All Out of Benefit of the Doubts

May 6, 2013
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I’m all about giving people a chance. Things happen, people have off days, and I guess at the very core of it, I believe that people are inherently good. But at a certain point, no matter how badly you want something to work, you’ve got to put you first. How many times have you given someone you're dating a pass or two when they’ve done something you don’t agree with? Whether it’s calling you back, blowing off plans, or even cheating on you, there are a lot of red flags that we all seem to easily forgive. Once forgiven, it sends a pretty clear message that it’s acceptable behavior and that there’s a lack of respect that will ultimately play a larger role in the relationship. Now I’m talking about the very minor to the very major when it comes to the types of things that we’re all willing to accept, but they all yield similar results.

A friend of mine recently showed up for a date in which the man he was seeing showed up with two unexpected friends. But instead of staying and being part of a date night that was not what he had in mind, he simply told the guy that this wasn’t what he envisioned and that he was going to head home. My initial response was that my friend overreacted and his actions were a little extreme. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized how it important it is to be clear about what you’re looking for, what you want, and what you’re willing to accept. And you know what? The guy called him later that night to apologize and realized that he wasn’t being very respectful of their original plans.

It’s no big secret that I’ve been burned before, but I’ve reach a point in my life where I’m all out of chances to give. And taking a page from my friend, I decided that this was the year that I wouldn’t make exceptions of any kind for any one. So far, it’s doing me right. I’ve lived my life both ways: being super protective and given people the benefit of the doubt. It makes me sad that I could be missing out on someone in some ways, but in the end it’s about respect. It’s definitely a way of protecting myself from hurt, but I think even more so it’s about not making excuses and being confident in my decisions and what I want out of life. If there's a guy out there who's worth it, he'll figure out a way to get through.

Where do you draw the line when it comes to second chances?

Tags: Love, dates
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Post written by RobHeartsDH (View Author Profile)
About this author: Rob lives in Manhattan with his black pug Riley. When he’s not thinking about daddies, he enjoys writing, eating burritos, watching copious amounts of television, and thinking about his next meal.
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I think the writer is correct. If someone on a major matter, such as described, is so disrespectful as to ignore your basic wish on a date, then the action taken was the thing to do. I do understand that people make errors of judgement in how they treat others, and forgiveness is a nice action to take. But from then on one should be wary for something similar happening. Having had an experience somewhat like was written about, I perceived that a date was going to turn into a 4 some, and I just left. No regrets. If we don't protect ourselves in social situations, then we are being very foolish.

Just my opinion folks!

I tend to give people a second chance when it is obvious they were not in control of things. But when the screw-up involves a decision they made for themselves, where they chose to ignore good manners or a commitment, I don't give second changes. In the last 15-20 years, I have come to believe very strongly that a man should do what he says he going to do and show up where he says he's going to be. Unless someone wound up in the hospital, or was required to work late at the last minute, anyone who stands me up once never gets a chance to do it again.

I also do this online with men who look at your profile before they read your message and, if they don't want to have sex with you, never open the message.

A pattern will reveal itself pretty quickly in most dating situations. As males, we are conditioned to mask our true feelings for fear we will be seen as "too sensitive" or "touchy" or, worse yet, a "drama queen" (a negative term way overused in our era). As gay males, many of us were told these are traits typical of gay men, (and thus to be avoided at all cost to appear masculine). To fail to express one's feelings about something that really rubs you the wrong way is more a sign of weakness than stepping up to bat for oneself and speaking up, which takes honesty and guts. It is not only a matter of indicating expectations and boundaries but when you find yourself repeatedly overlooking disrepectful behavior, forever 'forgiving' as if you are some gay varaint on Mother Teresa, and telling yourself over and over "this will get better" you may be deluding yourself; it's time to give Mr. clueless the boot. And as for that much lauded, rather saintly word "forgiveness": by all means there are situations where it is healthy and reasonable to forgive, but if you find yourself forgiving to the point of ad nauseum you are going to be stuck with one person you can't forgive:yourself. Stuff your honest feeings down and quash them long enough and no matter what kind of sex you have with the guy, you won't respect yourself in the morning. Consideration, reasonable sensitivity,and respect are not optional: they are essential, (and the best aphrodisiac ever to some of us!).

This is a very interesting point you make. I've come across this type of response too. Quite often the people who claim others are being "too sensitive" or "touchy" are the one's who take offense at the drop of a hat. Go figure!

