You’ve been sending emails back and forth after meeting using an online dating service. Things are going great! The emails are getting more in-depth, you’re sharing more about each other and a first date seems all but certain.
Then they suddenly stop responding. What’s going on?!
One Reader’s Experience with Disappearing Responses
Below is an email I received recently discussing this very situation:
I have been corresponding with someone on a dating site for a couple weeks. We were emailing each other every other day, and he expressed clear interest in me, with compliments, longish engaged emails, even a hint already in the last one he sent that he might want to meet (we live far apart this would be no small feat).
I feel like I did something and I can’t figure out what it is. The last email I sent to him was nearly a week ago, it was rather long (several paragraphs, I was answering all his questions, offering thoughts and new questions, like in a real conversation) and included a couple compliments to him which I had not done before though he was offering them to me. We’ve been conversing about different meaningful subjects, he asked me to talk about them, so it’s not as if I’m beating him over the head with my thoughts. And yet I think I may have overdone it as I haven’t heard from him in nearly a week, though he’s been on the site. I don’t want to come across as obsessive, or bother him, and I want to be pursued rather than chase him on the computer.
What can you recommend I might say/do to regain his interest or just confirm that he’s still interested without seeming desperate? I don’t understand why he would have meaningful conversations with me, even mention he might want to meet, etc. and then just stop responding. What do I do? I’d at least like to have some closure if he doesn’t want to talk to me anymore.
I’m going to try to keep as much as my original reply to this reader in this article however I wanted to point something out: this situation can happen to anyone and it is not uncommon. In this article, I’ll discuss the topic in a way specific to her situation but the advice still can apply to anyone, even if your details differ.
Trying to Understand What Went Wrong (and Why Often Nothing Did)
This is a real guessing game whenever I hear about this situation. I’ll tell you that it’s normally not a great sign mainly because of how easy it is for us to quickly communicate in today’s world and how encouraged we are to do so when we’re interested in someone. When I was excited to talk to a woman I could barely wait to write my next email and actually had to force myself to pause sometimes.
Are Long Emails a Risk?
In this case, I would think it’s unlikely that you did something wrong. When we’re exchanging long emails with one another in online dating, we’ve passed the point where a long email is risky. Long email risky on your first contact? Yes, often it is. However, once the long emails start I believe the (unspoken) social contract has basically been signed and continuing to write long emails it totally acceptable. So the length isn’t something you should worry about.
Can Compliments Scare Someone Off?
The second different you pointed out was that you complimented him. Compliments can go either way. For example, if I wrote a woman said that I thought she was very pretty, that seems safe. If I wrote her and said that I think she’d be a great mother, that often is not fine. Both are compliments but in one case it could scare her off. So I guess it depends on what you were complimenting him on. Often women are very sensitive to avoid scaring guys off when they date online and given some concerns you express in your email along these lines, I would be surprised if your compliments were the problem.
A More Common Explanation
Above, we’ve discussed two possible reasons on why someone would stop responding although honestly we’re starting to inspect the situation with hyper-sensitivity. We’re looking for any possible difference to explain why the person we were talking to disappeared. Your situation will likely vary but my thoughts are generally the same: some tiny detail on the difference in your last email is often not the reason.
So all this talk about what I think isn’t the problem might make you wonder if I have any guesses on what IS the problem. My best guess would be that it is a combination of the nature of online dating and also any areas he may have been concerned about in regards to building a relationship (in this case the distance between the two of you although it could be anything). With online dating it is common (and even encouraged) to be talking to many people at once. A more common possibility for why this is happening could be:
- He really likes you and enjoyed communicating with you.
- He continued to reach out to other women which is common with online dating.
- The distance between the two of you is a concern for him. Again, distance is only one possible reason in the grand scheme of things. For other situations it could be having different religions or beliefs or just something as simple as not feeling a strong connection as quickly as he expected.
- He started talking with another woman who he also liked but lived much closer (or shared his religion or that he connected with quicker or whatever).
- At this point he’s thinking it would be a better bet to try pursuing the woman closer but at the same time he doesn’t want to hurt you so…he just disappears.
Now I’m not saying this is what happened but I think this scenario is more likely the cause than compliments or long emails. There are any number of things that could happen but I do believe that if he wanted to pursue a relationship with you, he would be. Barring a major emergency, a guy is not simply going to stop talking to a girl out of no where (or vice versa). It doesn’t mean he’s lost all interest in you…more likely he has found something that interests him just as much but is more accessible (closer in this case) to pursue.
Responding to This Situation
All that being said, I think it’s very reasonable for you to reach out to him. I wouldn’t recommend a frontal assault though. That is, I would just come out and say “Why did you stop emailing me?!” I would recommend a simple, pleasant email asking how he’s been. Something along these lines would work fine:
How have you been doing? Things have been great here although very busy! (Insert something here discussing some part of your life that you’ve discussed with him in the past that you can give an update on). Well, I hope things are going great.
And honestly, you could send an email like this after a few days. You don’t have to wait weeks. I understand not wanting to come off as obsessive or desperate but honestly an email after a few days is neither of these things.
I think one of three things is likely to happen if you send an email like this:
- He won’t respond.
- He’ll respond but he’ll feel more distant in your communication.
- He’ll respond and apologize for not being in contact.
For the first or second case, that would cause me to believe even more in my theory that he has started talking with someone else. In these cases, I think writing an email requesting some closure is totally acceptable. However, be sure you want to walk down this road. There’s no recovery from an email like this (you’ll be asking questions like “Did I say anything wrong?” or “Can you tell me what happened?”). This email isn’t about saving the relationship anymore, it’s simply about understanding what happened so you can learn for the future.
If, on the other hand, he apologizes for being out of touch with you then there is still a chance but I would be cautious. There is very little excuse for him not to have contacted you, even if only to tell you he was going to be very busy anhttp://www.datingadviceguy.com/wp-admin/post-new.phpd couldn’t communicate much.
We live in a world that makes communicating easy so, even if he does apologize, this whole situation should be counting as a strike against him in your mind and cause you to approach the possibility of a relationship with him with more caution.
Insulating Yourself from this Situation
I don’t have any secret on preventing this situation from happening. It happened to me more than once (twice that I can remember although I know it happened more often than that). While there is no trick to preventing this 100% of the time, there are steps you can take that will cause this situation to matter a bit less.
Specifically, if you’re not already, I think you should be trying to talk to multiple people at once. Many people make the date-a-lot-of-people argument but I make it for a different reason than most. Primarily, it makes these types of situations much easier to handle and they are much less of a bother. You’re more comfortable, you have more opportunities.
Is it ever easy to have someone you like simply drop off the face of the earth? Never. But a full dating schedule definitely lessens the sting. Maybe you already are doing this and that’s great but more than a few of my readers try to treat online dating like old fashion dating (one person at a time) which doesn’t work as well.
At the end of the day, if we’re interested we’re going to respond. When the responses stop, it is often a bad sign but don’t assume you’ve done something wrong. The reasons for stopped communication might simply be out of your control.