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I (male) contacted a woman (19 years old) through an online dating service. We have been exchanging messages for three weeks now. She lives not far across the border in a neighboring country, but because of travelling restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic we don't know when we will be able to meet in person. We have not yet spoken on the phone or made a video call, but we have written about our current lives, our interests and views, what we expect from a relationship, and how we would like to live our everyday lives with our future partners. We seem to agree on all relevant points. She has expressed that she finds me attractive and that for her we seem like a good fit. She has also sent me an emoji of a blushing smiling face with three hearts (🥰) a few times.

So everything seems fine, but what disturbs me is that she rarely asks or tells anything of her own accord. She replies to all my questions, but briefly, usually with just a few words. And she's rarely online for longer than a few minutes, although she explained that she spends many evenings alone at home cooking, reading, or watching tv.

I am not used to communicating in such a way, and it makes her appear disinterested. In fact, I am wondering whether she has received correspondence from many suitors and is now writing with several of them, unable or unwilling to emotionally engage with a single one.

It could also be that our styles of communication differ or how we approach dating. Maybe I'm already much more emotionally involved than she is. I do know that I'm a person who falls in love easily, and maybe she isn't. Or maybe she's just not the writing type. Which could mean that she will be uncommunicative in a relationship as well. And since I'm a very communicative person who needs verbal intimacy in a relationship, her behavior now might be a warning sign to me that despite our mutual attraction we just don't fit.

Given the circumstances, what is the best way to find out what is going on?


To briefly summarize what's at stake for me:

  1. If she likes to talk less than I do, I will be unhappy in a relationship with her.
  2. If she is dating several men at once, I don't want to make an emotional investment at a time when she is not yet ready to do so.
  3. If the circumstances are at fault (e.g. she has less time than I have), then everything is fine and I can proceed.
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    Why haven't you called or done a video chat?
    – DaveG
    Nov 20, 2021 at 3:50
  • @OldPadawan I have edited that part. Thank you.
    – user35167
    Nov 20, 2021 at 7:23
  • @DaveG If you think speaking over the telephone would somehow provide me with the information I seek, please elaborate in an answer. If you do, please consider that the difficulties I experience (no proactive communication, curt answers, no time to talk) might persist via telephone. My question would then remain, how I could find out what was going on.
    – user35167
    Nov 20, 2021 at 7:28
  • In your post you said "We have not yet spoken on the phone or made a video call", so obviously you view that as the next logical step, which makes sense. Why hasn't this happened?
    – DaveG
    Nov 20, 2021 at 13:56
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    @user35167 Being attached to an outcome is the cause of suffering. Don't put this person you don't even know on a pedestal. She's just another human in the world like you and I are. We are all the same. If she is interested in connecting with you (or anyone) she will demonstrate interest. If she is unwilling to demonstrate to you that she is interested by staying online to communicate with you longer while she is home watching TV, then she must not be interested, and there is nothing to lose and nothing to be worrying or hoping for. Look forward to meeting the person who IS interested. Nov 28, 2021 at 2:31

2 Answers 2

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Some general advice that works well for me in a variety of situations, and appears to fit here as well: instead of asking "please tell me why you are not X-ing", especially why someone is not spontaneously X-ing, try inviting them to X.

  • I really enjoy our communication. I wish these times would last longer. Can we set aside some time like a date, where we text back and forth about these same sort of things, but each of us just focused on that for half an hour or so?
  • I love learning more about you. I'd love to talk about [specific thing] more. I know you might be doing something else right now; can we set up a voice chat for some time soon where we can have a conversation without being slowed by typing?

Be careful though. Don't be asking for her deep dark secrets or otherwise acting like you have a closer relationship than you do yet. Tell her what you want instead of asking her why she isn't giving you what you want.

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Regarding your questions:

  1. If she likes to talk less than I do, I will be unhappy in a relationship with her.
    Only talking you're going to realize how is her talking. You're not going to know that only by chat. If you are a communicative person, then behave like one, show her who you truly are.

  2. If she is dating several men at once, I don't want to make an emotional investment at a time when she is not yet ready to do so.
    You're not going to get this information. Is better to assume that she is dating other men (there are more men than women in dating apps) or having several chats because she is bored due to covid restrictions (yes, covid increased online dating). I remember a statistics of Tinder like apps that said something like "top 80% of women compete for the top 20% of men, the other 80% of men compete for the other 20% of women".

Human communication is 80% non-verbal and only 20% verbal. The chat covers only that 20% of communication (emojis were invented to improve communication in chats). That's why you have uncertainty, because you lack basic information. Hence, I'm sorry, you must improve communication using other channels beyond chat.

If you feel (your gut is smart, listen to your gut) that she is disinterested, then probably she is disinterested. This means you did not make a great impression on her as you think, and that's why you feel that she might have other men for dating.

Some apps include voice messages, let her listen to your voice. A short phone call will be useful as well. The phone call does not need to be a deep conversation, instead try something fun and irrelevant, in order to test her will to talk while not pressing her into the relationship: "Hi. I'm trying the cookies recipe you gave me the other day, the dough is in my hands so I can't write. Help! Could you please remind me next steps?". That trick will force her to talk, to show whether she has time for you, and finally, whether she cares about you.

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