“It is necessary, and even vital, to set standards for your life and the people you allow in it.”
~ Mandy Hale
Physical Intimacy can bring up a range of emotions.
The meaning behind physical intimacy may be interpreted differently by the two individuals who are engaging in the same experience. Therefore, when we choose to be vulnerable and give ourselves physically and sexually to someone, we oftentimes have expectations of what the morning/days after will look like.
Frequently those expectations go unexpressed beforehand.
This can sometimes lead to a hurtful or painful outcome. An example of that is when a man has stopped texting you after being physically intimate. The connection quickly turns from what may have been an exciting and intimate encounter into a confusing, distant and lonely experience.
You may be left with thoughts and questions ruminating and swirling around in your head as you wonder why you have been “ghosted.” It can bring up fear, anxiety, and chip away at your self-esteem. So where do you go from here?
Here are a few things you need to remember…
No one deserves to be treated that way.
When there is an intimate encounter and then no follow up communication afterward, it is deemed adolescent, disrespectful and unkind behavior. This type of behavior is usually displayed by a person who is emotionally and psychologically unavailable.
They may be so engrossed in themselves that they do not realize the amount of harm they are causing others and this behavior should not be condoned.
You are “good enough” despite the messages you are telling yourself.
If you have experienced being ghosted, you may question whether or not you are good enough for this person, what you may have done wrong to deserve this type of behavior, or you may look down on yourself for making the decision to go ahead with the intimate encounter.
Know that you cannot control how others act or sometimes even fully understand why one would be so cruel.
Do not allow the negative behaviors of another to impact how you feel about yourself. Take some time to confide in a close friend in order to process the myriad of emotions you are feeling.
Carve out time to nurture yourself and celebrate who you are and the gifts you have to give to the right person.
Think about what you would do differently next time.
This is a perfect time for self-reflection. Journal about the experience leading up to the encounter and identify any red flags that may have appeared and perhaps been overlooked or ignored.
- Was this person overly charming and moving too fast in wanting physical intimacy?
- If this type of situation were to present itself again, what are some warning signs and what would you do differently in order to avoid and repeat the pattern?
In the end, you may discover from your self-reflection that having a secure friendship is something you would like to form as a building block for the relationship prior to engaging in physical intimacy.
Normajean Cefarelli, PhD, LMFT – www.balancewithinllc.com
Ugh- this is a huge bummer. The dating world can be hard, terrifying, confusing, and absolutely heartbreaking.
Whatever emotions you are experiencing right now are absolutely valid. And, however long it takes you to feel grounded is valid as well.
Depending on how you felt about this person and the amount of interaction you had prior to sleeping together, you may feel angry and hurt for quite some time. That is okay! It means you’re human.
If you are wondering what to do next, spending time doing self-care is a good place to start.
This may look like binging your favorite series, spending time with people who support you, or doing something active like going for a walk or getting crafty and creating something new.
Whatever you choose to do, the most important part is that you check in with yourself afterwards. If you are feeling better and more grounded, good! If not, take some time to find something else to do for self-care that is more fulfilling.
Once you are feeling more at peace, take some time to reflect on what happened.
- Were there any gut instincts that told you this person was not going to stick around?
- Was there anything about you that felt hesitant to sleep together?
While the signs may not always be there, if you did have reservations it is worth exploring what made you skim over those.
Additionally, be introspective!
Was there anything that this experience brought up for you, like feelings of inadequacy or abandonment? Ask yourself if these feelings relate back to anything else you have been through before. This might show you an area that you deserve to heal from. And, if there is not any feedback, chalk it up to a bad experience and put yourself back out there if and when you are ready. One person does not dictate your worth, nor will this be the same experience you have with everyone!
Samantha Ricard, MS, MFTC – www.ricardcounseling.com
Let’s face it, no one likes to be rejected, even in today’s world where sex is sometimes treated casually. Even in the case of a casual hook-up it hurts to be left, left-out, especially with no feedback as to why or even a polite good-bye.
There are two main parts to how to deal with this issue.
