Love Letters

Tired of the disappearing acts

Q. I’ve run into the same problem for a long time now, especially since the introduction of dating sites like POF (PlentyOfFish) and Tinder. Why do girls find it easier to drop communication and ignore someone instead of telling a guy she is no longer interested or that something in her life has changed (new boyfriend, job, etc.)? What’s the trick to just taking the hint, swallowing your pride, and moving on without receiving an explanation?

This seems to happen regardless of whether there’s been a simple online conversation or a few seemingly great dates. I am a pretty straightforward guy when it comes to dating and liking a girl. I don’t play games and if I’m interested, I’ll let you know. If I am not, I will be honest in a respectful manner. I want the same respect in return. Nine times out of 10, I am intelligent enough to know when I should “take the hint,” but more often than not the “hint” is shown by sudden silence. I am not overbearing in my attempts to reach out, but at that point, it’s almost as if any attempt is one too many and I turn them off completely.

It’s hard to tell whether there is something about the way I interact that causes the disappearing act or if there’s something in female DNA that tells them it’s just easier this way.


At the end of the day, it is much easier to be told they’re no longer interested, for whatever reason, and move on.

Get The Weekender in your inbox:
The Globe's top picks for what to see and do each weekend, in Boston and beyond.
Thank you for signing up! Sign up for more newsletters here

Thanks for the advice.

They fall off the planet, Hampstead, N.H.

A. Let’s not blame this on “female DNA.” Readers will tell you that this is not a gender-specific problem, and that many people believe that disappearing is the kind thing to do.

I have to believe that some people choose to disappear because of the tone of these online dating sites. Tinder, for instance, moves quickly, and doesn’t always draw people who practice courtesy. It can be about moving on to the next option and not looking back. Perhaps some of these sites encourage speed and quantity more than manners.


If you’re going to remain on these sites, all you can do is continue to be the guy who communicates. Do your best to deal with the silence and ask questions when you’re confused.

And if you’re really worried that you’re doing something wrong and causing these disappearing acts, ask a friend to look through some of your messages. It’s always good to get a second opinion.



Some people find it uncomfortable to reject others. Its completely passive behavior, but you cannot change how other people act. You can only change how you react to other people’s behavior.



Many people do this. It isn’t just women. Who cares about the reason? These people aren’t for you.


Honestly, with the advent of technology and the growing crave for instant gratification, this has become the norm. First of all, it’s easy to just fall of the planet (metaphorically speaking) instead of facing the respectful reality of telling someone it’s over. A person just moves to the next high, which is normally someone else. And all the ways that people can connect these days, it’s like cocaine at your fingertips. We can also get into the problem of today’s younger generation feeling that they can just do what they please with no recourse, but we don’t have that much time. In short, this is how it is. There is no explanation, you just have to take your lumps and move along.


This just goes with the territory. But it would be a good idea to figure out if there is something in your communication and interaction style that might bring this on even more than is normal. Meredith’s suggestion that you ask someone to critique your communications isn’t a bad idea. It could be a friend or better yet IF you see a therapist, that would be a great avenue.


Unfortunately, the disappearing act is the way people communicate a lack of interest. I’m not exactly sure when the transformation took place but it did. It’s not just in the dating realm either. I’ve had plenty of job interviews where the interviewer tells me they will call either way and I never hear from them again.


Try something like Match or Eharmony . . . people use the others mostly for entertainment purposes. You may still find this happens, but perhaps you’ll find people who are taking it seriously like yourself.


If you’re just communicating with someone online, I don’t think they “owe” you a thanks-but-no-thanks, I think online “friends’’ are allowed to disappear without warning. but once you’ve been on a few dates, a little explanation would be nice, but you won’t always get it. My advice is, if they drop off the earth — let them.


“Breaking up” is really awkward if you’ve only spoken online or had one date. I don’t think it’s necessary. When I would go on a blind date, if I wasn’t interested I just didn’t call the guy back. Maybe that’s passive, but it didn’t bother me if they didn’t call me after one date — I got it.


I once broke up with someone by not returning their phone calls, so I’m probably not in the best position to give advice. I can tell you why I did it, though. I was too chicken to end it and I had already started seeing someone else. I just didn’t know how to handle the situation. Granted, I was in high school at the time, so there’s the whole lack of maturity thing in play with regards to my particular scenario.


Dude, the problem is YOU. As long as you think of “females” and “female DNA” you will come across as a total waste of dating time. Sorry but it’s true.


Column and comments are edited and reprinted from Meredith Goldstein can be reached at mgoldstein@globe.