Why would he leave and not say goodbye?

By Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

Q: I am a seperated woman that was involved with a married man for a year. It started innocently by me taking my daughter to her friends house. Through this I met ‘Vaughn’. We just talked about the kids and school. We saw each other through these drop offs and pick ups about 5 times a week. I learned his wife traveled on business 2 weeks out of the month. My then husband and I were in the process of divorce.

Throughout the next month, he talked more to me and I became interested in him. I told him I felt like I was living like a single mom and he told me his marriage was not good and they were living in denial and putting on a front for their kids.

He started complimenting me and I would be excited for the next play date with our kids so I could see him. Once I realized he was really pursuing me I started flirting back thinking that his marriage was bad like he told me.

3 months after talking and flirting we had our first kiss. He told me that everyone at work told him how happy he seemed and I was so happy too. A month later we had sex. 2 weeks after that he told me he loved me and talked about our future. He asked me to be patient with him because he was going to leave his wife and he was ‘prepping the battle field’. If there was a time that we didn’t see each other for even 2 days he would ask if I had moved on.

We emailed hundreds of times and got together whenever his wife was out of town. The compliments poured in as well as talk of the future.

Months later I found out that he was offered a job transfer in another state. His wife would be able to transfer as well. He told me he wouldn’t take the job because of what ‘we’ had. When I asked if he was going to move (I overheard a lot of information when our kids played together) he told me ‘no’ over and over again.

Ends up he took the job but kept putting me off by saying if his wife didn’t get the job, they would stay. Even up to a week and 1/2 before they moved he told me nothing was final. Finally 1 week before, he told me he was moving. A couple weeks before that he emailed me saying to ‘never let go. Please.’

We got together 8 days before they left and had a very physical night. He held me tight but had stopped telling me he loved me. I asked if we were going to see each other before he left he said he hoped so. The days kept passing and I watched out my window as he drove away! Without saying good bye. He never called or emailed to explain what or why it happened this way.

His wife was very suspicious of the ‘friendship’ we had. He had told me early on that he had another affair in the past shortly after he got married. I told him Early on before we got involved that it didn’t seem like he and his wife had problems, and that I didn’t want to be the one to break up his family.

Before he left, he called and reminded me that I said I didn’t want to be a ‘homewrecker’ and ‘oh yeah, I was still going to call or stop over to say good bye.’ He never did.

Why after a year of not only sexual but emotional attatchments would he just leave me here to pick up the pieces of my life and he gets to go start a new life? Without even saying goodbye? Didn’t he think I would be mad and hurt? I’m very confused and hurt.

So after a week without him explaining anything to me, I went to his wife. She was still here selling their house. I told her I knew she had her suspicions and would answer any questions she had. And I did. I told her everything, except that he called her ‘what’s her face’. I didn’t want to hurt her more. I also returned to her a flannel shirt he gave me and a pair of boxer shorts he gave me. He was good at lying to me and sweet talking me do you think he could have sweet talked his way out of those boxer shorts to his wife? She told me they had talked about divorce in the past and this just puts the nail in the coffin.

She was very civil to me telling me that she doesn’t blame me alone, she told me not to beat myself up and that you can’t help who we fall in love with, and that she forgives me’. Why would she be so nice to me?

Now I can’t seem to stop wondering if she’s leaving him. Would a woman stay with a man after she knew about 2 affairs? What about the ones she doesn’t know about? I’m sure there are more. How does a man say all he said to me over the year, and then leave with no goodbye?

A: Because he is a philanderer. A man who will cheat on his wife — at least twice — is not a man you can expect to be faithful to you. He seems to like the “romance” and the secrecy of an affair but he doesn’t want there to be any consequences. Chances are that any woman who gets involved with him will end up deeply hurt and very disappointed.

Your part in this is that you had an affair with a married man. I know you were feeling vulnerable at the time. I understand that it felt wonderful to feel wanted. But, from my point of view, there are no excuses for a woman to help another woman’s husband break his marriage vows. Send any man who gives you the “my wife and I are getting a divorce” line packing. Let him do the honorable thing and deal with his wife and his marriage first. If he does get his divorce, then and only then does it make sense to explore the relationship.

You asked why his wife stays with him. That’s between the two of them. She has young children. Apparently she has made some difficult compromises in order to keep her marriage together, at least for now. Be grateful that she responded to you as she did. She’s the only one of the three of you who has held on to her dignity in this situation. I suggest you take some hard lessons from all this and move on.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 16 Jul 2008

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2008). Why would he leave and not say goodbye?. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 19, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2008/07/16/why-would-he-leave-and-not-say-goodbye/