One of the most difficult things to contend with when you’re dating is trying not to get downhearted when you don’t hear back from someone who you thought you had a connection with. You know how it is – you go on a date and you seem to both hit it off. You’re laughing, joking, and there’s talk of you both meeting up and you may even share a kiss. In some instances, the person will really add fat to the fire by not only saying they’ll call, but being specific and saying ‘I’ll call you tomorrow’, or ‘Are you free this weekend?’

And then…tumbleweeds…nothing. A day goes by, then three, then a week. Maybe you called and got the ‘I’m really busy at the moment’, or you sent a text and got a short reply, or you got an email explaining how they’re so busy, but either way, things don’t progress.

“I don’t get it! He himself said he had a great time and he went to so much effort, so I don’t get what happened for him to suddenly change his mind! WTF?”

“She said that she hadn’t enjoyed herself so much in ages and that her friends were gonna love me when she introduced me, and next thing you know she’s saying I’m nice and everything but she’s not sure we’d get on in the long run and that her ex wants her back. This is the same guy that left her brokenhearted to shack up with some woman from his office.”

“He told me he’d had an amazing time and that he’d call me the following day. The next time I heard from him was three weeks later acting totally normal and expecting me to ‘hook up’ with him. Telling me some sh*t about how he’s been busy.”

Here’s the thing: Dates are tricky situations.

Guys in particular can be very focused on ‘giving you a great time’ even though they already know that they are unlikely to pursue anything with you.

They shift the focus from impressing you with a view to more dates, to showing you a good time so that you don’t think that their entertaining skills are poor or that they’re a bastard.

I know from personal experience that I haven’t wanted to appear mean, hasty, or even worse, get caught up in a situ that involves me having an uncomfortable discussion.

Let’s be real – both sexes don’t like uncomfortable moments in dating. If you said ‘No actually. I had a really good time but I just don’t think I’m that into you…’ the other person would feel rejected and may even ask ‘But why?’

I have found particularly with the in-need-of-an-ego-stroke-out-to-get-what-he-can kind of guy, that they’re averse to putting themselves in the front line of trouble where it may endanger the possibility of not getting an ego stroke/shag/shoulder to lean on and also have them looking ‘bad’.

If you’ve ever found yourself realising that the guy you thought you had an amazing chemistry with that you thought you were seeing again was actually a one night stand, this centres around much of the same thing.

But at the end of the day, I think what concerns me is how long we can end up dwelling on dates that don’t progress.

Don’t get me wrong, I know after more bad dates and assclowns than I care to dwell on, that it can become pretty tedious after a while, but at some point we have to ask ourselves why we would give weeks or even months of airtime worrying about someone that faded out after one date or a few dates?

The idea of dating is to have social interactions with another person with a potential view to moving it up a gear into a relationship. In an ideal world, people would date because they’re looking for a relationship…but…as many of you have already discovered, people date for a variety of reasons – clocking up numbers in the great ego stroke, lonely, looking for a shag, trying to get over someone by getting on someone else, having fun, and all sorts.

If you imagine you meet each other, at this point you will both form a perception of each other. The dates that follow are like a series of checks and balances on whatever you thought could potentially exist between you both when you first met.

This is why it is important to have boundaries and recognise red flag behaviour and acknowledge and process the information to see whether what you think things are still stands…or needs adjusting.

There are all sorts of reasons why someone may choose not to pursue further dates. It’s annoying, horrible even at times, but certainly in the early stages, I have to question how emotionally invested you should be in someone you hardly know?

After all, in order for a relationship to really progress, you need to get into reality, so holding onto the illusion is really more about holding onto whatever you thought might happen to you and your life and how you might feel as a result of that person.

So here’s the deal: People don’t call back because they don’t want to pursue anything with you.

It could be for any number of reasons and it may not even be about you per se.

People don’t like what they perceive as confrontation.

I’ll be honest, there’s a few guys out there that had to take the hint from me dodging their phonecalls and not responding to their text messages. There are also guys I’ve been honest with and they’ve got even more intense.

This is what a lot of people fear and they may project a past experience and assume you’ll freak out.

People don’t want to have awkward conversations with people they don’t feel emotionally invested in.

Some people are users so if whatever they think is in it for them is going to be endangered, they’ll play the game.

They had a great time but it wasn’t that great a time.

Some people genuinely believe at the time that they are interested and at that moment have intentions to do or be whatever they’ve suggested…and then they wake up in the cold light of day.

It might be that they look for faults, analyse what happened, get a call from their ex, get nostalgic for someone else they want and compare, get a better offer, panic that you might want too much, or realise that you may accept behaviour that indicates you may have poor love habits.

It could be any reason but whatever it is, from the moment that they want out, you’d better start looking for an exit too.

If you don’t register that it hasn’t panned out and that their lack of interest and courtesy is a signal in itself, you will find yourself pursuing the attention of someone who isn’t interested and devaluing yourself in the process as you try to ‘win’ them over.

Hunting down the person and saying ‘Why didn’t you call me? I thought we had a good time together’ will send the message that you don’t recognise a lack of interest when you see it and potentially don’t value yourself enough to recognise when to opt out and focus your energies out there. The wrong type of people will take advantage of this…

This is why it’s important to go out into dating with healthy attitudes, hand baggage instead of excess emotional baggage, and to pay attention to whether you’re drawn to the illusion or the reality by having boundaries and being aware of red flags.

Some people lie. It’s not big, it’s not clever, but it happens. If you keep it real, you won’t lose your mind over people whose words don’t match their actions, opt out, and move on.

Certainly if they stop calling within the first few dates, chalk it up to experience and cut off from them – don’t pursue. Unless you genuinely believe that you had a relationship, they’ll likely rationalise that they’re not in a relationship and ‘just dating’. If you do, don’t be surprised if you find yourself being the person they keep in ice for a rainy day but that they don’t actually want.

Keep in mind ‘If they’re not interested, I’m not interested.’

Your thoughts?

