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The deafening silence of those who disappear


thelostglove

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I am 42 heading to 43. Between 2013 and 2019 I was in a relationship with a man my age (let’s call him X) that ended bad. We lived together but thinking about it now he never loved me for who I was and endlessly tried to change me. I could never really be myself around him. Quickly in the relationship he became abusive yelling at me, criticizing me. We really tried to make it work and I left 5 years later when he threatened to destroy me raising his hand on me. No one has the right to treat me this way. I left and eventually rebuilt myself and my confidence.

 

The end of the story was pretty bad with lots of hurtful comments on his part. One thing is that I am an ex obese, I have lost 80kg 20 years ago. It’s my pride that I never get fat again but of course it left considerable damage to my body to have been that big. It never stopped X from wanting me though but the thing that decided me to leave (and that was said 2 days before the physical threat) was that « with the body you have, no else man would ever want you again ». This broke my heart and touched the core of lots of suffering I bear with every single day. My body is horrible and that is. To this day, I swore I would never let a man approach me again. I have a very pretty face, looks far younger my age but I need a large amount of time and trust to be with someone.

 

After months I realized that never having anyone anymore was giving right to X. That indeed my body was a shame. I accepted that I had my right to be loved and love someone just like anyone else. I eventually subscribed to a dating website and there, lets call him Y found me. Divorced for 6 years, 2 daughters. Looking for a girlfriend and me looking for a boyfriend.

 

We shared long messages feeling a great connection, and I eventually gave him my number. We kept talking here. 2 weeks after the initial contact he suggested it was time to push further and phone each other, giving me the choice and being sweet and patient. I don’t like to be pushed, the « meet someone within 2 weeks » is counter productive for me. I need time and we are both 2 very patient persons.

 

I finally called him for 2 hours on December 1st when we were supposed to chat for 5 minutes. The connection was incredible and from this day, he would called me every single day. Except when he just couldn’t when he had his girls at home. These days we would nonetheless text. There hasn’t been a single day without communication. I could always call when I want but always feared bothering. I often initiated text though.

 

We developped a deep connection over time. Of course. We texted, we phoned for months he was there every single day in my life and I wanted only one thing: to have him by my side.

 

By December 15 I told him I wanted to meet. He promised we would after the craziness of the Christmas holiday. Yet passed January he didn’t ask me. By January 19 on a Sunday I had a day in his area (he live not close and not faraway, reasonable distance). I told him that day that I was there and we just chatted. Yet he religiously called me on the evening to be sure I made the drive home safe. There he said a bit disappointed « yes we could have seen each others ».

 

This is a great guy to me, very sweet, patient, stable, able to listen, funny, witty, with the same humor. At the beginning we agreed to take our time which was fine because as I said I am a bit long to warm up and hate a pushy guy, I hate meeting almost strangers. The rules don’t apply to everyone.

 

But by March still no date although he would call me on lunch and evening. Everyday. We talked about that, he told me to trust him, that we shall keep the tension alive but I shall not worry we would meet in time, that he trusted his guts and no I shall not worry and trust him. The mutual interest never worn out mind you. Always lots of things to talk about.

 

Then the world went upside down.

 

COVID-19 took us by storm in France and get us locked at home (my country is badly touched). And Y turned moody. Which was ok considering the exceptional circumstances and he is not there to entertain me and I like him no matter what.

 

Until April 4 he kept calling me but his good moods vanished. He would became gloomy. Barely talking while he was the one to call and I was the only one talking while he was just saying yeah. Yeah. Yeah to everything I said. I tried to cheer him up, saying I was there for him if needed. Even if I want to date him he is a friend to start with (and I need this foundation for relationships). It was draining me that everything became one-sided. I knew he couldn’t see his daughters anymore. So i understood why he was so blank. I’ve always been patient. Never pushed him. After all, he was still calling me.

 

He stopped the messages too as he curled up inside, reading the sole text I was sending him in the day but not responding.

 

I backed off.

