You Disappeared…Then What?

that negro disappeared

Where'd he go?

About ten years ago I met a man named Stephen at a birthday party for a mutual friend. We chatted, hit it off, and exchanged numbers at the end of the night. I was living in London at the time while he lived here in Toronto, but that did little to slow the flurry of phone calls back and forth.

We clicked over the phone just as well as we had at the party and it wasn’t long before we started trying to make plans to see each other again. But with schedules and distance and other considerations, it was about two or three months before we were able to settle on a date.

In that time, the phone calls got longer and more frequent and the anticipation built. So when the time came to head to Toronto to finally meet up with him I could not have been more excited. I had barely dropped my bags on the floor of my sister’s guest room before I was calling him. And texting him. And emailing him. And calling and texting again when I got no response. Not that night. Not the next day or the next night or the night after that. Despite doing everything short of beating out a message on a tom-tom I never heard from this dude again. He disappeared.

Stephen wasn’t the first to pull a Houdini on me, nor was he the last. But despite the maddeningly high number of times a man has gone ghost on me, I’ve never had the slightest clue as to what goes on in the minds of jackasses who pull this shit…until my favourite commenter on my favourite blog confessed the other day that he is a former disappearing act.

His explanation was charming; filled with sentiments like “leaving a great memory” and “relationships that were perfect in their incompletion” but as much as I wanted to I just couldn’t rock with it. I’m too familiar with the aftermath of a disappearance to have much sympathy for the perpetrators of this crime against humanity.

I’m not really sure whether disappearing men ever stop to think about what goes on in the minds if their victims after they’ve exited stage left, but if they don’t, they should. So today’s post is dedicated to my dear disappearing men…what happened after you went MIA:

1. Desperate attempts to contact you.

Every rule a woman has in her mind about when and how often to contact a dude goes out the window when she’s trying to stop a disappearance in progress. She will do anything she can think of to get in touch with you…and when she fails she will look back in painful humiliation at how pathetic she was.

2. White-knuckled resolve to not think about your disappearance.

Everyone knows that just as a watched pot never boils, a man who disappears will never reappear if you think about it too much. So the woman will do everything she can to get her mind off you; including getting down and dirty with some completely inappropriate dude who will only just end up crossed off her list. Then she’ll end up feeling badly about herself for acting like such a big whorebag.

3. Frantic re-examining of everything that happened between to pinpoint why you disappeared.

Once the sickening realization that all the phone calls and all the inappropriate rebound sex in the world will not bring you back sets in, she’s going to start to wonder what she did to make you go off her so completely. She will re-examine to the most minute detail of everything that ever happened between you. She’ll re-read every text, listen to every voicemail, and make her friends review in painstaking detail every encounter they’ve ever had with you just to find some teeny tiny shred of a clue what is going on in your head.

4. White-knuckled resolve not to think about you.

Once she’s completed her review of the situation and come up with nothing, she’s gonna go back to trying not to think about you. It won’t work though; it will just keep nagging at her. You’re not the kind of person who would do this – maybe something happened to you? This just feels so unfinished…maybe she should make one more last-ditch attempt to talk to you? As hard as she tries to push you out, your little asshole head is going to keep popping up in her mind.

5. Furious anger at you for being such a punk ass pussyhole panty meat.

After the mental gymnastics have thoroughly exhausted her, fury is going to set in. Friends who ask whether she’s heard from you will be answered with rage-filled diatribes about no and she hopes she never does and there is nothing you could possibly say for yourself. The anger isn’t real of course; it’s just covering up the hurt of being rejected and the embarrassment of trying to get your attention. Deep down she knows that and feels like a fraud.

6. Resigned acceptance and moving on.

Sooner or later she’ll get tired of not knowing what happened and tired of feeling like shit about it. She’ll push you to the far recesses of her mind and move forward. It will still nag at her; but she’ll do the best she can not to focus on it. She’ll meet someone else and get caught up in new-man excitement.

