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?



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.

Join our conversation (54 Comments).
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  1. 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.

  2. 22

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

    That’s perfectly condesending Joe.

  3. 23

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

  4. 24

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

  5. 25

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

  6. 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?
    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.

  7. 27

    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.

  8. 28

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

  9. 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.

  10. 30

    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.

  11. 31

    In the beginning of any relationship “less history, more mystery!!”

  12. 32

    @Mara your comments struck a nerve, my boyfriend is always asking for reassurance in our relationship. He also easily bored, and then he says he’s depressed. And recently he was laid off, and he misconstrued his relationship with his boss, expecting that his boss wouldn’t do this to him as they were ‘friends’. I just want to shake him and say “GET OVER II”. I believe it is a sign of a mature person to have realistic expectations in a relationship. Falling in love is grand, your partner staying in love with you requires …. self restraint.

  13. 33

    I read somewhere – it currently escapes me – that a smart woman will not even have a guy she’s dating as friend on FaceBook (or other such social media) or on any of the intant messaging programs, because it provides too much temptation to check up on him and see who he’s talking to, what he’s doing, or to initiate contact when she is feeling emotional.   Seems like a sound policy to me.    

  14. 34

    Hi Roberta,
    in my opinion the biggest problem is actually that it was you who was making so much efforts and contacting him every day instead of it being the other way round. I am speaking from personal experience as few year ago after I had separated from my husband and not having that much experience with dating which includes the usage of mobile phones, I too made the mistake of texting a guy too much (sadly I had kept in touch more than he did) and as a result that eventually drove him away. I was very upset at the time but now when looking back I know he wasn’t the one for me anyway as he was only interested in occasional booty call. The lesson I have learned from this experience and from dating books and newsletters is that even though that it can be very frustrating not being able to do anything and only be able to wait, men hate being pursued by texting, emailing or calling, they prefer to be the one who is in charge when dating is involved and that is the way it is am afraid. Or at least that is the way I see it. Hope this helps at least a little.

  15. 35
    saint stephen

    @ starthrower68 #33

    What is wrong in a lady initiating contact with her boyfriend when she is feeling emotional? whats the essence of having a boyfriend then? I’m a very busy person yet my girlfriend does that all the time, still i didn’t kick her away.
    at least i knew what i was up for before entering the relationship.

    Such emotional needy character has to do with the persons upbringing so you can’t change them, is either you love them the way they are or you leave them.

    The problem here which every one has failed to realize is that the guy in   this scenario do not love her sufficiently to be able to put up with the communicative/emotional/needy attitude.

  16. 36

    You should of have   just texted him twice and left it something that shows you’re not completely heartless. By you texting him you kind made him think your needy and can’t life without him.   I have spoken to many people about this the best thing is to leave it be. Do you want him to think you can’t live without him. Stop texting him and show him you can if he texts you be casual if he doesn’t then you know he’s not for you. Let him miss you, let him wonder why you stoped and if he really wants to know watch him chase for answers. P.s. agree with Mara that i have friend like that and i see her actions so i put myself in the guys shoes and I agree with jersey girl we can get swept up in emotions when texting a person but no matter what I have learnt it’s not worth losing your dignity and being known as the girl who was clingy for answers

  17. 37

    I’m just as guilty with this and probably have scared guys off. It’s best to wait for a response and if you don’t get one, don’t stress over it.

  18. 38
    Chris du Toit

    My wife sends me on average 850 text messages a day. I have to report my every move all the time and if something just sounds out of order a bit I get accused of all kinds of monstrosities. When I am eating a meal, obviously I cant answer her fast enough, and i will get accused that I love food more than her and I have to send pictures to prove that I am eating. If I argue she uses text messages to threaten with suicide. I wish this curse was never invented.

    1. 38.1
      Karmic Equation

      She’s crazy. Probably as hot as she is crazy, which is why you married her.

      You get what you pay for. HA!

      Seriously, if you love her, and don’t think she will boil any bunnies if you suggest it, ask her to consider going to a therapist. 850 text messages (or even 85 messages if you’re exaggerating) — is uncalled for…unless you cheated on her before and she needs the reassurance. But even then, 85 is still excessive, and therapy is in order…for both of you. For her, to get over her insecurity. For you, to know how to establish better boundaries.

      I hope you don’t have children. If you don’t, DO NOT start a family until her underlying mistrust is dealt with. If you already have children, her behavior is not a good model for your children to witness. Get to therapy sooner than later, for the sake of the children.

      Best of luck to you.

  19. 39
    Jo Pinto Palomino

    Never bombard someone with a daily email, then texts, then phone calls because you will drive them insane. Let him contact you. You have made the mistake of saturating his life with your constant contact…what do you expect him to say? Poor bloke probably ran out of conversation topics and wondered whether he was dating a control freak.

  20. 40

    Oh.I’m a guy and totally made this mistake..really disappointed in myself…looked through my texts and confirmed I was a text stalker…and she was the one courting me, totally awesome lady and such a loss of a opportunity…..really bummed out..but what gets me is, if it happened to me, I would be straight up and tell the lady, I’m into her but to slow down..patience pays off…

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