 

By april 6 I told him to take care and that I was thinking of him though. He said he kissed me and that he would call me the day after. He didn’t. This was the first time he did this. By April 7 on late evening I apologized for taking so long to understand (that he no longer wanted contact). And was ready to mourn and move on.

 

He called right away asking what was this text and why I said that. He said that yes he promised to call but had a bad headache all day long and that is why he didn’t call (fine by me, a text telling me this would have been right)

He said he didn’t know the effect all this containment would have on him but he didn’t feel like talking to anyone anymore. He said that if he wouldn’t have been alone, if he had a girlfriend it would have been different because he wouldn’t feel so lonely. But he spent his days all alone and he curled up. I said I simply needed him to tell me all this to understand and he said not to take anything personally, that he too was thinking of me and that we didn’t know each other completely yet which is why I couldn’t know. I wished him well and left him alone.

 

We hung up. I sent him a text after right away saying goodnight like we always did until then telling him I needed to understand him and that I was kissing him. Routine text. He read and didn’t reply.

 

I never heard from him anymore. That was 11 days ago. We were in contact 5 months every single day. So I don’t bother anyone with that but it is difficult and I miss him. I miss Y so much.

 

I didn’t text again because I thought it was better to leave him alone and deal on his own as there was nothing I could do anyway, thinking that if anything he had my phone number and he know I think of him.

 

I absolutely want to give him the benefit of the doubt because this moment is so difficult. He told me he was afraid to fall into depression, that his anxiety levels were high, that he was sleeping very bad. His routine has been destroyed, he cannot go to the gym anymore (huge outlet), he no longer can see his two girls. It is hard for everyone and strict containment has been damaging to a lot of us. This is not only him, I feel damaged too. And more over since he stopped talking to me because I thought we would keep in each other’s life and finally get with one another. I entered confinement with confidence. Little did I know how undermine I would be halfway. I would have love to keep him in my life and I miss this friend/man I love so dearly. I keep myself busy, creating music, working out. But I’m feeling like an actor not feeling his role. Empty.

 

Im not asking anyone to tell me weither or not he will contact me again. Who knows. Even if my guts tell me the whole thing eventually died in the bud. His birthday is in about 3 weeks and if he doesn’t call me will I wish him a happy birthday? I think he will have forgeotten me and will be glad I’ve disappeared so I don’t know yet.

 

I just need to get this out of my chest before it turns against me. His loss and the confinement are doing no good to me. Take all care of yourselves, be safe.

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Imo, you should not wish him happy birthday and you should try your best to move on and search for someone new. For whatever reason this "relationship" never developed and you should take this as an indication of incompatibility. Talking to the phone for 5 months without ever meeting indicates that something was missing. Imo, this guy was/is not right for you and that is why things happened the way they did.

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To much « why » for me. Why subscribing a dating website if you don’t want to date. Why phoning someone and get close if you don’t want to meet. Why ghosting me. Why. I need closure but have to accept I won’t have any. He only knows the answers.

 

I don’t think I should wish a happy birthday to someone who doesn’t care about how I feel. I have my flaws but I deserve better than that. Searching for someone else? Yeah.... I’d rather give up on men altogether. X was probably right....

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Hi. A couple of questions if I may:

 

When did you first start communicating with him on the dating website?

 

You said you live a 'reasonable distance' apart. How far is that?

 

We started talking around November 15/17 on the website. As I said, I’m always a bit long to warm up to open up.

 

We live in the same département, one hour drive from each others. My work place is far away (45mn to reach it everyday) so driving is no big deal and I often go in his area.

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Sorry to hear this. You are seeing the real him now and it's good you got out early this time. Is his ex still in the picture?

 

I very wondered about that Wiseman and it is to me a very big possibility that an ex recontact him out of boredom during confinement (ex wife or another after her). Why would he become so gloomy with me all of a sudden, making excuse for not calling (having a headache never stopped him from calling me before).

 

He moved on completely from his wife only seeing her when picking the girls and bringing them back.

