Over the past few years it seems that almost every dating dilemma I hear from my coaching clients and girlfriends has something to do with texting. Texting and dating definitely isn’t just for 20 year olds anymore. These women are all dating after 40…some in their 60s and 70s.
“Sue” connected with a man on Tinder, they had a couple emails, and then he started texting. He sent her pictures of the baseball game he attended. He told her about his crappy day at work. She told him about her car trouble and he responded ‘why didn’t you ask me to come help?’
Then they had a coffee date. It went well. The texting went on. They “talked” on and off all day. He complimented her and made her laugh. He told her how busy he was and she felt flattered that he was keeping in touch.
The next week the texts tapered, and then he stopped responding. She asks me “I thought he was so into me. What should I do???”
“Lila’s” guy told her all these wonderful things and poured his heart out via texts for two weeks. But he never followed through with an actual in person date. She wants to know what that means.
“Melissa” stayed up until 3 AM texting with her dude. They had one date three weeks prior, and since it’s only been texting. But it is so romantic! She is falling for him. She wants to know how to stop obsessing over him being The One.
Texting has certainly complicated dating and relationships. I’m going to give you some straight scoop about what texting really means and doesn’t mean. And, most importantly, how you can take control of the situation – like a grownup!
1. Texting is NOT dating.
Do not assume that getting a bunch of texts from a guy means you are having a relationship. You’re not even dating. If a man is choosing to only text or primarily text, he’s not showing signs of wanting to get to know you in a meaningful way.
Sure, he wouldn’t be spending any time if he wasn’t attracted to you, but if he’s solely texting, he doesn’t think of you as a potential partner. Expecting him to move on to something more serious isn’t realistic. In fact, it usually means quite the opposite. These guys disappear.
Why they disappear doesn’t matter. Whether it’s because they found someone else, were just playing or because they got scared — that’s 100% immaterial. You know what you need to know: he isn’t a good, grownup man worth your time.
There are so many ways to know if a man is a serious guy who is interested in getting to know you. He steps up by calling and settings up dates. He tries to learn about you and your life. He makes an effort to spend time with you. He does little things to try to make you happy.
If you are like Sue, Lila or Melissa, here is what you need to know: Continuous texting, when void of in-person meeting, creates a false sense of connection. You feel like you are getting to know one another, but that is not what’s happening.
A text ‘relationship’ is simply like being a player in a game. It’s a type of false connection that sets up incredibly unrealistic assumptions and expectations. I’ve seen countless women create complete fantasies and get drawn in — often before they even meet a man.
And the opposite happens too. With no tonality in messages, texting back and forth creates enormous opportunities to misread and misunderstand intent. I can’t tell you how many emails I’ve received from coaching clients with a text conversation pasted in and the question: What do you think he means (aka WTF)????
(Honestly, half the time I don’t know what a guy means based on twelve words on a screen. And even if I think I do know, I’m loathe to guess. I suggest she asks him to call her.
Be aware, keep your emotions in check and stay in reality. You don’t know him. And keep reading here to learn how to get the texter to move on to the phone or an in-person date.
(Want to learn more about how to know when a man is really interested? You can watch my free webcast How to Know When He’s Into You. )
2. Some men use texting to string you along…period.
If you are getting texts along with calls and dates, then excellent! He’s interested in getting to know you and likely looking for a relationship.
But if there is no actual in-person contact – beware!
You probably know the guy who texts once in a while as a kind of check in. He tells you how much he likes you and even acts super interested in your life. He flirts. He says how busy he is and how he’d really love to see you soon. And it ends there.
That guy is what I call a “pinger.”
Pingers want an ego boost. They text you and, when you respond positively, get the high of knowing that you’re still a willing option when (and if) he wants to actually spend time with you.
With just ten minutes time and a few well chosen keystrokes, a good pinger can keep you interested for months, even years…without so much as one date. (This happens with telephone calls too.)
If you are involved with a pinger, girlfriend, you need to end that so-called relationship right now. You can read more about pingers and learn what you can do with them by reading this article : Why Does He Keep Disappearing and Reappearing?
3. Texting as a way of dating is generally for boys, not men.
If you haven’t met him yet and he’s texting to see if you can get together on short notice, don’t be flattered. He’s either impulsive or, more likely, using you as a back-up girl when his other plans fell through.
If you like him and are willing to give him a chance, then respond with a positive ‘thank you but no thank you.” You want to say something like this:
“It would be great to see you, Bob, but I have plans tonight. Love to get together with a little more notice next time. Enjoy your evening.”
Put it out there and see what happens. A grownup guy who truly wants to know you will get the message and ask you out ahead of time. A player or user guy will text you again in a few weeks wanting to see you that night. Take it for what it is – he’s probably not serious about dating and he’s going down his list, hoping you bite. Don’t answer.
4. Texting does have a positive place in dating.
Texting can be a great complement to real dating. For instance, it’s a great way to clarify plans or make last minute updates to the plan.
A man who wants a healthy, mature connection will make every effort to show you he’s interested and to actually see you in person. Why? Because that’s how men decide if they like you. It’s all about how he FEELS when he’s with you, and he knows it. So if he’s looking for something more than one fun night, a good man will do what he can to impress you by asking you out, and then be in your presence.
Texting is also good for a quick “had a nice time” or “sleep well” note following a nice date. Or a “looking forward to slurping spaghetti with you Friday.” Let him know you’re thinking of him and appreciate him. Make it simple, and leave it there. If you don’t hear back, move on.
Here’s what to do next to make sure you don’t get stuck on the wrong guy again…
5. If he’s a grownup good guy, you can kindly get him off texting.
I can see why even good, solid, single men love texting. If he sees your picture and profile and wants to meet you, the hunter in him wants to get directly to the result: meeting you. This is also true of some women I know. They feel that chatting first just gets in the way and would rather skip the phone and/or email.
But I’ll say it again, doing a bunch of texting first creates an unrealistic sense of connection. If you want a little more, like a phone call first, it’s up to you to get off the texting treadmill and ask for what you want. And if he is serious about meeting a woman for a real relationship, he will step up.
How do you do that? Simply say something like this if he seems to be stuck on texting:
“It would be great to hear the voice connected to these great texts and emails. I’d love a phone call when you’ve got time. Hope that works for you! 555-1212.”
“Thanks for getting in touch. I’d like to get to know you but I find texting isn’t the best way. But catching up with you over coffee might be ;).”
So…the bottom line on texting and dating is this: use texting sparingly, wisely and, most of all, don’t read too much into it. Remember, real life and real love happen in person, smile to smile, touch to touch. Not on your phone or your computer.
I would LOVE to hear your texting stories and answer your questions about how to make it work for you while dating or in your relationship. Leave me your comments below.