Love & Relationships

Cause of Death: He Didn't Text Back

If he doesn’t text you back, you will die. You can only manage the symptoms.

Adeline Dimond
6 min readMar 12, 2023


Drawing by Author, Adeline Dimond

If you are beginning a relationship, and he doesn’t text you back, you will die. This is also true if you are in a long-term relationship that is crashing in slo-mo. It is a metastatic, fatal condition. There is no cure. You can only manage the symptoms.

Here’s what happens: Once you realize that your man — or the man who you want to be your man, or the man you recently slept with, or the man you recently made out with in a Camaro — fails to text you back, a single diseased cell takes up residence in your brain. If this happens once, this tiny cell will likely cause no damage.

However, if multiple men over several years fail to text you back, new diseased cells will be created and congregate in your brain, attaching to that first cell. Like cancer, they will grow, hijacking your brain so that you no longer think about important things, like what to eat or your career or whether to pay your taxes.

Instead, you will spend hours on the phone with your friends, trying to understand all the reasons that he is not texting you back. You will come up with complex scenarios, rivaling the war games that play out in the White House Situation Room. You will engage in complex calculus, and come up with new logic questions that go something like this: If I need to tell him that I feel anxiety when he doesn’t text me back — because I don’t want to die — and I need to tell him this in person, but I refuse to text him again to make plans, how will I be able to tell him in person, since he is not texting me back to make plans?

After you fail to solve this logic game, or understand why he isn’t texting you back (and yes, you’ve already read He’s Just Not That Into You as well as The Rules and have incorporated both theories into your analysis) you and your friends will move on to determining how to get him to text you back, so that you can then tell him that his failure to text you back will kill you.

You consider putting something provocative on Instagram, hoping that he will see it. You discuss when and if a second text makes sense. If you texted him on a Saturday, can…