My Constant Text Messaging Has Driven My Boyfriend Away. What Should I Do?

I just started going out with a guy whom I’ve known for 5 years. We decided together and things have been going very well. Last weekend we spent together, he gave me a single red rose and it was wonderful, just getting to know each other on a different level. We both decided that we were not going to have sex until we are absolutely sure. I sent him my usual daily email to say hi and how you’re doing and also called to say hello before I went to bed since I go to bed at 6:30pm and he gets off work later. For 2 days I did my usual and did not hear anything. I was a bit frustrated after a bad day at work and I sent him several text messages about how I felt concerning his lack of communication. The next morning I received a text that stated “morning, I apologize for the lack of communication but after a long day at work, the last thing I needed was your frustration”. I responded by saying I accepted his apology but reminded him that although my days were not as long as his, they were just as busy if not busier. I also asked or suggested that we talk about it later that night. I have not heard anything from him since then, it has been five days. What do I do, do I wait until he contacts me or should I call or send an email letting him know that I was concerned about how he was doing?

Thanks,

Roberta

While we love the idea of being 100% fully authentic and self-expressed, sometimes this behavior scares the crap out of the new person you’re dating.

I once wrote an important post about how text messaging is the devil, and your email only underscores it.

Except, in this instance, text messaging wasn’t really the problem. Sorry to say, it was you.

Now, to be crystal clear, your guy was probably never going to be your future husband, so it’s not like you’ve lost someone too important. But what he represents is a lesson to learn forever.

Actually, there are two lessons.

First is that while we love the idea of being 100% fully authentic and self-expressed, sometimes this behavior scares the crap out of the new person you’re dating. Believe me, no one enjoys taking the side of “hold a little bit back, bite your tongue, play it cool”, but, in the early phases of dating, it’s the best course of action.

In short, you emailed him to say hi, you followed up with a phone call, and then sent several frustrated text messages. To a new guy that you were seeing. Without knowing what you wrote/said, I would just ask how you’d react if your new guy started emailing, calling and texting you in rapid succession.

“Needy”, “desperate” and “stalker” are three of the first words that come to mind to describe that guy.

So please, for your own sake, stop trying to talk about important things via email or text.

He’s just being real with you – he’s excited about you and can’t wait to see you again. You can hardly blame him. Except you do blame him. You can’t help yourself. We automatically devalue someone who comes on too strong to us – especially if we haven’t sorted out our own feelings yet.

But hey, it’s just one guy. It’s a common mistake. You live, you learn, you move on.

The bigger lesson I get from your story is one I was actually discussing with a client yesterday on the phone. She was reading me emails that she wrote to her boyfriend about how she was upset that she hasn’t yet met his kids.

The emails were articulate, heartfelt…and utterly the worst possible way to communicate such an important relationship issue.

So please, for your own sake, stop trying to talk about important things via email or text. Way too many things can go wrong, from the absence of voice, tone, and nuance, to the simple fact that a person can ignore you for days at a time after you gave your deep, emotional confession.

I’m not sure if we communicate this way because we’re cowardly and afraid of confrontation, or if we’re trying hard to get our words just right by writing and rewriting, or if we actually think that texting “why r u ignoring me” is an effective way to change a relationship for the positive.

All I know is that without having the opportunity to listen to a human voice, process the information, and explain oneself patiently, it is next to impossible to have a productive discussion via email.

I mean, don’t things ALWAYS turn bad when you’re typing? Isn’t something always misconstrued when you can’t hear the speaker’s voice – when he/she doesn’t have a chance to respond to your reaction?

(And if you doubt me, just read the comments on this blog!)

Suffice it to say, Roberta, there’s no fixing what’s already been broken.

The next time around just keep in mind my cardinal rule for women, Don’t Do Anything.

If you really want to know where you stand with a guy, you don’t have to text him. Just pay attention to the last time he called to make plans. There’s nothing else you need to know.

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Comments:

  1. 1
    Shay

    Oh dear…this post struck a chord in me. Not about the texting or the frustration…but about letting the guy know too much too fast.

    Is there a blog post about this topic? I need to learn this…fast. haha…or the guys I know would be all scared away.

  2. 2
    A-L

    I agree that the OP came on too strong, too soon. And I completely agree that texting is not the medium with which any serious matter should be discussed.

