Home › Forums › Dating and Sex Advice › how to ask what are you looking for without sounding clingy? + more
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hey all. here is the annual confused 24 year old new gal in NYC trying to date post. as always, have always appreciated the input here. this isn’t anything majorly bad or frustrating per say (this time at least) but wanted a double check on things.
so far this month i have been out with 3 guys already and lets call them B & D for helpfulness. B he has been a slow burn. so far we have been on four dates and he is growing on me a bit, although he is not my physical type. he is 27.
D is very much my physical type but is 30 meanwhile i am 24, and i can’t help but feel like we are in two different spots but it feels very easy to talk to him and i am very attracted to him. something is telling me he is hiding something though, or is still forcing a very good first impression but D suggested for a second date to watch a movie at one of our’s apartment which screamed to me he is just looking for sex. i told him my boundaries which he sort of ignored but was trying to keep it light and witty i guess, but then he then thought he was coming over to my apartment, after some miscommunication? it was very odd.
he apologized after i thought i was coming over to his. last minute he suggested a “walk in the mall” or to go to “cheesecake factory” which was a huuuge smack in the face in my opinion because what am I….in middle school? we live in one of the best restaurant/food areas in the world and suggested a walk in the mall? anyways i think he suggested that because it was so miserable out and thinking of a last minute activity but it didn’t come off so great. we scheduled to get dinner instead on a different night after he was apologetic. it was a short date and i enjoyed it but i was so tired and just after flip flopping my work and sleep schedule, i was fading by the end of it. he walked me back and had another kiss goodnight, and i texted him thanking him for dinner saying i had a nice time, even being a bit tired. he replied with “lol no worries, me too! get some rest!” and have not heard from him in 3 days. although i am very attracted to him, i can’t help but feel in the back of my head that he is viewing me as a “fun 24 year old.” so unsure what to do here.
Going back to B. He has been very much initiating dates and he creates his own work schedule and have done a few daytime dates to accommodate my schedule (where i work at night). i wasn’t so sure i was attracted to him but i have enjoyed spending time with him and felt very comfortable, and he was initiating where i felt some desire for the first time in months from someone who actually WANTED to see me. we had a fourth date last night, where he suggested i could work from his apartment and he was working too. i was hesitant because i felt like he didn’t respect my job fully, possibly thinking he just wants to have sex, but got over that and wanted to see how it would go (and he did not try to kiss me until the 3rd date). it ended up being very nice and i enjoyed spending time with him but he had to listen to me being on work calls (which i warned him about). he reiterated it was all fine to him, and i did my entire shift at his place. we did end up having sex during a time where i had a break lol and he was very affectionate, but prior i did tell him saying how i am trying to take sex a bit more seriously, and looking for something grow and become a bit more substantial. he said “i get that” a lot, and nodded his head in what i think was, agreement?
i said i am not looking for a situationship, and he went on a small rant on how nyc dating has been brutal (he has been in the city for five years) and how people discard you. he said for the past year he has been trying to have less meaningless sex and he said how its not just guys who do that type of stuff and get wishy-washy. it was clear he has been burnt, and i just let him talk. it appeared we were on the same page, and this all was talked about before sex (which i am well aware is not a guarantee), but he did say “its so early on” and i cut him off and said how i am not asking him for anything. all i am saying is what i am desiring and if he wants casual, thats ok, i am not wanting that though, just giving him a time to speak up. he said he isn’t but the slow non-answers were sort of a yellow flag to me. he did say i was a breath of fresh air. i am worried i sprung a lot on him as it was merely just a very short conversation where i didn’t even say the word “relationship”, and i think by 4 dates its reasonable to know what the other person is looking for.
i decided i wanted to have sex to have sex, like i felt comfortable and simply wanted to do it regardless if i never hear from him again for whatever reason. so this is not a post beating myself up for sleeping with him, but more of how is the best way to approach the “what are you looking for” question bc i have done it multiple ways and it feels like every way is wrong. i have done the “go with the flow” thing and wait until the guy speaks up (and sometimes they never do) and the other thing with on the first date i ask what are you looking for and they still get sorta spooked. i am WELL AWARE four dates is INCREDIBLY early, but he has paid for every date so far + ubers and i don’t want to waste time if he is just looking for casual. i also have not heard from him in a day now since he told me to text him when i got home from the uber, and he told me he had a great time and said goodnight again over text, which is perfectly fine.
i am trying my best here for real!
