Last Updated on April 6, 2022 by Alexander Burgemeester
He’s ignoring you. Now what? Should you press him further about what’s going on? Should you ignore him back and show him that you aren’t just waiting around for him to talk to you?
When a man ignores you, it’s typical to feel frustrated, confused, angry, or even insecure. These complex feelings may be even more intensified if you two seemed to share a solid connection.
As a result, you now might be second-guessing his intentions or wondering if you did something seriously wrong.
So, should you ignore a guy who ignores you? And does it hurt a guy if you ignore him? This guide will dive into everything you need to know. Let’s get to it!
What to Do When He Ignores You
When a guy ignores you, how should you respond? Is it worth playing games or giving him the cold shoulder? Should you just try to distract yourself and stop thinking about him for a couple of days?
If you’re not sure what to do next, you’re not alone! Dating behavior can be confusing, and guys aren’t always predictable or even sensical in how they communicate.
To complicate things, sometimes they enjoy the challenge and want to test your loyalty. Here are some considerations to keep in mind.
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Playing Games: The Ignoring Game Explained
Did you ever play the notorious blinking game as a kid? The rules were simple. You and another person (or people) competed to see who could go without blinking the longest. Maybe you really tried to win- you let your eyes hurt and water, and you focused diligently on not surrendering to the instinct of seeking comfort.
The ignoring game has a similar premise to that common childhood game. You and another person essentially compete to see how long you can go without talking. The person who gives into communicating first is the “loser.”
But unlike the blinking game, the ignoring game tends to be far more emotionally taxing. For example, there’s a good chance neither of you talked about starting the game. Nobody outlined the rules ahead of time. Instead, he just began ignoring you, and now you feel inclined to give him a taste of his own medicine.
The ignoring game, as you can see, can quickly become toxic and destructive. Even when you’re casually dating someone, it’s important to have a secure foundation with one another. You want to feel like you can trust him. You also want to believe that you can be honest and upfront in sharing your needs.
So, if you’re feeling anxious that he’s suddenly going to drop contact, that pattern puts you in a state of hypervigilance. It’s the very opposite of emotional intimacy. Instead of feeling in sync with one another, you’re on guard and trying to calculate his next move.
Finally, the ignoring game tends to maintain unhealthy relationship habits. Instead of working through discomfort, you opt for the silent treatment. You don’t come together to seek helpful solutions. You might try to “wait it out” and then pretend as nothing happened.
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16 Ways to Start Ignoring Him After He Ignores You
How do you ignore a guy who is ignoring you? Do you just continue pretending like he doesn’t exist?
Should you try to make him jealous by interacting with other guys? What if you want to know how to attract a man who ignores you? Here are 16 tips to keep in mind.
#1 Give it Some Time
Ignoring is relative. Has it been a few hours? Or a few days? And what does your normal communication style look like? For example, do you two typically text nonstop, or is your talking more sporadic and random?
If it hasn’t been that long, give it some time. He may be busy with something else. In addition, there’s very little benefit to acting prematurely if you can avoid it.
Of course, if it’s been longer than usual- or you sense that he’s intentionally avoiding you- it’s probably a sign that something else is going on. If that’s the case, you’ll need to decide how you want to react next.
#2 Reflect on the Why
It’s true that a guy might start ignoring you without a valid reason. But it’s also likely that something provoked his reaction.
It may be helpful to spend a few moments assessing what may have happened. For instance, did you two have a difficult conversation that potentially left him feeling uneasy? Is he in the middle of an important project at work or school? Is he traveling at the moment?
The “why” doesn’t necessarily exempt him from his behavior (or your feelings). But it can at least provide a working foundation as to how you interpret the problem and deal with it.
Moreover, it’s helpful to reflect on whether this is a one-time behavior or more of a consistent pattern. If it’s a single offense, it’s probably easier to discuss and come back from. But if it’s how he typically copes with relationship stress, that likely indicates more of a red flag.
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#3 Consider Your Feelings
Don’t just pretend like you aren’t affected by his behavior. Sure, you might want to be strong and unfazed, but you are inevitably a real person with real feelings.
