3 min

Insert husband here

He won't take no for an answer

Credit: David Hawe

What do you do about that guy who won’t take no for an answer? First, think back to the source. What did you do to lead him on? Ah yes, you spoke to him. You gave him (what were you thinking?) the time of day. Now he’s in your face, coming on stronger than a cheap drugstore cologne. Ready to shake him?

First, know thine enemy.

He’s the one who plans your new rosy life together 10 minutes after you exchange phone numbers. He leaves you three voicemails within 24 hours; each one labelled urgent. He’ll leave a fourth message wondering why you haven’t called him back.

Guys like this give off crucial warning signs, especially on a first date. He might wine and dine you, treating you to a diatribe on how men are too immature to commit to a relationship, and how he’s so “over the bullshit.”

He reads something into everything you say or do, and once you pass his test any attention you offer is cause for wedding bells. Compliment his shirt, he undoes a button. Make slightly more than polite eye contact, he licks his upper lip.

From the start he tries to pry “important details” out of you. If you feel like you are being audited, it’s because you are. There’s the seemingly innocuous, “What’s your longest relationship?” And “Are you a top or a bottom?”

Cut your losses, and forget about meeting again. Guys like this treat second dates like honeymoons. If you try to reject him after a couple of coffees, you’ll only spur his wrath. He’ll fume about you while listening to scorned-am-I Cher songs. He’ll spread word that while you’re easy, your dinky is small and you fart after orgasm.

He’s not a bad person, he’s just insecure. He incessantly proclaims he doesn’t care what anybody thinks of him – then promptly asks what you think. He’ll interpret your glassy-eyed boredom for commiseration, and within a week your inbox will be packed with e-greeting card notifications.

Amidst the deluge of e-mails and phone calls, he’s desperately trying to convince you he’s above “games.”

“I was brought up to tell the truth, and to be good to all people,” he says.

“I was raised to treat everyone with respect,” he says, as if everyone else was raised by wooly mammoths. To escape, tell him your parents taught you to lie, steal and beat elderly women.

When he tries to hold your hand every time you meet, it’s up to you to back off, slowly. There’s no better time to merrily proclaim how that funny rash to the right of your urethra if finally scabbing off.

Sometimes, no matter what you do, he’s got you pegged as his “instant husband.” It happened to my best friend who went on a first date last month.

“He had a long list of criteria, and I happened to fit all of them,” my friend says. “For the whole night he had all his friends tell me why I should be his boyfriend, and how perfectly I matched his criteria. He wanted a trophy piece he could take to parties. He was… slightly shallow.”

I once went out with a guy who managed to twist a casual, fun first date into a commitment ceremony. Over ice cream, he said he’d been searching months for a relationship. He didn’t need any more friends: “I’m not interested in dating-for-dating’s sake.”

He asked if I wanted to “take this thing to a higher level,” with a second date. I refused, worried that the next step for him were excursions to Pottery Barn.

Still, I wasn’t in the clear. He called me again two months later, wanting to get together. His sales pitch took a new turn: He never, ever gives up! When he wants something, he gets it! Tender words never spoken.

Over the next few months, I had the misfortune of running into him everywhere I went. Each time, he clasped my hands and repeated his increasingly lecherous offers, applying pressure like a shoe salesman. There should be witness protection programs for times like this.

The key when dealing with the guy who won’t take no for an answer is prevention, prevention, prevention. Make no promises, raise no hopes.

Don’t tell him you’ll call if you won’t. And if you don’t want to see him again, don’t say, “Let’s do coffee soon.” Like a bad slasher flick, he’ll only become the noose around your neck that gets tighter and tighter the more you try to squirm free.