I Have That Sinking Feeling He’s Going Silent

There it is again.  That sinking feeling that he isn’t going to call.  He is just going to “go silent”.  Not a good-bye.  No explanation, if one could even be given after just four dates.  Nothing.  Silence.  Thud.

The worst part is that I thought we were really clicking.  I mean, he had to drive two hours each day to see me. And, he did it without me suggesting it.  In fact, I worked hard to discourage it knowing it was quite a drive in addition to putting in a full day of work.  When we were together the time seemed to just fly by and those are his words not mine.  Then, the night before I had to leave town since the conference I was attending ended the next day, we said our good-byes.  Okay, I’m not going into detail as to how we said them, but, suffice it to say, that there was nothing in the parting that indicated he would not be continuing to pursue knowing me as much after meeting as he had the entire six weeks before.  But, I returned home and no call, unusual in itself since he was hammering me with emails and IMs before we met.  I zipped him a nice friendly email, thanking him for taking time out of his schedule to spend with me, letting him know once again how much fun I had.  It was short, sweet and nice, but no response.  Nothing. Silence. Thud. 

That sinking, sick feeling in the pit of my stomach that comes from feeling fooled by my emotions or by another human being.  I’ve met quite a few folks over the last year.  I generally know what I want or what I’m looking for (as if dating were like going to the grocery store and I’ll just find any number of them sitting on the shelves or in a display case).  I really know more of the kinds of things, perspectives, attitudes, behaviors, lifestyle choices, habits that won’t work for me in a long term relationship. I also know more of what will.  This person, without a doubt, moved over into the “definitely has potential” category. I began to let my mind think, “maybe” and “I wonder” and “hmmmm, what if?”  and then, he went silent. 

There is that sickening, thick, heavy, flat, painful feeling that comes from not understanding what went wrong or why. No email, nothing, not a phone call even.  Certainly not the instant response I’d been getting over the last six weeks that indicated he was checking emails and my blog regularly to hear from me or read the latest post. There was a text every morning before I went to work and connection, in some form, four or five times a day.  It was the textbook “when a man loves a woman there is no doubt” scenario. Then he went silent. 

It was a definite and noticeable change in temperature, but I saw none of it coming while I was with him. Silence. Then, a couple of days later, I get an email from him.  Short, to the point, impersonal, but also nothing about the status of things between us from his perspective either.  He simply said he is going out of town to visit his adult kids out of state and will be gone for four days.  No further noise from him since. Silence, Thud. 

Unusually silent on his part.  And…for the fourth time since May…I have that sinking feeling that things will not be working out or moving forward…and I have no idea why.  None. This wouldn’t be such a big deal if there was no real interest on my part, or if there hadn’t been some considerable time getting to know the person and, here’s the biggie, if I hadn’t let my heart start opening up to the possibility that this might have the potential to be something interesting.  I find the entire process, exhausting and not a little painful.  It is mostly annoying.   On one level, if I must be honest, it just flat angers me.  A six week, two month, three month relationship where the man spent all that energy and time making himself a very real and present force in my life only to go silent without a good-bye is appalling to me.  It floors me.  But then I am a woman, and I don’t understand how really handsome, together, intelligent men can deal straight up on a Wall Street Business deal and hide when it comes to love.  Going silent is like telling me that whatever we had did not exist.  It invalidates the time we spent together, and it marginalizes me.  You see, when I give someone the greatest gift I can give…which is my time…the very essence my life and his is made of…it is dehumanizing when I don’t even receive the courtesy of a good-bye. 

I know mentally, this is just the way it is.  In each of these situations I’ve experienced this year,  nothing was really invested (except my freaking heart…but no big deal there right?).  All the relationships were in their infancy stages so, best to bail early rather than not bail and wait.  And…in all these cases…no one was obligated either way.  But that’s not the point.  It still feels bad.  It feels worse than rejection, even though I know mentally it isn’t at all about me, but more about decisions he’s making.  I mean, when I have to make the same choice to discontinue contact with someone, it isn’t so much about that person being a failure in Dating World or Life as it is just me recognizing that I simply for whatever reason cannot move forward with this person.  Since I know it, I need to act on it.  I’m certain these men all felt the same way too.  They saw something, felt something, knew they couldn’t go forward and had to act on it. It’s about them making right choices for them.  It’s not really about me. But it still feels bad and it feels especially bad when they don’t say anything, if even by email, and, instead I am kept wondering, wondering, wondering…what happended.  It is dehumanizing, demoralizing and discouraging. 

