It’s happened to everyone — after a few weeks of flirty messages, the person who you think you’ve been developing an online rapport with drops off the face of the earth forever. Just when things were going so well! What happened? Could it have been avoided? How do you deal?!

Rejection from someone you barely know has a particular sting. Because you don’t know this person well enough to blame it on some flaw of theirs, it leaves only one culprit — you. As with a cat or a baby hating you instantly, some part of you can’t help but feel that the rejection must be based on some inherently unlovable quality. You can’t help but wonder what horrible flaw of yours your would-be date suddenly picked up on. What else could account for the disappearing act?

Well, the good news is that there are about a billion reasons that a person may have stopped messaging that have nothing to do with you. For example:

1. They’ve been messaging with a few people and things just got more serious with one.
2. They found someone else who’s a better match.
3. They’ve become suddenly overwhelmed with work and can no longer flirt online on the company’s dime.
4. They’re on vacation.
5. They got back together with an ex.
6. Their account expired and they’re considering whether or not to re-up.
7. They’re experiencing the online dating/real world time lag and have no idea how long it’s actually been.
8. Their cat died.
9. Covert military operation. They’re actually protecting you with their silence.
10. They’ve been hospitalized. For amnesia.
11. Etc, etc, etc.

The list goes on. The point is, that people stop messaging for a myriad of reasons — obligations, big changes, time management, or unexpected events. Life happens, in other words. It’s best to assume that the sudden radio silence has less to do with you than it does with them.

Still can’t shake the feeling that there’s something you could have done to keep them interested? Is this the last straw in a chain of fade-outs? Have a friend look at your message chain and give their honest opinion. Or hire a dating coach. There may be something small that you can tweak about your approach that will make all the difference and being proactive will make you feel a lot better than wallowing.

Whatever you do, don’t let rejection affect your online mojo for another second. Either forget about it, or get to the bottom of it and move on.

More like this:

Online Dating 101: You’re Not Dating, You’re Searching

Online Dating 101: What to Do When You’re No Longer Interested

Online Dating 101: You Don’t Have to Respond to Everyone

Online Dating 101: The Worst Thing to Bring Up on a First Date

Online Dating 101: Keep it Fresh

Online Dating 101: Leave Sex Out of It