Skip

Does a sudden change in texting habits mean anything?
June 17, 2014 11:17 PM   Subscribe

A sudden change in a guy I met online's texting habits has me assuming the worst. Am I wrong?

I have (an embarrassing amount of experience) with online dating, and while this situation involves someone I have not met yet, it matters to me. And at the very least, I need to learn something from this. :)

I "met" a guy on an online dating site in late May. We're both early 30's. We both live in SF, except he is currently in West LA studying for the Bar Exam (in LA staying with family to save money on rent while studying). He winked, I winked back, we started communicating and he explained his circumstances and that he'd be gone from May 26th and back July 11th after the Bar review course ends (but then studying here for another two weeks leading up to the Bar Exam itself).

After a few fun emails where we learned how much we have in common, he said he wasn't interested in dating anyone while he was studying and/or in LA, and that he was going to take down his profile, and asked for my number so we could keep communicating. (He did in fact hide his profile the next day, including deleting all content and pictures prior to hiding it.) He also jokingly said that he hopes I don't have any luck dating anyone else before he gets back, that he hopes I'm still available. I gave him my number, and for the next three weeks, we texted and sent pictures (of the completely innocent selfie/food/view variety) every single day, several texts a day. On a couple weekends, it was pretty much all-day. The other days, he'd text in the morning, around lunch, and then after his classes. I'd initiate about a third of the time.

(Side note: I've never taken the Bar, but I have several friends who have (including an ex-BF) and I know how arduous *and not-arduous* it is - or at least, *when* it is. He essentially has his evenings and weekends relatively free, and there's nothing in particular that would make him soooo busy that he can't communicate in some fashion for the entire day. He seemed to have a pretty clear schedule and we developed a pattern of communicating, and if he ever broke it, the next time he texted he'd volunteer an explanation for his absence ("Sorry, was out for a run...").)

The content of our messages was general chit chat, sharing about what I do for a living, his career plans, sharing about our days (pictures of ourselves/with friends/where we were, like him in class, whatever). He'd throw in a term of endearment in most of his initiating messages (e.g., "Hi beautiful!"). He's never been short, always fun, flirty, very often with an exclamation point or an emoticon (yes, I know these might seem like minute details, but they're relevant to the tone of our communications). A few times he said he couldn't wait to get back so we could meet and go out on a date, that he was counting down the days. He does not seem particularly stressed about the Bar Exam.

Basically, I was getting really excited about him and excited for him to come back so we could meet and possibly develop something in person. But then he kinda flipped the script on me.

Last Friday, he started the day with the typical cutsie message, and followed that up at lunch with another. I responded in kind, per usual. Then... nothing. He sent me a short message saying that he was going to Ventura for the weekend (he and his study-mates have escaped town a couple weekends). Our communication has been vastly different since then. Saturday he said he slept until 3 and later sent a picture of what he was up to on Saturday night, and responded to my Sunday texts (I think two) late on Sunday night. I texted him yesterday (Monday), and he never responded. That was a first.

And this, MetaFi peeps, is when the anxiety set in. You know, that "ugh, he's pulling away, he's bored/done/over this, it's too much trouble for him" feeling... ALL BECAUSE OF HIS TEXTING HABITS. I'm reaching conclusions about his desire to continue "this" based solely on his texting habits, and namely the frequency of his texts compared to all the weeks before, and basically off of one day of not hearing from him. Yes, that's what I'm doing, and with someone I've never even met, and it's making me feel like a crazy person. It was everything I could do to NOT text/email/call him to ask if something was wrong, or to ask if he wanted to do as he suggested before, and just stop talking until he gets back. Instead, I just told myself he's probably busy/tired/needs space/decompression time/whatever, even though I didn't believe it. I never do, with any guy, even when there's a 99.99999% chance that it's legit.

So, that might be problem #1: I don't believe guys who are committed to the process (aka "into me") go MIA - even if just for a day or two - because they're busy/tired/need space/decompression time. Tell me straight: Am I wrong?

This morning, I awoke to a good morning text, with an explanation: "I've been running on empty so I disappeared for a bit." He also said he hoped my week was starting off well. So then I think, "Ahhhhh, so he's just been busy after all..." I wait all day to respond, to "not run the risk of looking needy," and again - NO RESPONSE. Okay, fine... he just told me he's running on empty and so I'm just gonna leave him be, and he can come to me when he's got more energy. I can deal. I've got a very full life, I'm not exactly waiting by the phone - yet, I'm very much aware that every text that comes through from others isn't one from him! Bummer!

