Are Ignored Texts A Signal To Move On?

Are Ignored Texts A Signal To Move On?I’ve been seeing a man for a year + 4 months. He texted me on Christmas Eve for a hike early Christmas morning. I replied,”YES! I’d love to!” I got up early, got ready for his call, and never heard from him. His text included that he had his 16 year old daughter and niece spending the night on that eve (so no spending the night for us!)

I sure was hurt, disappointed, let down and felt stood up. Finally, I left at noon to go to my friend’s for the day. No cell service there. I got home at 9 pm and saw that he’d left me a text around 2 pm saying we should’ve gone for a hike before the rain that started at 10:30 am (I wanted to say NO SHIT SHERLOCK, but of course I kept my sarcasm and hurt to myself.) I texted back I was ready early for that hike, as requested, and would have appreciated a call! Merry Christmas. It took him two hours to text he never received my reply and my mailbox was full so he couldn’t leave a message. Oh well. Goodnight.

Evan, for a man who depends upon his blackberry for business and social/everything, how could he not get my response almost as soon after he invited me? Then, why wouldn’t he try again, if he didn’t see my reply? If he missed replies for work and other events with people he makes plans for, he wouldn’t be as successful as he is… I responded last night, chagrined that he missed my text, puzzled as to how, saying I’m sorry, was disappointed and looking forward to it. It’s 11am on day after xmas and I haven’t heard from him yet… Plus, I have xmas gifts and a card I was going to give him. Shall I return them? Is he trying to tell me something (that I’m fearful of) by his non response? In other words, no message IS a message? Shall I just hang it up after over a year and cut my losses? Shall I text him asking, “Can we see each other today or at least a phone call…” I’m weary of texting! My heart sure hurts big time, and I don’t want to pursue. Thank you for your understanding.

Sheila

First, my apologies. Unfortunately, my blog isn’t a 24-hour-hotline, and questions are usually answered about a month later.

Could there be a more evil invention for interpersonal dating communication than texting?

So whatever you decided to do the day after Christmas, I’d really like to hear how it turned out. I sincerely hope that everything I have to tell you next is wrong. Because I feel pretty strongly that this problem is mostly of your own making.

Let’s establish a few things right off the bat.

  1. I’m not a fan of texting. I’m not fighting it. It’s not going away. But holy shit, could there be a more evil invention for interpersonal dating communication than texting? No. Texting should be for “I’m running late,” “Missing you!” and “What R U wearing right now?”, not for “Where is this relationship going? I’m disappointed with how U treat me.”
  2. I’m a guy. Any time I answer a question, I filter it through a man’s point of view. Would I do what the man did? Is it selfish? Would I want to be forgiven for it? Is it indicative of a greater problem in the relationship or was it a temporary lapse in reason?

By these standards, I see a number of ways that a very simple miscommunication spiraled out of control to the point that Sheila’s thinking of returning his Christmas gifts.

I pray that you didn’t do that. And I’m not even the praying type.

Here’s what I think happened:

He intended to go hiking early in the morning. The fact that he had two kids staying with him slowed him up.

It was benign neglect and laziness that caused the initial problem – and all of your overreactions that caused the rest of them.

By the time he got his stuff together, it had already started raining. Since it was raining, it didn’t make sense to go hiking. He made lunch for his daughter and niece, tried calling you, got a full mailbox and officially texted you at 2pm, even though the hike postponement was a forgone conclusion.

In response, you texted him an emotional response about your chagrin, puzzlement and disappointment…and wonder why he’s not rushing to respond to your anger.

This seems to be the Occam’s Razor of your story – the most likely way that things occurred.

However, in your version, this man that you’ve been dating deliberately blows you off on Christmas morning, ignores your repeated texts and has suddenly decided to sabotage everything you’ve built together over 16 months.

Only one question about this story: why would he do this?

There’s absolutely no logical explanation. Which leads me to think that it was benign neglect and laziness that caused the initial problem – and all of your overreactions that caused the rest of them.

Two other lingering questions:

1)    If he didn’t call you Christmas morning, why didn’t you call him? The phone works both ways, you know? Or was it just easier to be righteously indignant and leave for the day at 12pm without calling him to figure out a new plan?

2)    You’ve been with him for 16 months and you still say you’re “seeing” him? If he’s not your boyfriend, we’ve already identified the real problem here.

Finally, watch this video about how men and women perceive texts differently:

YouTube Preview Image

And realize that while it was wrong of him not to text you at 8am Christmas Day, pretty much everything else was due to how personally you took things.

