He’s broken up with you — he just didn’t tell you

My guy pals have told me that men are emotional cowards. They’d rather walk barefoot over broken glass than do something that would make a woman cry. Thus their preference for going poof rather than tell you they have changed their mind.

A year ago I was interviewed by the Wall Street Journal for a story about how younger people learn their sweetie has broken up with them by their partner changing their Facebook relationship status to “single,” or by a text message. I thought that was immature. Midlife people didn’t do this kind of cowardly thing, did they?

Today I learned that King Charming has broken up with me. Did he tell me? No. In fact, in an hour-long IM two days ago he said, “I did not contact you nor meet you with the intention of our sharing a short-lived transient relationship. I am one who likes things to last for a very long time…. Candid with you I will always try to be….”

Well, so much for being candid! Here’s how I learned that we are not the couple I thought — and he said — we were.

He had been gone for 2.5 weeks dealing with the aftermath of an unexpected family tragedy. We texted regularly and he called once. We both proclaimed our affection for the other and how much we missed each other. In the last month, I’ve regularly received messages like:

“My whole life has changed, oh what a wonderful change it is to be a part of your life and to have you be in mine. You enchanted me from the beginning and now I care not to think of being without you my sweet. Whether near or far you’re always on my mind and in my heart because for you there is a special place reserved just for YOU.” And “Being away from you for any reason will not ever be enjoyable for me. You have a special place in my head and my heart and nothing I could here now imagine will alter that in any way because I tell you with pride and joy that I want YOU…!”

We’d had the conversation about not being interested in seeing others, how we’d taken down our profiles from the dating sites, how we weren’t pursuing or accepting invitations from others. We didn’t use the “exclusive” word, but we said it in different ways.

In the most recent IM conversation he disclosed he was going on an extended road trip the next day to clear his head — with no mention of our seeing each other before he left. He had no idea how long he’d be gone — it could be weeks. I was disappointed and hurt. As diplomatically as I could, I asked when we would see each other. When he returned.

In the past 2 months when we have been apart and I missed him, I enjoyed reading his hidden, now-private dating profile on the site where he found me. I’ve told him I do this, so he knows I read it periodically.

On the day we met, he hid his profile from pubic view and changed his headline from “Need Just You…” to “I have found you.” Under “How would you describe yourself,” he’d changed “One happy man who sought to find that one good woman” to “One happy man who sought to find that one good woman to make my queen and by fate’s will [my screen name] has come into my life now and I have no urge to seek another.” And from “I am looking forward to meeting you and exploring more than possibilities. It is my hope that you are of a like mind” to “Lovely [my name], now that we’ve begun to communicate I am looking forward to meeting you and exploring more than possibilities. It is my hope that you are of a like mind.”

When I looked at his profile this morning, 1) it was active again, 2) he had been on the site within the last 48 hours, 3) the headline and verbiage were back to the original.

In his most recent IM he mentioned one of the places he will visit is the small town where his last girlfriend lives. On our fourth date he said he’d told her about me and she wasn’t happy. Well, it appears he will be seeing her on this trip — and by all indications it isn’t to shout his love for me while jumping on her couch.

He had removed her pictures from his public Flicker account soon after we met. Now her pic is back. There were two of him and me — one of us kissing. Now that one is gone, although there is one left. Perhaps she, too, peruses his pics periodically, and he knows that she does, as he knows I do.

So all of this adds up to a cowardly king and a disappointed, single goddess. Unless I am misreading all this evidence.

Have you ever discovered someone you were dating exclusively broke up with you but didn’t tell you? How did you handle it?

Got a topic on dating after 40 you want Dating Goddess to address? Send your issue to Goddess@DatingGoddess.com.


