How Come He Takes So Long To Text Her Back?



Hi Kristen,
I hope this e-mail finds you well. You are my ever brilliant guiding light in the world of dating. I was wondering if you had any advice for communicating with your partner about needs that he/she is not meeting without coming across as “nagging” or “trying to change” the person. I also don’t want to come across as one-sided. I would like to have it be a dialogue about his needs too. Meeting his needs are just as important to my happiness as having my own needs met.

My particular situation involves communication. My partner and I are in an exclusive relationship and have only been together for a few months. He told me early on in the relationship that he wasn’t much of a texter, but that he would try for me. He did text fairly often in the beginning. Once a day and not for long, which was fine with me. He would also call me on the phone sometimes. As time progressed, I became the only one who would reach out first for the most part, but he would still respond to me. I compromised in that I learned to accept that I would usually be the first one to reach out. I was willing to do that. After all, relationships are made of compromise.

Lately though, he will sometimes take days to respond. I need to know if this is something he is willing to fix because I need more than that. Without communication between times when we are physically together, I feel unwanted and unsupported. I also feel that it creates an obstacle in the forward progress of our relationship. How are we to get to know one another? I don’t want just a weekend boyfriend. It feels to me that he is losing interest and I certainly don’t want to be in a relationship with someone who isn’t interested in me. This would be an easier decision to make except that nothing else is out of place. In person he is kind, affectionate, generous, etc. He’s exactly who I’m looking for in every other respect.

I don’t believe in trying to change him, so I just want to explain my needs and ask him if they’re something he is willing to meet. If not, I will absolutely respect that but will need to end the relationship.

I am seeking advice as to how to make it a positive conversation that includes his needs as much as my own and doesn’t come across as an attack.

Thank you so much in advance for considering to offer me any guidance you may have. As always, if you’d like to include this on your blog, you absolutely may. I only ask that you use a different name for me. Thank you again for what you do for all of us.


I agree that taking two to three days to respond to a text is ridiculous. There’s just no excuse for it. HOWEVER…

He told me early on in the relationship that he wasn’t much of a texter,

I don’t believe in trying to change him,

Here’s the root of the problem. You are, in fact, trying to change him. He’s not a texter. He told you as much. Instead of takign what he said at face value and respecting it, you’re pushing the boundary he set down. That’s probably why he’s so resistant and unresponsive. He doesn’t want to tell you not to text him because he probably likes you and doesn’t want to deal with any conflict. He’s hoping you’ll read his social cues and take the hint.

I need to know if this is something he is willing to fix because I need more than that. Without communication between times when we are physically together, I feel unwanted and unsupported.

Here’s a question: why is he expected to fix his little quirks but you’re not expected to fix yours? His ambivalence about texting is on par with your neediness. This whole problem is a result of your insecurity. You must see that, yes? You need to figure out why it’s so important to you that this guy checks in every day. Don’t get me wrong. I love the daily texts and communication, but some people – male and female – just aren’t like that. They don’t need that much reassurance. What’s driving this need for you, I  believe, is this fear that he’s going to dump you or leave. You need to address that, because it’s not just about this guy. It goes deeper.

I just want to explain my needs and ask him if they’re something he is willing to meet. If not, I will absolutely respect that but will need to end the relationship.

That’s cool, but your needs aren’t what you think they are. Yes, you need the reassurance,  but it’s not about getting to know each other. It’s not. You think it is, but it’s not. You’re already in a relationship with a guy you only see on weekends. If getting to know each other is the priority, then how are you okay with that arrangement? And, really, you’re going to dump a guy because he doesn’t like to text you every day? I’m sorry, but that’s insane and doing that will blow up in your face, because he’ll be all, “Cool. Peace out.” You will not get the reaction you’re hoping for.  To be perfectly honest, it sounds like this guy tried to accommodate your needs and you kept upping the ante.



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17 Responses to “How Come He Takes So Long To Text Her Back?”

  1. DrivingMeNutes Says:

    I went out with a woman recently who, after about 3 months of regular dating, asked if we could agree to always text good night at the end of every day. I half heartedly agreed given that, on its face, it’s a fairly innocuous request and she pitched it to me, like the OP, as just something she “needed.” After thinking about it for a bit, I realized why the request annoyed me so much. Because a “good night” text is a gesture which, however small, should be appreciated and not expected. I know people here struggle with thank yous and basic courtesy – but if you force someone, under threat of ending things, to pay you gestures, to pay compliments anything really, then you have devalued the gestures.

    The bottom line is: if you really need texting to meet your “needs” then there is a compatibility issue with this person. He doesn’t WANT to text you and forcing him to do it is not a long term solution even if he agrees.

    Also PS your coy threat to end the relationship if you don’t get what you want (that is in fact a threat, an ultimatum) is a horrible negotiating tactic/style for which you will very likely be rewarded with nothing.

