The Case Of The Vanishing Date

Your new sweetie seemed perfect—until he fell off the face of the earth after a few great dates. Here’s why he disappeared.

By Nicholas Russo

fter several seemingly perfect outings with a new date, you’re still giddy—not to mention a little relieved at the thought of taking down your online profile. But when the time comes for you to make more plans, the unthinkable happens: He vanishes. You don’t hear from him (or her, though our experts say this disappearing act is mainly a guy’s crime). And when you call or email, it’s radio silence. Half of you wants to file a missing person report, but your sensible side knows that you’ve been the victim of a Date & Run.

Unfortunately, being blown off by a date is completely common, and it usually has nothing
He could have been intimidated by how strong your connection was.
to do with anything you did “wrong” —though that may not relieve the hurt and betrayal you feel. Here, to help Date & Run victims get a fresh perspective, we share the most common reasons guys pull disappearing acts.

The Love Addict
Everybody loves that euphoria of entering into a relationship, but the Date & Runner gets so caught up in the thrill of a new crush that he never sticks around to experience the actual relationship. “These people get very infatuated, and then the connection burns out quickly—almost like a sugar high,” says Gloria Meaux, Ph.D., an Atlanta-based psychologist. Once the rush is over, he’s on to the next love of his life. And the addict doesn’t mind walking away after promising you the moon—in his mind, this is just how people date, so he doesn’t even feel like you were seriously involved.
The telltale clues: He seemed too good to be true early on, talking about your future together and laying on the compliments; his dating past seemed to consist only of short-term flings; he talked about the two of you in romantic ways (The One) but never practical terms (like “boyfriend”).

The Just-Not-That-Into-You Dude
Whether your guy just wants to see other people or has realized that he doesn’t feel the chemistry between you two, he may tell himself it’s kinder to phase you out than make you hear the rejection out loud. And if he’s led you on or recently met someone else, he may also be too ashamed to come clean. “It’s a symptom of our times,” says Caroline Tiger, author of How to Behave. “With email and text messaging, you don’t have to see the reactions of the people you’re communicating — or not — with.” For an average guy who’s afraid of confrontation or looking like a jerk, simply ignoring you can seem a lot easier than telling you the painful truth.
The telltale clues: The nice things he said were always in response to something complimentary you said; he never mentioned having a direct conflict with anyone; you had fun together but never felt sure you’d hear from him outside of your dates.

The Fear-of-Success Suitor
This is what we all hope the case is when someone great fades away—that he’s simply so intimidated by the intensity of the new bond that he needs time to make sure he’s doing the right thing. “Some people get scared when a relationship goes well,” says
He may love falling in love, but not be up for a real relationship.
Bonnie Eaker Weil, Ph.D., author Make Up, Don’t Break Up. He may not be used to connecting so well with someone and may also doubt his ability to hold up one end of a healthy relationship—and so he retreats.
The telltale clues: He took the lead for the first date or two, but then stopped making decisions—a sign he started doubting himself; he hinted at bad relationships in the past; he’d gone through a recent life change (divorce, new job, relocation) that may have left him feeling off-kilter.

So What Now?
Just knowing why your Date & Runner flaked won’t change the situation, but it should help you realize that it really isn’t you—it’s him. If you’re truly devastated about someone you met recently, though, consider whether you were getting too carried away with your hopes for the relationship. Honestly evaluating your partner’s relationship history will help you put his vanishing into context—and if you didn’t know your date well enough to talk about your past relationships, then you weren’t really that involved. (See above about getting carried away.)

In most cases, the experts agree: The best way to deal with a Date & Runner is simply to run the other way. But if you aren’t ready to give up on this vanishing boyfriend just yet, you can always contact your Date & Runner once more, says Weil. Send an email that lets him know you’re still interested (in case he’s doubting himself or feeling guilty over disappearing), but in a relaxed way that won’t seem needy (in case he still wants time to figure things out or is only interested in dating casually). Weil suggests something like: “Hi! I think we had a really good time together. I know we haven’t connected since, but I’m leaving the door open. I have basketball tickets for next weekend, so let me know if you’d like to join me.” That said, only send the email if you’re prepared to never hear back—and can handle that. And make sure that if you do hear back, you don’t lower your expectations. This may well be someone who can’t give you what you really want.

Nicholas Russo has written for and
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