But then I also realize that he's been Instagraming memes for two days now... so, clearly he's not THAT busy or running on empty if he can IG but not text me or call me or email or FB or send a carrier pigeon.

I'm crazy. Right? Or, no?

There are all sorts of theories on dudes and them coming close and then kinda pulling back and then coming back (I'm sure you've heard of the infamous "rubber-banding theory")... and that this behavior is NATURAL. Is it? Do guys really need space after they get "close," whatever "close" means for them in that moment?

My guy pals also say that (1) our level of texting isn't maintainable, (2) that he might not want to text at all because he thinks that as soon as he does, a text-versation will ensue, and while he can drop a note he doesn't have the time/energy to have a full fledged text-talk, and (3) guys have no idea how important consistent texting is to a girl, that they're clueless, that I shouldn't read into it. But he's always volunteered/explained his absence without prompting, which suggests to me that he knows that it's not cool. Are they right?

Any other comments that might help me snap out of having doomsday thoughts? I know, I know, I haven't even met the guy yet... but there's something there, and I don't want to blow it.
posted by SabrinaV to Human Relations (38 answers total)

This post was deleted for the following reason: poster's request -- mathowie

 
You've never met this dude.

That is a WALL of text for someone you've never met.

Let it go. You texted him today, and for the first time he didn't respond. It could be anything. He could still be dragging from the weekend and had a tough Monday and just generally didn't feel up to texting. Maybe his big weekend resulted in a 24 hour stomach bug that has laid him low. Or maybe he fell madly in love with someone else and they're married now. You just can't know, and either way, there's nothing you can do about it.

I somewhat agree with the "textversation" concern, especially if he did have a rough day and is feeling tired. I can see a case of the Mondays leading to wanting to lay low in general, because of that.

Frankly, constant texting over three weeks with someone you've never met is way too much, too fast. He's doing the right thing by backing off, whether it's voluntary or brought about by other circumstances.
posted by Sara C. at 11:26 PM on June 17 [44 favorites]


There is no answer to this question that's going to satisfy you.

This is a guy who you've never met and who is going through one of the most stressful times in his life. You can't make inferences from his texting habits. Maybe texting was fun procrastination but now he needs to focus. Maybe he's not interested anymore. Maybe he thinks he's being clingy and is trying to stay cool.

I say this as someone who's met like 50 people off dating sites: Forget all this shit until you meet him. He probably has terrible BO for chrisake.
posted by no regrets, coyote at 11:35 PM on June 17 [9 favorites]


I was similarly anxious recently about a dating situation that's a bit further along (we have met in person a few times - he lives in another state - and hooked up a couple times); he also dropped off the screen of the text world and I fretted for a while. And then when we finally spoke again...I learned he had been legit straight-up oh my god are you kidding me crazy loco busy. (And most likely will be for some time.)

Because you guys have been just texting, it of course could just be a line he used...but it could also be the truth. And even if it is the truth you can decide it's still not good enough for you and look elsewhere.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:38 PM on June 17


I'm crazy. Right?

I won't call anyone crazy on here.

1. You've never met him.
2. He's studying for the bar.
3. It seems as if you have problems over-analyzing minutiae to the point where you are asking your friends about it and are able to present the results here.

4. But then I also realize that he's been Instagraming memes for two days now... so, clearly he's not THAT busy or running on empty if he can IG but not text me or call me or email or FB or send a carrier pigeon.

Maybe you should be ok with the fact that instragramming memes is more of a priority to him than having this back and forth text shit. If you can't deal with that (and it seems you can't, based on what you are writing), then maybe its for the best that he's kinda...not that into you.

Go elsewhere and let this person study for the bar.
posted by hal_c_on at 11:49 PM on June 17 [5 favorites]


Oh, no.

Your first mistake was agreeing to move forward after he let you know he wasn't looking for a relationship. He's in a stressful time. What's he doing on a dating site??

He was looking for a pleasant distraction. Nothing more.

He's breaking it off now so he doesn't have to see you in SF in July (or did I get that detail date wrong?)

I'm SO sorry! This sucks!!

You are a Nice Person. You did nothing wrong, other than miss a Red Flag.

Go forth and date happily! Keep the info about Red Flags under your hat for the future.

