He said he'd text me more often but he didn't, should I move on?
November 17, 2015 8:47 PM   Subscribe

Hello everyone, I've been dating this 23 yo grad school student that I met online for the past 6 weeks. We've been going out once a week (6 dates total). We've kissed but haven't been intimate yet. The dates have been fun and we both seem to enjoy each other's company. The only problem is that we barely communicate in between dates. He would only text me to make plan for the date and sometimes we would go for 3-4 days without talking to each other.

I've tried initiating texts a few times but he would take a long time to respond and he wouldn't keep the convo going. I've been listening to your advice about communicating my needs/concerns, etc. instead of playing guessing games. So, on our last date, I asked him if he'd be interested in seeing each other more often and he said he would like it. I also asked him "Are you just not a texter?" And he said, "I am. I can be one." From our conversations, I can also tell that he does text his friends very often. So I told him that I'd like it if we could keep in touch more often between dates since I enjoy talking to him and he said he'd try to text me more often. He said he doesn't like talking on the phone but he said he'd text me the next day so we can make plan to see each other. Well, the next day is today and he hasn't texted me at all today. I sent him a text around 9 pm to start a conversation and he didn't reply. I'm not sure if I'm overreacting. He's great at carrying conversations when we're together but when we're not together, the silence really makes me feel insecure about his feeling for me. I don't know what I should do. I do like him a lot and I've made myself clear about what I want. Should I give it some time and see if he'll show more attention between dates or should I move on?
posted by missybitsy to Human Relations (21 answers total)
Bottom line, he's just not that into you. If he wanted to, he'd be more engaged. And you've voiced your need, and he hasn't reciprocated. Move on to the next thing, his loss.
posted by miasma at 8:56 PM on November 17, 2015 [16 favorites]

Some people really really hate chatting via text and don't consider it real engagement. But if that's the case, he should at least be honest with you about that.
posted by Lyn Never at 8:59 PM on November 17, 2015 [11 favorites]

He's either bad at meeting your courageously expressed desires or he's failing to meet them deliberately. Either way it doesn't seem worth your putting any more energy into at this point. Have fun and keep speaking up for what you want!
posted by hollyholly at 9:01 PM on November 17, 2015 [7 favorites]

Being a super busy and over-scheduled person myself, I may be biased, but this is usually a busy time of year for grad students. I definitely put new friends/relationships on the side burner until exams were over.

On the other hand, I was very upfront about my priorities and communicated to folks that I would be MIA for awhile. In other words, as Lyn Never pointed out, he needs to articulate his own needs and limitations to you.
posted by Schielisque at 9:19 PM on November 17, 2015 [15 favorites]

I don't think the texting or lack thereof is so concerning at this stage, but if he's the same person from your last few questions, he's not that into you and/or just doesn't have the same kind of time to put into this right now.
posted by sweetkid at 9:35 PM on November 17, 2015 [3 favorites]

Assuming it's the same guy as your last three questions, not texting you a lot is his Thing.

It's up to you to decide whether or not you are okay with that. Don't believe what he says, believe what he does.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 10:29 PM on November 17, 2015 [7 favorites]

This particular dude may or may not be into you, but please don't assume he's not just because he's not texting you as often as you would like.

I'm someone who until very recently wasn't much of a text person (or a phone person, for that matter). I viewed it and still do to some extent as a tool for planning things, not for real communication. I'm also busy. Add these two things together, and I might not get back to someone right away even if I were into them.

Look. You have only seen this guy 6 times. You haven't slept with him yet. This isn't serious. And it won't become serious, ever, if you push him away by introducing Obligations (TM) prematurely. In an established relationship, you can ask for someone to go against their inclinations and compromise on something like this. At 6 weeks? No. It's waaaay too early to make your acquaintanceship into work, in any way, shape or form. You want him to be psyched about you, not feel obligated or guilty.

Stop pressuring him entirely. Let him contact you or not. Get absorbed in your own life--far too absorbed to worry about when he last texted you.
posted by mysterious_stranger at 10:47 PM on November 17, 2015 [20 favorites]

You've asked for what you need, he's capable of giving it to other people (texting his friends) but isn't interested in giving it to you. Move on, you're wasting your time.
posted by Jubey at 10:49 PM on November 17, 2015 [4 favorites]

Not everybody's into texting. Personally, I hate it. Especially at the beginning stages of a relationship, every text is an opportunity to accidentally say the wrong thing.

I wouldn't take it personally.
posted by panama joe at 10:54 PM on November 17, 2015 [3 favorites]

Give it more time. We can only do so much about our natures. My husband only texted me once a day the first year we were seeing each other and I almost broke up with him a zillion times due to my insecurity.

I'll bet he's pretty secure with your feelings for him; he knows you're interested so no need for him to knock himself out wooing you anymore. That's the nature of the beast. Most of the time we only do the minimum required (see: work and school).

