Why would a guy treat my friend this way?

Need your opinions on this situation; warning, a bit long!

One of my very best girlfriends (NOT me!!) just encountered the most bizarre treatment by her boyfriend (well, as far as she is concerned, EX-boyfriend). I’m interested in your opinions on why someone would act this way.

Background: My friend, who we’ll call “Delores,” is 29 years old, smart, pretty and fun. She has a good education (master’s degree) and a good job. She has never been married and has no kids.

About 5 months ago - this past August - she met a guy, “Jonathan” and they started dating. He is 34, works for an architecture firm, good-looking, friendly, and never been married/no kids.

They started getting more serious, and after only a couple of months, he said “I love you.” She was honest and told him that she wasn’t ready to say that yet, but that she really liked him.

Well a few more weeks went by, things got more serious and she finally told him she loved him too. Time went on, and Delores brought Jonathan to her family’s out-of-town Thanksgiving where he met her entire extended family, and everyone really liked him. By all accounts, everything was going great. They saw each other 2-4 times a week, and got along very well. On the surface, he seemed almost perfect. He was loving and sweet and seemed to have a great personality.

This takes us to the incident in question: It’s a couple of weeks before Christmas and they go to a Christmas party at the bar she works at part-time. She over-imbibed, and got pretty drunk. They went back to his house afterwards and she was so drunk and started crying uncontrollably for no reason, and said she wanted to drive home. He took her keys and wouldn’t let her leave, and she finally passed out.

The next day she woke up with a hangover and they both went to work. Later on, she called him and left a voicemail. No response. She texted him. No response… she didn’t hear from him for the next two days, which is unusual since they usually talk every day. She suspected he was mad over her drunken behavior. Finally he texted her saying yes, he was mad and he didn’t have time for that kind of “psycho behavior.” For the record, she had never done anything like that before around him (i.e. gotten really drunk) and she is NOT an alcoholic.

So she tried to call him and he would not answer his phone and kept avoiding her. Finally, 2 days later she got through to him and she apologized, and they planned to meet the next night because the day after, she was going out-of-town for two weeks. They both agreed they should see each other before she left on her trip. He ended the call with “I love you.”

The next night came and went and he stood her up. The last thing she heard from him is a text saying “I’m not canceling plans, I’ll call you when I get home.” She waited all night and she never heard from him again.

She went on her trip out-of-town and more days passed and she didn’t hear from him. Finally, 3 days later, he sent a text saying “There is no excuse for what I have done, but I still love you.” She wrote back, “I’m don’t want to discuss this via text messaging, call me when you can talk.”

So 4 days go by and she doesn’t hear from him. He doesn’t respond to her voicemails or text messages. They were supposed to spend New Year’s Eve together, but that came and went with no word from him.

She is angry, hurt and confused by his behavior. Why would someone act this way? In my opinion, he is a coward who went too far too fast, and chickened out. Or maybe he is seeing someone else. But to simply not respond to her is beyond cruel and disrespectful. Dopers, what is your take on the situation?

Why does your friend keep responding to this person?

I think the drunken party is at the root of this.

My WAG is that it was probably any possible combination of:

  1. His having had bad experiences with “party girls” or heavy drinkers (I have friends, for instance, who I love but whom I can barely stand being in the room with when they are drunk).
  2. His having had bad experiences with “psycho girls.” And, of course, spontaneous crying can be an indicator of this. (I realize, of course, that people do weird, uncharacteristic things when drunk, and while this behavior was uncharacteristic for your friend, this guy could be cutting his losses “just in case.”)
  3. He, as the saying goes, “just wasn’t that into her.” If that’s the case, then either of the above appraisals of your friend could lead to him cutting her loose.

As for his behavior, well, some guys are just lazy when it comes to breaking up with girls. “Let enough calls go unanswered and unreturned, and eventually she’ll get the point,” the thinking goes. Cowardly, IMHO, and not my cup of tea, but I can understand it.

In case it came off that I believe either #1 or #2 is true, let me state that I do not. It’s just that some guys have been down that road and will cut and run rather than risk going down it again.

Regardless, you said your friend considers this guy an ex, which is a course of action with which I agree wholeheartedly. Trust me, we guys are a dime a dozen; no need to get hung up on any of us. (Just don’t tell my girlfriend that, okay? :wink: )

I don’t understand why you think it’s a fear of commitment if they were happy together until the drinking incident.

My first thought was that he was upset by her drinking to the point of crying uncontrollably. Perhaps he has a friend or family member who was an alcoholic and he was upset by your friend’s behavior, which reminded him of them.

The guy’s a jerk for standing her up and avoiding her, but I think there’s stuff that you and your friend don’t know, and/or stuff you’re not being told.

Good point… probably because she was in love with this guy, and thought he was in love with her. She wanted to have a conversation about it. Because after all, they had been dating for 5 months, and supposedly loved each other.

The way he is acting is sooooo different from the way he had always acted before. In fact, he was the one who stressed good communication in the relationship. So this complete turn-around is very bizarre and she really wants some kind of explanation and closure.

