I didn't expect to spend Sunday bawling on the couch
September 6, 2015 10:02 AM   Subscribe

Did he ghost on me? Am I jumping to conclusions? How do I move forward?

We went on eight or nine dates. We were taking it slow. We made out for the first time on the last one. We held hands and swung them like a couple of kids.

He went home, we texted: "I had a nice time, yada yada." He apologized for talking so much when it was quiet; I said I liked him just the way he was. I meant it. He said he liked being with me and was glad we were going slow. That we'd have our next date on Monday and that we'd plan it over the weekend.

I texted him to say hello yesterday, silence. Wrote him once today to see if we were still on for the activity, silence. This has never happened before. He writes me, I write him. Responses are usually within minutes, sometimes within hours, but rarely.

I keep crying like an idiot. I didn't expect to feel like this. I like guys so rarely, and I usually have trouble opening up or being vulnerable, but I was starting to feel safe with him. I thought he was so great. It was so easy. But I guess maybe I was wrong? I don't have a lot of dating experience.

Did he ghost on me? Is this just what dating is like? How do I move forward? I don't have a helpful older sister to ask, MeFi, but I feel so stupid and I can't stop crying and I hate it.
posted by topoisomerase to Human Relations (31 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Maybe he's got a cold, maybe he's sleeping a lot. Do you have some other activity you could do to distract yourself?
posted by amtho at 10:08 AM on September 6, 2015

It's not impossible that he lost his phone or something. Try to pull back into "wait and see" mode. I know that's easier said than done.
posted by bunderful at 10:10 AM on September 6, 2015 [20 favorites]

If there were no other red flags, this seems like freak accident - maybe he lost his phone, or got sick and is not leaving the bathroom, or whatever.

I see you're in MA, so in terms of time zone it is still early afternoon on Sunday; you will most likely hear back by the end of the day, and probably with a reasonable explanation. If tomorrow comes and goes without a word, I'd start worry then.

Cheer up, go outside, no reason to worry yet.
posted by Ender's Friend at 10:13 AM on September 6, 2015 [1 favorite]

It's a holiday weekend. Maybe he's with family, maybe he's busy, maybe he went out of town and has been driving or left his phone charger at home...there are all sorts of explanations and it's only been, what 24 hours of silence?

Either way, there's no reason to be upset. Either 1) he has a legit reason for not texting back or 2) he's decided to ghost on you after nine dates and is a complete asshat and you should be glad he's removed himself from your life. Only an ass would choose to go no contact for no reason after so much time spent together.

But I think it's much more likely he's got something else going on and hasn't had a chance to sit in privacy with his phone. Find something else to do today, maybe go to a movie where you have to turn your phone off for a few hours, and try to stop obsessing over this.
posted by phunniemee at 10:15 AM on September 6, 2015 [18 favorites]

No way to answer this at all. I would say the red flag is waiting until the 8th or 9th date to kiss but other than that, until he contacts you there's no way for us to know where he is.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 10:15 AM on September 6, 2015 [8 favorites]

Wow, you're really freaking out ahead of time here. Focus on the facts. You agreed you'd have your "next date on Monday and that we'd plan it over the weekend." It is very much still the weekend right now.

What's up with how anxious and sad this situation is making you? I think you need to worry about yourself here and practice some self-care. Fill your life with some meaningful pursuits and get some personal goals, because this does not constitute an emergency deserving of such a reactive, distressed response on your part.
posted by hush at 10:19 AM on September 6, 2015 [35 favorites]

I agree that you really sound like you are overreacting. It's been what, 24 hours of no response? If Monday comes and goes with no response, then I'd start wondering what was up, but maybe give him the benefit of the doubt for a couple more days. Life is unpredictable; it's possible he's not into you, it's possible something dire came up and he's distracted, or that he's been very busy doing yard work or something, who knows. Sorry, uncertainty can be very hard to cope with.
posted by a strong female character at 10:25 AM on September 6, 2015 [2 favorites]

I've let several hours go by without responding to a message or call because I put my phone on silent mode and then forgot that I had done so.
posted by bunderful at 10:28 AM on September 6, 2015 [1 favorite]

Don't feel stupid about your feelings! It's perfectly okay to feel disappointed if you are worried that he might have just disappeared on you. BUT this is still well within the realm of reasonable delay so try to just distract yourself and wait. Go exercise, go to a movie, call a friend and go hang out with them for the day.