    • DrivingMeNutes Says:

      I suppose I can give advice based on the above. If you insist on talking about this issue, I would just tell him how much you love getting texts from him – even random ones – even though you know he doesn’t really like texting. That’s it. I believe this would be a more effective way to actually get what you want than the nagging, to use your term. Reward him with your appreciation. More carrots. Less sticks.

  2. FeistyNorwegian Says:

    I fell for a similar guy earlier in the year. I’m also the type that likes to have daily conversation and he just started “dropping the ball” so to speak… so my advice is this, don’t even mention the texting because eventually he is most likely weeding himself out of the relationship. Everything you do will come across as nagging and it will only upset you more in the end, causing you to say hurtful things and damaging your relationship beyond repair in the long run. You will sound passive aggressive if you say, “I miss our continuous texting like we used to do.” It will cause him to think he’s required to make the effort and that you’re demanding an entitlement to it. Just go with the flow. Join a book club or hang out with your friends. At this point, if he is interested, he will come looking for you and make the effort. Cause right now he knows you will text him! Good luck.

    • UWSGal Says:

      This is an advice straight of of “The Rules” but who needs these games? He may come back if he begins to sense that his supply of weekend sex may dry up, but it won’t last long. He will revert to his usual lukewarm ways. In fact, he probably told her he’s not a texter to set the expectations low. He’s just not that into her, that’s why he only sees her on weekends and never contacts her in between. This is a phantom relationship, and the best thing to do is to leave.

  3. UWSGal Says:

    I hate to break it to the OP here, but while she’s torturing herself waiting by the phone waiting for her guy to text and agonizes over how to “fix” their “communication issue”, her guy is f#$%ing somebody else. Or may be not yet, but working on it. This is why it is taking him 2 days to respond. He has a bigger fish to fry and the OP is no longer a priority, is he’s ever been. My advice here is to save yourself the heartache and cut him lose. Via text. You’ll see, he will be relieved. Sorry, this sucks but it’s true.

  4. KK Says:

    It is possible that the dude really likes the LW but he really dislikes rexting. It is also possible that he is not so into her and if he were he would text and contact her more often

    I think something else is going on here. This vuy and the LW have onmy been together for a few months and he is her partner? On what fucking planet? At 2 months, be is barely her bf. So maybe what is going on is she has much higher expectations for the relationship than he does. To her be is a partner. To him this is his new gf.

  5. Selena Says:

    I don’t think this is a communication issue. I think it’s a lack of interest issue. He told you in the beginning he didn’t like texting, but would still respond to your initiatives presumably to keep you interested in him. He only wants to see you once a week. He doesn’t care about “getting to know you better” by communicating during the week. Lately he takes days to respond to your attempts to contact him. Apparently he doesn’t care that this hurts your feelings/pisses you off/ could make you lose interest in him. He has stopped pretending this is thing is ever going to be anything more than casual.

    No matter how you couch “the talk” with him, the writing is on the wall here.

    • Eliza Says:

      I agree with Selena. Now if the guy said “you know, I dislike texting, especially during the work day – as I am focused, and don’t look at my cell constantly…however, I do enjoy chatting, or we can always catch up during the week, or I am usually free to talk or send the occasion text after 7 or 8pm” then I would interpret as him having interest in getting to know the LW better. Some people just don’t like texting back and forth, and are not plugged into their cell every minute of the working day. Some positions are not designed to allow us to be texting all day while at work. Also, initiating contact – verbal and physical should NOT be one-sided…that is not considered “compromise” but a display of interest. Both parties should be initiating and expressing an interest in getting together, and being in touch. Doesn’t have to be everyday…but every person’s needs vary I suppose.

  6. fuzzilla Says:

    I don’t see where she mentioned needing him to check in every day. She said he used to do that in the beginning, not that she’s demanding it.

    So I don’t really agree that she’s super needy and insecure. She doesn’t like that he drops the ball and ignores her when she reaches out to him; makes sense to me.

    But I do agree that she’s trying to change him and is ignoring his “I’m not much of a texter” messages. If it takes endless conversations and work to get your (reasonable) needs met, I’d probably just cut him loose. Though I might try one last talk before throwing in the towel, explaining *why* texting and responding is important to you (to feel connected and build momentum in the relationship).

  7. fuzzilla Says:

    If the OP is insecure, it’s because she’s doing that thing so many women do where she discounts her own feelings and assumes it’s 100% her responsibility to say the exact right perfect thing to fix the relationship. Stop trying to figure out what kind of “cool girl” you think he wants you to be and acknowledge that *he* isn’t giving you what *you* want. *He* is failing *you.* Doesn’t necessarily make him a bad guy, but does make him a waste of your time if you’re not on the same page.

