Sex & Relationships

How To Relax When Your Crush Hasn’t Texted You Back

“It’s a lot easier for our brain to come up with the worst possible scenario first,” says a relationship expert.

Relationship experts share tips for how to stop waiting for him to text.
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In the early stages of a relationship, it may feel like romance only happens on your phone, via right swipes, snapchat streaks, and texting conversations. The latter is perhaps the most personal method of ways to flirt virtually, phone calls aside, which is why it’s also the most daunting when questions arise. Why haven’t they responded? Am I acting too eager? And, crucially, how do I stop waiting for a text?

“What it really boils down to is that all humans are constantly looking for connection and validation. Text messages provide an instant form of that,” says Tatyana Dyachenko, a sex and relationship expert for the online sex shop Peaches and Screams. “We forget that we hold power within us and search for outside validation in the form of a mate.”

Dyachenko’s comment echoes a 2014 study, published in the journal Computers in Human Behavior, which found that texting influences our self esteem more than face-to-face or phone communication. According to Chicago therapist Anita A. Chlipala, she’s seen this play out in therapy sessions. "My clients have reported hurt feelings because their partners didn’t respond to a text, but they could see their social media posts,” she tells Bustle. “So they wondered, 'If you had time to post on social media, why are you not responding to my text? He obviously doesn’t care.' This kind of expectation inevitably leads to hurt."

In honor to level-set these expectations, Bustle spoke to four relationship experts about texting protocol and how to mitigate anxiety around lapses in your texting conversation. They recommend reminding yourself of the following facts.

1

“They’re A Busy Human.”

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If you’re a busy person with rapidly declining calendar availability, your partner is likely similar. And especially during the early stages of dating, you’re likely not their sole priority. They have a career and friendships to balance. “Try to remove the pressure from [texting],” says Katie Lasson, a sexologist and relationship advisor for Peaches and Screams. “Understand it won't be the end of the world if your crush doesn't text you back in the first five minutes.”

2

“It’s OK If They’re Not Super Into Me Yet.”

Admitting this to yourself can remove any pressure you’ve placed on a burgeoning relationship, says Los Angeles counselor Gary Brown. Just because they’re not head over heels yet doesn’t mean they won’t grow into those feelings. Give the relationship time to mature. "It is vital to give yourselves some time to see what the potential of your relationship may look like,” Brown says. “Give this some time, unless they have a clear pattern of not responding to you."

3

“It’s Monday.”

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Many people will reserve the first few days of a week to catch up on work and home life. If your crush doesn’t initiate conversation on Monday, they might be waiting until their work life settles down to make plans. Some people also just prefer flying by the seat of their pants. In 2016, researchers at Washington University in St. Louis found that, for some people, scheduling time to socialize can make the activity feel like a burden, rather than a source of fun.

Try to avoid negative self-talk and let the week progress. “We’re all human, and as a ‘breed’ we tend to think of negative consequences first,” Lasson says. “It’s a lot easier for our brain to come up with the worst possible scenario first.”

4

“Not Everyone Is Glued To Their Phone.”

In 2016, the research firm Dscout released a study that found Americans touch their phones an average of 2,617 times per day. I’m willing to bet that number skyrockets when we’re waiting for someone we like to text us back. But just because you feel glued to your phone doesn’t mean your crush does, and having different relationships with technology isn’t a deal-breaker.

With that being said, a 2018 survey from Pace University found that adults between the ages of 18 and 29 reported greater relationship satisfaction if their texting habits were similar to their partners.

5

“I Am Not A Mind Reader.”

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One of the least helpful things you can do is try to decode what your crush is thinking, especially if your mind is set on a self-destructive route. “Our minds are incredibly powerful and we regularly let our thoughts overrun us,” Dyachenko says. “Our brains don’t know the difference between a thought and reality, so we start to imagine made-up scenarios in our head. Our brain then begins to think those thoughts are real. This is called suspense anxiety.”

6

“I Deserve Great Communication.”

When presenting the findings of the Pace University study mentioned above, professor Leora Trub said, “How couples texted was more important to the satisfaction of the relationship than how frequently they texted.” Try that one on for size: It’s less about the speed of their response, and more about the content of it. So up your standards. You deserve more than a “wuts up” or “hbu” every five minutes. Try to feel comfortable holding out for a more meaningful message.

7

“It’s Time To Go Outside.”

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Take a cue from the days of landlines, and go do something else. Go for a run. Head to the garden. Hell, start a garden. Put your phone out of sight — and out of mind — for a while. "Sitting around waiting for them to text you is not the best way to spend your time," Brown says. "Continue to engage in activities that bring you pleasure, rather than waiting."

Dyachenko agrees. “We need to learn to work on ourselves more, rather than searching for someone else to make us whole.”

Experts:

​​Tatyana Dyachenko, sex and relationship expert at Peaches and Screams

Anita A. Chlipala, marriage and family therapist and founder of Relationship Reality 312

Katie Lasson, sexologist and relationship advisor for Peaches and Screams

Gary Brown, Ph.D., LMFT, FAPA, counselor