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. 31
    BeenThruTheWars

    First of all… that video is priceless.  It summarizes perfectly why texting is insipid and lame in a dating context.  You have the phone… IN YOUR HAND… and can’t bestir yourself to talk to the person you’re involved with, or want to be involved with?  Agree 100% with Evan that texting is evil in every respect except for quick informational blasts or short requests (“Pick up bread and milk”) in an established relationship.

  2. 32
    Ruby

    JB #31
    Yes! I do find it odd that two people who have been dating that long didn’t have more definitive holiday plans together. Sounds awfully casual to me. I do think the boyfriend should have called to let Sheila know what was happening, but when she hadn’t heard from him by late morning, she should certainly have called him herself.
     
    I have solved the texting problem by telling people that I don’t have a text messaging plan (which is true). I dislike texting. Guess I’m old-school and agree that it is best for very casual conversation only.

  3. 33
    starthrower68

    Then a guy who prefers to text rather than a phone conversation is not a good bet? 

  4. 34
    Diana

    I only have a cell phone for emergencies, and I will never be a user of text messaging. The thing I notice about all of our various forms of e-communicating: it creates this sort of nagging pressure that we must always respond right away, no matter what else is happening in any given moment. People have certain expectations, and gosh knows communicating is sometimes difficult enough in real time, let alone electronically where so much can be lost in translation.
     
    As for the writer’s dilemma, I would have asked for a specific time in regards to going on the hike, and when he didn’t come over or send no further communication, I would have given him a call. While it’s not likely to happen, you never know when someone may have a true life emergency, like a car accident. And I think she’s way overreacting and overreaching. Not knowing the true state of their relationship, if something like a failure to communicate about a meet-up to hike sends her running for the hills in her mind wondering if maybe their relationship is over, what will her reaction be to something that really tests their relationship?

  5. 35
    starthrower68

    If I had enough mathematical expertise, I’d use game theory to figure out what men will do.

  6. 36
    Zann

    Oh for goodness sake.  I’m with JB — #31.  Common sense and common courtesy should prevail. Even if they’re not exclusive boyfriend and girlfriend, if you’re gonna text her about a Christmas morning hike…and you don’t hear back from her…follow through with a phone call! Seriously, it’s not rocket science people. And when morning rolled around and he didn’t show up or call, why didn’t she just call & at least make sure he’s not stuck in a snowbank somewhere.
    There’s likely more to this story, but whatever it is, both of their actions seem a little passive-aggressive or evasive. Maybe in the cold light of Christmas morning & too much egg nog the night before, a hike didn’t seem like the great idea it seemed like the night before. And then when he didn’t “stand and deliver,” she dug in and was determined to make her point with silence.
    So they were both a little lame and blaming. I don’t think texting is inherently evil, but like email, the possibilities for miscommunication are huge when it’s relied upon as the primary means of relating. In my opinion, texting has become a lazy way of faux-communicating and does not promote genuine intimacy.

  7. 37
    Shay

    I agree that Sheila should have called. How can she still feel uncomfortable calling him after dating for so long?! If she feels uncomfortable, how can she stand it for so long (before this texting thing blew the issue up)?!

    Andrea(#4): “Texting let’s people kind of passive aggressively blow you off.  And it let’s you make excuses for them.”

    Yeah…I’m kinda like that as well. At the formative stages of a relationship, say I just gota know the other person, I sure don’t want to call or for him to call me. If he calls me, I won’t know what to talk about either…But it sure is a good sign to see calls from the guy as it shows more interest from him.

    Recently, I have unfriend all the guys whom I see no potential for any development into a relationship with on facebook. And made a New Year resolution to not add such guys as friends. 

    If any new guy wants to know me, they get my number. If any of the old guys regain interest in me, they have my number.

  8. 38
    Annie

    @ Steve #20.

    I honestly think the reason I’ve broken my last 4 cell phones(4 in 1 year) is because I despise them so much I am subconciously destroying them.

    I like your view though. You dont’ carry one. I might do that. I’d like one for emergencies, but gawd they bug me. So does MSN.

    Now, whenever a friend tries to talk to me on Facebook, msn or texting to make plans, I pick up the phone. If they don’t answer I say, give me a call and we can chat.

    Are we all so freaking afraid of everything we can’t even speak to each other? Nutty world…nutty, nutty world!!

  9. 39
    Donna

    Texts do get lost, or never make it, even though said “received” on the other end.  I’ve confirmed this with one of my best friends who has given me grief on several occasions when I’ve not responded further in texting conversations.  And I’d say I never got any more responses.  Also once he got a text once in my presence that had obviously been sent the previous day.  So they can, sometimes, disappear into thin air or be delayed.  But still no excuse.  Texts can be fun, but texts and email as the main form of communication in a budding relationship is for the birds!  Stand up and be a man !  and if that’s mostly what you’re getting, or giving, someone is just passing the time of day !

