Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

Afternoon Quickie: “Will He Come Back to Me?”

After three months of dating this guy, I was at the point where I needed something to be at least defined as exclusive, but he wasn’t and so the relationship ended. That was two months ago. I’d never had such easy, natural chemistry with someone. We really seemed like a match–interests-, personality-, and values-wise. He gave me indications from the start that he was fearful of commitment (and has a very indecisive nature), but his actions seemed to indicate that he was serious about dating and not just something casual – he kept in constant communication, primarily texting, made a lot of effort in taking me out on dates, and sometimes talked romantically about “how we met” in a way that seemed like he knew we were headed somewhere. I was cautious at first, not wanting to jump into a relationship too quickly myself, and wasn’t even sure I was attracted to him at first, but there was no doubt that he was very into me – I felt so and had several friends comment so. While I never brought it up for fear of scaring him off too soon, I was fairly certain he was not seeing or pursuing anyone else (and he later confirmed that he wasn’t).

So then things changed in a way I still struggle to understand, based on how great things seemed to be between us. The short version is that I could sense him pulling back, which I tried to respond to by giving him that space and being cool, but eventually I snapped and drunk-texted him that I was frustrated with him, which prompted him to text me that he liked me a lot but wasn’t ready for a serious relationship (but then he followed up the next day saying how unsure he was and that I’m amazing.)

Despite being infuriated by his handling of the situation via text and silence, I asked him to get together to chat, because I wanted more clarity about what happened. I learned that his initial pulling away was actually because of an embarrassing temporary health issue, but my drunk texts indeed freaked him out and made him realize I was ready for something that he wasn’t ready for. What made it harder though was that he seemed torn even in this conversation, saying how great I was and acknowledging that he’s immature and probably foolish. He said he wished he were meeting me a few months down the road and hopes maybe we could have something again in the future, but he would never want me waiting around for him either. What it came down to was that he hasn’t dated much and feels like he needs to date more women to figure out what he really wants in a relationship. A part of me gets that, but there’s also a part of me telling me I’m a fool to think it’s simply timing and his not being ready, because if he really thought I was as amazing as he said and if it were meant to be, then he wouldn’t have the need/desire to start going out with new girls.

I should mention how amazing this conversation was, despite not being the outcome that I wanted – it was by far the most honest conversation I’ve ever had with a guy about relationships/dreams/desires/feelings – all while falling into tangents and laughter – and, ironically, I felt even closer to him despite the fact that we were ending things.

He told me he wanted to keep in touch as friends (which I said was cliché and doomed to failure) whether I liked it or not, but the moment we started chatting via text one day, he started saying things about how he still thinks about me and hopes I’m still open to something in the future (and that I haven’t made my Marine brother hate him). After some reflection, I wrote back to him somewhat angrily saying it wasn’t fair of him to ask me those things while offering nothing in return, and that I don’t want someone who has to see what other options are out there before he knows he wants to be with me, and that while perhaps he could try to change my mind someday, I was adjusting my mindset to close myself off to the possibility right now. He said he just wanted me to be happy and not hate him, and that was that.

I haven’t heard anything from him since (over a month), though he still “likes” things I post on Facebook once in a while, and always reads my Snapchat “story” (sighhh the evils of social media). I have a feeling he’s pretty active on Tinder (one of my friends actually stumbled across him), and he has a new Snapchat best friend who’s clearly a girl (and yes I know this is creepy, but I saw that he wasn’t Facebook friends with her – read, hoooookup – nor was she very attractive, which makes me feel better in a way, but also even more frustrated/confused, feeling confident that he can’t do better than the match we had).

I have enough sense to know that the best thing for me to do is move on, and that’s what I’m trying to do – focusing on my career, friends, health (I’ve lost 8 lbs. and toned up, and must say, I’m looking awesome), and being open to going on dates, though I haven’t met anyone who excites me yet. I definitely think less and less about this guy as time goes on, but I can’t help wondering about him sometimes and feeling like he’s going to come back into my life (although I’ve determined that it has to be completely initiated by him and I should not ever reach out to him first).

