“A deep sense of love and belonging is an irreducible need of all people. We are biologically, cognitively, physically, and spiritually wired to love, to be loved, and to belong. When those needs are not met, we don't function as we were meant to. We break. We fall apart. We numb. We ache. We hurt others. We get sick."
~ Brené Brown
Assess the situation
It is important to get the truth about the reason he disappeared and then decide what to do from there. This kind of situation can be very frustrating, especially when you reach out and get no response. It might not be about you. He might not be ready. Maybe he is still involved with someone else. Maybe he is conflict avoidant and he does not want to hurt your feelings by being honest about the way he feels.
Often, men who disappear and come back are juggling more than one relationship at a time. What was the reason he gave for disappearing? What kept him from communicating what was happening in his life? Even if you are just dating, it is a courtesy to let someone know that you are not interested or communicate that you will be unavailable for a while. You don’t need an explanation since you are just starting to date, but a heads up shows respect for you and your time.
Does this behavior reflect his personality?
If his personality is such that he is just unreliable, you might want to save yourself the heartache. If he is habitually flaky and this is part of his personality, hang on for the ride because if it annoys you now, it will definitely annoy you later in the relationship. If he has always been like this, it is doubtful he will change. So don’t go into a relationship with a guy expecting that you are going to fix or change him.
It is difficult and stressful to deal with an unreliable guy. If you are willing to continue the relationship and explore whether this behavior is part of his personality or situational, you will need patience. If he is conflict avoidant and wants to spare himself an uncomfortable situation, he might flake out hoping that you get the hint. If this is his communication style, it will be a frustrating relationship.
Is he available or is he playing the field?
Disappearing and coming back is a way for men to play the field and date more than one woman at a time. Then they decide which woman to continue dating. Ask yourself what your threshold for this kind of behavior is? If something tragic happened like illness or a death in the family, maybe you can move on and it will never happen again. If the reason he gives you leaves you confused or uncertain, then you might re-evaluate whether you should continue spending time with him. Ask yourself if this relationship is really what you want and if it will be healthy for you to continue.
If he disappears more than once, this is a huge red flag.
This means that he does not respect you or your time. If this is the effort he puts into developing the relationship, then this is a good indicator of the effort he will put into the relationship in the future. There are times when a man can seem like a real catch, but if it is too much work to be with him, then you might want to reconsider how good a catch he might really be. He might even be doing you a favor by behaving like this early on so that you can evaluate whether the relationship is worth continuing.
Ask for accountability
He might be in a situation where he is a co-parent and still dealing with his ex. Maybe he is just not at a place where he is able to commit but he is still interested. His life might be in flux and he has other things going on that makes him unable to follow-through. Bring up his behavior and observe how he responds. Listen to what he is really saying. Don’t make or accept excuses for him or his behavior.
If he is habitually disappearing, be direct and hold him accountable.
How does he address your concerns about his unreliability? Does he acknowledge his behavior and make an effort to work on it? Does he take responsibility and show you through his actions that he is working on it? If he holds himself accountable, then give him credit for that and determine if you want to give him another chance. If he blows you off and dismisses your concerns, this is huge red flag. If he is telling you what you want to hear, but is not following through with actions, it is time to move on.
Don’t waste your time.
If he is disappearing and coming back because he is using you to fill in time that he is not with other women, leave now. If he is not interested, it is best to cut your losses and move on. If he behaves like this now, it will only get worse until you get the hint and stop coming around. In this case he might not be able be direct and simply tell you that he is not interested and so he flakes out to avoid having to tell you to your face. He might be stringing you along because he needs someone to fall back on when he is not dating someone else.
If you stop coming around and he attempts to reconnect with you every time he flakes out, you need to set limits. There is only so much you should tolerate and then it is time to move on. If he is narcissistic, he might play with you because he likes the attention but has no real interest in committing to a relationship. If you move on, don’t respond to his attempts to reconnect and get sucked back. It is a waste of time and energy.
Evaluate the relationship honestly.
When do you call it a day? Being honest about the relationship is the best place to start. You can be into him, but that doesn’t mean you belong in a relationship with him; especially if he is only playing games with you. Ask yourself what you are getting out of the relationship. Ask yourself what keeps you in the cycle of letting him come back only so that he can disappear again and disappoint you.
