Barry and I went out on three dates. We had a really good time. Or at least, I thought we did. After the third date, I never heard from him again.
That was a few years ago, when former Sex and the City
writer Greg Behrendt came out with the book He’s Just Not That Into You: The No-Excuses Guide to Understanding Guys
. So even though I was pretty certain that Barry had been into me, I was forced to concede he actually wasn’t
Here’s why my date disappeared...
Fast-forward to last week, when my friend Lexie tells me she’s working with Barry. “He said he had a really great time with you, and you had some really fun dates,” Lexie said. “But he met the woman he married when he started dating you. As a matter of fact, you were the last woman he ever dated
Wow. I hadn’t read the Barry situation wrong — we did
have a good time. It was just that he also happened to meet his wife, then marry her and start a family. I liked Barry — but not that
much. I’m glad I didn’t stand in the way of his meeting his one true love.
His reasons for not calling could have little to do with you (or your date)
The story with Barry got me to thinking about the times when a man doesn’t call after a date (despite saying otherwise), but it’s not because he’s “just not that into you.” Ultimately, there are a dozen reasons why someone might not call after a date, but it doesn’t mean the relationship is doomed, says Ian Kerner
, Ph.D., Manhattan-based sex therapist and author of Be Honest — You’re Not That Into Him, Either: Raise Your Standards and Reach for the Love You Deserve
. “In my experience, not every date results in a fantastic experience and a follow-up call the next day. Even if things don’t play out in the scenario that you believe should play out, that doesn’t mean there isn’t potential for it to work out,” stresses Dr. Kerner. “There are no universal rules.”
Here are five other reasons a date might not call you again (besides the fact that it’s a hurtful personal rejection):
1. He’s seeing someone else and they have decided to make things exclusive.
In this era of dating, most people have more than one pot on the fire, so to speak. It’s the “good ones” who realize that if you’re going to date someone seriously, you have to focus on just one person to the exclusion of all others. So maybe he hasn’t called you back because after only one date with you — and four with someone else — he’s going to give the woman he felt a stronger connection with his full attention. That’s not a bad guy; it’s a smart one. If you’re meant to be, he’ll be back.
2. He’s indisposed and literally cannot call you for reasons beyond his control.
Sometimes when a guy doesn’t call, you hope maybe it was because he was abducted by aliens or woke up with amnesia after a car accident — any excuse besides “He just didn’t like you.” And sometimes, there is
a good (though unexpected) reason to explain his actions. For example: My friend Beth recently got a note from a man who went AWOL after a few dates. “Sorry I’ve been out of touch, but I was laid up in the hospital with a back injury,” he wrote. (Beth says as long as he brings a doctor’s note on their next date, it’s all good.)
3. He’s got other priorities besides dating that need his full attention.
My pal Jackie once dated a man who was four years her junior and, after a few weeks of great chemistry (but avoidant behavior), he told her: “Look, I really, really like you, but your career is on track... and unfortunately, mine’s not. So right now, that’s my main priority.” It wasn’t just a line, either; she confirmed through a mutual friend his actions matched his words. As it turned out, no woman could take him away from his career goals at that time in his life, and he stopped dating for over a year to remain focused on achieving them.
4. He recently got out of a relationship.
Some people believe that the man of your dreams will recognize you no matter what his life situation happens to be when you meet. But a man who just endured a difficult divorce — or suffered a recent breakup — may not be ready for a relationship with you right now. Even if he thinks
he is, he could realize he’s not ready after just a few dates.
Alice started dating Tom one year after he separated from his wife, but during their seven months together, Tom’s divorce didn’t go through... and even worse, he was always running back to his ex when she called. Tom wanted to be with Alice, but was too distracted and confused to be consistent with her and their relationship. Sometimes a man isn’t ready for a relationship with someone new, and in Alice’s case, she’d have been better off if he hadn’t
kept calling her instead of trying to have it both ways.
5. It’s logistically problematic for you two to keep seeing each other, so his vanishing act is meant to spare you both from getting hurt.
Lisa met a fantastic guy who was moving... to Saudi Arabia. Despite their obvious chemistry together, he refused to get involved with Lisa. “He didn’t want a long-distance relationship,” she recalls. There are some who believe that love conquers all, but others realize that the stars — (read: geography, timing, age, etc.) — must be properly aligned for a relationship to work.
So the next time you’re sitting by the phone nursing your insecurities, remember that there are dozens of reasons why it’s your mom calling (again) and not last night’s date. And those forces keeping him from calling may have absolutely nothing to do with you. As Dr. Kerner says, if you’re in the right relationship, you’ll know it — and it won’t be based on whether he called you the very next day.
Amy Klein writes the weekly “Fertility Diary” column for
The New York Times’ Motherlode blog. Her website is kleinslines.com.