Deafening silence

by Dating Goddess on February 7, 2011

An interesting man contacts you through a dating site, but he lives several states away. Even with the distance, you decide he’s intriguing enough to get to know. Besides, you’re going to be in his general area in two weeks, and perhaps he’d consider driving to meet you.

You get to know each other via email and phone, talking every few days. The calls are punctuated by frequent laughter. Your emails show caring and interest in each other’s lives. He isn’t daunted by the 2-hour drive to take you to dinner and a jazz club when you’re in his area.

He says he’s nervous to meet you, which you find sweet, yet odd for a confident, accomplished man.

A big grin brightens his face when he meets you and the evening is a fun ebb and flow of sharing personal experiences, philosophies, and laughter. Flirty arm touching and hand holding evolve naturally.

He even whisks you to the dance floor for a romantic slow song, but you are the one who is nervous now because he performs at ballroom dancing exhibitions. He holds you close, cheek-to-cheek, and you sort of freeze, losing any hint of rhythm. He even resorts to counting the beat in your ear — how humiliating! What happened? You’re usually a reasonably good dancer, although not accomplished at ballroom. But he wasn’t asking you to fox trot, samba or waltz — this was just a simple sway-step! But you found the sudden intimacy too much sensory overload.

He seems to overlook your dancing melt down as you return to your table and listen to the rest of the set.

In the car back to your hotel, he asks if you had a good time. “Absolutely!” you respond enthusiastically. “Great company, good music, fun laughter, good food.” He pulls you to him for a brief kiss.

You thank him for making the long drive. In a joking way he says he should take a nap before returning home, asking if you have a couch in your room. “No,” you lie, “But there’s one in the hotel lobby. I’m sure we could get you a blanket,” you continue in a joking tone of voice. If he’s serious, you’re clear you’re not going to have a man you just met come to your hotel room.

“Well, you will invite me to your room, won’t you?” he asks. “I bet they have rooms available if you’re too tired to drive home,” you respond, now incredulous that he thinks you would have him up to your room the first time you met. Was that his expectation — that you’d have sex on the first date?

He drives to the hotel front door. You expect he’ll turn off the car and get out to hug you goodbye. Instead, he keeps the motor running and doesn’t unhook his seat belt. You thank him again, lean over and give him a quick kiss. Then you open your door and enter the hotel.

Back in your room, you email him a sincere thank you, saying you enjoyed your time together. Days pass and nothing from him. He usually responds within hours to your emails. The silence is deafening.

WTF??? Was the dancing incident too much? Or not inviting him up to your hotel room? Or did he realize that the geographical distance was too much?

We women drive ourselves crazy trying to figure out what happened when a man disappears. We have to come to grips with the fact that if a man wants to stay connected to you, he will. If he’s not interested, he won’t. It is so simple, yet we make it hard — at least hard on ourselves.

We need to just enjoy the good times when we’re having them and if we never hear from him again, oh well! His loss. Not worth our worrying and fretting over. Move on. He’s obviously not your “One” if he doesn’t make contact. Keep looking. And have fun while you are.

________________________

Want to know more about what can happen when you’re first dating someone? Get your copy of Dipping Your Toe in the Dating Pool: Dive In Without Belly Flopping.

{ 25 comments… read them below or add one }

Lisa February 7, 2011 at 10:10 am

That is too bad you had to have that disappointing experience. Maybe he thought that the distance alone meant that it could not be a serious relationship and expected something else? It is very frustrating to have a nice time and then be met with silence. This has happened to be over and over after meeting people on line–the silence. It gets very frustrating. I met a man recently for a bite to eat. Afterwards, I sent him what I thought was a nice e-mail offering the idea of staying in touch and I never heard from him. This was even after we had had a discussion about how rude it is for people not to reply. It makes me wonder over and over–maybe I really am doing something wrong.

I have a male friend who thinks I am very unrealistic in expecting a man to tell me he is not interested in going out again. I tell him it is just the mature and thoughtful thing to do if you have met up with somone and had a nice enough time.