 

Maybe it’s for the best to be treated this way without having met I guess 😔

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Sorry to hear this. You are seeing the real him now and it's good you got out early this time. Is his ex still in the picture?

 

One thing I totally forgot to tell. By the end of march he was supposed to fly to New York with his sister for a week. Was it really with his sister?........

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We started talking around November 15/17 on the website. As I said, I’m always a bit long to warm up to open up.

 

We live in the same département, one hour drive from each others. My work place is far away (45mn to reach it everyday) so driving is no big deal and I often go in his area.

 

Thanks. I would totally forget about him.

 

I was initially suspecting that you might live several hours apart. But if you're only an hour from each other (and that quarantine wasn't a thing when you first suggested meeting), there should have been no reason at all for him to be unable to meet you fairly promptly (i.e. within a couple of weeks from when you suggested it).

 

I would say that you're doing the right thing in keeping your online dating relatively local. But, in future, if someone is stalling on actually meeting, just bin them off.

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IMO, when you aren't ready to date at a normal pace, you shouldn't be dating. The only guys you will be attracting with your barriers are inappropriate ones.

 

I suggest getting psychological therapy to get rid of your emotional baggage. Until you achieve self love, you won't be successful in the romance department.

 

I did OLD for more than 2 years. 9 out of 10 times, at a first meet, one or both of us didn't share chemistry, even though we'd both been excited about each others photos, texts, and phone chats. Meeting is when reality begins. Before that, it's all fantasy. And a few went on for 2 or 3 dates, but then fell apart. I went on dates with 30 men before finding my future husband. If I had followed your way of doing things, investing almost 6 months into someone without meeting and still wondering if I should continue, I wouldn't have met the one for 15 years. A quick catch and release until you find the keeper is a smarter way to date. It's just lunch. You're not on the hook for a lifetime upon the first meet. You should have the mindset that you're going to enjoy a person's company and have an interesting conversation.

 

Guys who have their stuff together don't have the patience to coddle you and jump through hoops until physically meeting up. Besides therapy, read some books on how to achieve a higher self esteem and improve your self worth, so that you can achieve more confidence in meeting sooner. As you can see, your way hasn't given you the results you hoped for.

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Well I was ready to date him around 3 weeks after first conversation. While it is not the 2 weeks golden rule (who did that rule anyway) I don’t think it is that late either.... now I was wrong for sticking that long but please do not assume it takes me months to first date a man.....

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I agree with Andrina's advice.

 

I think your suggestion to meet after 3 weeks was reasonable enough (longer than I'd normally wait myself but not horrendously long) but you should've binned him off soon as he started stalling on the meet.

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I feel you OP. It always sucks when those we choose to trust let us down - all the more so during this difficult time. Hope you and your loved ones stay safe and the situation in France gets better soon.

 

However disappointed you must be at the moment, please don't give in to your ex X's venom and think you deserve less. You are a beautiful, wise, self-loving woman and you know his BS doesn't hold weight. It is admirable how you took control of your body and stayed in shape. See any remaining marks on your body as testament to your strength and dedication. A right partner will accept and love them just as he loves the rest of you.

 

As for Y, even if you've talked daily for months you do not really know that much about this man. He could still be in contact with his ex, living a double life, or he could indeed be depressed and curling up, or just found someone else on the dating site to talk to. Heck, he could be 20 years older than he claims so he was afraid of meeting you. In whichever case, I hope you do not take him back if he reaches out again. The peril of taking things too slow in online dating is that you could become too emotionally invested in someone until you eventually meet (or in this case, fail to meet) and it turns out to be a completely different person than who you have come to believe they are.

