Dating Advice: The Disappearing Act

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You know the situation. You're five dates deep and sure, they’ve been fun, but there is that gnawing feeling in the pit of your stomach. Despite the fact that he’s everything a woman could ask for, and the high possibility that your mom, friends, and coworkers think he’s “just perfect” for you, you disagree and are looking for the exit. Fast. Or at least, before things get serious.

The excuse "It’s not you, it’s me" is so tired and cliché. Well, actually, maybe it is him. But how do you tell him that when he has been so perfect?

There are many ways to deal with this; you could proactively call and tell him while it’s been fun and flattering and an honor to get to know you, this won’t be going further. You could decline his next date. Or you could just ignore him.

Many women opt for the last of the three choices. Nobody likes to hurt someone's feelings and how can a man be hurt if you mysteriously drop off the face of the earth? Sure, it's an unfortunate circumstance and he will mourn your sudden passing, but at least he won't feel rejected, right? The trouble is, men usually see it for what it is: a disappearing act.

The disappearing act is something that is shared and loved by men and women alike, it seems. You or someone you know has probably experienced it. Guy likes girl; girl entertains the idea of guy; girl decides she doesn’t like the guy and then…POOF she is gone. Or vice versa.

While the intention is to avoid hurting a nice guy, in the end it can often do more harm than good. How many women wish that a man would be clearer about his disinterest so she can move on and stop expectantly glancing at her phone? If women hate guessing what men are thinking or wondering when he will call next, you can be sure that our male counterparts also don't appreciate it.

It stands to reason that such a man might be a little hesitant about pursuing women, lest he find himself peering over the edge of the world, once again wondering where his date has gone. If we want to encourage more dating, shouldn’t we be more upfront about our expectations and decisions?

Some argue that women shouldn’t have to let the man know she’s “just not that into him.” The mere fact that she all of a sudden becomes “too busy” to ever go on a date should be indication enough.

But isn’t that a bit too passive – if not downright rude? I think we’d be doing each other a favor by being straightforward and clear. A simple “thank you so much for investing your time. It’s been great to get to know you. I’m just not interested in taking things further” should suffice.

Have you “disappeared” on anyone? Has anyone ever “disappeared” on you? Would you prefer to hear the truth, or does the disappearing act help you both “save face” and get on with it?

Photo via flickr user Gilderic Photography

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