“My New Boyfriend Left For the Holidays Without Telling Me!”


I dated my ex-boyfriend for almost one year and, even though he claimed he loved me, I had a problem with his lack of communication. He told me he was like that with everybody. He never returned calls or messages. He would go weeks without communicating and a couple of times he left town for work without informing me. He was a real workaholic and he would tell me that when he was working he couldn’t think of anything else. He would make plans with me and break them without informing me and then later tell me something work-related had come up. Eventually, I got tired of it and left.

A month after we broke up, I started dating another guy. He told me that he, too, is a workaholic and there were some big projects he wanted to finish before the holidays so he would be preoccupied. True to his word, he became a bit distant, but we were talking every now and then and he would tell me how work was going and things like that. He told me earlier on that he would be flying back to his home country for the holidays. Last week, we had not spoken for two weeks when I decided to text him to see how he was doing and he told me he was at the airport leaving for the holidays! If I had not texted him, I would have never known he had left; it was like my ex all over again. I left him a long, angry email expressing my displeasure. He never replied and I have not heard from him since. We had only been dating two months. Did I over-react due to projecting my ex’s issues on him, or was I justified to feel upset? I still do really like him and would love to work things out if he is willing. Please help! I’m so confused. — May Have Over-Reacted

Gurrrl, you messed up on this one. Your first mistake was pursuing a guy who told you right away that he had the same time and attention limitations that were the core of the issues you had with your ex. I don’t understand why you’d dump one guy for being a workaholic and then immediately start dating another self-described workaholic. Your next mistake was thinking that you were more serious than you were and then freaking out when this guy whom you barely know failed to treat you like a girlfriend. Let’s re-cap your relationship: You meet, he tells you he’s a workaholic, you decide to pursue him even though you just dumped a guy for being a workaholic, the new guy is immediately distant and over the course of a few weeks you spend barely if any time together although you ‘talk every now and then,’ he tells you he’ll be going home for the holidays, you don’t speak at all for a couple weeks, and then, when you find out he’s going home for the holidays just like he told you he would be, you send a long, angry email. Yeah, I’d be ignoring you and blocking your email and phone number, too, if I were this guy.

Take a break from dating and deal with whatever residual feelings of rejection you have from your ex. Figure out why you pursue men who are emotionally and physically unavailable to you. Do you think you don’t deserve a happy relationship? Do you think you can change them? Is it a game for you to try to reform a workaholic and get him to shift his focus from career to you? It’s time to think of some more proactive ways of validating your worth. You embarrassed yourself with this last guy. Apologize for your behavior, forgive yourself for over-reacting, and move on. We all make mistakes. The problem arises when we repeat the same ones over and over. Stop repeating this one.


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If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at wendy@dearwendy.com.


  1. I wonder if either of these two guys knew they were in a relationship with you. The second guy it seems you may have only seen him once or twice in a two month period, and the last two weeks of that you didn’t talk to him at all. The first guy, it seems like you went very long periods of time without seeing or talking to him, and it doesn’t seem like when you did talk it was ever anything people in a committed relationship would talk about. I wonder if this guy thought you were in a FWB situation.

    1. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

      I was thinking the same thing – definitely regarding the second guy. It sounds like they had, what, a date? maybe two? and then he became distant and then they went 2 weeks without talking… That doesn’t sound like an exclusive or committed relationship – certainly nothing that would warrant a long angry email. “But irregardless” (Mean Girls!), I like Wendy’s advice: “Apologize for your behavior, forgive yourself for over-reacting, and move on. We all make mistakes. The problem arises when we repeat the same ones over and over. Stop repeating this one.” Perfect-o.

    2. Totally. It sounds like she wanted to get serious/committed and he was basically trying to say he didn’t have time for a relationship (because of work projects). I can’t imagine not hearing from someone for 2 weeks and thinking it was still possible they were my boyfriend.

      1. Especially 2 months into a relationship.

  2. Well, I think the second relationship is already toast, because of the long, angry letter. LW, I doubt if you’ll hear from him again. If it were me, I’d probably send an apology for my overreaction, say that I’m sorry, but I don’t think we’ll work out, and wish him well.
    Wendy is spot-on. Date the guy you want. Don’t date a guy who’s sort of what you want, and then think you can re-mold him into your perfect man. A guy’s work schedule is not going to change just because he’s dating a wonderful woman. If he has crazy hours before you start dating, he will still have crazy hours after you start dating.
    If you date a guy who’s not a good communicator, that’s not going to change when you start dating.
    If you want a guy who has plenty of free time and spends it with you, or you want a guy who calls and texts frequently and keeps you in the loop about his schedule and travels….then date someone like that. You don’t need to try to force it to work with every guy you start seeing. If he’s not what you want, move on.

