What To Do When He Doesn’t Call When He Says He Will – 4 Relationship Experts Reveal Exactly How To Handle This Situation
It was the day of Halloween in 2009. Being originally from Germany, I am not a big fan of that holiday and didn’t feel like joining any parties.
However, a few of my girlfriends convinced me to go to a club with them. Not long after we arrived, they stood me up and left with some guys that they had just met. There I was, all alone, not knowing anyone or even wanting to be there.
I was upset about it for a few minutes until I reminded myself of my incredible ability to talk to anyone I might find in a room, and so I did. I sat down with a few girls who talked about their college life at university and the fun they were having.
We started quite the interesting conversation and got to know each other.
At one point during this evening one of the girls went over to the other side of the room to talk to a guy. He was tall, handsome and dressed in a gangster outfit which suited him quite well. It turned out that he was her older stepbrother.
He then came over because his friends had left, as well. We started teasing each other about our costumes and had some good laughs. I felt immediately attracted to him. I thought to myself that he could be the one I’d marry, or at the least have a working relationship with him. Obviously, I wouldn’t tell him that. You don’t want to scare them away after the first hello already.
At the end of the night we exchanged phone numbers.
I thought he appeared a bit shy and would never ask for my number so I just handed him mine and he agreed to call me.
The next morning, I was all giddy and excited. I felt like a teenager again and had to tell my friends about that “hot dude” I met. That day went by without him calling me.
The next day went by without him calling either. I got a bit frustrated and wondered if I misinterpreted his demeanor from that Halloween night.
After the third day of him not calling, I became sad and felt somewhat hopeless.
The self-talk in my head just kept going and going: “Maybe I said something wrong. Maybe I am not good enough. Maybe he saw me as a fraud. There isn’t anything special about me. Why would a guy call me anyway?” and so on.
On the fourth day, I finally received a phone call from him and I asked him straight out why he didn’t call earlier. His answer: “Don’t you wait at least three days before you call?”. Yeah, no, you don’t. Not if you actually want him to call.
When things don’t work out as hoped or people don’t respond the way we think they should, we are often very fast at making it about ourselves.
There must be something wrong with us. Why else would people treat us that way? Especially women tend to find all kinds of faults with themselves which leads to a vicious cycle of self-diminishing behavioral patterns that can lead to resentment toward oneself and the person that disappointed us.
In reality, there is nothing wrong with you and most likely there isn’t anything wrong with the other person either.
Sometimes, as in my case, they have a weird story they go by (Really, who waits 4 days to call?) or they are trying to avoid confrontation because they got triggered by something related to a past relationship experience. In other cases, they may just deal with their own self-doubt about who they are and what they may deserve.
No matter what kind of relationship we are seeking, we have to become more aware of our own beliefs and stories that we have created that keep us from embracing life for what it is, that keep us from attracting the people into our lives that are emotionally available and are willing to invest into the relationship.
When you understand who you are and are able to stand firm within your own power, you don’t feel the need to get someone’s attention or approval (yes, by waiting for their call you are looking for that approval that your beliefs and desires are real).
When you have found yourself, you can trust your intuition fully. What is it telling you? Give him some time? Call him if you have his number? Or letting him go?
Try not to get attached to the outcome no matter your decision.
If you find yourself in similar situations over and over, it is time look deeper within yourself and ask: “What is the belief I have to let go? What needs to be healed within me? What can I learn from these situations?” (again, without judgement toward yourself).
Trust yourself and trust that everything happens as a reflection of what is going on inside of you.
You have the power to choose at your own finger tips. Take the leap or take a look within, and always approach each situation with compassion toward yourself instead of judgement.
By the way, this guy and I were married after one short year and have been happily married for the past 8 years. Sometimes their first reaction or response is not an indication of the end result. All will work out if you are willing to do the work for yourself.
Isabel Hundt, Coach and Author – www.isabelhundt.com
It is important to set this common dating issue in the context of our current market conditions.
As consumers, we are presented with an ever-increasing number of choices in our daily lives. There are hundreds of brands of breakfast cereal, jeans, and face creams. We are saturated with choice to such a degree that it obscures our ability to appreciate or be satisfied with what we have. Adding to that, our mind and senses are overwhelmed with stimulus and information as we speed through our daily responsibilities.
These conditions affect behaviors in the dating “market” as well, influencing attitudes and assumptions about prospective mates.