In the silence, wondering what happened, experiencing that sinking feeling, until one day, several days later or maybe a week (but I’ve become good enough at recognizing the trend the minute the first text message is missed), it becomes clear that they have not contacted me, and they will not ever again contact me.  Thud.  They are simply just not that into me…worse…I wasn’t even important enough to earn an explanation, email or otherwise. Sigh.  Sick Feeling in the stomach. Regretting what is now, all the wasted time and time is the very essence my life is made of.  Moving on. Taking a deep breath and moving on. 

Doesn’t anybody out here in adult dating world over 40 have a conversation any more?  What is so wrong with saying kindly to someone that you don’t think you’re going to be able to continue things further and releasing them from the possibility that they spend the next day, or two or  week or so of their life wondering what happened or if it even really did happen?  I mean, don’t kid yourself, we’re all really good at making excuses and giving others an out. Women are especially good at making excuses for men and their poor behavior.  He could be really busy, he’s catching up for time missed at work, he’s blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.  And this is how days are emotionally wasted when one could be spending the time mentally, emotionally moving on.  The reality is….there is something to that book, “He’s Just Not That Into You”.  Men know how to use the phone, they know how to express that they care, they are not timid, they will contact a woman if they are interested enough in her.  If they don’t…they aren’t.  If he doesn’t where I’m concerned…he isn’t…and I simply don’t have time to waste wondering or worrying about that…and the fact that he didn’t even say good-bye says more about his character than it does about my foolishness for actually taking a risk and momentarily believing in the cad.

So I’m thinking, that in every instance, where I’ve experienced this sinking feeling, I’ve been 100% correct.  I’m not going to sit around (like that was happening anyway) even one second more and wonder.  As far as I’m concerned all I know is what I’m experiencing right now.  What I’m experiencing right now has cast enough doubt in my mind as to make my decision clear.  I don’t want to be stumbling around wondering what’s up ever again.  I spent far too much of my last marriage dealing with the silent treatment, and this propensity in an individual, where I’m concerned, lands them squarely in the “won’t work for me” category. 

Let the silence continue.  I’ve got life to do and I’m not waiting around for the silence to end before I do it.

18 thoughts on “I Have That Sinking Feeling He’s Going Silent

  1. Good attitude there at the end, Cat. The silence says everyting about them and nothing about you. A call or message from them saying, this isn’t working or this isn’t a good fit for me, or i’ve changed my mind, would suffice. Do men think all women are going to freak out and go crazy and needy and psycho on them? Um. If they do, then they obviously haven’t been looking at you as you are not that type. Nor am I. I think maybe that’s what they’re afraid of. Maybe a guy will chime in here and explain.

    A strong, secure, independent woman who has her sh*t together is a gift – pay attention men!

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    1. Hi Little Miss,
      Yes, the silence is definitely not about me. I had nothing to do with it. I would even accept, “I need more time”. I would accept just about anything but silence. As you know, I spent most of my last marriage being punished by the silent treatment. I’m pretty done with that. In the context of a dating situation, it simply says, “You’re not even important enough to say good-bye to”. You can’t prevent the going silent thing, but after it happens you really feel like a fool for wasting all the time and emotional energy.

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    1. SingleOnline,
      Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment. Agreed, calling every hour afterward is not a good thing either. I’m not talking about waiting awhile, I’m talking about the full-blown complete disappearing act which isn’t waiting awhile and then calling, it’s disappearing.
      Cat

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  2. Maybe he has business to take care of. Give him time. Maybe he’s travelling. Maybe he’s trying to sort things out. Premature infatuation can be a confusing thing. Do you really understand what is going on in his life? Or, it could be something as simple as “lost my phone charger.” Give it some time. Sometimes when these things hit a breakneck crescendo, they have to naturally settle back to a manageable level while you’re apart, until something changes that brings you closer together. Just some thoughts …