If this is a pattern in your life, explore what keeps you stuck in this pattern. Talk to a therapist and work on your self-esteem and self-confidence. Learn to trust your judgment and value yourself. Settling and allowing this kind of behavior in your relationship at the start predicts what you will get from him in the future.
You thought that everything was going well. Perhaps you were dating a month or even longer. Then suddenly, he stops contacting you and disappears.
There are many reasons why men disappear seemingly out of nowhere.
You must realize however that it was not “out of nowhere”. There were signs that you either did not see, did not want to see or ignored. Most likely, contact began to dwindle, you saw less of him and there was a delay in answering your attempts to get in touch. Now he has returned, and he wants to get together.
Perhaps you have been pining away and heart sick since he left, you are so excited that he contacted you and want to give him a chance. Even more difficult, you finally decided to move on when he suddenly contacts you and you feel conflicted. Or, maybe you are already clear that this kind of treatment of you is just not okay with you.
Do not rush to respond to his text before you consider some important facts and strategies. Yes, he may have had a difficult childhood, unresolved trauma from a past relationship or a difficult period of stress in his life. The reasons may all be valid, but you still deserve to be communicated with and treated with respect.
Some hard realities to consider:
His lack of communication clearly shows that he was thinking more of himself than of you.
He did not value you enough
You were not his highest priority
He may have issues with commitment
He may be unsure how he feels about dating you.
Set your standards and have clear boundaries
Get clear with yourself on what experience you want and are willing to have in a relationship.
Ask for a phone call and do not communicate by text.
Communicate kindly and see what he has to say. Ideally, he will bring up his disappearance act and make an apology. Perhaps he says all the right things and you are willing to give it a try. If he does not, makes excuses or seems to act indifferent this could be a waste of your time.
Communicate kindly, clearly and directly what you want moving forward.
If you allow the behavior without confronting it, the behavior will most likely happen again. Be assertive and grow from the experience regardless of what you decide.
Lisa Angelini, MAPC, LPC - www.lisaangelini.com
The old disappearing act…Unfortunately, this is a common phenomenon in today’s dating world.
There are probably as many reasons this may occur as there are couples. No doubt it can leave a woman wounded and hesitant to keep her heart open when someone she cares about abruptly disappears without an explanation. Needless to say, it is inconsiderate, hurtful and often cowardly behavior.
So what do you do if he comes back? Do you want to risk it again? Can you trust and respect a person who disappeared without an explanation?
Here are some possible steps to take:
1. Assess your level of connection
It may be tempting to take him back simply because it soothes your wounded ego to know he returned. However, beware of blindly dating him without some serious consideration. It takes three basic things to help a relationship lift off the ground: chemistry, compatibility and good communication.
Honestly ask yourself how much of these three things you have with this person. Chemistry is either there or not. It is hard, if not impossible, to generate chemistry if it is not there although it can take some time to develop and deepen.
Compatibility is a bit more fluid and workable. In the long run, there has to be a good match here for a relationship to last. Good communication can make or break a relationship, however it is a skill that can be learned. Ask yourself if you truly enjoy talking with this person. Do you feel seen, heard, respected and appreciated when you communicate? Or is it a strain to feel understood and have your opinion valued.
2. Talk about what happened
I think it is important to make it clear that you didn’t appreciate the disappearing act. Share how you felt when it happened. This can be done in a non-shaming and non-blaming way. Ask if he would share why he did what he did so you can understand.
You may also want to say it’s not how you roll. Let him know that if this is his pattern, you are not interested in another round of that. Ask to be treated with more respect and courtesy. Make an agreement that if either of you feels like things are not working, and one of you needs to move on, you will kindly communicate to the other person how you are feeling.
3. Proceed with caution
Depending on the results of the previous two steps—assessing your level of connection and discussing what happened, be wary of your next steps. Why did he disappear and come back? Was he dating someone else, did he get scared things were moving too fast with you, or did he have too much stress going on in his life for a period of time? There are a myriad of reasons he may have left and come back.
Depending on the reasons for his behavior, be cautious to move too fast or expect a different outcome this time. Maybe he realizes he made a mistake and truly wants to create a different experience this time…or maybe not. Will he simply do it again when uncomfortable feelings arise or if the going gets tough? Only time will tell.