Your general premise about online dating is incorrect. You are not pursuing them, they are pursuing you.

The hot second you're not happy during the texting/email stage, RUN.

Never consent to this kind of distance or timeframe before meeting in person, ever again.

Otherwise, you're fine! Block this guy on your social media, email, and your phone, and move on with confidence!!
posted by jbenben at 11:49 PM on June 17 [14 favorites]


There are many, many reasons why he's behaving this way. The only mistake is to take it personally.

In the meantime -- trust your gut, train yourself in the art of not being invested in someone before meeting them in person, and go explore your other options. :)
posted by tackypink at 11:59 PM on June 17 [2 favorites]


Look, I know how you feel. Been there, done that, got not just the t-shirt but the entire outfit.

But in all kindness: you are veering into madness here.

I've only gone into this level of analysis with a guy I've met, at least. (Although once I got all hung up about stuff with a guy I'd only been on two dates with, and had to give myself a slap round the head.)

People think they 'know' someone through lots of texting and messaging and instagramming and whatever. They don't. There is zero point going into this level of analysis until you meet him. IF it goes well, and IF you start seeing each other regularly, and he starts changing his 'communication patterns' a couple of months down the track...then we can talk.

Seriously. Take a step back. Consider him off the table, until HE contacts YOU and makes a definite move. He knows you're into him, trust me. Chill out, and turn your attention elsewhere.
posted by Salamander at 12:09 AM on June 18 [2 favorites]


I'm DEFINITELY not calling Salamander out or anything, but I must tell you that I disagree with you considering this guy for a redux in the future.

It's a behavioral problem, on his part.

He's successfully established he can misrepresent his actions towards you with enough verbal disclaimers (very lawyerly of him, huh?) and it's No Thing.

Do you really want this dynamic in your life?

He had no business on a dating website, or texting you so intimately, if he did not want "a relationship right now."

In fact, he established quite a deep, if not distance challenged, relationship with you, already. I don't think my husband and I ever texted as often as you describe. You guys were Internet Dating, for sure.

My main position is that he should not have been hyper interacting with you in the first place. He never had the ability to follow- through. Choosing someone from his hometown where he is not currently living was a DEAD give-away he was not serious.

If he wanted to meet someone in-person, yet not be in "a relationship right now" - he would have found someone local to date casually. HE DID NOT DO THIS.

He just has.... character deficiencies. You don't want this kind of unaware type in your life. He was unaware you would take his obviously intimate texts so to heart because he stated his intentions prior to acting oppositely.

He's not necessarily actively mean, but he is sufficiently thoughtless.

His first mistake was going forward with you even though in his mind, it was all "get to know you/no commitment, right?"

He's too immature for you. You are looking for a real relationship.

Look elsewhere with confidence.
posted by jbenben at 12:40 AM on June 18 [21 favorites]


Actually, y'know what? I kind of skimmed over the bit that jbenben just referred to. And I've changed my mind: she's 100% right. Disengage altogether.
posted by Salamander at 12:54 AM on June 18 [3 favorites]


No one's crazy but I don't think you two are super-good for each other and it's probably better to figure this out now. Before you even meet. Before you get seriously hung up on him.

There are about a million theories about how relationships work. Someone recommended the book Attached to me and it resonated enough that I'm recommending it to others where it seems appropriate. It's based on attachment theory, with the premise that the type of attachment style you develop in your childhood is something you bring to subsequent romantic relationships. Most people are apparently stable, but there are people who are anxious and others who are avoidant. From what you have written, you sound anxious and he sounds avoidant. (There's a little quiz on the website you can take if you are interested in seeing whether you are or learning about what they mean by these terms.)

Even if those aren't your actual attachment styles, it still seems like the dynamic that's going on here. Anyway, no big surprise, the anxious-avoidant combination is both very common and also pretty unlikely to work well. (Ask me how I know.)

So yeah, cut your losses and congratulate yourself on a near miss. Go out there and find someone who doesn't want to avoid you and doesn't trigger this level of anxiety.
posted by Athanassiel at 3:35 AM on June 18 [1 favorite]


You are overinvested in this for how early it is, and if his slowdown does "mean the worst" it might spare you some high drama later. Might be worth thinking about what needs you're not getting met that you fell so hard so fast for so little reward.
posted by gingerest at 3:48 AM on June 18 [2 favorites]


I don't believe guys who are committed to the process (aka "into me") go MIA - even if just for a day or two - because they're busy/tired/need space/decompression time. Tell me straight: Am I wrong?

