Dear Swoonie B,
I met this guy on Hinge in February. We have been talking since then and went on our first date around a week before quarantine started in my state. He's really nice and cute and I like being around him when we see each other, but he's awful at communication (i.e. he often does not respond to my texts and I have to double-text, which I hate doing). Recently, he found out his dad was in the hospital, which made him simultaneously text me more and less (like we text less often, but the conversations are more meaningful). I thought he would potentially ghost me because the situation is really weird and since we are not technically boyfriend-girlfriend, I didn't really know how invested in this relationship he was. I am feeling conflicted about whether I would be OK being ghosted because on the one hand, I like him, but on the other hand, the communication thing seriously makes me annoyed. Also, it's been kind of hard on me to hear about his dad's health because my dad died three years ago and it's bringing up some old feelings that may not be completely resolved. I know there's a lot of stuff going on in this story, but I don't really know what to do. I like this guy a lot, but I'm not sure if this is going to work out and I'm scared to talk to him about it because he's already really stressed out. I just need advice on what I should do.
A common trend in all of the advice I've given in the last few weeks really starts with tapping into your thoughts and feelings and communicating them. Because it is a really really hard time for everyone right now, which makes accepting and addressing your feelings and emotions so important.
When it comes to this situation, start by asking yourself these questions...
Why am I interested in him?
Are you interested in him because he's giving you something to do while bored in quarantine? Or do you genuinely think things could work out once things go back to "normal"? No matter what the reason, your feelings are valid, but having this answer will make the rest of this process easier. Then ask yourself...
Would I still be talking to him if I wasn't worried about wanting to add stress by ending it?
Whether or not you continue talking to him is completely your choice... so if the only reason you are doing so is that you're worried about adding more stress for him, it might be time to gradually slow communication. Especially since it sounds like he's not really showing much effort on his end.
Are my thoughts and feelings about him usually positive or negative?
Even in the short submission you sent to me, it's clear you go back and forth about how you feel about talking to him. Sometimes it's good, sometimes it's not. I encourage you to think about whether your feelings about him are normally positive or whether they're overwhelmingly negative. If they're normally negative, this texting relationship you developed might be worth letting go. If it's normally positive, fantastic!
Once you've identified the answers to these Qs, it's time to decide whether that means you want to continue talking to him or not.
If the answer is you do want to talk to him, fab! But my tips in this scenario would be to set some expectations. You mentioned how you double-text because he's "awful at communication," but I honestly don't buy that excuse and because he knows you'll double-text him if he doesn't respond, he's going to keep waiting for you to do the work for him.
Let him work for it a little. His lack of response to your texts is a red flag to me because he isn't putting in the same effort as you are. No, that doesn't necessarily mean he doesn't like you, but it does mean you deserve more.
So you can do two things here if you decide you want to continue talking:
- Stop double-texting him and wait for him come to you. If he doesn't, boy bye!
- Call him out on it by telling him that you enjoy talking to him, but don't want to continue doing so if he's not willing to put in the time to communicate. Then tell him what you expect from him and if he can't fulfill it, it's not your loss! You spoke your truth and will find someone who can meet those expectations.
If the answer is you do not want to continue talking to him, that's great too! But, that doesn't mean you should ghost him. And it also doesn't mean, in my opinion, that you have to flat out say "I don't want to talk anymore." I say this because of his poor communication skills anyway.
Should you stop reaching out to him first, you'll likely talk to him a whole lot less (if at all), and when/if he does text you, you have full control over how much or how little you give to the conversation. Over time, if you don't put much into it, the communication will fizzle out. If you're just not interested in talking to him at all, then yes, I would recommend telling him you don't want to talk anymore because, as I said, ghosting is the only other option and I will never condone that.
So, to summarize what I think are your best options here if you don't want him in your life anymore:
- Stop texting him first and gradually let it fizzle out
- Tell him straight up how you are feeling and move on (he will do the same)
No matter what you decide, you should treat yourself. Consider buying this clay face mask or a journal to write it all out.
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