Dating with Dignity Part 1: The Case of the Disappearing Man Solved

Dating with Dignity Part 1: The Case of the Disappearing Man Solved

Ever been ‘ghosted’?

‘Ghosting’ is when someone you’re dating or in a relationship with disappears on you. And it’s extremely hurtful.

2013: I recently had a boyfriend of two months totally, utterly and completely disappear on me. Despite my extensive dating history, this had never happened to me before. I later found out it’s extremely common. So common, in fact, there’s a whole chapter devoted to it in He’s Just Not That Into You by Greg Behrendt and Liz Tuccillo. I remember reading it years ago and thinking, ‘Ha! That’ll never happen to me.’ Ha! I’m such a idiot sometimes.

Anyway, MDM (Mr Disappearing Man) and I had something really good going, or so I thought. First and foremost, we just clicked. We were the same age and from a similar background, had loads in common, got along famously, had great chemistry, and seemed to want the same things in life. He called me every day, took me out a few times a week, and always had a lot of energy and affection for me.

Sure, it wasn’t perfect. And we had a long way to go to get to know each other, build a little history, and make some memories. But on the whole, it looked very promising. I hadn’t had ‘promising’ with someone in years. I won’t bore you with the details but, long story short, out of no where, he disappeared on me.

One minute he was calling and/or texting me daily. The next, I couldn’t get in touch with him for love or money.

Two things before we proceed: 1. No, I didn’t drive him away. While, naturally, we didn’t always see eye-to-eye, we never had one argument. Besides, there was no excuse for his decision to end things via radio silence. And 2. Yes, he’s still breathing. I have my theories as to why he vanished so fast it made my head spin. But this isn’t about him. It’s about me. And you. And relationships.

How not to let ‘ghosting’ turn into ‘trust issues’

Once I came to terms with the fact that I might never see or hear from him ever again (which I was disappointed but not devastated by), I was faced with a new dilemma:

How am I supposed to get back out there when, apparently, dating someone for two months and having everything going for you as a couple means absolutely nothing – not even a friendship or, at the very least, a goodbye?

How am I ever going to feel happy and safe in a relationship when the guy could shock me to my core at any minute? Fear and pessimism was NOT the vibe I wanted to bring to the table.

I went online searching for answers. One click led to another click led to another click and I found myself at a website called Dating with Dignity. A warm and friendly woman named Marni Battista was offering a free three-part video series, which included some of her best dating advice. It wasn’t long before Marni had my email address and, over three days, I received the three 35min videos.

I’ll be honest and say, at first, I was skeptical. What could she possibly tell me that I didn’t already know? I was 35 and experienced. I’d read countless books and articles. I believed in having a good therapist. And I was somewhat of an ‘expert’ myself, having written a humorous relationship advice book, inspired by lessons I’d learned over the years. Let’s just say I felt as though I knew my stuff. But there’s nothing I love more than being pleasantly surprised

The three free Dating with Dignity videos were jam-packed with great tips, but here are the top two revelations that I, personally, took away:

1. Stay true to what you want, and if the relationship isn’t progressing, move on

You see, even though things were fairly hunky dory with MDM, I could feel the relationship not progressing. At the time, I decided to put it down to only being two months in, but my gut knew better. (Damn guts – they’re almost always right.) Even at the two-month mark, I felt as though we should have been a little further along. I didn’t know what to make of this.

Unbeknownst to me, MDM was what Marni calls a ‘Mr Quality Casual’. (No wonder I didn’t know how to handle him – I’d never dated a ‘Mr Quality Casual’ before.) Basically he’s a guy who does almost everything right – except he’s looking to keep things somewhat casual. For whatever reason, he’s not in a position to offer you a full-blown relationship. Perhaps he’s just come out of a long-term relationship and is still mending a broken heart, or he has a few personal issues he needs to sort out before he dives head-first into a new relationship, or he has other priorities in his life (such as his career or child/children), or he’s just not ready, or just not that into you, or both! In any case, no matter how well you match up in other ways, you don’t match up in this way. So, what’s a gal to do?

My response was predictable. I did what Marni calls slipping into ‘Cool Girl Behavior’. Women (myself included), when faced with this problem, have a tendency to think that if they’re ‘cool’ enough and patient enough, the man will eventually come around. Newsflash: It doesn’t really work.

Your job is not to hang around accepting crumbs and living in hope. Your job is to check in with him and find out whether or not the two of you are on the same page.

Be strong. Stick to your guns. Let him know that, ultimately, you’re looking for someone to share your life with, and if he’s not looking for the same thing then you’re not a match. This conversation will do one of two things. It might make Mr Quality Casual step up to the plate and become Mr Boyfriend Material. But it probably won’t. You have to be prepared to walk away when you find out he doesn’t want what you want. This is a good thing. This is the whole point. Now, you can stop investing in this going-nowhere relationship and refocus your energies on finding someone who’s on a similar life trajectory.

Of course, there are times to be ‘cool’ and patient. And it’s not always appropriate to have a full-on conversation about what you want. (No woman wants to be the ‘We Need to Talk’ Girl. We know men hate it.) Sometimes, it’s best to just read the signals and act accordingly.

What this advice did for me was made me feel empowered. I no longer felt like a current and future victim of men who didn’t want to take their relationship with me to the next level.

I no longer felt as though I had to play it ‘cool’, accept crumbs and wait, wait, wait to feel liked, loved and cherished by men I wanted more from. I was free to choose. If things weren’t progressing, I had the power to take the bull by the horns and get myself back on the right path – the path to a fulfilling relationship.

Let’s illustrate this with a film reference: Pretty Woman. Yes, I never thought I’d see the day where I could say I learned something from this film, rather than just being entertained by it, but here it is: At the end of Pretty Woman, even though Julia Roberts’ character, Vivian, is a prostitute, she won’t accept anything less than a proper relationship from her Knight in Shining Armani. Richard Gere’s character, Edward, attempts to pull a Mr Quality Casual on her – offering to buy her an apartment, a car, and ‘keep her off the streets’. He says he wants to keep seeing her, but doesn’t seem willing to bridge the distance, what with him in New York and her in Los Angeles. Her response was of the ‘thanks, but no thanks’ persuasion. Until now, I never really understood why she didn’t take him up on his offer. I do now.

The longer she let him treat her as though she wasn’t worth what she wanted (true love and commitment), the longer he’d continue to see her a certain way, and the relationship wouldn’t progress.

2. Be truly confident in your value

I never thought I didn’t ‘deserve’ someone wonderful. But I was starting to think I might not be able to ‘get’ someone wonderful. As you advance into your 30s as a single woman, you notice it more with every passing birthday – slowly but surely, men begin to overlook you for younger women. It’s so depressing! Suddenly, even men your own age don’t want to date you. (Why would they when they can get a nubile 20-something, right?) Just when your stock should be up (sure, you’ve acquired a couple more wrinkles and/or pounds, but you have SO much more to bring to a relationship than you did 5-10 years ago), you feel as though you’re no longer worth as much on the singles market. And there’s plenty of reading material out there to confirm your fears.

Since you’ve been ‘left on the shelf’, perhaps it’s time to start discounting. Well, hold it right there, partner! Put your hands in the air and step away from the pricing gun!

Don’t even think about selling yourself short. If you’re honestly ‘bringing it’ (physically, emotionally, spiritually, financially etc.) then be confident in your value. Truly confident. Don’t inadvertently apologize for your age, appearance, or anything else you’re scared might be seen as a shortcoming. Men will only value you as much as you value yourself. You need to go out into the dating world (and the world) as though you’re valuable, and that there’s absolutely no reason why you won’t find someone who’ll value you.

I was surprised this resonated with me. I always thought I was pretty confident. But I realized my self-deprecating humor could sometimes be interpreted as, well, just self-deprecating. My goal was to be modest, but I needed to be wary of sending the wrong message: That message being, ‘Hi, I’m Elly. I’m really not that great.’ Bah-BOW!