The first is to find ways to avoid this kind of situation, and second, how to emotionally handle this new form of rejection if it does happen.
“Ghosting” is a new phenomenon compliments of a social media obsessed, connected but not really connected culture. This is mostly something experienced by younger generations but, of course can occur at any dating age.
Today total anonymity is possible in a tech/social networking world.
But the human body has not changed and neither have basic components to human relationships. Sex is a biological as well as emotional, social, even spiritual aspect of the human existence. So, it is essential for each person to assess just what sex means to them.
Self-acceptance and self-respect are necessary first and foremost.
This is often a lifelong quest for many but seeking this by giving-in to another’s desires or wishes at the expense of one’s own values or desires will only make this journey more difficult to achieve.
To prevent the experience of being blindly rejected it is first necessary to have sex with the right person, in the right frame of mind (not impaired by alcohol/drugs and fully aware) and taking personal responsibility.
Totally blaming someone else removes your own sense of power.
Even if there has been communication in advance of sex (not always possible in the heat of a moment) there can be completely different agendas at play.
So, what to do when left after an encounter and no follow-up, no closure, nothing?
First, cry, get angry, be sad.
Talk to a friend who can soothe but also provide valuable feedback. Cyber stalking the ghoster won’t help and will only prolong your own healing so learn and move on.
Use this as a learning experience, not about the other person but yourself.
- Were there signs?
- Did you clearly communicate you wanted more than a one-off hook-up?
- Did you expect the sexual partner to read your mind?
Males and females do communicate and view sex differently but there are books, therapy, and resources to help improve chances for a healthy future.
Linda M. Rio, M.A., MFT – www.lindamrio.com
If he has stopped texting you after you slept together, this is a very bad sign.
It could very well mean that he is losing interest, or never had that much to begin with. Either way, don’t chase him!
It is extremely painful for women when this happens, and it’s better to see the truth early on and go on with your life than to chase someone who is not that interested in you. It is doubtful that he is simply playing games to increase your interest. If someone does not seem interested, they aren’t.
Try not to torture yourself trying to figure out the reason why.
You will never know whether you did something to turn him off or whether he was simply a player or unavailable to begin with. Either way, it’s not a match for you, and you need to spend your time and energy on things that are constructive for your life. Trying to figure out other peoples’ behavior is a waste of your time.
If you slept with him quickly, learn from the experience and take your time and really get to know someone before you sleep with them next time.
You will never never regret what you didn’t do, but you might regret what you did. Either way, take the teaching, learn, hold your head up high, and keep moving forward. It is an abundant universe and there are many other people out there. Invest in people who want you.
Anita Gadhia-Smith, PsyD, LCSW-C, LICSW – www.drgadhiasmith.com
To have someone ghost you after you’ve been physically intimate can feel degrading and you’re left with unanswered questions. You are 100% not alone and every question you have is completely normal when this situation happens.
Here are some of the questions you might have:
- Why did he do this to me?
This is perhaps the hardest question to answer, though I will say this: if you met this guy on a dating app, there are unfortunately a large percentage of dating app users who are just looking for hook-ups. It is also fairly common, regardless of how you met him, that he might have an avoidant attachment style.
Men who have an avoidant attachment style tend to be comfortable with the physical side of a relationship but not so comfortable with the emotional side.
If he was showing you physical affection/interest, you may have thought this would naturally lead to him feeling emotionally interested in you as well. However, if he has an avoidant attachment style, he likely was not actually looking for or ready for the commitment of a relationship.
- Why didn’t I see this coming?
Well, they say love is blind. When we start to feel interested in someone, we see their good qualities far more than their flaws. In some cases, there are signs early on that he might have just been looking for a hook-up.
If physical affection entered your relationship very early or if he wanted to sext you more than just text you, these might have been indicators of what he was prioritizing.
On the other hand, there are some guys who say and do ALL the right things and there’s no way that ANYONE could see it coming that they were only interested in sex. Some men do this A LOT and they are good at knowing what to say.
