Why You're In A Text-Only Relationship, As Told By A Nice Guy And A F*ckboy

Hi! I'm Michelle and I'm 22.

I really, really like this guy. He's 27 and everything I like in a guy. We have so much in common.

We met around three and a half months ago. A week after we met, he texted me and we didn't stop talking for a whole month and a half. We talked day and night, sometimes 'til four in the morning.

Then, he started ignoring me. When that started to happen, a red flag went up in my head, so I started ignoring him, too. Except I started missing him.

Before I started a new semester, I asked him what was the point of saving my number if he wasn't going to ask me out. (Yes, we haven't gone out on a date yet. We've talked about it, but he doesn't make it happen.)

I told him I wasn't going to have enough time for him, and if he really wanted to go out with me, he should make it happen soon rather than later.

I just don't understand why he hasn't asked me out yet. He gives me the money excuse, or the "every time I want to, something else comes up" excuse.

If he wants to see me he should've done so already... right?

The Nice Guy

Hi Michelle,

It hurts me to break it to you (and I mean to say this with the utmost sympathy), but the guy's not interested. I know this for a fact, as I've actually done something similar myself when I was a few years younger. (Hey, I'm a "nice guy," not a saint.)

You see, sometimes when a guy's been single for a while, he'll dip his toes into the dating pool with no intentions of actually dating someone. He's merely surveying the landscape. He's open to love, but he's not actively seeking it.

Then, he stumbles on someone like you. Someone who lets him know she's interested, that she finds him sexy, that she's willing to send a sext or two (even a picture), and all that other stuff that feeds a dude's bravado. All without much — if any — commitment.

In other words, you're filling the requirements this guy is seeking to feel confident in himself as a single man. To prove to himself that he's an alpha at courting women. This is important to us.

You're filling the requirements this guy is seeking to feel confident in himself as a single man.

If you guys haven't been on a date after speaking for three months, my best guess is he's got you trapped in a textual relationship. One with no intentions to venture beyond the phone and its impersonal borders. It's low-investment at best.

I mean, I guess he's kind of interested (if he wasn't, he wouldn't talk to you and just ghost), but not enough to be bothered to actually go out and spend money on you.

And that's why you stay. You stay because there's that “chance” he'll pull through, even though I can tell you're fairly certain he won't.

So let me make it absolutely clear: He won't come through. Be done with him. You said you've been in this position before, so you already know how it ends.

He may very well enjoy these textual interactions as much as you do, but if he hasn't asked you out after you blatantly called him out on it (good on you, by the way), he's not going to. His excuses will keep coming and eventually become more and more unbelievable, or he'll just stop responding altogether.

It's also likely that it's easier for him to string you along, denying dates, instead of telling you flat out that he's no longer interested. When you ignored him as well, he probably figured he'd gotten rid of you and that was that.

I'm also willing to bet you're not the only girl he's talking to. Based on this brief scenario, the guy kind of sounds like a douche. If he's 27 and giving you the “no money” excuse, he's full of shit.

Like, the dude's almost 30. If he can't shell out 50 bucks for a date (or a measly two bucks for coffee), the guy's a man-child. And a liar.

Also, this is all largely based on whether you've slept with him. If you have and he's started ignoring you, then the answer's fairly obvious: He's gotten what he wants, and could be texting you every now and then to get the occasional nude photo or a hookup after a night of raucous partying, failing at picking up another lady at the bar, and downing a couple shawarmas before he passes out.

If you haven't slept with him, then he's not interested enough to even try to sleep with you, let alone see you as a prospective partner.

So in both cases, my advice remains the same. Drop him. He's already dropped you.

I get the feeling you already knew the answer coming into this. You just needed somebody to confirm it. So let me be that person. It's not going anywhere. You deserve better than that.

You say you're starting a new semester at school? Find a guy on campus instead. It will be a better way to spend your time than on a man who won't spend a dime on you.

Best of luck (with school and ditching the douche)!


The F*ckboy

Dear Michelle,

It would be silly to say you don't have a right to be frustrated. I can't fight the feeling, though, that you may have answered your own question. Sounds like he doesn't want to see you. Sorry.

It's always tough analyzing these texting-only relationships. They are maddening. On one hand, they're these things people of our generation are uniquely qualified to understand, yet we spend so much time pulling our hair out over them.

Think about it. Virtual relationships, which they basically are, are completely unimaginable to people of a certain age who didn't grow up with them. For us, even if they're tough to explain, they're way more impossible to live without.

You meet someone, and it's almost required you type to them more than you talk to them. This is completely foreign to people of any age but ours. Yet they're so commonplace, so necessary, and we're so programmed to excel in them that it almost stands to reason we should be excellent at them.

But we're not. It's because of a fundamental truth that remains true no matter how addicted we get to our phones: We will always choose the person in front of us over the person whose name is on our screen.

When we don't meet people in person, we get desensitized to their feelings and to the stakes of the relationship. It's fake drama, like that show "Ray Donovan." You keep watching because it's aesthetically pleasing, but in the end you don't really care who survives.

You guys can have a thousand things in common. If you say one thing wrong, you're two swipes away from deletion. He probably got bored with you, didn't like something you said or found someone he could actually touch.

He probably got bored with you, didn't like something you said or found someone he could actually touch.

I'm always talking to someone. Sometimes two or three people. I have friends who are constantly rotating six or seven girls in a sort of iMessage musical chairs.

None of us save the numbers to our phones until the other person is “real” to them. This means different things to different people.

For me, it's when I say, “OK, shit, I've known this girl long enough to where it would be really bad if I forgot her name.” Then I save it... To cover myself.

The point is, for every name I save, there are five or six more that just go by the wayside. Sometimes we talk for weeks. They fall away anyway. There really is no rhyme or reason for it.

I hate to tell you this, Michelle, because you seem really sweet, but you may be a rotten strawberry to him. You need to forget about him for a while and then reconvene at a later date with a “hey stranger.” It's the only way.

Dating and relationships only metastasize when you find someone to match your level of loneliness. And right now, it doesn't seem like your Brita filter levels are lining up.

I don't know what kind of guy this guy is. If he's a f*ckboy or just someone who's just too nervous to hang out with you. But it does seem possible that he might just know what he's doing. And if this is the case, I have a theory.

You said you miss him. If you told us this, and you talked to him 24/7 for more than a month, it's pretty possible you made it clear to him as well.

If this is the case, he knows you miss him. This gives him power. And if he knows how to use it, he'll make you miss him so much that if you do hang out, he can get away with anything.

When we know you like us more than we like you, it's like working with a douchebag safety net. We can act like complete buffoons and know you'll cut us some slack because you've invested time into it (and goddamnit, you women hate it when we waste your time).

That is what I'd do if I could.

Even more likely is the possibility that you made your missing of him obvious, and he took it the other way. How can she miss me we don't even know each other? She's telling me I need to ask her out – who does she think she is? Is she that desperate? Why does she think she can tell me what to do? How to act?

That said, these are all questions its possible he asked himself. None of them bode well for you.

So next time, don't be so damn transparent if you want him to stick around long enough to meet you in person. (That was a weird sentence to write.)

And generally speaking, we like texting women, and we like having backups in our Rolodex, typically girls who think we have so much in common with them, who, if we don't want to, we never have to see.

It's maddening, I know. That's why we do it.

Unfaithfully yours,