(The Root) —
"I was dating a guy who told me he was having financial problems. Recently his cellphone was shut off. I have no other means of contacting him, and it has been a week. He lives in my neighborhood. Should I stop by or assume we are done?" —T.U.
Unless it's an emergency or a close family member or you have a key, you do not, under any circumstances, ever drop by someone's home unexpected. There's no telling what — or who — you might find there.
It's unfortunate that your friend has not been in touch, but it's 2013. If he wanted to reach you, he would. Payphones still exist. If he's working, there's definitely a phone at his job, and if he isn't, surely he knows someone who would let him use the phone long enough to call you to explain what's going on.
Maybe he didn't memorize your number, but it's really easy to log on to your phone provider's website and get last month's statement to find your contact information. There's also email, Facebook and Twitter. And even if all that failed, the two of you live in the same neighborhood. If you know where he lives, it's likely he knows where you are, too.
I do wish he had made the time to get in touch so that you could be clear on where you stand with him. But in the absence of words, you're going to have to go by actions — which, really, are all that matter anyway. The old folks say, "Where there's a will, there's a way," and a man who wants to find you will make a way.
Since it's been a week and he hasn't tracked you down to explain or even to say hi, his actions say that he is either not interested, is too embarrassed or, to be fair, has more important things to worry about, like work and money so he can pay his bills. Whatever the reason, he's gone AWOL for a week. Be comfortable in going with the assumption that dating him is a wrap.
Your feelings are understandably hurt because of the abruptness of this ending, but it's time to move on. Don't clutch your phone waiting to hear from him, and please don't pull any crazy-woman actions like driving by his house to see if he — or anybody else — is home.
I do hope in time that you are able to see it as the blessing, of sorts, that it is. If you've been dating this man for a while, surely you enjoyed his company, and you may even have desired a relationship with him. But his phone being cut off — and staying off — says something about his readiness to enter a relationship: mainly that he's not ready to be in one.
Lots of people tend to think that dating is a right, not a privilege — and that it's OK to go about seeking a partner or romantic companionship when they don't have their basic affairs in order. That's not to say that everyone who's dating needs to be flush with cash. It is to say that when there's a choice between dating — an inherently costly pastime — and addressing personal money issues, it's time to sacrifice romance to focus on finance. Hopefully, the guy you were dating has finally received this message.
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 email@example.com.