1. If s/he hasn't made contact in 60+ days, that individual is with someone else.
Yes, we all want to believe it's insecurity. That, somehow, the object of your affection is thinking about you as much as you are thinking about them. But in our tech-savvy world, it's ridiculously easy to get in touch. When you've been intimate with someone more than once and have been upfront about how you feel, yet still hear crickets--it's not insecurity.
Never avoid being honest in hopes of not "scaring someone off." The right person won't be scared. In fact, if your person came back for more after you provided (perhaps public) evidence as to the depth of your feelings yet s/he still walked away AFTER increasing intimate contact, their intentions were never pure. With all due sadness, I must convey that you were duped by a narcissist seeking "supply." Any expression of emotional attachment on your end was used against you to gain your acceptance and trust. Misleading someone you know has feelings for you to exploit things like sex, time, money--any resource, really--is despicable. It's hard to believe a person you are in love with ever set out to hurt you. But sociopaths don't exactly come with warning labels.
However, it's possible someone who wasn't scared at the outset of a relationship may begin to feel fear accompanying a life-changing love--we're talking massive evolution of tectonic breadth. Situations like that might include such prospects as long-distance relationships. There's an absolute slew of future logistics to figure out and intelligent folks could get overwhelmed and/or daunted in such scenarios. Backing off to regroup (in order to muster the strength to take on the challenge) is a legitimate response and 100% forgivable IF your person comes forward in a reasonable amount of time and asks for a sit-down. Why? Because they know they want a future with you and hope to create a kind of mutually-beneficial road map to the finish line. Patience and perseverance will get you there. I haven't survived the unsurvivable for nearly 30 years because I lacked patience or ever, ever, ever gave up.
FUN FACT #317:
Solid partnerships are worth their weight in gold. The long-term benefits outweigh any initial discomfort. A lifetime of love (or at least 25-30+ years of it) will be worth every effort.
After 60 days of no contact with a former intimate partner, you've officially been ghosted (for lack of a better term). In my experience, ghosts always come back to haunt you. There are exceptions to every rule, of course. But it's possible someone who dropped off the face of the Earth may come back six months later to tell you they're now divorced (or free from their previous attachments) and are finally ready to pursue a real relationship. Long-term toxic partnerships are hard to disentangle from. It can takes years. But if you've met your person, you can still be together and happy, even if your commitment ceremony ends up being a hand-fasting and not an official wedding just yet. People in these situations may need to take a longer beat than usual to figure out an action-plan.
It's highly likely a person who has ghosted you moved on with someone else.
Also in need of serious consideration: By not issuing a definitive goodbye, your person may have been keeping things deliberately vague. This way, they could potentially sweet talk their way back into your bed (should things not work out with whomever they're really with).
I know that it's hard for those who are more stable to think of moving on from a connection without knowing what really happened. It takes no time to type out:
"Hey...sorry for the delay in my reply. I've reunited with my ex; things are going well. I really enjoyed spending time with you though and wish you every happiness--you deserve it and so much more. Please stay in touch. We have a real connection and I hope it eventually translates to friendship. Be safe and well!"
Courage is hard to come by for people who have a lot of explaining to do....
With a little luck, the person who ghosted you will eventually think better of it and make amends--especially now, with all the uncertainty surrounding the pandemic. By making amends I mean returning any gifts or love-tokens, paying for expenses you may have incurred under false pretenses, and, backing it all up with an appropriately written apology.
Or, as an alternative, getting flushed down some cosmic toilet bowl works, too.
2. If s/he seems interested yet drops off for days+ at a time, you're not the only person they're dating.
When we have love-feelings for someone else and are honest about those feelings, you're proving you are ready for a relationship. You're courage shows your partner that you value them and their time investment.
Loyalty in relationships is a commodity. A person who loves you no matter what is a freakin' unicorn in a world where easy access was just a swipe away (pre-C19...but it will get back there again in time: body condoms--you heard it here first!).
