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

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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. 41
    Charles

    The lady had   a surgery and even though she said I’m not bothering her….looking back, she should never have had to say it…..here she is, in pain and misery, trying to recuperate from a back surgery and I text her almost every day to other day to see hows shes doing..3 days in icu…my god, I was so clueless! I guess when you’re in the excitement, some people aren’t focused on the proper way to act…

  2. 42
    The Truth Hurts

    I’m not sure why you agreed to wait to have sex after   knowing him for 1,825  days.   Unless we were both virgins or had some irreversible disease sex would seem like a natural progression.   You’re schedules already limit the amount of time that you spend together, so the last thing that he wanted to hear was your venting about your rough day.   I found that to be selfish on your part.   Filling his headspace   with your   stress does not count as quality time.   It is a low form of conversation that involves you talking and him listening.   Who really wants to hear about office/job drama in person let alone over text?

    BTW

    Another piece of advice you may want to adhere to is to know that most guys do not know if they want to be with you until after they sleep with you.   Let that sink in.

    There isn’t a need to send several text messages of anything other than you wanting him to to focus his attention on you.   By rule only text or call to agree to meet in person or to arrange a meet up that day or for another day.   Manage your time better on your own or find a hobby.

    He did not need to apologize to you but he did and you compounded on your disapproval of   him already feeling low for being honest with you by adding those other remarks.   If he is not texting you, stop.   There is such a thing as abusing his attention of you.   When he gets off of work he doesn’t need to feel like he let you down.   I’m sure you didn’t apologize to him for insisting that he pay you attention when I’m sure he was not in the mood to hear about your day.

    If you end up in a relationship with this guy and I hope that you don’t, learn to deal with him and not how you feel.   You seemed to be moved more by him bringing you a dead rose than acknowledging his peace of mind.

    1. 42.1
      AllHeart81

      The Truth Hurts – I don’t think it’s great advice to basically tell women they should be sleeping with guys so *he* can decide if he really wants her for the long haul. Women don’t want to be used for sex. Or does how women feel about this not factor into the equation at all? Instead, it should exclusively be about what men need from you before actually proving their own worth?

  3. 43
    BS

    The problem was NOT her. If he doesn’t communicate very well, if his long day trumps her frustrations – he’s not interested in listening about how she feels – he is not the partner that is going to meet her needs. Throwing around words like “stalker” when they’ve known each other for 5 years is ridiculous. The man in question, and possibly you o wise advice giver, is the kind of tiresome, insincere flake that women should and would run from.

  4. 44
    willowthewhisp

    Well I hate it when men come on strong in the beginning. Acting far to comfortable, treating me like someone they’ve known for years…before we’ve even met it is really creepy and puts me off them very quickly.

     

    I recently ditched a dude I met online, we had been chatting for a few weeks, he kept sending me weird videos off his house, him dressed up in wigs trying to be funny, random pics from shops, pics off his son, voice recordings, endless whatsapp messages, wanting to chat on Skype for hours every night,   talking about problems with his ex wife and son, getting moody when I couldn’t come meet him (he lived 156 miles from me, I have plans), telling his friends about me, calling me a weirdo and a dick for telling him I wasn’t interested in chatting to him anymore and that I found his behaviour unnacceptable, verbally abusive and creepy.   I blocked him in the end.

    Does that make me poor girlfriend material for not pandering to his needs earlier on? I think not.

    I think the guy in response to the OP was right to move on. Who needs a clingy desperado. Lifes to short.

  5. 45
    Cathy

    I have learned by recent painful experience that sending multiple long texts is a turnoff because when I do this, he does not reply.   He and I have dated casually and communicated mostly via text over 2 years now.   He usually initiates contact, and last month (April 2016) I was very busy with my work (I’m a freelance book editor) and he texted me after a 19-day gap of no communication, asking how I am, etc.   I did not reply, and he texted me 2 days later, asking me to please text him back.   I didn’t (actually I didn’t check my phone), so the next day he left a voice message.   Then I sent him a series of long texts describing my work, etc. (nothing gushy or romantic), and I have not heard from him since then, which was 2 weeks ago.