My ebook, Mr Unavailable and the Fallback Girl is my guide to understanding the dynamic between emotionally unavailable men and the women that love them and is available to buy and download.

For personal advice or analysis of your relationship/situation, check out my consultation service. Don’t forget, you can now use the forum and social network to chat with other readers. Follow Baggage Reclaim on Twitter too.

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42 Responses to We had a great date – Why didn’t they call me back?

  1. mistechal says:

    I’m in my mid 50’s, and have found that this behavior is rampant with men in my age group. One would hope, that by this age, men would have enough life experience, and good character to ‘man up’ enough to not behave in this low manner. I am speaking of men who have reached a high level in their career life, who would never think of acting this way were I a business contact, but because it’s a ‘date’ they have no compunction about being , plainly, rude.
    Yes, perhaps a very young man, with little experience, may take the cowards way, and say he will call, that he enjoyed the date, and was eager to meet again, but a man in his middle years should have a modicum of intestinal fortitude and just thank me for my interest and decline any further contact. Or, as one truly good gentleman once said, ” I don’t feel any chemistry, but I would like to be your friend” and to this day, we remain very good friends.

  2. wendy levy says:

    mistechal, and everyone,

    Me too! I’m in my mid 50s and its been just godawful dating. I dated one guy this summer who hid from me he was an alcoholic, it took me 3 months to figure that out. And right before I had, I was telling friends he might be my first “healthy” relationship. Then came 2 week guy. He wined me and dined me, we had great talks, he called regularly, we did a movie… finally had sex. (big mistake). After that night, I saw him for one more date, he told me what a great evening it was, made plans to for sure call in a day or two, and I never heard from him again. I kind of ran into him at the grocery store last week,he saw me and ran down a different aisle.
    Then came 4 week guy. Luckily we didn’t have sex, but had great dates, great conversation, just the way Natalie describes it in the posts. Last date was the best, we went back to his place, looked at family pics, great conversation, cuddled a bit, kissed, he said talk to you in a few days, and that was two weeks ago, no word. These guys are 60. One guy I knew from last year told me recently he was going on a dating site, but he only wanted casual dating and sex. I told him to never talk to me again. These guys are frightful. All kind of commitment issues and are very deceptive as well….. There have to be some goods ones out there, but its scary.

  3. Kissie says:

    Thanks for the post NML. It’s always good to be reminded that we should not want someone who does not want us…and if that person does not call after the first date when they said they would, then you really shouldn’t want them. That behavior is rude and just impolite.
    @ mistechal, alas it’s not just men of your age group I’m inmy mid-thirties and the men is my age group does it too. I really beleive it’s how many men are socialized to behave. I just thinks it’s plain rude and when it has been done to me I’ve learned to cut them off quick.

  4. maria says:

    Natalie,
    I thank you for your articles. They are truly insightful and I am sure that they are a lifesaver for many girls!!
    But sometimes I cannot believe how “Cold” you are! I do not know if this is a British cultural thing. (I am an American of Italian descent) But I sometimes think that if I were suicidal over some idiot and I read one of your “bracing” posts, that it would send me right over the edge!
    Please try to be gentle. You are over these problems, and ensconced in a warm and healthy relationship. Try to remember how cold and lonely it was out here, and inject a little warmth into your advice. I know that it would make your advice go from good to great!
    Happy Holidays!
    Maria

    • NML says:

      @Mistechal I do hear a lot of stories about this age group although as others have pointed out, it happens across all dating age groups. That said, some of the petty behaviour is unbecoming beyond a certain age. Some of this is down to online dating – they seem to think they have an endless supply giving them this idea that they don’t need to be decent. There is a lack of empathy and I think what is annoying is that they over egg it so much – they don’t *have* to make a big production and say they’ll see you again and pretend to make plans. I’m sure at times it must feel like being at school or something!

      @Wendy So good to hear from you! I was thinking of you recently :-) Some of these guys are consummate actors. They almost believe their own hype and build it up so much and feed you into the fantasy that they set themselves up for a fall because the panic sets in based on expectations that they’ve created and pushed. Next thing they’re thinking you might want, need, or expect more than they’re prepared to give…and bail…It’s tricky when they’re deceptive and at the big reveal, all you can do is bail out quick and be thankful you’re not in it for longer but that doesn’t change how frustrating it is. Online dating is particularly bad for this. The women I speak with in similar situations have found that they’ve refocused on themselves and ended up meeting people unexpectedly rather than trying to actively pursue dating because it’s so wearing.

      @Kissie Absolutely, it *is* rude! It’s common courtesy and yet they skip over it. That in itself indicates that they aren’t the type of people you want to be around, especially the ones that creep back with feeble excuses about why they were rude, and then do it again!

      Wow Maria! Well this is a first! I apologise that you perceive me as cold. It certainly was not my intention and anything I have said has got jack all to do with my own relationship. I’m sorry that you feel I am cold not only for not pussy footing around the subject but for also being in a relationship. You are, again, the first reader who has made clear their distaste at me being ‘ensconced in a warm and healthy relationship’. It’s not your criticism that bothers me – it’s the fact that you actually suggest that I am tipping someone over the edge to suicide. So offensive it’s unreal! I find it fascinating that you felt the need to say ‘Happy Holidays’ as if that changed the tone of your comment when in actual fact it added to your bite.

  5. Lauri says:

    I just started coming to this site three weeks ago, and am grateful that someone is finally telling me the truth, both about myself and the men with whom I have been mixed up. I have lived in a fantasy world for so long, and that illusion is what kept me with a few of them. You know, the same lines we all tell ourselves: “I’m different, if he only sees how much I care about him, if I am a bit more patient and understanding, if I keep my feelings to myself, etc.” Like so many women here, I am looking for answers, and also comfort knowing I am not alone. Much of that comfort and trust of absolute strangers comes from the fact that they aren’t lying to me; they are being real about their feelings and the mess of hooking up with AC/EUM. I feel empowered. I feel rejuvenated. I feel happiness for the first time in a long while. This is MY life and I want to know how I can fix the stuff that I can, and accept the rest. I need to hear the way things actually are rather than what I want or hoped that they would be.