Yes, you are wrong. I am occasionally too busy/tired/in need of alone time to text my best friend - of course someone who is just getting to know you might feel similarly from time to time.

But then I also realize that he's been Instagraming memes for two days now... so, clearly he's not THAT busy or running on empty if he can IG but not text me or call me or email or FB or send a carrier pigeon. I'm crazy. Right? Or, no?

Sorry, wrong again. Instagraming memes is mindless and requires no human interaction. I don't really do it a lot but I can see how it might be the perfect activity for times when one is busy/tired/in need of alone time.

...we developed a pattern of communicating, and if he ever broke it, the next time he texted he'd volunteer an explanation for his absence ("Sorry, was out for a run...").)...This morning, I awoke to a good morning text, with an explanation: "I've been running on empty so I disappeared for a bit." He also said he hoped my week was starting off well.

I'm speculating here, but if he feels the need to apologize for going out for a run and presumably delaying a text response by what, a couple of hours at most?, your text habits may be stressing him out. The only reason one should apologize for being a slow responder is if the text in question is like "I'm downstairs now, ready to go?" and you wait 30 minutes to get back to the person. Regular casual texting should be able to interrupted with no apologies needed. It sounds like he was starting to feel smothered some time ago.

Finally, you sound very judgmental about how he uses his time. See Instagraming dig, plus:

I've never taken the Bar, but I have several friends who have (including an ex-BF) and I know how arduous *and not-arduous* it is - or at least, *when* it is. He essentially has his evenings and weekends relatively free, and there's nothing in particular that would make him soooo busy that he can't communicate in some fashion for the entire day...

In my view this is highly inappropriate for an adult romantic relationship. It reminds me of my parents telling me to spend more time playing outside when I was eight. Everyone likes to use their down time differently, especially for de-stressing purposes. More than that, everyone commits to and engages in their studies differently. So what if his bar study habits are different from your friends'? Maybe his concentration suffers when he texts you when he's hitting the books, maybe he prefers to sleep in and study well into the night, maybe he doesn't go out at night because he wakes up beat and it eats into his study time the next day. Your attitude is not helping you.
posted by schroedingersgirl at 4:12 AM on June 18 [19 favorites]


So, that might be problem #1: I don't believe guys who are committed to the process (aka "into me") go MIA - even if just for a day or two - because they're busy/tired/need space/decompression time. Tell me straight: Am I wrong?

You are wrong. I'm a raging, bouncy extrovert, but there are times when I look at my phone/email/front door and think "ugh, dear Christ, I cannot handle humanity' even when that humanity is the love of my life/my offspring/my best friend/only the UPS guy.
posted by ersatzkat at 4:24 AM on June 18 [15 favorites]


I have some thoughts. I have recently been learning this stuff the hard way. I agree that this man doesn't sound like relationship material. But nevertheless, you can certainly learn some great lessons from this!

I texted my last potential new boyfriend way to much- and it was the death of the relationship. He warned me. This is how it happened:

He started pulling back.

Said he was resisting texting me in the day because he knew it meant a full fledged convo that he didn't have time for.

I anxiously went into overdrive and became a pest because I am a clingy chick.

He said that he sometimes just wanted to be alone and chill by himself.

I STILL didn't listen and kept being a pest.

He got really really pissed off and quit speaking to me all together.

(He was kind of a jerk for other reasons, so in retrospect I am actually glad that I sabotaged the relationship, his refusing to speak to me for weeks gave me time to actually think about whether he was the right guy for me- he wasn't. Incidentally, he did return 6 weeks later and ask to try again and I declined)

If you are dating someone, or hope to date someone, that is going to be a lawyer, I think that it is safe to assume that they are an ambitious man. And ambitious men are highly focused on their goals and work- when you factor in that they NEED downtime... there is often just not as much time as you would imagine for them to devote to being in touch with you. If you ask for too much, then in reality- you are disrespecting their time.... and ultimately disrespecting them. My new rule is that if it gets to be 24 hours since the last text, then I wait another 24. Send something light. Most likely I hear back and things get back on track... if not, wait another 2 days... send one more- and if nothing back- then I should get the message and move on.

I've dated men who texted me all throughout the day, but none of them had demanding jobs.

