I have been with my boyfriend for almost five months. About a week ago, I went to the beach with him for a whole week so I could get to know his family. We had a really great time.
But the Friday we got home, he changed. I went out with my parents that night and got back home about 9 p.m. I called him to see what he was up to (because he had asked me to). But when I called, his mom said he never made it back from taking me home! I was scared to death, thinking that he had gotten into an accident on the way home. So I called one of his friends, and he went to look for him. His friend found him shortly at another friend's place just down the road.
This week I haven't talked to him at all. I have tried to get hold of him, but he won't call back or anything. And I'm not sure what to do anymore. So if you can help me out on what to do. . . .
There's no easy way to say this, so I'm just going to spit it out: You, my dear, have been dumped. I know that right now it doesn't make sense. But by the time you get to be as old as Granny over here, you'll have experienced the Disappearing Boyfriend maybe six or seven more times. You may have even disappeared once or twice yourself.
According to my highly unscientific research, men are approximately 80 times more likely to employ this rather unnerving exit strategy. Why? Because most of them are kind of wussy and will do pretty much anything to avoid being yelled at. (See also: Why men lie.)
My buddy Michael—a lovely man by most accounts—is one such guy. "I've broken up with two women by not calling or just disappearing," he admitted to me. "I'm not proud of it, but after being in a few relationships, the breakup part gets so crazy: crying, screaming, name calling, demanding keys back—who needs it?" Apparently, not Michael! "Perhaps the worst thing about disappearing is that you spend your life like a Kafka character, hoping you don't run into her or one of her girlfriends."
Jon, a strapping former Marine, has also done the date 'n' ditch. "I was seeing this hot psychopath who got insanely clingy after a few 'dates,'" he laughed. "But instead of dealing with it, I got orders to go overseas for an undefined length of time. I never called and told her I was leaving; I just disappeared. When I got back, months later, my answering machine had a million psychotic messages on it." Ouchie!
Most of the guys who have vanished on me didn't stick around a few months—they hightailed it the morning after. Waking up to see your date tiptoeing out your front door doesn't do much for a girl's ego, but if it's any consolation, karma does sometimes offer a payback.
Remember Michael? Does it make you feel any better to know that he's been on both sides of the equation? "A girl I loved disappeared on me," he moped. "I think the worst part was not knowing what happened." Um, really—ya think?!? "Six months later, I saw her at a party," he continued. "My first reaction was to lick her face like a puppy. Instead, I ignored her like an old cat."
Back in the dark years (i.e., before he met me), my boyfriend also fell victim to this cruel and unusual treatment. "I was seeing this flight attendant," he told me. "One day she literally disappeared into thin air —her phone was disconnected, she stopped answering her doorbell," he continued, obviously counting his lucky stars that he quit living the Love, American Style life and met me. "I ran into a friend of hers, years later, who told me she had gotten a job outside the country and never had the heart to tell me." Tramp.
Anyway. While I wouldn't let this guy get off without a good hollering at (five months!), I think you have to accept the fact that he's history. Quit calling him and move on. And even if you lose your temper, hang on to your self-respect.
Bad at breaking up? Write Dategirl at firstname.lastname@example.org or c/o Seattle Weekly, 1008 Western Ave., Ste. 300, Seattle, WA 98104.