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I did OLD for more than 2 years. 9 out of 10 times, at a first meet, one or both of us didn't share chemistry, even though we'd both been excited about each others photos, texts, and phone chats. Meeting is when reality begins. Before that, it's all fantasy. And a few went on for 2 or 3 dates, but then fell apart. I went on dates with 30 men before finding my future husband. If I had followed your way of doing things, investing almost 6 months into someone without meeting and still wondering if I should continue, I wouldn't have met the one for 15 years. A quick catch and release until you find the keeper is a smarter way to date. It's just lunch. You're not on the hook for a lifetime upon the first meet. You should have the mindset that you're going to enjoy a person's company and have an interesting conversation.

 

Guys who have their stuff together don't have the patience to coddle you and jump through hoops until physically meeting up.

 

This made me laugh :D

 

Personally I agree with Andrina's approach, and I basically lose interest if there is no immediate plan to meet after a week or so. And yes, 9 out of 10 of those first dates, if not more, ended at just that. But I also have friends who prefer to talk a little longer before setting up a date, and I wouldn't say their methods are necessarily flawed or less effective in terms of finding people with similar minds. I'm also careful not to recommend my approach to them as for some it can get really exhausting and stressful. I generally see those first dates as simply enjoying a meal/coffee with an interesting stranger regardless we click or not, but even so I got frustrated sometimes after going on a dozen of bland dates in a row :upset:

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The peril of taking things too slow in online dating is that you could become too emotionally invested in someone until you eventually meet (or in this case, fail to meet) and it turns out to be a completely different person than who you have come to believe they are.

 

There's nothing wrong with being long to warm up to someone but always remember, you don't know a person until you see them in person. A quick cup of coffee, tells you more than months of chatting will.

 

Unfortunately, OLD creates a forum for people to live out a fantasy with a pen pal. Take it as a major sign, if a person is reluctant to meet. You have to read between the lines, look for clues, be stingy with your benefit of the doubt.

 

Sorry this hurt you. but in the long run, you did see some personality traits that were draining you and you have a good head on your shoulders to realize what you don't like about him and decide e you do deserve better. Because you do!

 

Vive la France!

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OP, you should be meeting people within two weeks so that you can suss them out. Communicating for 5 months is a waste of time, unless you are only looking for a pen pal. Many times these virtual relationships turn into fantasy, and you do not get to know the real person. Hell, he could be married or living with someone.

 

I do not think that you are ready to date. You got out of a long, abusive relationship and did not have time to process. It may have been better to consider therapy, and not another man to boost your self esteem-it would have been healthy to understand why you stayed with your ex, so long.

 

Please process your break up, get therapy. and consider dating for a later time.

 

Good luck!

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All I can say is take your time warming up to someone, but do it in person, in real life. Meet for a cup of coffee and see who they really are and if they are even worth investing in further. Chances are, you'll find that they are not. Don't treat these first meets as dates, because they aren't. It's just chatting with a stranger to see if you'd like to go on a date another time. You shouldn't be jumping into any instant relationship anyway, so take your time and date, but in reality.

 

Chatting online or on the phone can create this illusion of a connection, that you really know someone, that you are friends....but you don't know anything outside of whatever that person chooses to tell you. The emotions and time you are investing feel and are real, but what you are investing in is an illusion. This man....for all you know he is in another relationship and he has disappeared because it's hard to lead a double life while in lockdown with his gf. A bit hard to sneak away and hard to talk as he might get overheard, thus the yeah yeah yeah while you talk. You don't know.

 

If there is one take away from this is take it to real life sooner rather than later and if the other person is dragging their feet, drop them and move on to other people. Do not get into this kind of virtual pen pal situation again. Also, work on your self esteem because good men will not jump through hoops or try to break down your walls and alleviate your fears. This is important for you to understand because it's counter intuitive - good men are not looking for partner they need to fix or mold or tame into dating them. They'll just walk away. This will lead you to always talking to men who are in some way shady, manipulative, willing to play games. Btw, the whole I need this and that and I will take this much time before I agree to meet you for a coffee is seen by most people as playing games. If you are ready to date, then date. If not, work on yourself and don't bother dating. What you are doing now will attract a lot of bad people to you and make your worst fears come true over and over again. Case in point with this man.