As for rubber banding? Hmmmm.... I still don't know about that. This is an excerpt from the book Technique of a Love Affair, I think it explains the dynamic of a man who does a few tiny disappearing acts in the initial stages of dating, or those few days where he doesn't seem to be as interested as he was before:


Have you never known one of those dreary meetings, Saccharissa, when you felt convinced that he was—not furious with you, or jealous of you, or anything stimulating like that, but simply not enjoying you? Those are the hours that, unskillfully managed, can demolish amorous emotion more surely that the angriest quarrels or the fiercest jealousies.

It is generally some incident too small for explanation which gives rise to his nameless
antagonism. Or perhaps he is in an irritable mood when he comes to meet you, and your manner in the first few minutes unwittingly jars instead of soothes him. Perhaps—if the affair be still in its early days—you seem less attractive this time than he has thought you on previous occasions, and he is uncomfortable because he has a vague idea that he no longer wants to pursue you, and yet doesn’t know how to draw back without hurting your feelings. If you suspect this to be his mental condition, you will probably grow depressed and lose yet more attraction in his eyes as you do so; but there is no reason for you to take his coldness to heart. It is more often than not an absolutely natural reaction from having been too much entranced. You will find it far better ultimately that he undergoes two or three comparatively small reactions in the initial stages than that there should be one enormous recoiling of his senses after long infatuation.....

Perhaps you would care to hear how an incompetent woman would behave on finding her admirer in such a mood as I have described. To begin with, she would persist in asking him a dozen times what was the matter with him—had she offended him? Was he upset about something? As he repeatedly assured her that there was nothing the matter, he would grow more and more antipathetic, until, out of sheer exasperation, he might at last blurt out whatever slight irritation or embarrassment was on his mind, and the very act of putting it into words would lend it weight and impetus. She would rightly feel that she was losing him, and in her fear of letting him be the first to sever the thread between them, she would do so herself by casting an air of finality upon the meeting, of which he, half unconsciously, would take advantage.

That makes complete sense to me... I've dated men who didn't give me enough time to think about whether I was actually attracted to them, and if I felt pushed then it tipped it over into the HELL NO....
posted by misspony at 4:52 AM on June 18 [1 favorite]


Like you, I have a tendency to obsess about things in general. I also once engaged in a textation (text flirtation) with a guy I "met" on OKCupid. We texted for two weeks, nearly ever day, until I invited him to come visit the city I lived in so we could meet in person instead of just texting forever.

Never heard from him again.

You might never meet this guy. Not necessarily because of anything you've done, because people are flaky and you don't even know each other. Personally I don't understand what the point is in texting someone you don't plan to meet, but other friends have reported similar things happening with men. A change in text habits might mean that he genuinely is busy studying, he might also just have decided to dial it back because he'd rather talk when you meet in person, or it might mean that he's no longer interested (which is weird to decide before he's met you, but still happens.)
posted by Enchanting Grasshopper at 4:56 AM on June 18 [1 favorite]


I don't really get all the relationship analysis going on above, either by you or by some of the commenters.

You don't really know this guy. Your text-relationship has been fizzling. You think there's potential here. So text him again and say, "Hey, I know we've been texting a lot and you're probably really busy with bar studying. Why don't you just give me a call if you still want to get together when you're in town in a few weeks. Good luck on the bar!" The end. Then no more intense/steady communication unless and until you end up seeing each other in person. Meanwhile, treat this like what it is -- some guy you don't know but think would be fun to date.
posted by chickenmagazine at 5:40 AM on June 18 [21 favorites]


Texting every day for over 3 weeks (and expecting it to last for another 3) with someone you have never ever met is not exactly the norm. Devoting so much mental energy to a stranger is not healthy. But this is only my opinion.

What is important for you though, is that this guy already told you to stop texting. I mean this: "as he suggested before, and just stop talking until he gets back."
Do it.
posted by travelwithcats at 5:58 AM on June 18 [2 favorites]


Your mistake was in thinking that this was leading to a future dating relationship if, and when he returned to SF.

He didn't Intend to get into a relationship, and told you so. So why did you stop your dating site activity? Because you thought that it might turn into something.

In the future, believe people when they tell you they don't want a relationship, to get married, to have kids, to work a boring old job, or any of the other stuff that you really don't want to hear.

So don't text him anymore. If he gets bored again and starts back up again, cool it down! This guy told you, he doesn't want a relationship.