22 responses to “He’s broken up with you — he just didn’t tell you”

  1. Elena Avatar

    DG, I’m very sorry. This truly sucks. I’m afraid that internet dating has become a scourge for many of us. It’s really been corrupted by all the flakes and players out there. The thing that so many of us loved initially about internet dating –that it increases the possibilities of meeting many people in a relatively-low risk manner– has now become its Achilles heel. For some men (and women) seeing an infinite stream of profiles and dating sites leads one to believe that there’s always something better out there, if only they keep clicking. Before online dating, people weren’t so quick to bail because the stakes were higher and the social network was smaller, as you’ve written about previously. I think we’ll have to wait for some other technological advance to make the internet a worthy tool of finding a lasting relationship. It’s a shame, really, because several years ago it was a great way to find people who were serious about finding a lasting relationship. Now it’s just become a digital meat market.

    Back to you, like I said, this truly stinks, but DG what is the common thread in these last couple of guys you dated and felt a strong connection with? There seems to be a pattern here. Guys who you describe as extremely charming, engaging and attentive who suddenly turn into ugly frogs. That email you posted from King Charming would’ve personally turned me off only a month into dating someone because for me it would’ve felt like too much information too soon. But that’s just me. But it seems that you thrive on getting that type of attention from guys who seem initially promising but really haven’t been around long enough to have much of a track record.

    By the way, what is it with you and these guys who have a death in the family or a family tragedy to attend to? Sheer coincidence or a convenient lie? It seems like this is the third guy who has used such an excuse to extricate himself from an obligation.

    Have you ever considered using a professional matchmaker? With so much money at stake, I would like to think that a professional matchmaker will work harder to find you a good solid compatible match.

  2. Dating Goddess Avatar
    Dating Goddess

    Thanks, Elena, for your sympathies.

    I haven’t felt a strong connection with anyone like I did with King Charming in a long, long, long time. Yes, I am susceptible to flattery and sweet talk, but I also have a pretty good BS detector, although after this I’m beginning to doubt my abilities to tell anything about a man! So maybe I’m just great bait for players!

    I’ve wondered the same thing about the guys who’ve had deaths in the family! I have no reason to doubt they are telling the truth, but it is odd until I realize others in my circle have had recent deaths of close family members. But one friend did suggest I add to my profile: “If you have someone with a terminal illness don’t contact me, as my dating you may send them over the edge.” Sad humor, I know.

    No, I’ve not considered a matchmaker as no one I know personally has had one work out for them. I don’t know that they would do any better job except they may do a thorough background check. But they can’t predict chemistry.

  3. nysharon Avatar

    I am soooo sad for you. Hugs. What a jerk. The way it happened is so disrepectfull and mean. Worst than the Sex in the City post it note story. You should rent it with a pint of ice cream, it may make you laugh. ๐Ÿ™

    Elena couldn’t have said it better. I have found that men on the internet are looking to trade up or younger. The internet is the perfect venue, its like shoping for a new car. OK, here’s a story to distract you.

    Last night I went on date 2 with a man an acquaintance set me up with. I happen to know via my friend, he is on an internet site, and as you know I don’t do that. It is a site that will let you view others profiles. My friend showed me it to let me view his pictures to see if I might be interested. I went back a few times after date 1 with him. Every time he was ONLINE NOW! I am thinking–is he a player or what? Just a gut feeling. Then I became obsessed — he was always ONLINE NOW. Last night — date 2. He was dull, arrogant, and shared hardly anything about himself. Awkward. I caught him glancing at his Blackberry which was on the bench seat next to him. REALLY. Now DG, I am what my guy friends call the whole package. Pretty, smart, petite, successful. He called me after the date. He apologized for not being himself. I told him he appeared distracted but that it was OK>>>>>really this morning I am thinking, he needs to be kicked to the road side. Should I text him????????

  4. Kevin Avatar


    Sorry to hear about this. As a guy, I can tell you that this is BS. A real man should have the courage to face you in person and deliver the message. Good or bad, right or wrong, this is the way is should be done. You may not agree, you may not be happy, but you have to respect someone who is honest with you and meets you face to face.

    This “KC” is a fraud. And truly he does not deserve you. Good luck recovering. Do not spend too much time on this, and do your best to move on. Stay positive. You will do just fine.

  5. Dating Goddess Avatar
    Dating Goddess

    NYSharon: Thanks for the virtual hug.

    Yes, that Post-It-Break-Up episode was startling. But at least he communicated!

