I Rejected Him, So Why Does He Call With Story of Another Date?

Reader’s Question

I’m a psychology major at Saint Xavier University in Chicago, and I have some questions to ask about psychology. Before Valentine’s day, I received a e-mail from a friend, who said in the e-mail that he loves me dearly. But unfortunately, I had a boyfriend at that time and could not break the relationship with my boyfriend. Therefore, I told this man to go away and please do not disturb me. But he got upset when I told him and said he did not like me. But on Valentine Night, I was at home siting with my boyfriend, and having our romantic night dinner. There was a phone ring, coming from the living room. I went to answer the phone, and I was surprised to hear the voice on the phone, which appeared to be the man who wrote to me.

He had been a friend of mine, since my old job. He liked me, but I have no feelings for him. But he told me on the phone, that he went out with a woman on Valentine night and then came back and told me that he loved me dearly and tenderly. I could not believe the words I was hearing. I have never before seen anyone so dumb as to tell me that they went on a date with another woman, then come back to tell me about the events. I believe that to be an incredible story and so foolish. When I tried to question him, he hung up the phone and has not answered the phone since, no matter how many times I try to call. No one answered the phone. I was so angry at him for blaming stuff on me and playing a trick on me. I want to know why this guy will tell me his story, but won’t let me question him. Please could you helped me understand more about the nature of the problem?

Psychologist’s Reply

The behavior of the gentleman you describe would be perfectly normal — if he were 15 years old! This behavior is very immature and tells us that he has poor social skills. Following your rejection, his call on Valentine’s Day was to let you know that he can have a girlfriend — hoping that you would become jealous and for some reason want to be his girlfriend. While you didn’t become jealous, you did fall for the trick and become angry and upset — trying to call him back. By not answering his phone when you call, he is punishing you for not being his girlfriend. He still has hopes that you will stay angry and upset and want to know why he called — then he gets to talk with you again and maybe for a longer time. Again, this is a standard dating game when you’re 15 years old but very immature and foolish for college-level adults.

Your best approach is not to participate in this game. The game is still active by the way… Here’s part II of the game: You give up calling him but remain upset. He waits a few days then calls you and acts like nothing happened, waiting for you to bring the subject up. When you try to discuss his behavior, he plays the victim and says “I thought you didn’t care about me”. You feel guilty and the conversation continues and you’ve wasted about 40 minutes of your time. He wins the game because he’s punished you for not liking him by making you upset and angry, plus wasting your time trying to call him.

To fix this:

  • Accept that his behavior is immature and that he is no longer behaving as a friend.
  • Stop calling him. Recognize that his behavior is very immature.
  • If he contacts you, quickly mention “We don’t need to discuss this (or anything else). Good luck with your life”. Then hang up. Any other contacts by phone or email — use the same approach.
  • If he calls with another story — say “I’m not interested. I have my own life.” And hang up.
  • Under no circumstances should you talk to him over 60 seconds. If you do, his immaturity will tell him that you’re starting to feel sorry for him and he still has a chance. He’ll keep calling.
  • Don’t get angry, threaten him, or tell him he’s immature at this point. That will make him feel the need to punish you with more contacts.

He’s basically a very immature and socially unskilled individual operating at an adolescent level of psychosexual development (how’s that for some psychology talk!). Be polite and firm and he should pout and move on.

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