I guess what I want to know is, am I a fool to completely believe everything he said about me and perhaps wanting something in the future? How much does timing and maturity/not being ready really factor in, or is it all just a sign that it’s not meant to be/he just wasn’t into me enough? I know I can’t expect him to come back around ever (nor does he deserve to), but do you think it sounds like it might happen? On the other hand, might I have deterred him with my last message about shifting my mindset, and, if I’m still feeling this way in a couple months (again, after plenty of time with zero contact), might it be worth it to reach out to him in a small way? I’m trying not to be a crazy obsessive girl, and I truly AM moving on, but I just know that unless I happen to meet someone else even more incredible (not likely in this city, haha), I’m always going to feel like there’s something really worthwhile there that we still need to explore.

I know you can’t truly know what’s going on in this guy’s head, but I would really love your take on it, the issue of timing and not being ready, and whether I should hold out any hope . . . and if there’s anything more I can do (besides just living my life) to spark something, or if I should just accept that I’ve scared him off enough and should never bother him again! — Hoping for Better Timing

Oh, girl, you said it yourself several paragraphs upthread: “if he really thought I was as amazing as he said and if it were meant to be, then he wouldn’t have the need/desire to start going out with new girls.” He’s just not that into you. I don’t care how amazing you think your connection was and how honest your breakup conversation was and yada, yada. If the guy wanted to be serious with you, he’d be with you. Forget timing and maturity and all of that. You’re just making yourself crazy — and yes, you DO sound like a crazy, obsessed girl, and no, you DON’T sound like you’ve moved on. At all. I don’t care how many pounds you’ve dropped or how much you’ve toned up or how awesome you’re looking now. (Next, you’ll be chopping off all your hair and declaring yourself SO over him. Right.).

This was a casual 3-month relationship that ended two months ago. You haven’t even heard from the guy in over a month. And yet, you are still stalking his social media and checking out his new snapchat friends and writing a 9-paragraph letter to an advice columnist and just, in general, acting like a head case. Get it together. The ship has sailed. Sure, maybe one day he’ll express interest in you again and maybe he’ll be at a point where he could give you the commitment you want. But, for your sake, I hope you have moved on by then and aren’t still pining away, obsessively checking his Snapchat, comparing yourself to pictures of his unattractive presumed hookups, and waiting breathlessly for him to text you or “like” your next Facebook photo where you show off your now 10-pound weight loss. Dignity and self-respect are worth more than winning a guy by default after he’s gone through every other woman in town and decided maybe you’re ok, after all.


Follow along on Facebook, and Instagram.

If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at wendy@dearwendy.com.

27 comments… add one
  • Skyblossom January 22, 2015, 3:41 pm

    “saying how great I was and acknowledging that he’s immature and probably foolish. He said he wished he met me a few months down the road, ”

    So he tells you that if he just spends a few months seeing other girls he will be much more mature and ready to date you in a few months. Really. Do you really think a few months will make much of any difference to anyone at his age? He is trying to put you on the back burner just in case he can’t do better, but he thinks he can so he’s moved on. You losing 10 pounds is irrelevant, so is the toning, if he felt as much chemistry for you as you did for him the two of you would be together. Maybe he did feel some chemistry at first but then found that something else about you wasn’t a match. Maybe your personalities didn’t match as much as you thought.

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  • honeybeenicki January 22, 2015, 3:43 pm

    You are spending way too much time thinking about this guy. Stop looking at his Snapchat stuff, and either ignore his activity on FB or unfriend him or whatever you have to do to not to be stalking him. Find a new hobby or get re-invested in an old one and stop obsessing over a guy you casually dated for 3 months.

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    • Sunshine Brite January 22, 2015, 5:42 pm

      It would be so freaky if I knew how closely someone was watching my social media use across platforms. Watching your reads and likes and whatnot that closely is so different to me. I like my likes on instagram and twitter probably most right now but I can’t remember who did what for each picture.