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    1. Hmmm, Out There,
      I really appreciate the input from a male here so thanks for stopping by and commenting
      Hmmmm, just some thoughts from my male friends who think this guy and others like them are just not into me:
      Maybe he needs time? He could call, email or text that. If a relationship was really what he indicated it was he would have known I would have received that kindly and graciously. I think we’d built up at least that much understanding, but apparently not.
      Maybe he’s traveling? He could still call, email or text that, even that never stopped him before.
      Maybe he’s trying to sort things out? Understandable, but if he needs to sort things out…he’s still not that into me or he has other attachments which means he’s not sorting things out he’s sorting me out…way out of the picture.
      Premature Infatuation can be a confusing thing. Do I really understand what is going on in his life? Hmmm, “premature infatuation” after two months of intense pursuit and four days of being together and he had to drive quite a distance each day to get there? He must have been pretty infatuated and I must have been pretty disappointing if I didn’t even get a heads up that he was done with “us”. I only know what is going on in his life based on what he tells me, which clearly wasn’t the whole story or the completely true story probably.
      Lost my phone charger? Okay, now the guys are laughing at this one and telling me, “How hard is it to go down to the cell phone store and buy a new charger? Especially when the guy owned his own construction business?” Now, I’m struggling, single mom of four children and I would have made time and taken the effort and found the money to do that.
      Sometimes when things hit a breakneck crescendo they have to naturally settle down Okay, life can’t run at high romantic intensity all the time but I was not the one advocating that ever. Even so, going silent is not a “natural settling down”. I advocate, as I always have and always will, adults in meaningful relationships have these conversations in caring reasonable ways which recognize and validate both parties. It’s ultimately an issue of respect and thoughtfulness for another human being. The man made his way into my life in a big way, we shared a great deal and he was unable, for whatever reason, to have an honest conversation with me about whatever was up with him, phone charger, time to think, etc. It feels bad, and I end up feeling very foolish for taking him at his word, trusting him and taking the time out of my life to really care. It’s the risk we all take when we date. My post was just a reflection on a dating reality that exists, how badly it feels and what it says about the person who goes silent. And, for what it’s worth, it can’t have felt good to him either, knowing he was choosing to go silent on a wonderful, caring, beautiful person like me. 😉
      Give it time: I am, believe me, I am.
      Thanks for commenting.
      Cat

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  3. I am still unclear why you feel so slighted here. Are we talking a week, a month? Or a week that seems like a month? Did you make some sort of commitment to each other that is not being honored? It reads to me like HE was the one who made the effort to travel to see you. Have you tried to reciprocate? Since this is undoubtedly the second (or third?) go around for both of you, getting on the same page is understandably complicated, and deserves some time and space to evolve. My read is that you set your expectations maybe a little high. He might benefit from knowing how you feel about him, that you undestand he might be wading through the weeds, and that you’ll be there for support even if HE can’t be there all the time for you. And if he was scorched in his last relationship, he might be a little afraid of fire – we learn early on it’s nothing to play with.

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    1. OutThere,
      Slighted is probably not an accurate term for my feelings here. The reality is people have choices they make and they are free to make them. I am an adult. I recognize this. I am not pouting around because someone I dated disappeared on me without leaving a post-it note on the pillow. In my post, which is only one example of several situations I experienced which were similar, this person just disappeared. Nothing. That’s been six months. Nothing. Pretty loud statement there, no questions about his intent. More recent instances have been similar with the slight modification that they actually did communicate with me but only after I first contacted them, which I probably shouldn’t have done. It just makes me wonder how long I would have waited before I heard from them again…if I ever did. People are free to make the choices they make. No commitments were made, but in the course of a two month relationship, patterns of interacting are developed and ways of being with each other become understood. Drastic changes in temperature, from hot to cold or from on to off, are not good signals in cars, nor are they great indicators in relationship, generally.
      About the weeds, he did not indicate weeds to me, at least, not of the height and density, you seem to be thinking he might have struggled with. Had those weeds existed, it might have been best to face them straight up rather than dance around them. I didn’t get that opportunity and since I’m pretty dependent upon him sharing whatever he will and won’t about weeds, I can’t exactly guess how to proceed. I’m good with a machetti and make a great ally. My friends love me for the support I give when they have a crisis but I can’t do anything if I don’t even know what the weeds are or where they are.
      You’re completely right about him benefitting from knowing how I feel about him and from knowing I’m there to support him. But with such a sudden silence from him , I’m wondered if that might not be percieved by him as an annoyance rather than a help. Thus, I did nothing.
      I have a question for you. Does it seem right, or equitable or healthy if he’s to expect me to be there for him all the time and I can’t on the most basic level expect that in return from him? I think I get what you’re saying here. Sometimes in relationships both people take turns being givers and takers, when one is in need the other can give to the one who is needing more at the time. Is that what you were getting at? Or were you implying I should be there for him, though he apparently seems to be unavailable for me?
      I agree that really good relationships have this element of give and take. I worry though, when it’s always one way and also when the communication shuts down and one party is left in the dark wondering why. Another reader posted on one of my other articles about the “imbalance” caused in relationship when people refuse to yield. It was a great comment and so on target.
      You’re right that the guy did make the effort to come see me which is what makes it all the more strange. I was impressed by that and read it as interest, which didn’t prepar me at all for the following silence. I was not invited nor given the opportunity to reciprocate. Like I said…he went silent. Which again is his choice but it does make the discussion of reciprocity somewhat mute, don’t you think? I mean, if he’s not that interested, how comfortable is it going to be for either of us, from that point forward, if I were to keep calling him and show up on his door. Plus, if he’s the one with the “weeds” in his yard, it’s up to him to tell me when he’s ready for me to come visit, so to speak. As for letting him know how I felt, I do believe I did that quite clearly when we were together because I told him, with words and actions.
      Anyway, great discussion! Thanks for lobbing it back. I know this is a fairly common experience in over 40 dating, and both men and women are surprised and confused when it happens. I just think, men, in general can deal with it better or maybe they are more prepared to deal with it. I don’t know. Would love to hear what others have experienced here…or is it really only me in the whole wide world that experienced this? LOL!
      Cat

