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4 Good Reasons Why Guys Go ‘Poof!’

by Eharmony Editorial Team - June 15, 2009

You had an amazing date with him and then "POOF" ... you never hear from him again! Find out four possible reasons behind this baffling behavior.

He picks you up right on time. You drive across town to a casual but nice restaurant. He makes charming conversation, laughing at your jokes and saying very little about his job. After dinner, you stroll and chat about your hopes and dreams. It almost feels like you’ve known him your entire life. He takes you home and gives you a tender, passionate kiss that curls your toes. He says, “I had a really great time tonight with you. I’ll talk to you soon.” You float up the stairs, collapse on the couch, and POOF, you never hear from him again.

There is lots of talk about men who go “POOF!” – disappear without at a word. While many male behaviors can drive women to the brink of insanity, the lack of closure or explanation that comes from disappearing without explanation may be the ultimate head-scratcher.

In the midst of such rejection, it may be hard to consider what has happened with a cool head. But there are several reasons why a guy might go poof, and in almost every case, you should call and thank him.

1. He is an Emotional Midget.

Men are people, and lots of people have problems. They have baggage. They have strange proclivities. They have fears and past traumas that are too numerous to count. We’re all bouncing around this world trying to appear as normal as possible, so it may be very difficult to suss out whether your dinner date is healthy, cool, fun or just acting like he is healthy, cool and fun.

He may have a great time on your date, and tell you so repeatedly. But once he gets home the demons start in on him. For many men, meeting a woman they like is significantly more terrifying that spending an evening with a woman they don’t have any interest in. It presents the risk of a “real relationship” with love and risk and emotional openness. Scary stuff.

Why doesn’t he call and tell you he is an emotional midget and won’t be asking you out anymore? Do we really need to answer that question?

2. He is a Player and Likes You Too Much to Play You.

We’ve all known men who are good at collecting women. Through good luck or good genes, they’ve discovered the pattern that makes women fall at their feet. This does not necessarily make them a bad person; it’s just that these men aren’t in the place where love, family, and commitment sound attractive to them.

A player (and we use that word for lack of a better one) generally prefers a particular kind of woman — someone who is a little in on the game. If your date was very smooth, very charming, and disappeared without a trace, he likely decided that you were too good a person to be put through his wringer. He really did you a huge favor.

3. He Was Pretending the Entire Time.

Surely, you say, he wasn’t pretending to be into me. “We went out 3 times! We made out!” Oh, how wrong you might be. The kinds of men who are attractive and get dates have two defining traits – the ability to compartmentalize and a desire to avoid drama. If he meets you and decides, “This woman is too ___. I’m just not into her.” His next thought is a lightening fast calculation with the end goal being – escape with minimal drama. In many cases the result of this calculation is “smile, put aside your criticism, focus on the good stuff, and it will be over soon.”

So we’re not saying he was pretending to have a good time. He was pretending he was into you. He might have even said a few things he didn’t really mean, just to get to the end of the date. This doesn’t make him a terrible person, as we all feign pleasure with people at various points in the day/week. It does make him a terrible boyfriend for you.

Why doesn’t he call and tell you he was pretending to be into you the entire date? Do we really need to answer that question?

4. He Likes You, but He Doesn’t “Like-Like” You.

As they say, “Dating isn’t tidily winks.” Dating isn’t being pals. Dating isn’t collecting cool people to hang with. Dating is a process for finding a person with whom you want to have an emotional and sexual relationship.

So, going out with a man who makes interesting conversation, holds your hand, and kisses you at the end of the night tells you nothing about his assessment of your chemistry. He may kiss you and think, “that was awesome” or he may be less thrilled. The first few dates are about trying each other on, and seeing if there is a connection. It can take several outings to draw a firm conclusion about all the different elements of attraction and chemistry.

It isn’t uncommon for the two people involved to come to different conclusions about the “escrow stage” of dating. Perhaps he wants to go forward and she says, “I’m not sure about the landscaping.” It’s okay; and this is the perfect time for both of you to be picky and take your time.

Why doesn’t he call and tell you that he has no physical attraction to you? That is actually a conversation that mature adults should be able to have. If he didn’t call and share this information with you, please see item #1 at the top of this page or item #5 below.

In conclusion, you’ll notice a common theme throughout this explanation of poofers. If a guy poofs on you, CONSIDER IT A BLESSING! It’s the best gift you could have ever received, like your birthday and Christmas all rolled up together. Imagine pursuing a relationship with one of these men. Will the Emotional Midget be there to hold you when you’ve had a bad day? Will the Pretender be a trustworthy relationship partner? Will the Player have his eyes focused on you in the restaurant?

We all know the answers, and eHarmony Founder Neil Clark Warren said it best, “Being single is a thousand times better than being in a bad relationship.”

5. Bonus “Poof!” Explanation

Some of you may be saying, “All these reasons are fine. I just want the courtesy of a call or email telling me the reason he is dumping me.” And the degree to which you’re entitled to an explanation is completely dependent on how long you went out. If you dated for two years and he decides to leave, that is clearly an in-person break-up. If you went out for coffee on a Tuesday, no explanation is needed. We’re all adults here. If you have a single dinner date, do you really need him to write you an email explaining exactly which parts of your personality he didn’t like?

Here’s a quick guide:
1-3 Dates – No contact needed
4-7 Dates – Short email or call
7+ Dates – Face to Face