Should I Dump This Crisis Coward?

Ask Demetria: When he fails to respond during an emergency, react by cutting him no slack.

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(The Root) --

"My car was towed, so I called and texted my significant other to get help and got no response. After I got help, I drove by his place to see if he was OK and saw lights on, and the car of his female friend is in the driveway. The next morning he texted to say he was asleep and didn't see my messages, which I know is a lie. I'm not taking his calls and he's wondering why. What should I do?" --K.B.

Let's break this down: You needed help, he ignored you because he didn't want to be interrupted from the time he was spending with his female friend. When he finally contacted you, he lied (allegedly), which you acknowledge. You don't really trust him anyway, because if you did, you wouldn't have driven by his house to see why he ignored you. And I have to ask, given that you drove by under the guise of checking to see if he was OK, if you saw signs he was up and his friend's car in the driveway, why didn't you ring his bell?

What you should do depends on what you want the outcome to be -- i.e., do you want to continue this relationship or not? If you want to stay in the relationship despite him ignoring you, perhaps lying to you and more than likely cheating on you with his female friend, then pick up the phone, pretend nothing's wrong, and carry on as you have been. Just pretend the whole thing never happened. If your relationship has gotten to the point that he's not answering the phone in emergencies, and you suspect that he's blatantly lying to you, a conversation or even series of them isn't likely to change his behavior.

There's no sense in going through the back-and-forth drama of you telling him what you know, him denying it and you believing him in spite of "knowing" he lied, if ultimately you're just going to stick it out. Skip all the fussing and just accept it, and put up with the man he has shown you that he is until you get tired of it.

However, if you're offended by the lying, ignoring and likely cheating, which, for clarity, I think you should be, then pick up the phone and tell him that you're done. Add that it's not up for discussion. Given that you already think you caught him in a lie about what he was up to the night you were in need, I doubt a confrontation is going to yield the honest answer you desire, the one you already know is true, but just want to hear him say. He knows what he did; he just doesn't know that you do. It's fine to let him stew on it. He'll be all right.

I know that sounds like I'm taking a hard line. I want you to know that as a life coach, my approach to healthy relationships is to keep couples together. I have a soft spot for love. But based on what you shared, your guy isn't giving this relationship much to work with. Communication, honesty and reliability are the foundation of healthy relationships, and in a moment where it counted, your man was unwilling to demonstrate them. That is not OK.

I brooded over your question for a few days, and I can't think of any logical reason that he didn't pick up the phone, given that it seemed like he was awake and you were facing an emergency. The likely fact is that he and his female friend were otherwise occupied, and it wasn't over an intense board game. Even if he really did fall asleep with the lights on and didn't see your calls or texts, do you think the friend was sitting in the house twiddling her thumbs while he was napping? If he was asleep, the likelihood is she was sleeping next to him. Please believe that Monopoly is not that exhausting.

There are men who feel more like men when they can be relied on by you and want to provide for you, especially when you need them most. Men exist who are honest and who will make you a priority just because, but definitely in an emergency. Instead of exhausting the effort trying to make your ex be for you someone he is not, the time would be better spent locating a man who will actually be what you need.

Demetria L. Lucas is a contributing editor to The Root, a life coach and the author of A Belle in Brooklyn: The Go-to Girl for Advice on Living Your Best Single Life. She answers your dating and relationship questions on The Root each week. Feel free to ask anything at askdemetria@theroot.com.

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