We’ve all experienced it. We’re having a great day and get a text from a number or name we long forgot. The guy from months ago, finally deciding that he wants to have interest in you. The guy who had several, many, numerous, even – attempts at being in your life, but dropped the ball for whatever reason. Here he is popping back up at his convenience and putting the ball in your court as to whether to respond or not. What do you do, and why does this happen?
Recently, I experienced an egregious example of the super delayed responder, and it reminded me of how often this happens in gay dating. A guy from maybe 8+ months ago, whom I never actually met in person but had texted for a couple weeks, decided to hit me up. With no name or number on file, my iPhone did its best to suggest to me who it was. The message went something like “hey, I realized I never gave us a fair chance, so I was wondering if you wanted to hang out.” I didn’t respond, because unbeknownst to him, I had long forgotten, moved on, and was not even available anymore. 20 minutes later, he texted again. This time, a picture – as if to say, “maybe you didn’t remember I looked like this and why you should be responding.”
I didn’t respond and blocked him. An hour later, iPhone drops the ball (can I get a block fix, Apple?) and sends through two more texts of him begging to hang out. How f*cking convenient, I thought. I recall a time, over 8 months ago, where I was actually doing my own version of “begging” with this guy. I had probably been dramatic on a text or acted out and turned him off, and I remember repeatedly asking to meet up with him because in person, I knew he would realize I was normal. I didn’t know if we’d ultimately like one another, but it was worth an in-person shot. He decided he was over it, above it, and not interested. Then, after a gay eternity, he now wanted to come around and realize what he passed on.
So why does this happen? Plenty of reasons. None of which you should ever take too personally or read too deeply into. You never know what someone has going on when they’re opening themselves up to dating, and they will never tell you. Maybe I was one of 30 matches for this guy, and he had better options to deal with. Maybe he was still wrapping up a break up, emotionally unavailable, busy with work, moving out of town, moving apartments, taking finals – the list goes on. Maybe I actually offended him. Maybe I was never his type to begin with and he was bored. The point is, when someone isn’t giving you the time and attention you deserve, it should not be your burden to force yourself into their lives and make them love you. And it’s not always the case that there’s some evil asshole on the other end, but you just have to recognize you’re worth enough to say “even if this is a great guy, or the one, he is not the one right now and I’m not going to put myself through the torture of forcing it.”
This is a lesson that took me years to learn. I would constantly try to force situations that weren’t meant to be. In a way, the super delayed responder is a blessing in the dating world. Rather than giving you mixed signals or confusing statements of his desire, he is straight up showing to you where you fall on his priority list. When they only reach out or respond when they feel like it, you are a very low priority. Despite their many excuses of why they are the way they are (“I’m a bad texter, I can’t text at work, I totally forgot…”) they do a suspiciously good job of ignoring every message from you that requires any level of thought, response or commitment. They tend to respond to the easy stuff, if at all. Do NOT kill yourself trying to read between the lines of this cryptic behavior. They just don’t care about you or have the time for you right now. Only proceed if you are cool with that reality and it won’t drive you insane. Better yet, only proceed if you’re going to treat them the way they treat you. That’s all they deserve.