  10. 40
    Denise

    It summarizes perfectly why texting is insipid and lame in a dating context.  You have the phone… IN YOUR HAND… and can’t bestir yourself to talk to the person you’re involved with, or want to be involved with?  

    It’s funny how we can see this video differently.  Yes, it’s about texting the ettiquete (sp?) of texting.  However, I think it has a much bigger message about how women blow things out of proportion and how they expect their men to be at their beck and call and how they have no patience.  The same thing could have happened if the guy left a voicemail message, like in the old days :).  Women will do the SAME kind of things…Oh, he didn’t call me back in over an hour, this relationship is OVER! Or,  he said “Go” in his voicemail, what does that mean?!  (Listen, I’ve been guilty of this kind of insanity in the way past.  It’s really good to see how crazy it is and this video does a good job of it!  After all, if we can’t laugh at ourselves, what do we have?!) LOL

    As for the original poster, sounds like everyone has it covered and Evan, as usual, does a great job in putting things in perspective.  There’s more to this story that we’re not hearing.  It’s NOT about the texting incident, it’s always something bigger.  What she’s irritated about is only the symptom.

  11. 41
    JoJo

    I agree with 35 that the OP should have asked for a specific time as to when they would hike.  Of course the OP could have called when she didn’t hear from him the next day.  However, I also see the other side of it.  If he had reasons such as getting up late or busy with his niece, doesn’t he owe her that phone call letting her know what was going on?  Isn’t it just common curtesy when making plans with someone you should let them know what’s going on so that the other person is not kept in the dark?  Maybe it’s just me, but I was in that situation with my ex and I felt weird having to call him and question him because I didn’t want to seem like I was on top of him or nagging like where are you type of thing.  With that being said, I wouldn’t go as far as thinking of returning his Christmas gifts and I wouldn’t make plans via text. 

  12. 42
    Andrea

    Annie (#39).  I think we are afraid, and I think that texting and email let us off the hook.  I feel like it takes us all back to middle school, where you were passing notes via your friends, having them ask a boy that you liked if he liked you back.
    And when things head south, you can disappear behind your technology of course, ignoring or blocking emails, deleting and blocking on social media, etc.
    I really don’t want to deal with people who will hide behind text messages to avoid dealing with me.  Better to make a clean break, and I’m going to hold myself to that standard too.
    Texts can get lost, but a solid phone call will not.
    This discussion is very timely since I just saw an interview with Sherry Turkle, who wrote a book about how technology is tearing us apart.

  13. 43
    Aj

    I text, I call.  They both have a purpose IMO.  Common sense would have said give him a call.  The fact that she didn’t think of it says alot.  especially on Christmas.  What kind of relationship is this? Also, what about the full mailbox.    People get to caught up in these rules.  Just be natural. 

  14. 44
    Steve

    @Annie #39
    I do have a cellphone.  A super old, pay as you go cell phone, that I keep in the glove compartment of my car, turned off, for when I get lost or get in an emergency.  I pay $10 every 3 months.
     
    Facebook has made private information public a number of times, without notice, without permission and without apology.   When friends include me in an “event” I RSVP through the real web site for the event or by email.  If they send me a private message on FB, I email them back.  If they IM me on Facebook  I suggest another Instant Messenger.
     

  15. 45
    Aj

    Best way to get men to chnage is by words not action.  If you do not like text messages, then never respond to them. 

  16. 46
    Ahviya

    I think she should have called.  If she did not have the time they were going nor did she hear back from him then pick up the phone.  Don’t complain because 16 months into a relationship you are feeling insecure about calling him.

    Text messaging is for fun things, running late, want fast food.  Not to use as an excuse for being lazy and refusing to telpehone a person.  Honestly she should grow up.

  17. 47
    Honey

    Texting and email are asynchronous forms of communication.  When you choose that form of communication, you are assuming that the other person may not be available to get back to you (or even read your message) right away.

    If you want to make sure the other person is on the same page you are in the same moment you are, you need to choose a form of synchronous communication – a phone call, or in person conversation.

    None of these forms is better or worse, but they definitely do serve different purposes.

  18. 48
    Dean Kaplan

    Ignored texts aren’t always a signal to move on, sometimes it’s just the former significant other going “no contact” for a while to try to get you to miss them.  Sometimes it works, actually.

  19. 49
    Sayanta

    oh lord- that video was gold!