    Thanks, all

  6. carrie says:

    I habitually perform this “disappearing act”. If I decide I don’t want to date someone again after one or two (or even three) dates, I simply stop taking or returning communication. It could be for any number of reasons and I don’t feel I owe any explanation to someone I hardly know, even if sex had been involved. The reason I do this is out of fear. The times I have made my disinterest clear I’ve seen tears, heard begging, experienced increased attempts at communication, been called a slut, whore, etc., and even given lists of the reasons why I’m so awful that they wouldn’t want to date me anyway. It seems much safer (and kinder to myself) to just…disappear. It’s usually the ones that get the hint right off the bat that I find myself thinking about later…haha! I’m also starting to think that I may be a Ms. Unavailable…

  7. jenny says:

    Loved this article!! I typically default to thinking that something is wrong with me if someone doesn’t return my interest, so this was particularly helpful. You’re so right; it doesn’t matter WHY, what matters is they aren’t. Or if they are interested but still prefer to act ambivalent, this makes them also interested in game playing. Bad news there. I seriously need to beef up on recognizing first and foremost that a lack of interest or initiative is just a road sign for trouble and not worry so much about what I might be lacking in their eyes. Thanks for yet another great article!!

  8. MaryC says:

    Maria….NML certainly doesn’t need me to defend her, she does a fine job on her own. But sugar coating the issues isn’t going to make them easier to swallow and I for one am glad NML lays it on the line. If I want pity wrapped up in “warmth” all I have to do is look in the mirror and talk to myself.

    Why don’t men call when they say they will, question for the ages.

  9. Penny says:

    @Mistechal-I think you are so on point in your comments about men who would never conduct their business/career lives in this manner. However, I think we ladies have to respond accordingly-just as we would never consider giving a job to a candidate that did not show up for the interview and never called to cancel the appointment, we should not spend our time on someone who fails to “man up” as you described it. After all, if you do get a second date with such a person, you will have let him know that it is acceptable for him not to contact you when he says, and that he can expect you to be available only on his schedule. This is road map to disaster.

    @NML-I agree with the part about people hating confrontation. Some of these behaviors just come down to lack of manners and lack of empathy for anyone other than themselves.

  10. wendy levy says:

    hi Natalie and all, Natalie, I’ve been lurking for a while, I’m actually studying for the Bar, to go back and be a lawyer at my ripe old age, at least it keeps me focussed on me, which is such a good feeling, after all the years, (read lifetime) of not being able to keep boundaries.
    Yes, these men I’ve dated I have met on line, so true. And I validate what you said, its almost like calling out “next”- same lines, same stories, different bodies. At least that one guy was honest when he told me he was straight out lying and was just looking for casual, no commitment and sex, even though he is on an internet dating site most people supposedly use when looking for a “meaningful” (hah!) relationship. At this point, I’m thinking one day, somewhere somehow, I’ll meet a guy who is good enough for me.
    PS. I’m super happy for you Natalie that you are in such a loving relationship and have those gorgeous babies. Congrats.

  11. lisa says:

    Just wanted to say that I was a very naive woman and a total mess before I found this web-site… had no where else to turn to figure out what was going on for over 2 years with this one guy’s strange behavior, and then when I “stumbled” upon this site, the bluntness and straight-shooting and no-nonsense insight into emotional unavailability and assclowns was what helped me wake up and get back my self-respect and sanity. I’ll never be the same woman ever again when it comes to how I expect to be treated by men. (and that’s a good thing!)

    If someone is already on the edge of self-destruction, an on-line article isn’t what pushes them over the edge…. it is their already unhealthy state of mental being.

    Just sayin….

    Maria, keep reading with an open heart. You will be able to see the truth in what is being written here.

    • NML says:

      @Lauri I know from personal experience and those of others that it’s the feeling of thinking that you are alone and that it’s just you that can feed into the cycle and keep you around. Relief in knowing others are experiencing what you are adds objectivity because you can start to digest the fact that you haven’t ‘made’ someone do this.
      @carrie Always remember that Fallback Girls have their own emotional unavailability to deal with and if you are the one that holds the powerbase in the relationship – ie – it’s on your terms, you are taking up the Mr Unavailable role in the ‘relationship’.
      @jenny Hello! Great to see you here (hugs). It is very dangerous to internalise other people’s behaviour. Whilst we can be accountable for our own actions, for a better relationship, your self love needs to remain intact irrespective of what is happening around you. If we internalise every event and the behaviour of our partners, you lose perspective because in assuming the blame for their behaviour and assuming there is something wrong with you, you’ll try to fix things that cannot be fixed or are not down to you to be fixed and then attempt to validate yourself based on how successful you are at it. People are often not interested because their own internal dialogue doesn’t suit the situ. You could be the best person on earth but if someone doesn’t want to be a decent person in a decent relationship, they’ll find reasons to eff it up.
      @MaryC I couldn’t help but laugh at your comment! Yes rationalising our dalliances with these men is our way of sugarcoating things. After a while though, having candy floss in our heads though becomes a sickly experience ;-)
      @Penny This is all about the image that they want to project. They fear losing face professionally and losing out financially. The public persona and the private persona are hugely disparate – this is partly why many women are confused about ending things because the guy appears to be respected by so many people.
      @Wendy Congrats on you taking the bar. Remember to stay focused on you and continue to enrich your own life. I don’t doubt that you will meet someone worthy of your time, attention, and love, but I suspect, like many, you will have to weed through the chaff to get to him. Don’t lose heart – instead be thankful that you recognise these situations a lot quicker than you used to.
      @lisa I’m so pleased that you have found my site to be a source of support. I write what I do because I wish I’d knon what I know now or that I’d had people around me who would speak honestly and with care rather than project their insecurities onto me and tell me that I should stay..with assclowns. I’m glad you are awake now – you can have a much more conscious experience and surround yourself with people that add to you, not devalue.
      @Dancefire You make an interesting point but I started this site about 18 months before I met my partner and have been blogging about relationships even about a year before that via my personal blog so I’ve shared my thoughts from all angles of my life. All I’ve done is share my discoveries and thoughts en route. I don’t feel I need to still be in crap relationships or single to write – but it’s just my perspective and as Maria discovered, she doesn’t like my perspective or feels it’s cold. That’s OK. I don’t feel ‘attacked’ – but as I have already said, I don’t appreciate the sarcasm and suicide comments. I think your last line is very apt – I’d rather focus on real possibilities that have some foothold in the reality of mine and the other persons behaviour.
      @Loving Annie It’s been an incredible journey with you and I appreciate you taking the time to share your heartfelt words. It has been wonderful to experience the change with you and you yourself have some brilliant insight into relationships helped by you finding a new found perspective. You’re very much about reality now and that makes a huge difference. You should be very proud of what you have achieved and I know you’ll continue to go from strength to strength. Big hugs x
      Waking Up – Thank you! The truth *is* healing. It can be painful initially but on the other side of it is peace and it is great that you have been able to use what I have shared to empower yourself. I *love* that term ‘fierce grace’ – thank you for sharing and giving me a big smile.
      @Paul – V interesting video. I understand the reasoning but I don’t think it’s the reason and I do believe it is perpetuating this idea that there are a gazillion wonderful men just aiting to love a woman and be committed that are being thwarted by us being bossy. Whilst in some cases, this can be true, this is not the case for men who by and large had zero intentions of being committed to that person or treating them with love, respect, care and trust *anyway*. If we continue to believe that it’s all about us why these men don’t want to be in a relationship, it perpetuates this idea that women have to run out and ‘fix’ themselves whilst men don’t have to do anything. Man, I’ll have to write about this!
      Kathy G – Sing it! We must take back our power! We own this and we should not allow ourselves to be defined by some guy! Men get away with a lot of this stuff because there is no impetus to change because where one woman won’t put up with it, others will. Take back your power ladies because you do have it!
      @Michelle The point you make about passive aggression is very interesting and is a key part of the dynamic in dysfunctional relationships where you subtly learn that there will be a negative consequence if you challenge or act in your own interests. I couldn’t help but laugh at the ‘lapdog’ reference – you are above that and don’t let anyone have you place yourself in a position where they get to look down on you.
      de-lightedtobefree PMSL! For some reason I had a vision of myself talking like the guy from the A-Team! The fact that a guy needs to set an alarm to remember to call speaks volumes. He just doesn’t care – it’s out of sight, out of mind. A very disconnected individual!
      @Nele You’ve been caught up in the classic situation there and it’s great that you see him and his flaky behaviour for what they are – unattractive. You’re right that investigating why people who don’t want you don’t want you is a futile exercise, especially when it’s been a brief spell of dating. There’s room for healthy introspection but to internalise every dalliance and analyse it gives too much weight to a lot of these brief experiences. You’re instead taking the experience, learning from it, and knowing that at the end of the day, he’s a fickle, flaky, feckless man who is reactive and thinks later when he suddenly realises that he’ll have to make good on the crap that he’s been talking and the wild goosechase he’s been leading you on!
      @Zuleka Zuleka I wouldn’t want to cross you! But thank you for your straight talking! I think that this post has ended up showing how many of you are in different places in the healing and realisation cycle and that when you’re not ready or willing, you won’t want to hear the reality. I know which book you’re talking about – LOL!
      @LuckySweet – see my comment below yours :-) There are plenty of good men out there and I certainly have not said that there aren’t. What I have said though is that are a lot of men out there who when given an inch of an opportunity to take the p*ss in a relationship and cross boundaries, they’ll take a mile. We can continue to try to impose change upon men who aren’t interested in a relationship, or we can adapt our own behaviours and love habits so that we find men with more substance and consistency attractive instead of people who resonate with negative patterns. Loving yourself is separate to the man – you should love yourself in or out of a relationship. Their lack of love doesn’t need to reflect into you, but if you do love yourself, you’ll find a man who doesn’t act with respect, love, trust or care unattractive. I’ve always said you can be with who you want to be, but it’s a choice and if you choose to be with an assclown and keep trying to do the same thing, you can’t go wondering why you keep getting the same result. You’ve either got to accept the man and work with what you have, or accept the man and realise that it’s not for you because someone who doesn’t want to change will not change.
      @Wandering Ivy You are absolutely right – I definitely can’t please everyone as a blogger, or even as a person and that part of my life where I get all out of whack over my inability to please everyone is over.I love that word ‘bracing’ – I guess I’m a bit like a very loud wake up call! Judging by the comments and the emails, there are a lot of people hungry for the truth. It can hurt, but it’s freeing because at least you can grab your power and *do something. Thank you x
      @am “I SO needed someone to put a mirror up to my own behaviors and mistakes” – the great thing is that with this type of mirror, you can adapt and change what you don’t like :-)
      @Halfhappysoul I have a pre-Christmas announcement…as long as my laptop cable finally arrives today then there is new reading just in time for the festive season where some of us weaken ;-)
      @catchserendipity Thank you! You know understanding goes a long way with us because whilst some of us can recognise poor behaviour and take that as their signal, many of us need to understand why or get their head around the dynamics so that they can not only avoid it again but also be accountable for their own part.
      @KLM Thank you! Don’t punish yourself and judging by the experiences of many others, you aren’t alone and you’re human. We want to love and be loved and sometimes, or even often in some cases, we look for love in all the wrong places. The letting you miss him part about the EUM is a very important point because for a lot of these guys, that feeling of missing you is what creates the desire hence why they pursue you when you step back.
      @hangingonbyathread I don’t blame you for feeling frustrated and dating is hard, especially the type of dating that many engage in now – the whole online dating, active pursuement, not doing the traditional style of dating, booty calls, speed dating. One thing that does stand out though, is why on earth would you accept a date with every man that asks? I would start at that point. A lot of men operate on the Chancing Their Arm Factor – they know they’re punching above their weight by asking you but do so anyway and if you accept, it sends a signal that something is wrong. Or they do something really outrageous and if you don’t reject the behaviour, they also take it as a signal. It’s a catch 22 – it is frustrating and then if you feel frusrated that adds to your problems. It’s a bit beyond the scope of the comments box to deal with all points but it certainly makes for another post. And people I know that meet guys are busy with their own lives and meet en route in social situations, via work, via friends etc but that’s just my two cents.
      @Diane Thanks!
      @Madeamistake Actually, the longer these guys stick with these habits, the more distanced from reality that they become. It takes something major to jolt them and some will not change. The ones that loiter around dating sites often don’t have good intentions although there of course exceptions to this. Your comment about the Assclown Jeopardy is possibly my favourite of all time and I couldn’t help but giggle at the thought of you in the airport! Thank you for sharing – I must actually highlight your comment in a post! Glad to be of help
      @truthhurts – Thank you! I’m not going anywhere. I actually enjoy what I do and you have all continued to help me in my own personal growth so thank you!
      @Michelle You are internalising their behaviour too much. There could be any reason why he wasn’t interested and it may not be on that list and it’s probably not about you. I think you already found a number of reasons that may point to him not being reliable but he also may be in a different place. Maybe he just wants to do a few dates and move on just like he wants to move each year. Unless he’s open to the idea of being in a relationship, you can be damn well near perfect and he’ll likely still do the same. It was just three dates. People normally go on more than one generally to get an idea of whether they want to continue. Some do three dates because it’s just what they do. Unless something majorly bad happens on the first, you’ll often find that people don’t make up their mind until a few dates in. But it is just a date. It’s not a relationship and unfortunately, people do compartmentalise how they want to break up with you if you’re in early dating stages – some won’t even email and just move on. I think that he didn’t attach the same amount of weight to the dates as you did. You now have to choose to let go of the experience and move on as he has already let go of it. If he was ambivalent and all the other things, I would chalk it up to someone who went on a date who doesn’t know what he wants and is dating for datings sake and will no doubt take what he can get.
      @Freeatlast – Amen! There are plenty of good guys out there and there are plenty of dodgy ones. You need to be careful that you swim with the fish instead of the sharks. Stay NC – distance gives objectivity and freedom. Going back to him wouldn’t change the person that he is and you’d discover that all too quickly.

