This week’s Modern Love discusses a situation that feels familiar to this site–woman meets man, man pursues woman, woman falls for man, woman discovers man isn’t single. Charming, isn’t it?

In “Exit Left, Wordlessly,” Aimee Lee Ball talks about meeting a married man who claimed to be divorced. When she discovers this fact, she confronts and dumps the guy. End of story–or so you’d think.

Fast forward eight years and this man gets in touch with her again, begging to see  her to make amends. And going against her better judgment, she does. They even begin dating once again. Until he slips out of her life without a word.

How could someone play-act with the honor and politesse of the 19th century but be such a cad in real life? Hardly anyone gets through life without hearing, “I’ve met somebody else” or “This isn’t going the way I’d hoped.” Couples come to the end of a road with each other for valid reasons or for no reason, but they find a way to say so.

As she ponders how or why  this could’ve happened and contemplated the red flags, she comes to an interesting conclusion about the cowardly way her boyfriend chose to end things.

This man’s way of ending things, I realized, was as clear as an X-ray, not of bones but of character, and surgically clean of the platitudes, excuses and lies that often accompany a breakup. The epiphany was one I resisted because it was so convenient to censure him. But in revealing himself that way, the cad actually did me a favor.

This begs the question–if the outcome is the same, is it better to disappear without explanation? If having “the break-up talk” entails lies and platitudes, is it better to just slip away?

Personally, I need closure but I can see how the coward’s way could also be the most honest, least ambiguous way to go about it. If he never calls again then you can’t possibly rehash what he’s said with your friend, wondering what he meant.

Of course, if he never called again then the purpose of this blog (and many others like it) would be moot.


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