  20. 50
    JoJo

     
    After rereading this post, there technically wasn’t a definite plan; since the guy says he never got her response to his invitation.  If he didn’t get a response, he could have texted her again or called her.  Also, if she had replied back asking him what time, she would have known that he didn’t get her response and
    therefore she could have attempted to text again or call to confirm.  They’re both at fault.  Even if there was a plan in her head, she should have called him before deciding to leave at noon that day. 
     

  21. 51
    Denise

    He sounds like he may not be that into her :) :(

  22. 52
    Andrea

    @Denise (#52).  Perhaps, but she definitely created this whole dialogue in her head over a text message too…just like the men in the video.  Too funny.

  23. 53
    Dean Kaplan

    @ Andrea (#53)
    That’s funny because I was just thinking the other day how much a non response to a text can mess with the sender’s psyche.  When that happens to me sometimes, I envision the recipient reading my message saying, “Dean’s an idiot,” and going on with their day.  All of that plays inside my head, without really knowing what’s going on on their side.  They may even have their phone off, or could have it on silent, or their phone could even be broken, but my mind wanders, I think a little of that happened with this issue too!

  24. 54
    Denise

    #53

    You’re right Andrea!  The more I thought about it though, the more I thought she was bitchy not about the text incident, that was just the symptom.  She’s not happy overall with the way the relationship is going and she’s trying to justify her irritation and why he’s a jerk :)

    He very well could be a jerk because he’s no longer interested in dating her and he can’t/won’t break up with her, so he strings her along.

    Who knows, I could be totally off base!  But the fact she says they’ve been together 1.4 years gives me pause, especially with that length of time and no Christmas plans?  Or maybe it was 4 months?! 

    I wish her luck!  Maybe she’ll come back on and give us some feedback so we don’t have to sit around wondering!  LOL

  25. 55
    JoJo

    Denise, I agree that he might not be that into her.  How do you invite someone out for Christmas morning, you supossedly don’t get a response and then wait to call at 2PM on Christmas?  Something just doesn’t sound right about that; especially considering the amount of time they’ve been seeing each other.

  26. 56
    Laine

    Mel @ 11…..why didn’t you ever text back early on i the relationship ” hey..I’m not big on texting..please call me when you can talk in realtime :)

    Then dont respond to any more text messages. He will get it!  If he doesn’t this is a man that isn’t able to respect your wishes.

    Men arent mind readers, if you have been responding to texts from him for over a year, I guess its because he thinks you are OK with it !!

    After the first text on Christmas day, you could have sent one text back saying..” sounds great..call me to lock it in !!

    Keep it simple ..aarggghh !!!

  27. 57
    JoJo

     Hey, so we know how texts aren’t always received or get lost.  Anyone have thoughts on voice mail?  I left someone a Happy New Year voice mail and never heard back.  Is it possible that they didn’t get it? 

  28. 58
    Joe Amoia

    Sheila (and all u ladies who would do the same thing),
    All this could have been avoided if you had asked the question: “SO, what time could I expect your call by?”. Therefore he is giving you a deadline & time to hear from him. Now if you were in the beginning of a relationship and he doesn’t call,  you get to decide if you want to wait around for him and if you do it you might want to ask yourself the question “is this the way I want to be treated by a guy?
     
    Now if you have been in a relationship with a guy for 16 months and you had plans and he didn’t call, why not, as Evan says give him a call? He could’ve tripped over a X-mas present and been knocked unconscious. If you’re still playing these types of games after 16 months you might want to consider your idea of what a “relationship is”. Don’t you think?

  29. 59
    Karl R

    JoJo said: (#58)
    “I left someone a Happy New Year voice mail and never heard back.  Is it possible that they didn’t get it?”

    Of course it’s possible. More importantly, was there any reason that the voice mail required a response?

    Let me explain what kind of messages require a response:
    Messages that include questions (i.e. “Are you coming over for dinner?”)
    Messages that explicitly request a response (i.e. “Call me.”)

    “Happy New Year,” doesn’t require a response. If I get the message on January 1st, I’ll send a similar reply. If I get the message on the 6th, I probably decide that it’s a little late to reply in kind. Around the holidays, I might easily overlook a message for days.

    To you it may be implicity obvious that you wanted a response. As a man, I’ll give you the #1 secret for communicating with men: make everything explicitly obvious. And be literal. If you say, “Please call me at your convenience,” I will call you at my convenience. If you say, “Call me as soon as you get this message,” I will call you as soon as I get the message. (My sister stopped saying that in her messages after I returned two calls in the middle of the night.)

    Even if a message does not require a reply, I may use it as an excuse to reply. (That either means that I’m interested in you, or it means I’m bored.)

  30. 60
    JoJo

    Thanks Karl R for your perspective.  You’re right in that I really didn’t specify to return my call.  I guess a I was expecting at least a thank you or a Happy New Year to you too.

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