October 30, 2014 / Why She Went Cold: When It’s Not Your Fault
It's not your fault, but that doesn't mean you can't do anything about it.
One of the most frustrating experiences for guys can be when you’re dating a new girl you’re excited about, things seem really promising between you both, and then she suddenly "goes cold." A few weeks ago, Josh explored this concept of "going cold," described some of the things you could have done to trigger it, and discussed what you could to do to prevent it in the future.
However, sometimes a girl can go cold when you really did nothing wrong. This is usually even more frustrating than situations where it’s your fault. If you read Josh’s article, you may have thought back to situations where a girl you liked went cold and thought, "shit, that’s what happened." While that doesn’t help you know, you may feel better having some closure about what happened, and you’ll be sure to avoid making the same mistake in the future.
But some of you may have read Josh’s article and still felt at a loss. If that’s the case, then it’s very possible she went cold for reasons that have nothing to do with you. In this article I want to offer a few of those reasons, how you can diagnose if they’re applicable, and what you may be able to do in the future.
She went cold…
Because She’s Too Busy
- She’s a corporate lawyer, or has some other job that has her working a lot of nights and weekends.
- Her job has normal hours, but she’s taking classes at night or doing something else that takes up a lot of her evenings.
- She’s very involved in some organization, like a sorority or philanthropy.
- Scheduling your dates always seemed to be a huge effort in "calendar tetris," as she kept trying to find an opening in her schedule to fit you in.
- You met in some context that wasn’t "dedicated" to dating (for example, you didn’t meet her on Tinder).
She’s the kind of woman who is "too busy to date." Her life is busy enough, and she wasn’t looking to add a relationship to it at the time she met you. She liked you enough to go out with a few times, and she liked you enough that she didn’t want to deliberately end it. Typically if this kind of girl rejects someone, she’ll say something like, "you’re a nice guy, but I really need to focus on school/work/whatever." This girl liked you enough that she didn’t decide to reject you.
Unfortunately, she didn’t like you enough to actually make time for you in her life. So she became even busier than usual, probably felt embarrassed that it had been so long since she had last seen you, and decided dropping contact was the path of least resistance.
The biggest tell her is "calendar tetris." If you’re playing that game, it’s very likely you will lose.
So don’t play the game at all. Don’t "schedule dates." When you communicate with her, do it later at night, when you think she’ll be free. Your goal should be to get her to hang out with you right now. If she’s free to talk or text you, she’s free to hang out with you. Make sure she knows that. Plus, you’ll look spontaneous and dynamic.
She may reject the idea and insist on playing calendar tetris anyway. Whatever you do, don’t let your dating progression go backwards. In other words, if you got drinks on your first date and saw a band play on your second date, don’t go out to brunch on Sunday morning on a third date. That Sunday brunch may be the only time you can see her for a week, but it’s guaranteed to feel platonic. You’re not going to feel like you’re on a date, and she’s going to feel like seeing you was just checking off something on her "Sunday errands list."
Because She’s Not Over Her Ex
- She recently got out of an LTR.
- She still talks to her ex-boyfriend.
- Her ex-boyfriend was the one that dumped her, or didn’t really object when she tried to dump him.
- She just started online dating, and you’re one of the first guys she met.
- She talks about her ex-boyfriend constantly.
If you met the girl through Match, Tinder, or some other online dating service, then this is pretty common. Girl has a boyfriend she’s been dating for several years, they break up, and now she’s feeling acutely lonely after being in a relationship for so long. All her friends encourage her to "get out there," and the most direct way to do that is to make an online dating profile or sign up on Tinder.
The biggest signal here is if she keeps interjecting comments about her ex-boyfriend, even if they’re negative. Here’s an example: let’s say your first date routine is a cool "speakeasy-themed" bar. You meet her there, get drinks, and settle into your seats. "This is a really cool place," she says. "My ex never took me to places like this, he just wanted to play videogames all day."
This may feel complimentary. You may think: "I’m clearly demonstrating higher value than her loser ex-boyfriend!" And this is technically true, but what’s worrying is that she is comparing you to her ex-boyfriend. In other words, she still cares about him enough to compare you to him, and trying to justify that she’s better off dating someone new (in this case, you) than him.
