Why Would a Man Dump the “Woman of His Dreams”?

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I just read your post on emotionally unavailable men.

Mine is a weird story but I’m thinking now that my guy falls into this category. He broke up with me over text, first of all. We’re both in our later years so this, in my opinion, is very rude at any age.

He came on strong at first, started betting busy with his life, then texted me he can no longer date as his 17 year old is going through issues that he would not discuss. He said something about depression and suicide counseling.

We had only dated for 3 months and I get the issues but he claimed to love me and that I was the “woman of his dreams”.

My question is would you dump the girl of your dreams if your life got hard and your kid needed some guidance and support? I would have expected some down time but dumped? I got a sweet card that said nice things about being in his heart and I ran into him the other day and he seemed sad but I just don’t get it. Am I being selfish? Was he simply emotionally unavailable or is this a normal response?

Eve

I’m sorry you’re hurting, Eve. Getting unceremoniously dumped is an awful feeling and receiving the news by text certainly doesn’t make it any better.

However, I would encourage you to step back from this situation — as I’m attempting to — and refrain from making it about you for a second.

This is what dating coaching is all about — stepping out of your own shoes and attempting to understand the thoughts and behaviors of someone else.

I don’t know your ex from Adam, but then, I’m not sure I need to, given this one piece of information: his 17-year-old is going through depression and contemplating suicide.

That is everything and you’re writing about it as if it’s a minor part of the story.

It’s not. It’s the ENTIRE story.

If your teenager is grappling with life and death, everything else falls by the wayside, and it’s not for me (or you) to judge how he feels he should best handle the situation.

  1. Some men would lean on you for support during this trying time.
  2. Some men would realize they have nothing to give right now and break up.

Neither option involves handling the situation improperly, just differently.

But your question doesn’t seem to acknowledge this. Everything is framed in terms of how it affects you, like you can’t even consider what it’s like to be a scared and overwhelmed single parent with a desperately sick child who needs all of your love and support.

I think there’s a big difference between declaring someone temporarily unavailable due to a crisis (like this) as opposed to permanently unavailable

So, I’m going to throw in a third option:

  1. Some men would rather have no girlfriend than one who can’t muster the empathy to see the big picture.

As far as whether your ex — or any man — is emotionally available, I think there’s a big difference between declaring someone temporarily unavailable due to a crisis (like this) as opposed to permanently unavailable (because he’s scarred and incapable of intimacy and commitment).

I can’t say which he is but I can say that whatever his response to his crisis, it’s not wrong. It’s just what he has to do. And if you’re the woman of his dreams, you’ll understand and support him wherever he’s at. Good luck to both of you.

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Comments:

  1. 1
    Suzanne L Hendricks-Poole

    Great perspective Evan.   Thank you.

    I recently reconnected with a man who didn’t exactly dump me,   but gave me the ‘I’m not good enough for you and you can do better ” exit speech a couple years ago.     I accepted that with some sadness but the grace of he had situations and challenges that impeded moving the relationship forward.

    Although it was terrific to see him again and we acknowledge that we still have a tremendous attraction and connection on many levels,   I can see that he is still struggling with some of his same challenges.   And although he is consciously working on evolving, he needs to do it on his own.

    The challenge is when you meet someone super special that seems like you should be able to just move things along progressively,   you envision that you would help and support each other with personal and life issues…but one of you says no. The timing is off or Whatever.

    It doesn’t matter.   Your job is to take care of yourself.   Live your best life and not worry or blame yourself for his choices and certainly don’t give a thought as to how you can change his mind.

    He actually may be sparing you a lot of grief.

  2. 2
    Eileen

    It could be that this is his way of showing his child, “you are always my number 1.” Right or wrong, knowing that your parent gave up other things they love for you during a rough time may be helping them bridge the gap between them right now. Maybe he also feels guilty about devoting too much time to a new relationship and not noticing how bad things had gotten, so this is his way of punishing himself if he’s a guilt-driven person.

  3. 3
    No Name To Give

    I’ve been dealing with such a child myself and I can promise you, it takes every ounce of emotional and mental strength you have. As much as you love that child and want to help them through, it is exhausting. I don’t blame him for the choice he made. His daughter must come first right now. She may grow out if it but right now, that’s where his focus belongs.

  4. 4
    Lauren

    Evan, I feel you are right on this one.   Depression and contemplating suicide is a huge part of the story.   My husband died by suicide five years ago.   Dealing with spouse or child who has a mental illness takes all of your emotional energy.   This man is focusing on keeping his child alive, and doesn’t have the time or energy to invest in a new relationship.

