Why did he bail?

Hi Meredith,

I just discovered your column, and I think it's wonderful. I hope you can help put to rest some of my concerns.

I met Mike online 7 years ago. We tried a long-distance relationship, but we were both young and it didn't work out.

Over the years, we have tried being friends, but he has struggled with this friendship. I was always in a long-term relationship and was actually engaged for quite some time. Throughout this, he was jealous of my fiancé and couldn't have conversations without expressing his dislike of my situation.

Finally, a few months after ending my engagement (completely unrelated), I asked Mike to visit to see if there could have been anything between us.

He is 23, has never had a relationship last over a month, and was very sexually inexperienced before he came out here. Neither of us had talked about anything being serious, but we were physical, and he even said the "L" word before leaving. This was so unnecessary since it was said at the end of the visit, so to me it holds extra weight.

The first text messages after he headed back home were along the lines of "I miss you." Less than 12 hours later he says that the entire thing was a bad idea, that I shouldn’t have convinced him to come out there, and that it was a waste of time and money.

I felt like he was two different people. He refused to have a mature conversation, instead choosing to ignore me.

It's been two months since we last talked and I still can't get over it. I can't decide if I want him to want to be with me or if I want to be over him entirely. The worst part about it is I think his feelings were legitimate, but he doesn't know how to deal with them.

What is he thinking by cutting off contact abruptly like that? Does he just need space, or is he unlikely to come around in the future? I know the advice will likely be to move on, but somehow I feel like I can't without knowing what the reasoning could be behind all of this.

Thanks for any advice you might have.

– Left Hanging in Lowell

I have no idea what he's thinking, LHIL. And I'm sorry he bailed.

Feel free to send him an e-mail that spells out your feelings and confusion. If he rallies quickly, fine, but if not, he's just not up for this.

My guess is that he's not going to make this better. And that means you'll have to move on without any answers and stick to your guns when he eventually shows up to muddy the waters once again (and he will).

You don't need to understand what happened from his perspective to get over this. I think we all believe that getting answers will make it easier to deal with a loss, but I'm not convinced that answers help that much. Sometimes answers just lead to more questions -- and the urge to bargain and try to fix things that can't be fixed.

The only perspective that matters is yours. You tried the romantic relationship again to see if there was anything between you two, and now you have your answer. There's something between you, but it's confusing and unreliable. So there you go. You can do better. But you already knew that.

Readers? Do answers help with the process of moving on? Can she move on without them? What would cause a person to bail so quickly? Is his sexual experience relevant? Should she send one last e-mail for her own sanity? Discuss.

– Meredith