[Two Pronged] He no longer messages first – what does that mean?

[Two Pronged] He no longer messages first – what does that mean?
'Should I continue not messaging him first, or should I go ahead and continue being sweet to him even if he no longer initiates?'


 Rappler’s Life and Style section runs an advice column by couple Jeremy Baer and clinical psychologist Dr Margarita Holmes.

Jeremy has a master’s degree in law from Oxford University. A banker of 37 years who worked in 3 continents, he has been training with Dr Holmes for the last 10 years as co-lecturer and, occasionally, as co-therapist, especially with clients whose financial concerns intrude into their daily lives

Together, they have written two books: Love Triangles: Understanding the Macho-Mistress Mentality and Imported Love: Filipino-Foreign Liaisons.

Dear Dr Holmes and Mr Baer, 

I met a European guy online (I’m Filipina) through a professional site. He reached out to me, introduced himself and said he wanted to get to know me. We have known each other for more than a month now. At first, I was just answering his questions (if I had a family, what my hobbies were, etc.) I was sort of going with the flow.

When we moved our conversations to a free messaging service, he cancelled his profile on the professional site (not sure of the reason why he did that). He’s divorced with three young children, while I am single without children.

Normally, I wouldn’t give a chance to a divorced man, even more so to someone who’s already a father because I thought it would be complicated. However, as our conversations continued, I realized I enjoyed talking to him, and I really liked his honesty.

He is also very romantic. I realized that I am already falling in love with him, something that surprised my friends, since I am the type of woman who does not fall in love easily. We have been chatting regularly but then lately I realized that it was mostly me who initiated the conversations, but he always replies almost immediately whenever I message him, and he is always very sweet.

He sends me at-the-moment pictures of himself while at work or at home, but I only sent him a picture of myself once (aside from my profile pictures that he already had).

I am wondering if the reason why he no longer initiates our conversations is because he is already confident that I will always be the one to initiate, or has he already lost his interest in me?

Right now, I am refraining myself from messaging him any further because I want to make sure that he misses me too. 

My question is, should I continue not messaging him first, or should I go ahead and continue being sweet to him even if he no longer initiates?



Dear Emma,

First, the standard caveat. While your friend may indeed be a European professional of impeccable standing with three adorable children and a bulletproof divorce decree, the internet permits him to disguise the fact that he is possibly someone entirely different.

Second, you have known each other for a month, not very long in the greater scheme of things, and yet his behavior has already changed from wanting to get to know you and initiating conversations between you to being purely reactive.

This is not a good sign.

Third, you say that you would normally avoid a divorced man yet clearly you have not done so here. You need to ask yourself why you departed from your norm in this case and then decide whether in the light of developments those reasons still stand up to scrutiny.

Finally, and most importantly, what is it that you truly want to achieve in this relationship? A pleasant friendship with an intelligent man across the internet, the possibility of marriage to a man with three kids? Or something else that your message has not hinted at?

One month is not really long enough to know how a long term relationship will turn out but it is certainly long enough to recognize any danger signs.

Best of luck,

JAF Baer

Dear Emma,

Thank you very much for your letter. It sounds like your internet friend (let’s call him Erik) reeled you in with what seemed like a keen interest in you, regular chats, and apparent honesty.

Notwithstanding Mr Baer’s warning that the internet can be a magnet for scam artists, it is just as possible that Erik is who he says he is. After all, he did not literally describe himself as the most considerate, the most thoughtful, or the best communicator in the world, so he could well be telling the truth. Any “untruth” would be merely by omission.

Thus, to avoid any miscommunication or misunderstanding due to omissions, why not ask him the questions you asked us about why he not longer initiates conversations like he used to?

That way you give him a chance to answer you directly. If he does not do so OR if he refuses to answer, then you might consider not having anything else to do with him. If he wants you to do all the running this early in the game, then it is best you stop playing with him and make yourself available (if you want to) to other men from the same professional site.

I totally agree with Mr Baer’s observations and suggestions, but the one that particularly stands out is his caveat regarding Erik’s behavior, describing it as “not a good sign” and also a “danger sign.”

Another term for these descriptions is red flags. This reminds me of a saying from Word Porn: “As we gain confidence in ourselves, red flags are no longer red flags. They become deal breakers.”

All the best,

MG Holmes

– Rappler.com

Need advice from our Two Pronged duo? Email twopronged@rappler.com with subject heading TWO PRONGED. Unfortunately, the volume of correspondence precludes a personal response.

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