#RelationshipGoals: When You Have To Tell Him, “I Don’t Like You Like That”

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Rejecting the nice guy is tough. You know you should go for him because he’s a departure of what you usually go for. He’s gracious, sweet, thoughtful, generous and always there. The nice guy is perfect, except when he’s not and you want him far, far away from you. But then guilt slaps you in the face like, “How dare you?”

I wanted something more from my dating life. I wanted romantic carriage rides around Central Park, walks on the Brooklyn Bridge and I wanted to be someone a man bragged about to his friends and family. I wasn’t getting it, so I switched it up…with Princeton. I hated that no matter how awesome he was, he wasn’t what I wanted.

“Do you like seafood?” Princeton smiled at me, fumbling with one of the blonde braids I had weaved into my hair.

I pulled my braid from his fingers. “I love seafood. Crab is everything,” I smiled, excited that a guy was actually taking initiative to plan a date. I tried to ignore his glasses constant slide down his greasy nose.

I met Princeton on Tinder during one night of furiously swiping more lefts than rights. I reminded myself to try something different. Princeton popped up on my screen:

Average Height

Thick Glasses

Small(ish) Belly

Nervous Smile

Dad Jeans

White Sneakers

He had all the makings of a Black nerd–or a “blerd” and while my vagina didn’t scream out at him on my phone’s screen, I was still intrigued. His profile was funny, like he actually tried (way too hard) to make sure his jokes had a punchline. He liked things I liked and a few things I’d never heard of. I clicked through his pictures and when he wasn’t smiling at Comicon or making some type of hand gesture with his nerdy friends, he was seductively looking into the camera with his glasses off. I cackled at the smoldering photos and swiped right.

Here goes nothing.

I sat across from Princeton at our agreed upon first meeting at a coffee shop in Brooklyn. I sipped my latte.

Princeton studied my face.”I love seafood too! It’s settled! I’ll pick you up at 7:30 on Thursday and we’ll go for seafood. I want to surprise you.” His smile made his glasses lift off his nose. He pushed them back down with his pointer finger.

On Thursday, my phone lit up at exactly 7:30. I picked up, “Hi Princeton. I’m coming down.”

“No. I’ve parked the car and I am coming upstairs to receive you,” I could tell he was smiling. “Which one is your buzzer?”

I frowned. “You don’t have to do all of that Princeton. We can just go…”

Princeton cut me off, “My lady, chivalry may have died in a lot of these Neanderthals, but it hasn’t died in me. So, can you tell me your buzzer?”

At this point, I am fully dressed, with my hand on the doorknob waiting to turn it to walk outside. I rolled my eyes and sighed, “3L.”

My buzzer rang and Princeton walked up the stairs to “receive” me. I was so annoyed. But this was a new experience for me. I forced myself to go through with it. While it was a bit strange, it was old school and I could appreciate the “chivalry” (in hindsight).

“My lady,” Princeton reached for my hand and kissed it, leaving a smear of saliva on the back of my hand. I rubbed it on my pants.

“Sir,” I smiled at him, but I was giving the stank face on the inside.

We pulled up to Boil, a seafood restaurant in the Lower East Side of Manhattan. Princeton opened all of the doors I walked in or out of, he even pulled out the barstool I was perched on throughout our dinner. He did everything short of cracking my crab legs and wiping my butter drenched mouth.

Every time I looked at that complete gentleman, I cringed. The chemistry just wasn’t there and he wanted it to be so badly. I did too. I wanted a guy like him. I knew I needed a guy like him, but he made my skin crawl.

“You get me,” Princeton laughed, placing his hand on my thigh, squeezing it.

I almost fell out of the chair trying to slide from his grip. And that act of avoidance is all I ever gave Princeton. The day we had coffee to plan out our first date, he sneaked a peck on my cheek only because I turned my head in time. The night of our seafood date, he tried again and my turning face wasn’t enough to deter him, so I coughed, almost in his face. Princeton didn’t give up.

On our second date–yes I tried again — he leaned in for the kiss. I put my hand across my mouth, “Stop,” I asked more than I demanded.

“What’s the problem? I’m feelin’ you. You’re feelin’ me…” Princeton was looking for a response to his question masquerading as a statement.

I was not feeling Princeton. What I did feel was a need to be nice to a nice guy. For far too many of my dating years, I’ve dissed and dismissed the nice guy, often sending away men who would make great partners. I wanted to try something new and when Princeton came along, I thought I found my nice guy.

The biggest issue other than no chemistry was that I wasn’t attracted to him. “I ain’t got no type,” but I do like to be attracted to the person I’m with. And because I have no type, that attraction is a large pool that I’m unafraid to take a swim in.

But Princeton rubbed me the wrong way. No matter how many coveted qualities he possessed, I just didn’t want it:

Gainfully employed

Takes regular vacations

Loves his momma

Has a car

Has his own place

Loves to go out, but stays home equally as much

Affectionate

Honest

Generous

Princeton’s “good on paper” list went on and on. But I could care less.

After that seafood date, Princeton would call, text me all the typical “good morning,” “good afternoon,” “have a wonderful night’s sleep” texts, but I wouldn’t respond. And then one night at a party I spotted him. “Princeton?” I breathed through the one-word question, more confused than I was intrigued.

He didn’t do the immature thing I was doing–trying my best to ignore him and pretend we weren’t in the same room–Princeton walked right up to me.

“Danielle, you’re looking lovely,” he leaned in for a wet kiss on the cheek.

I shuddered, even with his hands on my shoulders. “Hey Princeton.” I smiled.

“What’s up with you not responding to my calls and texts?” Princeton said, cutting to the chase.

Since he started the conversation without small talk, I figured I’d follow his lead. “Princeton, you’re such a sweet guy and I’m sure you’re the perfect gentleman to be in a relationship with, but…”

Princeton’s smile faded, “But you don’t want to be with me. But you don’t think I’m cute. But you want to be my friend?” He tried to finish my sentence.

“One of those is right,” I looked down. “I have been trying to force myself to be into you and I know that’s not right, but I felt bad rejecting you, mostly because I know you’re the type of man I need or should be going for.”

“That’s some bullsh-t!” Princeton said before turning his back on me and walking off.

After about two months of radio silence from Princeton, my phone lit up with his name and number again one afternoon: “What’s up stranger? Still breakin’ hearts?” Princeton’s text read.

I still haven’t responded.

Have you ever rejected someone who was so into you?

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