Here's what worked for me:

I only texted my husband when he texted me. That kept me sane. And if I had to spend a few hours crafting a text, so be it.

I let go; I turned my attention to other things. I followed a billion comedians on twitter. I went out to lunch with my girlfriends. I listened to audiobooks. I went on walks. I did a lot of stuff I liked and it filled the time between texts.

I asked myself, "Would I rather be in this imperfect relationship today or would I rather be back in the dating pool?" Every day I said I'd rather the former; but that was me. It could have gone either way.

Now, I'd love for my husband to tell me he loves me all the time. I've even told him I'd like it. But he only does it when he feels like it. I let go. Hell, he wants me to clean the stove once a day. That's not going to happen.
posted by Piedmont_Americana at 1:20 AM on November 18, 2015 [3 favorites]

Preface: I always feel slightly dirty for going through AskMe history, but you have such a distinctive way of writing I thought I'd check.

Is this the same guy from a few weeks ago who said he just wanted to have fun? Is this also the same guy from last month who wasn't much of a texter?

If it's the same guy then I'd release him and take a life lesson from the experience. You did the right things. You were clear about your expectations. You said you wanted him to text more, and then he didn't. This doesn't make him a bad person and good for you for putting it out there.

This guy may be swell and you have fun together, etc., but clearly there's a bit between you two that isn't clicking, and that's fine.

You told him your reasonable needs and he agreed but then his behavior didn't change.

I wouldn't read too much into it. He clearly enjoys your company but staying in touch with you, even when you have said it's important and asked him to, is not a priority for him.

If you were one of my daughters (and honestly, from the way you write, you sound EXACTLY like Kinetic 2 when I get her chatty Sunday afternoon calls, so clearly I'm feeling maternal about you), I'd tell her if you like this guy enough, then continue hanging out with him, but KNOW it's not going to get better and it probably won't end well.

If you're okay with that (and I hope to God you aren't okay with that), then keep seeing him. (I am a sneaky mom when I give advice.)

You get to decide your self-worth. Think of this: you did an amazing job of expressing your needs, which is SO hard to do. You really put yourself out there. You've made gigantic strides in self-expression and you should feel really great about that.

So after doing all this great work, why would you continue to hang out with someone whose response was basically, "I hear what you're saying but eh."

Keep doing the hard work for yourself. Continue to self-advocate and trust your gut.

You will meet many other people in your life who will listen to you and who will find meeting your needs something they WANT to do.
posted by kinetic at 3:07 AM on November 18, 2015 [20 favorites]

I agree - just not that into you. I mean, I grant him some lenience because he's a grad student and that comes with a ton of pressure and inability to tend relationships. BUT you've said what you need and had an explicit conversation about texting, and he's neither changed nor suggested an alternative. If he were upset at the thought of losing you, he'd have come through on one or the other. Move on. There's not a lot to hold out hope for here except more of the same until he gets bored, meets someone he really does like, or graduates and suddenly no longer needs a convenient, low-maintenance, once-a-week date.

This isn't about texting - it's about relationship expectations, and yours are mismatched. Checking back, in your own words you said: " he wants someone to go out with and enjoy his time with outside of school. However, he doesn't know if he wants a relationship or not." Well, what he's showing you is that this is absolutely true. You're a convenience, so he can feel he isn't giving up his entire romantic life in grad school, but that doesn't mean he has more energy to invest. He doesn't have intentions of getting more serious, and I really wouldn't hang on until he graduates, because he would probably dump you at that point. He's looking for a pleasant but undemanding person to date, short-term, not a partner. If you're looking for a real partner in a real mutual relationship, it isn't him.
posted by Miko at 5:42 AM on November 18, 2015 [2 favorites]

Assuming this is your third question about the same guy, it sounds like you're trying to fit a square peg into a round hole. You're not a match, so stop forcing it.
posted by juniperesque at 6:10 AM on November 18, 2015 [2 favorites]

kinetic nailed it.
You've made gigantic strides in self-expression and you should feel really great about that.

So after doing all this great work, why would you continue to hang out with someone whose response was basically, "I hear what you're saying but eh."
Speaking up for yourself and stating your needs/preferences is not easy. But as hard as it is, it's only the first step. The second step is determining whether the other person's needs/preferences are a good fit to yours. And the third step is walking away if they're not.

Nobody's wrong if you and another person aren't in sync. The mistake would be in staying with someone who doesn't meet your needs and isn't interested in trying.
posted by headnsouth at 6:22 AM on November 18, 2015 [5 favorites]

You told him what you wanted, he told you he would (actually, could) meet it, and then he didn't.

This is just six weeks in and you've just barely started dating. You've just started dating, and already it's not going well! That's more than enough reason to move on.

