have to enlist a mental-health professional to get there, you need to begin to believe that you deserve someone who fully believes you're God's gift to mankind and is man enough to tell you so.

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