Sending Mixed Signals
Q: I started seeing this guy a few weeks ago. He's such a nice, romantic guy. Last week he bought us two tickets to go to the opera. I was so excited when he told me, but for the past few days he's been distant. When I call him, he either won't answer, or he's very brief with me. When I text him how his day is going, he responds with one word answers. As you can imagine, I am a little confused and very put off by his behavior or lack thereof. I didn't want to get my hopes up for this guy as I have done in the past with other guys, but when they buy you expensive tickets to the opera, you assume they are serious about you. So what happened? Should I just flat out ask him if we are still going? -Liz, 26
Dr. Anna: New relationships can be so confusing. It's hard to figure out how someone is feeling and what they're thinking when you don't yet know them very well. You won't know why he hasn't been responding until you do ask him—but maybe wait a while before jumping to that. If you have been texting/calling frequently and he isn't responding, consider backing down your level of engagement and cooling off a bit. It's not uncommon for people to be a little alarmed about strong feelings in new relationships and withdraw. Try giving him a bit more space. Stay open and friendly, but don't push too hard. Whether he's been short with you because he's busy or nervous, he will likely appreciate your ability to give him space when he needs it.
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Advice for Her
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Susan K. Perry, Ph.D.
Susan K. Perry, Ph.D., is a social psychologist, relationship expert, and bestselling and award-winning author. Her books include Loving in Flow: How the Happiest Couples Get and Stay That Way, and Kylie's Heel, a novel for adults.
Pamela G. Chollet, Ph.D.
Dr. Pamela Chollet has a Ph.D. in clinical psychology and Master degrees in educational psychology and fine arts. Her passion has been helping people face and get through those times when they feel trapped and unable to move forward.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist, stress management expert, and author. If you're feeling overwhelmed, stressed out, or struggling to make changes in your life, Anna can help.