Text him, "I really want a boyfriend, so I need to focus my time, energy and emotions towards that. Good luck with your law thingy!"

Now, focus your time, energy and emotions on finding an actual man in your area code, who wants to date you!
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 6:06 AM on June 18 [8 favorites]


I think what happened was that on this getaway weekend with his study mates, one of them said something to him about texting to much or looking too anxious or wait until after the exam, and he ran with the advice. He also may have realized how much studying he really has to do for the bar and how much he needs to focus and put it into overdrive and is trying to do so.

I would text him back and keep whatever it is going, but dial back your expectations. This may or may not turn into something in about 6 weeks.
posted by 724A at 6:11 AM on June 18 [1 favorite]


Tell me straight: Am I wrong?

Yes. Very wrong. You've never met this guy, you don't own his time and you have no idea how he uses it. Instagramming a meme is a few seconds distraction, actual communication involved thought, time and having something to say. It makes absolutely no sense to say he should be texting you if he has time to dick around on the Internet.

And this, MetaFi peeps, is when the anxiety set in. You know, that "ugh, he's pulling away,

Doesn't sound like he's pulling away at all. He's texting you a lot and sending you pictures of what he's doing, as well as giving you some idea of his trip and whereabouts, even though you have never met him.

What it does sound like is that you are trying to pull a lot closer in, which, of course, will eventually push him away.

Just chill out. He'll probably text you again on his own. If he doesn't, so what? You've never even met, and then you can stop wasting time.
posted by spaltavian at 6:11 AM on June 18 [3 favorites]


Also, I find checking his activity on different platforms stalker-y. Try to find other things to occupy your time. Good luck.
posted by travelwithcats at 6:15 AM on June 18 [6 favorites]


Maybe this "texting once a day or so" style is who he really is, and the initial intensity was him acting in an unusual way to impress you. It doesn't mean he's not into you, but it does mean that he's not into texting back and forth multiple times per day. If that level of attention is something that you require (at this point in a pre-relationship) then yes, you should write him off. On the other hand, there's really no harm in being patient.

Maybe his friends sat him down on their weekend away and said "Look, Matt, I now you're excited about this SabrinaV chick and all, but you haven't even met her! You're exhausted, and you've got a big exam to study for, and no matter what you do right now you won't see her for 3 weeks. Dial it back, man, you've got to get your priorities straight." Pretend he hasn't got an easy way to contact you, and don't rush to decide right now whether you're going to want to meet up with him after he gets back to town.

Or if 3 weeks seems like too long to wait, consider texting him and asking what's up/ "Hey, sounds like you're focusing on classwork more. If you want to scale things back until you get back into town, that's fine. But if you just aren't feeling it, let me know, so I can stop cuddling my phone waiting for texts to come in." (Or gosh, you could call him, you have his number!)
posted by aimedwander at 6:32 AM on June 18 [1 favorite]


Not met in person?

Not talked on the phone?

Not worth the mental exertion.

Let him do the heavy lifting. He'll call & set something up if he really wants to make this happen. Otherwise please go on your merry way.
posted by St. Peepsburg at 6:59 AM on June 18


Also, I find checking his activity on different platforms stalker-y.

We are on each other's IG's and he shows up in my feed, how is noticing and commenting on that here stalker-y? We are also on FB and his IG's show up there at the same time. It's not like I'm going looking for this stuff. Quite the contrary, I promise.

---

I REALLY appreciate everyone's comments and advice that was provided in a non-attacking way. I am digesting it all. I've been a reader/lurker for ages, but this really is a great site for advice!
posted by SabrinaV at 7:18 AM on June 18


Your mistake was in thinking that this was leading to a future dating relationship if, and when he returned to SF.

He didn't Intend to get into a relationship, and told you so. So why did you stop your dating site activity? Because you thought that it might turn into something.


He didn't say he didn't want a relationship. He said he didn't want to date anyone while he was in LA, but would when he got back.

I also haven't stopped my own profile or dating, not sure where you picked up on that. HE did, but I didn't. I'm still very active.
posted by SabrinaV at 7:22 AM on June 18


What is important for you though, is that this guy already told you to stop texting. I mean this: "as he suggested before, and just stop talking until he gets back."

I'm sorry for the confusion. He said that at the very very beginning. Basically: "Hey, I'm interested in you, but I'm down here studying for the Bar. I'd like to get your number so we can continue talking, or if you'd prefer, we can wait until we get back."

