I’ve discovered that I run into the same anxiety when I start dating a guy, and it’s fueled by how much is too much or not enough texting.
It’s always the same thing. After I start talking to a guy in a dating app and we move the conversation over to texting, we text non-stop, all day, every day. We text get to know you questions, how’s your day/how are you questions, what did you eat for lunch questions, everything! I always find myself texting this person throughout the day about every little detail of our lives.
Of course, this texting dwindles and I can feel myself go into panic mode because 9/10 my intuition is right, and I can feel this person becoming less interested in me. I can tell the end of the relationship is drawing near.
I’ve started dating a guy about a month and a half ago and the same thing is happening. We went from texting every second until about the 3rd date, to hardly hearing from him, and we are on our 5-6 date. I only get texts from him now when we are setting up a time and place to meet.
He is still showing interest in seeing me, he told me he wants to meet up next week, but I’m sure I won’t hear from him until then. He did just start a new role at work that I know he’s stressing about, but deep down inside I know that if a guy likes me, he will want to text me...right?
Believe me when I say I’m trying to stay cool, calm, and collected about it and not send out some crazy text about why I hardly hear from him anymore. My question is, is this drastic change in communication something I should be worried about? And how much is “too much” or “not enough” texting when you begin to date someone?
Jenny — San Francisco
What I’m about to say I say with great love and in my big sister voice: You’re expecting too much. Waaay too much! And it’s not you that’s causing men to drift, it’s your desire for overcommunication.
“…but deep down inside I know that if a guy likes me, he will want to text me…right?” Wrong.
So, before I tell you what’s really happening here, I just want to say that I get it. When you’re in a brand-new (like within-two-years brand-new) dating situation, you want to text with him every second of every day because you crave that connection with him. It makes you feel safe, special and thought of. You get a massive hit of dopamine flushing through your system every single time a new text comes in and you hear that special notification ding—I get it. You want and need this kind of high.
But dudes don’t.
Connection and attention are what makes the feminine thrive.
Uninterrupted time to focus on goals and produce results is what makes the masculine thrive.
The struggle is real.
When you first meet someone new and you go out on a few dates, you can and should expect to:
- connect with each other to plan a date (bonus points if he initiates and leads if that’s your preference)
- both be on time for the date (bonus points if he’s early)
- have fun on your date
That’s it. When you’re new, he owes you nothing in between dates. He doesn’t need to check on you, see how your week is going, try to get to know you more—nada. That’s a boyfriend’s accountability list, not a new date’s. He has not yet signed up for the boyfriend role and thus for that level of communication.
Anything you get beyond scheduling-dates communication is 100% bonus.
So why is all this texting happening then, you ask? When two people meet, it’s exciting and mysterious, and uncertain, and it all could fall apart at any second (risk is hot!) So connecting by text multiple times a day is something some men will get into and have fun with at the start. (Especially if you’re cute and charming and there’s been sex or a hint of it sometime in the near future.)
But once you’ve both established that you’d like to keep seeing each other, he can now take a breath and turn his attention back to his life, and his work. His coworkers are probably relieved because he’s gotten fuck all done in the last few weeks (oops, his bad).
And just like we’ve always feared, yes, it’s true: Once we’re “caught,” they don’t try as hard. But this doesn’t mean you should play hard-to-get. And it doesn’t mean he likes you any less. When he stops reaching out to you as often, consider the possibility that this is a good thing. It means he’s turned a large part of his focus back to his life for you. It’s really hard to build a life with someone when you’re jobless because you got fired for not paying attention to your work.
Context-shifting is a real thing, and it’s harder for men than it is for women. Shifting from texting him to diving back into whatever work project you’ve got going on is relatively easy—you can multitask. Not so quick for the guys out there. Even a small distraction like a text can take them out of what they’re doing for a good twenty minutes sometimes.
So, my hot tip for you is to chill. If you’re noticing you’re focusing too much on him, go get a bigger life! Reach out to your friends, volunteer at the local animal shelter, do a puzzle, tackle that vision board, or chip away at your to-do list of projects you’re not getting to. Enjoy your own life, and when you do make time to see him, be happy you’re hanging out.
This only works if you’re seeing him at a frequency that’s reasonable for you. Are you getting together at a frequency that meets your baseline of “enough”? If you can’t get enough time and attention from him in real time, you can say something like, “I have enjoyed dating you, but I’m not sure we’re a good fit. For my desire for connectedness to be met, we’d need to see each other (number) of times a (week/month/year). It doesn’t seem like your schedule allows for that. What do you think?” Then hear him out and see if you can make a new deal before you bail.
Okay, good luck out there! And remember, it never gets as hot as it was in the start again, so try to enjoy the newness even though it’s nerve-racking!