The guy I'm seeing stopped calling. What did I do?
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Dear Miss Information,
I'm newly single after almost three years. I've been trying out the dating thing and, until about a week ago, I hadn't really come across anyone who I wanted to invest my time in. But then I ran into a guy who I've known for almost a year. (He would come into my workplace on occasion and we would briefly chat.) Well, in this recent run-in, I was immediately smitten. As soon as we parted ways I shot him a text and invited him out that night. He couldn't make it, but followed up saying that he'd like to hang out soon if I was interested.
But after a week of talking every day and hanging out most of the week, the communication has faded. So now I'm confused. He seemed so into me every time we talked and hung out. The last time we were together, I admitted to him that I was starting to really like him. And he agreed that he liked me. Did I scare him off? He mentioned at one point that he doesn't chase girls, but I don't want to "chase" him and come off as desperate. On the other hand, I also don't want him to think I'm not interested if I'm not trying. Help!
— Into the Sunset
Dear Into the Sunset,
Though I'm generally of the mindset that chivalric stereotypes are damaging to both men and women, and should be plunked in the same museum as the cotton gin and the weird maxi-pad-and-belt combination they used before anyone invented pantiliner adhesive… there is exactly one lesson I will take from them. When someone is serious, they show up. Rapunzel's prince cared enough to climb up a building. Cinderella's searched the land until he found the shoe that fit. Obsessive and a little creepy, sure — but man, did they care!
Luckily, this is outdated. Nobody has to sit at home, combing her freakish hair; nobody has to scour the land for one tiny, delicate-footed lady. What a time-saver. But the lack of proscribed gender roles also creates ambiguity: "Am I being too forward? Too coy? What, exactly, qualifies as a 'booty text?'" The thing is, "complicated" is usually synonymous with "unsuccessful." If something is clicking, it requires very little tending; if it takes fretting and strategy and manipulation, it probably isn't going to stand on its own.
If you told him you liked him, he returned the feeling, and then you fell into radio silence, that sucks. And it's only natural to look at it in terms of "what did I do wrong?" But it really sounds like the answer is "nothing." You made a connection (+3), you were brave enough to express your feelings (+3), and you unfortunately had it fizzle (0). Dating can turn into a defensive cold war of "who can be less vulnerable," and it's to your credit that you didn't fall into that. You can't control whether or not your affection falls on fertile soil, but you can take pride in your own honesty.
You've got the openness and vulnerability down. Now trust that worthy contenders will show up.