I do, from the bottom of my heart, believe I’m more valuable today than I’ve ever been before. (Like a fine wine, I appreciate with age.) I’ve come a long way, and I can only see it getting better.

I know I’d make an exceptional girlfriend and wife for the right man, and I can’t wait to start building a fabulous, meaningful, inspiring life with him.

Give up the ghost

The case of the disappearing man had been solved, but not in the way you might have expected when you started reading this blog post. I don’t know exactly WHY he disappeared, and I don’t care. Because it’s not about him. It’s about me and being able to see a way forward. I now know the solution is twofold: 1) Stay true to what I really want, and 2) Be confident in my value. Case closed.

Update: 5 years later in 2018

If you go back through my blog and read my more recent posts, you’ll discover I’ve had two major relationships since this loser ghosted me.

The first one didn’t work out, but ended reasonably amicably. The second one is ending in marriage! David (pictured) and I met in January 2016, have been living together for over a year, and are planning to get married in 2019. (We’re not officially engaged yet, so that’ll be a fun surprise.)

If you only do ONE THING while you’re here…

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  1. Xanthe's Gravatar

    Hi Elly,
    Well, I did exactly the same thing as MDM. The other way round. I had a great relationship, all the boxes ticked. So why did I do it?
    It was the old “It’s not you, it’s me,” thing. And in this case it was me.
    I kind of got a bit bored with all the “niceness” and “quality” relationship. Oh, it was fun, we were on the same wavelength, same intellect or so I thought. But he became a bit needy, here and there.
    Just a bit.
    And I pulled back, a tad.
    And it went from him valuing me as I value myself – to him trying to undermine my self-worth. I know now it’s a control thing.The relationship went from whiz-bang to ho hum in about six months.
    So I went cold, and made him go cold turkey.
    Callous of me.
    COWARDLY of me.
    I didn’t answer calls, reply to e-mails, etc. Just chickened out.
    I was just too chicken to try to explain that I just wasn’t interested any more even though he was a nice guy etc. etc., but it really was just ME, he’d done nothing (really) wrong. I knew he’d be perplexed and wouldn’t understand.
    I’d be the same if he’d done it to me.
    I do see him around, and we’re able to pass the time of day, and I think he knows not to mention what happened, which suits me.
    Gahd I’m a lily-livered, yellow-bellied coward.
    That’s all.

    {PS – why can’t we read previous comments? I love reading your stuff, Elly – I’d like to read how everyone else likes reading it, too.}

    • Elly Klein's Gravatar

      Hi, Xanthe. Thanks for your great comment.

      What was that about ‘previous comments’ at the end? I’m not sure what you mean, as you should be able to see all comments on my site. Perhaps you’re reading my columns and posts from the home page. You have to click on the individual post if you want to read the comments. Click on the heading at the top, or ‘Join the discussion’ at the bottom.

    • Sophi's Gravatar

      I don’t like the idea of confronting the disappearing man and asking him about commitment, I deserve commitment because I just do but I don’t need to tell him I do? If he says he needs to figure out himself and then you give him the time and space he needs to do so and he doesn’t come back to you afterwards it just means you never stuck in his mind enough and ur probably not ‘meant for one another’ women should date with the mindset of looking for ‘the one’ not, ‘this is how I deserve to be treated’ if that guy doesn’t come back, he’s not the one. Simple.

      • Elly Klein's Gravatar

        Hi, Sophi. Thanks for your comment. But I think you misunderstood.

        You don’t confront the disappearing man. (He’s disappeared. Forget about him.) You confront the man you’re seeing when you feel as though the relationship isn’t progressing. You approach it in a cool, casual way, tell him that, ultimately, you’re looking for someone to share your life with, and ask him if he’s on the same page as you. This gives the two of you a chance to have an open, honest conversation about where things are going. It might make him step up. But it’s more likely you’ll find out he’s not looking for what you’re looking for (and/or ‘he’s just not that into you’), which frees you up to move on rather than hanging around for months/years on end hoping he’ll eventually give you what you want (a higher level of commitment / marriage / kids / whatever).

        Prior to this advice, if I had a connection with someone and they seemed to want to continue seeing me, I probably would have just hung in there for goodness knows how long – all the while feeling frustrated, dissatisfied and a little unloved. But I’ve learned that the two of you wanting the same things from the relationship is just as important as chemistry, compatibility and other things we look for in a partner. For instance, even though the sex is mind-blowing, after which you can lie in bed all day talking, laughing and having a magical time, it means nothing if he wants to see you once or twice a week indefinitely and you want to get married and have kids within the next few years. A conversation needs to take place. Without a conversation, you might base your next move on an assumption. He needs to know where you’re coming from, and you need to know where he’s coming from.

  2. J's Gravatar

    Looking back at all the rocky moments dating, I just recognize that what I felt as “rejection” was really “God’s protection”. It wasn’t the right mix and I was spared real costly agony that would have come later had it continued.

    Great article. Good luck and keep moving forward!

  3. Carrie's Gravatar

    Hi Elly –

    I’m SO glad to come across your awesome article! A guy I was dating for a couple of months just disappeared recently (one minute sweet, the next, gone). I have dated quite extensively, and pride on myself on my superb BS-detector. Like you, I used to read articles about “red flags” and thinking I was too smart to fall for those type of men. Like you, I had a gut feeling about the quality of the relationship, but stayed for just a bit longer because I want to give him the benefit of a doubt. I was close to pulling the plug (the proper, face-to-face way) when he disappeared first. Since I’ve gradually lost my interest in him in the last week we were seeing each other, it took me about 2 minutes to get over him. However, the feelings that still linger are anger and shame. I feel SO stupid to have trusted him while neglecting my own gut feelings! And I wish I was the one who ended things first.

    Your personal story parallels mine on so many levels. It made me realize that things like this happen to more of us than I thought, and it happens to even the smart, funny, attractive, experienced women! Thank you for sharing the two revelations in your article: I definitely violated #1…and perhaps subconsciously, #2 as well…

    BTW, I can’t seem to find Part II of this….but am looking forward to reading it!

    • Elly Klein's Gravatar

      Thanks for your great comment, Carrie! I’m so glad my article helped you in some way.

      I haven’t written a Part 2 yet because I haven’t dated much since I wrote Part 1. (Been focused on other things – especially work.) But there will definitely be a Part 2 sometime soon because I now ‘date with dignity’ – and am looking forward to putting what I’ve learned into practice. The best way to stay tuned for it is to become an email subscriber. If you liked this article you’ll definitely like the special bonus article my email subscribers receive. (Warning: It’s a little racy!)

      No need to feel ‘anger’, ‘shame’ or ‘stupid’. He’s the stupid one. And he’s the one who should feel ashamed. A real, grown-up man with character should know how to end a relationship (even a short one) in a considerate manner.

  4. Scorpio's Gravatar

    Hey, thank you so much for this great article! I fear I am dating mr quality casual, it’s been 4 months, and I have been making excuses for his non committal slow paced ways, due to his Christian background( he has left the church 3 years ago now) but in the ideology he followed he was taught to take relationships slowly etc but despite this, his behaviour is exactly to the T the traits of mr qualified casual. He is charming but casual, always busy, seeing me once a week, said comments about how he is just for the moment, doesn’t know about the future, loves spending time with me- but does the no contact disappearing act for days, only text contact between dates, he hasn’t had a proper relationship before me…doesn’t include me in plans etc…keeps me separate from his life- in a compartmentalised way…anyway I have been giving it the benefit of the doubt- but ultimately my gut is telling me- especially when it feels the relationship hasn’t progressed and he never wants to get deeper with me emotionally- that he is mr qualified casual! I am a little unsure what to do!

    • Elly Klein's Gravatar

      Hey, Scorpio. Thanks for your great comment. Glad my article’s helped you in some way – that’s why I write them!

      You should get Marni’s free three-part video series on Dating with Dignity. (Just put your email address in on her site – I’m assuming it’s still available.) It explains the Mr Quality Casual thing a little better, and what to do about it.

