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You Hate The Things You Do


“I hate it when he ignores me!” she says.  “It’s hours before he texts me back and he never answers when I call and there’s always some excuse!  He’s working or his phone is broke or he was sick.  How sick do you have to be before you can’t send a text?  And I’m supposed to be important to him, so why won’t he tell me when he’s not feeling well?”

Have you heard this refrain before?  Maybe she’s a friend who’s dating a dick or maybe she’s someone you’ve just started dating who’s telling you about her last boyfriend.  And she’s right.  The guy she’s talking about is a douche-canoe and doesn’t deserve her love and respect.  Which is why she’s calling it quits.

I fall into the second category, much to my chagrin.  I end up dating her after she breaks up with Mr. No Response.  And then she starts pulling the “no response” on me.

It all starts off great.  There are phone calls and texts and instant messages all the live long day.  Of course, you expect that to taper off, but if the relationship is even semi-serious, you expect the communication to continue.

But it doesn’t.

Maybe you don’t expect an instant response when you text, “How’s your day?”  And maybe you don’t expect an instant call back when you leave a voice mail because you were thinking of her.  But you do expect a response eventually.

And after a couple days pass, you send the text or leave the voice mail that asks if everything’s all right.  That’s when the excuses start.

“Oh, I’m sorry!  I’ve been so busy!”  or “I haven’t been feeling well,” or “My phone’s been acting weird!” or “My (insert relative here) is sick and I’ve had to take care of them.”  And you accept these excuses because you’ve got no way to know if they’re true or not and she starts communicating with you again.

For a couple days.

And you're trying to be a good boyfriend.  If she texts you, you text her back as soon as possible.  If she calls, you answer.   If you have to let it go to voice mail, you listen to it as soon as possible and call her back as soon as it's feasible.

Then it stutters to a stop again.  And after a few days, you might get a message with another excuse or an apology.

Amidst all that are the broken dates.  She’s supposed to come over or you’re supposed to meet her somewhere and she never shows.  Maybe she calls you to break the date and maybe you’re hanging out at the restaurant, waiting for her, like the schmuck in a bad romantic comedy.

The thing is that you really like this woman.  She’s cute and funny and likes a lot of the things you like and is willing to try things she’s never tried before.  You seem to connect.  You can see this relationship going somewhere if only she were willing.

But she doesn’t seem to be.  She seems to want so simply string you along with just enough interest that you keep coming and in a moment of clarity, you know that this isn’t what you need in your life.

So you stop.  You move on with your life.  You really like her, but she obviously doesn’t like you enough to respond to you.

And a couple weeks go by and she texts you out of the blue.  “I miss you,” or “Are you mad at me?”

How do you respond to that?  Do you ignore her like all your friends tell you to do?  Do you get mad and send a scathing response telling her what a nitwit she is for thinking she can just keep going like nothing ever stopped?  Or do you do what I do and send a passive-aggressive reply, “I didn’t go anywhere.  You disappeared.”

And then the excuses start again.  “I’ve been going through a lot,” or “Work’s been getting me down,” or “I’ve just been so depressed.”

So, you start talking again, knowing that the cycle is just going to repeat itself every couple months.

Until one day you find out the horrible truth.  Maybe a mutual friend tells you or you see an errant Facebook post or she spills her guts amidst rivers of tears.  The real reason she’s been ignoring you is because she’s trying to get back with Mr. No Response.  Or maybe she did get back with him for a little while, but he blew her off again, just like she’s blown you off.

Those times when she was talking to you?  That’s when he wasn’t talking to her.  That time she just showed up unexpectedly?  That was after they had a fight because he wasn’t paying her enough attention.

So, that girl who you once thought you could have a healthy relationship with?  Yeah, not so much.  You’re left sitting there, feeling like a fool.

And guess what?  You were.

Because there’s no reason on this green earth why she couldn’t have found that minute to text you back.  “I’m at the hospital with Mom.  I’ll call you later,” or “I’m not feeling well, sweetie.  I’ll text you after my nap.”  And you knew all this.  You knew her excuses were excuses.  You just chose to let them pass in the hope that she would come around.

She didn’t and she’s unlikely to.  It’s time to move on.  The next time she texts or calls or e-mails you, just send it to the trash.  You’ll be a lot better off than waiting for something that’s unlikely to happen.

At least that’s what I keep telling myself.

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