    1. 45.1
      Victoria

      Cathy that makes no sense!! Ugh. I’ve learned that when the send texts, they want to keep it short. So, it should be back and forth, little sound bytes- take the time to think about your answer, trim it so it’s not stream of conscience; you should be building together.

  6. 46
    Ray M.

    What disturbs me is that we reside in a culture that just doesn’t respect the fact that some people do not like texting, period. I would rather talk on the phone, or if something is super important, meet in person. I do NOT own a smartphone. I only own a cell phone with a pull out keyboard that is hard to type on with my arthritis and fibromyalgia. I do not carry my cell phone around with me all the time. I was upfront with my g/f about this at the beginning of our relationship. I have a right to work, pick the best head of lettuce at the grocery, or work out at my gym without a text asking me about what i was doing, and her getting pissed because i didn’t answer in 2 minutes. I don’t want to be in a relationship like that. As a famous supreme court judge once said, we all have a right to be left alone at times. Do not get me wrong. If my g/f had leukemia or if her dad were on his death bed, I would probably be monitoring that phone constantly. But so much texting that goes on is about nonsense. I cannot read a cell phone without reading glasses, and I often do not have reading glasses on me. I have enough stuff in my pockets. I don’t know. I just think it’s stupid.Having some separation in a relationship makes for a stronger bond because you really look forward to seeing each other. And the stuff you talk about is more substantial than what you are eating for cereal.

  7. 47
    Madi

    No. I never comment on things but this is terrible! I will admit if you are looking to casually date or hook up or whatever, yea, follow his advice. But your soulmate? The man you are supposed to marry? Should never treat you like that. The man you marry should become your best friend. If you both want and agree on space or time alone or whatever that’s fine. Every relationship is different and I respect that. But you were treated terribly! If you guys had a usual routine of emailing or calling daily, you have every right to be concerned, hurt, and upset when he doesn’t contact you for 2 days. You were friends with this man for 5 years! You would have thought you knew him by then. You had every right and more to express yourself to him through whatever means you were comfortable with. You were left completely in the dark by him and after sharing what you thought was a mutual connection, it would be extremely hurtful to be treated like that. I don’t care if you met him a day ago or if you’ve been with him for 10 years, you should never, ever be made to feel like you can not safely express any and all of your emotions to this person, especially concerning your relationship with them. I have been with my soulmate for a while now and I can tell you that there are men out there who are so much better than that. My boyfriend is my best friend in the whole world. We have been inseparable from the moment that we met. I have always, always been 100 percent completely honest with him about ALL of my emotions. And he has taken that honestly with not only understanding but THANKFULNESS. Because my vulnerability is a gift. I have always been honest with people. Most people, yes, you do have to sugarcoat things or leave truths out or not tell them things and that’s completely normal. But if you are looking for a life partner? No. None of that. They accept all of you or none of you. For the first time in my life, with this man, I allowed myself to be seen completely, to be completely vulnerable and honest and to share all of me, and every new piece of me I gave him was accepted with nothing but love and understanding. Even the “ugly” bits or the bits I was made to feel like I was “crazy” or “too much” for others. You are not any of those things. You deserve that kind of love. Where you can bring all of yourself to the table. My boyfriend has hurt me in the past, as in all relationships. But I was honest. I communicated my feelings. I told him everything. And we learned and we grew and every day we are learning and growing together. Do not feel ashamed for expressing yourself. Ever. Do not shrink yourself down for any man or any person. The right one will accept you and love you for everything you are. You have a universe inside of you. Do not make yourself small. This has been long and I know there’s virtually no chance of you reading this, but, if you are, I wish you all the best. You will find the right person some day. Until then, stop doubting yourself. Unless you are manipulating, abusing, or hurting anybody, you are valid. You are good, girl. You did nothing wrong. Do not doubt yourself to the point you have to ask some “dating coach” if you made a mistake. Expressing your feelings is NOT a mistake.

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