Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

“I Had Sex with Him and Now He’s Ghosting Me”

I am 30 years old and I met a man close to my age on a dating app as most millennials do now. We matched a couple of months before he moved to my city. We communicated almost every day before he moved and have now been on two dates. At the end of our second date we slept together. This typically would be a totally normal thing except for the fact that until that moment I was a virgin. I am much later in life with this and I would say it is a combination of being overweight (I recently lost quite a bit of weight) and very shy for most of my 20s that led to that situation.

Since the morning after, he has been more distant and I feel like he is considering ghosting me. It should be said that I did not tell him before that I was a virgin (in fact I had not even told some of my closest friends). My reason for not telling him was pretty simple: I didn’t see it as a big deal and honestly I was just happy to find someone I felt safe with to get it out of the way. I do really like him and want our relationship to continue to progress. I am torn because a part of me wants to call him out for being unresponsive, but I also don’t want to come across as some crazy, clingy girl. I’m not expecting us to get married just because we slept together, I was just looking forward to a third date. Should I take his distance as a sign to move on and just never talk to him again, should I call him out for for being more distant, or should I apologize for not telling him about the v-card before our night together? — Recent Virgin

You have nothing to apologize for – certainly, not for sharing that you were a virgin when you slept with this guy — so don’t go that route. At the same time, I’m not sure the guy has done anything to warrant being “called out” either. You say he’s been “more distant” and that you “feel like” he is considering ghosting you. Not only is it totally unfair to blame someone for something you “feel like” he might be considering, after only two dates together, but also the social rules of what each of you owes each other don’t require a whole lot either. Sex can make those social rules a little murkier — and can definitely intensify feelings for some people and heighten expectations — which is why it’s wise to wait to sleep with someone until you have a verbal agreement of commitment or the idea of casual sex — and the low relationship expectations that come with it — appeals to you. I’m not sure either of these scenarios was the case for you, but that doesn’t mean you’re doomed at this point.

Here’s what you should do: Be direct in your communication with the guy. Tell him you’ve noticed that he’s been less responsive recently and you were wondering if that was a reflection of his feelings. Let him know you enjoyed your dates together and would like to spend more time with him, but if he’s not on the same page, to let you know. Keep it short and simple and don’t use any accusatory language “calling him out” or you almost certainly won’t hear back from him. And if you don’t hear back from him or if his response to you is that he’s not on the same page as you and isn’t interested in spending any more time with you, try not to take it too personally. Dating is a numbers game and sometimes it takes a while to find the right match – someone whose company you enjoy, whom you’re attracted to,and who feels the same way about you and wants the same thing you want.

It sounds like you have limited dating experience, and definitely limited sexual experience, which is totally ok, but it may mean that you need to adjust your expectations. Not every second date is going to lead to a third date, even if there’s sex involved. Not everyone is going to communicate when he or she doesn’t want a third date. It’s easier and less awkward to just not respond/ ghost/ fade out when there’s been no commitment established or communications about expectations. Now that you’ve experienced what it feels like to have sex with someone and then feel ignored afterward, be more thoughtful in the future about when and with whom you have sex and how you communicate your expectations. There’s no full-proof method of avoiding hurt feelings and rejection, but, generally, taking a little more time to get to know someone will give you a much better idea of a person’s integrity (like, is he someone who is more likely to ghost or to be honest and upfront about his feelings, even when it’s awkward?) and whether or not you’re on the same page.

I met “Jack” a year ago, and we went out to dinner once a week and talked on the phone several days out of the week for five months. On my birthday, he took me out and it became physical and we started a relationship. He has been divorced twice and I lost two husbands to heart disease and cancer. I work days and he works nights. We see each other one or two times a week. After a couple of months, I asked him what this is, and he said we are in an exclusive relationship but he wants to take it slow to get to know me. I invited him to go to my brother’s house to meet some of my family. He has yet to even invite me to his house. He says that the last girlfriend he invited over never came back. I have questioned him about it, and he says he has a lot of work to do on his house.