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  • mylaray January 22, 2015, 3:43 pm

    WWS. He is just not that into you and all that talk about maybe someday in the future is just talk and to make you feel better. I can’t tell you how many times I would tell people I just wanted to date around and wasn’t looking for anything serious right now, when in fact I really wasn’t into them. I wasn’t exactly aware of it and I was trying to be nice, but I found out sooner or later that when I wasn’t firm in not being interested, they would still pine and hope for something. If someone really wants to be with you, they will.
    I think you should take a social media sabbatical. Because that behavior is not normal. And I mean, I’ve been there, and I used to have trouble controlling my urges to Facebook stalk, so I gave up all the social media a few years ago. Stop over analyzing everything and focus on yourself.

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  • deni January 22, 2015, 4:10 pm

    Hi, everyone.

    I’m a regular reader, but not contributor… maybe that will change now that I’ve registered.
    I really don’t have anything to add advise-wise, but I couldn’t resist pointing out the irony that this 9-paragraph letter was posted as an “afternoon quickie.” 🙂

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    • Dear Wendy January 22, 2015, 5:17 pm

      Ha, touché; Though the letter was long, my advice was quick!

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    • Sunshine Brite January 22, 2015, 5:38 pm

      Hi Deni! Tell us about yourself 🙂

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      • deni January 22, 2015, 6:05 pm


        I am a native New Yorker (maybe that’s part of why I like Wendy so much… hearing about her life in NY!!). Was born and raised in upper Manhattan but moved to the suburbs when I was 12 yrs old. Went to Colorado on a whim after college and ended up in Salt Lake City… been here half my life now! Don’t know how that happened… but I sure miss my friends and family back east. Married nearly 30 yrs (it’s not always been easy and sometimes I think maybe I’ll write for advice!!). But we raised two AWESOME sons together, so we’re definitely a great team in some ways. My nest is emptying, tho, and that’s hard.

        Lost my job 2½ months ago… that’s been hard, too. And why I’ve had more time to read DW!!

        That’s all for now… need to get ready to take son #2 out for his 23rd bday dinner.

        Thanks for asking sunshine!! I love the camaraderie and friendships I’ve seen in DW’s contributors’ posts!!

      • Lianne January 23, 2015, 8:42 am

        Welcome! I am sorry you lost your job 🙁 I am sure that must be trying…what field are you in?

      • Dear Wendy January 23, 2015, 10:05 am

        Welcome, Deni! Sorry about your job loss, but I’m glad you’re spending more time on DW and hope you comment more and share your perspective and wisdom gained from 30 years of marriage and 23+ years of parenting!

      • othy January 23, 2015, 10:44 am

        Another Salt Laker! Welcome 🙂

      • deni January 25, 2015, 8:44 pm

        Hello! I tried to comment on your weekend open thread and reach out to those of you who had reached out to me… but after I hit submit I didn’t see my comment on there. And it feels weird to continue conversation on the afternoon quickie thread from days ago.

        So.. is there an easier way????

    • MsMisery January 23, 2015, 12:52 pm

      I noticed that, too, and I was really hoping that Wendy’s response would be like 2 sentences ^_^

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  • Eve January 22, 2015, 6:10 pm

    I think the guy might actually have some real commitment issues (which tbh is the better version between this and him messing you around for the fun of it) which is none of your problem to fix. Whatever issues he may have, he can’t be anyone worth considering a relationship with before he sorts them out himself first. Don’t be his problem-solver, the super awesome perfect girl with the awesome chemistry helping him get over his fear of commitment who ends up being his savior. I know it seems romantic, like in the movies, but (been there, done that….) you just end up being burnt (and hurt).
    Maybe find someone for a distraction if you’re having such a hard time truly getting over him. I do that whole obsessive stalking as well and I’m not proud of this, but I understand you that sometimes we just can’t help it. That’s why I recommend find a new chemistry with someone else 😉