You just ask what you want confidently without worrying about being clingy. Because then the guys filter themselves out. You can even do it while still talking to them online before meeting in person. The right guy will want the same things and respond with consistency over time as he gets to know you better and the relationship will grow. You still need time to observe and make sure he’s for real about it before jumping in and investing, but that’s just dating (and why a slow burn can be good so you give yourself the time). The wrong guy will get weird about it, over time if not right away. All you need to do is be patient, not get frustrated if you have a string of flakey NYC guys because you can depersonalize it (their behavior isn’t about you, it’s just not a good match, and eventually you’ll find a better one but there’s a numbers game and luck aspect as well), and keep being honest and true to yourself. Getting bogged down in overanalysis early on is letting the anxious attachment side win.
And move on from the 30 year old. Your instincts are already telling you he’s not the right guy, but you’re ignoring them because you’re physically attracted to him. There’s plenty of other men out there, don’t try to force things with someone who you feel is immediately focused on the physical and is probably unavailable for more. Doing that is letting the anxious attachment drive, too.
D was only looking for sex hence why after 2nd date , when he didn’t get it, he disappeared
Thank for the input Maddie, you’re right that I sometimes def do let the anxious attachment style win even in times where I KNOW I am thinking clearly. I really kept it quite simple with guy B, and if for whatever reason that scared him off then it is what it is and I am glad I was being myself and was communicative at least.
D is def just looking for sex and I picked up on that quick. We chatted for a few weeks prior to meeting up because I had work, got sick, then had some time off so was shocked he was still persistent with getting together. But I guess when men are around a pretty young gal they don’t care lol.
I hope guy B reaches out and texts, but its only been a bit over 24 hours now since we were together. If he doesn’t for whatever reason it’ll be ok, just felt decent about something for once.
This turns around when you realize that telling people what you want and asking what they want it not needy, it’s confident. You do it early and often to make sure words and actions are aligning for everyone.. And that anyone who feels otherwise is not a match who can give and receive what you have to offer. That’s called secure attachment.
Thanks Tallspicy, I am trying to remind myself that. I haven’t heard from guy B in 3 days now so I think he is removing himself from the equation. Some friends told me to reach out but kinda sick of throwing men a bone when I know what the answer is going to be…and don’t know if I need him to type out how he is not interested anymore for whatever reason. He spent the whole Friday night being affectionate and saying how he is having a nice date, and how excited he was to see me. Ugh. Well, thats just how it goes. Its hard not to take this personally sometimes. I didn’t get the vibe he just wanted sex but me analyzing doesn’t help. I may shoot him a text but also half of me doesn’t see the point.
your right. if he hasn’t reached out 3 days after having sex then that doesn’t look too promising. on what note did you guys’ part at last meeting? ideally it would be best if he texts first after last intimate date. atleast you would know what he feels and thinks.
but instead of wondering what happened and feeling anxious, its ok if you reach out. Atleast you would know what’s happening.
Stop having casual sex and saying you are ok with it, because you clearly are not. I just block any man who contacts me more than 36 hours after first time sex (with conversation about expectations before). You can’t assume what someone wants by guessing and not asking. I don’t suggest you reach out because his actions tell you what he is thinking. Just assume he told you.
I agree with you @tallspicey. The fact that he hasnt bothered to reach out after last meeting shows what he thinks. I wld be upset and put off when a man doesnt bother to reach out aftr sex for more than 3 days.
Best wld be to put him out of my mind. But some women need to know for sure or need a closure. i think in such a case its ok to reach out and then see what happens. Atlst you can tell yourself that this was indeed a dead end and then shrug it off.
I left his apartment at like 230am and he offered to call me an uber. We kissed bye and were both so tired and I said I had a nice time and he said he did too. He has paid for now two ubers home for me. I thought maybe he was salty about that but he offered. Think its me overthinking though. He texted me while I was in the car and he told me to text him when I get inside but he might fall asleep. He told me he a great night and goodnight with a smiley face. I texted him when I did but he was definitely already asleep and told him I had a really nice time too and thanks again and said goodnight. Nothing since.