  12. dancefire says:

    @maria, I see how you might find the tone “cold”. I think this tone may be used in order to be very clear, preventing the ambiguity that these guys like to immerse us in. @NML, I’m surprised you took such offense to the post, just based on previous reading (I’ve been checking this blog for about a year.) I didn’t see it as an attack on you or your being in a relationship, though I think that does signifcantly change one’s perspective.
    I guess, bottom line, the sooner we can move on and let go of imaginary possibilities, the better.

  13. Loving Annie says:

    Maria,
    NML saved my sanity and completely turned my life around with her wonderful clear-headed advice.

    She’s anything but cold – she’s a warm, supportive relationship coach and person genuinely interested in showing women what kinds of behavior in men is unacceptable – and what things women can do to improve and maintain their self-esteem and self-respect.

    She tells the truth and if you are ready to hear it, is it quite welcome because it stops you from making mistakes and not understanding why things are the way they are.

    If you are having suicidal thoughts, then NML is EXACTLY the person to take the wool off of your eyes so that you stop hating yourself and begin to love yourself, seeing what an unavailable man and his games are, and that you for one don’t find it interesting to cooperate with that/ play them anymore.

    My life was a disaster before NML. Now I feel good about myself and men don’t treat me badly – or if they do, she sets me straight again with her great feedback and I don’t get hurt anywhere near the way I used to !

    NML has a warm and healthy relationship precisely because she’s worked so hard to get healthy boundaries and be healthily loving herself — and she is generously passing her knowledge along to us.
    In no way does she ever criticize anyone – she just asks you to see clearly the dynamic of what is going on so that you can do what supports you instead of what is self-destructive.

    The ‘cold’ people I met in my life never cared about my happiness. Everything NML writes is to get us to that place, with or without a man in it.

  14. Waking up says:

    You’re right on point as usual, Natalie.

    @Maria–The reason why I appreciate this site is because there is no bs. Natalie calls it as she sees it. I think this is more compassionate than the “band-aid” approach, where people try to make us feel “better.” The reason why I keep coming back to this site is because it’s Natalie’s unvarnished truth that helps me see the illusions I am creating. The term that comes to mind is “fierce grace.” All of a sudden another world opens up and I am free (or mostly free) from all of that conditioning that I’ve acquired over the last 46 years. It heals me because the truth is healing, and because Natalie has remarkable insight and is skilled at sharing it. I wouldn’t want it any other way.

  15. Hi Natalie! First, I want to say that I love your articles – very informative! I literally just posted a youtube video on the same topic “Why He Didn’t Call You Back.” I’m interested to get your opinion…it’s from a slightly different perspective from what you presented in this piece. In advance, thanks for watching!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QRDgS0NQhOE

  16. Kathy G. says:

    All of you ladies commenting today were spot-on and great! We women are finally taking back our power, and moving away from men who do not or cannot deliver. And, to NML, you are not cold at all. You started this site, I believe, because you do care about people. If I want someone to sugarcoat, I can go to an EUM, haha! Keep up the great posts!

  17. Michelle says:

    Maria I can see why you would think it was cold if you felt that you wanted to be ensconced in a sugarcoated world because I know when I didn’t want to hear it and wanted to continue to believe the illusions, I felt like some stuff was harsh. That’s until I realised if anyone was cold, it was the men I was involved with and myself.

    Danceonfire – why would you be surprised that Natalie doesn’t appreciate someone saying that suicidal stuff? Whilst it’s offensive it’s also extremely passive aggressive as much like when I have been involved with assclowns, by making a statement like that the message is sent of ‘if you answer me back and don’t say what I want, you might tip me into suicide’. I personally have been involved with someone who spoke like Maria and I felt powerless after a while and emotionally blackmailed.