This wasn't a "stop texting!!!" comment he made. It was a "do you not want to even start given that I'm down here right now?" question.
posted by SabrinaV at 7:25 AM on June 18


You're not crazy, nor did you do anything wrong, but it's a good rule of thumb to basically not rely on or commit in any way to a "texting" relationship with someone you've never met. I've been in similar situations and many people text around and communicate with many others, for fun, or to try to meet more people...and it's a non-committal thing, so they can drop communication whenever (and often do).

In my experience, whenever someone lessons communication like this, it almost always means they are ready to drop off for whatever reason. But don't stress! It's nothing you did, and you never even met him, so you don't really know what he's like. For the future, it might be better to meet as early as possible- if conditions don't permit that, then don't have a relationship over text.
posted by bearette at 7:35 AM on June 18 [1 favorite]


I would be suspicious of anyone who is on a dating site looking at and contacting people who they can't date right now. Its not a good sign that he was looking at profiles of women who he couldn't meet within a reasonable period of time.

In my experiences with online dating that's been a real red flag of someone who isn't ready for a relationship, as has been continuous texting. It seems to me that there are people out there who are not ready for a relationship who do this for whatever reason and I think its a huge mistake to take their actions too seriously as it will just drive you nuts. This guy doesn't really know you you've never met him! His behavior probably has very little to do with you and isn't worth overanalyzing, seriously its a total online dating thing.

Try to treat this as a fun diversion that may go somewhere, but if you're looking for a relationship it's best to stay away from people who are unavailable for one reason or another. Also, I think you shouldn't underestimate how hard studying for the bar is - while it may not be all consuming time wise its a pretty big deal with serious effects on a persons career and a huge amount of stress.
posted by SpaceWarp13 at 7:36 AM on June 18 [4 favorites]


I have no idea what is going on with him not texting, but ah, maybe he had a fling on the weekend away and is doing a gentle fade to cope with confused feelings or whatever? This has happened to me [as in, I did it] and that's the kind of thing I did when I realised I'd gotten into a big text-y thing with someone who wasn't really available to me but whose online company I really enjoyed.

And it has happened to me too - that the guy who was enamored n keen n all, but was some distance away did a fade-out, described busy work etc, but months later said he had met someone around the time we'd started chatting/texting and blah blah blah. I think it is best just to accept that sometimes this shit happens in dating land.

Not saying that happened in your situation, but it has happened like this for me.
posted by honey-barbara at 8:06 AM on June 18 [3 favorites]


"[...] how is noticing and commenting on that here stalker-y?"

Apologies, I didn't realize you've integrated this guy into your social media circles. Which can get complicated in its own right given that he's a stranger. But let's hope everything will work out fine. Good luck.
posted by travelwithcats at 8:32 AM on June 18 [1 favorite]


Two things:

1. Don't assume it's over until it's over. Don't look for signs of lack of interest- just look for lack of interest. IE, wait until he actually says he wants to break it off. I am pretty sure I've ruined some budding relationships by being overly paranoid about these things. I mean, yes, probably he doesn't always like you as much as you like him at the exact moments you're thinking of him 100% of the time. He may even fluctuate on how much he likes you at first. But that's all pretty normal and it can definitely bounce back if you just ride the wave. I've been bad at riding the wave before and ruined things when they probably would have worked out if if just been a little more chill, so it's a real thing. (Caveat: some people really do just pull a slow fade or a disappearing act. Or a "suddenly refer to us as friends" type thing. I just would make an arbitrary cut-off for those situations, like 4 days or a week without contact or something.)

2. That said. That said! If you really feel bad, anxious, crying, not focusing, putting off other plans, whatever- that's not cool. You need to take care of you. But I would frame it like this: NOT "he doesn't like me" but "I don't like him." This is a very important distinction! You need to decide if you're happy with a guy, how he makes you feel, and how often he contacts you and about what. Whether or not he likes you is basically irrelevant. You just decide if he's good for you based on your plans, your criteria for men, your life.

Maybe this advice seems contradictory, but honestly this made a huge difference in how I thought about things and handled relationships.
posted by quincunx at 8:41 AM on June 18 [3 favorites]


2. That said. That said! If you really feel bad, anxious, crying, not focusing, putting off other plans, whatever- that's not cool. You need to take care of you. But I would frame it like this: NOT "he doesn't like me" but "I don't like him." This is a very important distinction! You need to decide if you're happy with a guy, how he makes you feel, and how often he contacts you and about what. Whether or not he likes you is basically irrelevant. You just decide if he's good for you based on your plans, your criteria for men, your life.

