Online Dating: Why Men Disappear
Don’t let your ego get bruised
You’re texting hot and heavy with a great guy you met online. You seem to have so much in common, and he says he can’t wait to meet you. Late night texts segue into meaningful phone calls and heartfelt emails. Then, your next text goes unanswered. And the next. Days pass, and you realize you’re never going to hear from him again.
It’s all too common in online dating to have a man simply disappear in the middle of your communications. It’s one thing if you’ve never met, but even worse if you’ve been on a date or two, or even slept with them, and they simply stop contacting you. And yet it happens all the time.
It’s known as “poofing” or “ghosting” and it’s a frequent occurrence in the dating world. It seems to be an offshoot of the digital world in which we live, where people feel as if they can hide behind a computer screen and not be responsible for the things they say. It has begun to extend into people’s personal lives, where they still feel a disconnect and a lack of responsibility to treat the people they meet online as real human beings.
The most important thing to know about this, when it happens, is that it really isn’t you. It’s them. People who do this are dealing with emotional issues or commitment phobias that began long before they started talking to you.
Reasons they poof
There are certain things that make men more likely to poof. Justin Lavelle, communications director at BeenVerified, shared what he says are three common reasons for the disappearing act:
He Likes You But Just Isn’t That Into You. One of the most common reasons a person poofs is because they aren’t into you enough to continue pursuing a relationship. The beginning roots of dating are about getting to know each other. The other person may very well have liked getting to know you but then realized that maybe it wasn’t enough to continue on, and that’s okay. Don’t take it personally, especially if you’ve never met in person, and understand that standard dating courtesy says that 1-3 dates does not require an explanation. If you get one, consider yourself lucky.
It Takes A Lot of Guts to End Things. Having to tell someone that they’re not the right fit is hard for most people. A root canal may sound more enjoyable. For some, just avoiding the subject altogether is the easiest way to go. And poof! They may fear you’ll get upset, that you’ll start asking a lot of questions that they don’t want to have to answer or that you’ll go a little cray-cray. If you don’t face up to it and own it, you’re not putting yourself on the line for the unknown even if that’s the cowardly way out.
Your Houdini is a Serial Dater. Some people are just players who like to collect interested parties and admirers like some people collect books and art. It’s a fun and challenging game for them. It’s not bad or wrong, it’s just unfortunate for the other person. They say all the right things, lay on the compliments, they’re engaging and fun. They are also not in a place to start a relationship, serious commitment, or a family. It’s exciting in the beginning and burns when it’s over, but realize it’s their problem not yours and it wasn’t going to end well any way.
When the relationship has been strictly virtual, there can be other reasons for disappearing along with a lack of interest. They meet someone else,get together and decide to pursue it and tell themselves they don’t owe an explanation to someone they haven’t even met. It’s possible they have gotten back with an ex, are married and a spouse is suspicious—or any reason where they are not truly available and since they don’t really know the person, they just cut off contact, said Toni Coleman, psychotherapist and relationship coach.
Remember, the people who do this aren’t people that you’d want to date anyway.
Rosalind Sedacca, a relationship coach and dating mentor, said, “Anonymity does strange things to people. It gives them the feeling they are not accountable for their behavior and entitles them to be rude, crude and callous in their online communication. Obviously these are not partners worth pursuing any further as they have displayed a side of their personality and value system that is totally undesirable in a relationship partner.”
To counteract this, you have to approach online dating with the knowledge that everyone we encounter will not share our values and may break our rules about civil and respectful communication. We have to let go, shrug off these offenders and not let it keep us from moving ahead in attracting a worthwhile partner, for they are still out there, she said, mentioning that her own son met his wife on Match.com.
How to make it stop
Stef Safran is a relationship expert and she prefers the term “ghosting” when referring to this dreadful behavior. She said, “Ghosting or poofing is becoming a more popular way to deal with the uncomfortableness of dating. As everyone knows, you treat people how you want to be treated; even if “everyone else texts” it doesn't mean you have to.
Stef’s rules of thumb for dating:
- In online dating; if you get uncomfortable with someone's behavior, you do not have to continue talking to them online or off. If someone gets sexual or inappropriate, then you can just disappear, but otherwise, treating people respectfully is the best way to go.
- If you aren't interested after talking online, you don't have to do much, but you can let someone know that you've met someone else or you don't think that it's a fit. You don't need to have any lengthy conversation in any communication format.
- If you have gone on several dates, to let someone know, “It was nice getting to know you but I don't think this is a fit” via text or phone is also fine. While some people can handle rejection, many people can't which is why more people these days disappear.
So, the next time someone you're dealing with decides to poof, just let it go. And if he contacts you again in a few weeks, as is often the case, take it with a grain of salt and tell him that while you appreciate his reappearance, you're not willing to date someone who would disappear without a word. Because if he did it once, he'll do it again, and possibly later into your dating life, once you feel more connected and bonded to him. Consider this the ultimate red flag as to why you shouldn't date a guy.