Is this just what dating is like?

It definitely does not have to be what dating is like. I bet this guy is going to get back to you soon with a perfectly reasonable explanation of why he didn't respond sooner, but if it does turn out that he is ghosting, please don't draw the conclusion that that's the kind of behavior you just have to accept and put up with in the dating world.
posted by aka burlap at 10:31 AM on September 6, 2015 [6 favorites]

Does he have a landline? Call him. You don't need to wait for him to contact you.
posted by Carol Anne at 10:35 AM on September 6, 2015

Honestly? I feel like you know what's up and this is unusual and it's a waste of time trying to come up with convoluted reasons why he's not getting back in touch. Don't waste your brainpower on that and trust your instincts. You don't want to be with someone who just doesn't respond to you for days, anyway. If you're not okay with that kind of delay, even if there's a "good reason" for it, it's okay for you to accept that he is not someone who makes you feel happy and secure. You deserve that.
posted by jeweled accumulation at 10:42 AM on September 6, 2015 [20 favorites]

Don't call him unless you already speak with him on the phone regularly. Definitely do not contact him by another method in order to say "why aren't you responding to my texts this past 24h". I think you're catastrophizing and worst case scenarioing this excessively and should definitely try and do something to take your mind off it.
posted by poffin boffin at 10:42 AM on September 6, 2015 [14 favorites]

This is what dating is like. Does it mean it's acceptable for him to ghost on you? NOOOPE. But the truth is there are some jerks out there who will ghost on a woman even after 3+ months of dating. It's the strangest thing and chances are you might at some point experience it if you're actively in the dating world.

But from what you've said, I don't think this guy has disappeared on you. I often ignore messages for days when I'm completely exhausted and I've been thought to ghost on a few people, when really I was just in bed too tired to talk to anyone or do anything. There could be a legitimate reason he hasn't replied so just try to chill out and not overthink it.

I'll also add that you shouldn't contact him again. If he has seen your messages, and he is still interested, he WILL reply. And even if let's say he's lost his phone or something and he did not see your messages, I'm assuming he has some other social media to get in touch with you about your date on Monday.
posted by newthirdworld at 10:42 AM on September 6, 2015 [3 favorites]

It's a long weekend. I'd hazard a guess that most people are having barbecues and whatnot today. Wait a day or two and see what happens.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 11:10 AM on September 6, 2015 [3 favorites]

Oh I wish we were in a similar place because what you need right now is to ditch the phone and go have coffee (maybe decaf for you) and hit a bookstore and sit in the sun reading with a buddy. Do you have anyone you can call or anything you can do? If you have any disposable income for a "rainy day" NOW is the time to use it. Take yourself out and leave the phone at home. Go to the grocery store and get ingredients for a fun dish like pad Thai and make it. Take yourself to the park for a walk. Go to a museum and look at the sculptures. You may not have fun but you won't be at home crying. Who knows whether you've been ghosted or not but that's not really actually the concern right now. The concern is that you feel like utter crud and it's not good for you to feel this way. Short term you need to get outside without the phone. Long term you may consider therapy or the Anxiety and Phobia Workbook to figure out how to work through this anxiety. The way you feel is not good and you don't have to feel this way.

Take care.
posted by sockermom at 11:25 AM on September 6, 2015 [29 favorites]

Have you rebooted your phone lately? Could be a technical glitch.
posted by Rube R. Nekker at 11:40 AM on September 6, 2015

Yes, it's possible he's ghosting, Yes, it's possible he has a legit reason to not respond right away.

If it turns out that he's not ghosting and you do go out on more dates, then I recommend you spend some time talking about your communication styles and getting on the same page about how you want to communicate with each other.

Is it really, really important to you that your significant other responds right away to your texts, voicemails, emails? Then you should be clear with this person that that's what you prefer. Tell him why it's important to you. It makes you feel listened to. It makes you feel important and priority to him. It makes you feel secure. It makes you feel respected. Whatever.