      If I were you, I’d have a conversation with him. Try to bring it up at a time and place where you can both talk freely, such as at home on the couch (rather than out at a restaurant). Say something along the lines of: ‘I’ve really enjoyed dating you and getting to know you. But I’ve reached a point in my life where I’m looking to find someone to share my life with, and I just wanted to get an idea of whether or not we’re on the same page.’

      From what you’ve told me, it sounds like you want different things. If you’re not willing to accept each other’s terms then you’ll need to move on. Good luck! And feel free to post a response or send me an email if you want to chat further.

  5. Scorpio's Gravatar

    Thank you for your reply. I really appreciate your wisdom. My query is with your suggestion to state to him that I want to find someone to spend my life with- I fear after 4 months, being perhaps too short a time period- would scare him off and sound too heavy, also due to his unique background of having left a religion 3 years ago which has modelled ideas around only dating for marriage etc it has prevented him from getting close to another woman -unless she was “wife material”- this I think has confused him and made him inexperienced in matters of how to get intimate with someone since he left the church, he says in the long term he wants kids with someone etc but when I asked him in the past where he thinks this is going he has said ” he doesn’t know about a future” and is enjoying spending time with me – this to me is a big red flag, but with considering his background of no relationship experience due to the church and having only left it 3 years ago and being very career focused ( he has a very demanding professional highly competitive job) I should be patient? Or at least not put such a heavy statement as ” I want to find someone to spend my life with…” But I may be making excuses for him! Also I have noticed he never wants to get deeper with me emotionally when I try to get closer, which is another red flag..however .4 months in, on his terms with it being his first real relationship, would be like 2 weeks into a relationship for me- could I ask him instead whether he already knows that what we share is just an experience/ short term- and ask if he already knows for sure there is no future? rather than asking him -and potentially scaring him off- whether he is ready to spend his life with me?!

    • Elly Klein's Gravatar

      You’re DEFINITELY not asking whether or not he’s ready to spend his life with you!

      You’re asking if he’s dating with the intention of finding someone to share his life with. He may be dating for the sake of dating – company, intimacy, whatever – in which case, you’re incompatible. If you were happy to keep things casual, too, then it wouldn’t be a problem.

      You may just be looking for an exclusive relationship. Or you may be looking for marriage and kids. In my case, I’m looking for someone to share my life with. (I’m in my mid-30s – I’m ready!) The point is to say what you’re looking for rather than feeling as though you have to keep your mouth shut. Marni’s point is ‘cool girl behaviour’ doesn’t really work. You wait, and wait, and wait… only to wait some more. That’s why it’s best to have an open, honest conversation, if possible.

      Bear in mind that when men say, ‘I’m not looking for a relationship’, it usually means they’re not looking for a relationship with YOU. Either way, if you want more and he doesn’t, you’ll eventually have to move on. The good news is you won’t waste further months, or years, on the wrong man.

  6. angela's Gravatar

    Hi Elly, I dated Aaron man for 3 months and he suddenly disappeared. When we first met, both of us just came out of a bad breakup. he was pretty upfront about not ready for any sort of commitment. in fact the reason why he broke up with his ex was because she asked him to marry her. I am a committal person but I just got my heart broken by a man that I truly loved after 2 years of relationship and found myself not ready to commit for fear of another broken heart.

    To cut the story short, we were both looking for rebound and wanted to leave things open and take everything slow. Things were more than great for both of us because we were on the same page. Then he started giving me mix signals like being subtly jealous, hinting that he wants to be someone important in my life and telling me that he like me more everyday (he never said the word “love” though). I was overjoyed, till he suddenly disappeared.

    I feel totally violated. I understand that we started thing casually, and that there is a possibility that this relationship will not last very long. But I didn’t think that he could be this coward. I dont care what was his reason to want to breK thing up,, but at least be a man enough to say it in my face. He owes me that! Sure, i would be sad and perhaps even cry a little, and he would probably feel uncomfortable and even feel terrrible to have to dump me but thats a consequencece that he has to face.

    His action shows that he has no regards for my feeling. I am not a prostitute and I deserve some respect at the vey least, I deserve a goodbye. He makes me feel cheap like a piece of garbage that he threw away in a dumpster.

    I am so livid and I don’t think that I can get over the way he chose to dump me.

    • Elly Klein's Gravatar

      Hi, Angela. Thanks for your great comment.

      Sorry to hear you had to be on the receiving end of a disappearing act. I know exactly how you feel! I felt the same way when I thought someone was really into me and, out of no where, he totally, utterly and completely cut me out of his life. Wouldn’t respond to calls, texts or emails. Just… nothing. We didn’t have a fight. (We’d never had a fight, and only ever got along famously.) It caught me completely by surprise.

      I was livid! How? Why? WTF? Okay, if he didn’t want to date me anymore, fine. But why couldn’t he have just TOLD me – even in a lousy email – so not to make me feel like a worthless piece of dirt? The answer is – who knows, who cares. It’s not a reflection on you – it’s a reflection on him.

      My advice to you is to do everything within your power to stop missing him (a therapy session or two to get it all out might help) because, I promise, it won’t be long before you really, genuinely don’t miss him at all. Oh, and if you want some extra dating help, definitely jump on the Dating with Dignity website. All the best!

  7. Annie's Gravatar

    Hi Elly,

    I just discovered your blog, and I wish I had discovered it sooner! I am afraid that I am in the middle of dealing with my own MDM. We met a few months ago, shared an instant connection, and have been together ever since, communicating in some capacity every day. I believed that we wanted the same things. In fact, I had felt that his feelings for me were stronger than my feelings for him, as he was the one pursuing me, and I was taking it slowly, trying to figure out how I truly felt. We had a lot in common, and I knew I liked him very much platonically, but I didn’t feel head-over-heels for him immediately (I tend to either fall for men quickly or not at all — this in-between state was new to me). However over the past couple weeks, my romantic feelings for him were deepening, and I was excited to see where our relationship was headed. I felt safe with him, I trusted him, and felt like I could be completely and effortlessly myself around him. I haven’t felt that way around anyone since I broke up with my ex three years ago.

    And then all of a sudden, his daily communication with me stopped. At first, I wasn’t concerned, and just figured he was busy with work or with friends. I texted him and did hear back from him, but it took him over a day to respond, which was completely atypical for him. Over the past week, our entire communication has been initiated by me, and if he responds at all, it’s one-word, impersonal answers. And now, I’ve heard nothing from him for two days. In my hurt and confusion, I did a little “social media stalking,” and have deduced that he is now seeing someone else.

    I am hurt and confused and angry. I hate that I had to find this out online, and that he didn’t have the balls to tell me he had met someone. I could have handled that; it’s the deception and the lack of communication that hurts. The worst part is that over the past few months, he has become a confidante, someone I could turn to for support. So it’s a reflex for me to want to pick up my phone and call him to let him know about this guy who just disappeared out of nowhere. Of course, that guy is him.

    Now, not only have I lost the hope and possibility of a meaningful, lasting relationship with this man; I also feel as if I have lost a good friend.

    I came home from work today and just felt miserable and alone. And then I found your blog, and it made me feel less alone. Thank you so much for writing this post – it brightened my mood and made me feel like I can get through this. You have a new fan – thank you! I’ve read through some of your other posts, and really enjoy your writing style and the fact that we both share a similar love affair with New York City. I think New York will be the only “man” in my life for a little while now…

    • Elly Klein's Gravatar

      Gosh, what an amazing comment! Thank you so much.

      I think the reason these kinds of things are so frustrating is because they make absolutely no sense – and there’s not a goddamn thing you can do about it. However, if you find you just can’t get this guy, and the frustration you feel about the situation, out of your head, I highly recommend one or two therapy sessions just so you can move past it a little quicker.

      It might make you feel better to know that, a year on, I’m now with someone special who I met in New York City. And eventually, you will be too, so hang in there!

      • Annie's Gravatar

        Thank you so much for your response and advice, Elly! I actually have been considering speaking to a therapist about this relationship and the hurt/confusion I am feeling now – I certainly don’t want to start sounding like a broken record to my friends and family, nor do I want to ruminate alone. A couple therapy sessions are probably what I need to move past this.

