Am I being asked out?

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Okay I think this man I met recently casually asked me out in an email but as I haven't been on a "date" since 1993 and I never dated in the traditional sense before I got married I don't know if I am reading something in to this or not. Background, I am single, hetero, have been divorced and single since 2008 and have a substantial history of relationship trauma and sexual trauma.

Earlier this week at a lunch and learn event I met a gentleman we had a nice conversation and he is in charge of a major local business and a part of my job includes work in economic develop. He emailed me yesterday to see if I would be willing to present a project that he is working on personally to my board to determine if they would be interested in being involved. I responded to his email with my agreement to talk to my board and closed the email mentioning that I would be interested in touring his company's operations sometime. His response was basically sure anytime. He then closed his email response with "lets catch lunch sometime or even dinner". So I am trying to figure out if he was casually asking me out without being direct in case I wasn't interested or if I am reading to much into a simple email closing. I haven't dated since my divorce, I am terrible at determining when someone is interested in me and I don't trust my ability to recognize positive interest by someone of the other sex. If he wasn't trying to ask me out because of the work and business connection I don't want to come across like some desperate overeager loser. I need some advice, is this guy asking me out? If he is, how do I respond so that I don't come across like I am desperate? But I am interested in getting to know him if he is interested in me HELP?
It's possible. But it's vague enough that there's plausible deniability if you don't respond favorably.

Since you're interested in getting to know the guy, you could respond with "Oh ... Are you asking me out? :)" (and note the emoji there). I'd be pretty happy with that kind of a response if I really WAS interested in asking you out! And it puts the ball back in his court to actually ask you out.


Because the relationship is based on professional setting, I would completely disregard the comment consciously and stay to focus on the project. Why?
You need to get to know him and if there is chemistry...then waiting doesn't change anything. Now, in my opinion, you are fantasizing or you are oblivious to your own sexual attraction and the impact you have on men.
Stay cool. Do a great job and all these times, you will know if there is anything or not. I want to add if he is cautious so you should too.
In my experience, when not sure some like me or not or was asking me out or or not, mostly, I was projecting especially at work.


It sounds like you may be a little interested too. If that is the case then, sure, respond and say I'd love to have lunch sometime and hear more about your project. It may be that you have lunch and discover that there is a mutual interest or you have lunch and discover he sees the business lunch as a casual opportunity to make a stronger press for his company. As long as you choose a good restaurant, you don't lose either way.
I think whilst there is a professional link it may be best to keep it professional.

However, when that is all sorted or is no longer your responsibility then for sure call him and ask him for a cup of coffee. You will then see if he's just being friendly, wanted to shore up his company position or is actually interested in you. All of which are ok by the way and none of which is suggestive of your worth.

People suggest catching up over coffee, lunch etc all of the time and get taken up on it now and then.

Don't take it too seriously but if you want to and the time is right explore expanding your social circle by one. :)


Hard to know but, based on the brief context you’ve shared here - ie you met at a networking event and have since been in contact about working together in some way - I would guess that it’s an invitation to discuss the project further and to get to know each other better to start building a relationship.

It’s pretty common to be invited to meet somewhere for coffee or lunch rather than just arranging to meet in an office meeting room. It tends to make things feel more social and is therefore considered a bit more conducive to relationship building. Plus, if he is going to pay, there is potentially a schmoozing element (he wants you to present his project to your board, right? So, buying you lunch, talking more about the project and you two getting to know each other better makes total sense to me)

In my experience - which may well not be typical - it is less common to do dinner for work if the relationship is new...maybe because dinner sounds more potentially datey?

Do you want to go for a meal with him? If yes, I’d go with @Cypress suggestion and say something like “Lunch sometime would be great - I’d love to find out more about the project/continue our discussion. Let me know when would work for you.” Quite open and light touch - but definitely not looking desperate for a date.

If you go for lunch together and he doesn’t seem remotely interested in talking about the project or any kind of work stuff, maybe you will conclude that he is looking to make a more personal connection. And if that’s what happens, then I guess you just get to decide whether you want to mix business with pleasure.