7. White-knuckled resolve not to think about what you did or expect the next man to do it too.

Ah see here’s the thing. She’s let go. She moved on. She found a new dude and is caught up in the fun of getting to know him. You should be the farthest thing from her mind. Except now she’s wary of everything new dude says. He seems sincere but then again so did you when you were new dude and we all know how that turned out. She used to be cool but now she needs a little more reassurance, she holds him to unreasonably high standards to prove his interest. She watches him more closely than either of them are comfortable with because she’s looking for a sign he might disappear. She’s become that girl.

So disappearing man, are you happy with yourself? Not only did you bounce without a backward glance, but you left in your wake a girl who is frustrated, confused, slutty, annoying, angry, and needy. Because you didn’t have the stones to just look her in the face and tell her why you were done. You suck.

But what do you guys think? Ladies have you been the victim of the disappearing man? Was it hard for you to get past it or am I some kind of psycho? Men have you pulled this on someone before? Why? Weigh in in the comments.

bag lady. digital nerd. beauty junkie. shoe whore. i'm a sucker for big words and box-fresh kicks. know a little bit about a lot of things and have something to say about everything.

Comments 39

  1. Nick@Nite says:

    Lol..
    This whole countdown sounds like the stages of grief.. that’s what came to mind when I read it..
    I haven’t had this happen to me.. I don’t meet people a lot and if I do, it’s usually them not calling that’s more likely to happen than the above scenario.. thus, it’s easier to fastforward to steps 5&6..
    although a little easier on the “furious anger” part.. there wasn’t any room for any emotions to even start, so I’ll just say, “he’s a pantymeat” and get to step 6..

  2. Reecie says:

    this was a great post. I felt myself getting angry just thinking about a time when it happened to me. then dude had the AUDACITY to call me oh…5 months later like nothing happened. grrr. I hate that shit SO MUCH.

    1. max says:

      WHY do they always DO that?!?

  3. mwahahaha pantymeat!

    I hate a disappearing act with all my heart and soul. I love honesty and if you aren’t feeling me just say so. Shut it down before I start thinking about you. I’m quick to delete someone and then lament over it later.

    1. max says:

      I will never understand why it is so difficult for a man to just say “I’m over it. I’m out”.
      What is so hard about that?

  4. average chick says:

    Great post!! I can so relate to this. It has happened more times than I care to remember. One guy told me that he was going shopping with his sister and he would call me back. Needless to say he never did.

    1. max says:

      That is soooooo rude. Let me know when he comes slithering out of his hole.

  5. Dash says:

    I have disappeared before. I do not believe in giving others closure or explaining myself because I do not need those things.

    1. max says:

      Oh are you the centre and object of all existence? I didn’t realize that.
      I’m kidding kinda. But I guess I just don’t really rate that “I’m good so who cares if you’re not” mentality. I think if you want to be a decent person you have to take other people’s feelings into consideration every now and again.

      1. Dash says:

        My first thought did trigger The Big Bang. I am the center of my own universe, and I have always been frank about my “No-Closure Policy”. When I send the “We have run our course. No phone calls or further communication is required. I wish you luck in your future endeavors.” text, it is the end of everything.

        1. emti says:

          Well aren’t you just a joy…workplaces fire people with more emotion than that
          were you hurt in your childhood?

          1. Dash says:

            I had a moderately rough childhood in the hoods of a mid-sized Southern metropolis, but it did not make me into a bad guy. In fact my relationship dismount style accelerates the process of moving on. Since I have begun using that text I have not have to deal with embarrassing post-breakup scenes.

            1. Ashley says:

              @Dash, I’m not sure that Max is talking about you then, if you actually bother to send out the “im just not interested text”. She’s talking about the ones that pretend everything is all good and then vanish into thin air without so much as a goodbye.

              1. max says:

                Yes exactly Ash. I’m talking about the ones who give no explanation whatsoever.