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  • Aurora January 22, 2015, 6:13 pm

    Go immediately to a bookstore. Buy ‘He’s Just Not That Into You’. Read it. Memorize it. Make it your Bible. Good lord, such angst over someone who clearly isn’t giving you nearly as much thought. And I’m not judging; we’ve all been there, whether we like to admit it or not. I’ll never understand why we all do this — cling to the crumbs of a relationship, grasp onto the little slivers of hope as signs that what he says are different than how he feels (he said he doesn’t want to be in a relationship, but he liked my FB post and texted me that one time, what does it meeeeean?). It always means the same thing: he’s just not that into you.

    Like Wendy said, the ship sailed. The ship is in the Dead Sea now. Let it go. But REALLY let it go – not “omg I swear I am living my life and totally fine, but I just check his FB/snapchat/tindr/whatever every other day because I’m curious.” Just stop. Forget about him, push him out of your head, and go live your life. In a month you’ll wonder why you’ve already spent this much time on him.

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  • Lyra January 22, 2015, 7:47 pm

    Oh lordy. This is definitely NOT an example of moving on. Not even close. LW, stop lying to yourself. You are OBSESSING over this guy which is NOT normal. Do yourself a favor and unfriend/block him on all social media because obviously it’s driving you batty. You’ll thank yourself later.

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  • FireStar January 22, 2015, 10:11 pm

    It’s been almost the same amount of time you’d had radio silence from this guy as the time you dated ….and you are still hung up on him. Sure timing is key. But timing has nothing to do with him wanting to date other people. Timing is the excuse he gave because he doesn’t want what you want. Not with you. Leaving the door open in the future is just a gentle way of exiting stage left. At the most it made you a possible option if he had nothing else on the go…it didn’t make you his choice. You essentially told him all or nothing and he picked nothing. Liking things on Facebook is meaningless. Everything is meaningless except the part where he told you he is off to date other women. You talk a good game about pride. Now actually have some and accept this guy is gone.

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  • dietcokeaddict January 22, 2015, 11:10 pm

    Oh honey I lived this life while I was in college. Had almost the exact same conversation wih a guy I was head over heels for. I did all the things you’re doing (no facebook back then but away messages and profiles of AIM). Learn from my mistakes. I spent so much time analyzing every conversation and pining after this guy. I didn’t think there could possibly be anyone else out there that I could feel that same connection with. I wish that I had focused on strengthening other friendships, experiencing other things, and developing hobbies. That’s what you should do. Go do something you wouldn’t normally do. Visit a museum, take a dance class, learn to paint, hang out with someone interesting. Just go out and experience life.

    In my case, he did come around and we were together for a few years but ultimately it wasn’t right and I was actually the one who ended it. I’m married to someone else and there was never ambiguity with my husband. Look for that. It’s out there and you’ll find it. But in the meantime, go do things to keep yourself busy so you’re not checking social media and you’re creating you’re own instagramble snap chat story rather than analyzing someone else’s.

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    • Lianne January 23, 2015, 8:39 am

      Yes. Yes. Yes. Are you also Lianne from 2008?! Haha…good point about your now husband. Same with mine – it was the easiest relationship ever from the get-go. I am not saying it was all roses all the time – we had our issues, but it wasn’t ever hard to be together.

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    • MsMisery January 23, 2015, 12:56 pm

      Yes. When the whole connection is in YOUR HEAD it is easy to imagine how awesome and special and fragile the whole thing is. Meanwhile you’re turning into the star of your own Lifetime movie.

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  • Lianne January 23, 2015, 8:33 am

    OMG. I think Lianne from 2008 just wrote in! This was me and my ex-boyfriend to a T. Except, I didn’t write into an advice columnist and get some much needed advice like you did and spent THREE YEARS thinking it might happen – three years during which we would see each other about every three months, sleep together, and then have him ghost me until I couldn’t bear it anymore and I would “reach out in a small way” and the cycle would begin again. Oh and about 2 years into all of this he got a girlfriend.
    My advice is to heed Wendy’s advice and RUN in the other direction, girl. There IS an amazing guy out there for you! This guy you just described is not amazing. At all.