He even asked me what I was doing late April to possibly take a trip together during the date. Horrible mixed signals. And he was a consistent texter prior maybe only taking a day to reply but now its 4 days and nothing. I thought maybe he thinks I’m ghosting him but for me tell him I am trying to take sex more seriously then not text me afterwards at all seems like its pretty clear. Just seems like a lot of work and money if he just wanted sex.
To be honest, if someone really likes you they won’t be waiting 4 days to talk to you. A day or two might be fine but going on four is a bit careless. He might be a nervous person maybe, probably he doesn’t know what to say or how to start a conversation after your intimate moment especially if you haven’t contacted them. But honestly if that’s true its very juvenile.
I think you can shot him a text and see if he respond. If he does, and after exchanging a few text, now will be the time to ask him if his goal in dating is to find the right relationship or something else. I would accept the former from anything he says. But if he doesn’t respond, then no response is also a response. But you’ll know so win win.
Some guys don’t care about money or effort, they just want sex (the entire premise of the *very old* story Dangerous Liasions written in 1782 / updated to the movie Cruel Intentions over 200 years later starts off describing a man like this, so it’s always been that way for some!). The pursuit and validation makes it worth it to them. So effort and spending isn’t a good gauge (unless their love language is entirely giving gifts, then possibly??).
The only universal good gauge of if someone is serious about wanting a healthy relationship is consistency over time (words match actions match feelings, consistency in reaching out, and consistency in showing up for you) coupled with knowing your connection is organically growing and progressing. When this happens, you can feel it, because you won’t feel any confusion about where you stand.
Other guys are deeply insecure and will totally screw things up getting in their own heads after intimacy, which doesn’t do you any good either (similar to Natz’s comment). And, of course, if a guy does act that way or chooses to ghost altogether, it’s fully a reflection on him and not about you or anything you did. But unfortunately, you may not get to know this about someone until it actually happens.
I definitely don’t think if B is gone that it has anything to do with him paying for two ubers and being secretly resentful about it. If that’s truly the case then he can’t communicate maturely or directly, so good riddance. I’m wary when a guy blames all the past women he’s dated for them acting a way he didn’t like (the burnt rant about how often he’s been discarded… NYC dating can for sure be brutal but if you’re only choosing people who discard you, there’s something else wrong too. I say this as someone who used to always choose the wrong people). It’s an immature view, because he’s not taking any responsibility for his side in describing things that way. If he’s wallowing in bitterness, that’s a big red flag about a lack of resilience and about how he approaches stress and life issues.
I’m sorry if things don’t work out with him, but if you’re okay with having enjoyed your evening, then try not to let it get you down. If he’s gone, then it’s frustrating but at least you learned early he’s not worth investing in and you didn’t really waste your time. In fact, if you approach dating success as getting to know someone and checking out your connection and compatibility instead of wondering if every new guy might be “the one,” things get less frustrating and you feel a lot less like you’re wasting your time.
4 days of not texting doesnt luk good. I think either you shoot a text and see what happens next or just let this one go. U had a nice evening and thats that. Even if he does respond aftr you text him, its going to stay in your head what if you hadn’t texted first? Wld he have reached out? But the fact that he dint try and connect for 4 days shows his intent. Best is to let this one go.
A few observations from your post.
Its okay to separate work from dates, you didn’t need to go to his house to work. Save that for a guy you’re serious with.
Secondly don’t go on dates when you’re tired or last minute. Preserve your time and spend it wisely.
I think you made an impulsive decision to have sex and after all that talk you are rethinking your decision. Always follow your gut, it will serve you well.
Khadija has it down. You were giving your own mixed signals with B-dude. Casual sex but does he want a relationship? Do you? Honestly?
I think you are in your 20s and like the chase:
• D-bag was trying to set up some sexy time, but wasn’t very good at it. (That “mall walk” was hilarious!)
• B-dude was steady in his actions, predictable and maybe that’s boring so you tried to stir it up a bit by adding sex to the mix (I will not be shaming ANYONE for when they want to have sex). I don’t think he’s looking for casual, but he might think YOU are.
