If a Guy, a Crush, or a Boyfriend Starts to Ignore You Suddenly, Here’s What You Need To Know (And What To Do)
He seemed so into me at first … what happened? I can’t even count the number of times I’ve been asked this question … or even the amount of times I asked myself that very question when I was single and dating!
It sucks. It hurts. You feel so confused and it’s hard not to take it personally. Did you do something wrong? Did you say something you shouldn’t have? Are you not pretty enough? Were you too desperate? Too disinterested? What happened? Why doesn’t he want anything to do with me?
This can play out in a variety of ways. Maybe it’s a guy you’ve been casually dating and he starts fading away. Maybe it’s someone you’re dating, but he seems to be pulling away and losing interest. Maybe it a guy you haven’t even met yet but have been exchanging messages with on a dating app.
Whatever the case, it’s a guy who seemed very into you and now he’s ignoring you or being distant or cold or maybe it seems like he “ghosted” you. And you can’t help what wonder…
What went wrong?
Here are the most likely reasons:
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1. First- are you sure he’s ignoring you?
A lot of women reflexively panic and try to solve a problem when there is no problem to solve. Things come up, people get busy, life happens. And there will be times when you won’t be his #1 priority.
Before panicking and stressing over his lack of contact, just relax and cut him some slack. First, it’s important to remember that the amount of contact you have with a guy on a daily basis will typically decrease as things get more settled.
In the beginning, he’s trying to win you over, so he goes all out. He makes sure he’s firmly implanted in your mind by staying in touch being his most hilarious, attentive, and charming self. As things get a little more settled, he can settle back into a normal daily routine and constantly texting all day just isn’t sustainable unless he’s unemployed and has nothing else to do all day.
A lot of women take the decrease in daily texts as a sign that he’s losing interest when all it really means is he’s getting more comfortable … and that’s a good thing!
I remember doing this after my second date with my husband and I can’t help but laugh when I think back on it.
He and I had engaged in days of marathon chatting and texting leading up to our first date (we dated in high-school so there was a lot of history there and then we ran into each other and things got re-ignited). So after days and days of nonstop texting, we had an amazing, 7-hours-long first date followed by more non-stop textng and then an amazing second date. But then it stopped and I didn’t hear from him at all the entire next day!
I literally felt like the wind had been knocked out of me and walked around all day feeling dizzy and nauseous and in disbelief. How could he be done already? What did I do to turn him off? Where did it go wrong?
Later that night, just as I started mourning the loss of what could have been, he texted and everything was fine! I put myself through almost 2 days of emotional warfare for nothing!
Don’t be so quick to assume the worst. Preemptively panicking won’t help you. Wait to see what you’re dealing with before you go down that path. If you haven’t heard from him in a day or two, tell yourself, “I will not panic about this yet. If I still don’t hear from him by the end of the week, then I will allow myself to be upset about this.” And try as best you can to just move forward.
Look, if he doesn’t turn up, then it really isn’t the end of the world. It will only feel that way if you attach way too much significance to what it means. It’s also better to know he’s not on the same page now, before you get in too deep because the deeper you go, the harder it will be to claw your way back out.
2. He’s going through something.
OK, so if you’ve determined that he definitely is ignoring you, then this is the most likely reason.
We talk a lot about why men withdraw emotionally from relationships (you can read about it here and here to start).
The number 1 reason is usually that he’s going through something difficult. Maybe he’s having issues at work, financial trouble, emotional problems, or family drama – whatever the case, men prefer to deal with things on their own internally. They don’t seek out other people to talk to or for a shoulder to cry on the same way most women do.
He will be especially unlikely to do this if you and him don’t know each other that well yet. A guy doesn’t want to appear weak and vulnerable in front of a woman he likes and is trying to impress. Maybe you think that a man who shows his emotions is sexy, but he definitely doesn’t see it that way. Rather than come to you, he may push you away because he doesn’t want you to see him in this state.
He would rather retreat and take space to work things out on his own, and then come back into the relationship when he’s feeling strong and confident again.
You can let him know you’re there if he needs you, but don’t push him or pressure him to open up. This will only backfire. And also don’t turn his personal problems into relationship problems. The best thing you can do is just give him space and focus on yourself, and not on him and the relationship.
3. He doesn’t like you enough.
Now, this is the nightmare scenario for many women. You don’t want it to be true, you hope you’re wrong, you look for any sign that something else is going on but the fact is … you can’t win them all.
Sometimes you’ll meet a great guy and you’ll think he’s perfect for you and he just won’t feel the same way. Do not take this to mean you’re damaged or flawed or unworthy. Sometimes it’s a match, sometimes it isn’t. It’s the same way that not everyone you meet becomes your best friend. Some people are friendly acquaintances, some become friends, but only a select few become your best friend.
It’s not always so black and white for guys, this is why he may not disappear entirely. He may instead go days or weeks without texting, but he’ll be receptive if you text him. Or he may randomly reach out to you. The reason is that he kind of likes you. And maybe he wants to like you more than he actually does.