  5. 5
    Elizabeth

    The short answer is “it doesn’t matter” – the man of YOUR dreams won’t break it off for any reason, IMO. If he wanted the OP in his life he could have said so, but made it clear he needed to focus on caring for his child in the immediate future. The fact that he just said “no can do, bye” is all she needs to know.

    1. 5.1
      Vicky

      I agree with this.

    2. 5.2
      Vicky

      What if he wanted her in his life as just a friend? Would you stick around while he went on to date others? I feel it’s ok to show yourself empathy as well and tell him no. I’d feel badly i couldn’t be there but odds are he will continue to date and seeing him do so would be painful.

  6. 6
    Noquay

    When I raised my brother and decades later, when my dad was dying, I had zero excess bandwidth to consider being in or remaining in a relationship, especially with someone who emotionally speaking,   was not able to be present and put their issues on a back burner. This guy needed to hear “what can I do to help” from the OP and it doesn’t seem as though that happened. Some men do shut down in times of crisis instead of reaching out.

    BTW, 3 months is diddly squat in rship terms and “girl of my dreams” are merely words.

    1. 6.1
      Mrs Happy

      “BTW, 3 months is diddly squat in rship terms and “girl of my dreams” are merely words.”

      Absolutely correct.   Facta, non verba.

  7. 7
    Erin

    I think Eve sounds like a very empathetic person – her boyfriend is experiencing a very serious life challenge and she wants to be there for him/with him. To say that Eve is lacking empathy is really not accurate

    Since boyfriend referred to Eve as his dream girl, why wouldn’t he welcome her support and unconditional love at such a challenging time? I’ve been in a similar situation and I’ve had the same question.

    Clearly, the boyfriend feels overwhelmed by his daughter’s emotional health, and it is preventing him from being present in his relationship with Eve.

    Eve, you are an empathetic person. You didn’t just cut & run when things got tough. You wanted to dig in and be present. That’s an awesome quality to have. Kindly let boyfriend go, wish him well, and move on.

  8. 8
    Christen Turner

    This is really great advice Evan. As a matchmaker, I completely agree with you saying “…you’ll support him wherever he’s at.” I would’ve given the same great advice in my Dating Q&A Blog lol

  9. 9
    Elle 1

    Eve complains that her guy broke up with her by text, and considers that very rude. Well, at least he did break up with her, instead of ghosting her or doing a slow fade away with mixed signals.

    My guess is that if he broke up with her in person, she would have made it difficult for him, and made it about her instead of understanding his situation, as Evan has pointed out.

    Also, he might have wanted to keep private additional details about what was going on in his family life to protect his 17 year old.

    I am sure everyone has their own take on breaking up by text message and whether it is okay or rude.

    I still remember the Sex and the City episode in which Jack Berger broke up with Carrie by leaving her a post-it note, and how furious she was about it.   The circumstances were quite different from Eve’s situation.   I guess a post-it note was a precursor to text messages. But I digress.

    Sometimes I think people need to ease up on their own unrecognized sense of entitlement and be more easy going, less hard to please, focus on the positives, live and let live, and not make mountains out of molehills.

    I say this because if we develop a “don’t sweat the small stuff” mentality, dating and relationships in general will be a lot more enjoyable and people will enjoy being in a relationship with us more as well because we aren’t so reactive to everything they say and do, and how they say and do it.

    1. 9.1
      Clare

      Elle1,

      I love this comment, and I will say, the only regrets I’ve ever had about my own behaviour in a relationship were about not being more easygoing, not less. It’s something I continually strive to achieve, I think mostly because I know how much it means to me, and how much I enjoy a relationship with someone, when he or she (if it’s a friend) is cool and easygoing. I like myself most in relationships when I am calm, strong, and as non-reactive as possible.

      Being in any kind of relationship with someone who takes everything personally is one of the most exhausting things there is. I personally don’t ask that someone agrees with my way of handling something, I don’t ask that they handle things the same way, I simply ask that they accept it, knowing that I’m the kind of person who will never intentionally hurt someone and who will make amends wherever I can. But yes, it is so liberating to be with a person who accepts, and isn’t ‘hurt’ by everything that you do.

      As to the OP’s situation, I can’t tell if she is genuinely making this break up about her, or whether she is just confused. Because after all, it  is  confusing to go from being in a great relationship that you thought was going well to being broken up with at a moment’s notice. There’s a cognitive dissonance that happens that takes a little bit of time to resolve, and I personally think the boyfriend needs to be understanding of that as well.