So, think about how you feel right now. Are you hurt? Scared? Angry? Do you feel abandoned or rejected? Do you feel misunderstood? If you’re not entirely sure, consider meditating or journaling. These expressive activities can help you better process what’s going on.
Remember that none of your feelings are wrong or bad. They are natural impulses, and we all have them.
Being mindful of your feelings is important for recognizing your needs in a relationship. For instance, if you consistently feel lonely or disappointed with someone, what does that say about your connection with them? By staying together, do you anticipate that those feelings will only grow stronger?
It’s tempting to want to assume that your feelings are overactive or dramatic. But healthy, self-assured people stay connected to their inner experiences. Likewise, they seek fulfilling relationships with people who can validate these complex feelings.
#4 Keep Yourself Busy
Don’t center your life around him! If you do, you will be at the mercy of all his calls, text messages, and bids for connection. If you don’t have anything else happening in life, you will likely obsess over him ignoring you.
So, keep yourself busy. Spend time with your friends. Take on new assignments at work. Pursue your interests and passions.
And don’t just do these things to keep yourself distracted. Do them because they are crucial for your own self-care and well-being.
After all, it’s important to honor yourself and your needs. When you neglect taking care of yourself, you’re prone to codependent relationships and taking on the emotions of other people. That can create toxic patterns with men.
#5 Try Not to Blame Yourself
Unfortunately, it can be easy to assume it’s your fault when someone ignores you. If you already struggle with low self-esteem, you may believe you’re the sole problem in the dynamic.
Try to be conscious of this negative thinking trap. Even if you played a role in this behavior, it doesn’t mean it’s okay for someone to disrespect you. A mature, healthy man has enough dignity to tell you when your behavior upsets him. Likewise, he won’t just ghost you if he feels things are heading in a different direction.
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#6 Step Away From Your Phone
On average, people check their phones 344 times per day (or once every four minutes). Three-quarters of people feel anxious if they leave home without their phone.
That’s a lot of time spent interacting with technology. And while there’s nothing wrong with texting, using social media, or calling loved ones, you don’t want your phone to fuel obsessive behavior.
Instead, try to set limits. If you find yourself wanting to stalk him, put the phone in the other room. Commit to spending only a specific amount of time on certain social media platforms each day. In other words, avoid creating lose-lose situations where you feel like you need to constantly check his behavior or whereabouts.
#7 Turn Off Your Notifications
Breaking the phone habit can be hard, and this is true even if you have the best intentions. That said, it may be helpful to turn off social media or text notifications.
With this approach, you aren’t constantly responding to every ping or alert. Instead, you can respect your own limits and check things at appropriate intervals.
#8 Consider Temporarily Blocking Him
Blocking him can also help you focus on your own needs without feeling distracted by his behavior. If you can’t stop checking his social media, blocking is an excellent approach for setting a firm boundary for yourself.
However, you should also consider the potential consequences associated with blocking him. Once he realizes what you did, he may feel confused, nervous, jealous, or rejected. Even though it may be tempting to trigger those emotions in him (especially if you feel angry yourself), such manipulation isn’t healthy. It only reinforces using passive aggression as a way to express your needs.
Therefore, you should only block him if you really need a temporary break. Don’t just do it for a few hours to send a strong message. And don’t make it a consistent pattern!
#9 Avoid Asking Around
If you two share mutual friends, you may feel tempted to reach out and ask what’s going on. But fishing for insight may hurt you. You never know if they’re reporting back to him. You might also not know where their true loyalty lies.
So, instead, try to keep your personal business private. If you must vent, do so with neutral friends or family who don’t know him. That way, they won’t be tempted to spill the latest gossip to others- or to him directly.
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#10 Don’t Simmer With Anger
Yes, it’s important to acknowledge and validate your feelings. But you don’t want to get so wrapped up in them that you can’t think straight.
Keeping busy is one way to stay grounded. But it’s also important to try to be mindful of destructive thoughts.
For example, are you secretly hoping that something bad happens to him? Do you want him to feel as much pain as you do right now? While these dark desires may be typical, they don’t help you cope with the situation. Plotting revenge only tends to make you feel more obsessed.