Maybe there was an initial miscommunication a la fear. Again, it's easy to clear those up with a simple email. If you get a positive response, the person may have misread you or your intentions and backed off. But if you don't get a timely reply after reaching out, it's really over.
If you don't mind being someone's option, you can stick around. Maybe you're going for the "mold on bread" theory and hope something eventually takes root and grows--but, do you really want your relationship to be akin to mold??? Warts take root and grow, too, you know....
FUN FACT #226:
No relationship that can be compared to a fungus or an STD is built to withstand the test of time.
Again, always exceptions to every rule--but when you accept unacceptable terms and conditions in any relationship, you're setting yourself up for a pattern of hardship that will leave you unfulfilled in the long run.
3. Scenario: "My spouse/partner stopped holding my hand in public and rarely makes time for us to go out together anymore. Yet, s/he disappears to visit with family or hang out with friends for half a day or more. When we do go out, it's never longer than a few hours and all I hear about is how little time s/he has."
Tough one, for sure. I'm sorry if this is happening to you. If it is, your spouse/partner is likely wandering. You're probably "too expensive" to divorce. And now, you've been relegated to the sidelines. In other words, you've been benched in lieu of other players in the field (but are still under contract so can't yet go off on your own as a free agent).
You can ask your partner outright what's going on, but you probably won't get an honest answer. Especially if there are shared assets at stake. But you can still draw a few boundaries--this is what you do if you believed you and your partner were in love and shared your lives only to unexpectedly learn they'd been planning for a future without you (secret savings accnts, etc. are tell-tale signs). No one serious about the relationship should be drawing boundaries--healthy relationships have a basic level of trust. However, when that isn't present, there's probably another person in the mix and your spouse may quite possibly be preparing to leave you with a secret stash of cash they've been socking away without your knowledge.
Any person who is vulnerable in some way, regardless of gender or orientation, has a good shot at getting used and abused. That's why financial independence is so, so important.
Someone hurt you? If you have have a nice car, a house and a decent income that allows for self-care, the idiot who walked away is also an irrelevant idiot. There will always be PLENTY of fish in the sea looking for stable, loving, loyal, and attractive partners who own their own homes and are financially secure. You'll still be disappointed when a person you have good chemistry with is too much of a coward to admit to their feelings--or, is too damaged to leave a pre-existing codependency. Thankfully, their disconnects are not yours. Send them positive energy and move on. Under the current C19 restrictions, that's not easy, but I hear video-dates can still be pretty fun...at least it's hopeful!
You may regret the lost potential, but it's a good thing when a person you've invested in emotionally stops wasting your valuable time (for whatever reason). And hey, never say never! If someone you had legit feels for comes around again for the relationship-sequel, the ball is totally in your court. There are always exceptions and it's not a bad thing to let a person you still care for (who has taken responsibility for their wrong-doing) prove that they're serious this time around.
You have to kiss A LOT of frogs to find your Prince (or Princess). But if you stay open by letting go of the users and abusers, you'll free yourself up to actually find someone who wants what you want.
Someone who wants all the fun and none of the responsibility is only playing at love. Hurt by others in the past, now unhappy in their current lives, these folks are self-saboteurs unable to effect real change. You can only do so much to protect yourself without totally closing your heart. Unfortunately, unethical types know this and will use it to their advantage.
There are still good people out there who are intelligent/healthy enough to not project their pain onto others. If it's just a one-night thing and you don't expect more, a healthy person will say so upfront. Look for those who are clear about their intentions. Only unhealthy individuals use pretense to manipulate emotions. Sometimes, you go on a few dates and like each other but things mutually fizzle out. That's no one's fault. However, when a clear momentum has built up and one party naturally feels safe enough to share their feelings, it's not a surprise. Or at least, it shouldn't be.
Stay positive and you'll eventually meet your match. Promise!
PS: A person who truly loves you cares about your health and safety and wants to protect you from harm. That's how you can identify a true lover--they will travel anywhere for you, even if they have to walk 1,000 miles.