Why Do Guys Come Back When You Ignore Them? An Expert Weighs In

"You treat a hot girl like dirt, and she'll stick to you like glue."

That's one of Jason Segel's lines from 2002's pretty terrible movie Slackers. Now that it's 2017 and the future is female, I'd beg a gender role reversal and ask: Why is it that it feels like guys come back when you ignore them, too?

I'm not condoning treating anyone like dirt, but every time I stop talking to a guy that I'm interested in, he creeps right back into my life.

I'd like to think I'm past all of the "games," but I'm not. I've both shown too much interest and too little interest in guys I've been normal-level interested in. Why can't I just tell it like it is? "Hey, you're cute, I want to go out again," means exactly, "Hey, you're cute, I want to go out again." It doesn't mean I want to marry you. Do I really need to ignore your texts to let you know that I enjoyed our date?

I don't know and I want to pull my hair out.

Elite Daily spoke to dating expert John Keegan to sort out why it feels like guys come back when you ignore them.

He might come back because he doesn't like losing.


Let's say I'm a month into dating someone and I feel like he's pulling away. Rather than ramp up the texts, I usually get quiet and wait to see what his next move is. It's not the most feminist, but it's a way I avoid stating my actual worries or feelings. Plus, I usually hear back from him because he's curious as to what happened.

"Guys will come back when you ignore them because they feel like they've lost something they had," says Keegan. "They begin to remember what they might've had."

If a guy comes back after you ignore him, it doesn't mean he's going to stick around forever. Sometimes, he's just wondering why he no longer has you — you were there, and now you're not.

Careful with the type who is just looking to win, because you can't play games forever.

He's attracted to the fact that you gave him space because it shows you aren't needy.

Unless you're calling him at 3 a.m. to be your personal Uber, the "she's too needy" excuse is pretty lame — if you are in a relationship, you're allowed to be a little needy.

That said, early in a relationship, neediness from either partner can be overwhelming. "If a guy feels that the woman is needy, he's going to pull away," says Keegan. "Sometimes a little space can show the woman is not needy."

Or maybe you didn't ignore him, but you gave him a little space while you were away traveling for the weekend. He likes that, too. "He [also] likes to know that she is independent and has lots of options," explains Keegan.

If it feels like a guy is more responsive when you give him more room to breathe, maybe he's been in relationships where a lot was asked from him, and he wants to take things slower this time.

You don't have to slow down if you don't want to. If you're ready to dive in head first, tell him. If he's not into that, you can move on to the next one.

But you really shouldn't ignore guys you're into.


While giving a guy space could show him that you are independent and comfortable doing your own thing, playing hard to get when you actually want to be with someone is totally counterproductive.

"I do not recommend women ignore men they're interested in. Absolutely not. If you really want to start a relationship off right, show that you're interested," explains Keegan. "Don't play games. Once games begin, they never end and someone always loses in a game. In a relationship, we're looking for a win win."

So don't Fatal Attraction your new crush from date one and expect that he won't feel smothered, but don't ignore him and think he will somehow know that you're interested and continue pursuing you.

I've definitely played it "cool" so much so that I never allowed myself to be fully present with really awesome guys. Dudes are insecure humans, too, and they need a sign that you're interested. Why not skip the games and get real with your guy early on?

Do you like him? Tell him.

It's OK to give your crush space to get a read on what he's thinking, but don't torture yourself ignoring his texts because you think it's some magical way of getting him to like you.

Life is short. Share your feelings.

This post was originally published on July 19, 2017. It was updated on Aug. 23, 2019 by Elite Daily Staff.