I have been dating a guy for eight months. He is divorced but lives with ex-wife, his two teen children, and his ex's family. (I know, I should just stop there).
The two of us have known each other for decades, and though we have connected romantically in the past, it has never been the right time. Last spring, he vowed that this was OUR time. He talked long-term plans, marriage, traveling, purchasing a home together, and other joint ventures.
We have a shared chemistry and outlook on life, and in my mind I thought, finally, this could be it. I even introduced him to my young daughter, who adores him.
That being said, after about six months in, things started to change because he would tell me that his ex was questioning him about his whereabouts and asking more questions than before. Our times spent together began to feel more like we were sneaking around, and like he didn't have the freedom to do as he wished.
A few weeks ago, we made plans to connect at a public event, but as the time for the date approached, he disappeared. Once he surfaced, he told me that his ex-wife and kids were with him. This blew steam out my ears! When I expressed my disappointment about being stood up, he said he would explain later. But it has been three weeks now and I have not heard a word. Won't respond to texts, calls ... completely MIA! What should I do? No answers. No explanation. Just POOF! Gone.
What do I do with the promises he made? The decades of feelings we've shared? We've been friends for decades. So many thoughts of deception are running through my head and I would really like another perspective.
– Broken Promises
We've talked about the definition of ghosting in this column, and this is it at its worst. He has disappeared after eight months of dating and many years of friendship. You have every right to be disappointed, confused, and furious.
When I started reading your letter, I wondered how many of his decisions were made to protect his kids (as opposed to his ex). But even if that's the case, he owes you clarity and some truth. It's so easy to say, "I'm having trouble talking to my kids about my new need to be out of the house." You would have listened.
There's not much I can tell you about how to deal with what you've lost. It's easy for an outsider to say that this is all for the best, and that it's better to know his limitations now than later. That's all true, by the way, but reading it won't make you feel any less betrayed.
All I can say is that his abrupt departure does not mean that he was faking his feelings. This kind of breakup can make you doubt yourself – whether you were ever really loved – but all it means is that he didn't want to communicate.
Readers? What should the LW do when this man inevitably returns?