  18. Michelle says:

    Incidentally to actually comment about the article, you and the ladies in the comments are so right and Kathy G echoes my thoughts on taking back our power. In my latter years I’ve realised that I’m ready for honesty – in the past when people were honest I’d be indignant and crying about what they had said but that didn’t change the fact that I was discarded and sometimes used by these men. I’m a valuable person, I need to act like one instead of chasing some 50 year old for attention like a lapdog even though I don’t really want him, I just want him to want me.

  19. de-lightedtobefree says:

    Funny, I usually ‘up’ the angry NML voice and make sure I give myself a good old scolding so I really get the point :)

    I agree with Michelle, when you hear the truth for the first time, it feels like knifes sticking in, it hurts.

    As for the call backs, this last EUM, took sometimes 5 day’s to call me back, I called him on it everytime. He know tells me with this new girl, he sets an alarm on his phone to make sure he remembers to call her…WTF is that!! I was sooo used, so much so that my protest’s were his measure of what he needed to bring into his next ‘relationship’ to make sure it works. OUCH!! I was an experiment!! Life sucks.

  20. Nele Schindler says:

    How true, how true, how very true!

    After my recent breakup, I went into myself to work on some issues: boundaries, stuff I want and stuff I don’t.

    Lo and behold, days after I was chatted up by this guy who had already hit on me in the summer when I was still with AC.

    HE chatted ME up in our local bar, then we went outside, he told me he was happy I wasn’t with AC anymore bla bla. He dropped me off home, we shared a kiss. Kept texting all weekend, another date Monday, very nice. He got all ‘this is me’ and unburdened himself.

    I was just my consistent, friendly self, he dropped me off in front of my house again and promised to be in touch … then wasn’t!

    I saw him again a few days later – distinctly more reserved. We found some alone-time and he said he had to tell me he just wasn’t ready for a relationship (business, his two children – he’s divorced -, his career). I just sat there and listened politely and thought – well, YOU chatted ME up!

    It was totally odd. But I think that stuff is bound to happen as soon as you stop being one-night stand material / fallback girl / armchair therapist, and just convey your beautiful self and the things you expect and desire.

    The core of Nat’s message is ‘why should I want anybody who doesn’t want me?’ I’ve given up on finding out why. It doesn’t matter. It’s his loss entirely. Let him root around in his ‘busy’ life for a shag or whatever else he thinks he needs.

    This blog is the best of them, it has helped me no end, and I’ve turned into a different, healthier person because of it. Keep up the great work!

  21. Zuleka says:

    @Maira

    I also found your post offensive. Telling the truth, as NML does, is an act of generosity. If you want some touchy-feely rubbish that succeeds only in wasting more of your time, there’s no shortage of it out there. Find a book with a rainbow on its cover telling you to repeat affirmations in front of the mirror every morning, and everything will be ok. Some of us prefer to deal with reality.

    Happy holidays to you too.

  22. LuckySweet says:

    @NML and Maria

    I will try to tell it like it is. I find NML’s information always helpful. However, I do not find her apology to Maria an actual apology. Are you really sorry for how you spell things out for people? It’s not actually an apology, but sarcasm and escalation of a disagreement. Maria gave an opinion and because nobody liked it, she was chastised. I take NML’s advice and pair it with several other relationship coaches. Then I come up with my own opinion.

    Sometimes, reading this site, it’s hard to feel that there are good men out there. This is in a way a cold and cynical thought. I think it would be nice if NML recognized this struggle and the possibility that there are not enough good men for all of us. Do we stay satisfied if we are alone? How do we balance loving ourselves with so many men who are incapable of loving at all?

    If we want relationships with open communication, then we should expect open and non judgemental communication on this site. I disagree with Maria’s comments about suicide. If you feel this way at all you should be getting a counselor and asking for help.

    • NML says:

      Hi Everyone, thanks for your comments and I feel I should stress a couple of things for clarification.

      I’m not offended at criticism. I’m not forcing anyone to read what I write or like it. As I’ve said a number of times before on this blog, people connect and resonate with people for different reasons. Whilst I do find the assertion that I’m a suicide trigger offensive, the whole wanting me to not write in that way to make the medicine go down easier is potentially what others have experienced – you hear things when you want to hear them. That’s not offensive – that’s real. People come at things from different places and our journeys are different – this is why people in the forum or in the comments get frustrated because they want people to be more ready than they are. Maria is not ready, and may never be ready or interested in why I am saying what I am saying. But adding in the suicide bit was unnecessary. Maria may never consider what I write ‘great’ but at the end of the day, if she is happy and gets and does whatever she wants to do from someone who she feels is warmer, or by doing things in the way that she does, then that’s what is most important.

      This has been my consistent message – If doing what you’re doing is generating great results, knock yourself out. If you’re doing the same thing and getting crappy results, the answer is not to keep doing it in the hope that the other person will change, but to adapt and put your energies out there. Also, you’re all free to stay with whoever you like, but once you make the conscious decision to stay and you accept the reality, you and only you are responsible for your choice and where you are.

      There are 996 posts on this site. I’ve talked about a hell of a lot of things from many different angles and actually, have corresponded with a lot of readers who thought that they couldn’t live anymore. I’ve phoned up women (and men) in far flung places and close to home because I don’t like the feeling that someone out there might throw it all in for someone. These people have either gone on to seek professional help or realised that there life was worth living without that person.

      Words can be read in a variety of ways which is why tone is important. That said, this post is not about Maria, it’s about why someone doesn’t call back after a date! I shall respond to comments properly tomorrow but I now have to get ready to go out!

  23. Wandering Ivy says:

    You can’t please everyone as a blogger.

    I clung to this website like a dear friend when things ended almost 2 months ago with my ex. One thing I value most about it: you don’t have to sift through the fluff to find the good stuff, the stuff that takes your breath away, that breaks through the stupid thought loops in your head that have kept you in bad situations like the ones we all know — all too well. Reading this site is like having a great conversation with a friend who tells it like it is, the kind of friend who’s not afraid to get in your face because they’re afraid of making you angry, hurting your feelings or losing your friendship.