  3. There was totally a similar letter in Dear Prudie last week: http://www.slate.com/articles/life/dear_prudence/2015/12/dear_prudence_should_i_dognap_my_neighbors_neglected_pup.2.html

    Wendy’s and Prudie’s advices are very similar too– if you don’t want to be with a workaholic…don’t date a guy who self-professes to be one. Really that simple.
    I definitely think there’s some romcom thinking at play here, like he’s a workaholic to hide from his lonely life and the RIGHT woman will come into his life and show him that there’s more to life than work and he’ll skip out of the office one day and into a happy life. Um, no. This LW should look at Prudie’s LW as her future if she keeps this up, having spent years trying to change a man who has no interest in changing.

  4. LisforLeslie says:

    LW – You need to widen your dating pool. Are you dating people in your industry or that you meet through work? Are you only dating people who have reached a certain level of financial security? If that’s the case, then you’re probably going to keep finding the same people over and over again unless you start dating people who are not on the “fast track”.

    Also – listen to what people say. If they say they’re a workaholic – take them at their word. Don’t assume that it couldn’t be as bad as the last guy, assume that this person will put work above anything with you. If he says “I’m a jerk.” guess what? He’s a jerk! If he says “I’m not looking for anything serious” then he’s not looking for a relationship – actually it means he’s avoiding anything close to a relationship.

    You had two guys whose words matched their actions. And yet you’re surprised that the second guy, whose words totally matched his actions, behaved exactly as he said he would. Why are you surprised? Seriously, why are you surprised?

  5. I don’t know the specifics of what the LW is looking for, but every woman I know who keeps getting attracted to workaholics who won’t make time for her is focused on finding men who make a lot of money. Those women won’t look at men who do have time and are available (emotionally and logistically) because they’re not investment bankers/lawyers/doctors or some other high-paying/high-demanding profession. I wonder if what’s driving the LW towards these guys is something simple like looking at them on paper instead of looking at how emotionally and logistically available they are, and how they treat her. I’ve known a lot of women to get (and stay) in a lot of emotionally-abandoning relationships with workaholics that way. Of course it should go without saying that not every guy who makes a good living is emotionally unavailable, but if you’re screening first for money then you’re going to screen in a lot of workaholics.

    1. RedRoverRedRover says:

      This is exactly why I was never interested in marrying a guy who made way more than me. I lived with a girl in university whose dad was a well-known heart specialist. She said she hardly knew him. She said her *mom* hardly knew him. Can you imagine? Her mom was basically a single mom, and her kids hardly knew their dad. The best type of person to marry these super-busy-but-rich people is someone who wants security but not really a partner. If that’s not you, stay away.

    2. Avatar photo Skyblossom says:

      I was thinking this too. Maybe she is attracted to the prestige and income of a career but doesn’t like the reality of the profession.

    3. bittergaymark says:

      Bingo. DING! DING! DING! We have a winner…

  6. Wonderland says:

    I can’t help but think of that book “He’s just not that into you”. If either of these guys were in to you, they would have made the time to keep in contact with you. No matter how busy someone is, or how into their work, next to no one who have 10 minutes to chat in 2 weeks. It just wasn’t a priority to talk to you. Maybe that seems harsh, but honestly, sometimes realizing that can save you a lot of time and headache.

  7. Ele4phant says:

    Yeah this one is done, unfortunately. Take a breather and self reflect on your dating patterns. Then when you start dating again, don’t push to get so serious so quickly (I mean unless there’s been an explicit conversation otherwise it’s kind of crazy to assume someone is your boyfriend. You’ve probably been on just a handful of dates…) and don’t keep going for the same type.

    Better luck next time!

    1. Ele4phant says:

      *crazy to assume someone is your boyfriend after two months

  8. Juliecatharine says:

    Neither of these guys were your boyfriend. Boyfriends make time for you and stay in touch more than once every few weeks. I’m sorry to be harsh LW but you need to seriously look at your dating criteria.

  9. Sarolabelle says:

    If a guy is interested in you, work projects don’t really matter. He will do his work all the time thinking about how lucky he is to be able to call you after and hear your voice if only for 5 minutes. And he will call! He won’t be able to wait two+ weeks before talking to you again. I learned if a guy isn’t treating me how I want then move on, especially in the beginning.

    1. Idk about that, I mean a lot of people are still workaholics even if they do like someone. When I first started dating my husband, I was working a lot of night, evening, weekend shifts. Now, granted, we never went 2 weeks without texting, but we DID go a couple weeks without seeing each other in those early days. I couldn’t just drop my shifts, which had been scheduled months in advance, because I was seeing a new guy.
      But to say that if he really liked you, his work wouldn’t matter.. that seems like the same magical thinking that got the LW into this mess.

  10. LW — from your description, this guy was never your bf. You had a few dates and communicated sporadically over several months, with no contact from him for half a month. It sounds like he is doing a fade. This seems appropriate, since the two of you were never official and had only a few dates. I think he saw the trip back to his home country as the final break in the fade. You need to stop chasing him and look elsewhere for a bf. He’s not interested in you.

  11. anonymousse says:

    WWS. Relax. Take a deep breath before you send any (especially angry) messages to dudes you are casually dating.

  12. bittergaymark says:

    Gee, I can’t imagine WHY he ever would possibly do that… Ugh. And yes — folks, that statement is meant to be sarcastic as hell.

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