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All we do is text

Posted by Meredith Goldstein  October 17, 2013 08:36 AM

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Q:Dear Meredith,

I met a guy through some friends a couple of months ago. His long-term girlfriend had recently broken up with him, so I was obviously tentative at first and was very conscious of the possibility that this would likely turn into a rebound relationship. Nonetheless, he started perusing me, so I went with it. It started off normal -- a handful of dates, some texting here and there throughout the day. He seemed very interested and all the signs led me to believe we were heading in the right direction. He told my friends how much he liked me, told me how he talked to his family about me, introduced me to his friends in a way that made it clear they were very aware of who I was, etc. We got to a point where I would have considered us "dating," although without any title.

Then I started to feel like he was pulling back a little. He was not putting dates on the book as much as I would have liked, but the texting picked up, big time. All of a sudden we were texting all day but not hanging out in person much or at all. He stopped checking in on me on the weekend, which was obviously a major red flag -- you should be interested in a girl's weekend plans if you are into her. He might check in on Sunday, he might not. But sure enough, every Monday morning, there is his text first thing. As a defense mechanism I started to back off completely. He is always first to text and always first to start up a new topic.

This later phase has only been going on for a couple weeks. Of course, I have been doing the typical back and forth in my head about why he started to pull back on seeing me. "He always had to contact me first and make the plans. Maybe he thinks I am the one who is pulling back. Maybe I was paranoid about him pulling back, so I got cold, and he took notice. Maybe he felt like it was getting serious and is not ready for that yet ... but will be eventually if I give him space." But at the end of the day, I know that the right answer is that he is just not that into me.

So I guess my real question is: Why make all the effort to be in contact with me? Why not take the many opportunities I have given him to gracefully fade away? Why send texts, and Gchats, and SnapChats on a DAILY basis? Is this his way of pushing me into the friend zone? Am I some kind of Social Media girlfriend? What is the point?

– Dating in 2013 is Exhausting


A: Why is he contacting you if he's not interested? Because he can. And because he's bored. And because ... texting is an easy way to keep someone around. It's a way to feel appreciated and alive without having to make much of an effort. It's a quick fix for attention (we talked about this earlier this month). I believe that some people get a little high every time they text with someone who likes them.

I'd be curious to know what these texts are about. Does he ask you questions? Or he is just telling you about his life and making observations? If that's all he's doing, you're not even a social media girlfriend. You're like a lone Twitter follower. That's annoying.

If I were you, I'd shut this down by asking him what's going on. You can even do it by text. As in, "We're seeing each other so much less and texting more. Is that your way of letting this go? I can't just text. If we're seeing each other, we have to actually be seeing each other. It's OK if you don't know how you feel just yet -- I'm not sure either -- but I know I don't want a pen pal.”

Get a response so that you don't have any what-ifs. And if he sticks around, feel free to tell him that you'd rather not text. You can always respond, "It's a busy day and I can't text. Want to call me later instead?” It's almost 2014, but I think people still know how to make phone calls.

Readers? Is he into her at all? Why is he texting? What could he be getting out of these texts? Is it possible that she hasn't seemed interested? How can she control this kind of communication? Help.

– Meredith



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ABOUT LOVE LETTERS: Welcome to Love Letters, the place for love advice (giving and getting). Globe relationship columnist Meredith Goldstein and Boston.com readers are ready to take your letters and tell you what's what. Have a question? Click here to submit or email us at loveletters@boston.com.
Blogger Meredith Goldstein

Meredith Goldstein is a Boston Globe columnist who follows relationship trends and entertainment. She offers daily advice on Love Letters — and welcomes your comments. Meredith is also the author of "The Singles," a novel about complicated relationships. Follow Meredith at www.meredithgoldstein.netand on Twitter. Love Letters can be found in the print edition of The Boston Globe every Saturday in the G section.

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