1. I'm not crying or sad! And I'm totally not putting off anything (or anyONE else) :) I'm just... anxious feeling, maybe a little "aww man, that's a bummer." I'm a physician and totally focused on what I need to be... I was just also a little distracted by this. :)

2. That's what I tend to switch to with guys when they start doing something that makes me feel weird. In most cases, I am able to decide I just don't like them, for the simple reason they're doing something that doesn't make me feel good. Thanks for the reminder!!
posted by SabrinaV at 9:08 AM on June 18


We are on each other's IG's [...] We are also on FB

I've been married to people that I shared less social networking overlap with. In the future, wait until you meet in person to start making those kinds of additions? It just keeps things simpler/less crazy.
posted by kate blank at 9:39 AM on June 18 [4 favorites]


[Heya, SabrinaV, this is really intended as a place to ask a question and let people answer, not a discussion space; it's fine if you need to add one or two followup comments in the thread to clarify something, but please be sure not to get chatty in here.]
posted by cortex at 10:02 AM on June 18


A couple of things: If he's introverted, interacting with people on any level is stressful and takes energy, and being alone recharges energy. I'm an introvert, and I can't predict how much or when I will need alone time and when I am up for human interaction. And that goes for everyone, regardless of how close to them I am. In fact, generally the closer I am to people, the more they matter to me, and the higher the stakes in the relationship, so those closest to me can actually be the most potentially stressful at times, which makes downtime even more necessary in dealing with those relationships. So this idea that people who are actually into you will never need down time from you is wrong.

Also, I honestly feel that texting is pretty much the worst way for people to interact with each other, especially romantic or possibly romantic interactions. Here's a scenario that I've had to endure many times: a serious topic comes up between two people and they proceed to have a text-conversation about it, which proceeds a a rate of roughly one sentence every fifteen minutes and lasts all day. They cannot see each other or hear each other, so they can't communicate tone of voice or facial expressions and each have no idea what the other is even doing. One person may be hanging on every word and spends all day staring at their phone. The other person may be trying to do something that requires concentration, but having a serious discussion at a snail's pace ruins their concentration because part of their brain is always occupied with the conversation.

Texting is seriously the equivalent of communicating by smoke signal, telegraph, or morse code. All of those methods communicate about the same amount of information in about the same amount of time. It is impossible to really know anything about a relationship based on texts. You don't even know if he is who he says he is at all. Texting is no basis to form or maintain a relationship on. If you value your relationships, at least respect them enough to have conversations about them in real time and face to face, or at the very least by talking on the phone. To do otherwise is like trying to experience great art by looking at a fax of a newspaper clipping of a photograph of the original art. Neither of these are things that should be mediated.
posted by the big lizard at 2:03 PM on June 18


Just another data point: the amount of texting involved here would totally turn me off. I also don't like mandatory communication, even with good friends/partners, much less someone I've never met. Perhaps he also drew that conclusion after awhile.

Also, if someone tried to demand that level of interaction from me when I was studying for the bar, I would've walked away. I agree with others above that you've become too involved and demanding on his time.

If he was using you as a distraction, that sucks and I'm sorry, but I think the best thing for you to do would be assume that it's done after one last text (I like chickenmagazine's version.) If you hear from him, great.
posted by emmatrotsky at 6:33 PM on June 18 [3 favorites]


Who knows? Let it go, keep dating elsewhere. If you're still thinking about him in mid-July, send him a casual text saying hey what's up, wanna get coffee? In the meantime, you're putting yourself out there and not wasting time on someone who might not be all that.

It's easy to get way over-invested in someone you've never met, and create these fantasy people in your mind, but you really have no way of knowing what the dude is like until you meet him.

In the meantime, enjoy the dick forest that is San Francisco! :)
posted by airguitar2 at 6:58 PM on June 18 [2 favorites]


Guess who met today? We spent the entire day together and worked out all the kinks about our communication styles! :-D Thanks everyone!
posted by SabrinaV at 8:32 PM on June 21


« Older Today I was shopping at Walmar...   |  I am 24 and about to be a car ... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.


Post