I know where he lives and have done a little investigation on my own. He has a male roommate who lives with him during the week who works here in the city but goes home on the weekend. He told me this information (about having a roommate) and I was thinking it was a woman, but it’s not. He always comes to my place or we go out. I have not met his family because they are out of town. Nothing has changed in the nearly eight months we’ve been in a relationship, and now his daughter is getting married this weekend and he has not invited me to go. I know he said he wants to take it slow, but what is this? Am I spinning my wheels here? Should I give it more time? — Spinning my Wheels

 
Jack is lying to you. At the VERY least he’s lying to you about why he wants to “take it slow.” It’s not so he can “get to know you.” If he wanted to get to know you, he’d be more interested in spending quality time with you and increasingly sharing more of his life with you and wanting you to do the same. It’s not that he wants to “take it slow,” it’s that he wants to keep you at a distance and, whatever the reason for that is, it’s not good.

I’m curious if you ever press him to share more with you – to show you his home, to introduce you to his people, to take you to his daughter’s wedding – and what his response is if you do. I suspect you don’t press him very much and that’s why he stays with you. I suspect if you did press him more, he’d give you lots of lame excuses – like “the last girlfriend never came back” – until you either dumped him or the effort to bullshit you overshadowed whatever benefit he gets from his time with you, at which point he’d probably ghost you. Honestly, I’d move on at this point and tell him that, after eight months of exclusivity, you’d expect to be more integrated into his life — or integrated into his life at all — and that you just don’t see a future with him and are going to move on.

About two years ago I had an abortion with anex and I’m now in a serious relationship with the man I want to spend the rest of life with. Should I tell him about the abortion? We are planning to start a family and I feel that he should know. — Moving Forward

 
No one is ever under any obligation to tell anyone about her abortion – or any other part of her sexual or medical history, but when you’re with someone you love and trust and want to build a future with, sharing these kinds of experiences is a way to build further trust and provide a broader picture of your personal history. A person’s reaction to what you share can also be an important litmus test for shared values and morals and how he’ll support you in the future. If he were to make you feel ashamed, for example, and like you’re less worthy of the love and family you want, then he’s not the guy for you and better to know that now than later.

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

11 comments… add one
  • avatar

    LisforLeslie August 29, 2019, 7:23 am

    LW 2 – I figured that his home was just a shithole (like you see in those hoarding shows), but then he didn’t invite you to his daughter’s wedding and that says that he’s not being up front with you. If his home was just a wreck that’d be one thing. But not introducing you to his family after being together for months seems shady.

    LW3 – I don’t know why he needs that information. I’m not going to say abortion is viewed similarly to having your appendix taken out, but if you think it will change his mind about you – and you need to know that it won’t – then discuss it. But if you are telling him to make sure he knows all of your deep dark secrets – there is no need.

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  • avatar

    anonymousse August 29, 2019, 8:28 am

    LW2 when Jack says he wants to take it slow, he means go at this pace for a long time. He probably does live in a downtrodden home that scares away ladies. Maybe it’s really gross inside. He probably has no money, and what money he does have goes to the ex wives. I think if you want more, you need to talk to him. But be ready to stop seeing him. This is who he is, and you’re not going to domesticate him.
    LW3 you have no obligation to tell him. It’s not his business. But if you want to tell him, do. You can learn a lot about someone by how they react to the intimate details of your life. If this would change your relationship, he’s not the guy for you.

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  • Copa

    Copa August 29, 2019, 9:31 am

    LW1 – I think you made a mistake in investing so much time in this guy before meeting. Definitely don’t apologize for not telling him you were a virgin (why would you do this?). And definitely don’t call him out — that’s basically a guaranteed way to make him go running for the hills. I personally wouldn’t even bother telling him that he seems more distant. I’d either take the initiative to ask him out on a third date and see how he responds, OR I’d scale back my communications and see how he reacts. If he’s interested, you’ll know.

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    • Skyblossom

      Skyblossom August 29, 2019, 9:52 am

      If a guy likes you you will know.

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    • CurlyQue

      CurlyQue August 29, 2019, 10:29 am

      Definitely agree with Copa. Don’t text for TWO months before a date, it creates a false sense of intimacy which is why you probably slept him after three dates when you’d never slept with anyone before. In the future just have a few messages and then do a coffee date.

      Regarding this guy, i think you should ask him out for a third date. If he ghosts, or declines then you have your answer.