You might expect this type of shit from a 20-something guy, but this guy is 34 and seemed pretty normal on the surface.

Yes, apparently his last serious girlfriend had similar episodes. But then again, is it fair to judge Delores against his ex based on one isolated incident?

Yes, but what is confusing is if so, why was he first with the “I love you,” and why is he so scared to tell her the reasons why he wants to break up?

Exactly - I am aware that some guys use this technique. Instead of having a confrontation, and being upfront, they just ignore it. But it’s just so damn mean and immature. It’s very cowardly.

Thanks for your input, Gozu!

Jonathon is freaked out by the drunken behavior, and between the stress of the holidays and a busy time at work, he doesn’t want to deal with it.

he sent a text saying "There is no excuse for what I have done, but I still love you."

What he’s done? That’s a weird way of mentioning the not being in contact thing. I know it’s probably just a WAG, but it sounds to me like he cheated on her. Maybe her drunken insanity freaked him out, so the next day he let things cross a line with another woman. Maybe he was trying to blame her at first (calling her a psycho and such). Now, he’s upset about his actions and embarrassed?

My bet is it wasn’t so much the drinking (what 34 year old hasn’t experienced that one hundred times), but the part about the uncontrolled crying. Some guys (raises hand) just cannot or will not put up with drama like that when there is no reason for it. My guess is that this wasn’t the first incidence of drama-queening, but rather the one that broke the camels back. I could, and have, end a relationship over something like that, provided I saw it as a trend, not a one time event.

The guy is being a jerk, though.

I agree with this & would add: (stereotype warning) there are no bigger control-freaks in the world than architects.

Exactly - I think there’s a lot more that we’re not being told. I think she deserves at least an explanation, after 5 months and supposedly being “in love” with each other.

If you’re a 34-year-old man, and you tell someone you love them repeatedly over the course of 4 months, that person deserves at least a simple explanation. To just cut off all contact suddenly is just so bizarre and immature.

And I would think that if this guy really loved her, he wouldn’t have overreacted so badly to the drunken episode. It really was a total fluke - she NEVER does stuff like that, and I have known her literally her whole life.

The guy is no longer into her. He’s hoping she’ll go away. He’s being a shit about it, but there’s no mystery (unless it’s why are people shits to each other?), and it’s not that odd. I’ve seen people I know do the same thing.

That is another possibility I considered. I just wish he would “man up” and be honest, so she can move on and have closure.

It’s the lack of closure that is hurting her so much right now.

Oh sorry, forgot to clarify - what he did was stand her up for their date the night before she was leaving on her 2-week trip out-of-town. She waited all night for him, he never showed up, and he didn’t call or text her for several days afterwards, with no explanation why he never showed up. For all she knew, he was killed in a car accident…

All of the above. laziness, jerkiness, getting freaked out by her getting drunk and crying (though really, when it’s rare and when it’s love, I’d say getting wasted and crying for no apparent reason are forgivable. If they weren’t, I know a few couples who’d have to split up a week out of the month and on every major booze-filled holiday). Maybe he was just riding it out 'til the first major speedbump appeared. It did.

That was a rather odd text, so maybe he did do something she doesn’t know about, or maybe he’s just referring to dumping her without her knowledge. He’s probably extra scared of confrontation because of her yawn ‘episode.’ Still, he’s a dick for not giving her closure.

ETA Everyone pretty much already said all of the above. I would add that being 34 doesn’t mean much. Maybe it should, maybe this is a recent phenomenon, but it doesn’t.

Understood, but I would think that if you really were in love with someone, and this was a rare, one-time occurrence, and if they apologized, why would you just end it so suddenly, without any explanation? It’s so strange.

How can you go from “I love you” to “not into you, won’t respond to your calls” in just a matter of days? That is what I don’t understand.

Yes people are shits to each other… I just don’t understand how people can be so blatantly rude and cruel, especially after 5 months, and supposedly being in “love.” These aren’t teenagers… this is a 29-year-old woman and a 34-year-old guy.


I was this guy about five years ago and had a near-identical experience (though I broke up with her face-to-face rather than ignoring calls and so on). I met a great girl, we hit it off, and things were great for a few weeks - until 1) she got totally shitfaced at a celebration and then 2) turned into the girl from the exorcist, complete with crying, bizarre confessions about her childhood, weird accusations, etc.

I guarantee that this is why that guy ran before he got in any deeper.

It happens. A friend of mine had been seeing a guy long distance for months. He comes down for a visit; his first to Austin, formerly she’d visited him. The were having a great time hanging out, she thought all was great with the world. She goes to get her nails done. He freaking texts her saying it’s not working out and he’s on the way to the airport. She was devastated and it took her a long time to get over it. What can you do?

I can see your point - however, in your case it was a few weeks, and in this case it was 5 months. And they both “loved” each other. (I put it into quotes because at least on his part, it obviously wasn’t real). And I just don’t see the big deal… hasn’t most everyone gotten really drunk and acted stupid at least once in their lives??