I’ve been dating this guy for 7 weeks now. I think everything is going pretty well but he does something that has me questioning things. Whenever we are out in public and we bump into someone he knows, he does not introduce me. When we first started dating I didn’t notice this so I’m not sure if he did it or not. I don’t really know why I wasn’t paying attention. I’m trying to be honest here with you so you can give me the best advice you know. I started realizing a couple of weeks ago. We live in an area where he was born and raised so we bump into at least one person he knows everywhere we go. I feel like he is nervous sometimes when we see people he knows but he is also nervous when he asks me out and he gets flustered sometimes when he talks to me. Sometimes it’s like he can’t relax. Do you think he’s hiding something? I am 21 and he’s 22. I’ve never called him on this. I didn’t know what I should do. Really everything else between us is fine. He calls me every day and texts me a few times. If I call him he always takes my call even at work. He always asks me for another date while we are out and looks all nervous and then when I say yes he looks relieved and happy. I have eaten dinner at his parents house with him for a family event and met his parents and everyone. I have met his roommate in his apartment a few times, too. I just can’t figure this out. Can you?
You asked if I think he has something to hide. Not introducing you to people he knows could be a sign of that, but I just don’t see that in your situation. If there was actually a secret he was hiding, he would have stopped taking you out in public. He wouldn’t keep putting himself in the situation of being busted. If he was hiding something significant he wouldn’t have introduced you to his parents and family, or his roommate. These are pretty significant introductions.
Now, let’s examine the insignificant bump-in introductions he’s avoiding.
From what you’ve shared I think it’s more likely that he’s afraid of what you’ll think. You said he’s flustered and sometimes nervous when asking you out. That indicates for me that he really likes you. He may be into you in a fairly big way and he’s trying to make a good impression and be on his best behavior.
You said he was born and raised in this area where you guys live. So, you could be bumping into people that he’s known from childhood or high school. He could be afraid these people might say something in fun that will be embarrassing. They could be silly things like that he swallowed a quarter when he was 6, to that he mooned a teacher in 8th grade. It could be more regrettable things like that he got fired from a job for forging his time card or that he over indulging at some party. While you may want to hear the stories that have made him who he is, he may feel concerned that you’ll dislike him if a conversation pops up about an earlier time in his life.
I’m glad you mentioned your ages because this is a significant point in his life. I’ve spoken about this on many Hubs. He has just gone through a physiological change. His frontal lobes have probably just developed. This is the part of the brain that gives us an understanding of consequence. For the very first time in his life, he has a realistic grasp of the long-term ramifications of his choices.
Here’s an example. If he wants to buy a new computer and happens to have the money in his pocket to do it, at age 16 he’d probably just go do it. No frontal lobes, no thought to future credit ratings or things he’ll need money for next week or next month, no concern over what will happen if he can’t pay a car insurance payment or buy gas. He doesn’t think about what’s really wrong with his old computer that this purchase is even necessary. It’s not that the 16 year old is stupid, it’s just that these things don’t naturally click. Literally the physical part of the brain that houses this kind of rationalization does not exist yet.
Now consider the same situation happening to him at age 22. He wants a new computer. Now, there’s a part of his physiology that’s new and it is making him think about things in an all new way. He thinks about rent, and the car payment. He thinks about the computer he has now and that it’s not that old and it works fine. He thinks about carrying this new computer home on the subway, and that this may not be a wise decision. He thinks about maybe selling his old one to come up with a down payment on a new one and possibly financing the rest to build credit, and how this may bode well years from now when he wants a mortgage. He thinks about the money he wasted last summer on things he didn’t need, that he could have put toward a new computer now. He thinks about other things he wants and needs, and what the differences are, and how to prioritize these lists. He thinks, if he waits a few months maybe he could ask for a computer allowance at his new job, or the money his grandparents give to him for Christmas, or how maybe he should research this new computer for a while first.
