Sometimes dating seriously blows. You try to go into every situation with reasonably high expectations and an open heart. More often than not, your hopes are dashed and your annoyance levels peak within a few weeks when someone you thought you were getting along with really well just goes AWOL without a trace despite going on and on about how much they liked you. What gives? Why do guys disappear when they supposedly like you?
Why guys disappear when they (claim to) like you
- They’re not 100% sure about their feelings. It’s not like they were lying about being into you. They are — they’re just not sure how much. Sadly, many men aren’t quite as in touch with their emotions as women are, meaning it can take them longer to figure out where they stand. They don’t want to lead you on, but they also don’t want to leave you alone. Going temporarily AWOL often seems like a good option.
- They’re freaking out about how much they like you. Sounds like a bunch of bologna, sure, but it happens. Sometimes guys disappear because they like you too much. If they’re not used to having such strong feelings for the women they’re talking to, it can be overwhelming and a bit scary. They might run away to collect themselves and get their heads together. It’d be nice if they could get their acts together before entering the dating world. A girl can dream!
- They’re commitmentphobes. We’ve all been there. Some guys run in the opposite direction when they realize they like a woman who’s looking for commitment. They’re not, which means they can’t hang around, no matter how into you they are. They’re all over you until things start getting real. Then they can’t hack it anymore.
- They think it will make you like them more. If only these kinds of playground games ended when we left school. This reverse psychology nonsense is immature, ineffective, and kind of annoying. However, many guys truly believe that by completely and utterly ignoring you, they’ll win your affection. Yes, really.
- They’re incredibly insecure in the relationship. Are you a strong, badass woman who’s ambitious, accomplished, and totally self-assured? If a man can’t mirror those qualities, he’s bound to question whether or not he’s good enough for you. If he worries he’s not, he might exit your life without a word. To be honest, you’re probably better off without him. It’s not worth trying to convince him otherwise.
- They haven’t disappeared, they’re just busy. Some guys disappear even when they like you because they don’t have a choice. Yes, we’re all “busy,” but some of us legitimately are. People with high-powered job or a lot of family stuff going on are bound to be a bit distracted. It’s not that they’re playing games, they’re just out of bandwidth.
- They found someone they liked more. This suuuuucks. You’re a top-tier babe, but sometimes guys don’t realize what’s right in front of them. They might go AWOL if you guys aren’t exclusive yet and they’ve been seeing other people. If another connection eclipses yours, for whatever reason, they’re out. Lovely.
- They think you’re not into them as much as they are into you. If you’re someone who knows how to play it cool, don’t be surprised if some guys don’t “get” it. Many men are used to women fawning over them openly. If you don’t do that, they might think you’re not as into them as they are into you. That’s a scary and vaguely depressing thought, so they may head for the hills rather than risk being hurt.
- They’re afraid of rejection. This is an extension of the previous point. It’s not just women who worry about getting hurt. Guys who have deep feelings for a woman they never expected to like so much sometimes disappear in some misguided attempt to protect themselves. It’s really disappointing.
- They haven’t gotten laid yet, and that’s all they were after. They wanted to get into your pants and you weren’t so easily fooled. Since they didn’t get laid, they lost interest. We don’t need to tell you why this is a good thing.
Hold up — are you just kidding yourself?
If you’re particularly cynical or have been through one too many bad dating experiences, you may be wondering if you’re kidding yourself. Are you just making excuses for a deadbeat guy because you like him and are a little bit lonely? Are you giving him the benefit of the doubt knowing deep down he’s a schmuck? You don’t want to waste your time or be taken for a fool. However, you don’t want to be so hard-faced that you rule out a perfectly good dude.
The truth is that every situation and person is unique, so there is no hard and fast rule here. You know yourself better than anyone else. Do you have a tendency towards writing guys off out of an urge to self-sabotage? Or, do you perhaps give men too many chances because you’re desperate for something to work out? Do some self-reflection to figure out where you stand. Guys disappear for a million reasons, and it’s not always because they like you. It’s up to you to decide whether it’s worth sticking around until he returns.
What to do when a guy disappears out of nowhere
- Don’t freak out. We know it’s tempting, but don’t. Is it possible that you’re being ghosted and it’s over? Sure. But you’ve survived that crappy experience before and you can again. However, jumping to conclusions isn’t going to help anyone. Take a deep breath, calm down, and think clearly.
- Hit him up and see if he responds. Guys who like you aren’t going to disappear for good. Again, his lack of contact isn’t necessarily even on purpose. So, send him a text. Keep it light and casual. Ask him what he’s up to, if he watched the finale of “The White Lotus,” whatever. If he responds and chats away, you can pretty much assume it’s all good.
- Be frank about your feelings and needs. When you do have a conversation with him, you’re well within your rights to be upfront with him about your expectations. Let him know what you’re looking for when dating someone. If that’s not something he’s willing or able to offer, you can be on your way.
- Give him space. Guys disappear to do their own thing all the time, and if that’s how they like it, let them have it. Whether he’s got stuff going on or he’s just feeling overwhelmed, let him chill. Don’t crowd him or make him feel smothered. Back off. You’ve got things to do anyway.
- Focus on your own life. It sounds pretty obvious but it’s still worth mentioning. Whether or not you and this guy end up in a relationship makes no difference. Your life still exists outside of him and it deserves your full attention. Hang out with your girls, advance in your career, practice your passions, spend time with your family. You shouldn’t be twiddling your thumbs waiting for him to come back.
When to walk away
- He doesn’t respond to your messages but he’s active on social media. So, you text him to see what he’s up to. So far, radio silence. That wouldn’t necessarily be a big deal, but you see he’s all over Instagram. He’s been posting TikToks for hours and your message is unanswered. That should tell you everything you need to know about the situation.
- You get the feeling he’s not being honest about something. He apologizes for going AWOL and gives you a few weak excuses for what’s been going on. You want to believe him, but there’s a part of you that just doesn’t. If you think he’s being shady about something, trust your gut. It doesn’t usually lead you astray.
- He acts like you’re unreasonable for wanting regular contact. While you can’t expect a guy to be with you 24/7, especially early on, there’s nothing wrong with wanting to be in touch regularly. If he acts like you’re being unreasonable or asking for too much, wave goodbye. He’s not up to being a good partner.
- He doesn’t offer an explanation for what he’s been up to. Some guys who disappear and come back claim they still like you and want to pick up where you left off. However, they never mention what they’ve been doing or why you haven’t heard from them for days or weeks. When you broach the topic, they change it. What’s he hiding?
- You feel like you like him more than he likes you. This is never a good feeling, and even if it’s not true, you’ll never feel comfortable in the relationship. You want to be with someone who’s excited to be with you and who can offer consistency. If he’s not it, be okay with that. The person who can offer you what you need is out there.