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All I can say is take your time warming up to someone, but do it in person, in real life. Meet for a cup of coffee and see who they really are and if they are even worth investing in further. Chances are, you'll find that they are not. Don't treat these first meets as dates, because they aren't. It's just chatting with a stranger to see if you'd like to go on a date another time. You shouldn't be jumping into any instant relationship anyway, so take your time and date, but in reality.

 

For now I will heal and learn. I couldn’t date now as I wouldn’t be able to invest myself. No one deserves this. But this warming up in person is probably the advice that shook me up there. This is so obvious. Thank you.

 

Despite my - let’s say - my physical imperfections I am fine with who I am and wouldn’t shy away from meeting someone because this is who I am and as said Sophia earlier, the right person will love me no matter what. I will definitely trash anyone who will try to lead me on and or change the matter when the question of meeting arise.

 

Who knows if he had someone already, who knows if he was emotionally cheating on someone with me.... one thing sure, I must let myself deserve far better. I’m super pretty, I have humour and conversation, I am highly educated, smart and strong enough to have lost a huge amount of weight all alone and kept healthy for 2 decades. I only need to admit I deserve the best and stop being afraid of myself.

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Well my honest feeling is that there was something dodgy about this guy. You actually did want to meet after three weeks but he didn't. One hour drive is not a big deal! In a lot of big cities people would live that far away from each other. In my opinion it's quite normal and basically all my ex's lived about that far away or even further. Not to mention you could have actually met somewhere halfway where you only had to drive each half an hour. I think this guy was deliberately avoiding you and that's because he had something to hide. Maybe he had a girlfriend already or he was seeing other women. Or possibly he enjoyed talking to you like a friend for those nice conversations but maybe didn't have true feelings for you. People that have nothing to hide and are serious would agree to meet you, but he never did. I guarantee there was some kind of dishonest reason behind it.

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I don’t think he is confined with the mother of his children.

He would briefly call me on week ends when he had his girls - due to their extra scholar sportive activities he was often overwhelmed. He was calling me a bit more during his girls vacations but it never bugged me because kids are a priority to me.

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A warm thank you to everyone who took some time to help and advice. I really appreciate it. I have so much to work on and think about. I will be alright at the end and want to remember what I have heard here.

Meanwhile I am far stronger and resilient than I want to believe. 😊 Keep all safe!

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Good luck! There's some great advice in this thread so keep referring back to it moving forwards. I wouldn't waste a second more worrying about why this particular guy did this or that, was he lying, was he married etc etc, I'd just focus all my attention on moving forwards.

 

One thing that I do find helpful, which you might too, is to have an ongoing journal going in the Journals Sub-forum. It's great for picking up little bits of advice here and there as you go through the dating process.

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Good luck! There's some great advice in this thread so keep referring back to it moving forwards. I wouldn't waste a second more worrying about why this particular guy did this or that, was he lying, was he married etc etc, I'd just focus all my attention on moving forwards.

 

One thing that I do find helpful, which you might too, is to have an ongoing journal going in the Journals Sub-forum. It's great for picking up little bits of advice here and there as you go through the dating process.

 

I’m old enough and have lived enough to know there is no point in trying to know why someone did something we have no power over. You never get to know and only find peace in moving on. When i said I had matter to think, I was referring to myself and the good dating advices I received here. How sad I might be, I gave him enough of my precious life time.

 

I didn’t find the journal subforum yet but I will figure it out 😉

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I think you gave the benefit of the doubt this person for far too long. There's being patient, and then there's convincing yourself to overlook red flags.

 

I don't believe this man was being honest with you. About what, exactly, is hard to say. But there's no good reason why he couldn't manage to meet once in 5 months. Something is very strange about that. My first guess would be that he's not actually single. My second guess would be that he's flat-out lied about who he is, that he is hiding something significant about himself he didn't want you to discover by meeting him in person. Did you have the chance to video chat with him?

 

Whatever the case may be, it's time to move on. You deserve way more than a mystery man who is this evasive.

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