He still may say ah screw it and go buy the computer. But he is going to think about a whole bunch of different things he would never have thought of 6 years ago.
Keep this change in mind. He’s only just getting used to some new thinking patterns. He’s understanding consequence. He’s realizing that your possible dismay and his embarrassment are now consequences to decisions he made in the past. Everyone from high school he bumps into is a potential landmine in his head. It’s a whole nest of things that he hadn’t really thought about before in this new way.
There’s also a factor of validation to his decision here. The first time he didn’t introduce you went well. So, there’s some quiet consent. It may have been back before you were actually noticing. It may have been more recently. Maybe this has only been happening for as long as you’ve been aware of it. That would make sense too, maybe it took him a few weeks of dating you and getting to know you to realize how much he likes you. Since he sidestepped on the introductions and you said nothing, and went out with him again, he saw reason to believe it was OK to do that.
That’s one good possibility of what’s going on with him. And don’t forget it could be the main one but it’s also been combined with a few other classic things like that one time it was someone who’s name he couldn’t remember, or another time that it was someone he doesn’t like. Maybe one time you guys bumped into someone he feels he pales in comparison to, so surely he was not going to introduce a girl he likes to this guy who could steal her attention away.
Tina, you really won’t know until you speak to him about it. If he likes you as much as he seems to, he won’t want you to be uncomfortable. He’ll want to correct this. My advice is to approach it in a non-confrontational way in the moment. The next time it happens you could go ahead and introduce yourself to the person. Or you could let it pass and then say to him privately afterward, “Hey, why didn’t you introduce us?”
Don’t forget, actions speak louder than words. If you ask and he shrugs it off, wait and see what happens the next time. He may have been embarrassed. He may have been confused as to the whole thing, dealing with new thoughts and concerns. But if that’s the case, he will correct the behavior now that he’s aware.
North Highlands - Collar Bones
Veronica (author) from NY on April 09, 2011:
susannah42 from Florida on April 09, 2011:
Viv on March 24, 2011:
Hey, aside from forgetting the person's name, it could be that he doesn't know how to introduce Tina.... he could really like her (it seems like he does) and so he wants to give her some sort of title (my girlfriend Tina) but isn't sure how she'd react... sometimes people get such a hangup about stuff like that (my girlfriend Tina, my friend Tina, etc..) that they forget they can just say "This is Tina." Alternatively, it may be that he's afraid if he just says "Tina" some of his old friends who are more nosy will be asking "So... are you two together?" or "Where did you two meet?" etc... Maybe the guy didn't date around much in high school and he knows everyone will take a huge (unwanted) interest in any girl he brings home now.
Just my two cents.
Jenny from Sydney, Australia on March 23, 2011:
it seems to me that he has introduced you to the most important people in his life. Maybe the other people in the street that he bumps into are just acquaintances.
Pam on March 23, 2011:
you know what? I have two other reasons. One, there was an early episode of Sex&theCity where Carrie got upset bc Big wouldn't introduce her. He later explained that he had forgotten the other person's name. So there is the other possibility of wanting to avoid embarrassment.
But more, I'm actually really bad at introducing people. It wasn't something I was raised to do. It usually doesn't occur to me, and I usually am blabbing at the other person too much to do it. I also figure that they could intro themselves if they were interested enough to do so, I know I often do myself. Now that I've been made aware of it by annoyed boyfriends, I try to remember, but it really doesn't come naturally, and I don't mean to be inconsiderate even if my bf perceives it that way. But being inconsiderate and thoughtlessly rude is a long way from being sneaky and hiding things.
But, next time, don't wait for him to be inconsiderate and/or hide you. Just introduce yourself. No biggie, I say.
Veronica (author) from NY on March 22, 2011:
Golfgal from McKinney, Texas on March 22, 2011:
You have a way with offering helpful advice. Nice Job.
Susan Hazelton from Sunny Florida on March 22, 2011:
Great sound advice.