  6. The times I’ve disappeared I’ve always felt like it was the better thing to do for the both of us. The relationship had run its course, and rather than subject what was a wonderful experience to the ruin that is “it’s over” conversations, I rather just end on a high note. I don’t want to tell you that I can feel my interest in you waning (for no reason in particular) with each day that passes, I don’t want to tell you that you are growing less and less attractive to me with each day that passes, I don’t want to tell you that I feel like I’ve gotten to know everything about you that is worth knowing and all this other stuff you’re showing me is seriously turning me off. I don’t want to reduce our relationship to just s-x, and most of all, I don’t want to get to the point where I resent the time I’m spending with you. Disappearing, villainous as it is, is sometimes the best thing for both of us. The fact that you, as a woman, are incapable of understanding that – and will subsequently experience the emotions Max has outlined – does not change the fact that I must… go.

    1. Dash says:

      I was just about to type up something similar. Disappearing preserves good memories of the relationship, and does not force both parties to waste time picking over the remains of the day.

      1. max says:

        See I think the difference between the two of you though is that in Most’s case he has chosen to disappear because he truly tthought it was better for both of them. For you…it seems like you chose to disappear because it’s what’ worked for you and if it didn’t work for her, oh well. To me Most’s point of view is…misguided and yours is….kinda selfish.

        At any rate, the point of this post wasn’t to villify the disappearing man – I already did that in a previous post. It was just to let men who may not have ever considered what effect their disappearances have had know what goes on in the minds of the women they leave without a backward glance.

        1. … And reading what happens was sobering – I must admit. I knew that this was what happened, but I’ve never been told. Reading it from someone who’s opinion you appreciate definitely makes me feel a little worse. Still though, I’d probably make the same choice again.

          And yes – I have called a person I disappeared on a couple months later, completely out of the blue (not after totally disappearing… but after abruptly and drastically decreasing the frequency and depth of our communication). But I did this because I truly cared. I wanted to know what was going on in her life. Looking back, maybe that wasn’t always the best idea – the calling months later part, maybe I wouldn’t do that again, but… idk.

          1. max says:

            I think calling after you disappear can be okay sometimes…as long as you don’t open with “hey stranger where have you been?”. Those are fighting words.

            1. emti says:

              i disagree…if you are going to disappear…stay gone
              calling later because you care? you didn’t care enough to explain yourself in the first place so why now?

              1. jessiejess says:

                you know, if and when they finally do call back. you should see it as the ball being back in your court….

              2. Marie says:

                Yeah ”stay gone !” I don’t want to play tennis with you unless we are on a tennis court.

    2. Candice says:

      It always better if a man informs you on the status of the relationship or gives you an update. I’d rather know that Nicca wants a bootycall than subject myself to the Houdini act. Pulling a Houdini is not cool at all and it’s disrespectful, I wasn’t good enough for the truth???

      Grown ass men are considerate. The fact that you, as a woman, are incapable of understanding that- Really in 2011, Men are still saying this crap??? Good luck, i hope i don’t EVER meet “Dash and The Most Interesting”

  7. jessiejess says:

    oh boy… this is one touchy issue.
    I had a relationship for about nine months that ended last night.
    When one week after a “tiny” (passive aggressive BS) argument resulted into a week of no phone calls or texts, I wanted to say that I was “upset” (he really hurt my feelings) about how he acted. But the “discussion” (bc I was getting no where) turned into him blowing up and say that he just wanted to be “friends”( I have not f**king clue what that means).

    I say that to say, I wish he took the gradually disappearing act. It would probably hurt less. As much as I appreciate the truth, some times the truth hurts tens times more…..
    Where with disappear you go psycho thinking what went wrong, at least you know it was him and all his issues with not being honest. Some how my breakup has me wondering what I did wrong.

    1. That’s the difference between men and women I think. When a relationship ends, a man thinks “well, it ran it’s course… was good while it lasted… time to move on” and a woman thinks “what’s wrong with me?”

      Don’t think about what’s wrong with you or what you did wrong, just accept the fact that the relationship ran it’s course and is now over. You’re just as wonderful as you were the day you met this guy who is now your ex. Take with you the things that were good use that stuff to be a better girlfriend in the future Leave behind the stuff that wasn’t productive. Don’t think so much about why it ended. Instead just focus on being happy.