I must say I have been very discouraged lately in trying to meet a decent man. I am–and I am sure many of us are–attractive, smart, well-educated, reasonably confident and secure, creative, humorous, adventurous, well-traveled, articulate, kind, loyal, etc., yet by the response, or lack of, one would think I were a psychotic troll. What are these men looing for? I am just exhausted by it all. Women should not have it so hard, but it seems we do. I am personally tired of having nice times that go nowhere. I don’t know what the answer is. It is less demoralizing to not even try to meet someone.

Yvette Francino February 7, 2011 at 4:39 pm

I wrote a blog post about this myself awhile back:
http://singleagainonlinediary.blogspot.com/2010/10/ten-reasons-why-its-not-about-you-say.html

In this case, I would guess it’s about the sex. The guy probably thought a long-distance visit meant freedom for no-strings-attached-sex. When it was clear that wasn’t going to happen, he rudely “disappeared.”

It’s very disappointing when everything seems to be going so well and then someone does that to you, but the fact that someone would disappear with no explanation shows lack of character. A long-distance relatonship would have been hard, but he sounds like he’s not worth it. Pat yourself on the back for avoiding a relationship that would have been troublesome. Unfortunately, way too many women would have slept with the guy first and then had the heartbreak of worrying that the disappearing act was because they weren’t “good enough” in bed…

Karen February 8, 2011 at 4:19 am

Oh that’s too bad. Very common, though. Sounds like he wanted a fantasy, not a relationship. I have met men like that–more in love with their vision of themselves than with anyone exterior to them. Too bad, though.

Katie February 8, 2011 at 7:58 am

The best clues often come from discerning at what point things changed in your evening. This came when you set boundaries. He asked in a couple of different ways — you said No politely in a couple of different ways — and then things changed.

During one dinner, second date, when I asked what the man was looking for in a relationship, he answered “A friend and a lover.” (And I’m thinkin’ not in that order…) My gentle-but-firm reply that ‘lover’ was not on my list of what I was looking for subtly changed the tenor of the evening, as I could sense his disappointment. Never heard from him again.

I try to treat my ‘going nowhere’ dates in the manner in which I’d like to be treated: respectfully, truthfully, authentically, kindly. I agree with Lisa’s man friend that it may be too much to ask that men tell us outright if they don’t want to date further. It takes a fair amount of guts and skill to say “I don’t see a future for us,” when it’s so much easier just to send the “not into you” signs, of which silence would be the major one. I wish it weren’t so.

Julie February 8, 2011 at 1:06 pm

I learned a long time ago that no matter how much fun it is, how nice he is, or…how many times he calls you in the beginning, how many x,y,z’s that are positive you just can’t get a good read on how open and available or truly interested he is at first. Just be a little more skeptical in the beginning and allow them to show you over time. Women read too much in to things and become bitter with the idea that ‘he should have’… why not just try to understand and accept the nature of how men can be in the dating world…

Julie February 8, 2011 at 1:11 pm

“During one dinner, second date, when I asked what the man was looking for in a relationship, he answered “A friend and a lover.” (And I’m thinkin’ not in that order…) My gentle-but-firm reply that ‘lover’ was not on my list of what I was looking for subtly changed the tenor of the evening, as I could sense his disappointment. Never heard from him again.”

Sex is very important to a lot of men, even the men who are looking for a wife!

Richard February 8, 2011 at 2:47 pm

This is another example of how to treat the other person with respect. At a minimum, he should thank you for a nice time, and say that he doesn’t think it will work between the two of you. Never burn bridges if you don’t have to. You never know what the future brings.

“I could sense his disappointment. Never heard from him again.”
“Sex is very important to a lot of men, even the men who are looking for a wife!”

Even if the guy is disappointed, it is not an excuse (unless your dating profile says “hot lady looking for fun”).

“I learned … that no matter how much … you just can’t get a good read … he is at first.”

Guilty. Part of it is the thrill of the hunt. Total infatuation sets in. It takes time to settle into a slower paced long term relationship.

Katie February 8, 2011 at 4:15 pm

Wait. Wait. Richard — your last paragraph is priceless. It brings some things into clarity for me. Would you expand upon those lines, please?

In addition to whatever comes to your male mind when I ask you to expand your thoughts on that: Do you think there is a gender difference in the ability to take it slowly, or slow it down, or conquer the infatuation? And, can the thrill of the hunt co-exist with a slower, gentler, respectful process? And, whose responsibility is it to keep or make things slower, therefore more likely to succeed long-term?