        Thank you again, and I’m glad to hear that you have moved on and have found someone special! Your words are inspiring and encouraging!

  8. […] I wrote Dating with Dignity Part 1: The Case of the Disappearing Man – Solved, I had no idea it’d end up being one of my most popular and impactful columns. Women continue to […]

    Dating with Dignity Part 2: How I Dated w/ Dignity and Found Mr Right 8th October 2014, 12:28 pm
    • Christine T.'s Gravatar

      Hi Elly,

      I have searches and searches for advise online and nothing seems to quite fit my situation. I decided to start a relationship with a man who I had known for 20+ years since I was 12. We were together for 9 months. The best of friends. We had out little hiccups but nothing major. We were getting to learn/know more and more about each other on a deeper level as time went on. He told me how much he loved and appreciatee me time and time again. I thought we had a solid connection until one day after seeing him the Tuesday prior, spoking to him Wed, then him calling me on Thursday, I didn’t hear from him again. Our last conversation was as normal, pleasant “talk to you later babe” was the last thing he said before we hung up. His phone is dissconected, I’ve tried reaching out on social media to make sure he was okay believing that it had nothing to do with us as everything g was fine to my knowledge, he read my mags but didn’t answer, so after expressing my hurt and disappointment in him just vanishing and telling him he’s a messed up person for doing so l gave up on contacting him. I’m so confused and still in the state of shock as its only been 2 weeks, though seemingly 2 very long weeks. We were supposed to be friends first. I am not going to reach out again but I am wondering if you have any advice to offer. Thank you in advance.

      • Elly Klein's Gravatar

        Hi Christine,

        Wow. I’m so sorry to hear this story. Unfortunately, I don’t have much advice because you’ve already done as much as you can do. You’ve tried to contact him. After not hearing back from him, you’ve tried to tell him how hurt and disappointed his disappearing act made you feel. Again, you didn’t hear back from him. There’s nothing left to do except move on. Here’s how you do it:

        1. Remind yourself over and over and over (and over) again that it’s not you – it’s him. Who does this?! 20 years of friendship, 9 solid months of a relationship and countless ‘I love yous’ before suddenly disappearing off the face of the earth? What would make someone do such a thing? That’s really messed up. You don’t need that in your life. And it’s highly unlikely to ever happen to you again. Disappearing acts like this usually only happen within the first few weeks or months of dating – not after a significant relationship + decades of history as friends. Weird.

        2. If you’re really hurting, perhaps go have a few counselling sessions. Counselling is awesome for helping you get your head around things quicker so you can feel better and move on productively ASAP.

        3. Don’t make the next guy pay for the last guy’s mistakes. I’m sure you wouldn’t like to date a guy who, because his last girlfriend cheated on him, is jealous, possessive and untrusting. Your relationship with the next guy might not work out, but he’s highly unlikely to leave you in this fashion.

        4. While it’d be ideal if you could just remain cool and move on, is there a friend of his who might be kind enough to shed some light on the subject without it getting back to him? If so, perhaps give that person a call. If not, just leave it. It’d be best not to drag a third person into your breakup.

        The bottom line is this person no longer wanted to be with you, but didn’t have the balls to tell you, so they strung you along and then up and left when they were too scared to face you. Talk about emotionally challenged! While it stinks big-time, you’re so much better off without him.

        You might be interested to know I’ve had two significant relationships since I wrote this article. My most recent ex handled our breakup badly (as most men tend to do), but he didn’t disappear. I’m hoping my current boyfriend and I never break up (and, instead, get married and live happily ever after). But if we ever did break up, I know he’d do it properly – because he had to break up with the other girls he was dating when we became exclusive. And he did it in the kindest of ways (open, honest and upfront – for starters), which really impressed me. So, let that be a lesson not to develop any trust issues. Most men are trustworthy. This one sounds like a dud. Good riddance!

        All the best,
        Elly xooo

  9. Jessica's Gravatar

    I very recently had something similar happen. I’ve been seriously involved with this guy “J”. We’ve been in a committed relationship for three months and not only were things normal, they were great. He adored me and even asked me to move in with him. A week after he asked me that, he disappeared. I haven’t been able to get any response from him after texting, calling, emailing and even sending a letter to him in the mail. It almost makes me worry if he got arrested or was in the hospital, but now it’s been a month since I’ve heard anything from him and I still haven’t had closure. It’s driving me crazy as to how it can go from great to nothing in a split second.

    • Elly Klein's Gravatar

      Tell me about it!

      I’ll tell you how it can go from great to nothing in a split second: Because some men (correction – some people) are weak and pathetic. They make it SEEM as though everything’s wonderful so they can buy themselves some time to see if they like you. Then, when they decide the relationship isn’t for them, they haven’t got the balls to face you, so they disappear. It’s hard to relate to when it’s something you would never in a million years do. But that’s how some people operate.

      For your own sanity, I’d find out whether or not he’s still breathing. You don’t need to have any contact with him or involve anyone else. I watched my ex’s social media. When I could see he was totally fine, that’s when I had to get on with the business of accepting he really, truly, chose to disappear on me.

      Secondly, I’d see this as a positive in some ways. You found out what kind of a person he truly is only three months into the relationship – before you wasted years on him, before you moved in with him, before you married him, before you had kids with him.

      Finally, please don’t let this bleed into your next relationship. The next guy shouldn’t have to pay for the last guy’s mistakes. My current boyfriend is an absolute gem. And while I can’t be 100% sure he’ll never disappear on me or majorly disappoint me, I trust that he’s a good person and will always treat me with kindness and respect.

  10. cheri's Gravatar

    HI Elly

    I met this guy online. After 2days he asked me to watch a leaf’s game as he is a season ticket holder. and dinner. We kinda hit it off.. We are so attracted to each other. we end up in his room,( he lives in a hotel for the time being.) after having a great fun night.. dining. dancing,, but we never had sex. We both respect each other,We just had a really wonderful time, He is a successful professional,
    He asked me to keep in touch, The next day i flew to US for my 1wk holiday, when i came back he was also on his holiday, But we managed to keep in touch. He even called me while he was away. he said his condo will be finish soon. then he could cook for me. and he wanted to see me as soon as he gets back. But I said I have to work late that week. He said I am so skeptical.
    I sent him a text after a day of his return. I just said welcome back. then the next day i said Good morning. no response. Third attempt I asked if he is alright. But sad to say.. I have not heard anything from him, Its been 5 days now. Should I email him and let him know how i feel? or just let it go? He is not a big texter, and I understand he will be very busy on his job. But just a reply back would’nt hurt if he does care. I am just so confused.A lil advice would help. Thank you 🙂

    • Elly Klein's Gravatar

      U-oh! Looks like he might have disappeared. 🙁

      For your sanity, I’d find out if he’s still breathing – but try to do it without involving him or anyone else. Stalk his social media accounts if you have to. Once you know he’s still alive (which I’m 99.999% sure he is), I’d delete him from your phone – and your mind – and move on with your life. There’s nothing worse than a person who promises the world and delivers nothing. You really don’t need that in your life. You’re much better off without him.

      If he contacts you eventually, I’d give him the Dating with Dignity treatment if I were you. Don’t get mad. But don’t pretend his behavior was acceptable either. Be gentle but assertive and say you found his unkept promises and unreturned text messages inconsiderate, and you don’t really have time for that. See what he says. He might run a mile (in which case, let him!). He might try to reel you back in, but chances are he’ll let you down again. It’s up to you whether or not you give him another chance. If you do, proceed with caution. Unfortunately, he’s already shown you what kind of a person he is.

      I know it’s disappointing. And if you need to give yourself a day to watch back-to-back episodes of Sex and the City and eat your weight in gelato, or the like (heh heh) then do so. But after that, get back out there and find someone who’s worthy of your time and attention because, so far, this goober has proved that he definitely isn’t.

