Make It Stop: “Why’d He End Things So Abruptly?”

I’ve been seeing a guy who I’ll call Tom. We’ve been dating a few weeks and I thought he was interested in taking it to the next level. He’d talk about elaborate dinners he wanted to cook for me and museums he wanted to take me to. Our chemistry was off the charts and the sex was the best I’ve ever had. Well, here comes the sad part: he ended it with me out of the blue a few days ago, saying he wasn’t ready to be a relationship right now. I can’t stop crying. I don’t know what I said or did to have him end it so abruptly. He didn’t even give me a chance to make it better; he just ended it. It feels so final and it hurts so bad. How do I make sense of this?

I wish I could give you a hug. This is truly one of the worst and scariest parts about dating. So much of the process is out of your control. You go into it with an open mind. You get to know someone, develop feelings for them, but then they pull this shit. You can’t see me, but I’m shaking my fist at the sky screaming, “Why!?” on your behalf.

And it’s always these intense short-term flings that leave the most damage. Your breakup happened during the most rapturous phase of dating when everything is a possibility, when all you see are the good times ahead. That’s why it feels so painful to have it cut short. You didn’t see anything about him you didn’t like. You didn’t detect a note of deception and here you are blindsided. Girl, you got emotionally mugged.

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I don’t know why Tom got spooked. Maybe he thought he was ready for a committed relationship, but he wasn’t. Maybe he met someone else and didn’t want to lead you on. Maybe he’s not over his ex and realized he wasn’t ready to give his heart to you. Who knows? Maybe you’ll never know his reasons. Sometimes you have to leave the puzzle pieces on the floor and walk away. Because whatever his reasons for pulling the plug, you’ll still feel the same: wounded.

I know you’re in pain and your trust has been betrayed, but the good news is you’ve received an important lesson in love. Your bullshit detector just got a tune-up. The say “talk is cheap” for a reason. It was easy for Tom to ruminate about the relationship he saw with you, but following through on those discussions is where the rubber hits the road.

So when the next man walks into your life, you’ll be a little wiser. And when he talks about taking you places, wait to see if he books the plane tickets. See if he whips out his mandolin and serves up some kickass scalloped potato gratin or some shit. Watch to see if he follows through on the things he says he’ll do. Then you’ll know better if he’s somewhere safe to invest your heart.

Make It Stop is a weekly column in which Anna Goldfarb — author of “Clearly, I Didn’t Think This Through” and the blogger behind the blog, Shmitten Kitten — tells you what’s up. Want a fresh take on a stinky dilemma? Email [email protected] with the subject “Make It Stop.” She’ll make it all better, or at least make you laugh. Girl Scout’s honor.