Richard February 8, 2011 at 5:54 pm

“Thrill of the hunt” is a little prejudicial in that it implies that once caught, the thrill is over. That applies to some guys, but not for me. That said, …

What I mean is that I tend to have an infatuation stage, crush, puppy love (hormones), where I will invest 110% into getting to know the lady. If I am not careful, it can border on smothering her. It is ok if there is a reciprocal attraction, and she is not a person that needs her “space”. It is like the “thrill of the hunt” when you first see the prey, and you go chasing it at full speed. Guys will proceed with a singular focus.

I don’t think there is a “gender” difference. Women can get just as infatuated. I think it is an individual thing. Maybe because I have not had that many relationship, that each new one brings a thrill. Maybe when I get up to 100, like DG, I might be more clinical about it.

Yes, the thrill of the hunt can co-exist with a slower, gentler, respectful process. FYI: I think you can be invested 110%, and still be “respectful”. Just like hunting, you run full speed until you get close, then you slowly stalk. It takes self control to keep from responding instantly to an e-mail. You need to feel out the other person, their pace of communication. If they respond twice a day, then don’t send 10 e-mails a day.

Who’s responsibility to slow it down, and thus more likely to succeed long-term? I don’t think “going fast” is necessarily incompatible with “long-term”. I think you need to separate out the relationship junkie from the person looking for a long-term relationship. You can go full speed with a LTR person. I am saying that until you get past the “infatuation stage”, you don’t know what it is like to be with the person for the long-term. It can take months to get past the infatuation stage, even if you are going slow. How is he at remembering your birthday when you are not constantly on his mind, and he is not thinking 2 weeks ahead?

Who’s responsibility? I think it is the person who wants to go slower that needs to slow the relationship down. I think both people should try to watch out for the cues. But when you are looking at the world through rose colored glasses of the infatuation stage, the cues can be easily missed.

If you want to discuss more privately, ask DG for my e-mail address.

Mark February 8, 2011 at 6:05 pm

I get the thrill of the hunt thing too. I think a lot of us like to be swept up in passion. And yes, men like sex and since we tend to be the pursuers we push for it a bit.

But a decent guy will respect boundaries. And a decent guy will email back and say it’s not working, thanks, etc. The disappearing act is weird. I always emailed a woman after a coffee meet and said thanks, but no thanks.

Lisa February 8, 2011 at 6:21 pm

Maybe with this guy I know where I stand before I even meet him: A guy on match and I exchanged a few brief e-mails–I am no longer on there now. We agreed to meet for coffee or something. So he e-mails me back, suggests a night, then asks to reserve the right to reschedule should the weather be good and he decides to go flying. One of his hobbies is flying. He said he had not been able to go recently due to work and weather and needed to get his “flying fix.” The guy seems reasonably interesting, blah blah blah, but I am offended! I already take a back seat to an airplane. Should I even bother? No one has ever made such a suggestion. I swear, sometimes I want the guy who just wants sex. At least it would be some level of interest. All I seem to find via match is apathy/indifference/silence, thus my swearing off it forever. Does this guy even deserve my time?

Brenda February 8, 2011 at 10:12 pm

I agree with several of the posters above – he thought he was going to get some “action” on that first date. I have had a very similar situation happen as well on the first date- and then poof! when I made it very clear I was going home alone.

When a man is interested in getting to know YOU and having a potential relationship with you, a man will continue to pursue you…….those who are out looking for a hot time need to get lost forever :)

And Lisa, no, the man who reserves the right to reschedule for flying time – he’s a n*e*x*t! I agree with you – no playing second fiddle to an airplane.

Richard February 8, 2011 at 10:39 pm

I’m not sure what to think about airplane man. It is a first date, so you should put your best foot forward. Then again, it is a date with someone he barely knows, so maybe his hobby takes priority. It is probably best that he not suggest that night at all. I know a guy where a FWB lady friend asked at the last minute to get together to watch the Super Bowl. He already had plans to watch with his buddies and to party afterward if their team won. Note: The local team is one of the two teams playing, and it would have been awkward to bring her to the party. She was ticked that he blew her off for his buddies. A guy’s gotta have his priorities straight.

