Men and women are no different when it comes to the reasons why they may seem to be having a terrific time on a date but later vanish, never to be heard from again. If you’ve ever had a great date but then never heard from that person again, you know how confusing the experience can be. In my clinical work with single men and women in Los Angeles, I find that the vanisher often vanishes for three basic reasons, each of which can break your heart if you’re not savvy about the risks of dating.
Hands down, the existence of someone else is the number one reason why a person may not call or reach out to you after a good date. Who is it, you wonder? It depends. Sometimes the vanisher is currently interested in and talking to someone else; other times, the relationship or fling has ended but your guy or girl is still hung up. Though there may not be an active relationship, the vanisher may still have tender feelings for that individual and may not be ready to give up the ghost and start another relationship with someone new.
Embarrassment or Insecurity
The second reason people don’t call back after a good date is far less self-explanatory. My client, Sam, provides an excellent example of this type of vanisher. Sam is in his early 30s and is looking for a serious girlfriend. The problem? Sam recently moved to a new city and felt forced to take a job that he feels is beneath him. In short, Sam wants to wait to start dating someone seriously until he moves into a better job, one that comes with the status and salary with which he feels comfortable. As his therapist, you can imagine that this sends an arrow straight through my little therapist heart.
“Sam!” I urge. “You’re such a great guy that you shouldn’t worry about what any woman will think of your job or your income.” He counters: “But if I’m with someone, I want to be able to really take her out, and I don’t want to worry about paying for things with a credit card because I don’t have the money now.” In other words, Sam has decided that he will not ‘embarrass’ himself by dating anyone until his career is where he wants it to be. Trust me: Unless you were his therapist, you would never in a million years know why he never called the last girl back. But I’ll bet you my four-year-old daughter that his poor date felt confused and upset when he vanished. (Okay, Child Protective Services is advising against the bet.)
My client Sam is only one example of the role embarrassment (about one’s life circumstances) can play in not following through after a good date. I’ve worked with other clients who have vanished — again, despite genuine interest — because of a recent DUI, unemployment, a disturbed ex who won’t leave the picture, or a medical issue. The key is to remember that there are countless challenges that can interfere with one’s ability to start a relationship. Understanding that the vanisher may not have called back because of humiliation or embarrassment — unfounded or not — serves as an important reminder: It’s not always about you, so ease up on yourself!
Impulsive Or Obsessive Personality Style
The third major reason why someone vanishes after a good date has to do with the way he or she makes romantic decisions. While emotionally healthy men and women approach a new relationship with a mix of excitement and caution, vanishers experience a flurry of mental activity after a good date that overwhelms them and ultimately blocks their ability — or willingness — to continue dating. The way they cope is to simply avoid that person altogether.
Men and women who are impulsive frequently vanish. These vanishers often dive into a conversation with a new date and feel certain that the new person is The One. During the date, they may start making plans for the future, talk as if the two have known each other forever, or show expressions of physical affection that would convince anyone that this person is interested. The problem with impulsive people, however, is that they often make decisions on impulse and reality hits them in the face when the date ends. Rather than continue dating, impulsive vanishers are often like little kids with a case of grown-up ADHD. They get distracted by other things, people, and tasks and don’t stop to arrange another date.
In addition, men and women who are obsessive also frequently have a good date but then disappear. These vanishers mentally dissect the entire date and themselves to the point that they start focusing on fears and ‘what ifs’ instead of doing what they should be doing: taking it easy and having fun! The obsessor usually is his or her own worst enemy, and these conflicted individuals sabotage their own love lives time and time again.
The takeaway: Whatever the reason may be for anyone who vanishes after a good date, the recipient of such behavior should not take things personally. Try using the following mantra to protect yourself from unnecessary frustration: Dating is risky business; if you can’t take the risk, don’t take the date.
About the Author:
Dr. Seth Meyers has had extensive training in conducting couples therapy and is the author of Dr. Seth’s Love Prescription: Overcome Relationship Repetition Syndrome and Find the Love You Deserve.