  11. anja's Gravatar


    “Be truly confident in your have SO much more to bring to a relationship than you did 5-10 years ago)Don’t even think about selling yourself short. If you’re honestly ‘bringing it’ (physically, emotionally, spiritually, financially etc.) then be confident in your value. Truly confident. Don’t inadvertently apologize for your age, appearance or anything else you’re scared might be seen as a shortcoming. Men will only value you as much as you value yourself. You need to go out into the dating world (and the world) as though you’re valuable, and that there’s absolutely no reason why you won’t find someone who’ll value you. I always thought I was pretty confident. But I realized my self-depreciating humor could sometimes be interpreted as, well, just self-depreciating. My goal was to be modest, but I needed to be wary of sending the wrong message: That message being, ‘Hi, I’m Elly. I’m really not that great.’ Bah-BOW!I do, from the bottom of my heart, believe I’m more valuable today than I’ve ever been before. (Like a fine wine, I appreciate with age.) I’ve come a long way, particularly in the past three years, and I can only see it getting better. I know I’d make an exceptional girlfriend and wife for the right man.”

  12. Joanna's Gravatar

    AHi Elly,

    Thanks a million for writing this, it is super relevant and helpful!

    I have known a guy as a friend now for about 5 years, there’s a bit of an age gap (7ish years.) when we’ve hung out in the past (just a few times) I always treated it as if we were friends. He then got a girlfriend and seemed to ignore my messages. Last year in got back in touch (via facebook) and I was super busy with my degree and I guess a bit annoyed and standoffish due to his disspearing act- considering I thought we were just friends. Anyway we finally met up and within an hour he was holding my hand and turning the meeting into a date. I was a taken by surprised but said I had a good time.Due to heavy work and family commitments on his side we didn’t meet again for another month. He spoke about a third date and as soon as I got he home posted songs about love on facebook and sent me them directly. He then basically went away for a month and said we should ‘hook up’ when he gets back. When he did get back he didn’t contact me. I was super busy with work, when this settled down a few weeks later I messaged him to say hello. He replied straight way saying he wondered where I had been and if I was now free. I replied back saying yes and radio silence! I messaged him since saying ‘I guess you’re busy?!’ To I guess give him an easy way out and no reply. I know he mentioned this was an incredibly busy time for him at work but I don’t know why he doesn’t say that? Unfortunately we are facebook friends so I can see he is replying back to other people. The other day I posted a picture, he immediately after posted a song that he had sent to me, he also posted the song ‘give me a little more time’ . I am finding it incredibly frustrating that he just doesn’t tell me what he’s thinking and the fact he is not responding to my message but is posting things he knows he sent to me grrr. It’s like he is playing mind games. Any insights will be extremely helpful, I’m finding it very confusing and yes trying to be ‘cool’ but I don’t think it helps.
    Many thanks!

    • Elly Klein's Gravatar


      Good god, delete him from Facebook, your phone and your life!

      Remember the Maya Angelou quote: ‘When people show you who they are, believe them.’ He’s shown you he’s consistently inconsistent, has no respect for your feelings and everything’s on his terms. Ugh! Nightmare.

      There’s nothing to salvage here – not even a friendship. You don’t need to make a ‘thing’ out of it. And you don’t literally need to delete him as a Facebook friend if you don’t want to. But I would downgrade him to an acquaintance, stop engaging with him altogether – don’t even ‘like’ something he posts on Facebook – and go invest time and energy in people who are kind and worthy. If this comment isn’t enough to convince you, grab a copy of He’s Just Not That Into You by Greg Behrendt and Liz Tuccillo. (Although, please don’t be offended by the title. You don’t need this guy to be ‘into you’. He’s a douche.)

      Wishing you nothing but warm and reciprocal relationships from this day forward,
      Elly xoxo

  13. Lauren's Gravatar

    Hi Elly,

    I stumbled onto your article after going through my own MDM experience recently. I dated a guy I met on OKCupid for the month of April. It was fantastic. We had great chemistry and the communication seemed to be really good. We were going on dates about twice a week and talking via text nearly everyday. He was kind, funny, thoughtful and I didn’t see a single red flag no matter how hard I looked. I thought I was finally seeing a light at the end of the dating tunnel!

    But then he started his disappearing act. It wasn’t quite as sudden as your guy, but close. He broke off plans one weekend and wasn’t very responsive so I thought he just needed some space. Then on Monday he told me he needed a “week off” from dating because of some “anxiety” but couldn’t be specific. On Saturday he finally texted again to apologize for the sudden weirdness. I said, “ok, but we need to get together to talk this out or I’m done.” – Trying to respect my own needs and be honest! A few hours go by and he texts back saying, “well, I suppose we should just be done.”

    I was shocked and hurt. He goes from apologizing to backing out in a matter of hours and wont respond to my texts after that. I was sad, but after a few days I moved on and got back on the dating horse. Since then, I’ve gone on a couple of fun dates that have taken my mind off things, but nothing that feels like it will go anywhere. Now it’s been nearly a month since he disappeared.

    So today I get home from work and there is a letter waiting for me. Its actually quite eloquent. He apologizes, explains how he got scared when we were getting really close, and that he let his fear get the best of him. He recognized that his own feelings of unworthiness caused him to push me away. I’m actually quite impressed with the level of analysis he is able to apply to his emotions.

    So what to do? Should I go back to someone who has an obvious fear of intimacy but seems to be growing up and getting through it? Or move along with my life, as I’ve already started to do?

    Thanks again for writing this post! So helpful.


    • Elly Klein's Gravatar

      Hi Lauren,

      Thanks for your really interesting story and dilemma!

      Two things: 1. The fact that he came back after he’d had a chance to think about what he’d lost is a good sign, and 2. The fact that he took the time to write you a letter (in this day and age, well played!) in which he identified and owned up to certain feelings and behaviours is also a good sign – show’s he’s emotionally evolved (an absolute necessity for a meaningful relationship).

      Did he specifically ask for a second chance in his letter? Or was he just trying to be a good guy and explain why he acted like a goober? If it’s the former, and if you really like him, I’d give him another go (with some ground rules – we’ll get to that in a moment). If it’s the latter, I’d probably call him, thank him for his letter and ask how he’s doing – see where the conversation goes from there. But let’s assume it’s the former – he’s asking for a second chance. He deserves some acknowledgement for his letter, so give him a call. Thank him, praise him and ask how he’s doing. Tell him you’re open to giving him a second chance, but want to get together and talk further first. It’s very hard for me to advise you what to say when you have that talk, as I don’t know specifics, but it’s really about digging a little deeper and figuring out what went wrong and where to from here. It might be all him – maybe he needs some counselling. Or it might be something you could do differently. Or perhaps a little of both.

      Be prepared for the possibility that he could get his second chance and then blow it again. But from what you’ve told me, it very much might be worth giving him a second chance. It sounds like you have good boundaries – not too harsh, not too lax – and a great attitude towards dating and relationships, so you should be fine.

      Keep me posted. I’m optimistic about this one!


      • Lauren's Gravatar

        Hi Elly,

        Thank you for that quick and thoughtful response. Now I finally have some news to report back to you! Hearing what you had to say and talking it over with friends, I decided to contact him a few days after receiving the letter. We met up for a beer and talked things out. That night we decided to give dating another shot. We’ve been dating now for about a month and it’s been great. Even better than the first time around, actually. We are taking things a bit slower, doing more domestic things (cooking, watching movies) instead of going out so much and it just feels like a bit more mature of a scenario than before. I’m really glad I gave it a second chance. There’s always the possibility he could pull the same stunt, but I’m willing to take the risk.