    Bummer about date 2. Frankly, I wouldn’t even bother texting the guy. I think he will go poof on his own, or if he does contact you tell him you weren’t feeling a connection.

    Kevin: Thanks so much for your support. I, too, think it’s BS. In fact, I said that aloud, along with a few other choice words. After 2 months of intense dates, lovey-dovey IMs, emails, and conversations which only gave me indications of moving forward, this is BS.

    BTW, Price Considerate (remember him from last Fall?) and I were IMing last evening and I told him what happened. He asked if I wanted him to come over to talk about it. I did. So he was very sweet, comforting, and affirming. No, we are not getting back together as we know we are not a good match.But it was wonderful to have him as a great friend. So there are some good guys out there, and I will adjust my man-picker a bit better to find them.

  6. Dondon Avatar

    Yup, I myself admit that I’m emotionally coward..because..I really don’t want someone to get hurt because of me and before that happens, I always hide the feelings that is being kept inside of me..

  7. naturegirl Avatar

    DG – I’m so sorry that this happened to you. Treating someone this way shows a lack of integrity and honesty. I suppose it is best to find this out as soon as possible, but that doesn’t make it hurt any the less.

    I’d be really tempted to call him and give him a piece of my mind. But, I’m a bitch that way. ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. PreviouslyQofE Avatar

    What a total jerk. So sorry that this happened to you, DG. The last guy I dated actually broke up with me (via email!!) but it took him a couple of weeks of being an absolute a**hole to me before he did it (probably trying to force ME to do it so he didn’t have to). When we had started dating, he did what your guy did; immediately closed down his matches (we met through eHarmony), told me he wasn’t looking for anyone anymore, and started enlisting my help and decisions in choosing furniture for his home, talked like he was expecting me to move in with him…it was weird but flattering, in a scary kind of way. So maybe these guys are all about the initial rush, the fluttery feelings, the need for a relationship when it’s too soon to tell, and then when they realize it’s not all it promised to be, they bail. And not gracefully! Like naturegirl wanting to call the guy and give him a piece of her mind, I was very tempted to call that last guy, and actually wrote a very nasty letter but just saved it instead of sending it. I did get back on eHarmony that same day he broke up with me, only to find that he had got there first and closed our match. I was no longer a member, but joined again because I wanted to send a nastygram to him, and because I was angry about it, paid for a year membership up front – only to find that the only message I could send him was “I wish you luck in your search!” Not nearly as satisfying! I tried to get eHarmony to give me a refund but waited too long, so it cost me $250 to send a friendly message instead of a snarly one. Oh well.

    Count your blessings, you dodged a bullet!!! Make this a summer of loving YOURSELF before you jump back into the dating pool! After that last go-round, I gave up on the online stuff and just focused on myself and doing things I liked to do, and met someone through my work contacts. We’ve been together for nearly six months now, everything is just peachy, and the funny part is that he was on eHarmony at the same time I was, and it never matched us up. He lives less than a half mile from me.

    Best wishes and here’s another virtual hug for you!

  9. chanda Avatar

    Oh, I so feel your pain! I was dumped much the same way. We had been dating a whopping 2 months when he told me he loved me, and only wanted to “take care of my heart”. pfft! A few months later, after a good three to four weeks of “I have a head ache” kind of behavior on his part, he left for a “business” trip on the west coast. I too checked his yahoo profile as a way to keep in touch, and like your coward, my coward knew of this. Well long story short, he had been back home for two days and I had not heard a peep, so I checked his yahoo profile, and there for all the world to see was a picture of some woman I had never heard of and the caption “the smile that makes it all worth while” or something like that. Nice.

    Cowards suck! I see a good bottle of wine and maybe some chocolate in your near future. Hang in there!

  10. Eathan White Avatar

    hmmm … I have mixed feelings about this one. It’s possible that he broke up with ya. It’s also possible that he has gone out with his ex a time or two. It’s also possible that his dating profile is active by the dating website. I have experience in that field… and I know Match will keep profiles active if you’re not a subscriber. The best thing to do is to be direct with your text response. Any coward, man, would answer easily.