Lisa February 9, 2011 at 6:34 am

I think once someone has made plans and committed to someone/something, they need to honor that commitment. What does FWB mean?
I will probably meet airplane man only because he is my last match.com prospect since I am no longer doing it–for obvious reasons. We’ve only exchanged a handful of brief e-mails. I think doing match for too long breeds a definite pessimism and you start to view these “dates” more as time killers rather than pleasures. But still there is no excuse for his remark. I think I will suggest a time and say “I reserve the right to reschedule for a more enthusiastic suitor!” It seems you get either airplane man’s apathy or Sex Man’s disingenous interest. Maybe he’ll invite me to have sex in his airplane!

Dating Goddess February 9, 2011 at 9:21 am

Lisa: FWB is Friends with Benefits.

On the one hand Airplane Man may appear to be insensitive to the impression his comment would have on the receiver — that you aren’t as important as flying weather. On the other hand, he is being forthright and letting you know that he has a passion that takes priority over any other potentially fun activity — including meeting you. So you could appreciate that the man 1) has a passion that isn’t watching sports on TV and 2) he’s comfortable enough with himself (and perhaps you) to be candid.

I’d say give him some grace and meet up to explore what else he has passion for. It might be his interest in wooing you would include taking you for a private tour of your area by air!

Lisa February 9, 2011 at 2:31 pm

Thanks DG. Of course I will give Airplane Man a chance. Since we will be meeting on Valentine’s Day–weather cooperating–I jokingly wrote I would reserve the right to reschedule if he did not plan to bring me flowers, chocolates, jewels, etc. I wrote ha ha! I hope he knows I am kidding. That is the problem–balancing showing too much interest vs. not enough. Sometimes I have probably been “guilty” of the later. I am 48 and have been on my own almost all my adult life. I know how to be alone and on my own and plan my life accordingly. Maybe when I told a recent poofer that I was planning a 2-month long trip this summer, he decided I wasn’t serious about meeting anyone. I will meet Airplane Man and just prepare for his “death”–ha ha, as Yvette humorously said in her blog post explaining what to think when men just disappear. I have come to never trust ardent interest that is shown too quickly. It never has led to anything. So the danger may be coming off as too independent? It’s so hard to know. It should not be so hard. Everyone here deserves so much more than poofers and penis pictures!

Richard February 9, 2011 at 5:57 pm

I get it: First date on Valentine’s Day. Trying to be cute, but also wanting to do his hobby. If I were him, I might have suggested taking you flying. Not sure if that would be considered “safe” with the ladies.

I think the point is: There are things that each of you do that takes priority over being with the other person. Girls night out, meeting of a group, kid’s play, etc. As you grow closer, you rise on the priority list. The fact that you know something on his list displaced you should not be, in and of itself, a deal breaker. What if he suggested a date on a night you were going with friends to XYZ? You declining the invitation is not much different from him saying that he is going flying. Now, if you have been dating for months, and he blows you off on Valentine’s day, then that’s a different story.

“Too much interest” is when you expect to be 24/7 with him from the start. That is smothering, and only works if both persons want it. “Not enough interest” is when you are purposely aloof.

If you like a high level of contact, then suggest a next time to get together (tomorrow). When he counters (Wednesday), then that gives you an indication of how much space he needs. If he starts with Wednesday, don’t purposely be aloof and counter with Saturday unless you have a real conflict on Wednesday, or would really prefer not to see him so quickly.

Be yourself, but be sensitive to the preferences of the other person. The common ground may be where you are more independent, or more attached.

Lipstick and Playdates February 9, 2011 at 7:31 pm

I’ve gone on several dates with guys I suspect were looking for sex. The best was a guy a met via Plenty of Fish back this Summer. He called about 5 days after the first date to ask me out again. While we were on the phone arranging the date and time of our second date, he gets a call on the other line. He says, “Call you right back.” He never called back. Two months later he leaves a voice mail message, “Hi……” The bad behavior of grown men never ceases to amaze me.

