Marina said it all made sense in retrospect. Her live-in boyfriend of three years bought her a really expensive bracelet for her birthday and then made plans to go scuba diving in Hawaii with his buddies. When he came back, he moped around for a few days. She pursued him, asking, Whats wrong? He mumbled incoherent explanations. He said he had things on his mind and he didnt want to talk about them yet.
Six days later, he told her was moving out. It was the end of the month, but, hey, hed pay his half of the rent. Then he shut down the conversation portal and made himself scarce for the next two days. He packed and left while she was at work. She is still wondering what happened.
There are always clues to a withdrawal from a relationship. Sometimes the signs are in your face; sometimes they are subtle:
If you bring up your Christmas vacation idea and he avoids looking at the pamphlets, there is a glitch in the We-Are-a-Couple format. Guys who are planning to go AWOL dont like to purchase non-refundable tickets to palm-treed islands or to invite you to their annual company picnic. These items telegraph the fact that they have a picture in their mind that does not include you.
Every time you reroute the conversation to his birthday party, does he say, No big deal I dont want to do anything this year? If this comes from a man who hires caterers annually to celebrate the queens horses birthdays, watch out. If he stops the conversation or changes directions when any mention of upcoming events takes place, its time to focus the relationship lens.
He walks ahead of you on the street. He leaves you off the emergency phone numbers list (Its better if they call my brother youre hard to reach at work). When you try to hold his hand at a party, he finds an excuse to use them for something else (Theyre clammy tonight.).
Like Marina, most women can look back and say, yes, there was a change in the affection factor. We used to curl up together on the couch to watch TV on Wednesday nights, she remembers. Then he started sitting in the recliner, saying his back hurt him.
3. Fighting more, enjoying it less.
More arguments and moodiness? Sometimes it seems that he just provokes a conflict for no reason. Bad, bad sign.
Sometimes leaving means more sex a lot of it. This may be his way of trying to make you feel better or its his way of dealing with the big emotions that surface when he knows he is leaving and feels sad because he knows you are a sweetheart.
If he is all over you after a long dry spell, it could be a new appreciation of what a wonderful human you are or it might be a predictor of bye-bye plans. Other times, there may be very little sex after a healthy physical history. This may be attributed to his health, his worries or his age, or course, so dont be poking prematurely into his private drawers.
He doesnt return calls. Hes turned his pager off. He doesnt show up for a date and doesnt call to cancel. Hey, this is an easy one. If the body is missing, youve already been dumped unless you can ascertain that he has in fact been kidnapped or recruited to work undercover for Interpol. Some women dont get this one the most obvious sign of major retreat perhaps because it is so transparent. A man who is making other life plans wants some distance from intimacy or apparent coupledom. The easiest way is to cut you off from his thoughts.
Short of stapling yourself to his leg, there is little you can do to delay the inevitable. And begging never is a pretty sight. Hes leaving you. So deal with it. You will go through a mini-grief period, or a maxi with extra-strength pain. Either way, you have a job to do. And remember, you lived without his company before you met him; you dont need him.
The first task is to remind yourself on a regular basis that he is the loser here. And that years from now when he is balding and grizzled and lonely in an old folks’ home, he will be sorry that he made such a horrible choice. You, of course, will be with a dashing man who adores you and you will glance out the window to see this pathetic ex limping along the street on the way to get denture cream. OK, at least you can tell yourself this story till you dont need it anymore.
Shopping works for some. For others it just delays the grieving period, although it is hard to see how a nice little faux Fendi would hurt. Join things; get a new lurch on life. Lunch. Call friends. Dont wait in the wings. Give yourself limited time for crying over Mr. No Taste I suggest Sunday between 7 and 8 a.m. Cry full tilt.
Learn to see the signs clearly next time. Some women look the other way. Become a seasoned seorita. And dont let the rejection munch away at your self-esteem. It is a broken relationship, not a printout of your faults as a human.
By the way, Marina is now over the fact that she was dumped (as you might expect, he left her for another woman). She rolls her eyeballs as she tells the story. He said he was helping a friend in his social work class deal with an unwanted pregnancy. Turned out to be HIS. So now hes with a woman who was supposed to be a weekend thing and they are parents. So much for his lectures on spontaneity.
Marina picks lint off her angora sweater and answers the phone. She just won the $10 million lotto jackpot. OK, I lied. But her best friend did call and they are meeting for oysters and martinis at 8. She has a life.
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