Suddenly single? Ask Dr. Gilda

Dear Dr. Gilda,
I’ve been single for nearly eight months. The way my ex treated me made it easier to move on. Now I have met someone at church; he got out of a four-year relationship last year.

After we met, he called the next day, and we talked and texted for a few days, and then it stopped for three weeks. Then he emailed me out of the blue and texted again. We talk for a few days, and then he’s off again. We always have a good time. We recently went on dates for over two weeks consistently, and then we slept together. We talked for about two days following, and now he’s gone again.

I realize that we both agreed to take it slow. We talked about what we did. And he had no regrets (or so he said) and didn’t want me to hate him. But now look at us. He just disappeared again, and I am stuck in limbo. I did not sleep with him to further our friendship. He did write me an email two weeks ago explaining his distance had to do with the difficulty of him getting over his last relationship. Though it helped explain his behavior, I still find it hard to deal with when he just “ignores” or avoids me for extended periods of time.

I don’t know if I should make the next move and tell him how this is making me feel, or just move on completely and learn from our mistake. If we both like each other so much, why does he keep disappearing for weeks at a time? Could I just be a rebound for him?
-Some Regrets
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Dear Some Regrets,
Your guy’s behavior pattern was already set before you slept with him. When you were still just getting to know each other through emails and text messages, he would engage in stops and starts. Since you’re fairly new at this dating game, you were vulnerable and forgiving. You chose to accept his behavior when he was available, thinking he would stay around more consistently. But apparently, the sex didn’t make a difference. This guy obviously has a problem getting close and staying close.

Good for you for confronting him! He says his disappearing act is caused by his difficulty in “getting over his last relationship.” Maybe that’s the reason, or maybe it isn’t. You hardly know him; perhaps this is how he treated his ex, too. Whatever the reason for his actions, his comment does reveal that he cannot be emotionally or even physically available to you now.

You say you didn’t sleep with him “to further” your connection. So why did you sleep with him? Was it his prize for being around for two straight weeks? Ordinarily, I’d say, you’re a big girl, and you can handle the fallout. But look at how you describe your situation now: “I am stuck in limbo,” “I still find it hard to deal with when he just ‘ignores’ or avoids me for extended periods of time,” and moreover, you have “Some Regrets.” The portrait you paint of yourself is of someone who is hurt by this guy’s antics, instead of someone who can go with his flow. As my Gilda-gram recommends, “When you’re in a painful situation, either change the situation or change your reaction.” Since you can’t change the situation, here’s what I suggest you do to feel better now:
  1. Recognize that this guy is a poor dating choice for you. Waiting for him to “come around” won’t work.
  2. Dump the regrets, and chalk up to experience what previously went on.
  3. Look for men in the future who are emotionally and physically available.
New daters usually make some mistakes before discovering the kind of partner they prefer. This is all a learning process, so stop being so hard on yourself. The more experience you have, the better equipped you will be to ward off inappropriate people. Go out now and have fun—without this dude!

Relationship expert Dr. Gilda Carle, Ph.D., gives Instant Advice throughout the world via Skype, email and phone. She is the 30-Second Therapist for Her best-selling books include Don’t Bet on the Prince!, 99 Prescriptions for Fidelity and How to Win When Your Mate Cheats. Please visit her website at (

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