Whit’s End: Steer Clear of Drama King

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Hi, Whit,

Last week at a former teacher’s funeral, I ran into a guy I hadn’t seen since high school over 20 years ago. We talked briefly, and he asked me to lunch so we could “catch up.” Then we exchanged phone numbers.  After the funeral, that same day, he began texting me. Long story short, he sent me a picture of me out of his yearbook saying that he had a crush on me back then. He said I was the sexiest women he has ever met or known and that I am his “dream girl.” Then he started describing fun dates we could be having like going to the movies, the beach, or a baseball game, etc.

We were beginning to decide where and when to meet for lunch, when all of a sudden he started talking about how he had a 13-year-old daughter who is very possessive and jealous of other women. The next day I got a very long text from him saying he thought about us “all night” and that morning. He said he thought we should “wait on us” until his daughter is 16 because he realizes now that I deserve and need attention from a man, which he cannot give me right now with his daughter being with him 50% of the time, and his ex being “a demanding person.” He said that “breaking off” with me was very hard for him to do, but he thought it was in my best interest.

This is all very confusing and upsetting since we haven’t even had our first lunch date. I told him that I am very busy too with my job and that I don’t need a man’s attention 24/7. I said I thought our days apart would be good for us and make us miss each other more. He said he was “very happy” to hear that and asked me if I would just give him more time to get himself together and “wrap his head around everything.” He said he wouldn’t make me wait long, and we would talk soon. At this point I feel dazed and confused. What do you think I should do?

Dazed and Confused

Dear Dazed:

What I think you should do is to not wait for long at all and to contact him immediately, well before he has had time to “wrap his head around everything.” From all you have said, he could take a while, given where his head seems to be right now. Take control by letting him know that you think he has “too much on his plate” right now. (That expression always makes me laugh. Think about it—do you know anyone who finds eating a heavy obligation?)

Whether this guy is really not available, is some kind of “drama king,” or is just mixed up, you don’t want to get mixed up with him. Whatever it is, he sounds immature. From your numbers, I calculate that he is somewhere around 40 but is acting like he is 14. Maybe when he actually was 14, before he had any grown-up responsibilities, he thought his life was ideal. Now that he’s an adult with grown-up problems, he idealizes you as a way to escape the complications of being a divorced father of a teenaged daughter. 

But the idealization doesn’t lead to any actualization.  By that I mean that he will probably call you and explain that he can’t get involved now for the same reasons that he gave you for hesitating. That whole mentality is why you are a “dream girl” instead of an actual woman– because he is attracted to the idea of you but can’t act on the reality of you.

You really are better off without someone who sounds like a teenager himself from the excuses he gives for not being able to follow through on his proposed “fun dates.” To wit: He blames his daughter and, by implication, his “demanding” ex instead of taking the responsibility for not being able to follow through on his original proposition to “catch up” and get to know you as the adult you are now.

Let Peter Pan fly off and find another Wendy because any future with this Lost Boy should definitely be in Never, Never land.



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