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  • avatar

    Brise August 29, 2019, 9:50 am

    I was going to write the exact same thing as Copa. No, don’t apologize! And don’t speak about his distance, not at all! But do contact him lightly about a third date, propose something: movie, theater, walk, whatever. He get hooked or not – then you have your answer.
    Two dates are very few: don’t have expectations. But maybe he just needs a bit time to react.

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  • avatar

    brise August 29, 2019, 9:52 am

    LW2 : “he told me we are in an exclusive relationship”: this is not for him only to make that decision! I wouldn’t be exclusive with such an elusive guy. Date more, other people!

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  • avatar

    Silvermoonlight August 29, 2019, 11:13 am

    LW1, maybe I can shed some light on what this guy might be thinking/feeling. Of course, these are all speculation and you might never have your answer if things fizzle out here. But perhaps this can help you with closure.

    I come from a conservative culture and have many male friends from equally conservative cultures, where the cultural norm is to marry the first/only person you ever dated/slept with.

    Some of my male friends “missed the window” on marrying their first and only, and now find themselves in the strange position of being more experienced than the women from their culture they’re dating, because the age-appropriate ones have already married, so the single ones tend to be younger and inexperienced. Many have confided in me their reactions upon learning their dates are virgins (these women range from mid-20s to early 30s).

    Some of the most common thoughts they tell me are that they feel a tremendous sense of responsibility–and sometimes guilt–in being the one to take that woman’s virginity. Those who see themselves as feminists, as “woke”, are afraid of the repercussions in our politicized #metoo era. They’re afraid of hurting their dates, of not living up to the woman’s expectations, of being too emotionally tied to them in the aftermath. And, ugly as this sounds, some are worried the woman will cling to them afterward, since their cultures emphasize sticking with your “first”.

    None of these might apply to your guy. He could be distant for completely different reasons. Maybe he is waiting for you to take the initiative in how you proceed from here because he assumes the sexual experience was more emotionally loaded for you (being your first) than for him, and he feels safer if you navigate the ship at this point.

    There’s really no way to know unless you get to speak with him again. So as others have advised, ask him out and see where that lands you. If this doesn’t work out, please don’t take it personally. Men and women ghost each other after second-date-sex even when neither are virgins! It’s simply one of the (many) pitfalls of dating in this day and age.

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  • avatar

    Fyodor August 30, 2019, 9:14 am

    LW1, I wonder to what extent you’re just feeling (understandably) vulnerable now and you’re maybe reading more into his behavior than is there.

    LW3, I obviously haven’t had an abortion so my perspective is limited. You’re not under any obligation, but I wonder if you might be feel better if you do. It was obviously a significant experience for you and part of the point of having a partner is to help you bear the weight of past experiences.

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  • avatar

    Rebecca Henry August 30, 2019, 10:03 am

    “My last girlfriend never came back after seeing my home” could mean that he is a hoarder has another serious mental health issue that prevents him from keeping up with his home.

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  • TheLadyE

    TheLadyE August 30, 2019, 11:45 am

    LW1, I was also in my 30s when I lost my virginity and it was a very similar situation to you: it was the second date, I felt strong chemistry with him and I was ready to do it. However, after we did it I definitely felt more connected to him than he did with me because I shared that part of myself. Admittedly, I am now almost 4 years out from that experience and have been with a couple other men, and every one of them feels significant in a way that they may not have if I had more experience in my 20s. Who knows? I do know that I have not had a truly loving, extremely connected sexual experience until my now-boyfriend, who is the 4th person I’ve slept with. So – keep that in mind – sex doesn’t = love, which I’m sure you know logically but it can be difficult in practice when you have been as selective as you and I have.

    I never really understood how people can have casual sex and it’s still not for me. That’s ok! You are just beginning your journey of knowing yourself as a fully sexual person and how you react and respond to sharing yourself with others. (I am too, just a little ahead of you.) It is honestly a relationship with yourself just as much as it is the men you are with.

    However, I would really caution you not to take the attitude of “calling him out” or somehow penalizing him for pulling back. I get the impulse because to you, whether or not you acknowledge it, you shared something incredibly deep and meaningful to you that you haven’t shared with anyone else before. He doesn’t know that, though, and most likely doesn’t feel the same way after the second date. Try to take a step back and let him come to you, and let the relationship develop organically as it will (or not). And congratulations!

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