Back in the day, you chose your partner from the small selection of people who happened to show up to the local mixer on a particular night. Nowadays, in contrast, we are presented with almost endless possibilities in the number of dating sites to participate in and matches to choose from.
Swiping left is just one of many behaviors on the continuum of human expendability and unrealistic expectations of consumer satisfaction.
Even when we have had a good connection with someone we went on a date with, we may unintentionally overlook genuinely attractive qualities (or miss the human altogether) in the search for the perfect person that does not exist. And, if an opportunity is missed, someone better will come along, right?
These factors, as well as many not included here, set the scene for men, in this case, to not return phone calls, though men are not the sole perpetrators of this discourtesy.
Despite the numerous communication choices we have (more choice), being attached to our phones 24/7, and our Pavlovian responses to the familiar ding of a text notification, we still do not always honor a simple agreement to call.
Below are just a few suggestions to how to approach this common scenario:
1. Please do not settle into this reality and accept it as the way things are.
Align your expectations to deeper values of respect, and set expectations early in the relationship for how you want to be treated. If you are interested in connecting with your date again, make it clear on that first date that you expect him to call when he says he will, and hold that up on your end as well.
2. If someone who you’ve had a romantic connection with cannot call when they say they will, they are communicating very clearly their inability to be reliable in basic ways.
Believe them, thank them for showing you their truth, and move on to someone that knows how to value your time and feelings.
3. Of course, there will be unpredictable life circumstances that get in the way of making a phone call here and there.
Listen to your gut and really check in with how checked in he is. Be prepared to let go if “life gets in the way” a lot or if he is addicted to crisis and confusion. If he has a tendency to be forgetful, he can at least compensate with some solid phone calendar programming skills.
If you do decide to move on, I believe in the power of compassionate feedback.
Of course, you don’t have to do this, but as a service to the man and to other women he may date in the future, it may worthwhile to call and kindly let him know what wasn’t working for you. Your opinion matters, and It is these random acts of feedback that can help to positively shape the culture of dating as a whole.
Ingrid V. Rodriguez, PhD – www.embodiedquest.com
Promises are statements of future intent and keeping them is one of the most important components of trust.
In intimate relationships they can be widely variable, from something minimally significant like, “We’ll get together soon,” to much more important like, “I’ll text you as soon as I get home,” or “I’m only going to date you now.”
Many people make promises at the time that they intend to keep, but haven’t taken into consideration events that might keep them from delivering on them. Others make them to get what they want in the moment, knowing they will never come through.
Some feel coerced into guaranteeing behavior in the future they have no way of doing, but are intimidated into making a contract they can’t fulfill. Anyone, at times, can want desperately to deliver a promise they have no capacity to do at the time, but hope they will when the promise comes due.
When feelings are authentic in the present, but wane over time, many intimate partners don’t tell their partners, hoping those prior feelings will return before they have to forfeit a relationship that is still important to them.
When time goes by and they do not feel differently, or even worse, they are now in danger of pulling out of a relationship when their partners haven’t had warning.
Afraid to hurt, distance, or lose that relationship, they hung in there without sharing their lessening interest.
Now they have two problems to face: getting out of a relationship that has lost its meaning, and bearing the brunt of hurting and humiliating someone they truly loved at one time.
Because the majority of intimate partners do care about their significant others, they don’t make promises lightly or without the intent to keep them.
They also know the difference between a light-hearted promise and those that would create significant heartbreaks were they not followed through, or at least re-negotiated. Also, the partners of well-intentioned lovers do learn, over time, the differences between well-intended but unlikely commitments to future behaviors, and those that are tossed out but unlikely to happen.
People who know and love each other depend strongly on the other’s good intentions and are quick to forgive those slight mishaps that simply define the difference between desire and action.
However, anyone’s trust can wither over time if their partner’s consistently make promises they do not keep.
Yes, some are made into jokes:
“Don’t expect him to be on time. He really means it, but you have to tell him it’s a half-hour earlier than it is to compensate. He’s worth it when he gets here, so we just allow for it.” Or,
“I really love her, but she just can’t seem to prioritize her commitments and she’s always rescheduling her appointments. I feel sorry that she’s so distressed about disappointing people but she truly doesn’t mean it and her friends always forgive her.”
But others are more serious, especially when that promise is important to the other partner.
- “I promise that I’ll cut back on the spending, honey. I know you’re right and I’ll make it a high priority.”
- “I know that I’m out of shape and it’s important to you. I’ll sign up at the gym first thing in the morning.”