Looking for love always involves risks. It’s a balancing act to keep your heart open and to protect yourself at the same time. Listen to your heart as best you can. Sometimes second chances lead to happy endings. However, if someone continually disappoints and treats you with disrespect, pick yourself up and move on.
Nancy Harris, LCSW, LICSW - www.nancyharriscoaching.com
Most women have gone through the ordeal—just when you’re getting comfortable with your guy in a relationship, he ups and disappears.
You ask your friends what they think went wrong, fish around the subject with his friends, and then, just when you’ve finally, more or less, gotten him out of your system, he shows up on your doorstep one day or a text from him pops up while you’re in an important meeting. He’s back and you’re not sure what to do or say. Here are some tips:
#1. Don’t act as if nothing happened
Too many women just let someone who vanished without a trace back into their lives because they’re so relieved they’re afraid to ask questions and drive him away again. They fear demanding an explanation, so they stay mum, hope he’ll fess up on his own, and keep waiting for “the conversation” that will explain it all. This passivity only puts the woman in the passenger’s seat of a relationship when you both need to be co-drivers. You have a right to know what happened, you deserve to have an answer that is clear, honest and that fully satisfies your need to know.
#2. Ask questions
Depending on how long the relationship had been going on and how long he’d been out of the picture, ask appropriate questions. If you’d been seeing each other three times a week for six months, and then he simply vanishes, you’ll want to be direct in your questioning. If you had a more casual relationship, it’s still reasonable to get answers to why he was in your life one minute and out the next, but you might want to ask more gently.
#3. Make no assumptions
Human minds are built to make meaning of life experiences and understand the behavior of others. That’s how we survive and thrive in this world. So, it’s natural that you might be imagining a number of different reasons for your guy’s sudden vanishing act. But, beware, you may be wrong, so listen before you leap into accusations that he hadn’t really liked you, has found someone else, or any other of the numerous fantasies you’ve come up with to explain his departure.
#4. Tell him how his disappearing affected you
Although probably the last thing you want to do is to feel more vulnerable with your guy, it’s important to tell him how his behavior affected you. Maybe he thought you wouldn’t care or that he said something that indicated he’d be out of the picture for a while. Maybe you said something he misinterpreted as rejection and he felt too awful to ask for more details. These are not valid reasons for walking out without an explanation, of course. But, if you’re going to demand honesty from him, you need to be honest yourself and tell him how his behavior impacted you.
#5. Take it slow
You may feel so joyously relieved that “he” is back, that you jump with both feet into the relationship to make a new start. You may feel a need to make up for lost time or get things back to where they were before he disappeared. This is not a great romantic strategy although it may reduce your (well warranted) anxiety aimed at reassuring you that all will be well. You’d be better off if the relationship crawls along at a snail’s pace for a while, to see if he’s really back for good and if you’re still as interested in him as you were before he left.
#6. Forgive but don’t forget
It’s natural to want to forgive someone you like a lot or love and move past hurt, but there’s danger at the extreme of forgiving too quickly, without totally understanding what happened, and letting the relationship settle onto solid group. One of the dangers is that you’re saying that you forgive him but are still angry and hurt and pushing him away. Make sure you don’t say the “F” word, forgiveness, until you really feel it in your heart, which should take a while.
#7. Let the past go
There’s also danger in frequently bringing up your guy having run off. Let wounds heal rather than opening them up repeatedly by bringing up his leaving you or your feelings about it. Sit with your anxiety that he might run off again and pay attention to his behavior to see if you can spot signs of it before it happens without going overboard every time he cancels a date or forgets to call when he said he would.
So you met a guy who seems very interested in you but then he suddenly disappears and is no where to be found. You think to yourself, "how can this be?" It doesn't make any sense, right? He used to call you everyday, text you throughout the day, he scheduled dates to see you regularly and now he disappeared.
There may be a few reasons for his odd behavior.
These reasons are as follows:
#1: He is AVOIDANT.
There are three attachment styles including anxious, secure and avoidant. If a man comes on strong and then he disappears that means that he became overwhelmed by the bond he had created with you. Sounds strange? Well, here's the reason behind his fear. People with an avoidant attachment style may have endured trauma, neglect or abandonment early on in their childhoods and have learned that the only way not to get hurt by someone is to not get too close to them. So as soon as he feels that a bond is beginning to form with someone new, he runs away in an effort to protect himself from the possibility of getting hurt.