Ultimately, try to let yourself off the hook here. Whether there were clear signs or not, you are not at fault for his actions.
- How can I prevent this from happening again?
Even though there is no fool-proof way to guarantee this won’t happen again, there are some things you can do to decrease the likelihood of history repeating.
First, spend some time together without any physical affection (at least one date!).
If you’ve never met before, get to know him as a person before you become physical. However, you don’t have to be a nun so the second thing I recommend is that when you are feeling ready to become physical, talk about what this means to both of you.
Talk about what ways you like being physically intimate and what things you don’t like. Only then do you move on to becoming physical!
If someone has an avoidant attachment style, they won’t feel comfortable talking about this and if they are looking for a hook-up, they won’t wait to around to see what happens. This approach can weed some men out and leave the quality ones behind.
Michelle Henderson, MA, LMHC – www.nextchapter-counseling.com
You have a great time with a guy, decide to have sex and then you don’t hear from him again. Why? What could have happened? What can you do?
First, decide if this is a relationship that you are interested in cultivating.
If not, then move on and don’t look back. If it is someone that you enjoy, someone you saw a few times and want to know what they are thinking or how they feel, there is nothing wrong with picking up a phone and calling.
Get away from the texting and get back to good ole communication.
Don’t automatically assume they aren’t interested because you haven’t heard from them as you never know what is going on in someone’s life. Check in with a text, give them a call and then leave the ball in their court.
When texting or calling, don’t be defensive and ask why they aren’t texting you but check in with a lighthearted attitude and say something to the effect of,
“Just checking in since I haven’t heard from you in awhile. Hope all is well, had a great time the other night and just wanted to say Hi. Hope to hear from you soon.”
This way you are letting them know you are still interested, not assuming they are blowing you off just in case something is going on out of their control.
You don’t want to look needy or rude and this way you open the door for them to get back in touch and they would appreciate you if they are in fact, going through something.
If at that point you still don’t hear from them, the worse thing that you can do is keep calling and being pushy and annoying. You want them to know you are a strong, independent woman who deserves respect and you aren’t waiting around to get it.
If nothing after that last call or text then you can assume they aren’t interested.
If you feel you want to analyze the situation, don’t spend a lot of time trying to figure out what happened. See if there was something you could have done differently or if you just didn’t connect in the bedroom and think of the reason you got together in the first place. Was it meant to be casual or were they serious about finding a partner?
It may give you some insight for the next connection you find.
Move on after that and don’t let their lack of interest keep you from finding what you are looking for. The men that don’t stick around do so in order for you to find the one that will.
Stacy Friedman, DHS, CSC – www.drstacyfriedman.com
Women will often ask how to handle this situation. Things were going well with a guy they are dating, and they decide to be intimate but then he stops texting after. I know this can leave you feeling confused, hurt, or angry.
One of the biggest mistakes you can make is to jump to conclusions or start pursuing him at this point.
The best thing you can do is to give it some time. It is ok to reach out once and nicely acknowledge that you have not heard from him and ask if everything is ok. Then as hard as it may be, waiting is your best option.
Let’s talk for a minute about why this happens and how you might avoid this situation in the future.
One possible reason he pulled away after sex is that he was feeling closer to you.
Yes, I know this sounds crazy, but it is not unusual for men to withdraw for a short time when they realize they are having strong feelings for a woman.
He needs time to process these feelings and then will be back in touch and ready to move forward.
It is always in your best interest to give him this time.
If all he wanted was a one-night stand, he will not come back letting you know how he feels. Then you can be happy you found out he was not the kind of you guy you want to date anyway and move on! But if all he needed was a little time to process, you are now ready to move forward in exploring this new relationship.
How can you avoid being ghosted in the first place by men who are not serious?
No one likes being ghosted and especially after an intimate encounter. Waiting a little longer to become intimate can lessen the chances of this happening.
Here are a few things to consider before having sex for the first time.
- Have you been dating long enough to see their faults and still like them? It will take time to really get to know someone new, but you want to give it time to see them as a whole person, not just their perfect potential.
