In my early 20s I pulled a number of disappearing acts.
I was that guy—the one who’d take you on a few dates, kiss you goodnight and then, against the advice of my mates, text you an hour later telling you that I’d had a great time. I’d answer your calls and reply to your texts, right away.
But then, one day, without warning, I’d vanish, never to be seen again.
This is what I should have told you. Maybe it would have given you some closure and allowed you to move on a little quicker. I know it’s too little too late, but still, you deserve an explanation, so here it is.
These are the things I wasn’t brave enough to say to you, even in text.
I didn’t lose my phone, or your number or track of time. I can assure you there is no message mysteriously stuck in my outbox, just waiting to be sent. There was no family emergency and I’m not just “working through some stuff” right now. I am not too busy at work, or out of credit and I have good service.
I have made the regrettable, yet conscious decision not to text you anymore.
I have all but convinced myself that being open and honest would only hurt your feelings, even though I know it’s a lie. I know that what I’m doing is not fair, but right now, my fear is stronger than my guilt.
I never set out to hurt you, but suddenly, I can see no other ending to this story.
You aren’t imagining things.
There was a time when things were good, even great. We did connect. I did really like you.
The smiles, the jokes, the intimate moments—they were all real.
But then, something happened that made me realize we’re not quite compatible.
I wish I could tell you that it’s not your fault—that there’s nothing you could have done differently—that the problem really isn’t you.
The problem is that I believe we want different things. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but in my mind, we see the world through different glasses, we speak a different language and we live in different futures.
And while I may be able to make you happy right now, I realize that I won’t be able to make you happy in the long run.
I know you must think I’m an a**hole for what I’m doing—that I’m stonewalling you because I don’t care about your feelings. In truth, I’m simply scared. My emotions make me so uncomfortable, that when I try to express myself, my words get tangled.
I am worried that if I attempt to tell you how I feel, I will accidentally say the wrong thing and offend you. If only I was willing to endure that one, slightly awkward conversation, I’d save you months of frustration.
Instead, I have chosen to withdraw.
I will lock up my feelings, as I always do and pretend they don’t matter. I will ignore my guilt and tell myself, this is for the best.
I know it’s too late, but, I’m sorry.
I’m sorry for putting my own emotional welfare ahead of yours.
I’m sorry for dragging you behind me while I try to make my cowardly escape.
I’m sorry for making you feel like you’re going crazy.
And finally, I’m sorry for ever giving you a reason to doubt yourself.
The way I have tried to deal with this situation is proof that you deserve better.
You deserve someone who is willing to say the wrong thing, to have the awkward, necessary conversations.
You deserve someone who isn’t afraid of their emotions, who is willing to be vulnerable and share themselves completely.
More than anything, you deserve to be happy. And while no one person can ever give that to you, you deserve someone who is willing to do whatever it takes to help you find your happiness within.