        Thanks again,

        • Elly Klein's Gravatar

          That’s awesome, Lauren! Thanks for letting me know. I had a feeling things might have turned a corner for him with that letter. All the best for round 2! 🙂

  14. Iris's Gravatar


    I have been seeing this 34 years old man for 3 months, firts it was just friendship, but the conversations and the connection grew into something more, after one month we had our first kiss and our first intimate time. He was always the one to contact me first, always had a good night text and a good morning one, pictures of his daily stories, we hung out every day, he slept over, we went out for romantic dinners, days at the beach, the sex was amazing. The connection and the intimacy grew bigger by the day. One day as we were cuddling i had the sudden urge to tell him how i felt for him, I didn’t tell him all of it, just to be cautios, i said that i deeply cared for him and that he was special to me, and that int he future i could see myself fallin in love with him. He then, said that he just saw me as a friend with whom he had great sex and that he enjoyed spending time with me, but he didnt want a relationship nor was he interested in the couple thing. We talked a lil more and made plans for my birthday to go on a little trip together. He then left, and I haven’t heard from him in three days, nothing, nada. We had texted and hung out everysingle day since we met each other.. I feel so disappointed because I thought he was a true friend.. seems like it was all on my mind, I haven’t texted him or contact him in any way, cause i dont want to pressure him. What should I do? I am this stupid that i did not see this coming? when i got vulnerable he just left! I dont understand why.

    • Elly Klein's Gravatar

      Well, thank goodness you had that talk! Otherwise, you would have thought you had a boyfriend – maybe even a husband someday. And he would have thought he had a ‘friend with benefits’ indefinitely.

      He bailed because you wanted different things, and he didn’t have the courtesy to discuss it with you and treat you like a human being. He sounds like a jerk, and you’re better off without him.

      I totally understand you being hurt, disappointed and angry. You have every right to feel that way. But, you didn’t really lose him because you never had him to begin with. Cut him off! If he contacts you again, ignore him. He doesn’t deserve your time and attention. Focus your energies on finding someone new – someone who wants the same things, and treats you with the respect you deserve.

  15. Jessie's Gravatar

    Hi Elly,

    Thanks a lot for your posting. I fear that I am experiencing something similar with my boyfriend now. We have dated for 1 yr 3 mos., and he had been acting a bit distant the last few weeks. I told him I loved him, and he did not reciprocate. He said that he cared about me and would do anything for me, and would work towards that feeling. I thought, fair enough, he’s not in the same place quite yet. He came to me one night out of the blue and told me he was unhappy and felt emotionally un-invested in our relationship, and that he needed time and space to reflect. He reiterated several times that whatever was bothering him was his own issue, but that it was affecting our relationship and he could feel himself pushing me away. He could not articulate his experience beyond this. I have respected his need for space while he figured his issues out, and said that I would not beg him to stay and that it was important for him to be happy. It felt similar to a break up conversation, although that was never made explicit.
    A day later he said in text that he just needed space and time to reflect, which leads me to believe we are together but in limbo. Ultimately, my gut tells me that this is the first step towards a breakup. I do not think he is aware of that yet, but I would bet $100 on that outcome. He sent one or two texts since that conversation, and I have not heard from him since (this conversation happened 10 days ago). I want to respect his need for space, I do believe it is important. I cannot help but hope that he will have some epiphany, but do recognize the reality of the situation. I am starting to doubt that I will hear from him again. Some of the other posts here have voiced similar experiences, but this is especially perplexing to me because we have been an exclusive couple for so long. I am very confused!

    • Elly Klein's Gravatar

      Okay, two things:

      1. You’ve been dating exclusively for well over a year and he hasn’t said ‘I love you’ or returned your ‘I love you’ yet? Unless he’s someone who truly believes you don’t say ‘I love you’ unless you want to marry the person, you should have received an ‘I love you’ by now. The fact that you haven’t suggests to me he’s not feeling what you’re feeling, and probably never will. But… his values around ‘I love you’ might differ to yours (and most people’s), so don’t assume. As the saying goes, ‘assume’ makes an ‘ass’ out of ‘u’ and ‘me’.

      2. Kudos to you for being willing to give him some space, and for not begging him to stay. That’s a strong woman right there! Well done. The trouble is you didn’t agree on what form in which this ‘space’ is going to take place. How much time does he need? Does he want to have absolutely no contact with you in that time? Does it mean you can both date other people in that time, or are you still exclusive? These are the questions you need answered. He hasn’t texted you for 10 days because he’s having his space.

      So, you need to arrange a face-to-face or, at the very least, a phone meeting and calmly discuss two things: 1. The terms of the ‘space’, and 2. What ‘I love you’ or ‘I love you, too’ means to him. If he wants 2 weeks of space, and wants to remain exclusive in that time, fine. If he wants 2 months of space, and the freedom to date other people in that time, break up! It’s possible you’ll get back together someday. But you’ll need to move forward as though you won’t ie. grieve the loss of the relationship and get busy dating other men. In the words of Austin Powers: ‘Wait a tick. That means I’m single again. Oh, behave!’

      Hope that helps. Keep me posted. xoxo

  16. Amelia's Gravatar

    I had (or should I say have?) an MDM. He disappears and then he comes back – almost six months to day. Then he disappears again and comes back again.

    His last words to me before his disappeared last time were, ‘See you later’. I still haven’t seen him.

    After about six months, he sent me a LinkedIn invitation. I wasn’t sure whether to laugh or cry and ignored it.

    Six months after that, he starts following me on Twitter. Seriously, he hasn’t posted a tweet since 2013 and now he’s following me. I’m ignoring that too.

    • Elly Klein's Gravatar

      This coming and going as he pleases is all about him and his whims. Be flattered he thinks of you every now and then, but disengage.

  17. Lola's Gravatar

    Similar thing I happening to me and I’m not sure how to react. I have been seeing this guy for 2 months now. In the beginning he was texting me all the time because he just got a new job but then after a month things started to slow down. He kept saying that the job that he has is very demanding and he doesn’t have now enough time for me. Even though all that we talked a couple of times about time management and he always wanted to keep trying. Meanwhile I got drunk twice and I fought for stupid stuff which I think pulls him a away a bit. Last Friday we talked again about everything and told me he was very stress for work and was a afraid they fired him, we talked hours, I understood his point and again told him we will figure it out. Suddenly next day he sent me a txt replying my txt (going out for dinner) saying that he doesn’t have time, that I’m a great girl and he does want to focus on his job, that I’m a distraction and cause him stress… I managed to call him down and talked over the phone and agree to chill and not make any decisions when he is stress and that we will talk on Monday. Then on Monday we didn’t have time and have a short conversation where we both agree to catch up on Friday. On Tuesday I sent him a message and has been 2 days and he hasn’t replied. What should I do? He never did that before. Is he breaking up with me and disappearing is the way to let me know? I’m overseas until Friday and he knows that… Do you think that’s the reason why he could no respond?? It’s killing me his lack of contact. And more because I don’t know what he is thinking… Help.

    • Elly Klein's Gravatar

      “Suddenly next day he sent me a txt… saying that he doesn’t have time, that I’m a great girl and he does want to focus on his job, that I’m a distraction and cause him stress.”

      There’s your answer right there.

      Lola, I know it’s hard to hear this, but your situation isn’t complicated. In fact, it couldn’t be simpler: He’s just not that into you. Anymore. He dated you for two months, decided his feelings weren’t strong enough to continue dating you, used his new job and being busy at work as his reason for no longer wanting to see you, and you didn’t take the hint.

      I’m sorry if that feels harsh. But I’m actually trying to do the kind thing – the thing he didn’t do – and that is to flat-out tell you his feelings for you have changed. Men often think they’re being kind when they make excuses. They don’t realize that we’d much rather hear they no longer have feelings for us than be told they’re busy at work (or the like) – as ‘busy’ implies if their circumstances were different, we’d be together. Sadly, this little white lie causes the dumpee to cling on rather than move on, which isn’t so kind.

      This guy didn’t disappear on you. And he didn’t do anything wrong by changing his mind after 2 months. That’s why we date – to get to know someone and see if they’re the right fit for our lives. I’m sure you’ve dated guys you were no longer interested in after 2 months.

      Lola, I know it hurts – boy, do I know! – but please take the hint, don’t see or contact him, do what you need to do to get over him (cry, binge on ice-cream and back-to-back episodes of your favourite TV show, yap to your girlfriends, write him a letter you’ll never send just to get all your feelings out etc.) then start dating again and find a new man. I know it’s easier said than done. But I believe it’s the healthiest way forward for you.

