Kathryn's Blog

Why did he just disappear?

One of the questions I get most frequently (right after “Why didn’t he/she answer my email?”) is “Why did he just disappear?”  The “he” is purposeful, because I practically never hear that women “just disappear,” though the men seem to on a regular basis.
The disappearance usually happens in what has up until then been a pleasant email exchange, or after the first date, or somewhere in the dating process.  It’s a frustrating and painful experience for the receiver of this non-behavior (dropping out of contact), and “Why?” is the natural question.

Well, first off, you probably will never really know why, because part of the nature of online dating is that you don’t know this other person and probably will never run into them in real life so that you can ask.  And if they refuse to reconnect via email, phone or otherwise, you are left with your “Why?  What happened???”  And the natural next question is “What did I do wrong?”

Most likely, you did nothing wrong.  Or nothing so grievous to deserve a silent cutoff.

Here are possible explanations: 

1.  He got hit by a bus.  His computer died right after he sent you the last email.  He lost your phone number.  He has been abducted by aliens.  Or worse. 
Unlikely, but possible. 

2.  He decided he is not interested in pursuing contact and is too rude or unskilled or scared to tell you directly.  Email and anonymity make silence a perfect solution.
More likely and quite possible.  Don’t let “I was too busy with work” excuse this kind of behavior.  It takes practically no time at all to zip off an email or speed dial your cell phone.

3.  He got scared.  Yeah, scared.  Grown ups get scared about developing relationships, even when they are lonely and want one.  At each point that a budding relationship takes a baby step towards more closeness (like moving towards a first meeting, deciding on date #2, going public by meeting family and friends), fear can get stirred up and bad behavior result. 

Most likely, and usually the reason behind deciding not to pursue contact, too.

Now, both men and women have fears about getting closer, but men seem most prone to silence and the disappearing act.  Here’s why:

1.  Disappearing is easy.  You just do nothing, and probably you will never get directly confronted.

2.  You don’t have to give bad news and face the upset of the other person – ie crying.

3.  You also don’t have to confront yourself about the implications of your callous behavior.

Guys, correct me if I am wrong about this, and/or tell my about your experiences with disappearing ladies.  I’m willing to learn!

Anyway, I had exactly this kind of issue come up with one of my clients recently.  Lisa is a lovely lady, just over 60, very pretty and looks much younger.  She had been emailing nicely with a gentleman named George and they were starting to plan their first meeting.  Then…nothing.  This was not the first time this had happened to Lisa, and she was dumbfounded about what was going on.  Why would someone just “drop out of sight”?

I explained the “Hit by a bus, he’s decided ‘no, thanks,’ or he’s scared.”  Lisa was incredulous.  “Why would he be scared? I’ve done nothing to scare him.”  Of course, we couldn’t know precisely, but getting closer risks potential loss, maybe being “found out” as not being as presented, old pains getting reactivated. 

Here’s what Lisa (who as she says, has a hard time giving up) did – and this was all on her own, without my prompting – she emailed George the following:

Is this the point when someone gets scared .. and thinks

(Multiple Choice)

a- she may be the size of a tent and not look like her pictures at all

b- she may want to get me drunk and take advantage of me

c- she might expect me to give up my freedom and see her
constantly and never have a free moment again (even though
she lives 3 hrs away)

d- she may throw away my remote control

e- she may be the mean step-mother type

f- what if she has a social disease

g-what if she is after my money

h- maybe she shops til she drops and brings in bills instead
of money
i- Other

George’s email reply:
I guess I must plead guilty to not getting back to you…I work a lot….sometimes too much….and I tend to slip away from things that are out of my comfort zone…like “dating”..LOL!
I have come close to the number of “dates” where one questions his choices or his dating skills..I think I am bad at both.

NO….I’m not afraid if you don’t look like your photos….I’m used to it…
it would be nice to find someone who is MORE interested in What you are about..more than what you have in life.
I’m a little burned out and dissapointed in people ,“our” group…who just Don’t get it.

So take my remote..there’s nothing on that I haven’t seen before.

Stay warm

Bingo.  I was right.  George was scared.  Even this note showed it – though he had the guts to write back (Lisa had done a fabulous job with her light, humorous, yet to-the-point email), George did not clearly indicate a “yes” or “no” to further contact.  So Lisa hits the keyboard again:

Thanks so much for the great and honest answer and for not taking the easy way
out by fading into the woodwork and disappearing.
This means you have character. :-) big points
I have experienced the dating disappointments and the people who
just “don’t get it”. I have questioned what this dating thing is all
about and how people can be so “reckless” when we are all putting
our heart and ego out there. But, I’m not good at giving up and
I hope you aren’t either. Plus, you have the sense of humor to
keep this in perspective.

What can I do to make you feel more comfortable? First, I do
come with references. LOL and I promise not to steal the remote.
I won’t even ask where you live nor become a stalker. LOL
Second, you pick the place and timeframe
that makes it easy… 10 min at the local 7/11??
enough time to eat a great burger?? one drink and one
dance at the local casual bar (lesson free) Timer and batteries

Besides, if you didn’t meet me, wouldn’t you wonder? Did I miss
meeting somebody who DOES get it? and is as nice as she says
she is? How can someone who adores a true Irish twinkle be so
bad? Wow, and she knows how to dance (even lead if necessary)?


Isn’t Lisa something?  She is handling this situation PERFECTLY, and subsequent emails indicate that George is gingerly taking his fear in hand.  They are talking about meeting again. 

Here’s the lesson:

Singles pursuing love get scared easily.  Expect that fear will crop up, especially when the budding relationship gets ready to take a step forward.

Acknowledge fear (maybe expressed through silence), treat it gently and with humor.  You don’t want to stir up still more fear.

Be persistent, though do not become a stalker.  If someone tells you a clear “No,” then respect it.



Well ladies, this is common upon narcissist!!! They are so concern about their ego’s and selfish ways, they are so callous so don’t let it affect who you are, they are incapable of loving you the way you deserve to be loved.  They are losers and can’t change!!! I just went through this and my heart was concern about his well being, but I knew he as callous, so I wasn’t totally shocked.  He hurt me before and this only put the nail in the coffin to never let him in my life again, cause I would only tell him where to stick the knife he walks around with!!!!!

Leave a Comment

Next entry: Web Side Story

Previous entry: Nudging yourself towards love


Contact Kathryn by phone at , by email at

home | kathryn's romance newsletter | test yourself | new, fun, free | facts
about kathryn and coaching | who is kathryn lord? | kathryn's own cyberromance story | what is romance coaching? | are you ready for romance coaching? | what kathryn's clients say | want to try romance coaching?
kathryn's blog | contact kathryn


Copyright 2003-2011 Kathryn B. Lord