Then ask him what he likes and needs. And then listen. Work towards understanding.

Once you both understand what you like then you can figure out how to communicate going forward. Or you can decide that this issue is a dealbreaker and move on.

It can be really hard to learn how to talk about your needs in a relationship (it was hard for me and is still sometimes hard). Sometimes you just need to own your needs and not apologize for them. Sometimes you need to get over hangups around feeling insecure or demanding. Sometimes it's fear that your needs will be dismissed or rejected and then what? But you won't get the relationship you want or deserve until you learn how to do this. And the only way to learn is by practicing.
posted by brookeb at 12:03 PM on September 6, 2015 [7 favorites]

I don't think you're overreacting. He said "we'll plan over the weekend" and should have told you if he was away with family or sleeping a lot or something. I hate these lame excuses people make for people being unreliable in dating. Whether or not he's ghosting he's not being responsible or thoughtful here.
posted by zutalors! at 12:09 PM on September 6, 2015 [19 favorites]

I remember calling this woman who I swore was into me. Didn't call back. 2 weeks later she calls me out of breath. She had just that minute gotten back from an emergency trip to Africa and played the message and immediately called me.

So relax, and start with some solid self-talk. You don't know what is happening. If he is ghosting you, you will survive. But it is likely something came up.
posted by Ironmouth at 12:23 PM on September 6, 2015 [2 favorites]

Maybe he is prone to bouts of depression and self doubt. Maybe he was in a car accident. Maybe his phone was stolen and he hasn't recovered your phone number. Maybe there was a work emergency. Maybe there is a technical glitch with the replies he sent you
Maybe you can reach out with a "hey, haven't heard back, are you ok? If not, anything I can do to help?" and leave all your contact info.
posted by Sophont at 12:28 PM on September 6, 2015 [1 favorite]

If he's ditching you by just ignoring you, no further action will change this.

If he lost his phone, had a crisis, is feeling moody/ weird/ whatever, then you've sent the appropriate messages, and further messages start to look panicky and clingy. I would give myself the option of sending 1 email or text tonight saying Hi, you usually respond pretty promptly, and we had plans to make plans for tomorrow, so I'm worried that something may have happened. I hope everything's okay.
And I hope it turns out to be just an error. Good luck.
posted by theora55 at 12:50 PM on September 6, 2015 [7 favorites]

1. I don't know; 2. Unclear; 3. Get off the couch and do something else, pronto. Book up every minute between now and whenever your supposed plan was for Monday, and if he doesn't contact you by at least 5 hr prior to the planned time you were going to see each other, make another plan. Hang out with people. Hang out with animals. If you don't have someone to hang with, go to the movies by yourself; go to a bookstore and buy a book, etc. Get off the couch and stop crying. You are spiraling into a bad place by doing this.

ALSO--if he does call you again and doesn't *start out* with saying he's sorry he didn't get back to you immediately because of a valid excuse, I would take note that he thinks leaving you hanging like that is OK. And really, it's not. Between friends, 24 or 36 hr without getting back to someone is totally normal, but it a romantic relationship where texts are most often answered in moments, he's making some sort of point if he is deliberately waiting to respond, and it's a point that you should take note of.
posted by tk at 1:03 PM on September 6, 2015 [4 favorites]

There are a pile of possible explanations for this, and ghosting is only one of them. Technical difficulties, illness or injury, family or other emergency. I know a guy who ghosted for a while because his phone got stolen and it took him a while to replace it, and he had pretty much everything on there, so he didn't even know how to contact anyone.

In your shoes, here's what I'd do: Make plans for yourself tomorrow. Think of something cool that you want to do and get ready to do it. If he shows up before then, you can invite him, but be prepared to do it regardless.

Maybe throw him one last text tonight, saying something like, "I'm doing [thing] at [time] tomorrow. If you're still up, let me know." And then you do that thing, with or without him, and try not to fret about what he's doing. Even if he doesn't respond, he might show back up with an explanation, he might not. Try to have some fun or at least distract yourself.
posted by ernielundquist at 1:29 PM on September 6, 2015 [1 favorite]

It's OK to feel your feelings. I see you used the phrase "crying like an idiot" which sounds like something I would say about myself. I have a lot of trouble with shame over what I think are disproportionate emotional responses to seemingly "small" things. Judging your feelings doesn't help... take it from one who knows. Therapy might help but it's not an overnight fix.

