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My Long Distance Boyfriend has Gone Off the Grid

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Hi, I’m early 50’s, divorced 10 years, date often, and had a couple of long term relationships. I’m friends with my ex, have great adult kids, and figured that if “my forever guy” existed – someday I would run into him.  Well four months ago, that’s what happened. Actually, we met 2 1/2 years ago while traveling, exchanged numbers, but, never dated until a chance re-meeting. We live on opposite ends of the country. We hit it off big time. For three months, it was out of-this-world-crazy good. It wasn’t easy, since we live on opposite coasts, but we were together every few days because he travels for his job and I happened to be during those exact months also. No one could fault this man for the effort he made to be with me. We met up in various locations, and he also opened up his home to me — and I did the same to him. There were no secrets with life, belongings, history, etc. During our three great months, he met one of my children and corresponded with another one who had professional questions. His children were never where I could meet them, but he wanted me to. Everything seemed like love. He said it. I said it. We both remarked that it was like a magnetic attraction pulling us tighter and tighter. He couldn’t tell me enough how he had never had a connection like this before. I certainly had not. WE WERE TIGHT. We called and texted daily. Then, a series of tragedies over the course of a month made him go off the grid. He totally quit communicating two different times, with a short reconciliation in the middle. The first time was all easily and believably explained and he was quiet for only three days, but when he resurfaced, he apologized because he could tell he had hurt me. Then we met up and had three amazing days and the second they were over, the bizarre amount of personal, professional, and family crises started up again. In this last month, both of us have had multiple life traumas and life-changing experiences, including family members dying, pets dying, major job promotions, child graduations, family vacations, car accidents, and some very traumatic gut-wrenching issues that our respective children have had to navigate through.  It’s almost surreal the amount of weird and life-changing experiences we have dealt with in a month.  But, he pulled out rather than relying on me or communicating with me.  He won’t answer my texts or calls.  I’ve had one or two messages or phone calls and they are vague and with lots of excuses about losing phones, or being at funerals, or busy at work.  What happens to someone when they are under extreme stress?  Why did he choose giving up versus staying in.  I want to make excuses to myself for his behavior: he needed his energy for the new promotion in his very stressful job or for his children, so if something had to give, it had to be me.  But, why zero information regarding that?  I expressed to him how I hurt when he disappeared, but I get no response which is cruel. I’ve expressed how I know he needs time and how he must be going through something traumatic, but nothing.  I’m hurting too.  I’ve been traumatized too, but I don’t have him to talk to and he has said in the one short text that he doesn’t want to drag me through any of the drama or things he is dealing with.  I have no idea why… but my relationship is over — the relationship I thought could be my forever one. I’m in shock. I’m going through tons of emotions. I worry for him. I know he tends to be more of a loner-mentality when he needs to deal with stress, since he mentioned the first time this happened that he couldn’t thank me enough for being the type of person who understood how he was. He’s more of a loner and when he’s stressed he feels the need to go off by himself, i.e., swimming, surfing, climbing.  I told him, I do “get it,” but please send me a text or call saying “I’m going off the grid for a couple days,” not just quit all communication. Obviously it’s over, but I can’t let it go. It was too good. But, I’m tired of cutting him slack and thinking he is just going through a lot. Obviously, he’s not a kind, considerate man if he won’t explain anything, right? Or, this is a break-up and he is opting out at a busy, dramatic time with no explanation and taking the cowardly way out. I’m pushing my cardio every day to stay as healthy as I can be during this time, but my mind won’t stop wondering. Help?

My Long Distance Boyfriend has Gone Off the Grid

Answered by on -

A.

A: I’m sorry that you are hurting right now and can’t help but wonder if you will have heard from him by the time this response is posted. What a ride! It reminds me of something I read once from a relationship expert. She was cautioning people who say they “fell in love at first sight” that it can take up to three years to really get to know someone well.

It’s also important to see how someone handles stress, and unfortunately it seems that you have learned this lesson all too well. It sounds like you have both been through some very trying times recently. Maybe it was too much, too soon for a budding romance already complicated by distance. Like you said, it would be one thing if he just pulled away to catch his breath, but no communication is unacceptable for a mature adult. It also makes me wonder if there is something else going on. Is he hiding because he has something to hide?

I think you are right in reaching the end of your rope. It is time to cut your losses and chalk it up to a brief whirl wind romance. Lean on friends and family right now and add some R&R, a hobby and just some good old fashioned fun to your healing routine. If he does resurface, he should have some explaining to do. Don’t let him off the hook too easily and keep your guard up for a while.

I’m sorry that you have been through so much and that the man of your dreams isn’t so dreamy after all. I hope you find your “forever guy” soon.

All the best,

Dr. Holly Counts

My Long Distance Boyfriend has Gone Off the Grid

Holly Counts, Psy.D.

Dr. Holly Counts is a licensed Clinical Psychologist. She utilizes a mind, body and spirit approach to healing. Dr. Counts received her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Wright State University and her Masters and Doctoral degrees in Clinical Psychology from Nova Southeastern University. Dr. Counts has worked in a variety of settings and has specialized in trauma and abuse, relationship issues, health psychology, women’s issues, adolescence, GLBT, life transitions and grief counseling. She has specialty training in guided imagery, EMDR, EFT, hypnosis and using intuition to heal. Her current passion involves integrating holistic and alternative approaches to health and healing with psychology.

APA Reference
Counts, H. (2018). My Long Distance Boyfriend has Gone Off the Grid. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 19, 2019, from https://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2014/07/30/my-long-distance-boyfriend-has-gone-off-the-grid/
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 May 2018
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018
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