We’d been dating for a month and I really liked him. He had all the qualities I’d been looking for in a guy and we had amazing chemistry. There was just one thing that worried me. I always texted him first — he never initiated contact with me. It made me wonder what would happen if I just stopped bothering, so I tried it. It played out pretty much exactly how I thought it would (but hoped it wouldn’t). Here’s what happened and why you should stop texting first too.
What happened when I stopped being the one to reach out
- I didn’t hear from him for a week. I’d always felt nervous when I didn’t hear from him because I really wanted to talk to him, so I’d go ahead and initiate contact. Without my effort, he took a whole week to get in touch. It showed me just how far down I was on his list of priorities.
- He asked why I’d been so quiet. He had the nerve to ask me why I hadn’t been in touch. Um, maybe because he’s a total jerk who’s been wasting my time? Geez. It’s funny how when I stopped making an effort, that’s when he realized he was missing something from his life.
- He liked being chased. I hadn’t realized it at the time, but I’d been chasing this guy — hard. I wouldn’t go a maximum of two days without getting in touch. It was ridiculous and he’d been lucky enough to have me there without having to lift a finger. He never actually moved those texts to something more because he just wasn’t into me enough. Taking time away from him showed me that loud and clear.
- I’d been the queen of pathetic texts. Reading through old text conversations I’d shared with this guy had made me cringe. I’d been the queen of “What are you up to?” texts, which made me look so desperate and which I’d regularly sent when he’d go AWOL. A lot of the time, I’d been the one trying to keep the conversation going when he’d already checked out of it. No more of that crap!
- I decided to give him what he gave me and nothing more. It was a tough one but I decided to talk to him only after he initiated contact. I also started communicating like he did. For example, he never said that he was looking forward to seeing me when he made plans to hang out, so I stopped doing that. I cut out all those smiley-faced emoticons he avoided and texted one-word answers sometimes, just like he would. Texting in his way showed me just how little he’d been giving me — and I’d been accepting it.
- He was chilled while I was chasing. I’d been putting a lot of work into our conversations to keep us connected, but I was a one-woman show. He was so relaxed and really just going with the flow. He noticed I wasn’t around anymore when I cut contact, but it took him seven days to get in touch, so it’s not like he’d felt a hole in his life. He didn’t give a crap.
- I stopped replying to his messages. It was a huge wakeup call, so I decided to cut all contact again — even if he messaged me first this time. It was really hard. He’d send me a really sweet message and I’d force myself to ignore it or switch my phone off and leave it at home to prevent myself from being tempted to reply.
- He pulled out all the stops. It sounds nuts, but he stepped up in a big way when I stopped talking to him and replying to his texts. He even called me a few times, which I ignored. He was only interested in having me around now that he was afraid he was losing me, and sadly, I fell for it.
- I believed his lies. I thought maybe he’d learned his lesson and was going to try to be a better person, that maybe he’d realized just how much he liked me and would make more of an effort. The sad thing is that a guy who’s hurt a woman and gets her back doesn’t change — he only learns that he can hurt her and get away with it.
- The cycle repeated itself. I started texting him again and he showered me with attention for a few days. Then, he was back to his old tricks, taking ages to reply to my messages or not bothering to get in touch when he didn’t feel like it. Ugh, it sucked, but I was angrier at myself than at him.
- I broke it off for good. I learned my lesson with this shady guy, so I cut off all contact and this time I stuck to my plan. It was ridiculous to stick around accepting crumbs from this guy because I deserved much more than what he was giving me. Without the distraction of his texts, I could finally focus on my life without him and put my energy into relationships and activities that were healthier for me.
- Taking a step back is so important and I’m glad I did it. Sometimes relationships can look very different when I’m in them than when I take a step back and look at them objectively. Doing that with this guy showed me what I was really dealing with and how much of a time-waster he was so I could finally dump him for good.
If you’re always the one to reach out, here’s why you should stop texting first
My little experiment really opened my eyes to the fact that I was enabling this guy’s bad behavior by always reaching out first. Not only that, but I was selling myself short and wasting valuable time and energy by clinging on to someone who was telling me in many ways that he just wasn’t into me (or not enough to actually do anything about it).
Now that I’m on the other side of that experience, I feel like I’ve learned some really valuable lessons about guys and love that just might help you out if you find yourself in a similar situation. Here are a few reality checks you should give yourself the next time you’re double- or triple-texting a guy you haven’t heard from in days.
- If he was interested, you’d hear from him. This really is the bottom line. A guy who really likes you and values the time you spend together and your presence in his life will be reaching out on a regular basis. It doesn’t matter if he’s really busy at work or has “a lot going on right now.” He’ll find a few minutes to send a quick message, even if it’s just a “hey, swamped right now – how are you doing?” text. If you’re not getting that (or you’re the one who has to check in first), that sends a clear message.
- You’re setting a really bad precedent. If you’ve always texted first and his only responsibility has been replying when he can actually be bothered to, you’re setting up an incredibly unequal dynamic. You’re basically showing him that you’re fine putting in all the effort and that you can carry the weight of the conversation and your relationship as a whole with the bare minimum of input from him. Do you really want to live like that?
- He’s not adding anything to the relationship. Further to the above point, what exactly are you getting out of a relationship with a guy who only speaks when spoken to and doesn’t seem all that jazzed about hearing from you? That can’t possibly make you feel happy, appreciated, or desired. It’s as much use as watching paint dry. You need to move on before you lose any more of your time and dignity.
- He’s taking you for granted. Because you’re always the one who reaches out first, he starts to get used to that dynamic and he assumes that you’ll always do it. He takes your effort and interest for granted because he hasn’t done anything to earn it and has to do even less to maintain it. You’ll always feel unappreciated because in reality, you are.
- He obviously has other things (or people) on his mind. If he can’t be bothered to reach out to you first, it’s clear that he’s occupying his time with other things or even other women. You can’t expect to be the center of anyone’s world, that’s fair enough, but it literally takes five seconds to type out a quick text message. If he can’t be bothered to do that, you have to wonder what he is bothering with.
- He doesn’t respect you or your time. You have a lot going on in your own life. Chances are, you have an amazing career (or are working towards having one), a supportive and loving family, a great group of girlfriends, hobbies and passions you adore… In other words, you’re not just sitting around twiddling your thumbs, desperate to talk to this guy. The fact that you take time out of your day to check in with him because you like him is valuable, and given that he can’t do the same, it’s clear that he doesn’t respect you or your time. You deserve so much better than a guy like that.
As tempting as it is to keep hoping for a breakthrough, you need to stop. His lack of reaching out is telling you exactly how he feels. And frankly, it isn’t good. You’re not going to change his mind or wear him down. Why would you want to? You’re incredible just as you are. Not only that, but there’s a guy out there who won’t wait for you to text him first. He’ll get to you before you even have the chance.