I was reading this post yesterday about a vanishing man. It prompted me to type up a super-long response (I know, no surprise there!).
Women do this too and I just don’t get it. I know it’s hard if there’s a problem, but there’s got to be a nicer way of saying “Uh-oh” than vanishing and breaking a heart.
This is my Comment to the above post from Paula (as of this time, it is still awaiting moderation, probably because my username changed recently):
Vanishing seems to be common for both men and women.
The pattern is all too familiar. You covered the basic structure in your post. The only thing you didn’t say is if it’s the first time there was a ‘sleepover’ involved (a presumption based on the Saturday night airport and Sunday morning hanging out).
From all that I’ve heard, it’s very simple:
Most of the time, it’s sex. the build-up is full of implicit yearning. Whether it’s a genetic predisposition or a learned habit, the build-up is a time when possible relationship problems or red flags are ignored because SEX is on the agenda. Woo-hoo. Post-sex, the realization on the part of the man or woman is…Oops, he/she is not what I expected. Not the sex (probably, unless one of you is atrocious), the realization that all that other stuff is now out there: how to make a relationship from a fling, etc. (Note: For a guy who is a “player” there is no reflection, just a departure.)
The rest of the time, it’s the same kind of thing as above, except without the sex. At some point, it becomes obvious that a relationship won’t work. You’re too short/tall, he/she is too nice/self-centered, you’re not a good match, he/she is not ready to switch from low-key dating to something serious and potentially committed. You pick. The end result is the same. And, in this scenario, up to this point, perhaps no fault applies to either party. Unless you find a good match, you’re not supposed to have a relationship, right?!
In both cases, it’s hard to make the phone call or meet up or even text to say, “I’m sorry, but it’s not going to work.” And so people hide. I think it’s very sad when that happens. It’s been done to me before, especially when I was younger. When you finally realize you’ve been quietly dumped, it’s not a nice feeling.
This last weekend, after getting some gently-worded ‘come hither’ texts from an old friend in Texas who discovered I am separated and ready for a new relationship, I made The Call. It was REALLY hard and I was very nervous. I knew it would upset her when I told her that I didn’t want to extend beyond a friendship. But it was the right thing to do. To my huge surprise, she thanked me. She appreciated the clear resolution rather than being stuck wondering. (I’m sure she also appreciated that I didn’t get on a plane, bonk her, and vanish like Mr. Showtime.)
It’s definitely easier to vanish. But my experience with my Texan friend tells me that the honorable way out lets you sleep at night…