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  • sierra124 January 23, 2015, 10:36 am

    Original poster here. Wow, blown away by everyone’s responses/advice (even harsh). It’s a little embarrassing because I definitely expressed all of my deepest darkest feelings in this situation that only come to the surface once in a while (getting far less and less, which is why I say I am making progress in moving on), but I’m sure others can relate to these crazy obsessive tendencies haha. I totally agree with everyone that I absolutely need to move on for real and find someone who is more deserving and sure, and shouldn’t settle for less. I guess the reason it still bugs me is that I had no question this guy was genuine in what he said to me, even though I know it all sounds cliche and like I AM being a fool. So despite knowing for certain what I need to do for myself (forget about this guy), I still wonder just in general how often “HJNTIY” is an absolute solid rule, of if there ARE times when timing and maturity are the issue (already some of your replies mention such exceptions). But even if the latter happens, I know that doesn’t mean it SHOULD.

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    • sketchee January 23, 2015, 12:24 pm

      Let’s assume he was completely genuine. He missed his chance. He had a great thing and was genuinely willing to give it up. He acknowledges, as should you, that he did not want what you want. Yes it is possible that in the future he will want something with someone. This could be years or decades in the future. Are you really sitting around waiting for that? He told you who he is, believe him. =)

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    • MsMisery January 23, 2015, 1:00 pm

      He may *have* been into you for a brief moment in time, but you can’t force him to relive those feelings if he’s changed his mind or moved on. You just have to accept. Same goes if it is bad timing or immaturity… do you want to waste yourself on someone who is not right for you right now or not at your level? Focus on yourself and if it IS right, it will happen when it should. And in the meantime don’t spend another second worrying about the what-ifs. You don’t have to hate him, but obsessing gives a 3 month relationship waaay too much power in your life.

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    • Lyra January 23, 2015, 1:09 pm

      I had a guy or two that I thought about for too long after we stopped seeing each other so to an extent I can relate to those crazy feelings. The best thing I ever did for myself though was unfriend and/or block them on Facebook and all other social media. Out of sight out of mind. One of them randomly texted me again like 2-3 months after we stopped seeing each other (we were only seeing each other for about a month anyway), and asked how I was, plus he asked why I had unfriended him on Facebook. I had just started dating my now fiance so I basically told him I wasn’t interested in being friends (or FWB).
      Say this IS a timing thing, and say you have a chance with him again in 6 months…your obsession with this guy is INSANELY unhealthy. Obsession does not make a healthy relationship. So even if this guy comes back and you still have a “magical connection”…I doubt the relationship would be a strong one.
      Trust me, just move on. I really don’t think you realize how crazy and obsessive this behavior. Unfriend, block, whatever.

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    • Sunshine Brite January 23, 2015, 1:59 pm

      I def used to be obsessive about missed chances. Hell, I laugh about it now. I was totally off my rocker sometimes.
      Of course there are times of timing/maturity issues, but they rarely every work itself out. If they do it happens organically not because someone’s liking someone else’s facebook. Maturity issues are pretty much rarely fixed. And those stories of timing working out are so rare and few/far between that it’s not worth thinking about.

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    • Aurora January 23, 2015, 3:02 pm

      Even if a guy is totally, 100% into you, timing and maturity are still major issues. If it’s just timing, maybe at some future point that issue will go away, but you can’t cling to that, you have to just let it go and see. If it’s maturity, how is that an acceptable exception? That’s a major dealbreaker. Someone who isn’t mature enough to handle a real relationship isn’t someone you want to be in a relationship with anyway. And be careful of that word, “exception.” Everyone thinks they are the exception. They’re not. They’re the rule.

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