The Disappearing Lover


Courtesy of’s Happen Magazine ?

Dear Dr. Gilda,
I am 36, a professionally successful divorced woman who has a lot of affection for my boyfriend. But I don’t even know if we have a relationship; he disappears from time to time. He is gone for weeks and then he comes back saying he thought about things and I am the best one for him. I don’t think he is seeing other women, though I can never be sure.

He is resistant to moving forward. And I am totally overtaken by the fear of dying alone. I know this man is not right for me in the long run, but I can’t seem to leave him and find someone better. How do I just make the break from him and start living a healthy life? I want to be able to say “NO” if he ever calls again. What am I to do?
– Betwixt and Between

Dear Betwixt and Between,
Let me get this straight: you’re 36, professional, successful, with everything going for you, yet you’re fearful of dying alone? If you advertised such a profile online, how would that portrait of a single woman looking for love sound to you? You would probably assess this person as desperate for some guy who could serve as any guy just to get her through life. That won’t make a man feel special. Besides, desperation causes people to settle for mates they may not even like!

You’re calling this vague, vanishing man a “boyfriend,” yet you don’t even know his whereabouts each time he “disappears.” He leaves for weeks at a time and when he returns, he blatantly announces that you are “the best one for him.” Gee, dude, thanks for the compliment! Now how do you suspect he arrives at his sweeping conclusion? I’d say he’s out doing market research and comparison-shopping. If you prefer to think he’s not “seeing other women,” think again. The signs suggest otherwise. Yet you still want to move forward. Why should he when he has you on a string that he conveniently plays out and pulls back at will?

You know this guy is “not right” for you, yet you “can’t seem to leave him.” That’s because you’re terrified of being alone. You say you want to “just make the break from him.” Well then, this is what you must do:

1. Cancel your dependency. This guy is causing you too much pain. As my Gilda-Gram says, “When you work hard to get love, you work hard to keep it.” What kind of a romance would that be?

2. WHIP THAT FEAR! Once you do, telling this dude to get lost will be easy. A therapist would be of great help. You’ll need to discover why you are so afraid of dying in your mid-30s and have allowed that fear to overtake you.
3. Finding “someone better” for you is not the answer at this time.

Making yourself into a confident woman is the ONLY thing to concentrate on now. You’ll have time for love after you believe in your assets and your own self-worth.

This should be a terrific time in your life, celebrating your many successes. No one should need to question whether someone loves her. If he does, he doesn’t disappear. When a guy really cares, his feelings are evident—AND SO IS HIS PRESENCE--EMOTIONALLY AND PHYSICALLY!


Author's Bio: 

GILDA CARLE (Ph.D.) is an internationally known psychotherapist, relationship educator, and management consultant. She is’s “Ask Dr. Gilda” advice columnist published on She is also known as the Country Music Doctor, with her “Country Cures.” She is a motivational speaker, professor of psychology & communications, the author of the well-known “Don’t Bet on the Prince!,” a test question on “Jeopardy,” 99 Prescriptions for Fidelity, How to Win When Your Mate Cheats, and many more. She was the therapist in HBO's Emmy Award winner, "Telling Nicholas," featured on Oprah, where she guided a family to tell their 7-year-old that his mom died in the World Trade Center bombing. She is currently developing her own TV show. Visit her website and get Instant Advice!