Then I heard nothing. He'd admitted to me he's shy, so I thought maybe that was it. But I refused to reach out to him after date number two, since I'd already done that after date number one. I decided if he really liked me, he'd have to do the work. (Which probably proves I didn't really like him that much - but that's a different post.)
Five days later, he sent me an email.
"Sorry I haven't been in touch this week, but I've been in a little bit of a panic mode. The idea of dating still causes me a bit of anxiety. It has nothing to do with you, just me and my fear of women."I thought - how in the world am I supposed to respond to that?!
I asked twitter - no suggestions. I asked facebook - everyone said to run away. Two friends suggested he could be lying to end things (And who wants to deal with that?) or he really is that messed up (And who wants to deal with that?).
Honestly - I was kind of annoyed. After five days, I assumed it was over, and had no plans to contact him. Why couldn't he just leave it alone? But I get that he could actually be a good guy (go figure) and far be it from me to discourage any guy from actually behaving like a man. The problem wasn't whether or not I should walk away - the problem was, how to do so nicely.
So I replied, saying that I appreciated his honesty; that it sounded like either I wasn't the right woman, or the timing was off. Either way - no hard feelings, and we could certainly be friends.
He liked that idea, and told me a little bit more about what made him so afraid - he's used to women getting upset and/or lecturing when he says something "wrong." I thought back to when we met for our second date. We'd agreed to meet at a movie theater box office - and I stood right in front of it. He got there after me, and waited near the mall entrance before walking over to the ticket window, so it took him some time to find me. He seemed frustrated when he did - almost like he was angry.
Now I wonder - was he worried that I was going to be upset? Did he expect me to have an outburst or deliver a lecture about making me wait?
It really doesn't matter; it's not up to me to fix anyone else, and if he has issues, he has to deal with them himself. And I'm certainly not going to convince someone that he wants to date me - the person I'm looking for will already know that, beyond a shadow of a doubt.
But it does make me wonder - are there people out there who are just afraid to be in a relationship?