    The point here is I, and others, are hungry for the truth! And we’re longing to get some no bullshit advice, as long as it’s delivered with humor, compassion and a strong admonition to get our act together and start loving ourselves. I’d say this site is spot-on on that front.

    One thing I love about Natalie’s “bracing” posts is she’s putting the power to heal your life back in YOUR hands and taking it out of the other person’s. We had it all along, but needed a reminder.

    Perhaps you could elaborate on your perceptions, Maria — so that we can also better understand you! :-)

    Hugs to all….

  24. am says:

    I am with NML on every comment she makes as hard as it may be to hear the truth sometimes, so I definitely defend her tough love on us girls. I SO needed someone to put a mirror up to my own behaviors and mistakes that have brought me to this site.. I love this site..and NML keep doing what you do best!

  25. Half Happy Soul says:

    @Maria, I just want to tell you, Natalie and her wonderful posts keep me going and keep me SANE, actually! Thanks to her and lovely girls here, I learned so much about myself and the guys I met…I used to blame myself, but now I know, that it was not all my fault…

    @NML, keep posting, I love your wise articles and I cant wait for your new books!!!

  26. catchserendipity says:

    The truth hurts – its often incredibly painful to hear. But after recently and fortuitously dicovering this website – a stroke of pure luck. I have to say that advice is some of the best I have ever heard – and is given with the intention of aiding self-betterment – emotionally and psychologically. And like other readers have found, it has, within a few literally a few weeks, helped me in my underdstanding abotu this incredibly complex terrain of life and relationships – this topic particuarily. And what’s more, at long last, the advice is to the point without any silver lining but with a really really strong message – thank you!

  27. KLM says:

    Reading all your posts makes me feel less upset that I’ve wasted three years on an AC after my lovable husband and I divorced. It was as if I needed to punish myself for what I felt had been all my mistakes in my marriage (he was a nurturer while I was depressed and selfish in many ways – just trust me on this).

    One thing I did appreciate about my EUM was that he gave me time to miss him, to begin to long for contact. I’m emotionally unavailable myself and often have physically cringed and felt claustrophobic as a relationship sets in. My EUM never annoyed me with a volley of texts asking where I was/what panties I was wearing, like some other men I’ve known. I savored his few choice words and replayed the way he smiled at me while I lay on his bed. He was nine years younger and I probably loved the so-called validation, but it wasn’t….he pulled every AC move described by all you but I would have blamed myself before discovering this blog. Three weeks ago I went NC and I think I’m nearly free of his gravitational pull. As I write tonight, no feelings arise. You’ve all helped me see the light and move on. Thank you.

  28. hangingonbyathread says:

    I’ve started to wonder how anyone gets involved with anyone else in a committed relationship after the age of 30 :(

    I found this article painful, as it reiterates that I never know what a date’s modus operandi is, and that I should be wondering.

    In many ways, I came to expect a lack of courtesy with regards to online dating because I found that people are not viewed as human beings, per se, but as products to be used and upgraded. I quit after the last guy used me to make his ex jealous, unbenownst to me at the time.

    But I never expected a man I was already acquainted with to just ignore me after a date. This happend to me recently, and hurt like hell, because I thought he saw me as a PERSON.

    I can hand on heart always say that, if I don’t want to see someone again, I do let them know as gently as possible. I think it’s cruel to keep people hanging, and I’m shocked it seems to be the norm.

    To be honest, I feel a bit broken with regards to dating. I don’t think I understand how to play the game at all – because no matter where I’ve looked since I turned thirty three years ago, I haven’t met a single man who’s been interested in anything more than a shag, and when I’ve shut my legs, I haven’t met a single man who’s been in “interested” in “me” at all.

    I’ve read many dating books, created a full life, seen a psychologist, done all manner of short courses, travelled and volunteered to enjoy life and meet new people – but still, to no avail. I’ve also dated almost any man who asked me out, bar the married men, and asked out a few myself.

    I can spot the wolves in sheep’s clothing now, and the assclowns, but I’m tired of meeting them. It’s really getting me down because the majority of “available” men I meet are “unavailable.” I’m losing faith in men aged 30+.

  29. hangingonbyathread says:

    PS: Where do women aged 30+ meet men to date besides online dating? I would be lucky if I was asked on one date a year outside of it (and no, married men don’t count as they can’t be dated!) Is it just me?

  30. Diane says:

    Good advice. Thank you.

  31. Half Happy Soul says:

    hangingonbyathread,
    My best friend introduced me to my ex husband…MY two ACs I met in the jazz bar, it did “work” for two years (each)..I used to meet guys via on-line dating, they were ok, but I never felt chemistry with them, so had to say “good bye” in the beginning. I do prefer meeting people face to face (bars, sport center etc), but when you pass certain age, it is getting difficult, I have to agee with you:-(

  32. madeamistake says:

    First, great post as usual NML. By the way, I think the older they get, they stupider they get (I guess that was harsh, huh?). Especially, if they have been married, they are SO GOOD at reeling off the “one time in band camp” story about their horrific marriage and poor pitiful me, blah, blah, blah, and we women unfortunately just eat it up. My one and only EUM did it to a tee. But it wasn’t until I found your website and your reader’s comments that I realized HOW TRUE this really is–I was completely floored that the EUMs/Assclowns of your readers/commenters used the EXACT SAME LINES that my EUM used. Just the wake up call I needed.

    And with that, let me chime in here NML to say that your website was EXACTLY what I had been looking for when I found it. I’ll never forget it–I was in the Sky Club at the airport awaiting a flight when I was futily trying yet again to explain why I was ready to bolt on said EUM and why I could never get a grip on his behavior. You hit it out of the park–I was literally laughing outloud in the Sky Club (several people thought I was nuts and probably were on the verge of calling security). But, more importantly, you sounded like ME–the things you said were EXACTLY what I would have told friends going through similar situations. I just needed someone to say them to ME. The sarcastic humor you use never ceases to make me laugh…and realize how blind I was to what was happening. I had been to other websites (until I finally found yours) and they were, to be honest, no help. I want to thank you for everything.

