‘So you’re telling me there’s a chance?’

Send me some letters this weekend.

Hi Meredith,

I met a woman and we went on a date. I've been in relationships before, but this girl had me singing opera music. She had me checking my phone after I would text her, and she'd always take her time. I never knew how long 10 minutes could be until I was the one waiting for the text back.

But I never got that second date. We would text back and forth a couple of times a day, but she never had time to go out. She would tell me she's busy, and I believed her, but I still wanted her to know I was interested any time she was free. I can see now that maybe I was little pushy, but my normal "cool" attitude was gone. So I'd rake the coals and try and get a pulse now and again, but it finally ended with nothing. Ghosted.

I reached out to her several days later and just wrote, "Hey, hope you're OK, otherwise I can read between the lines." But she replied, a little differently this time. "I like you as a person, I'm just not in the right frame of mind right now. Maybe we'll be able to reconnect down the road." Bam, OK! So you're telling me there's a chance? But ... what do I do now? My mind wanders to her every now and then, especially on dates (yes, I'm still seeing other women because that's what you'd recommend, but it's not helping). Should it? Is she just being nice and hoping it quietly fizzles out on its own?

I'm sure people get busy, but what about when things clear up? Should I resort to sky writing or smoke signals? I'm sure by now you know that men hate ambiguity. I just don't know if I should fan these feelings or end them. Really my question is: What do women mean when they use these words? I know you'll say it was just one date, shrug it off, but I've had plenty of dates and none like this. I'm really curious what you will say, because all my guy friends just tell me to forget it and move on.

– Later?

Let's start with the fact that everybody hates ambiguity. Also, lots of people – not just women – are bad at delivering rejection. The old "not right now but maybe down the road" routine is a classic. For some people, it's impossible to say, "I don't like you like that." It just feels too ... true.

We will never know why this didn't work for her, but I promise you it didn't. I translate her "frame of mind" statement to mean: "Your frame of mind makes you to want to date me, and my frame of mine doesn’t reciprocate." I’m not trying to be cruel here; I just want you to have some clarity. For reasons we will never know, she can't make this happen. She is not going to show up in two months to tell you the timing is right. Based on what I hear from letter writers and in real life, people show up "later" about 0.0000001 percent of the time.

That news probably makes you question what you experienced on that date. Was she having a good time? Why did you have such chemistry if it was one-sided? It's a fair question, but you have to be able to move on without getting an answer. Maybe she went home that night and felt bad about an ex. Maybe she's one of those magnetic people who can charm anyone during a first outing. It sort of doesn't matter. The most important thing about her is that she became far less charming as soon as the date was over. Instead of thinking about your perfect night, focus on how it felt when she didn't text back. (I know ... easier said than done.)

Keep dating. Continue to listen to your friends. Assume there is no ambiguity here, and that she's just bad at delivering hurtful news. Remember that opera music is best when it plays in your head after many dates, not just one.

– Meredith

Readers? Maybe later?