I’ve seen this from the guy’s side many times. A guy friend will be dating a girl and he really wants to like her. He thinks he’s great and he is at a point where he’d like to settle down and have a girlfriend … but something about her just isn’t doing it for him. But again, he still kind of likes her! So sometimes he’ll want to talk to her, and if she reaches out he’ll want to respond.
These are the kinds of scenarios that cause the “mixed messages” so many women grapple with. The message is pretty clear: he just doesn’t know how he feels about you. And the translation to that is pretty clear: he likes you … he just doesn’t like you enough.
4. He’s dating someone else.
In this day and age, we have access to more potential options than ever and this is an obvious blessing and a curse.
Maybe you’ve been chatting with a seemingly awesome guy on your dating app of choice. Maybe you’ve even gone out a few times. You think this one has potential … but then he just drops off the map. It’s very possible that he was talking to five other girls at the same time and it just clicked with someone else. Or maybe he was casually dating another girl when you started talking and they recently became official.
I’ve been in those situations and fortunately the guy had the decency to tell me the truth, but I haven’t been single in a while and times have changed! Sometimes people opt to just avoid uncomfortable emotional conversations and just keep swiping and move onto the next.
Remember, you aren’t an official couple until you’re an official couple. Until he explicitly locks you down, he’s a free agent as are you and he doesn’t owe you anything really. Yes, there is a courteous way to handle situations, but you can’t expect commitment or monogamy from a guy you barely know.
You have to take every situation for exactly what it is at this moment, not what you would like it to turn into at some point in the future.
5. It’s moving a little too fast
You’re really feeling him and he’s really feeling you. Everything is amazing. You connect, the chemistry is electric, you spend almost all your time together. It almost feels like you bypassed the courtship phase and went straight into the serious relationship phase. The momentum is strong … but then it stops, or worse, seems to be going backward. What happened?
Well, he probably got a little freaked out and is just trying to slow things back down to a normal pace, and this is healthy and normal!
It’s possible he’s just not ready to give you the kind of commitment you want, and if that’s the case then you both need to have a discussion about it because it would be unfair for you to wait around for him to sow his oats or whatever it is he feels he needs to do. Or maybe you’re fine with waiting. Again, this is your call to make.
It’s also possible he realized you’re the love of his life, he knows he wants to be with you, but he’s just scared of how fast it’s all happening.
I went through this with my hubby. In the beginning, he was so in. Like way more than me. He was the one talking about marriage and kids very early on, and I was the one that was like, “OK woah! Too fast!” (Even though I knew that he was “the one” it still felt intense and a little scary).
Then just as I was really starting to amp up the intensity, he started to pull back. He started getting a little freaked when marriage talk came up. I took it to mean he changed his mind. That he no longer wanted to marry me, that maybe he got caught up in the romance of our story and the passionate connection we shared. Really, he was just realizing how much his life would change. He knew he wanted to marry me and this was it and the fact is, that’s scary!
I didn’t push the issue too hard and tried to just continue enjoying what we had and it didn’t take long for things to get back on track, and here we are … married with 2 kids!
Love doesn’t exactly bring out the realist in us. It’s easy to get swept away by all those fluttery feelings and leap into things without really thinking. Taking a more pragmatic approach is much healthier and will increase the chances that your relationship will last.
6. He doesn’t want to hurt your feelings
Why is he ignoring you? Why won’t he just say it to your face? I get this question a lot and people don’t usually like my answer but it’s the truth: he just doesn’t want to hurt your feelings.
Yeah, yeah I know it sounds like I’m making excuses but I’m not. I’ve interviewed countless men over the years and this is what they say. Does it make it right or nice or fair? No, no, and no.
But it just is. In his mind, you are on the same page as him. You know that things aren’t going to work out, so why suffer through an uncomfortable conversation about it?
Also, he doesn’t want to be the bad guy that hurts you. He doesn’t want to have to tell you he doesn’t like you enough or he doesn’t see this going anywhere. He would rather just convince himself that you are on the same page as him and talking about it would just be presumptuous and unnecessary.
Some guys also do intend to call and let you know what the deal is … but then they stall because who wants to have that conversation? Girls hate it and guys despise it. So he tells himself he’ll wait a few days … and days become weeks … and then too much time has passed and now he feels weird calling because you’ve probably already moved on!
So there you have it. The truth about why guys ignore you and “ghost.” I know the truth can sometimes hurt, but remember it’s not personal. This is just the reality of dating and relationships and attraction. If it was so easy, it wouldn’t be worth it. The best thing you can do is focus on being your best self and on working out any kinks. Do this and love will find you. If you allow bitterness and anger and frustration to fester, then you’ll push love away.
I hope this article gave you clarity on why men pull away. But there’s more you need to know … specifically, how to handle it. Do you know what to do when a man pulls away or when he seems to be losing interest in you? If not, you need to read this next: If He’s Pulling Away, Do This...
Take The Quiz: Is He Losing Interest?
In summary …
Why He’s Ignoring You:
- He’s not, you’re just being paranoid
- He’s going through something that has nothing to do with you.
- He doesn’t like you enough.
- He found someone else.
- It’s moving too fast.
- He doesn’t want to hurt you.