The ones who take offense like that most often don't know the difference between being sensitive and merely being thin-skinned. They take offense at everything because their offense, their hurt, can be used as a tool to manipulate people. But they really have no compassion or understanding for anyone else.

LMFAO!! You nailed it!!

Well said Rob. Well said! I completely agree. Thank you.

Well, I think the key word in this dialog is "respect". Respect for yourself as well as for the person you're dealing with, or put another way: follow the 'The Golden Rule". Behave toward people the way you prefer being treated, if the behaviour isn't reciprocated then neither are the sentiments. Over the years I've come to the conclusion that people generally tell you what they're about from the get-go. This sometimes happens on a sub-conscious level either through their general attitude toward life; grasp of social skills like basic manners, or; general behaviour toward other people. When someone starts off a relationship --either platonic or romantic-- with excuses and apologies, it's a good indication of what you can expect from them in the future. The irony to this is: you'd think all those red flags waving furiously in your face wouldn't be quite so easy to ignore, but they are. I suppose my personal cut-off point re second chances is when I start feeling like a dog barking up the wrong tree. Best to take the hint and go looking for a bone somewhere else.

On two separate occasions my "Date" showed up with a chaperone of a different gender. Another so called man accepted a date and then lied to my face about not showing up, mimicking what I said I did. For me, a man gets one chance in these situations.

Unfortunately, I've had a few similar situations in the past and I did the same and left. Especially after deciding to meet an old "friend" and his partner after 20 years. They wound up having a friend staying for the weekend and after later on, my friend and the guest wound up naked in the pool and telling me to join them as I sat there "uncomfortable" talking to the partner and I could tell he felt the same. If you give someone the benefit of the doubt you should expect to be disappointed. If a guy is truly interested in you he will show it. Otherwise, it's just bullshit and games. I might be getting off track here but I don't understand why when guys put in their profile what they are looking for and they are actually looking for the direct opposite. i.e. looking for athletic, great personality, funny, mature, responsible etc. they thumb there noses at those guys and are attracted to the losers with a plane full of baggage and entitlement issues..and to top it off, bitch and whine to everyone about what a loser their partner is..WTF?? YOU bought's YOURS!

It's very sad that a guy your age already feels the way you do. I too have given up and enjoy my own company.

I think the writer nailed it when he said that the right guy will figure it out. I'm not sure why many guys don't make extra effort to make it known they're a man of their word and actually follow through consistently. It's all kind of sloppy really. Largely, the writer is just fine with his point of view in my estimation. I also think people are, at heart, good too yet often lack that inner awareness and just don't use that ability. Lazy guys get negative results over and over again. For those of us that aren't lazy, we don't need to endure it. I wish the writer well and send my support that he finds better and fun dating out there.

I read the column twice. Just to be sure I understood the writer's thought process.

The only thing I ask is: is this someone you had actually met, talked with, and had some sense of or was this just an online "meeting." Anyone can type words. I remember when people had to write letters to respond to ads, compose them, put a stamp on them. It took time and effort, and the person, after they'd done all that, usually without exception, wanted to meet you.

Fast forward: someone sees a profile, responds to it, but doesn't even sign their name. Bad sign. Someone tells you how "hot" you are without mentioning that you seem "kind" or "generous" (emotionally). Bad sign. These are, to me, a lack of respect: it ignores who the other person is and if you do that out of the box, well, maybe it's time to seek out a therapist to find out why you're repeating what you learned when you were young.
I try to find out, almost immediately, if someone likes his parents, especially his father. If he doesn't? He has authority issues, and being gay men, who do you think represents authority to him? Other men. Men he dates, men he works for, men, period. And if he doesn't like dad, chances are, unless he's worked thru that, he doesn't like himself. And when you don't like yourself, it's as easy to see as a lighthouse in the night, that he'll lack respect for others (which shows up as sarcasm (depression in disguise), or anger (depression in disguise) Or just depression. And a lack of respect for others is so obvious, one shouldn't need to question whether or not to give someone the benefit of the doubt.

Only if an external event happens, as someone said, to a friend, family member (sudden illness, accident, or something unexpected) and they forgot to call you in the emergency of the moment, that's a different story. And a person lacking in grace enough to understand that? I wouldn't give them the benefit of the doubt. Not for a moment.