- “I’m really undependable about texting you right back. It’s not fair. I’m going to really work on that.”
- “I won’t respond to my old girlfriend’s texts anymore if it bothers you.”
- “You can’t count on me to be on time from now on.”
- “I’ll only watch porn with you in the future, I promise.”
- “I’ll tell you from now on if you’re doing something that bothering me.”
- “I won’t yell at you anymore just because I’m angry.”
The more un-kept promises are made, the more difficult it is to trust that they ever will be.
The greater sadness is that any trust continually broken in any one area, even those that are relatively unimportant, will eventually bleed out to every other area in the relationship. Relationships usually begin with a lot of forgiveness and accepted excuses but, over time, certain issues can become more prominent and less easily erased.
The early relationship is proportional, that is, the good outweighs the bad and the problematic issues take a back seat.
As the relationship matures, those issues that seemed innocuous to the future of the relationship can slowly erode away at the core of the relationship. Trust breaking is one of the most susceptible to that increasing damage.
It is natural and expected that most people are not completely able to predict their future feelings and behaviors no matter how phenomenal a new relationship seems to be. Life is meant to challenge as time goes by and intimate relationships are no exception.
However, there are ways that devoted couples can predict and influence their future trust in one another.
1. Don’t make promises about future thoughts or behaviors that are inconsistent with anything you’ve ever done before.
Let your partner know who you’ve been in those areas before. It’s not that people can’t change, but entrenched actions are hard to change and take enormous amounts of commitment and energy to do so.
2. Keep your communications open and authentic from the beginning of a relationship.
Don’t pretend to be someone you’re not nor do things that make your partner believe something that is unlikely to happen. You may lose someone up front who can’t abide long term by those behaviors, but you won’t ever feel like you’ve gotten someone to love you on false pretenses.
3. If you promise something from a well-intentioned place, then find you cannot deliver, tell your partner immediately, ask for support, and renegotiate that promise as something you can fulfill.
4. Using all your past relationship experiences, know yourself well enough to predict when you are promising something that you are highly unlikely to deliver.
5. In any important relationship, understand your partner’s continuum that lets you know the difference between an unbroken promise he or she can laugh about, and one that is less forgivable.
6. Remember that broken promises of any kind do threaten anyone’s belief in your integrity and your trustworthiness. That loss might affect your future chances to make deals of any kind.
7. Evaluate how you have felt when a promise made to you doesn’t happen.
These simple rules are not as simple to live by, but they genuinely pay off if you can live by them.
Everyone has the right to change desires and commitments, and relationship partners are no exception. If those differences in life views, expectations, dreams, or desires evolve and transform over time, it is crucial that intimate partners keep each other up to date as soon as they realize those differences.
It may temporarily challenge the relationship, but it also makes it possible to authentically recommit to that new future for both partners.
Here are some articles I’ve written for Psychology Today Internet Blogs that may give you additional help:
What Causes Boredom in Intimate Relationships
Can a Relationship Survive Betrayal?
How to End a Relationship When Your Partner Still Loves You
Are You Withholding Love?
Couples’ Alert – Is your Love Dying?
Are you Afraid of Falling out of Love?
When is it time to let a Relationship go?
Promise Keepers – The Committed Partners who Stay Faithful
Dr. Randi Gunther – www.randigunther.com
If he says he’ll call and doesn’t or says he’ll meet you and doesn’t, that’s out of your hands.
The only control you do have is to do your homework by getting to know the person you are dating and assessing his integrity, sense of responsibility and trustworthiness.
You CAN try to follow-up with him, though, to find out what happened.
In other words, you can put him on the spot to explain the circumstances behind his inconsiderateness and thoughtlessness. After all, you’re not sitting around waiting for him – and he needs to know that.
Your time is very precious and you don’t want to waste it obsessing for someone who doesn’t value you as much as you deserve.
So, when a guy does this to you, you need to move ahead –knowing that there’s someone better out there who will be more considerate of your feelings and time.
Basically, you are acknowledging your self-worth and confidence and asserting that you are not desperate or willing to be treated badly by any one for any reason.
You are stating that you want to be respected and honored and above all, treasured by a guy who holds you in high esteem and opinion.
The next time a guy doesn’t call, don’t fret. He is probably someone you didn’t want to be with anyway, because if he’s into you, he wouldn’t treat you that way.
Amy Sherman, M.A., LMHC – www.yourbabyboomersnetwork.com