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I don't understand why he disappeared. What should I do?

woman hiking alone

He disappeared without a trace. No call, no show. He doesn’t answer your calls, texts or emails. Perhaps he has even blocked you from social media. You thought this relationship had potential or had even fallen in love.

Your thoughts go a million miles an hour, you make excuses, you bargain. Your mind is fraught with questions. Questions that you may never have answered. Did I do something wrong? Did I say something wrong? Was I too needy? Is there someone else? What could I have done differently? What is he thinking right now? Why would he do this? How could he do this?

Then the “if only’s” begin. If I could just talk to him and make him understand. If I could just understand what he is going through. If I could only go back and not say, act or do what I did or didn’t do. You talk to your friends and run through the scenario over and over. They all have different ideas about what happened. Maybe he has commitment issues or likes/loves you so much that it scares him, so he bolted. And on and on and on.

As you spin your wheels and feel more and more hopeless and panicked. You wait, wish and hope that he will contact you. Maybe he will call, you think to yourself. Then…crickets… nothing... You still haven’t heard from him. Days pass, weeks pass…. maybe even months pass. Depending on how long you have been in this relationship this may be one of the most painful and confusing experiences you will have in life. This unacceptable behavior can happen at any age and at any stage of a relationship. The longer the relationship, the more devastating the effects on you.

There are many reasons why a man may behave this way. Most of them have nothing to do with you. Whether he left for someone else, has unresolved issues, was hurt in a past relationship, got scared, was too stressed or too overwhelmed, and so on, does not excuse his lack of consideration for you. A conversation would have been appropriate to address concerns and end the relationship if necessary. Some men do not possess the emotional or communication skills to do so. Many men would rather disappear than inflict hurt in person. Call it cowardly, but it is what it is.

What to do:

First, remember, you deserve so much more. This is not a reflection on you and most likely has nothing to do with you.

Accept that you only have control over how you behave. It is tough to realize that you have no control over the situation, but you do have control over how you take care of yourself.

Give him space. Do not contact him. He may need time to reflect. Give him time to miss you.

Set boundaries with yourself. One attempt to contact him is enough. Stop looking at social media, checking your email and phone for possible messages. This cycle is painful and can become addictive.

Engage in life giving activities- Get out and do things you enjoy. Spend time with family and friends. Do not isolate.

Seek support. Talk with trusted friends and family.

Engage in therapy. Not only are you sad, but this situation may have triggered unresolved issues and unhealed parts of you from your past. Very often there is a thread to an earlier experience in childhood that this situation mimics. This situation will teach you a lot about yourself. You will grow from this experience if can see the gifts in the awareness you gain. Your counselor can help you with this.

If you do hear from him, you will need to set clear boundaries on what behavior you are willing to accept in the future. Use discernment and choose wisely.

Lisa Angelini, MAPC, LPC, ACCHT


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