The Disappearing Act: When Your Online Match Stops Communicating
You think things are going pretty well. You’ve exchanged several messages with someone who seems like a perfect match and you’re beginning to see real potential. Then, for no clear reason, communication stops. Your last message remains unanswered for days, weeks, months. You can’t imagine what went wrong . . . and you can’t stop obsessing, either.
The disappearing act is one of the most aggravating hazards of online dating, and while it’s best to let it go and move on, it’s hard to stop fixating on the mystery. Did you say something to offend her? Did he meet someone better? Was she never that into you to begin with?
The fact is, no matter what the reason, you’re probably better off without a communication flake in your life. Quiet your racing mind with these common reasons for the disappearing act . . . and the reasons why it’s not worth all this frustration.
They lost interest.
Not the ideal reason, but hey, sometimes it happens. And it can happen online a lot, before the bonds of a real-life encounter can form. Look at this way—someone who abruptly drops interest in a match may be a little too flighty and fickle to be worth your time.
They weren’t that interested to begin with.
This could happen with newbies. First-time online daters are sometimes prone to exploring all their options, including prospective matches that don’t interest them. As they get used to the online dating world and start to realize that they have to narrow the field, they invest less time in prospects who fit in the “probably not, but you never know” category. If this is the case in your situation, it’s too bad Newbie wasted your time. But at least he figured out what he was really after so you could move on and pursue something more stable.
They got busy.
It happens. If a relationship is Priority One for you right now, it might be hard to imagine. Nevertheless, there are plenty of daters out there who dip their toes in, then suddenly tear out of the pool when career or family calls. They’re interested in getting out there, but they’re not ready to make time for dating. Did your disappearing match talk a lot about work or other responsibilities? It may just be something came up and dating fell by the wayside. In that case, it’s no one’s fault; she just wasn’t ready to settle in and commit. You’re better off finding someone who is.
You offended them.
A lot of people will tell you when you’ve said something offensive . . . especially if they’re into you and are hoping you can make it right and restore their faith in you. Occasionally, however, you may hit a nerve too big or offend a person too prideful and find yourself dealing with an empty inbox. It’s too bad, but if he can’t talk it out, you’ve either got a serious clash in values on your hands or you’ve found a non-communicator. Either way, you’re probably better off with the silence.
They found a better match.
This one was probably one of your first assumptions, since you know that, like you, your match is confronted with dozens of other profile photos the moment she logs on. Just be careful how you play this explanation in your head. It’s not about finding someone better, it’s about finding someone better matched . . . more compatible. If there’s someone out there who gets her more than you do, you can probably assume the same is true on your end, too. So keep looking.
They’re burned out.
Dating can be exhausting. No matter how interesting new matches may be, we all get sick of the get-to-know-you game every now and then. It’s possible that the prospect you’ve been talking to is just worn out and looking for a breather. If that’s the case, might as well let it go and strike up a conversation with someone who’s too thrilled about you to consider a break from the scene.
Granted, no matter how “better off” you are, each of these scenarios calls for a little frustration. If you want to seek a little closure, there’s nothing wrong with sending a follow-up email. Stay out of the rage zone (there’s nothing like sending an angry email to a girl who’s been MIA because she’s been caring for a terminally ill relative), but do explain that you’re confused by the sudden silence and would appreciate an explanation. Hopefully, you’ll get a fair response. But if the silence persists, cut your losses and move on to more communicative pastures.