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  4. You’re right – 6 months of silence probably said it all. At what point did you decide he wasn;t going to call? What did you do in the meantime to keep the spark rekindled? And what makes you think this responder is a man?

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    1. Out There,
      Well, you got me there. I assumed you were male because you took his side instead of mine and played the devil’s advocate. Probably not a wise assumption on my part. Reality is, you could be female. Are you?
      I think I suspected he wasn’t going to call the next day when he didn’t call at his usual time. Men just don’t do that if they are hot for a woman. I’ve asked around. This is what the men who are friends tell me (they’re usually married to my female friends, but I can trust they’ll tell it to me straight up). He was like clockwork. Then, as time dragged on and no more emails, texts, or IMs, it became fairly clear he’d checked out. I can only spend so much time worrying or fretting about when he will or won’t call. I can tell you I didn’t wait six months to figure it out. When I call, email or text and the responses are non-existent or so delayed when previously there was no need for me to call, email or text because he didn’t let my phone or computer get cold, then I began to figure, hmmmm, he’s certainly not as into me as he was for whatever reason. Also, why the use of the word “rekindled”? If there was something kindled, it sure didn’t go out on my end. I didn’t change in my behavior or approach. He did. He’s the one responsible for either explaining, or “rekindling” as you say. However, that’s an interesting term you chose. If it needs to be rekindled, then whatever was there did go out didn’t it, and that tells me something, doesn’t it?

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  5. If you guys were really starting to fall for each other then going even 2 or 3 days without a single word is not only wrong but just down right rude.
    Remember when i said men are like dogs? well there ya go! hehe I’m joking…
    Not sure where you meet these guys but maybe that’s the problem. I don’t know, just thinking.

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    1. Jeff,
      Thanks for piping up there. I’m glad to hear a guy’s perspective on this one. You are a guy aren’t you? I mean with a name like “Jeff”, maybe I should check it out first. Made a wrong assumption about the last commenter, I think.
      Yeah, well, where I meet them could be the problem. Don’t know either since I meet them lots of different places and not in the bars. That’s not me. Well, there you go, maybe that’s my problem. Note to self: Must begin hanging out at bars.
      Right now, I’m not seeing any patterns developing…other than the going silent thing.

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  6. Darling, I am so sorry- but your response to his not callling reeked of desperation, clingy and too much too soon!
    Please girl, leave a man wondering- you seemed to be acting clingy, needy and scary…… breathe.

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  7. chanel,
    Thanks for your comments but after rereading my post in it’s entirety, I’m thinking you didn’t comprehend fully what was written. What specifically was desperate, needy or clingy and too much too soon? The part where I said I wasn’t going to sit around a moment longer and wonder? The admission that I’ve dated enough to be able to figure out when a guy is going silent, even before much time has passed (I think most would refer to that as perceptive and efficient). I thought I did a pretty good job of depicting a scenario that leaves me feeling disappointed (not devastated). I also thought I did a great job of conveying that my behavioral choice in the matter was to admit the feelings to myself and not let them bog me down, but instead to move on with my life. I also think I was fairly clear about the difference between feeling down and actually chasing the guy down and demanding an answer, which I would never do. I’m thinking that sounds more healthy and mature than the clingy, needy and scary approach you perceived…but maybe you’ll be so kind as to enlighten me. I could be wrong. It’s happened once before. 😉
    CAB

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