    E-mail, however, I feel a bit differently about. I think there are some people who either don’t end up saying everything they want to say if they do it in-person, or things might come out wrong and go down a bad path, or… Personally, I’ve found that there are definite times when a e-mail has been a good way to put my thoughts and feelings out there, and then we’ve discussed them afterwards. I think that verbally discussing something is an important component, but think it’s perfectly okay to open up that conversation with the written word. Assuming, mind you, that this it is a real relationship and not the beginning stages of dating.

  3. 3
    Sayanta

    I agree with A-L- I’m a writer, so I definitely get my point across way better with words (unless I’m all steamed up- then I sound like I’m ranting).

  4. 4
    JerseyGirl

    She came off too strong but he sure shied away too quick. No woman wants to have to walk around on egg shells around a guy just because he can’t handle the more tough stuff. We actually look for men that can infact handle the tough stuff and stay strong handling it.

  5. 5
    Honey

    I agree about the texting – it is easy to overdo and doesn’t give you enough space to really say anything with nuance.
    But as far as e-mail – since I have a PhD in rhetoric, that’s the only way to make sure I say everything I mean if it’s a conversation where that’s really important. Jake and I have a communication plan that we worked out when we had our first major disagreement, and it allows us both to use the communication styles that come easiest for us.
    He prefers to talk, and I prefer to e-mail, so anytime we have a conversation I don’t say much and then send him a long e-mail later. It’s been working for almost 4 years, so to each their own :-)

    1. 5.1
      Malcolm

      This seems to me SO sensible. Both the actual solution . . . and the process of arriving at it.  Good for you . . .  

  6. 6
    Steve

    @JerseyGirl #4
    She came off too strong but he sure shied away too quick

    I don’t think you can have a “but” in that sentence and still have that sentence be considered sensible. She initiated the reaction which drew the response. A fairly common response to a stranger getting too familiar, too quickly. You don’t know he would have reacted had they been together for an appropriate amount of time for him to be her ear bending buddy.

  7. 7
    Jennifer

    Honey#5- That sounds like a great plan

  8. 8
    Anette C

    I found the daily e-mail and text a bit much, but in her defense, she has known him for 5 years.

    If you know some-one for that long, and start dating do you really still need to follow the whole “do nothing” routine? Could some-one you’ve known for 5 years, discussed having a relationship with really fit into the same category of the new man in your life?

    I’ve learnt the initial contact(let him chase) thing, but trying to find that point in the relationship where you can be a little more relaxed is really hard to do. I can never tell as I begin to feel increasingly passive and not myself. Sigh…

  9. 9
    Zann

    Roberta: Oh man. If you don’t give the guy a chance to initiate contact, how are you ever going to know that he truly wants to? And whatever your “usual” was before may not work now that you are working on being more than just friends. You want to know if this is a guy who is interested enough in you that he’ll initiate a call to you wiithin a reasonable amount of time. And the only way to really know that is to do the hard thing of practicing restraint and not initiating. I know that sounds passive and powerless, but I think it actually shows maturity and confidence, and is proof that you have a full life outside of a relationship and can independently make yourself happy. For most guys I know, this is an incredible turn on lets them relax. Do less, don’t play games, respond appropriately and with appreciation. If you never hear back from him, that says it all, and you move on. The reason is irrelevant, so don’t waste your time and energy insisting on an explanation. You’ve got better things to do & people to meet. And texting is for high school kids. I wish you well in the future.

  10. 10
    JerseyGirl

    Okay Steve, what if I said “and” instead of “but”. Either way, why doesn’t it make sense? She came on too strong and he was too quick to be scared away. That doesn’t make for a good male partner anyway. Women don’t want to be with guys that run off with the smallest hint that things won’t be easy. It wasn’t even a big problem, just a little one. Where would he be on the bigger issues? And apparently they weren’t strangers at all, they apparently knew each other for 5 years.

  11. 11
    Jennifer

    Roberta- Did you call and text him with that frequency over the last five years that you’ve known him? Probably not. He’s likely freaked out because you guys started dating and you made his worst nightmare come true- you turned into different person.

    With that being said, I don’t blame you for being annoyed to not have communication returned for 2 days. You just need to temper your reaction a bit (I’d be saying the same thing if you were a guy).

    And if you like to talk every day and he sees no problem letting days go by with no contact, then maybe he just isn’t the guy for you and you didn’t mess anything up.

    And on a totally random, unrelated note, I’m really curious about why you go to bed so early?

