His bandwidth is too narrow

I slept with Young Jaguar on the Friday. By the Tuesday, I still hadn’t heard from him.

That night, my friend popped around for a chat after work. We talked about this turn of events; I said in a way, it wasn’t the end of the world, as I hadn’t thought it would last anyway. However, I was sad if he didn’t want to talk to me anymore, because we’d had sex and he’d got all he wanted.

It crossed my mind that perhaps he hadn’t contacted me because he was feeling insecure, and was waiting for me to text first. The things that made this seem possible, were a) him saying “what about me, was I any good?” after the sex b) the fact he told me, before we even met, that he had social anxiety and c) the fact he had asked me at least twice if I wanted to see him again, after the sex.

On the other hand though, surely if he liked me enough, he would just crack on and text me anyway. Although I haven’t read ‘He’s Just Not that Into You’, I do agree with the premise; it probably does save you a lot of hurt in the long run if you assume that, if someone doesn’t seem to like you, they probably don’t, rather than making up explanations for their behaviour.

So, I explained all this to my friend, who can be quite helpfully cynical and brutal about men at times. Surprisingly, she also thought that he might be waiting for me to text first.

She talked me into texting him.

My friend is a few years younger than me and is actually the same age as Young Jaguar. She helped me compose a message. I was quite set on including an emoji to show I’m young and cool, and also that I enjoyed the sex, but also that I’m nonchalant about whether he replies or not, but it turns out there isn’t really an emoji for that. I suggested the fireworks emoji to convey ‘I enjoyed the sex’ but she insisted that was definitely too much.

It took about 45 minutes to finally come up with ‘hey, I enjoyed Friday. How was the rest of your weekend?’. I sent this at 7.34pm.

He replied at 7.35pm. He said he’d had flu since the weekend.

It seemed like we were right about him waiting for me to text first!

Over the next few weeks, we texted each other every so often. He seemed quite keen to meet up, but we never seemed to be free at the same time.

During this time, he started getting on my tits a bit, in our messages.

He was quite pushy, which I can find a bit off-putting. It’s nice if someone’s keen, and it’s nice sometimes, if people are proactive and assertive about making plans. But there’s a fine line between that, and actually not respecting it if someone says no. Which mirrors what happened the first few dates, when I kept saying I didn’t want to have sex, and he kept trying to touch my genitals anyway.

 

For example, one weekend I was going away to a wedding. He was texting me on the Thursday, suggesting we catch up on that night, before I went away. I said I couldn’t because it was my late shift, and I had a few things to sort out after work. Both of those things were true, but the main deciding factor making me say no, was that my legs and bikini line were really hairy again by that stage, and I wanted to have them waxed before anyone saw me naked again.

He wouldn’t take no for an answer and kept asking exactly what time my late shift finished and arguing that actually I did have time to pop round and see him, especially if he ordered me an Uber, so in the end I had to tell him the truth about not wanting to see him again until I’d had a waxing appointment. He said ‘can’t you do it at work?’

OK, either this guy doesn’t understand waxing, or he doesn’t understand what my job is, or he doesn’t understand either.

I referred back to the Bad Bikini Line Wax (which I had told him about) and said I wanted to leave it to a professional, and he asked more detail about what happened, and then said ‘probably too much info lol’ when I answered.

Also, he always seemed to be saying that I was weird or random.

This actually started that Friday night when we slept together. Quite late on, we were talking about when we might meet up again, and I was very sleepy and said ‘what’s your favourite food? maybe I could cook for you,’ and he said ‘that’s really weird’. I can understand that if you’re just looking for sex, and someone suggests something quite relationshippy, you might not react with unbridled enthusiasm, but still. Bit rude.

 

And then, in the texts, one Saturday morning, he said he had ‘just woken up, feeling super horny… wish u were here right now…’, and some details about what he’d like to do to me. He then offered to send me a photo to show how turned on he was (to which I replied ‘no thank you’).

A few days later, I was thinking about him and felt bad that I might’ve been a bit standoffish, so I sent him a message saying ‘you’re really hot’. He replied saying ‘bit out of the blue lol’.

Less out of the blue than the messages you sent me on Saturday, pal.

Another time, we were failing to find a date we were both free, and I said ‘we’ll figure something out soon’ and he said ‘defo, I miss those legs’ and I replied saying ‘aw, I miss your cheekbones’. He said ‘such a random compliment lol’.

I thought about this, and the conversation we’d had about social anxiety. This was when we first messaged each other, before we even met. I told him I was a CBT therapist, and he said he bought a CBT book and found it really useful – Overcoming Social Anxiety. I thought it was sweet he told me, and cool that he’d addressed it on his own.

He never seemed particularly socially anxious when we were together, but then we were always drinking. He does seem to be a really big drinker, which obviously, sometimes, people use to manage social anxiety.

When discussing the situation with a therapist friend, we agreed this guy’s bandwidth was probably too narrow, which was why he kept finding me ‘weird’.

This isn’t a penis thing, it’s a social anxiety thing.

The idea is that we all have a range of different types of behaviour that we think are normal or socially acceptable. If we do anything outside that range, we worry what others think. With social anxiety, people tend to have a narrower bandwidth for the range of behaviours they think are socially acceptable, which means they’re constantly worrying about straying outside the bandwidth (because it’s often so narrow, it’s impossible to stay inside it).

In therapy, we might do experiments where the person or the therapist deliberately does something outside of the bandwidth (e.g. saying something stupid on purpose, dropping something in public, shouting in the street) so the person can see that nothing catastrophic happens, and people are actually quite rubbish at noticing what is going on around them.

I wondered if his bandwidth was a bit narrow, so everything I did seemed ‘weird’ or ‘bit random’ or ‘out of the blue lol’.

Of course, it could be nothing to do with that, and it could just be that I am weird. Either way, I just don’t have time for this.

I spent most of my time at school being told I was weird by my classmates. One of the things I love about being an adult is that people seem to like me now, for exactly the same reasons as my school peers called me weird. I am weird, but I’ve embraced it. I like being me. But I’m not up for having someone constantly narrating my actions with descriptions of how weird I am, no matter why they’re doing it (especially if all I’m trying to do is tell them they’re hot).

So I texted him explaining this, saying I thought we were looking for different things, and also that I thought we didn’t have loads in common, and I was too weird for him.

He replied saying ‘lol honestly i love it when you say weird stuff. its why I like hanging with u’ which simultaneously made me think aww bless him and also

 

ross

(I made that GIF myself. I am very proud of this).

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