Sorry, but that’s what you get when you ask a guy for advice.

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Comments:

  1. 1
    Jessica

    I don’t text, but I don’t think I would have considered it a definite plan in the first place unless I’d heard back from him with a more specific plan.
     
    I don’t text. Or receive texts. At all. Does this make me un-datable in today’s world?

  2. 2
    Mel

    Hi Evan,
    I’m confused by your response b/c you wrote that calling goes two ways. Isn’t the guy supposed to do the calling? Also, what about setting up dates via text message? Aren’t guys supposed to call to set up dates?
    I broke up with a guy after 5 months b/c our main form of communication was via text. I thought that meant that he wasn’t that in to me.  So now I’m just confused. His response to me bringing up that more phone conversation would be great was that the phone goes both ways.  I could call him too.  Help! I feel like I’m hearing two conflicting pieces of advice and don’t want to sabotage things by over analyzing in the future.

  3. 3
    Confused

    There has never been a letter that has made me want to respond, ever. I’ve been reading for years.

    Why didn’t you just pick of the phone and call him in the morning to ask about the hike??!!!!

    You’ve been seeing each other for over a year! Why all this mess?

    And even if you hadn’t called him in the morning, you still could’ve called for clarification when he text.

    This was the most simple thing that was sent into Defcon 9. I wish I just had these simple problems with men.

  4. 4
    Andrea

    I think texts are a bit lazy but also a bit safe. I dislike them with people that I’m just getting to know for that reason.  One of the things about all of this technology is that most people get their emails, texts, and everything else in real time.  It’s annoying really how many people will interrupt time with you (and this includes family and friends) to answer phone calls, emails, and texts, which to me can wait unless you think something urgent is going on.  Even in work at meetings, people will answer personal calls and get up and leave to go talk. So most people are getting your messages as soon as you send them, no matter what we’d like to tell ourselves.  And they answer people that they consider high priority even in somewhat inappropriate circumstances.
    At any rate, I’d move on over an ignored text b/c the early stages (and I think 4 months is early) should be when someone is still pretty excited to see or “hear” from you.
    I’m guilty of using texts as the “easy” way to communicate.  It lets me avoid dealing with rejection, having difficult conversations, or being disappointed live.  It’s almost as if when someone flakes out over texted plans, you can make the excuse that he/she didn’t get the text in time. But really, if you make plans with someone and the time to leave is fast approaching, that’s when it’s time to stop texting and make a real call so it’s a yes or no.
    Texting let’s people kind of passive aggressively blow you off.  And it let’s you make excuses for them.
    I’m not saying that is what happened here, but I think that this reminds me that in my own future, I’d rather get the good or bad news and make the person give it to me in their own voice.  And honestly, that tells you a lot more anyway.  We misinterpret so much with the voiceless communication, whereas a human voice will usually express pleasure, disinterest, etc.
    I can recall getting blown off repeatedly by someone who used to call, email, and text non-stop.  Someone who practically slept with the phone, and ALWAYS had it set to at least vibrate.  So when I started getting blown off, I should have walked away and said forget it.  Previously, there had been NO circumstance under which any form of communication from me would have been ignored.  So the claims about suddenly being busy were the cowardly way of ditching me.  If someone who is always responsive stops being responses, don’t make excuses for him and let him go.

  5. 5
    Confused

    And looking back, it was never stated on the text what time to meet in the morning. How did you even know when to get up, unless you’ve been hiking before?

    If you two had been hiking before  and he was late from the normal time from when you guys hike, you could’ve called. You still could’ve called even if you haven’t hiked before.

    Regardless, you should’ve picked up the phone. A year and 4 months of dating and you feel uncomfortable calling and “you don’t want to pursue”? That’s not fair too him.

  6. 6
    Denise

    I think this video is hysterical!  It’s always funny to see the sexes protraying the other, especially with the men acting like women, LOL.

    EVAN:  You’ve been with him for 16 months and you still say you’re “seeing” him? If he’s not your boyfriend, we’ve already identified the real problem here.

    Perhaps there is way more to this story…

    #1 Jessica

    No, I don’t think you’re undatable :).  Actually, your life will probably be easier since that’s not an option for a man to contact you, he can only get you via phone or in person.  When he does either, it shows his interest level.

  7. 7
    Andrea

    Oh, but to clarify, in this case I don’t know why you didn’t call.  I think I went off topic.  After 16 months (I thought it was only 4), you kind of know where you stand so you definitely should have called him to clarify.  We’re not talking about you being overeager with a guy you just met.  This is your bonafide boyfriend.
    And yeah, just makes me hate texting even more and I think I’ll avoid it in these kinds of situations precisely for this reason.