    Just my 2 cents…

  11. Dating Goddess Avatar

    Dondon: Thanks for your honesty!

    Chanda: I’m seeing a pattern here with the guys! I’m sure women can be equal cowards, but it does seem that women are more willing to talk about the relationship while guys seem to squirm at the prospect of that discussion.

    Naturegirl: Thanks for your comment. Yes, best to find out now before I invested more of my heart and hopes in him. And no, I’m not going to initiate any contact, whether text, IM, email or call.

    PreviouslyQofE: Thanks for the hug. I feel I got off easy as I didn’t have to spend $250 like you did! Interesting story of yours about eHarmony. I’m not at all fond of their “matching” as it has always been a dud for me. Great that you met your guy the natural way.

    Eathan: Yes, I wanted to give him the benefit of the doubt, but his profile used to say “profile hidden.” Now it says “active within 24 hours.” And I know this isn’t a standard setting, as 2 days ago it said “active within 48 hours” then yesterday, “active within 6 hours.” I can also see who looked at my profile and he has within the last 24 hours. So he’s on the site! He knows I’ve looked at his and know his is changed and active.

    I know, this all feels so childish, but I had to have enough evidence to prove what Eathan says, that it wasn’t a site resetting his profile without his knowing. And the fact that he was gone to “clear his head” and is actively seeking his next date is stomach turning.

    Part of me wants to have a viable, rational explanation for all this. I’m surmising from bits of evidence. But I’m a CSI fan and all the circumstantial evidence does seem to point that he’s bailed on me, or at the least wants to have me and others too. If he contacts me, I’ll be very interested to see what he says as I won’t confront him until I hear what he has to say.

    As Prince Considerate pointed out last night, I deserve a guy who doesn’t take me for granted and has enough maturity to tell the truth even if it isn’t what he thinks I want to hear. Which is more hurtful, someone telling you directly what you don’t want to hear or finding it out on your own? There is only one right answer to that question.

  12. K Avatar

    Never make someone your priority while they only make you an option. Hang in there! (well…. on a selfish note you will be posting more often again…..sorry…poor humor)

  13. Mike Avatar

    Sad to hear it. Although a person who could do this you don’t want to be with.

    While I have never been in your place I usually sense when it is coming. So I usually will ask or at least not surprised when it happens. For me my brother was my bad example. He hated the talk and usually just stopped communication and hoped they got the hint. I always talk to them. Like a splinter it may really hurt for the moment, but the pain quickly fades instead of the festering of something never acknowledged.

  14. matt Avatar

    Im really sorry for you. It sounds as though you have lost some extra baggage though. As has already been said you will feel better with time. Rely on your freinds and be honest with them about how you feel. My advice would be to settle into the situation then when you are comfortable start enjoying yourself a little. Im sure there will be guys queing up! Hope you’re ok!

  15. Dating Goddess Avatar
    Dating Goddess

    K: I’m totally with you on this. The challenge is when he keeps telling you that you are a priority so you don’t really know you’re just an option!

    And thanks for the compliment that you want me to post more often. I’ve stepped it up this week. I just don’t want to write things for the sake of having a posting — I want it to be interesting or entertaining to you readers!

    Mike: You are right on! A person who could do this doesn’t have the maturity, integrity, respect and honesty to spend any more time on.

    Matt: Thanks for your concern and compliment! I have reactivated myself on a few sites and yes, the guys are queuing up! Of course, most of them live hundreds of miles away, but it always nice to see you are desired, even if I have no interest in ones who aren’t local. (Which, BTW, I say in my profile and they ignore!)

    Thank you all for your kind words of encouragement and sharing your stories of cowards who tell you one thing then days later do something exactly opposite of what they said. Even after all the men I’ve gone out with, my emotions clouded some signs because I wanted so much for this to work out with him. He was so much of what I have been looking for, but I have to have honesty, integrity, respect and communication so no matter what else is part of the package, if those are missing, there’s no match.

