A woman sits on her own at a restaurant table, looking exasperated

Four real reasons why dates disappear

by Eharmony Editorial Team - April 28, 2010

You can have the greatest first date ever, but then they drop off the face of the earth. Here are four reasons why...

It’s something many of us on the dating scene have encountered – the ideal first date, followed by…nothing. Not a word. They’re punctual, take you to a great restaurant, you have sparkling conversation and then after saying goodnight, they disappear off the face of the earth. But why?

This is something that happens all too often it would seem, and the hardest part is that there’s apparently no reason. It’s much more understandable if the date goes badly, or if you simply don’t like them.  Here are four reasons why your date may have disappeared – and why you need to stop beating yourself up about it.

1.    They’re emotionally immature

Most people have emotional issues and baggage but everyone still wants to appear as ‘normal’ and happy to the outside world as possible. Think about it – often meeting someone you like is much harder (and more pressured) than spending the evening with someone you’re not bothered about. Your date may have had a wonderful time, and told you so, but as soon as they’re alone in their flat the niggling doubts start.  What if she didn’t like me as much? What if he’s seeing other people? And in the end, they decide that it’s not worth the hassle or the heartache to get involved.

Why your date doesn’t just tell you this is a whole different story – and one you can probably figure out for yourself.

2.    They like you too much to mess you around

Some people are players. A few years ago, this article would have been written solely about men, but these days we have to acknowledge that women are game players too. Players date lots of people at the same time, and manage to make them all fall for them. They’re not necessarily terrible people, they just don’t want to settle down yet with a husband/wife and children.

The player tends to prefer a date who gets what their game is; otherwise it all gets a bit messy. If you’ve spent the evening with a surprisingly charming, attractive date who promptly disappeared, then chances are that you met a player. He or she disappeared because they like you too much and realised it would be unfair to subject you to their shallow charms.

3.    They faked it

Faking it is surprisingly easy. Serial daters often have an idea in their head of the kind of person they’re looking for. If you don’t fit that pigeonhole then mentally they will say, ‘S/he’s just not [insert adjective] enough’ and try just to have a good time, finishing the date with minimal drama.

Yes, they could be rude or obnoxious, but they know that’s not going to get him anything but grief. It’s not that your date is faking enjoying your company per se: they’re faking that they wants to see you again. Not that that’s much of a consolation, but bear in mind that if this is how they are on your first date it’s unlikely you’ll want them around for much longer anyway

And as for why your date doesn’t call and tell you this – see point number one.

4.    They like you, but not enough

We don’t go on dates to make nice friends. We go on dates in the hope that we’ll find an emotional and sexual connection with someone. If you and your date manage to have a nice conversation and hold hands at the end of the date, that doesn’t really relate much to the emotional and sexual connection we’re talking about. It may take a couple of dates to work out there’s no real connection, despite the fact that you have a good time. In this case, you really are just subject to what your date thinks constitutes two people having a future.

The crux is that if a date disappears on you, it’s often a blessing in disguise. Most of the time you’re having a lucky escape from someone who would do you no good in the long term. It may not feel like that at the time, but you just need to get back on the horse and get out on another date.

And one final thing…

We know these reasons are all well and good, but they’ll still be prompting some of you to ask why your date couldn’t just have had the courtesy to call you and explain. How much of an explanation you’re entitled to really depends on how long you’ve been dating. Two years down the line and you deserve a personal explanation. One dinner date, and really you can’t expect anything. If you’re unsure, here’s the rule of thumb for this etiquette:

1-3 dates: Nothing
4-7 dates: Email or phone call
7 dates or more: Face to face