    Finally, thanks for your kind comments regarding my “Assclown Jeopardy” post. There’s probably more to come–these things keep floating around in my head.

    Thank you NML for all that you do.

  33. truthhurts says:

    The sole fact that NML is still writing these blogs while she has for a long time managed to overcome the issues discussed here, means she is a very warm and caring person. How many of us would have the patience to keep repeating a message to people who are struggling with things that are probably a distant but not very happy memory for yourself?
    I hope you will continue writing on this subject NML and your happy ending is an inspiration.

  34. Michelle says:

    What I particularly like about your site is that unlike other sites, you do not blame the woman. You do not intimate if you were just a little more this or that, you would change the outcome. You acknowledge there are two people in an interaction, and when it is not working out, you should only do a healthy amount of introspection.

    I have just spent a week literally knocking myself to the floor bloody over someone I went on three dates with, who never called again. While I am very proud that I have not reached out, I am still very bruised. I made a list of all the potential offending things that I did (everything form my looks, to making him feel pressured, to being bad in bed (we did not sleep together, but there was rolling around)).

    Now was this guy a commitment phobe, maybe, maybe not? I do know that he is 28, moved every year, and is inexperienced at dating. I am 10 years older, and in my heart I was always surprised he was calling me, so I guess on some level from the beginning I could feel that he was ambivalent. What I do not understand is why we went out three times, why not end it at one. Indeed, what I realized is that the conversation was never getting any deeper, and that is a bad sign. I was to be with someone who is opening up. One potential answer is that he really does enjoy my company, but not enough to go any deeper.

    In this situation, I have thought it over and over and over, and while I can find some things I may or may not have done, the bottom line is I know I was as fun and feminine as I have ever been. And indeed I am very proud of how I handled myself, I smiled and was flirty and kept the conversation very light, which I have had issues with before.

    Anyhow, I just wish I could stop beating myself up, because any man who after three dates does have the common courtesy to send me an email just to cut it off is clearly a coward.

    When a man is interested, they are consistent.

    I would love other people’s thoughts!

  35. freeatlast says:

    I love this site. It helped me so much. Even after going NC for a few months I still rely on this site to keep me sane and help me when I feel weak. I was looking through some of the old posts the other day and noticed the link to the self confessed dickhead! That really opened my eyes! It is important that we are aware that these people exist.

    I know a lot of us are emotionally unavailable at times for whatever reason and it is good to realise when we are and to do something about it. The problem is when EUM’s play, hurt, cheat and don’t see anything wrong in it. This is what I consider an assclown to be.

    This site points out the things we should watch out for and to change any bad love habits that we have picked up from our past. I find it to be very honest, warm and helpful. It certainly doesn’t have you believe that all men are bad, just watch out for the ones that treat you badly and walk away when you are being disrespected or they really aren’t interested.

    I see now that I used to run with the illusion. He was what I considered to be good looking, intelligent, had a sob story that I fell for, he even came across as honest at first but I ignored the red flags and got far too emotionally invested. He was a player and still is. The longer I keep away from him and do the NC the better I feel.

    Thank you and I look forward to your next post : )

  36. de-lightedtobefree says:

    Hi NML,

    Great stuff!!..read everyone’s messages and took them all to heart, loudly :)

    Found this for you and all..loads of fun stuff there but thought this would give us a wee laugh!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lJOltoFETIk&feature=related

  37. maria says:

    To Everyone!!

    Oh My Gosh!!
    I just logged back on since my last comment, and i really need to clarify!
    1. NML, I totally apologize to you! I am sorry that you perceived me as “offensive” or “not ready” or “passive-aggressive.” I ABSOLUTELY did not mean to offend you!! I LOVE this site, there is nothing else like it, PRECISELY BECAUSE it IS SO “BRACING!” It has changed me, and I am grateful for that. But I think that sometimes, as you said, someone who is “not ready,” or in a “fragile” state, could get knocked right out by the harsh (and it is harsh) truth!

    2. I have absolutely NO “distaste” for your healthy relationship!!! I AM HAPPY FOR YOU!! I believe that your healthy bond with your man and your babies make you even STRONGER! I just know that for myself, I sometimes get impatient when I have passed through a bad experience in my life, and I see the people behind me still struggling with lessons I’ve already learned. I sometimes want to come down hard on them, to WAKE THEM UP! But you are right, if they are not ready, they won’t hear it and they may be very hurt!

    3. I think that you are performing a very valuable service! I was sincere when I wished you “Happy Holidays!” I simply find your tone a bit cold at times and I was trying to express it. I am sorry if you took offense! Keep up the good work!

    4. I SINCERELY, not sarcastically, wish everyone on this site a HAPPY AND CHEERFUL HOLIDAY!

    I apologize for any misunderstanding.:)
    Respectfully,
    Maria

    • NML says:

      Sorry for the slow reply. Thank you for clarifying what you meant. I can assure you I’m not impatient about peoples progress with getting the message. I do get asked regularly how I can still write about these subjects, correspond and talk to readers – there’s still a lot to say and plenty of people that need help. New people find this blog all the time so I’ve just got to say what I’ve got to say and hope it helps :) I think this is one of those situ’s where words and tone get misinterpreted but let’s say bygones and move on. Have a good Christmas and new year x

  38. kate says:

    i just love it! thank you for keeping me sane and it all actually in perspective. This blog is my new favourite thing, being back on the dating scene again. Is like a very welcome slap around the face (in a no painful, and actually funny way).

My Book - Mr Unavailable and the Fallback Girl

Stop believing that you did something to make them unavailable or that their inadequacies are down to your inadequacies - it is not about you; they are unavailable!

My Book - Mr Unavailable and the Fallback Girl

Stop believing that you did something to make them unavailable or that their inadequacies are down to your inadequacies - it is not about you; they are unavailable!
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