Instead, try to root yourself with gratitude and positivity. Think about all the other good things happening in your life. Focus on the exciting events in the future. Integrating more mindfulness into your daily routine can help you cultivate this forward-thinking mindset.
He may be a part of your equation, but he shouldn’t be the whole story. If he is, it’s time to shift your priorities and focus your attention elsewhere.
#11 Stop Ignoring Him and Be Assertive
This technique means rising above his level and being the bigger and more responsible person.
If you want to see what’s going on, there’s nothing wrong with calling him out. Let him know that you know he’s ignoring you and that you don’t appreciate it. Ask him to explain himself and tell you what’s going on.
His response will be telling. If he denies ignoring you or acts like you’re overreacting, he’s probably gaslighting you. This kind of psychological abuse often keeps people feeling ashamed, confused, or doubtful. In a relationship, it gives the guy an upper hand for power and control.
If he acknowledges ignoring you and tells you what’s going on, you may have a clearer directive about what to do next. For example, you might decide to set boundaries about how you expect him to behave in the future. Or, you may tell him that his behavior invariably hurt you or made you question his intentions.
Regardless of the circumstances, assertiveness showcases confidence and self-respect. It tells him that you won’t tolerate this kind of pattern moving forward.
#12 Remind Yourself of What You Deserve
Positive affirmations can go a long way when it comes to dealing with a guy who ignores you. Try to spend some time reflecting on what you really want in a relationship. With that, think about how you deserve to be treated.
If a friend came to you in a similar situation, what would you tell them? Would you suggest they simply accept this behavior? Or would you encourage them to demand better in their relationships?
Try to treat yourself like your own best friend. If you wouldn’t recommend they condone this behavior, don’t change the standards for yourself!
#13 Let Him Go
This may not be your preferred solution, but it might be the necessary action you need to take. If a guy persistently ignores you (for whatever reason), it likely means he isn’t ready for a relationship with you. It also means he doesn’t really care about your feelings or needs.
So, if you’re looking for real commitment, you will need to walk away and search for that elsewhere. He just isn’t capable of providing that for you right now. The sooner you can accept that reality, the sooner you can move on and heal.
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#14 Pause Before Responding
A few days pass, and guess who reaches out? There he is, and he’s acting like everything is perfectly okay.
At first, upon seeing his message, you may experience tremendous relief, He isn’t gone, after all! He still wants to talk to you! Things look good, right? At least that’s what you keep trying to tell yourself.
But despite how you feel when this happens, try to pause and reflect before jumping back into a conversation with him. Why? You don’t want to enable his behavior and pretend like it didn’t affect you. You also don’t want to avoid an important conversation if that’s what needs to happen.
Instead, spend some time crafting your response. Think about what you really want to convey to him before you get back into the swing of things.
Some helpful responses might be:
- Hey stranger! Long time, no talk. What happened here?
- I’m a little confused as to why you haven’t talked to me in a few days. What’s up?
- I feel hurt that you’ve basically disappeared without warning.
- Can we talk about what’s going on? Do you want to talk on the phone or in person?
Remember that one of the worst reactions you can have is pretending as if nothing happened. Don’t act like your feelings don’t exist. Suppressing them will only make them stronger.
#15 Discuss Your Communication Patterns
Once you two start talking again, it’s important to review what happened. As mentioned, acting as if nothing went wrong isn’t helpful. Doing so only perpetuates toxic communication habits.
If you two are both dedicated to the relationship, it’s time for serious evaluation. How can you both share your feelings when you’re going through a challenging time? How can you come together when one (or both) of you feels the desire to withdraw?
Keep in mind that changing habits isn’t easy. This is especially true if either of you has experienced significant betrayal in the past. But if you’re committed to the relationship, you should be committed to growing and learning. Seeking individual or couples therapy can be a beneficial option if you two aren’t sure how to improve this situation.
#16 Don’t Assume You Need to Fix Everything
Maybe he ignored you for a completely legitimate reason. For example, you did something destructive, and he didn’t know how to handle it at the time. Or, he wanted to clearly convey that your action hurt him.
You’re a human, so you’re going to make mistakes. But relationships are a two-way street. If he’s always making it seem like you need to change or improve, it’s time to reevaluate the situation.
