When Is it A Fair Amount of Time for a Guy to “Know” That He Wants You?

Hi Evan,
I just found your website and wish I’d read it YEARS ago… Really appreciate your insight and honesty. And everything you say makes sense! My question is this: I take on board all of your “he’s just not that into you”reasoning, and also your comments on how to tell if a man is truly interested (calling, making plans, etc.) My problem, historically, is that if I really genuinely like a guy (which sadly does not happen that often,) I expect these things to happen right away. I get frustrated if I feel he’s not doing those things, and rather than make what is usually the classic girl mistake of calling/texting him all the time, I decide I’m about to get hurt and “freeze” him out.

I did this recently with a guy I was really smitten with. We’d only known each other 3 weeks, kissed once, had 2 “dates” alone… But, because I didn’t hear from him for 5 days, I went super cool on him, defriended him from Facebook, etc…

A few weeks on now, the red mist has cleared. I think I wanted too much too soon and just wish I’d sat back, played it cool, and followed your advice on mirroring! He still sends me occasional friendly texts – which so far I answered but then cut short before they get into “conversation.” Can I turn this around and “start again” if the opportunity (or another text) materializes? At what point do the rules of “He’s Just Not That Into You” kick in?

With thanks, from girl with a bruised heart,


Thanks for the kind words, Terri. Sorry to see you have regrets, but, as I just read on a friend’s Facebook page the other day, “If you don’t have regrets, you haven’t lived your life to the fullest.” I’m not sure I agree (frankly, I think if you HAVE regrets, you haven’t lived life to the fullest,) but that’s not really the point.

What did you actually GAIN by cutting him off entirely?

Ready for Lasting Love?
Ready for Lasting Love?
Ready for Lasting Love?
Ready for Lasting Love?

The point is that making mistakes is part of living and no one lives an error-free existence.

And, make no mistake about it: you botched this one by pulling the overly emotional girl act.

What for? Think about it for a second: what did you actually GAIN by cutting him off entirely?

That’s right. Nothing. Your “defriending” was pure ego.

I get it; I just “defriended” someone who was rude to me at my high school reunion last month. It was my way of saying, “fuck you” to her. The difference is that she’ll never notice, whereas the man you were seeing will definitely pay attention.

Yet somehow, Terri, your undaunted guy continues to send you friendly texts. And somehow, despite your previous experience of being cold to an interested guy, you continue to be cold to him — cutting short the texts before they turn into conversation.


This guy likes you and you’re doing everything in your power to stop him. I suppose you can mount an argument that playing aloof is keeping him interested, but you’re missing the most important part of mirroring, as outlined in Why He Disappeared.

You’re supposed to do what he does!

So if he takes 5 days to call you back, you can get back to him in 5 days.

And if he says I love you first, you say I love you back.

And if he writes you a long, warm text message, you respond to him in kind.

That way, you’re never pushing him away with neediness, and always keeping the door open for possibility.


(My original piece on mirroring is here — and links to a half dozen blog posts about non-committal guys, so have yourself a field day.)

Have the confidence and patience to let things evolve at an organic pace.

Really, Terri, this drama is entirely of your own making. Because if you simply sat back and waited for him to reveal himself in his actions, guess what? He would have called you after 5 days, you would have had an amazing 3rd date, and, chances are, at this point, you’d already be boyfriend/girlfriend.

More importantly, if he did NOT step up to the plate to make the effort necessary to be your boyfriend — if he did NOT call more than once a week for 2 months — if he did NOT talk about exclusivity or a future — if he did not make you feel that your relationship was escalating, voila, you have your answer. No need to throw a fit, or bitch him out, or “unfriend” him on Facebook.

When a guy isn’t doing what you want after a reasonable amount of time — 2-3 months at the longest — the best thing to do — the ONLY thing to do —  is wish him well and find another guy. It’s really quite simple.

Your big takeaway from this post should be to have the confidence and patience to let things evolve at an organic pace. You may be used to diving into relationships and having instant passion, chemistry and commitment. I also can make the safe prediction than none of those relationships have lasted. So please, give a guy a break for not knowing if you’re his girlfriend (much less wife) after a few weeks.

I have one client now who has met a guy twice and she’s very frustrated that he’s not yet her “boyfriend”. I’ve got another who has had 4 dates in 3 weeks and feels the same way. “He should be more excited about me! He should be telling me he loves me!”

No, he shouldn’t. Every time a guy has ever told you he loves you in 3 weeks, the relationship’s burned out. Maybe this time has a better chance of being for real, because you’ve both taken the time to evaluate each other instead of committing first and figuring out your compatibility later.

This is the central message of Why He Disappeared and if this blog post hit home for you, I encourage you to check it out here.