Men Who Vanish

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…

About Single Dad

I married young. Now, after more than 20 years of marriage, 3 wonderful daughters, and many ups and downs, my wife has decided the marriage is over. The "About Me" and "My Background" pages on my blog have more details.
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21 Responses to Men Who Vanish

  1. Caroline says:

    What I’d say to her is … as someone once said:
    “It isn’t knowing I was lied to but knowing I wasn’t worth the truth”

    That really hurts.

    Good luck – I’m sure your future will bring someone who is a decent being and knows the ground rules.

  2. mysterycoach says:

    Amen. 🙂

  3. I didn’t see your comment until after I’d left my own. 🙂 Not surprising that they were similar.

    Very sad and frustrating when this happens. I simply don’t understand how anyone can be naked and gone within days. So NOT okay….

    • My guess is that yours is in moderation at the moment, so I can’t see how similar it is (yet)!

      It’s obviously very sad when it doesn’t work out. Much much worse when someone ends it the way they did with Paula. She should out him on a site for jilted lovers (… 🙂

      • Lol. Did you know that there IS such a site?!

        My friend “Annie” once discovered a potential suitor on that site, ignored the comments, and lived to regret it. Interesting, no? 🙂

        • LOL — how funny!
          I decided to check my name — Not there. Phew!

          It sucks for Annie, but then how firmly can you rely on such a site…

          • I actually told Annie I thought she should proceed with caution. The comment didn’t seem to be completely out of left field (even after just a few dates) and I suspect that any woman who spends enough time and effort to bash a man in that way likely has a decent story to tell. Of course, there are always the psycho exs…… but I do believe them to be rare.

            Needless to say, Annie ignored both me and the comment. 🙂

  4. tiffsjourney says:

    Good post.
    I agree… I’d rather know the truth then to be left hanging… I hate that!

  5. simplystacia says:

    I was in a long distance relationship that spanned 5 months, and just one day….POOF!! It was gone. He didn’t give me a reason for 5 weeks. Wouldn’t return calls/texts/email until he was ready to face the cowardly way he exited from my life. When the disappearing act happens, it really stinks. Says more about the person disappearing than the person still there. Would be nice if everyone played “nice” and was just honest/mature about their feelings. Being honorable is the right thing to do!!!

  6. anne says:

    Fascinating subject and post, SD. I am so relieved to hear there is at least one truthful man out there who will forgo the bonk for the truth! Kudos to you! This is also probably the biggest reason I wait a super long Victorian age to have sex with someone… I can’t stand that vulnerability too early on, when there is no way we know each other well enough or care abt each other enough to grant grace for the “too short/too serious/too whatever” phase. Sex early on is forced vulnerability that erodes our self confidence. Wait a little bit, and her loud laugh/his serious cleaning habit is already a known entity and maybe even endearing.

    • Hi Anne!

      It really was a no-brainer in the sense that I’d like to look back on my life one day without as little disappointment and regret as possible.

      On the subject of a “Victorian-style” wait for sex (as an aside, Queen Victoria had 9 children despite being incredibly ugly, so I’m fairly sure that sex was a big part of *her* life!!), there are varying perspectives:
      1. The Player. As soon as possible because there is another conquest being groomed in the wings.
      2. The Short-Term Guy. Sex should be something that should start early on. Perhaps in the bathroom of the coffee shop where you meet. Certainly no further away than the parking lot.
      3. The Normal Man. When it feels right. For this, there is no specific timetable.

      As I’ve said in other posts, I think that putting “it” out there (and “it” means heart, sex, friendships, all of that) means taking some risks and accepting that long-term success isn’t free or easy…

  7. TikkTok says:

    Believe it or not, I DO have big girl panties!! 😆 The truth is always, always far better than the alternative. I would rather have a bit of sharp, clean pain, than have to deal with a ragged raw wound that keeps getting re-opened because things got twisted and there were games being played. ‘Course, we all know the actual science of sex…..

  8. I love the post SD. We have all done things we are not proud of.. but recognizing that and learning from it is what makes us different from animals. Thank you for the insight … much appreciated.

    I think we all want the truth – like TikkTok says. I’m glad you were able to be honest with your friend. Now you both feel good, and who knows, you may develop a nice friendship from it.

    • Hi Paula,

      What surprises me is that it’s fundamentally *your* post and somehow mine ended up with as many comments!!

      You’re right about the friendship. Also, something I forgot to mention is that it might hurt to be rejected, but that pain is less than being used and, further, being rejected *now* doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a *forever* rejection (although…pssst!…that IS the case in the case of my Texan friend, who has her sense of humor excised). Sometimes rejection simply means one of the parties isn’t ready yet. Sometimes a friendship may still turn into a relationship later. It has a chance if no-one got used and dumped.

  9. backonmyown says:

    Good post, SD. I guess “honorable” is the operative word. So many do not understand what it means or how important it is.

    • Hi!

      It’s hard for me to know how frequent or not this is, given my limited participation in the modern dating world. Also, and this intrigues me, is vanishing something that women do too, or is it just men? After all, there are more women than men in this small community, so maybe we’re not hearing about women who do the same thing. My own past tells me that women are just as capable of vanishing, but I may be wrong.

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