DG reader Gayle wrote:
I was dating a man, then he quit his job of twenty years and seemed overwhelmed with stuff in his life. However, he kept assuring me we were fine. For months we talked every day — we knew exactly when to get a hold of each other. We had no secrets. I could even be at his place when he wasn’t there. We had many overnights, and talked frequently, confiding very personal stuff.
Then something shifted. I went over to his place, he was home, but avoided me. Then some weird messages, telling me about silly little things. Then nothing for over 2 months. I believe he became depressed. He is over 50, very professional, and all signs indicate he would be completely forthright with any need to split with me.
My conundrum is, do I assume — and there are many indications — that he is depressed and I emotionally support him? Or do I act like I normally would when someone disappears and just move on?
I’ve asked him for a note, email or text to tell me if I should stop contacting him. I made it very clear that I only need to be told once. Then, on the other hand, I’m willing to stick by if it’s a health issue.
What are your thoughts?
This is a toughy. However, you have a good history with him, so you don’t want to assume the worst. It sounds like you haven’t actually talked to him. I would definitely call and talk or set up a time to have coffee or go to his house (or he yours). If he is depressed, it would be hard for him to reach out. Your extending your hand of support could be just what he needs to seek professional help and get his life back on track.
Or perhaps he got back with an old love or started seeing someone else but didn’t know how to break it to you. His avoiding behavior then nothing could be interpreted that way, but you won’t really know until you ask.
If he doesn’t return your phone calls, don’t leave him angry messages, just be supportive. Assume that your analysis is in some part right and leave the door open for him to reach out. But don’t wait on him, date others. You’ve already waited for him two months, so if you haven’t already, see others. If he comes back around and you aren’t attached to another, you can see him again. Or perhaps just shift to friend mode.
Readers: what advice do you have for Gayle?
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