Why Hasn't He Texted Back? 10 Things On What To Do

This question is so special to me. I’ll tell you why.

I could be having the best day ever: I was awake before 9am, went to yoga, answered a friend’s phone call, learned something new, didn’t have cake for lunch, meditated, did some work, was feeling really ok. Good, even! But then. I start to feel a little tired or a little hungry or a little lonely and I send my boyfriend (or the guy I am dating or the guy I have a crush on) a text and he doesn’t respond. 2 minutes pass. I think maybe he didn’t hear his phone vibrate. I call. No answer. Now it’s been 3 minutes. Panic begins to creep in.

Suddenly nothing about my pretty excellent day matters anymore, like, not even a little bit. I force myself to wait another 10 minutes. Why hasn’t he texted me back? Suddenly my heart is racing, I’m thinking about the last 5 conversations we had, what I might’ve said that could somehow be interpreted as bad or wrong or condescending or aggressive, and I decide he’s 100% breaking up with me. That has to be why he hasn’t texted back and won’t answer his phone. Or he’s dead. Those are the only options and now I’m full on crying. I call one more time. Nothing.

This is the stuff that will TAKE ME DOWN.

So. What to do about it?? Well, if you’re like me, panic just a little bit more over the truth of not being able to reach him. Then. I do everything in my human power to NOT call him anymore. I probably send at least one more text but I refrain from sending more than 2 or 3. Cry some more. Then I TURN OFF MY PHONE. Turn it off. That’s it. Relief. Now that the phone is off I assume he’s probably trying to get in touch with me and that makes me feel better! I’m going to write something now that might not make any sense. At this point, it is no longer about “him.” Whoever the “him” is at that moment. It’s not about “him.” “He” is now representing something, some aspect of my life where I feel unworthy or not enough. This lack of contact is now latching on to any part of myself that believes I am unloveable. And as long that part of me exists, I will continue to be decimated by delayed responses to text messages and phone calls. So. Here’s where the work begins.

Here are 10 things I’ve learned when it comes to times of text message crisis.

  1. It HURTS. It can cause real physical pain. When I’m in that state of waiting, my chest is tight, my face is clenched, my shoulders are up around my ears, and my thoughts are scrambled into oblivion.
  2. For that reason, best not to make any big decisions from this frame of mind. Don’t break up with anyone. Don’t choose this as the time to tell your parents all the ways they messed you up. Don’t kick out your roommate or go nuts with a credit card. Just…trust me on this one.
  3. It helps to find a way to distract myself. This can mean returning a phone call to a friend, checking in to see how someone else is doing. Getting an ice cream cone. Working on a crossword puzzle. Almost anything other than staring at the screen creating elaborate stories about why I’m not getting a response.
  4. Drinking doesn’t actually help. I haven’t had a drink in over 5 years but 6 years ago, drinking was a strategy I tried over and over. Usually what would happen is once I was a drink or two in, I’d call and call and call and text and text and text then look back in horror over what I’d done. Or I’d kiss someone I didn’t care about expecting that person to make me feel better (spoiler alert: they never did). Problem: not getting a text back. Two problems: Not getting a text back and becoming further mortified at my behavior. Also, hangovers. And late night pizza binges. Thumbs down.
  5. The thing I think is happening is 9 times out of 10 NOT what is happening.
  6. It’s super helpful to put yourself some place where it is inappropriate to be staring at your phone, ie. a yoga class, a movie theater, or the studio audience of a sitcom taping.
  7. A lot of this pain stems from mismatched Attachment Types. I recommend the book: “Attached: The New Science of Adult Attachment and How It Can Help You Find and Keep – Love.” by Amir Levine and Rachel Heller.
  8. This moment will pass. Every time. It always passes. Does it help me in that moment to remember that? Nope, but maybe it’ll help you!
  9. It usually feels good to write a long gratitude list and text it to a friend. This also takes up a few minutes. Finding ways to fill this time without creating lasting emotional damage to yourself or anyone else is HUGE.
  10. This is not a life or death situation. Does it feel like it is? Absolutely. Is it though? Nope. It’s really not. This person will return my call or text or they won’t. We will live a long and happy life together or I will never hear from them again. Either way, I will be okay. And so will you. I promise.

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