Should I stay with a man who disappears for days?
Dear Dr Pam,
I started seeing this guy a couple of months ago. Things haven’t been going particularly smooth so far but we have great chemistry. When we are together everything seems almost perfect, the problem is that’s not the case when we aren’t together.
Sometimes he disappears for days and doesn’t even reply to my messages. Then he just comes up with stupid excuses and lies, expecting me to forgive him. But other times he would tell me over and over how much he likes me and he sounds genuine.
The other thing is that he is really full of himself and thinks that everyone should play by his rules. I like him a lot and don’t want things between us to end, but I just can’t put up with that kind of behaviour and attitude. So my dilemma is – do I just leave him and move on (although I’m afraid I might regret it) or talk to him and give him one last chance? And if so, how should I approach the conversation?
Dear 'One last chance',
I think you could answer your own question but the problem is you've landed in 'love limbo' - a completely demoralising, self-esteem destroying place to be.
How did you get there? Very easily because this guy does the classic thing of being Mr. Perfect when he’s with you - this fills you full of hope that things could be fantastic if it was always like this.
But when you're apart, he makes you pretty miserable - who wouldn't be miserable if their messages aren't answered and someone just disappears??
Love limbo is incredibly confusing - it takes cast iron confidence to see clearly what's going on. And it takes that kind of confidence to say: I wouldn't disappear on someone. I would answer their messages. I'd never be so full on one moment and then give nothing the next.
Because isn't that what you would say to yourself? You wouldn't treat him the way he's treating you. So why are you continuing in this relationship? Because he's now undermined your ability to see clearly. Or maybe you were already a little bit emotionally vulnerable, lacking in self-confidence when you two met.
Sure you can give him 'one last chance' – BUT you really have to mean it. Otherwise you'll end up in an emotionally abusive relationship where he picks you up and puts you down when it suits him.
Here are a couple tips for that conversation:
- Choose a time when you have plenty of time.
- Also choose a time when he can't make any excuses to leave when the conversation gets difficult!
- Keep a clear head so avoid alcohol. This is essential when you're dealing with a man like this. Because he'll ‘rewrite’ the conversation if he starts behaving unpredictably again and claims that's not what you talked about. If you were tipsy or drunk you won't know what to believe.
- Practice what you're going to say so you're clear in your own mind. Obviously you want to cover the fact that it's really good when you're together but awful when he disappears.
- Reflect back to him what he tells you. If he says something like, 'I didn't realise I was doing that - you need to flag it up to me,' - reflect back to him, 'Okay, so you want me to tell you when this is happening?' This little strategy focuses the conversation in his mind.
Final tip: if you have this conversation spelling out clearly how you feel about his behaviour - and then he slips back into that behaviour - move on very quickly. You don't need this!
Take care of yourself,
Dr Pam x
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