DEAR DR. NERDLOVE: So a girl from the northern US just moved to the South about a month and a half ago and she is boarding her horse at my landlords barn. We exchanged numbers and started texting and I invited her to go out with friends and I – I thought this would be a good idea for first time seeing as how she doesn’t know many people.� �It went great & she initiated first contact – grabbing my hand/forearm at one of the places – so at the end of the night I grabbed her and kissed her, we then continued to make out and we both slept on my friend’s house – no sex. ��After that, she ghosted me for about a week (I sent a couple messages to no response and then stopped) – after those days with no response she finally texted me one night with a picture of her out at landlords barn with her horse so I went out and we talked for a solid hour or so and she explained she’s been really stressed about the new location and early on work issues – completely understandable. ��We talked more after that and we had a wine/dine at her place this past weekend that went super well. I cooked, she had 3 bottles of wine and we talked for about 6 hours that went by extremely fast. Some pretty vulnerable and serious topics too. We ended the night making out and just being close to each other in bed that night and the next morning before I left – again, no sex. ��It’s been 4 full days now and we both have not texted/talked to each other & I’m just very confused as it seems like she’s def into me and showing all of those signs but she still doesn’t seem like she wants to take the time out to talk or see me. Am I not being aggressive enough? Is she not really into me?��Any help is great help!
DEAR FEELING HAUNTED: I have a couple thoughts here, FH.
The first is to recognize a pattern when you see one. One of the commonalities is that you two hang out, talk, make out, sleep together (non-sexually) and then she goes radio silent for a week.
Now granted, two incidents don’t make a pattern; once is happenstance, twice is coincidence, etc. However, the fact that things progressed in very similar ways suggests that maybe you need to vary things up and see what happens.
Based on what you say, however, I don’t think the issue is that you’re not being aggressive enough. I think it may be the opposite: you’re moving too fast. If we assume she’s telling you the truth – that she really is stressed about living in a new place, work is tough, etc. – then she may not be in a place where she’s ready or able to hook up with someone or start a relationship with them. While she’s showing signs of interest, there’s being interested and then there’s having the emotional bandwidth to actually do something about it at this stage.
It’s entirely possible for someone to want something but also to recognize that you aren’t able or ready to handle it, or that pursuing it might be a bad idea. Doubly so if circumstances keep leading back to being in temptation’s path. If she feels like things are moving too quickly or she’s being pulled too firmly towards something she’s not ready for, then it’s likely she’ll pull away for good, rather than throw caution to the wind.
Or it could be that the first time you were too much for her and she needed a little time. Then the second time you hung out, things played out the same way, and now she’s not sure there will be a third.
So if the pattern holds and she messages you again, I’d suggest slowing your roll a bit. You can still flirt, show interest and be generally affectionate, but I’d hold off on sloppy make outs or sleeping together – whether platonically or not – and see what happens.
I’d also recommend dialing back on the alcohol. Getting buzzed or drunk may lower one’s inhibitions or turn down the volume on the voice that says “this is a bad idea”, that voice can be a lot louder in the cold light of sobriety. And “oh, I shouldn’t have done that” paired with a hangover is a strong disincentive to try again.
If she is interested in pursuing something with you, then slowing things down – and please notice very carefully I said slow down, not “stop” or “pull back” – isn’t going to hurt. If anything, it may help. She knows that you’re interested in her; you’ve made that abundantly clear. That’s not what you need to worry about. What you should focus on is giving her the space to decide how she feels, letting her feel safe in whatever decision she makes and then allow her to come to you, rather than you charging towards her.
Being flirty and showing interest, but giving her space to feel comfortable and make up her mind will tell her that you’re mindful of her comfort and you’re giving her the opportunity to make up her mind about how she wants to progress, if at all. Pushing harder, on the other hand, is more likely to push her away. That’s when “this isn’t a good idea right now” becomes “this isn’t a good idea, period”.
Meanwhile, I’d also let her ultimately decide when and if she’s ready to be in contact again. You can send the occasional dust buster – a “saw this, thought of thing we talked about” link or funny meme to blow the dust of the line – but otherwise let it be. Last time she was radio silent, she was the one to reach out first and let you know she was around. That may just be how she rolls.
Give her an opportunity to reach out when she’s ready and let things proceed at a pace she’s more comfortable with. Nobody has lost out on a good thing by saying “let’s take this at the speed you need.”
Meanwhile, go off and do your thing. You don’t want to be waiting with sandwiches by the phone just in case she texts. Go out, hang with friends, even see other people. If she’s going to come back, she will. If not, then you haven’t wasted your time waiting for something that won’t happen.
Please send your questions to Dr. NerdLove at his website (www.doctornerdlove.com/contact); or to his email, firstname.lastname@example.org