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Why is he ignoring me? 7 reasons why he isn’t texting back

by eharmony Editorial Team - April 26, 2024
This article has been reviewed by Dr Lalitaa Suglani, an eharmony relationship expert. The content has been checked for accuracy and legitimacy based on the qualifications of our expert prior to publication.Reviewed by Relationship expert Dr Lalitaa Suglani

Has the man you’re dating suddenly stopped replying? Or is the time between texts getting longer and longer? Here are 7 of the most common reasons why he's ignoring you.

There are few things more painful than being ignored. It’s especially hurtful when you’re being ignored by someone you’re dating. In fact, in can cause an intense physical reaction. Tightness in your chest, butterflies in your stomach, and having trouble sleeping are all afflictions associated with being ignored. It’s damaging to our self-esteem and places us in an uncomfortable grey area; an unnatural state of perpetual uncertainty. Humans aren’t designed for this kind of uncertainty and it can cause the same kind of panic response as we’d experience if we were under threat.

But why would someone you’re dating ignore you in the first place? There are many reasons why he might be giving you the cold shoulder. If you’re stuck wondering, ‘Why is he ignoring me?’, here are a few factors that might be at play:

He’s playing games

If you’re in the early stages of dating and he’s ignoring you, he might be playing hard to get. It’s all about power. He wants you to experience that uncertain, panicked response so that you’ll be more receptive to him when he does reply. It’ll be a relief when he does, and that relief could affect your decision making and make you feel more invested in the relationship than you really are. If this feels familiar, remember that game-playing and manipulative behaviour isn’t acceptable at any stage of a relationship. Trust that if someone really likes you, they won’t play games. After all, why would anyone who likes you want you to feel panicked and uncertain?

He’s punishing you

When someone is intentionally ignoring you to punish you, it’s because he wants you to feel the pain that uncertainty provokes. He may be motivated by revenge; he feels that you’ve ignored him, so he’s doing the same. If you’re mid-argument, he might be ignoring you until the situation calms down, especially if he’s uncomfortable with conflict or feels the war of words is getting you nowhere. Even so, being ignored when you’re angry is incredibly frustrating and not a healthy way to solve a dispute. The best relationships are built on communication. If your partner is unwilling to engage with you to resolve issues and prefers to ignore you then you should reconsider whether they are mature enough to be in a relationship with you.

He’s busy

It may sound like an excuse but, if he’s ignoring you, he could just be busy. Consider the context. Are you texting in the middle of a busy work day? Do you know he’s heading to the gym straight after work and won’t be able to answer your call? Nobody should be contactable all the time. It’s virtually impossible to properly focus on what you’re doing if you’re on the phone at the same time. If this causes tension in your relationship, set expectations early on. If your partner works long-hours, agree never to leave a message unanswered for more than 24 hours. That way, you’ll be better able to judge whether he is ignoring you intentionally or life has got in the way.

He needs some space

Even the closest couples need space sometimes. He might not be used to constant contact or is having a stressful day that he’s rather deal with himself than take out on you. The amount of space someone needs in a relationship depends on the person. It might even vary depending on what else is going on in their lives. Try to determine what kind of man you’re dating. Are they an introvert who needs plenty of alone time to recharge? Or an extrovert who is rarely alone? Once you’ve established this, you’ll be better placed to judge whether they’re really ignoring you or just taking space.

He’s not alone

Mobile phone etiquette rules differ from person to person, but if the man you’re dating is with his friends or family he may not be able to reply. If he is someone who refuses to use his phone in company, that’s an admirable trait. He’ll likely also give you his undivided attention when he’s with you. However, if you do find that he’s always taking calls and replying to texts when you’re together but refuses to reply when with his friends, there may be alternative motives at play.

He’s trying to break up with you

We would always advocate breaking up with someone face-to-face, but the reality is that some people would rather fade out of a relationship than end it properly. If you feel him pulling away and making excuses not to see you, then he’s using ignoring you as a break-up method. He’s hoping that you’ll eventually get fed up of being ignored and end the relationship yourself. Or you’ll just stop trying and the relationship will fizzle out without any kind of confrontation. It’s one of the worst ways to break-up with someone but, at least you can take comfort in the fact that you’re free to find someone who would never ignore you instead.

Man and woman in cafe, man caresses her face and she smiles as an example of the question does he like me

Wondering whether he likes you?

Here are some signs he is interested, so you can easily answer the question “does he like me?”.

He’s just not that into you

The truth is, when a man likes you, he’ll let you know. It can be a difficult truth to accept. We often choose to believe that someone is just busy or naturally ‘bad’ at texting, which is why they are ignoring us. But do you really want to be with someone who puts contacting you at the bottom of his to-do list? Everyone has bad days but, in the early days of a relationship, there’s no reason why he should be ignoring you. And if he is, then he’s either still playing games and not ready for a long-lasting relationship or just not that into you.

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