  8. 8
    Selena

    The problem I see is that you were dating someone for 16 mos. and yet couldn’t bring yourself to phone him to confirm plans for some reason. Doesn’t sound like a good relationship to me. How has it worked out for you?

  9. 9
    Confused

    Mel,

    Guys don’t have to make all the dates. After five months, it’s perfectly fine to suggest dates to him because how else will he know you’re actually into him.

    Like he said, you could call also. There should be a comfort level by that time, and you should reciprocate what he does; He calls to ask you out one week, you ask him out the next.

  10. 10
    Selena

    I love the picture atop this blog entry. Hysterical!

  11. 11
    Mel

    Hi Confused,
    It wasn’t a matter of scheduling dates. He texted everday, but only called maybe 7 times during the entire 5 months.  That’s why I wanted to get some clarity from Evan, from a guy’s point of view.
    Thanks for your thoughts.

  12. 12
    Denise

    #11 Mel

    How many times did you actually see and spend time with him, in person, approximately of course?

  13. 13
    Mel

    Hi Denise,
    It was a long distance relationship. So we saw each other every couple of weeks.

  14. 15
    Steve

    I agree with Evan.  Texting has to be one of the most masochistic inventions from the perspective of dating and relationships.  IMHO, texting and email have two primary negative uses.    Avoiding confrontations and having a cover for not answering people ( “one of those mysterious tech things ate my message ” ).
     
    If I want to see someone I make plans live, over the phone.  If it is more than few days away I call to confirm.   This rarely results in hurt feelings.
     

  15. 16
    More Confused

    I’m confused as to why Evan suggest she pick up the phone and call him. I’ve read over and over how a women is to never call the guy. I’ve even read where Evan always initiated phone calls with his wife while they were dating. Some clarification would be great!

    1. 16.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      To all of you who are confused, it just ain’t that confusing. Life isn’t to be lived by rules – and as a guy who writes “rules”, I’ll be the first to acknowledge that there is nuance in every situation. But there’s a huge difference between calling the guy you’ve been seeing for two weeks and asking him out for a third date, as opposed to calling your boyfriend of 16 months to see if plans are still on.

      If you take my “do nothing” advice to mean NEVER do ANYTHING for your BOYFRIEND, you’re highly misinterpreting things. Women will usually be more effective with men if they are receptive and let men win them over with their efforts in the formative stages of the relationship. But once you feel “safe”? Do whatever the hell you want.

  16. 17
    detha

    I agree with Steve, can’t believe the number of responses already on this topic. Can’t wait to read everyone’s thoughts on this subject.

  17. 18
    detha

    Thx for the clarification Evan, I think the operative term I was missing was “formative stages of the relationship”.

  18. 19
    Steve

    @Jessica #1.   Me either.   I don’t even carry a cell phone.   Maybe there should be a specialty site for people who don’t want to be on an electronic leash all of the time? :)

  19. 20
    Steve

    “You all” should be glad that I am not emperor of the United States.  I would make texting, hand held phones, SUVs, and dancing with stars illegal.

  20. 21
    More Confused

    Thanks Evan!

  21. 22
    TripleM

    Appropos of some of the comments (on this post and others past) — it kind of boggles my mind that a woman would consider dumping a guy just because he typically texts instead of calls.  I’m well aware that in many ways my brain just isn’t wired the same way as most women’s seem to be, so I accept that I’ll often be baffled by stuff that has my women friends going off the deep end . . . but I dunno, to me, it’s just another form of communication.  Text, e-mail, phone, carrier pigeon, smoke signal . . . whatever is most practical for the situation is fine with me, and most of the time I think of texts and calls as being interchangeable, as far as practicality goes.  I wouldn’t necessarily read some “he’s just not that into me” interpretation into a guy’s preferring to text me rather than call.

    (For the Christmas morning thing here, though, it seems a phone call from the OP would have been better.  And I guess I wouldn’t want to get a “Hey will u marry me k thx bye!” message, either, LOL!!)

  22. 23
    Denise

    #13 Mel

    Every other couple of weeks? If I’m reading that correctly,  out of 5 months (20 weeks), you saw and spent time in person 5 times, basically once a month?

    This is the deal, humans are meant to court IN PERSON.  Not on line, not via text, not via phone.  All that counts for dating is the time you actually spend together, interacting, observing and working together through every-day life. 

    Given long distance is challenging–out of sight, out of mind (ESPECIALLY for men)–I think this guy did pretty well trying to keep up his side of communication and keep things going. 

