Is He Busy or “Busy”?

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Photo by Anthony Tran on Unsplash

Hey Wendy,

I started dating a guy who divorced six months ago. We went out three days in a row, and the following day he left for a three-day work trip.

I haven’t talked to him since I saw him on Monday. Today is Thursday and crickets. Yes, he is on a work trip, but not even texting.

We got physical, but we didn’t have sex. I said I needed to be monogamous and for someone to protect my heart before having sex. He asked what I meant by that or how to do that and I said I didn’t know and changed the subject. He has had two three-month relationships since separating. He said he is looking for a girlfriend and when the time is right remarriage.

He left his marriage due to a sexless marriage in the end.

My question is does he feel rejected by me and did I handle that conversation badly, or is he just looking for sex or is just not the type to text while traveling? Is it a bad sign that I haven’t heard from him in three days?

Amy Z.


Hey Amy,

Yep, that’s dating alright — thank you for such a vivid, visceral reminder. My heart is with you!

Okay, let’s start with the most important question:

“Is This a Bad Sign?”

The technical answer is “no,” because there are so many variables that I promise to cover here. But I will say that how it’s unfolding is not my favorite. I, like you, would like to see texting, phone calls…you know, wooing, as well as an overall sense that he’s super-excited to connect with you. But let’s keep going for a minute more.

“Does He Feel Rejected and Did I Handle it Badly?”

He might be confused. He likely doesn’t feel rejected, but I don’t know, I’m not him and I wasn’t there. The takeaway here is if he’s wanting to pursue a relationship, he won’t let something like this stop him. If he’s mature and self-aware, he knows how to move past things and/or have a conversation with you about it.

Men, Women, Sex, and Dating

Here’s the thing. I hate to generalize when it comes to gender, but I’ve led hundreds of interviews with men about sex with, “When is the right time to have sex for the first time so that sex turns into a relationship?” And guess what men most often say? “When we’re both ready.” Sound familiar?

Chances are, he can feel if you’re ready but holding out because you think you should. When you weren’t able to answer the question of “What does that look like?” it might have felt like you weren’t sure what it meant, either.

In my research, I’ve found that the majority of women need to feel safe in a monogamous relationship before wanting to have sex and the majority of men need to have sex in order to determine if they can commit to a relationship. It’s a dating conundrum. I’d say figure out exactly — in so many words — what you need in order to get to “safe” with him, and then start that conversation over again. Example of how to begin that chat: “I want to be intimate with you, but I need a few things from you first. Can we talk about it?”

The Three-Day Business Trip

So, a couple of things to know about this three-day stretch. When you like someone, time moves really, really, really slow. Three days is not an unreasonable amount of time without communication, regardless of context. I’d say two weeks is an indication they’re not that into you.

When he’s out of town working, he’s likely focused on work. Thinking happy little thoughts about you from time to time, yes, but working hard. He might be thinking, “I can’t wait to see her when I get back,” and then it’s right back to the grind of the job. This is a common phenomenon, and it truly doesn’t occur to many men that we’re over here sweating and thinking “Just text me already, ugh!”


Does He Really Want to Get Married Again?

If he’s been married and he says he’s looking forward to being married again, believe him. Most men who divorce and say this are married within a year or two. The ones who don’t want to get remarried usually say so with a bullhorn — you kinda can’t miss it.

So, What Now?

If I were in your shoes, I’d do two things:

First, I’d shoot him a little text. I’d show interest but wouldn’t expect anything immediately in return. I’d say something like, “Hey you! I was just thinking happy thoughts about you. Hope you’re having a good week.”

Second, I’d put my scientist hat on, sit back, and see what happens like it’s a science experiment.

What’s he gonna do next?

Is he coming back strong or is he wishy-washy?

Can I tell he’s interested in me, or am I feeling like low-hanging fruit?

Is he busy, or “busy”?

Parting Words

If you bring plenty of “yes, hi, let’s do this” energy and he doesn’t return it, please speak up before you make an assumption and bail. I know it takes real vulnerability to say, “Hey, I really like you, but it seems like there might not be enough interest on your part, so I am thinking of letting you go. Am I reading this right?”

After your text, if he brings the “yes, hi, let’s do this” energy too, then yay! You’re rolling!

Dating is hard, and what you’ve described is super common. This one could definitely go either way. So, whatever happens here, just know the ones who find their love are the ones who don’t quit.

Good luck out there!

.   .   .   .

Wendy Newman is the author of 121 First Dates. She’s a dating, sex, and relationship expert who’s led hundreds of workshops and revolutionized the lives of over 70,000+ women internationally.

You can send a question to the column via email: [email protected]