Did you send a second text after a first one went unanswered? Or a third? Don't worry — you're not alone. I once sent a record 11 unanswered texts to a guy I was convinced I was still dating, and honestly, I'm not embarrassed about it — he should have responded. But also, I can't recommend doing that. Ghosting happens, and it's useful to know how many messages you should send before you've been ghosted (hint: it's not 11). To find out the answer for you (and honestly, for myself), I sought out some expert advice.
The number of texts to wait can vary based on circumstances and type of relationship. For example, if you've met someone once at a party and they don't respond to a few texts, that's different than if you've gone out five times and they're not responding. "The closer or more intimate you become with someone, the more valuable your communication will be to them, and vice versa," Author and Love Activist Heather Kristian Strang tells Elite Daily. Someone you've met once might not know if they're even interested in dating in general, whereas someone you've gone out with several times owes you a better explanation. Of course, you deserve better than to be ignored, even if you've only met once. But the intensity of the relationship can have an effect on how many texts you can send before you know you've been ghosted.
The number may vary, but the length of time after a text can be a better benchmark for deciding if you've been ghosted, according to experts. "If you do not hear back from someone within three days, move right along," Strang says. "Of course, their grandmother could have passed, or some major life event has occurred, and be open to making exceptions for that." If you send five texts in a row (which is totally OK, especially if they're all on the same topic), and then they don't respond within two hours, that can be different than sending one text and not getting a response within three days. Every relationship is different, and there's no rule saying you can't forgive someone for not responding for more than three days (life emergencies do happen), but in order to value your time, three days can be a decent estimate for knowing whether or not you've been ghosted.
If you have been ghosted, don't worry — you're not alone, and you might be better off without them. "Ghosting is a very immature expression of avoidance, and that is not the kind of individual you want to be in relationship with," Strang says. "So thank God/Goddess for helping you dodge a bullet and move on to the individuals that are excited about you and communicative." If you're dating someone who initially was unresponsive, or maybe you're interested in someone who hasn't responded to your text right now, it doesn't mean they're a bad person or someone you can't date. It just means you should be aware of whether or not someone is capable of communicating in a way that makes you feel happy and comfortable in the relationship (because you deserve that). People can change, so you don't have to write someone off forever because of poor texting at one point in time, but you should always value your own time and know what brings you joy.
Being ghosted is no fun (nothing named after supernatural dead people is, in my experience), but it does happen. If you're wondering whether or not you've been ghosted, you may want to take into account the number of texts you've sent, how long you've known the person, and how long you've been waiting for a response. And if you have been ghosted, it's their loss, and you absolutely will find someone who responds to you!