    See #23, I’m on the side of TripleM.  Everything has to be viewed in context.  When the man I’m dating takes time out of his busy day to text something sweet or sexy to me, it’s a nice surprise and I know he’s thinking of me.   That’s how I look at it.  The context is he does NOT forgo every other communication method like phone or seeing me in person and it’s only texting, it’s just that it’s convenient and it’s one way of reaching out.

    #18 Evan

    You make me chuckle!  Right on!:  Women will usually be more effective with men if they are receptive and let men win them over with their efforts in the formative stages of the relationship.

  23. 24
    Mel

    The important thing to focus on is the formative aspect. If you’re still in the beginning stages of getting to know someone and depending on the situation this may take some time text message for everything is a problem.  As has been stated in other articles, it only takes a little bit of time to pick up a phone and chat with someone about their day, etc. We do it with our friends and family so why wouldn’t we with someone who is more than just a hook up?

  24. 25
    Mel

    Yes, Denise, you are exactly right.  Getting texts during the day is very fun. It’s when that’s the only form of communication that it becomes an issue especially in a long distance relationship where the phone is actually the main way to build something.

  25. 26
    Bren

    Ok… so Evan what about the fact that I don’t want to text and men keep texting anyway? They don’t want to answer their phone to talk…. It seems they are hiding behind their texting… It’s like communicate this way or I won’t communicate at all…  What you said… “I’m running late… or miss you etc…” is actually nice… but to say anything complex or to cancel a date by text…just seems rude…
    Recently a guy I had been out with three times….canceled a date by texting that his high school friend wanted to see him…..and then tried to reschedule for the next day..  I said I can’t make it tomorrow I have plans… Then I called and said I don’t have unlimited text and that I did not really understand about the cancellation but ok…. If you want to set another date just give me a call…. Was nice…..but just tried to let him know I don’t like texting…. Never heard from him again….
    To me…it confirmed that he truly does hide behind texting… and did not really want to talk…..
    I truly want to put an end to this texting nightmare!! Can’t two people just talk by phone? How do we deal with this obsession with texting?!

  26. 27
    Confused

    Bren,

    If you told him you don’t like texting and that’s it’s inconvenient because it’s not part of your cell plan and he text anyway, then he’s not interested. He would’ve accommodated you by calling you.

    Never heard from him again….
    To me…it confirmed that he truly does hide behind texting… and did not really want to talk…..

    It also confirmed that he didn’t want to see you again, which I’m sure you’ve assessed.

    When you tell a guy that you would rather talk and he makes an effort, then he’s to be taken seriously. This guy, nope.

  27. 28
    Denise

    Mel #25 and 26

    As you can see from these entries, we all have a different tolerance and preference for communication.  :)

    In your original post  you said you spoke to him about your preference for phone calls (good for you!), he invited you to call him.  But you didn’t want to do that I guess…you wanted him to do most of the communicating? Then you got irritated because he didn’t do it via phone like you wanted,  he did it via text, although he did still call at times.   Sounds like he couldn’t win :).

    Your point is well taken about texting, but like I said, in my view, it has to be in context of what else the man is doing to showing his interest.  Makes me think too that it can’t be vague in regard to text this much, but not too much…don’t know many men that would want to keep up with that, and we all know men are basically lazy and texting is a lazy way of communicating :)  Perhaps it’s better to say NO texts at all–just thinking out loud.

    Trying to establish a meaningful relationship is really difficult when the two people are hardly spending any time together in person.  It’s just something to consider, that’s all.

  28. 29
    Denise

    #27 Bren

    …..but just tried to let him know I don’t like texting

    State your preference, in a nice, assertive way (with no ‘tone’), that you don’t think text is the best way to communicate, you don’t have unlimited texting, and if he could call, you would appreciate that.  If the guy is into you, he’ll do things differently.  If he’s not and continues to text, don’t answer him.

    There was another question/train of posts where the woman told him what I described above.  She just provided an update today, he’s changed his attitude!

    Sounds like this guy you’re talking about was ‘just not into you’, so don’t lose too much sleep over it.  (And I do agree that doing what he did was rude, back in the ‘old days’, he would have had to call.  OR he would have stood you up!)

  29. 30
    JB

    The question should be…..What kind of idiot that’s been dating a woman for over a year would make Christmas morning plans on Christmas Eve by text? And who doesn’t at least call and wish someone they’ve been in a relationship that long a “Merry Christmas” on Christmas day no matter who’s at the house?? Evan’s right,pick up the phone !!!

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