Look, the reasons don't matter. It's not working out, and why would you fight for this when it's not a relationship yet and was never any good, not really? But, okay, sure, it's possible he's slammed and overwhelmed with school right now. If so, he's doing a shit (read: nonexistent) job of telling you that. And because he's not handling that like a grown-up, then this will be a recurring problem.

But really, what I think is much more likely is that this guy just isn't that into you. Maybe he's dating someone else he likes more, and you're his backup plan. Maybe he just isn't that into you, but he doesn't have anything else going on so he hasn't bothered to stop seeing you. Maybe he legit just doesn't want a relationship (like he told you!), but he likes feeling good about having someone who's into him and whom he can occasionally hook up with.
posted by J. Wilson at 7:05 AM on November 18, 2015 [2 favorites]

He doesn't text you, but he texts his friends - he's not that into you, plus he's most likely seeing other women. You know that in your heart but you don't want to admit it to yourself. I get it; it hurts. But don't waste your time on this guy. He's using you to prop up his ego. You deserve someone who's totally into you.
posted by MexicanYenta at 7:43 AM on November 18, 2015

Just purely regarding text communication:

Some people just do not enjoy communicating via text, especially with a romantic interest. I can give a firsthand account of this. It is not that I do not enjoy sharing and hearing what my new partner/date has to say; it is that the kind of things that I really enjoy and want to build upon with the other person are things we have face to face, so to speak. That is not to say the I won't get into an engrossing text conversation, it is just much preferable to save for spending time together or the occasional phone call at the end of the day. With long term friends, a steady stream of casual "yo, did you see the Star Wars trailer yet?" type of back and forth texts during the day fits perfectly well for those relationships. I have found that, at least for me personally, casual chit chat with romantic interests early on kills so much of the budding relationship. You don't get the chance to miss them; there aren't as many opportunities for spontaneity and anticipation. What is more romantic, (the next time you see them and sitting down together) "Hey, the other day I found this cute new cafe on the east side that has your favorite..." or alternative version (at 2:00pm in the afternoon. snap pic of place on smartphone, attach text:) "mmmmmmm look! We have to try it!" Some people prefer interaction #1 at the exclusion of #2; doesn't necessarily say anything about the feelings involved either way.

Now regarding your situation:

If he is not very communicative in between dates and showing no signs of building up thoughts and feelings he is bursting to share with you when you are together, this is a warning signal that there is a mismatch. Now that you've expressed your desire for some more frequent communication, give him a week or two to see if any change in his habits comes to the surface. If he has more than casual feelings for you, he will find ways to bend his preferences and habits closer towards your needs. Long standing ways of interacting can't change on a dime, but you should see at least the effort start in a short time. I have always found in retrospect that these kind of compromises early in a relationship, or lack thereof, were either the foundation or the death knell. I hope things shake out in a good direction for you and that you have the best of luck.
posted by incolorinred at 8:02 AM on November 18, 2015 [3 favorites]

I agree with everyone above who says that we don't all treat texting the same way. It's quite possible that he considers your request unrealistic (though he goofed, if so, because he didn't quite tell you that). It's ALSO quite possible that since you've only been dating for the past 6 weeks (I feel like this is kinda on the cusp of casual still) and you don't occupy his thoughts multiple times a day every day. It's up to you whether this is okay to you or not.

It could be something else. I once dated a girl who'd initiate text conversations fairly often but then take a very long time to respond (hours to days) after I replied. I just figured she wasn't a huge texter either despite initiating these conversations and tapered my expectations and response times down, as well. Who cares how often or quickly you text back and forth, right? Unfortunately, I made the wrong assumption - I believe she was taking a long time to text back because of precisely how important texting was to her. Whoops!
posted by destructive cactus at 10:18 AM on November 18, 2015

What would you have done if he'd said "no" when you asked for more contact? I think you should do whatever that thing was, now.

If you'd have dumped him right there and then because that's a dealbreaker for you, then dump him now. If you'd have accepted that as part of the cost of this relationship, then do that now.

You're never going to find a perfect relationship. They just don't exist, because perfection doesn't exist. There will always be a cost of some kind to a relationship with a person. For your own benefit, decide what you're going to pay and what you want in exchange, then find someone who is low in cost but high in returns. It's more work in the short term, but it's a lot easier than trying to change another person, especially when they're unwilling (which it seems that this guy is).
posted by Solomon at 1:20 PM on November 18, 2015

I'm with the others. As a rule if you have to ask 3 questions about the same guy in a 2 month period it's time to move on. New relationships should not be this much work.
posted by Justinian at 2:00 PM on November 18, 2015 [4 favorites]

Also: for many (not all) grad students, their primary relationship is with their research, and though they may quite like the people they date during that time, their attention is in large part already spoken for.
posted by Edna Million at 5:16 PM on November 19, 2015 [1 favorite]

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