  12. 12
    Anette C

    I’d like to say an initial thing about this. One thing I’ve learnt, is to never say “Let’s talk about it”. lol!! I will instigate a conversation if I need to, but it seems the entire “lets talk about it” is so horrifying to a guy, that they’d rather drive nails through their fingertips.

    Yes, a lot of men “learn” to talk, but it’s not easy on them.

    I wonder if this, more than anything else had something to do with the lack of response?

  13. 13
    Steve

    @JerseyGirl #10.

    Sorry, I don’t think your “and” saved your “butt” :).

    Personally, if someone started unloading on me too soon I would hope to respond to that in a polite way, even if confronted.
    However, if you act a certain way you are going to get a certain kind of response so if you don’t want that response it is up to you to change how you act.

  14. 14
    Mara

    My friend (a girl) is one of those pesty, needy friends who does things like this. Even to me! She texts, if I don’t respond, she’ll start texting again, “Are you busy????” and then the calls start. It irks me enough that I won’t respond or apologize so that I can keep boundries. Anyways, she did the same thing to oh EVERY GUY SHE EVER MET. The thing is, she is really really pretty – like was voted most attractive in high school or something, one of those, so guys would always fall for her, and she would drive them away like crazy with exact behavior like the poster. And the guy would pull away. She’s engaged now, but only b/c she finally found a guy so socially inept and awkward that he’s just happy he got the pretty girl….She really was an equal opportunity dater – and even the balding, unemployed, bipolar, and 30 year olds in braces despite her beauty would all break up with her in the end. The calling and texting I think beyond coming off as desperate also sends a flag to the guy that you get “bored” a lot and can’t entertain yourself. One of my (hot) coworkers always complains when his actual girlfriend calls him too much and says, “Why does she call me when she’s bored….I never get bored. I love being myself! Sleep, watch tv, go for a run, I don’t want to talk on the phone!” So I think texting and then wanting responses just sends some message that you need reciprication/gratification and should in most cases be initiated. Watching my friend do this to guys was like watching a trainwreck, no matter how many times you tried to tactfully tell her DON’T DO IT!!!

  15. 15
    JerseyGirl

    Give me a break. They knew each other for 5 years. They have been dating and things have been going well. I’m not saying that she should “unload” on him every second she gets but if she can’t turn to him, then that’s just lame. Lets be honest. None of us are perfect and we all require certain amounts of patience and acceptance. He cut and run with very little reason. She needed communication. He ignored her for two days. Both didn’t handle the situaiton in the best way. Sometimes in relationships you make mistakes. If you cut and run everytime things turn difficult, then you aren’t ever going to be happy.

    1. 15.1
      sue

      He sounds like a dick   he just went cold on her and she just automatically asked him why he was not responding  she isn’t over doing it if you reactinghe is merely showing that he just isn’t into her 

  16. 16
    Selena

    They’ve known each other for 5 yrs. They mutually decided to date. They had a usual (?) style of communicating twice a day and then for 2 days he ignores her completely. I too, would wonder what was up with him. As someone else noted, this is not a “new” person per se, it’s a 5 yr. person.

    My guess is that he was having second thoughts about getting into a romantic relationship with her and tried slowing it down by not responding to her communications for a couple days. If he really wanted something going with her, he would have dropped her a quick call/email just to tell her he was swamped right now and would get back to her later. Sounds like he was pulling away even before she sent the *needy* text messages.

    Probably wise she waited to have sex with him. Better to find out what he’s about before, rather than after.

  17. 17
    Dope

    Needy girls are a turnoff for non-needy males. And you don’t want needy males.

  18. 18
    Diana

    You wait until you hear from him again. Without knowing the specific words that you wrote to him regarding what you perceived to be his lacking communication, and the vibe it gave off, maybe he felt that you were chastising or criticizing him. Remember ~ what women say is not always what men hear. And he hasn’t responded to you since his apology because he doesn’t want to deal with more of the same. I have read that if a man feels that a woman is too much work, he’ll move on.

  19. 19
    Joe

    Hell, what women say isn’t always what they mean. :-p

  20. 20
    True Love

    This article is right on the spot, I remember having the same problem with a needy girl, ladies please don’t abuse your communication devices like phones, text massages, mails, twitter, personal notes, etc etc. :)

  21. 21
    Karl R

    Selena said: (#16)
    “My guess is that he was having second thoughts about getting into a romantic relationship with her and tried slowing it down by not responding to her communications for a couple days.”

    My guess is the same. He either wanted to slow down, or he wanted some space, or he was starting to pull away.