Thank you everyone for the input it has been a long week and a half and just the idea that someone might be interested in me sent me into a major downward spiral. I haven't been to work all week I have been a mess, afraid to be around people. I haven't left the house in four days, my T has been on a break while he completes his move to a new location and I haven't seen him in almost three weeks. We have a session scheduled for next Monday but I am embarrassed and ashamed to say that just the potential that someone might be interested in me sent me into a tailspin. I have been single since my divorce in 2005, I have dated one person in that time, have had several ill-advised internet hook-ups that were meant to re-enact my traumas and have not had a relationship or even a single person ask me out in 8 years. I know a part of it is the walls that I put up due to ptsd, part of it is the isolation that I have engaged in, and part of it is a promise I made to my kids during the divorce to put first. The thing is they are both grown and gone. I have to return to work tomorrow not going is not an option. Obviously no matter what I am in no shape at this point to even consider a date or a relationship. But what sucks the most is at first I was excited now I just need to get back on an even keel so I can work.
I'm thinking of you @FauxLiz and I'm sorry this has hit you so hard.

You are right your children are up & away now. So I'm sure they would love to see you in a happy relationship if that's what you'd like to do.

I hope you are ok at work tomorrow.

Remember you are able to decline any invitation you receive.

Eventually I'd hope you will leave behind the ghosts of failed relationships for which you are certainly not solely responsible.

Take care,


Remember you are able to decline any invitation you receive

This is what my T was discussing with me this week. My kids are off at college and I am finally getting divorced so the possibility of dating and new relationships has come up and when it does I completely panic.

I think I am mostly afraid that if I feel attracted to someone, then they must be some kind of perpetrator because in the past I consistently chose the abusers. And if this someone showed an interest in me too, then of course I would be inexorably drawn into another re-enactment because I lack agency. Its distorted trauma thinking for sure.

So, I'm avoiding it for now and just trying to focus developing a healthy sexuality, whatever that is.

Anyway, I guess I don't have any good advice just I'm sorry you're having a hard time and I hope going back to work helped you feel better not worse.


ut what sucks the most is at first I was excited n

To date or not to date aside... this has been one of the most useful things about the Stress Cup for me... realizing that any time I’m over the moon? Excited, thrilled, whatever? If I treat it like bad news and double down on the stress management, self care, etc. I don’t crash and burn. It gentles the landing. The whole stress = stress = cup overflows and KAPOW! Friday goes sideways :bag: I forget more easily with things that are “good” but it helps those happy life events actually be positive forces in my life to manage the Yay! exactly the same as Boo!

Don’t get me wrong, I can still enjoy excitement to the hilt... :sneaky:’s just that as it starts to fade into normal if I’m not taking extra good care of myself I’m going to pay for being excited today by wanting to eat my gun tomorrow. So I look at it as a win/win, rather than attempting to curtail a good time. Excitement = win, & taking extra good care of myself in the wake of being excited = win.
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So it happened. I really wasn't sure based upon the way our email and phone conversations had gone whether it was a business dinner or a date so I went in expecting it to be a business dinner. Guess what, it was a date and we both were unsure of whether the other thought it was business or date so while it started out talking business as time went by the conversation became more relaxed. We sat and talked until the restaurant kicked us out. The work connection is not an conflict as he while advocating for his opinion does not have a financial connection to the project and while I make recommendations to the my employer, I don't have the final say.

The evening ended with a hug (which was nice and I generally do not hug) and plans to do dinner again next week. I enjoyed myself. It probably sounds crazy, awful but it is the first time that I can ever remember that a guy didn't try to kiss me, cop a feel as part of a hug, see if there was a chance that sex was an option when there was some level of expressed interest in them. I am strangely excited but terrified that this might actually go somewhere and probably the hardest part of the evening for me was that a couple of times while we were talking he said I was beautiful. I can't remember anyone in my life ever calling me beautiful not my ex, my FOO, men that were just trying to get laid no one not even myself.
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