Relationships That Ended Prematurely Because Someone Left a Text Question Unanswered
Elizabeth and Lucy
October 5, 2016-December 24, 2016
Elizabeth was thrilled when she started seeing Lucy. I’ve cuffed her
just in time!, she said to herself. And those first few months flew by—a
montage of fireside makeouts and Netflix binges. But over the holidays,
when she texted Lucy, “How’s the xmas family drama? Hope it’s O.K.!”
Lucy didn’t respond. For three days. Elizabeth checked her phone
anxiously, but she knew she couldn’t send Lucy another question until
she got a response. Elizabeth tried to convince herself that the text
didn’t count as a question because it ended in a statement, but to no
avail. How could she know that Lucy’s two-year-old niece had taken
Lucy’s phone and deleted her text history?
Janet and Mark
June 5, 2017-June 19, 2017
Janet and Mark met on Tinder. Janet had been reluctant to sign up for
the app, but she also wasn’t getting any younger. They went on a nice
date, to a wine bar, and ordered a ton of tapas. Janet didn’t have sex
on first dates as a general rule, but when Mark texted her within
forty-eight hours, she knew they’d get it on. And they did. They went
out eight days later and engaged in intercourse lasting nine minutes.
After parting, they text-bantered for a few more days. Mark texted to
ask if Janet had seen the newest episode of “This Is Us,” but never
learned the answer. He wanted to “U up?” her a week later, but didn’t
want to seem clingy.
Clara and Steven
December 31, 2017-January 29, 2018
Clara went home with Steven on New Year’s Eve. Just one more misdeed in
2017, Clara promised herself. But Steven was cute and sweet; she gave
him her number. They went on four dates. At some point, though, Steven
remembered his New Year’s resolution to spend less time on his phone.
“How was your dog-walking interview?” Clara texted him on that fateful
January 29th morning. Steven was meditating—he forgot to respond.
Raul and Jane
February 11, 2018-April 20, 2018
Raul had never been a relationship guy, but things with Jane were
different. They’d been dating steadily for several months now. He
couldn’t quite pinpoint what he liked so much about her—maybe it was her
promptness responding to text questions. Or maybe it had something to do
with the face she’d make when she’d send a text. All day long, he’d fire off
mundane queries, like, “Did you see Trump’s latest tweet?” or, “What’d
you have for lunch?” And she’d dutifully respond. Until one day Raul
texted her a video of a cat wearing a bowtie and asked, “Isn’t that
cute?” Jane was busy—she was performing open-heart surgery. Raul waited
a few hours, but he knew it was over. So he packed his things and left.
Jane couldn’t comprehend why—she had no closure, until she reread their
final conversation. “I’m a fool!” she wailed.
Franklin and Stacy
April 16, 1990-April 27, 2018
Franklin and Stacy were married in a small ceremony in Stacy’s parents’
back yard. Their love weathered everything—the death of his father, her
unemployment, the confession of his secret credit-card debt. In 2010,
they both got smartphones. And for eight years, each responded to the
other’s texts promptly. Neither ever left a question unanswered. But
nobody’s perfect. On a business trip to Cincinnati, Franklin lost his
phone. “It’s fine,” he said to himself, “Stacy won’t care if I don’t
respond to a question immediately.” But he was wrong. Stacy had texted
him, “Did you read Billy’s report card?” By the time Franklin returned
from the trip, she was in Cabo with her spin instructor.