      1. Reecie says:

        this is a good message, and thank you for it. its still very hard to accept you did nothing wrong, especially if its a person you thought you were gonna spend your life with (this is the dilemma of people in my particular age group).

  8. stephy says:

    I’ve disappeared on several accounts not proud of it but it happened.

  9. Marie says:

    I waited all day long to read the post after work. Today was hectic.
    Good job as usual. I was smiling while reading. I have to say I came across mr panty meat a few time during the last 10 months. I am not saying overseas they are better FAR FROM IT but I never crossed paths with that style before Toronto !
    It hurt and leaft me confused the first time maybe because, as a grown woman, I expect Respect from a Man I date/am involved with/am getting to know. Maybe it’s too much to ask for.
    On the other hand I never blamed myself because if you don’t have the balls to talk to me, you are not worth my time.
    The few men who answered showed clearly that they don’t care and found all kind of selfish explanation to justify their poor behaviour.
    Now turn the table on them and see what’s going to happen… Remember in that situation you can only be hurt by someone you like/love.

  10. killa says:

    @ the most interesting

    you hit the nail right on the head with that one.
    thanks for breaking down the male mentality for all of us females.

  11. required says:

    Guys who disappear do it out of fear.

    They set the wrong expectations (single, time, skill, money, whatever…) and it’s easier to disappear than to get found out.

    It’s sad because rarely, if ever, does it have anything to do with the girl.

  12. SayWhat? says:

    Dear Max-Logic Lady:

    I found this blog from SBM.net and I just want to say….thank you for this post and the others related to it. I am going through this now. Luckily for me, I only suffered hurt feelings, and the relationship ended with my dignity still intact
    (read: no swerving took place, and that makes it easier to walk away from.I held my ground – long story.) But it still sucks ass threw a straw because I did genuinely like him. But at the very least I can sum it up as a lesson learned.

    1. max says:

      Oh thank you! I’m glad you like.

  13. SayWhat? says:

    Oh, and one more thing….sometimes it is a good thing when they (man or woman that you are seeing) do the disappearing act. The actions could be shielding you from some drama that is unforseen at the time.

    #thatisall.

  14. k says:

    Well my man keeps dissapearing for a week at a time, after he gets pissed off at something, no contact just a reeappearance like nothing has ever happend and sometimes the occasional text telling me where he is or goodnight, his shit is still in my house but what the fuck is this suppose to mean your slowly trying to piss me off or cant tell me to my face u dont think its working this is not love which apparently u love me but dont get it pisses me off and hurts me and makes me worry if your ok. stupid virgo men

  15. Fezzik says:

    This has happened to me a few times in the land of online dating. Sure, there are times when you exchange a few messages, maybe a phone conversation or two, meet up ,and then mutually decide that there was no ‘click’. Then, there are times when – at the point of meeting – the guy likes me but I don’t reciprocate and it ends there. Then you got the times where I would like to meet again but nothing. I can handle all that. But Max, like you so accurately described, I despise when you have talked on the phone, chatted online, and/or went on a date and hit if off SO well and its frequent and wonderful contact for a good while. It takes a lot for me to connect with someone and I like to think that I’m smart enought to know the difference between sincerity and bullshit. Anyway, these dissapearing men just don’t have the balls to tell you what changed for them. It’s disheartening, really….

  16. Keli says:

    The thing about a disappearing man, is that they usually seem to want to reappear, and expect us to give them a standing ovation for their little trick.

  17. SadGirl says:

    I’ve had this happen recently (in that I’ve not heard from this man I’ve been dating for a year) as I’ve not heard from him in over a week (he’s not replied to my 2 texts either(which is rare). Granted, it’s actually been longer as he was in a medical detox for a week before that. But things were good and we were communicating and he was appreciative of my support…now…nothing???

    I do want to contact him and ask if he is okay, but part of me thinks he may have just moved on (but after a year, it seems bizarre)

    Any thoughts??

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