7 Real Reasons Men Ignore Women & Potential Partners

Hint: He might not actually be ghosting you at all. Get some insight into common scenarios.

Updated December 13, 2023
Young man talking on cell phone while gesturing to his date to stop talking

If you've been waiting for a text from a guy or wondering why he doesn't seem to pay as much attention to you as you'd like, know this is a totally legit feeling. It's natural to wonder why men ignore women (or other men or non-binary partners), but a lot of this comes down to how society expects people who identify as men to behave and how we perceive their behavior. In other words, it's not your imagination, but it's also not necessarily that he's ignoring you.

Men sometimes get a bad reputation in the dating world for being too laid back about relationships and feelings. This kind of attitude can make it seem like a guy is ignoring a partner even if he isn't. While avoiding or not replying to your messages and advances might seem like a jerk move, there are many reasons why it might be happening.

Ghosting Isn't Related to Gender

First off, if you've been ghosted, we're sorry. It's a horrible feeling when someone just stops responding to your texts, calls, and DMs and basically disappears. But what's interesting is that ghosting isn't actually more likely among men than it is among women.

Woman waiting for text message

According to a study by the PEW Research Center, 30% of women have been ghosted, but so have 29% of men. Now, we get that this is more about who is being ghosted than who is doing the ghosting, but it's definitely something that isn't limited to one gender.

Need to Know

Why do people ghost each other? The reason may be different for everyone who does it, but it's likely a form of conflict avoidance. By not responding and just fading into the ether, the ghoster never has to have that uncomfortable conversation about not wanting to see each other anymore.

Only 8% of people of either gender say they think it's okay to ghost someone after a first date, and about 50% would not necessarily reach out but would wait for the other person to contact them before telling the other person they weren't into continuing the relationship. In fact, people who identified as men were more likely to say they would reach out if they weren't interested so the other person would know what was up.

7 Scenarios Where Men Ignore Women (or Anyone)

Since ghosting can happen to any gender and be done by anyone, it's not really just men ignoring women that we need to think about here. Still, it's helpful to have a few reasons a person identifying as a man might ignore someone or seem to ignore them.

The Person He Likes Is Taken

If a guy likes someone, but they are already in a relationship with someone else, he may choose to stop interacting with them. While it might not seem like the nicest option, there are several reasons these men may be ignoring women or romantic partners of any gender:

  • He's mad at himself for misreading their signals.
  • He's mad at them for giving mixed signals or acting like they were interested.
  • It hurts him to spend time with them, knowing they can't have the relationship he wants.
  • It helps him to stop thinking about them.

While many women think platonic relationships with men are plausible, Scientific American reports men have a more difficult time with this scenario. Once a guy has romantic feelings for someone, he can't always just turn those off because they're taken. Avoidance may feel like his only choice to save his feelings and ego from further damage.

His Feelings Are Not Reciprocated

There's almost nothing worse than telling someone you like them and then finding out they don't feel the same way. It's not worse for men than it is for anyone else, but this scenario can deflate his ego and cause him to lose a valuable friendship and potential relationship at the same time.

People deal with unrequited attraction in different ways, but one common choice is to take a bit of a break from the person. If a guy senses you don't like him the way he likes you, he's probably going to pull back. This may feel like he's ignoring you.

He's Afraid of Rejection or Vulnerability

Maybe you actually do really like him, but he doesn't know that yet. We've all been in that scary situation where we might be rejected if we show someone how we feel. One way to avoid rejection is by avoiding any situation where it can happen, and that can look a lot like ignoring.

Shy young man on a date
Fast Fact

In the modern dating world, studies show that rejection is actually more common than it used to be. It's just way easier to say no to someone when you can do it remotely and you have a lot more choices than you would if you were only dating in person. This means that if he's ignoring you because he's afraid you might reject him, he actually has reason to be concerned.

Even if he isn't afraid you'll reject him right away, he might be anxious about the vulnerablity that comes with caring a lot about someone (basically, possible rejection in the future). This can be one reason why guys ignore the girl they like or the person they're into.

His Life Is Seriously Busy

Between work, family, friends, hobbies, and volunteer experiences, life can get overwhelmingly busy for some people (it sure does for us). If it seems like a man ignores a woman or anyone he likes, it could be because his life is so crowded he can't make time to respond.

He Doesn't Care or Is Hiding Something

The world is full of different kinds of people. There are some great guys out there and some that aren't as great. A selfish guy who truly doesn't care about a person's feelings might ignore them. Guys who are selfish, self-centered, and overconfident are looking to meet their needs first, without any concern for the emotions of others.

A guy who's keeping secrets may ignore a woman or potential partner as a means to avoid accidental slip-ups. If he's afraid he'll accidentally out himself, avoidance is a tactic he might employ.

He Is Upset

Although recent studies show that there's actually very little difference in how emotional men are compared to women or non-binary individuals, society does have the expectation that they will handle those emotions. Even though roles are becoming less defined than they once were, adolescent boys still report feeling pressure to hide their emotions.

Hiding emotions can mean going silent for some people who identify as guys. He may reach out when he's ready to talk if there's something he is feeling upset about.

He's Playing Games

There is a lot of dating advice available, and some of it suggests playing hard-to-get as a winning dating strategy. The problem is when people disagree on exactly what this tactic looks like.

Bad first date

Some guys believe, based on experience and professional advice, that people are more interested in long-term relationships with guys who aren't easy to grab onto. A man may ignore a woman or potential partner as a means to get their attention and pique their interest. This kind of guy sees dating as a game of cat-and-mouse where he's got to lure you out, keep your attention, and surprise you with little chances to snatch him up.

Ask Him Why He's Ignoring You

Clearly, there are many scenarios and reasons why men ignore women and other potential partners (or at least seem like they're ignoring them). You can guess about this behavior, and that may be your only option if he's full-on ghosting you. But if you can, it's always better to be upfront and just ask him. After all, he's really the only person who can tell you the truth about why he's being so quiet.

Trending on LoveToKnow
7 Real Reasons Men Ignore Women & Potential Partners