People with avoidant attachment styles can only be in satisfying relationships with people who have a secure attachment style.
The reason for this is because a secure person is so secure with themselves that an avoidant person's hot and cold behavior doesn't affect them as much as it would affect an anxious person who is very insecure within relationships.
The irony is that when an avoidant and anxious first get together, fireworks are everywhere. The reason for this is that they both fulfill each other's assumptions about relationships. The anxious person is usually attracted to avoidant partners who always end up leaving the anxious person abandoned.
The avoidant person is usually attracted to an anxious partner who always seems "needy" and requires too much reassurance and attention which overwhelms the avoidant person. Another reason why an avoidant is attracted to an anxious and vice versa is because the anxious person is a giver and the avoidant is a taker.
The avoidant partner takes and takes and takes and doesn't know how to give.
Meanwhile, the anxious person gives and gives and gives and doesn't know how to take or ask for help. This creates a very unhealthy cycle of turmoil for a partnership between avoidant and anxious individuals.
So if you are anxious, then consider seeking a partner who possesses either an anxious or secure attachment style...and avoid the avoidant.
If you are secure, then ask yourself if you are willing to put up with your partner's disappearing acts.
#2: He may only be after "one thing".
If this is the case, are you sure you want to pursue a man who will use you? Consider seeking a partner who is seeking the same type of relationship that you are. If you are seeking a serious relationship, then this guy is not right for you and it may be time to continue to search for Mr. Right. If you are okay with a friends with benefits type of arrangement, then you may be content with Mr. Right Now.
#3: He may have been mistaken about what he really wanted.
He may have thought that he wanted a relationship but after spending time developing a relationship with you, he may have realized that he isn't ready for one just yet. Has he recently broken up with a previous girlfriend? Does he have too much on his plate right now with work and/or school? If he keeps coming back, then that means he may truly be interested in you. But you have to consider whether or not you are willing to wait around for him to be ready to commit to you.
Men who disappear and then reappear prove through their actions that they aren't reliable.
If a man isn't reliable, then he isn't relationship material. As much as this truth may sting, consider if you really want to waste your time with a man who thinks it is okay to play with your feelings. Ask yourself, can you trust him to always be there for you?
Disappearing without an explanation is a selfish act.
Ask yourself if you want a selfish partner? It is also disrespectful to disappear without a proper warning beforehand. Do you want a partner who will continuously disrespect you?
Unfortunately, the end result of a man disappearing and then coming back to you is never a good one. It is important to make sure your self-esteem is at a healthy level because that will ensure you being able to protect yourself, set boundaries, and therefore, not allow anyone to mistreat you.
Just like when somebody lies, it’s not so much the lie itself that’s the problem (although it could be), rather it’s knowing you are with a person who will lie.
If someone disappears and then comes back, you are with a person who is unable to deal with conflict.
Being able to face and try to resolve difficulties is fundamental to a healthy relationship.
We all know that any relationship will encounter challenges. Disagreements or life challenges need to be faced head on by both partners to try to find solutions.
What could make your partner disappear? Who knows?
It could be anything from a death in the family to cold feet about a relationship that is getting serious. Why isn’t important; it’s how. I can think of no reason to just disappear outside of a coma or death. We have so many ways to communicate; there is no excuse for not using one of them to let your partner know what is going on.
Even in a short-term relationship, there should be some communication.
“Thanks for a great night, but the timing is just wrong for me.”
If at some future time that person suddenly finds himself in a better place to pursue a relationship, it might be worth a try. That person has behaved well and if you are also available, it could work out. But if he’s left without a word, I think it would be difficult to have enough trust to even give him another chance. I’m not a big believer in second chances in new relationships. Bad behavior speaks to character - not something that can be easily fixed.
People tell you who they are if you are willing to listen.
They tell you by their actions. There are a million excuses and sometimes it’s tempting to fall for one, but you will do better with someone who exhibits behavior you can count on from the start.
Sally LeBoy, MFT – www.sallyleboymft.com
You may not, except with express written permission, distribute or commercially exploit the content. Nor may you transmit it or store it in any other website or other form of electronic retrieval system.