Take him at face value or close enough...
Men are simple and direct and a little afraid of women. Of course, we women don’t believe or accept how simple is what they have to say. When it comes to relationships they are not that sophisticated, and seldom do they play games. If they don’t call you is because they don’t fancy you. That’s all there is to it.
Now there are slight variations to the theme, but none that makes a difference to the general flavour of what they are trying to tell you. Take this for example:
“I’m not really looking for a relationship right now.” What he means is: “I am not looking for a relationship with you. I just want sex. We can see where it goes and all, but I’m not making any promises about us having a future together”, or “ I want to break up with you and I am afraid you will go crazy and scratch my eyes out, or you will start crying and begging so I am using this handy little trick to get you out of my hair and let you down gently”.
Here is what the woman hears: Ah, it is not me, he is probably going through a phase where another woman hurt him, and he is taking time to recover. Maybe in the future he will be ready for a relationship, all I need to do is be understanding and patient.
In a similar vein, when a man says, let’s take things slowly, what he really means is “I don’t want anything serious, just sex, so don’t have any expectations”. This his strategy of having the cake and eating it too. He doesn’t have to follow up, be in touch or have any “boyfriend” responsibilities. For the life of me, I don’t understand why women agree to this and do not see it for what it is. He is pretty clear, is he not? And when he disappears for a week and takes ages to respond to messages, why are you surprised? He warned you, didn’t he?
Here is another good one: “I will call you”. Indeed, he is planning to call you anywhere between tonight and the next three months or maybe never.
My point here is that you must use and trust your gut instinct and avoid far off interpretations of what he is telling you. It is unlikely that he is playing a highly sophisticated dating game. It is just as unlikely that his behaviour is caused by an unspecified deep wound that needs to be healed (though talking) by an understanding woman such as yourself.
If he is being evasive, sulky or distant it is because he is trying to get away from the situation or avoid the consequences of telling you the whole truth. Accept it for what it is and don’t look much further or deeper. If he does not call, it is because he does not want to see you anymore. Yes, I know that he may have said otherwise during your first date, but since then he either changed his mind, or he met someone he liked better and is too afraid to come out with the truth. In fact, many men believe that ghosting you is more considerate than telling you outright that they don’t fancy you. No news is better than bad news, right?
Like I said, trust your instinct and don’t make up stories in your head. If he likes you it will be abundantly clear. If he doesn’t, then he is squirming away from commitment and of what he told you the night before. Take it for what it is and walk away with your head held high.