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    love letters by meredith goldstein

    No answers. No explanations. Just gone.

    Q.I have been dating a guy for eight months. He is divorced but lives with his ex-wife, his two teen children, and his ex’s family. (I know, I should just stop there).

    The two of us have known each other for decades, and though we have connected romantically in the past, it has never been the right time. Last spring, he vowed that this was OUR time. He talked long-term plans, marriage, traveling, purchasing a home together, and other joint ventures.

    We have a shared chemistry and outlook on life, and in my mind I thought, finally, this could be it. I even introduced him to my young daughter, who adores him.

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    That being said, after about six months in, things started to change because he would tell me that his ex was questioning him about his whereabouts and asking more questions than before. Our times spent together began to feel more like we were sneaking around, and like he didn’t have the freedom to do as he wished.

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    A few weeks ago, we made plans to connect at a public event, but as the time for the date approached, he disappeared. Once he surfaced, he told me that his ex-wife and kids were with him. This blew steam out my ears! When I expressed my disappointment about being stood up, he said he would explain later. But it has been three weeks now and I have not heard a word. Won’t respond to texts, calls ... completely MIA! What should I do? No answers. No explanation. Just POOF! Gone.

    What do I do with the promises he made? The decades of feelings we’ve shared? We’ve been friends for decades. So many thoughts of deception are running through my head and I would really like another perspective.

    Broken Promises

    A.We’ve talked about the definition of ghosting in this column, and this is it at its worst. He has disappeared after eight months of dating and many years of friendship. You have every right to be disappointed, confused, and furious.

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    When I started reading your letter, I wondered how many of his decisions were made to protect his kids (as opposed to his ex). But even if that’s the case, he owes you clarity and some truth. It’s so easy to say, “I’m having trouble talking to my kids about my new need to be out of the house.” You would have listened.

    There’s not much I can tell you about how to deal with what you’ve lost. It’s easy for an outsider to say that this is all for the best, and that it’s better to know his limitations now than later. That’s all true, by the way, but reading it won’t make you feel any less betrayed.

    All I can say is that his abrupt departure does not mean that he was faking his feelings. This kind of breakup can make you doubt yourself — whether you were ever really loved — but all it means is that he didn’t want to communicate.

    Meredith

    READERS RESPOND:

    Technically ...

    1. She never said she was divorced. Just that she had a daughter

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    2. Even the closest of friends don’t know the full truth. Unless she was at the divorce proceeding and saw papers signed, she cannot know for sure they are divorced.

    My bets are he’s married, separated, or they have re-united romantically. Or the wife threatened throwing him out and an ensuing custody battle. They are living as a married couple so divorce or not ... he’s married. So he chose his priorities. Just sucks when you aren’t on the list. He will come around when the snow melts.

    RUKIDDINGME

    He will be back once things quiet back down on the home front because he is still married. You don’t have to be there when he resurfaces and in fact, there is no reason for you to be.

    SUNALSORISES

    What’s your guess on his return date? How many more weeks?

    MEREDITH

    It’s already been a few so I bet at least a few more — end of January/beginning of February. SUNALSORISES

    Sometime after Valentine’s Day.

    CRUCIFIEDZEOFF

    And please write again if he does resurface. These are the letters I want updates on! ASH

    ... stop introducing your kid to your romantic dalliances, unless you’re in a committed relationship. FYI, when a man is living with another woman who shares matching jewelry and offspring, he’s not committed to you.

    JUST-ANOTHER-BOSTONIAN

    I know of a situation where the fellow said he was divorced, but was not. The girlfriend texted the wife to say how much she appreciated her understanding with the situation, as he wanted to move some things into her place. All of this moving news was quite a surprise to the wife. They were not divorced nor having issues that she knew of. OOOOPs — Walk away . . .

    KELLYDOWNING

    You probably feel blindsided by his abrupt change, but if you had taken off the blinders then you’d see that all the pieces of the puzzle were there that would lead to a reconciliation with his ex. “... lives with ex-wife, his two teen children, and his ex’s family.” It is time to find a less complicated situation ... one that meets your needs.

    TABLEFORONE

    Is he really divorced or did he just tell you that? Because every word of this letter leads me to believe you are a side piece. Divorced or not. What do you do with his promises? Remember them when he resurfaces. Nothing more. You need to move on.

    SUPERCHICK

    The smartest line in this letter is...”I know, I should just stop there.” Exactly. Now you know what to do.

    JIM501

    Column and comments are edited and reprinted from boston.com/loveletters. Send letters to meredith.goldstein@globe.com.