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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