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Help Me, Dr. Hughes! I Have Too Many “Text-Pectations!”

by Maryann Pisano on October 4, 2014



The information presented in this website and the comments from Dr. Hughes are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease or psychological disorder. The information presented is not a substitute for medical, psychological or psychiatric treatment. You are advised to seek professional medical and psychological help as necessary.

Hi Dr. Hughes.  These strange scenarios have always been happening to me:  A guy and I will text for a week and then slowly I won’t hear from him again.  Or, I’ll meet someone who I think is “the one” and we exchange numbers and then he never texts or calls me.  Or, I’ll be casually dating someone, but slowly he disappears!  What gives!  Is it me or the guys I’m picking?  -Annabelle

Your problem—having a guy stop texting or slowly fade away—is a common one.  Although every situation has the potential to be different, there are a few things going on that may give you some insight into this frustrating non-love-connection:

  1.  First and foremost:  stop depending on texting.  Yes, everyone texts.  Yes, some people can carry on long disjointed conversations and relationships with texting as a primary form of communication.  But most people very quickly tire of this method of contact.  Does the texting taper off or never really start?  Then switch it up!  Make an actual phone call, or, better yet, make a plan.  Ask the person directly to meet you somewhere to hang out for a little while.  Show up face to face.  After a while, and for some people (guys in particular) texting is just a bunch of words on a screen.  People need to see each other and have real interactions.
  2. What if texting is your best or only option?  Then take down your text-pectations (I think I just made that word up!).  Use texting as a convenience method to communicate information, not as a test to see how long it takes the person to respond or as a bigger test to over-analyze every emoji.  Guys do not like to be given things to do.  They do not like to meet a girl and have her seem needy.  A sure fire way to cause both of these problems is to text someone with a question (or with question after question) putting them in a position of needing to respond.  Worse, if you engage them in texting but start obsessing about their texts prompting you to text back “What do u mean by that?  RU mad @ me?” then you have now crossed the line to needy.  Guys do not over-think their texting.  When they give a short response, like ‘k, I’ll go’ they feel that they are being kind by responding, not rude by using abbreviated, non-showy wording.  If you respond to their matter of fact texts by feeling hurt and insecure, they will simply stop responding, which of course isn’t what you want either.
  3.  If you are actually dating the person but they “slowly disappear”, then you two are not a good fit.  People who like each other find ways to hang out.  People that don’t like each other often fade away to avoid an uncomfortable moment where they tell you they aren’t interested in continuing the relationship.  So you may be picking people that are not a good fit for you.  You don’t mention:  do you like them?   What do you like about them?  Don’t just date someone because they are available and seem to like you at first.  If you truly get to know someone and you truly like them, they will be attracted to that long enough to get to know you as well.  Which brings me to my second point:  do they like you?  Why?  I hope that you have cultivated your own, independent life and personality so that when you engage with a guy, you have things to offer and opinions to share.  If you approach a relationship instead as an overly-accommodating “Wherever you want to go to dinner is fine with me” person, that is initially very easy and will likely get you first and second dates.  After a short time though, this gets old.  Like texting, it can feel like work to a guy.  Even if you never make demands, you may be seen as needy because you don’t step up the reigns once in a while.  Try it!  And don’t give up.  By next year Sweetest Day, you’ll have your Sweetest!

Dr. Carsi Hughes received her Ph.D. in clinical psychology from Northwestern University Medical School. She is a licensed clinical psychologist who specializes in adult psychopathology, clinical neuropsychology, and psychoanalytic psychotherapy. Academic appointments include Associate Clinical Professor of Psychology and Post Baccalaureate Pre-Medical Studies at Dominican University.

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