      That said, I hope the OP does come to see that this is absolutely not about her, and I hope that she is perhaps even able to send positive and supportive thoughts to her ex and his family. If she is able to put her own feelings of rejection aside, perhaps they can even be friends or maybe even try dating again sometime in the future.

  10. 10
    Elle 1

    Clare

    You are wise to point out that if you handle a break up well, so that you don’t burn any bridges, the guy may well come back to you later on.

    Making a guy feel like he is your whole world and getting really reactive to a breakup or a guy’s need for some space away from you is counterproductive. It says that you are very needy. He will be even less likely to come back. Resist the temptation to create a lot of drama, be cool about it, and he may change his mind later on.

    Going back to Sex and the City, the Jack Berger character was the one who cut through all the analysis the girls were engaging in after Miranda’s date did not come up to her apartment at the end of the date because he had an early meeting in the morning. From a male point of view, Berger said the guy left simply because “He’s just not that into you.” This was a revelation for the girls and eventually a bestselling book was written expanding on that theme.

    So to Eve I would say, if it was about her, then for awhile he was really into you, but then he was not that into you anymore. That’s all. Every week in a new relationship brings more experiences and information about the two people in the relationship, individually and as part of a couple. If someone starts to lose interest, they are not going to immediately announce it. They are going to evaluate how they feel over the next couple of dates, then act accordingly.

    What seems sudden and confusing to her was likely developing for a while in him. That is why it is a good idea to not get overly invested in what men say in the early months of a relationship. He was probably surprised as well by the change in his feelings.

    As men and women mature, they learn that can happen, and so they hopefully become more careful about making declarations of undying love, having found their dream girl, etc. in the early stages of a relationship.

  11. 11
    S.

    Here’s an interesting thought.   People seem to agree that Eve’s ex-boyfriend had to do what he has to do for his daughter right now.   There are some peoplw who would have have reached out for that three-month boyfriend or girlfriend at such a time.   Evan says neither choice is right or wrong.   Is it about two people who cope similarly? I wonder if that’s a point of compatibility.   Yes, there is empathy.   No two people will ever react exactly alike. I’m wondering if it’s simply easier to be with someone whose reactions to stress and trauma are a bit similar to yours or at least are readily understandable by you, rather than being hurt or confused why they do what they do.

    Sure, you can take a step back but sometimes people are who they are and this is how they react to things.   And I don’t mean to downplay anyone contemplating suicide.   That is about as serious as things get.   When your child’s life is on the line, that does eclipse all else.

    I remember on another dating blog, a woman had been dating a man for a few months when his father passed away.   She was super-flexible, gave him lots of space, but he chose to keep seeing her and kept her close as he processed his grief.   It did take their relationship to a serious place quite early but they continued dating and later became engaged before the blog was discontinued. Despite such times, the were able to still grow together.

    Different people are different.   No judgment, just commenting.

  12. 12
    Erica Jones

    OP Eve You’ve apparently never experienced someone you loved deeply going through suicide. Listen and listen closely, I’ve been living with suicidal thoughts everyday of my life for the last 10 yeas. I have clinical Depression, Generalised Anxiety and a Pscyhotic Disorder, 3 different mental illness. Because if you did you would know that you need your complete undivided attention to hopefully prevent their life from being taken. And this   someone’s child were talking about here and a minor at that. Aww hunnie you’ve just been dissed and pissed purple because you’ve been put on the back burner. Poor sweetie after just 3 months his life doesn’t evolve around you, his still has a minor 17 year old to care for. How can you not see someones life is on the line here, wake up and smell the roses. With all the counseling appointments there’s no time for a selfish self centered ignorant women like you… Get a grip. An different you cant remember anything remember this: you need to be dating a man without kids if you want to be his one and only priority.

    1. 12.1
      Vee

      Eve’s question is pretty standard fare when trying to make heads or tails out of someone breaking up with you. How they do it or why are the burning questions for many. I loved Evan’s response because it asks us to look at the bigger picture and try not to take it personally. Looking at it from another perspective is helpful. Being non-judgmental is helpful. Not taking it personally is helpful.

      Your response is NOT!

      ”….there’s no time for a selfish self centered ignorant women like you… Get a grip”

      Your response is all about you and takes a swipe at someone you don’t even know. I find this unsettling and do hope the moderators take action.

  13. 13
    Trix

    No one mentioned the obvious maybe he was lying about his kid.

    He wanted out and made up the story.

    Eve was a victim of the bums rush.   Anyone who tells you you are woman of his dream so early on is not in it for the Long haul.

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