The Slow Fade Out

The Slow Fade Out

Q: I am so frustrated with on-line dating! The worst is the pattern of the guys I am talking to just disappear and stop sending or returning texts without any explanation. For the last couple weeks I starting dating this guy that I met online and got really excited about him. He gave me every sign that he was excited about me too. Then after one (what I thought was amazing) date- bam- just like that, gone. We were supposed to make plans for the weekend and I never heard from him. Against my own ‘rules’ I reached out to him via text and never heard back. A few days later, in an “I don’t give a f@#k” moment I texted him again, telling him how rude I thought he was. What I got back was a lame excuse of being really stressed…. too preoccupied to start a relationship…bad timing… blah…Blah… WHAT IS THIS? And how do I get out of this madness?

He: Just as social media such as Twitter and Facebook has allowed everyone, good andbad, access to you via your computer or iPhone, online dating has done the same thing. The information age and its complete access to the rest of humanity has its benefits, but it certainly has its pitfalls. Conventional dating through your workplace, neighborhood bar, or your circle of friends typically allowed you access to a select and smaller pool of dating prospects; and along with that, fewer assholes. Online dating expands that pool of prospects and assholes, to city wide, statewide and even nationwide ranges. That is a lot of assholes to wade through.

The good thing is that the online dating market responds to the disappointment that people experience when having to sort through such a large pool of potential mates by sectioning off into dating sites with a refined theme: e.g. J-date, Christian-Mingle, Farmers-Only, etc. This may help focus the dating to those with likeminded ideals. There are also sites that maybe focus too much and become somewhat fetishistic or just plain dumb. ‘Stache-Passions, Furrymate and Glutenfreesingles are just the tip of the iceberg.  I’m not sure what would be worse – having an occasional date that doesn’t go anywhere, or having a date where all that was discussed is gluten-free menu options or one’s ample back hair. You have to strike a balance when trying to refine those potential mates. Along with this notion of balance, you may need to pull back on the use of the dating sites to something that is used in an ancillary fashion to conventional dating. This may seem antiquated, but I do think there is something very beneficial to meeting someone in a more organic way that allows you to gauge the seriousness of a potential relationship.

At this point, I may have been unfairly criticizing the men you have been dating. If you continue to encounter the same results with more discriminating dating, you may need to take a long look inward. Is there a vibe that you are putting out that men find to be not conducive to wanting a long-term relationship? That Vibe is generally distilled down to two categories: #1. Fuck me and move on. This sometimes happens if you have sex on the first date or two, or if the physical attraction is much stronger than an emotional attraction. Or, #2. Quickly marry me and let’s make babies. Even if the guy wants to eventually get married and have children, if this vibe is intense, it’s pretty frightening.

Start with consciously backing away from online dating a bit. My guess is that like many things in life, when the pressure is off a bit, things fall into place naturally, and you will find yourself engaging with potential mates in a more satisfying way.

She: The simplest way to answer this question is to tell you, he’s just not that into you. This is such an important thing to understand in dating. People… I’ll say it…women… will make all kinds of excuses for being broken up with, or for a man who disappears after what seemed like a great date….

‘He’s afraid to get hurt again’
‘Maybe he doesn’t want to ruin the friendship’
‘Maybe he’s intimidated by me’
‘He just got out of a relationship’

These excuses help us to understand how men can form what seems like a growing connection one minute, and be gone the next. Instead of relying on these excuses to help understand this behavior, it is more effective to understand the differences in genders and their mating habits.

I find that generally, when it comes to dating, woman fall faster and men fall harder. Women, by their nature are preprogramed for bonding and creating relationships. Men have a better ability to have casual relationships, or to get to know someone without getting so quickly attached. Woman tend to have a greater longing for relationships, and will fantasize about a future with a man before really knowing him. I am often reminding female clients to just go on the date, and to not pick out their wedding dress in their head. I know that this is tough to digest… have fun dating, but be prepared to be randomly dumped at any time, just because he doesn’t like you as much as you thought, or as much as he led you to believe.

The other part of the issue is the distant and impersonal nature of online dating and how it plays into daters’ ability to be inauthentic. It’s not like meeting someone through work or through a friend, when you have connections outside the two of you. In these scenarios you have access to their history and can get feedback about their character from people that know the both of you. Online dating sets up the opportunity for creating an alternate reality and leaving out important information about oneself. It also offers the opportunity to talk to, or date, numerous people at the same time. When you have several people you are talking to online, it puts the pressure on your dates to be extraordinary, to prevent from just moving on to the next. Before online dating, and the illusion of unlimited options, a person would most likely give a mediocre date a second shot. It creates a breeding ground for people who aren’t serious about wanting a relationship. It also makes it easy for people to ‘fade-away,’ as opposed to doing the more humane and difficult thing of having an honest conversation with you about why he’s just not that into you.

Although I do believe that online dating is a great tool, I think it is dangerous to put all of your eggs in that basket. You should also put yourself in a position to meet people organically: through work, networking events, and friends. Get involved in activities that you enjoy where you have the opportunity to meet people who share your interests.

I absolutely feel for you, and can’t imagine how frustrating and hopeless you must feel. There are rules to increasing your success, and thus increasing your options (see Sue’s article here). Just know that it only takes one, and everyone is the wrong guy until you meet the right one. If your smart about dating, and yes, play the game well… you will find love… I promise. But you must first kiss some frogs.

Behrendt, G & L. Tuccillo, L. (2009). He’s just not that into you: New York, N.Y. Simon & Schuster.

Dr. Jen Semmes and Andy Wilson have been (mostly) happily married for eleven years (currently happily).  They are the owners of Coastal Counseling therapy center in Carlsbad, California.  Jen holds a license in clinical social work and a doctorate in psychology, and is a therapist at Coastal Counseling. Andy just tries to hold it together.

If you, or anyone you know, has a question for ‘He said, She said’ please send a private message to Coastal Counseling on Facebook or email the question to   

Disclaimer: This blog and the information herein are for educational and informational purposes only. It is not meant as a substitute for professional psychological or therapeutic services.  The self-help information provided by this blog are solely the opinion of the bloggers and should not be considered as a form of therapy, advice, direction, diagnosis, or treatment of any kind. Instead, the information is designed to be used in conjunction with ongoing treatment provided by a mental health professional. Use the information in this blog at your own risk. All of the information is provided “as-is,” with no warranties of any kind, express or implied.


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