      All the best,
      Elly xoxo

      PS. I highly recommend you get yourself a copy of He’s Just Not That Into You, as well as It’s Called a Breakup Because it’s Broken, both by Greg Behrendt.

  18. Kim's Gravatar

    Hi Elly
    Thank you for your story and all the other people with their stories, it’s helpful right now. I was with someone for six months, we fell in love met each other’s friends and families, went on holiday together. He told me he loved me everyday how lucky he felt to have met me, and that at 40 finally, he was ready for a committed relationship. Four months in he told me he went to SLAA. Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous. He’d been going for three years, has done the 12 steps and it helps him. He is also studying to be a counsellor and has therapy himself. I didn’t delve too deeply and allowed him his space and trusted him because he seemed so emotionally mature. Then we had a row and he disappeared for a few days but we both came back with apologies and be told me that his time with me has been the happiest he has ever been and he wanted to work things out. The last four weeks of our relationship, looking back, I can remember times where he seemed distant. One day I was at his home and said that in time I would like to have children, I’m 38. Then he said that’s he’s not certain anymore and he’s decided he’s not in love with me and was trying to convince himself with all the things he said and did. Just that day he had talked about us living together. But now it’s done. A week later he emailled me a cold letter saying that he just shut down and won’t be responding to any calls or messages, but thanks for the good times. Nothing about it being him or that he was sorry. Just nothing. It’s been four weeks now and it’s like I dreamt it all. He’s disappeared. I feel so very sad, because I so believed in him and us. I suppose I will never hear from him again. I’ve now looked up Slaa a lot and realise that this must be his M.O. All the highs of falling in love and then nothing. How do I trust anyone again?! He knew I was vulnerable, i’d had a six year relationship break down in the most horrible way nearly three years ago and he knew I wanted commitment again…

    • Elly Klein's Gravatar


      1. I know exactly how you feel.
      2. It’s not you – it’s him.

      You did nothing wrong. There’s nothing to learn from this other than a cold, hard dose of reality – you simply don’t know someone until you get to know them. There are no shortcuts no matter how good it feels in the beginning or how well it progresses in the first few months. The mask has slipped, the real him has emerged, and he’s either unwilling or unable (I’d say it’s a little of both) to step up and be a truly stable and loving partner to you. Humph. That’s life. Cry. Bitch to your girlfriends. Eat way too much ice cream. Binge-watch Sex and the City. Then close the chapter, forget about him, and put yourself back on the dating market.

      To answer your question: ‘How do I trust anyone again?’ Simple – the next guy has nothing to do with the last guy. Wipe the slate clean. The next guy shouldn’t have to pay for the last guy’s mistakes. What if you dated a guy whose wife cheated on him and he made you feel like you were a potential cheater, too? You wouldn’t like it too much, would you? You’re innocent.

      Speaking of innocent, there are two songs I’d like you to listen to:

      1. Innocent Man by Billy Joel
      2. His Mistakes by Usher

      When you meet the next guy who shows promise, be your warm, wonderful, open and trusting self. The Mr Rights will relish this. The Mr Wrongs will run. Let them run. In fact, give them a pair of Nikes. 😉

      Hope this has helped. Let me know how it goes.

      Elly x

      PS. I know he’s studying to be a therapist. And I’m a big believer in therapy. But sometimes therapists can be better at giving advice than following it.

  19. Emily's Gravatar

    Hi Elly,

    I just had a ghost for the first time. I mean I’ve dated guys in the past where we went out once or twice and never spoke again but I’ve honestly never had a guy just disappear that things were seemingly going well. We had been going out a month. Everything seemed great. We just clicked, both had lots in common including similar careers. He always responded to texts and was anxious to see me often. He was very affectionate when he saw me even up to the last time I saw him. It was never one sided making plans. In fact the night before he ghosted we had been together and he said that he may come by later but I warned him I’d likely be asleep since I had to be up early but I for sure see him the next day as he had wanted. He sent me a text later after we parted saying “sleep well gorgeous” but I was already asleep. I texted him in the morning and he usually responds but he didn’t. The end of the day came and he still hadn’t responded. I waited until I was ready to go to bed to text him again and just said goodnight. Never heard back from him. Even up to that day he was talking about starting certain activities with me. I never felt anything was off which I tend to feel easily. I’m perplexed. Never has this happened to me. I knew his dating history. His last long term relationship was a couple years earlier. He was not a commitment-phobe. We never had a fight or any real problems. He was a bit older than me so I would have expected him to know how to handle ending things or being straight forward about things. Frankly though, I think that this is a reflection on someones level of maturity. Sure it’s easier to just disappear but what kind of person would show so little respect for someone who has never done them any wrong? I didn’t even know it was a thing until he did it. I’m glad I found your story. It makes me know that I’m not alone in this kind of BS.

    • Elly Klein's Gravatar

      Arrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr. So. Goddamn. Frustrating.

      A month! C’mon, dude. What’s up with that?

      While we all know it’d be ‘cooler’ to leave well enough alone, I’d probably send him a short email – something along the lines of:

      Hey Mike,

      Are you still breathing? LOL!

      I must admit, after a month of great dating, the last thing I expected was for you to check out on me the way you did. To be completely honest, I thought it was a little mean. I would have appreciated a text message, at the very least, letting me know you no longer wanted to continue dating. Not cool, dude.

      Take care,

      Of course, Emily, you’d tweak it to sound like you and suit the vibe of the situation. But if you do send something like this, keep it short and light. I think after a month of dating, he owed you a mini-breakup, so you have every right to let him know his decision to end things via radio silence was a little hurtful. And it’d be interesting to see if you get a response! If you do, let me know.

  20. norma b's Gravatar

    I know I won’t be popular, im a mature single independent woman, who does have brains, but wouldn’t think so, with what iv been doing, I have been having a sexual affair with a married man for the past 5 years, we see each other regularly and message each other every day, he even messages me when hes on his holidays with his wife, and hes said he will never leave his wife which im happy with and I know he doesn’t love me , im not looking for a commitment, from any man as I have been badly hurt by a single man, but what I have to say my lover of 5 years has done the disappeared act, its a week since he last text everything was normal, now he hasn’t answered any messages, iv sent him, I know he owes me nothing but cannot believe how heartless a person can be , if he had told me it was over I would have understood , and walked away, but now I feel hurt and disrespected but perhaps its my kama for seeing a married man

    • Elly Klein's Gravatar

      Hi, Norma B.

      Three things:

      1. I’m not going to come down on you because I can see you know having an affair with a married man was wrong.

      2. His behaviour isn’t surprising at all. He’s a man of poor character. He chose not to treat his wife with respect, and now he’s choosing not to treat you with respect. (Shocker!) I’d put money on it that you’re not his only mistress. In fact, you’ve probably been replaced.

      3. Think of this as a blessing. You’re free! Jump on some dating sites and apps, find a single man and have a real relationship. But first, perhaps go have some counselling because you seem extremely damaged: ‘I know he doesn’t love me. I’m not looking for a commitment from any man, as I have been badly hurt by a single man.’ We’ve all been hurt!!! There’s no one on the planet who hasn’t been hurt. Pick yourself up, dust yourself off, get the help you need, and find the love you deserve.

      All the best. xooo

  21. […] comment on it (the comments section seems to have turned into a free dating advice forum – go check it out!), and the general feedback has been that my words have helped them in some way. Talk about turning […]

    Dating with Dignity Part 2: How I Found a Wonderful Boyfriend 16th December 2016, 4:23 pm
  22. […] large dollop of naïve optimism on my part, it’s over. And it took me completely by surprise. In Dating with Dignity Part 1, I told you about a boyfriend who disappeared on me, and how I came to terms with it and moved on […]

    Dating with Dignity Part 3: The good, the bad & the breakup 27th April 2017, 11:32 pm
  23. Lucy's Gravatar

    Hi Elly!