Lisa February 9, 2011 at 7:43 pm

My whole thing with the rescheduling thing is that if he commits to a day and time, he should keep his commitment. That’s an entirely different thing from his asking, “Are you free Monday? ” and I say, “No, I have plans to have dinner with a friend. How about Tuesday?” I am not one of those types who break a commitment because something “better” comes along. I would just never think of making a “date” with someone and then saying I might not be able to make it. It’s not like I made an apt. to have the oil in my car changed. My schedule is busy too. If I set aside time to meet him, that is time out of my life too. It just shows a certain disrespect for my time, like those people who always show up late for things. But I am going to give him the benefit of the doubt and never let on my true thoughts and be the charming gracious person that I am–that is if he shows up!

As an aside, I really don’t care about the whole Valentine’s Day thing. It was just a joke. I am not a Hallmark card kind of person.

Kate February 10, 2011 at 8:58 pm

Well, I’ve had plenty of silences – following great email messages back and forth, online chats, phone calls, meetings. I’ve stopped trying to analyse the situation too much or blame the other person. And I most definitely do not take it personally. I just arrange another date. Disappointing? Sure. But if that’s the way that person is and there’s nothing I can do about it. It’s this that makes dating hard work for me – you put effort in and then nothing happens…but I live in hope…and I have a promising meeting this evening!

Julie February 17, 2011 at 6:46 pm

This one – “’Ive gone on several dates with guys I suspect were looking for sex. The best was a guy a met via Plenty of Fish back this Summer. He called about 5 days after the first date to ask me out again”… is the ‘ol keepin you on the back burner while he pursues others that are higher on list….

The guys who email and disappear, they are just wasting your time cuz they aren’t really available for whatever reason.

Mitsy February 18, 2011 at 11:45 am

Upon reading your story, it didn’t end the way I thought it would. I was thrown a curve ball when I read the part about him hinting to come to your hotel room. I thought that the wonderful evening would end and that you’d not hear from him again (like so many online dating meets). However, after reading that he wanted to come to your hotel room, I’d say that the guy was a cad who thought if he wined & dined you, that you’d “pay up” by sleeping w/him. If that’s the case, then he wasted his money then. He could likely find someone who might sleep with him for cash or other favors, but a decent woman like yourself is not up for that. If he never contacts you again, consider it a bullet dodged. Yes, many men are weird, fickle, self-serving & plainly delusional about what is expected in the world of dating. That is why I’m done with online dating. I met too many players who thought nothing of trying to manipulate me for their own gain. I don’t miss it at all. The best advice has been given though; keep looking.

Mitsy February 18, 2011 at 11:54 am

P.S. I agree that sex should be important to both parties, but you don’t talk about that on a first or second date. It really puts the other person on the spot. It’s sort of a given by most people’s standards, but too many men put out sexual innuendos that are inappropriate or in bad taste WAY too soon. If a guy does that, it says that he is looking for sex more than he’s looking to actually find the right person.

Likewise, I am not sure that I would tell someone I wasn’t looking for a lover. Sometimes “silence” on the woman’s end of the conversation is the best response for a statement like that.

Question for the Ladies June 8, 2011 at 8:49 am

I am man who also experienced a deafening silence story. I would like to know what the ladies think about this story. Honestly, I am clueless.

I start a new job and see this attractive woman. See works for a “sister” department and finally I get to work with her on a project. After the project concludes I send her a final email thanking her for her help. I include at the end “I would love share lunch with you some time.”.

She responds the next morning “Sure. What about tomorrow at 11:30 am”. We started going out for lunch. She is divorced and single. So am I. We talk for hours every time. I ask her if she was willing to have dinner. She declines and I respect it. Lunches continue but I want to take it to the next level but nothing works. I A couple of months later I tell her “I am not thrilled that we just ended up as friends.”.

After that everything changed. She never spoke to me again. Un-befriended me on Facebook. When we ran into each other at work, she showed a nasty attitude towards me that even co-workers noticed. She then quit her job.

I know that I ended up in the wrong zone with her but can you offer any explanation for her behavior?

Kaliphornia September 20, 2011 at 3:53 pm

Like some others have said, my take on it also is that the guy was hoping for some casual booty call action. It’s so hard to read some people! Maybe this guy things the laughing and talking and connecting are really just hoops he have to just through in order to get you into bed. Lame!

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