Monthly Archives: October 2019

The Online Dating Chronicles: Ghost stories are for Halloween, not dating


In keeping with the Halloween theme today (because, you know, it’s Halloween), I’ll just say this:

Ghosting should be illegal.

When I first started dating post-divorce 17 years ago, I was naïve, inexperienced, and really kind of a pushover. Guys could tell me things and I’d believe them or give them way more credit than they deserved. Let’s say I was impressionable. I’d been ghosted a few times, but looking back, it wasn’t all that surprising – the men were kind of aloof and not really looking for more than a hookup. When I wouldn’t hook up, they disappeared.

But now that I’m in my 50s, I have a different attitude and a different perspective. I’ve had a few relationships over the years and while I love the idea of being part of a couple – a team, a partnership – I’ve also come to value my private time. What that means is that you’ve got to bring something pretty special into my life to stay there.

I thought I was a bit smarter in my dating life.

Apparently, I’m not as smart as I thought. About a month ago, I thought I met someone – through the new Facebook dating app, actually – who seemed to be “my unicorn.” We chatted for a week or so, then had a few phone calls, then decided to go out on a date.

That first date was fabulous. It unseated what I had considered “the best first date ever” – which took place in 2005. He showed up with a bouquet of flowers in a vase – not just a few flowers wrapped in paper – and didn’t sweat it that I wasn’t ready. He gave me a soft kiss before we left, and massaged my shoulders just a little, to keep me from getting nervous. (All of this was OK with me because we seemed to just “click.” Trust me, I’ve had plenty of first dates where a kiss or shoulder massage would have been beyond creepy.)

He drove me to Galena, Ill., about 90 minutes from my condo, and we had one of the best Italian meals I’ve ever had. We walked through town talking and holding hands, and then drove back in driving rain – missing our turn and almost ending up another hour away. He came in to my place, we laughed, we talked, we joked, and then he went home.

That was on a Saturday. On Monday he sent me a bag of chocolate kisses at work. On Tuesday he came over to my place and made dinner, and the following Monday he came back and it was my turn to cook.

And then … he disappeared. He’d text a few times in the days following, told me he was sick and would respond when I’d ask how he was doing. Then he stopped. Everything. I checked out his social media just to make sure he was still alive (that’s a lesson I learned the hard way – but that’s for another post) and he was.

He just decided to stop. No text. No explanation. No anything.


Sometimes I really hate dating.

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The Online Dating Chronicles: Welcome to my world

It’s no secret – dating kind of sucks.

OK, that may be a bit strong. Dating itself is kind of fun – going out with someone, having a good time, getting to know them over drinks or dinner or a walk in the park, holding hands, kisses good night (or good morning 😉).

funny-dating-memesGetting to the point of having a date? That part sucks. Especially if you’re one of the hundreds of thousands of people using online dating sites to get there (and chances are, if you’re between the ages of 18 and 99, single, and looking for a partner, you probably are). Online sites are awful for many of the same reasons they’re great: You can meet lots of people, conversation is a lot easier over the internet, and it’s a lot easier to get out of a conversation if you can just log off rather than trying to back away slowly or hope your “wing man/woman” comes to save you at the right time.

They’re awful because people believe they can be whomever they want to be and say whatever they want to say – and often do. I’ve been thanked for chatting because he was “tired of doing the five-knuckle shuffle”; met a man who said he was single but was in fact ready to celebrate a milestone wedding anniversary; and asked out by a man who should have been serving a life sentence in a federal prison but worked a deal with prosecutors for early release by helping to get a murderer to draw a map to where she hid the bodies.

You think I’m kidding. I’m not.

As much as I may hate to admit it I’m more familiar than I should be with dating sites. I tried my first site before my divorce was even final – in 2002 – just to get back into the swing of talking to men on a social level. I was an awkward dater as a teen, and after 12 years of marriage I wasn’t sure how it would go (turns out I’m a more confident adult dater than I was a teen dater). I met a man on that site and was convinced to move across the state.

The relationship fizzled, but my love for eastern Iowa was immense, so I stayed. And I dated. And dated. And dated.

And have developed quite the collection of crazy dating stories.

My initial intent was to write a book – and I still may – but that will take a while and I’m anxious to share some of these stories. So that’s what I’ll be doing here, on this blog. Some will be recent, some will have occurred sometime in the last 17 years. All – I assure you – will be true. No embellishments, no fictionalizing (other than the names, because, you know, most of them are still out there), no hiding.

I’d love to share some of your stories, too – same rules, no embellishments, yada yada yada. I’ll identify your stories as “from a friend,” so you don’t have to be as public in your self-deprecating humor if you’d rather not. Feel free to send them to me at

Here we go – this could get interesting.

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