    A few months back I reconnected with an old college mate. We started chatting online and he seemed really into me. Living in different time zones he still managed to take time out to see me and was planning to come see me this summer. we were never friends back in college just a few mutual friends and he mentioned he had a crush on me but never really approached me. one month into talking online I told him I liked him and wanted to see where this goes. He was taken aback ( we are muslims and generally its the guy who approaches in our culture). He told me it was too soon, i was upset but I agreed he was right. A few weeks later I brought the subject again with the same answer this time he said we have not even met and what if you dont like me. We still continued talking in the meantime his visa got rejected and I told him I would apply one to go and meet him. In this time he told me that he had really wanted to meet me and he kept hinting that he was interested in me. I just could not sit around and wait for him to say anything so I brought up the subject again asking him to give me a reason to why he was not into me. He said for a long term relationship i am a good option but it was just not practical. We still talk very now and then but its not the same as before. I think i scared him by showing my pushy side. DO you think I should go and meet him? after all we have not seen each other in over 14 years and never even spoke to eachother. I just feel if we meet he will see things differently at the same time I dont want to come off as being too desperate. Please help me. I am too confused.

    • Elly Klein's Gravatar

      Hi Lucy,

      Long-distance relationships are difficult enough without one person showing unequivocal signs of not being committed.

      Despite his interest in you, he’s made it clear numerous times he’s not going to step up and become your boyfriend. He’s told you (not once but twice) he doesn’t want to ‘see where this goes’. He’s explained it’s ‘not practical’ for the two of you to have a relationship, which, technically, it isn’t. And you’re trying to figure out whether or not you should invest time, money and energy travelling to see him where one of two things will happen: a) he’ll reject you again – either on the spot or after enjoying your company and anything else you offer him (I’m not sure which is worse), or b) he’ll have a change of heart and you’ll have landed yourself in a relationship with someone who you can’t see on a regular basis, if at all.

      So, do I think you should go see him? Heck no! I think you should be thankful he spared you some significant pain, keep in friendly contact with him (or, better yet, don’t – just let the communication fizzle out), and find a man who: a) lives near you, and b) shows clear signs of wanting to be your boyfriend.

      It’s nice you reconnected with an old friend, but there’s nothing for you here. He likes you as a person and little more. And if by chance he starts showing signs of interest and, most importantly, ACTS on that interest by coming to see you or paying for you to go see him, then you can decide for yourself whether or not a long-distance relationship would be worth it.

      All the best,

      • Victoria's Gravatar

        Hello Elly,

        I stumbled upon your page when I was searching for an answer to the best way to treat my soon to be ex. I’m getting advice from friends but would prefer a distant opinion. I met this guy via tinder and things were ok for like two months. He contacts me every two days or less if we have arrangements to meetup, which we do almost every few days. In the past I was used to relationships where I get sms every morning on how my night was, in the middle of the day and at night. He wasn’t doing all this, but our times together were still fun so I decided maybe this wasn’t his nature.
        I am on pills, so he usually didn’t have to use protection, except I had this seven days intervals in my pills and was worried I would get pregnant. He later searched online and told me it’s not possible. Then I asked, what if I turned out pregnant what would he do? and he responded I’d get an abortion.
        I was shocked by this statement as I thought we were building something here. And the next day, I told him I didn’t like that statement that it was inconsiderate of him to have responded like that. He answered that he was only been honest. I told him you don’t say something like that to someone you cared about. And just so he knows, I don’t condone abortion and will never do that. He says it’ll be my choice if I wanted to keep the baby.
        The next day I invited him for a movie he said he already had plans for that day.
        Over a week went by and no word from him. Then out of the blue he sent a message saying he was chilled by our conversation that was why he’d been silent. and do I want to hangout?
        I ignored the message but my friends feel I should respond.
        What do you think?
        I’ll appreciate an advice please.

        Thanks in advance

        • Elly Klein's Gravatar

          Hi, Victoria. Okay, there’s a lot here. Let’s break this down bit by bit:

          ‘I met this guy via tinder and things were ok for like two months.’
          – So, you weren’t in a committed relationship? It sounds to me like he wasn’t your boyfriend. But even if he was, two months is an incredibly short amount of time.

          ‘He contacts me every two days or less if we have arrangements to meetup, which we do almost every few days.’
          – In this day and age when email, texting and social media is constantly at your fingertips, contact every two days or less is extremely infrequent. It sounds like he saw you in a casual light.

          ‘I am on pills, so he usually didn’t have to use protection.’
          – Unless you’ve agreed to be exclusive (ie. not sleep with anyone else) and have both been tested for STDs, you should still use condoms.

          ‘Then I asked, what if I turned out pregnant what would he do? and he responded I’d get an abortion. I was shocked by this statement as I thought we were building something here.’
          – Firstly, you asked for his opinion and he answered honestly. This is how you get to know someone and figure out over time whether or not they’re the right person for you, and you for them, long-term. Secondly, you’re not building anything. It’s been two months. He’s not contacting you regularly. You’re not exclusive. This is a casual relationship – not an opportunity for you to have a baby and become a co-parent with someone you barely know.

          ‘Over a week went by and no word from him. Then out of the blue he sent a message saying he was chilled by our conversation that was why he’d been silent. and do I want to hangout?’
          – Translation: ‘We’re clearly not a match long-term, but it’s been a week. I’m over that unpleasant conversation now. But more importantly, I’m horny. Would you like to keep seeing each other casually? I like you enough to continue having sex with you, especially as I don’t even have to wear a condom.’ I know this might sound icky, Victoria, but this is precisely what his words and actions are saying. And the thing is… it isn’t totally unreasonable for a guy who only wants a casual relationship with you. The question is do you want to have a casual relationship with him? This isn’t a trick question. If you do then do. If you don’t then don’t. It’s up to you. No judgement. But I sense you want more.

          ‘I ignored the message but my friends feel I should respond. What do you think? I’ll appreciate an advice please.’
          – You’re asking me whether or not you should respond, but you’re not telling me what your response would be. And it’s not up to me to decide. Put it this way: A yes to hanging out means a yes to a casual relationship and nothing more. While you may be disappointed by this reality, countless people happily agree to these terms every day while continuing to date other people in search of true love. If you’re comfortable with this (and aren’t going to vilify him any further for having a take on abortion that differs to yours), hang out with him. If you’re not comfortable with this, or falsely believe if you spend more time together he’ll eventually become serious about you, don’t hang out with him. In the latter case, it really doesn’t matter whether or not you respond. No response means no. And this response also means no: ‘I enjoyed hanging out with you for a couple of months, but it’s clear we’re looking for different things, so I think it’s best if we leave it here. Take care.’ Whether you choose a verbal or non-verbal response is up to you. If you go the verbal route, try to keep it brief, definitive and classy.

          I don’t know how old you are, but you sound quite young. Please understand that an unplanned pregnancy is no way to get a man to commit to you. If abortion isn’t an option for you as a safety net, that’s fine. But it means you should either be: a) taking birth control more seriously (I recommend you discuss this with your doctor or local family planning clinic), b) only sleeping with men you’re in a loving, committed long-term relationship with, or c) willing to be a single mother in the unlikely event you get pregnant.

          I’m sorry this whole experience has been disappointing for you, Victoria. The reality is that most men who come into your life aren’t ‘The One’. That’s why finding ‘The One’ is so special. But it takes time. Don’t treat every romantic prospect as a potential husband and father. Get to know them over time. See how they show up for you. Move through various stages, starting with quality dating, followed by sexual exclusivity, followed by being boyfriend/girlfriend. If it’s right, it should be fairly effortless.

          This probably won’t be the last time you encounter a man who only wants something casual with you. You just need to learn how to handle them. Start by figuring out what your values and boundaries are. Then learn how to communicate those values and boundaries calmly but assertively. If the two of you don’t want the same things from the relationship, simply move on. Don’t try to force a square peg into a round hole. Good luck! Someone special WILL come along eventually. I promise. xooo