No matter what he does or doesn't do, you'll eventually won't feel like crying over it. You might be better off dedicating one solid day to crying on the couch if you want. Hell, dedicate TWO days. Sit on the couch and say, "I'm going to cry now!" After a while you won't feel like doing it any more. Putting off the feelings doesn't help, in my experience.
posted by Sheydem-tants at 1:39 PM on September 6, 2015 [6 favorites]

Lots of good advice here. I agree that it's too soon to jump to any conclusions and that you shouldn't attempt further contact until you hear back from him.

Mostly I wanted to write because you posted in the past about weekends being difficult for you. I've long had that problem as well, and it only serves to amplify the agony of romantic angst that happens to fall on a weekend. The biggest thing that helps me on weekends when I feel really unmoored is just to plan activities, hour by hour, whether or not I stick to that. And to realize that it's extra easy to assume the worst about people, to overthink things during the times when I am already super anxious and don't have much scheduled.

I hope things work out with this guy , and they still could. But also hope you can figure out how to put yourself in a better place on weekends or other times when you're alone too much.
posted by mermaidcafe at 1:40 PM on September 6, 2015 [2 favorites]

I bawl on the couch over stuff like this, so I understand. I agree with others though that it would be good to distract yourself because you don't know what happened and you don't want to make things worse for yourself. As fellow anxiety sufferer (particularly about relationships) I get it though. I think it's ok, and good, to let yourself cry; but when you're done, start taking care of yourself. If you can't make a coffee date with a friend, or if you just want to be alone, then do something nice for yourself: take a hot shower/bath, listen to your favorite music, do some yoga (if you like it), make yourself a nice meal, watch a silly and funny show. Call your best friend or your mom.

Just take care of yourself and breathe. Whatever it is, you'll get through it.
posted by bearette at 2:24 PM on September 6, 2015 [1 favorite]

I think the wait and see facet of this has been covered. I just want to say, I would be doing the same thing if I were in your shoes, so it is ok to cry and feel what you're feeling for a while. There is nothing wrong with you. BUT I bet we could both think of things we would rather be doing than crying. Hope it works out :)
posted by rubster at 2:36 PM on September 6, 2015 [1 favorite]

Oh, I also want to make it clear that I agree with what they said: It is totally normal and you are not being ridiculous for being upset.

I would probably do just what I recommended now, but that is from an old lady perspective, having spent too much time when I was younger fretting and worrying about things like that, only to realize in retrospect how little those things (and sometimes people) really mattered to me in the long run.
posted by ernielundquist at 4:37 PM on September 6, 2015 [5 favorites]

Try sending an email; if he has lost the phone he won't see the texts
posted by zia at 12:18 AM on September 7, 2015

To me, eight dates is a lot. You guys should be a couple by now, why hasn't that happened officially? Is it possible that he just doesn't see you warming up to him fast enough?

In any case, I don't think his silence is good news. Even if he does get back to you later, it's disrespectful to have bailed on you and kept you waiting.

I would give him a pass if he can come up with a reasonable explanation, but just this once.

Good luck!
posted by Dragonness at 5:37 PM on September 7, 2015

Sorry this happened to you. It's possible that something tragic happened to him. It's also possible that he ghosted on you. It is completely normal that you're upset about this -- allow yourself to feel whatever you feel.

I don't agree with everyone saying that you must fill up all your time. Maybe focus on taking care of yourself. Eat healthy. Get a massage if you can afford it. Exercise. However, filling up your time probably wont erase your emotions -- especially given the uncertainty you're dealing with. The one time I was seriously ghosted on, the thing that drove me crazy was trying to understand the "why" of it all. It took me a good couple of weeks to get over it. Sure, I did things during that time, but I also allowed myself the space to grieve. When I went on a date with someone new a few weeks later, I was ready to move on.

Let yourself grieve. Nurture yourself. You will be fine eventually.
posted by Gray Skies at 5:45 AM on September 8, 2015

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