  16. Catherine Avatar

    I’m sorry King Charming turned out to be a frog! Seems like so many people these days are finding out their “perfect match” isn’t perfect at all.
    Hindsight is always 20/20, but didn’t you have some communications issues with him really early on?

    I am currently learning how to be in a less than perfect relationship, but day by day. This means I have no expectations, and my heart is not involved. I am thankful I have met someone to spend time with once or twice a week, but we are both clear that this will not be a forever relationship. I am learning lots about living in the moment and not worrying about the future, since I am clear that there is none with this man. At least I know exactly where I stand in his priorities and life. It’s kind of antiseptic, but better than nothing.

  17. nysharon Avatar

    DG: I am thinking it is sweet how many men stepped up here to console you. That has to speak for something.
    My experience with dating since my divorce helped me to recognize that after date 2 (see above) with the Self absorbed Jerk, I don’t want another. 4 years ago, I would have given it more time, at the expense of my self esteem. The lemonaide in all this is that with each experience we learn about ourselves more and when to cut bait. Don’t you think?

  18. muzefish Avatar

    DG: my heart goes out to you. I am so sorry that you have to go through this, I was really rooting for you. I think it is nice that you have some male supporters writing you here don’t loose faith in good men, they have to be out there.

  19. Mitsy Avatar

    Ah..the perks of being able to play games with people’s feelings just because they don’t have the balls to act like an adult and tell someone they want to move on. I stand by my convictions that it’s wrong, immature, and rude for a man in his 30’s, 40’s and older to play the juvenile coward games that so many men play.

    If a man isn’t wanting to pursue anything further with a woman, he owes it to her to be honest. If not, he can get comfortable wearing the “Player” label because that is what he is. I don’t care how much a guy doesn’t want to hurt someone’s feelings. Games like that shouldn’t happen if both people are adults about things.

    The very big drawback for all this is the invention of dating sites, myspace pages, and other tracking venues that make it even worse for someone who feels like they’ve been ditched. For Goddesses’ situation, I’d say it was a tip-off that the guy said his ex-gf was not happy about him having a new woman in his life. A decent guy would not continue contact with an ex if they are truly an ex. Secondly, he wouldn’t be stupid enough to tell someone he’s dating such a thing if he really wanted things to work out with the current woman. That was a red flag that he was waffling on what he wanted…another one of the thousands of confused, cowardly, never content men out there who dodge doing what is right and try to pretend it never happened.

    I’ll say what others have said…you can do better. A guy who is this hot/cold isn’t someone you’d want in your life long-term. You could trust him as far as you could throw him.

  20. bookyone Avatar

    Hi DG,

    Ooh, that sucks! Please allow me to join your other online friends in offering my sympathy and the occasional bottle rocket, should the latter become necessary. ๐Ÿ™‚

    It’s for the reasons stated above by earlier posters, (too many players, skunks and BS artists, etc., et al), that I’ve given up on finding love online, although, like yourself, I’ve made some lovely friends, both male and female, whose virtual company I really enjoy. IMHO, life’s too short to put up with losers; thank goodness this guy showed his true (yellow) color when he did and didn’t waste any more of your valuable time and generous nature, which gives you more time to spend on the good ones. ๐Ÿ™‚

    BIG hug from bookyone ๐Ÿ™‚

  21. Carol Avatar

    Im very sorry! I was absolutely shocked to read this so I cannot imagine your sadness and disappointment. My thoughts are with you. I am happy that you revised your want list to include a few more things. You will eventually get it just right. I know it will most likely take a while because it usally does once our heart is opened wide and then gets hurts like this. Take good care of yourself and enjoy time with your friends. This is a reason why you NEVER give up your friends.

  22. Samantha Avatar

    I guess I droned on about my ex eharmony man in the wrong place over there! His marrying someone else sent me in to therapy. My therapist’s take on the whole online dating thing is that a lot of men on there aren’t serious and not relationship material. She suggested there appears to be a higher number of quality available women, and not as many guys in that category on the sites. She’s not saying there aren’t any great men, it’s just her opinion and experience from all the clients that guys who aren’t serious gravitate to online dating. It’s easy and they can tell themselves they’re out there and trying.