Don’t do things counterintuitive to how you want to live. You confuse yourself, you confuse others.
I decided not to throw him a bone and felt silly if I were to text him. I was pretty clear that I wanted something more serious and he didn’t really tell me what he wanted. And even while kissing a bit he clearly was getting excited and said to me “do we really have to wait until you’re done to do this” in regards to having sex while I was working, and thats when I asked him his opinion about it and he said “well, I think we should do it.”
I think its perfectly normal to want to get physically intimate on date 4 and I decided I wanted to do it regardless of the outcome, I honestly didn’t think any of it would spook him. But I took that chance. When I told him I want something to grow and become substantial and I even said I am NOT looking for casual, all he kept saying was “I get that.” I asked him what he is looking for and he dissed the question and said “its so early” and maybe I should have said then “ok if its so early we shouldn’t have sex” but whatever. I don’t wanna blame myself for his ghosting. His actions proved he enjoyed himself but then after he offered me water and made a rough joke saying, “ok we had sex you can go now” and I did not find it funny. Idk looking back the signs were there I guess. If he really wanted to text me he would have by now and its almost been a week.
If you want something more than casual stand by that with your words and actions. And if a guy can’t give you a clear answer then don’t sleep with him and hope for the best later.
Time and time again many women do this. A guy who wants more and likes you will wait until you’ve established a connection and clear direction. If you have to second guess something don’t do it. Now that its been a week you know he isn’t someone who wants something serious. If he reaches out kindly tell him you’re moving on. Men know they should reach out after sex. When they don’t it sends a clear message. If you allow him back in he’ll know he can treat you however he wants.
Don’t beat yourself up. I’d say this is a WIN! You now know that if you talk about what you want and he doesn’t really answer, the real answer is just casual sex if he can get it. You now know to wait a while and to stay out of a guy’s place and don’t have him to yours early on. And you know that casual sex isn’t for you. That’s a lot of good information.
You may want to block him at this point because I can almost guarantee he’ll pop up in the future when you least expect it and you’re at a weak moment. He’ll have some BS excuse about his disappearance and he’ll ask to see you – because he wants sex again. He had his chance and blew it. Don’t let him in again.
Well said @ angie. Agree 💯
You can’t get upset with men who don’t call you back after sex unless it is mutually agreed that you are exclusive. Not I told him I wanted the real deal. Unless you both agree, it is uncommitted.
Sorry this happened, but any upset on your part is on you. And men say loads of crap on a date, it is not a mixed message. They express wishes in the moment and until they act on it… it was just something they wished was true in the moment.
There has been a lot of really great advice on here.
I just want to add that it seems like you are timelining the progression, or expected progression of your relationship based upon the number of dates you have gone on. 4 dates is not a good or bad number of dates to have sex on, sex should be something that happens when you feel ready, no matter what the guy does or doesn’t pay for. I myself do not feel comfortable with men paying for too much and I pay my own way for many dates.(Personal Preference) You said that you did feel ready either way it went, so that’s fine. For all we know the two of you texted for months before the first date.
Secondly, I would have probably texted sometime within the first 24 hours myself. Hey there, how are you? or something casual. It not needy it is just returning to the same communication that there probably was before the sex occured.
Lastly, I try to journal after dates or the next morning. I have found that this really taps into my raw feelings and lets me see me. I also think that it is a great way to examine your thoughts or feelings before you share them. Write down everything and everything. The feelings that you had towards him, yourself, your interaction. Any personal thoughts, intuitions, or flags you may have had about him. How you feel things went, what you would have liked to have said that you didn’t, what you want to say next time. Really dig deep and let it flow onto the paper. It is just for you so there is nothing right or wrong to write.
When done read it over. Let it sit. Meditate or doing relaxing stuff of some kind. Take half a day or a whole day and then read it again. Read it before your next date. Keeping adding to it.
This is also a great way to check on his consistantcy, possible gaslighting, and most importantly a way for you to know you and what your gut it really trying to say. We often answer our own questions, we just don’t always want to hear it.
Make a list of everything that you want from a partner and hang it somewhere where you can read it every time you sit on the toilet.