- Have you had a discussion yet about your goal for dating? Have you talked about your vision of a future with a partner? Do your visions match?
- Have you talked about what having sex means to the relationship? The general rule is that if you cannot talk about sex, you should not be having sex. Make sure you talk about your expectations. It is important to discuss this and come to an agreement before moving forward.
- Are you emotionally ready? Do you feel ready to move the relationship forward to the next level?
By moving a little slower, you know where you stand in the relationship and are taking that next step into intimacy together knowing what that means to the relationship.
Lori Ann Davis, MA, CRS, CRC — www.lorianndavis.com
First of all, I call texting “fake communication” and of course it has become the favorite way of communicating for so many people.
Texting should be reserved to communicate time changes, meeting changes, etc., and it should NEVER be used to have a deep conversation with someone.
We humans have the ability to connect at a very deep level and this will NEVER happen via text.
The way that will bring Harmony and oneness and true connection with our partners, is what I call choosing the action of FINESSE in relationships.
Finesse can be defined as:
“An Intricate and refined delicacy” or “An artful subtlety typically that is needed for tactful handling of a difficulty”.
Is this not a wonderful definition? And I am going to suggest how you may discover this “artful subtlety”.
Mark Nepo is his book, FINDING INNER COURAGE, pg, 214 explains this “artful subtlety” in the following way:
“Each time I muster the fortitude to face a truth about life, about myself, about the messy complexity of relationships I live in; it enables me to stand more soundly and clearly by my core.
In turn, each time I inch closer to my core, my ability to see and face things in the world deepens, strengthens, and clarifies. And, so on. This dynamic is how we know where we stand and what is possible between us. This is where the life of courage leads.”
This artful subtlety is about connecting to the Truth of who we are and then standing from this core of truth.
This inner core of truth is the only reality we can have. If we are connected here, we know our feelings, and our thoughts, our perceptions and needs. We know our passions, our dreams and our bottom lines.
When we are connected at this level, we are empowered to say “yes” to that which resonates with our core, our true self, and “no” to that which does not resonate.
When we are connected at this level, we do not need to “fight it out”, we can simply stand in our truth and say what works and what does not. The art of Finesse, does mean that we are willing to SAY, what we think, feel or believe. But we speak respectfully and from our own truth and we invite the other to do likewise.
Therefore, I would suggest that if someone is hoping to have a deeper relationship with someone, stop texting, and have face to face communication, and speak from your core and ask the other to do so as well.
In this scenario, I would suggest the woman ask for a face to face dialogue with this man and state her feelings, thoughts and perceptions and ask the man to do the same.
Suzanne Carter, MA, LPC – www.unitywholenesscenter.com
I’ve often counseled women to take it slowly before they become physically intimate.
This isn’t out of any moral qualms about sexual behavior. Everyone has the right to decide if, when, and with whom to have sex. However, for most women, sexual intimacy isn’t casual. It often changes the nature of the relationship.
Women and some men experience a deeper connection with their partner and are therefore more vulnerable if the relationship doesn’t work out. Obviously then, it’s a good idea to have some idea of what the potential for the relationship is before having sex.
In the beginning of a relationship, both partners may be feeling a lot of erotic energy.
That intense attraction is often what gets the relationship started. Unfortunately, there can also be a lot of pressure, mostly on women, to have sex early; a woman may be afraid that the man will dump her if she doesn’t want to have sex.
This man is telling you something: He isn’t looking for much more than a casual sexual encounter. If that’s what you want too then go for it, but don’t be surprised if you don’t hear from him again.
In any relationship you have to know what you’re looking for and be clear about it.
Sex should feel right not just physically, but emotionally as well. Usually that takes some time. At the very least you want to know if you are both looking for the same thing.
There is no guarantee that the relationship will work out in the long run but taking it slowly will help you feel more in control and less vulnerable if it doesn’t.
Never have sex because somebody else wants it. Have sex when and if it’s the right time for you.
Sally LeBoy, MFT – www.sallyleboymft.com
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