  8. mxf Says:

    I feel for you, OP. If I have a boyfriend of a few months, I also want to touch base daily. Not as a “need,” but if I’ve been exclusive with someone for a few months, I probably like the shit out of him and want to share a funny article, a work story, check in on how a meeting of his went, whatever. I’m not quick to be exclusive, but to me a few months of dating only each other means that it’s ok to just really like talking to someone. I don’t see it as a chore, or even really something that needs to be negotiated. So I get it.

    But let’s assume he is still into being in a relationship, and it’s really just his way to not have contact for a few days at a time. I don’t actually think that relationships are always made of compromise. Or rather, I don’t think compromise looks like what you think it does in this case – you get a little less than you want, and he has to do a little more than he wants. I think the compromise here is that you actually try giving his way a go. As in, do what you need to do to recharge your connection battery without daily contact. If it really is a good thing between you when you’re together, then experiment with that. If it makes you utterly miserable forever, then break things off.

    I don’t know if I’m being clear. I just think true compromise realistically looks more like taking turns trying something different or uncomfortable as challenges come up, instead of both parties meeting halfway in some kind of suspended unhappiness each time.

    • Selena Says:

      She could stop contacting him and see what he does.

      • mxf Says:

        I don’t know, I’ve never really had a lot of luck with altering my behaviour specifically to see what effect it has on someone else’s behaviour. If he likes less contact, he’s likely to feel pleased, or that she’s more on his wavelength, and her own test will just hurt her feelings.

        I’d be transparent with him that her natural inclination is more contact, that she appreciates it’s not his, and that she’s willing to try it out. And then do it, in earnest. If she continues to dislike it, he’s not for her.

  9. Yvonne Says:

    Sounds to me like she is the one initiating most of the contact. He may be less invested in the relationship than she is. She has also noticed a change in his behavior. After all, he did respond to her request for more contact initially. Now, though, she says she is usually the one to reach out, and that he will sometimes take days to respond. As long as it’s a once a week relationship, he’s interested, but it doesn’t sound as if they are growing closer. In fact, it could be a sign that he is pulling away.

    My advice would be to pull back a bit. Don’t always be the one to initiate contact. He doesn’t have to make more of an effort because you always initiate. See how he responds and how you feel about it. This isn’t about doing “the rules”, it’s about gauging your boyfriend’s level of interest and effort. It’s also about not pushing someone to do some thing they either don’t want, or are not ready, to do.

  10. bbdawg Says:

    OP, it sounds like this guy is communicating to you that he is not THAT into a “relationship”. I see that you are “exclusive”, but it sounds like this person does not want to feel like he is “locked in”.

    We have all been in that position – you want to be in a “relationship” badly and you overlook the other person’s quiet objections, but it’s early only that you should not be the one putting in the effort. So. Stop reaching out to him and see what happens.

    I have learnt , and this is tough for women to accept, that we have ZERO control on commitment. Commitment is something that only men can offer. That means NOTHING you do will make a man call you more or less or act a certain way. What you should always know is what you want, and what you are looking for, and with that in mind, be watchful of a man’s ACTIONS.

    If a man ACTS like he really wants to be with you by reaching out and making plans for things other than just sex, GREAT! If a man is sort of lukewarm, well, communicate your interest but don’t do anything (i.e. pursuing him) because that is not going to make a difference. And if a man tells you he is not “looking for anything serious” (and you are looking for a boyfriend/partner), walk away, the moment he says that.

    In your case, step away and see how he reacts and you’ll see where this is going. Commitment really is not about you, it’s about him, and how he reacts, regardless of your “push” towards a relationship.

    • Eliza Says:

      bbdwag….I agree, but in terms of commitment being something only men offer? You know, women can be equally non-committal. You see…it’s not gender specific…it’s all based on level of interest. Otherwise, I must be part man! lol…I’m very much the same way. When not fully vested, or on the fence…I will not initiate much, or get calling or texting (not that I care to text much). But when I am interested, and find I am getting that reciprocated, yes, I do call and reach out, and conversations are not 1 min. long, and I don’t just contact or meet them on the weekend. I make that person a priority. Moreso, if we are “exclusive”. We all lead busy lives, some busier than others juggling work, school and family…but where there is a will, there is a way for a 10 min. conversation? And “Commitment” is not just about one person or the other…it’s about 2 people – have that mutual agreement towards wanting that.

  11. Jeff Smith Says:

    For the record, I’m not much of a texter myself.
    For one thing, I can’t type for shit on a cell phone keyboard.
    I also think that while texting is fine for conveying “facts” (e.g. lets meet at 10) it is not a very effective communication medium.
    My usual text is reply is “K”. If you text me with an issue, I would most likely call you so we could have a real convo.
    In a case of a new relationship, sometimes I am just not sure how to reply.

    On the other hand if you just wanted a “good night sleep tight” I think I could handle that.

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