    It’s been my experience that the proper response is to allow things to slow down, or give the person the space they want. Sometimes that’s all they need before they decide to continue pursuing the relationship. Sometimes they pull away completely. But if you try to pursue them harder, they will slam on the brakes harder, or want more space, or pull away faster.

    Diana said: (#18)
    “maybe he felt that you were chastising or criticizing him.”

    Given Roberta’s description of her actions and her discription of his response, I’d almost guarantee that’s what he felt.

    “I have read that if a man feels that a woman is too much work, he’ll move on.”

    That’s generally correct. But there are a number of men who will make an exception for mind-blowing sex.

  22. 22
    JerseyGirl

    “Hell, what women say isn’t always what they mean. :-p”

    That’s perfectly condesending Joe.

  23. 23
    Joe

    No more so than saying that what women say isn’t always what men hear. I don’t find that to be condescending, either.

  24. 24
    Diana

    I hope my comment has not been misconstrued, as there was no negativity intended.

  25. 25
    Joe

    I certainly didn’t read any negativity into it, just some truth.

  26. 26
    Karl R

    JerseyGirl said: (#10)
    “Women don’t want to be with guys that run off with the smallest hint that things won’t be easy. It wasn’t even a big problem, just a little one. Where would he be on the bigger issues?”

    Have you read this advice by Evan’s wife?
    http://www.evanmarckatz.com/blog/advice-from-a-single-dating-experts-girlfriend/
    I think it’s pertinent to your statement.

    You seem to be saying that a man ought to be able to put up with you venting over the little things. If you can’t, he’s not worth much as boyfriend material.

    Most men would say, if she’s regularly going off over the little things, she’s probably not worth much as girlfriend material.

  27. 27
    JerseyGirl

    Karl, you ignored the part of my post where I said that she wasn’t necessarily in the right either for reacting the way she did. Let me qoute it for you:
    JerseyGirl: I m not saying that she should unload on him every second she gets but if she can’t turn to him, then that’s just lame. Lets be honest. None of us are perfect and we all require certain amounts of patience and acceptance. He cut and run with very little reason. She needed communication. He ignored her for two days. Both didn’t handle the situaiton in the best way. Sometimes in relationships you make mistakes.
    I don’t think your boyfriend should be your escape goat for every emotion you feel. However, sometimes it does happen. There are so many things men expect us to just acceot about them.
    And in my eyes, this issue was quite minor compared to the harder things in life. If he is running now, he infact isn’t good boyfriend matieral for her.
    Men don’t want to walk on eggshells around their girlfriends but girlfriends don’t want to have to walk on eggshells about their feelings around their boyfriend either.
    I read the link you provided and I found it interesting. But I also will admit that I dislike how Evan blogs about accepting men for who they are while this blog clearly was telling women to change part of who they are.

  28. 28
    Joe

    JerseyGirl, just one question: do you think it’s possible for you to change the behavior of men?

  29. 29
    Karl R

    JerseyGirl said: (#27)
    “I dislike how Evan blogs about accepting men for who they are while this blog clearly was telling women to change part of who they are.”

    You’re mischaracterizing what Evan says.

    If Evan is talking to you, he will advise you to accept men as they are, and change who you are.

    If Evan is talking to me, he will advise me to accept women as they are, and change who I am.

    The only person I can change is me. The only person you can change is you.

    Most of Evan’s clients are women. Most of the questions he answers are from women. The majority of the people on this blog are women. Therefore, Evan is giving that piece of advice to women more frequently than men.

    When Evan gives that piece of advice, there are two reactions he might get:

    1. I’m right. They’re wrong. They should be the ones to change, not me.

    – or –

    2. I can’t change them. I can change me. I should change myself, or I should accept the situation as it is.

    From what I can tell, you’re in the first set of people. I’m in the second set. If you look at option 2 carefully, you’ll notice that “right” and “wrong” aren’t part of the equation. That’s because they’re an irrelevant distraction.

    I will admit, my ability to compartmentalize makes it easier for me to follow option 2, instead of getting hung up on option 1.

  30. 30
    ladyfabu

    What about the guy who says he prefers text or emails and not phone convos? Granted we did have some issues that were discussed by email and a convo about the possibility, but I have learned to back off, I have a life he does too. Still smarts when you send a brthday message over 22 days ago and it is not acknowledged most men don’t know what they want until after its gone then they have refret! I might add that this person is out of state and into his business so things can be challenging.

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