Here’s what happened: if she’s probably still talking to her ex, while they’re not officially together and exclusive, dating you feels like cheating in some way. In fact, if the guy dumped her, finding out she’s seeing other guys may trigger him to change his mind once he realizes that she seems capable of moving on in her life without him. Suddenly he’s reversing how he feels, and reconciling with him seems a lot easier to the girl than playing the dating game all over again. So, poof, she’s gone, back with him and you’re none the wiser.
Avoiding getting frozen out because of this is a challenge. You’re not just competing with another guy, you’re competing with the memory of another guy, whom she’s still having a lot of mixed feelings about. You’re trying to build attraction when she’s still emotionally consumed with someone she’s known for years. It’s an uphill battle. But just like the career woman workaholic, don’t play the game on losing turf. She may be emotionally consumed by her ex, but not all those emotions are positive. A lot of them aren’t, otherwise they wouldn’t have broken up!
If she starts talking about her ex, just change the subject. You’re not interested in hearing any direct comparisons to you. You don’t want her thinking about her ex at all. And the best way to do that is to probe on what she didn’t have with her ex.
Ask her questions like, "what’s one place in the city you’ve never been to but have always wanted to go?" Or, "what’s a hobby you want to take up but haven’t had time?" Then if you can, structure your conversation and dates around information like that. Essentially, you’re emphasizing that her breakup really is a clean slate, and there’s a lot of positives with that clean slate that you’re offering.
One more important point: do everything you can to avoid presenting yourself as "the next boyfriend in line." If you pull off what I described above, she’ll realize leaving behind the relationship with her ex has opened up a whole new world. But you don’t want her thinking a new relationship will close that world. Avoid Provider behavior that will get you classified as a "Boyfriend," because that’s likely to make her wary. She’ll wonder if she’s ready to dive into a new relationship so soon. And she won’t go cold on you, but you’ll get the "you’re a great guy, but…" conversation. Keep things light and non-committal. You are someone that is going to introduce her to a fun and exciting life without her lame ex-boyfriend, and that’s it.
Because She’s Not Over a Recent Traumatic Experience
- She’s had a recent traumatic experience.
No, really, that’s pretty much the only symptom, and it can be hard to detect. A girl is unlikely to spill her whole past on you in the first couple dates, so you have no idea if she’s still reeling from something that happened in her recent past. It’s tough for her to explain why she doesn’t want to date you anymore without getting into her past, so the easier option seems to the disappearing act.
But while she probably won’t tell you everything, this kind of situation is not undetectable. Chances are this recent trauma has impacted more than just her dating life. So if she tells you something like, "I don’t really have an address," without any qualification, that’s probably not a good sign. Generally, a well-adjusted person will say something like, "I don’t really have an address, I just moved here so I’m crashing with a friend for the month."
For all you know, Ms. Address-less could be in the FBI Witness Protection program. Or she’s grossly financially irresponsible. The point is, it’s unlikely the girl’s recent trauma will cause her problems in her dating life but otherwise allow her to maintain a normal, well-adjusted life. Watch out for these signs, because they will indicate baggage you probably didn’t want to deal with anyway.
I wrote about this situation in my article about when it’s okay to play the long game, and the same advice applies here. Basically, any girl in this situation will say she will need to "take things slow." So you balance doing that but still making your intentions known that you’re interested in her romantically and sexually.
It’s a difficult feat, and depending on her trauma, probably not an easy needle to thread. So instead of focusing on how to prevent her from going cold, it’s probably just better to focus on what you can do when it inevitably does happen.
It May Not Be Your Fault, Not You’re Not Powerless
If you’ve read this article and thought, "Oh, she did talk about her ex a lot, she must not have been over him. So she probably went cold because of that and there was nothing I could do." That second sentence is wrong. The circumstances may have not been your fault, but if you went on a couple dates with her, you still had a window to build sufficient attraction to overcome things like her ex, or her busy work schedule. It’s not your fault she went cold, but it is your fault that you didn’t stop it from happening.
So I didn’t write nearly 2000 words about this to give you "closure," but to give you advice on how to avoid needing that closure to begin with. And even if you could be 100% sure of why she went cold, it doesn’t change the fact that she’s icy to your advances. Dwelling too much on what happened means you’re spending your mental energy on a girl who’s cold to you, when you could be using that same energy trying to find a new girl who will be hot.