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Will Ignoring Him Make Him Want You?
Does ignoring a guy that ignores you trigger him to come back? Does it drive his interest and make him want you even more? It all depends on your relationship and his feelings and goals. However, here are some likely scenarios that could happen when you start ignoring him.
He Might Feel Guilty (And Reach Out)
It’s possible that you ignoring him makes him even more aware of his own childish behavior. As a result, he might feel guilty and try to reach out.
If that happens, it’s important to be honest about your feelings. How did his behavior affect you? And what do you want moving forward?
If you don’t tell him what’s on your mind, he won’t really know that his choices negatively impacted you. Therefore, he probably won’t think twice about doing it again.
He Might Pin It On You
Some guys just can’t take responsibility for their own actions. Instead, he might blame you for withdrawing or ignoring him. With that, he might insist that he didn’t do anything wrong.
Pay attention to this concerning response. When men can’t hold themselves accountable, that tends to be more of a universal trait. It means that he won’t reflect or try to act better in the future. Instead, he’ll just throw blame around whenever he deems it appropriate.
He Might Realize What He Really Wants
Some guys need space to discover what they really want with someone. If you two have suddenly gotten very close, he may back off instinctually. This “space” allows him to process what he intends to do next.
And by not talking to you, he may come to terms that he really wants you! You’ll know this if he suddenly reaches back out and apologizes for being distant or withdrawn.
He Might Not Care
This is the harshest outcome, but it’s an important one. Some guys just won’t care (or even really notice) if you ignore them back. This is the most common reaction when they’re out playing the field.
So, if you sense that he doesn’t mind that you’re ignoring him, it means he doesn’t really want you. He only cares about himself and having what he wants when he wants it. If that’s the situation, it’s probably best to walk away.
He Might Pretend Like It Never Happened
Have you ever been ghosted- only for the guy to act as if he did nothing wrong? Like it never even happened at all? When this happens, you can expect him to text you as if everything has been completely normal.
This is a concerning response. It shows that he isn’t taking personal responsibility for his role in communicating with you. It also shows that he doesn’t see anything wrong with disappearing for extended periods of time.
Try not to play this silly game with him. You absolutely should acknowledge that what he did was unacceptable. You also shouldn’t assume that it isn’t problematic (even if he thinks otherwise).
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Is Ignoring Ever Helpful in a Relationship?
Generally speaking, no. It usually isn’t helpful (or even effective) to ignore your partner.
In fact, research shows that stonewalling is one of the greatest predictors of divorce. Stonewalling happens when one person totally shuts down and withdraws from a conversation. They stop engaging altogether.
Stonewalling can then progress into silent treatment. It’s a way that someone copes with feeling emotionally flooded. But instead of turning to their partner for solutions or relief, they essentially punish the other person. This inevitably tends to make partners feel ashamed or guilty.
In addition, ignoring creates strange expectations and often maintains an unfair power differential. You may find yourself filtering what you do or say because you don’t want to upset him. Or, you might feel anxious when you don’t hear from him for a while because you assume he’s simply ignoring you again.
Regardless of the specific circumstances, ignoring doesn’t encourage people to come together. Instead, it reinforces the notion that you’re both operating independently and without the appropriate comfort and guidance from one another.
Should I text him back after he ignored me? Why does he keep doing this to me? Am I doing something wrong here? What do I need to change to make things better?
It isn’t always intuitive to know what to do when he ignores you. Furthermore, the answers aren’t necessarily straightforward. We’re all complex beings, and dating comes with many unspoken rules and uncertainties.
But it is important to remember that continuous ignoring isn’t healthy. Instead, it’s likely a sign of emotional immaturity, narcissism, or other exploitative behavior. None of these possibilities tend to make for meaningful relationships.
If a guy genuinely cares about you, he won’t resort to these behaviors when interacting with you. Instead, he’ll be upfront and assertive about how he feels. Likewise, he’ll probably expect the same treatment from you.
So, be careful about committing to someone who believes this behavior is acceptable. You deserve a mature and healthy relationship. If he can’t respect communicating with you, there are probably even more red flags lurking elsewhere.
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