By Tom Blake
A widow of less than a year, mid-70s, emailed me. She asked not to be identified by her true name, so I will call her Beth.
Beth wrote, “I met a man on the dating site Zoosk. We corresponded back and forth a few times, with me being very cautious and with him acting flirty, saying things like, ‘If you like cruising, my bags are packed.’
“He gave me his phone number, and I called one time using *69 to hide my number. We talked for 90 minutes, laughing often, with him sharing much about his family.
“This went on for a few weeks before we agreed to meet for a date. He said he lived an hour and a half north of me and was willing to travel to visit me. He said his sister lived in my town and it would be no problem to come my way.
“He texted that he had made dinner reservations and called me ‘Sunshine’ in his texts. I was happy to hear that. We met in a nice restaurant a month ago. He was waiting at the table and greeted me with a kiss. We had an enjoyable three-hour talk. I felt comfortable. He paid. I offered to share, but he refused.
“He held my hand while walking me to my car and said he wished I was not leaving town since we had just met. He kissed me again as I sat in my car before I drove away.
“He texted that he had gotten home safely, and stated it was great meeting me and he looked forward to seeing me again soon. I texted back, stating that I also had enjoyed the evening.
“When I didn’t hear anything for several days, I sent another text, saying I would really enjoy another date with him. There was no response.
“I presume I will never hear from him again. Since I am somewhat clueless about today’s senior dating game, I wonder what happened and if this is called ghosting? I am baffled; nothing indicated that this man was not interested. Everything he said and did seemed honest.
“I even checked the obituary notices; my only explanation for his behavior was that he had died.
“I have spent many hours crying and feeling rejected; it’s getting better, but I have not forgotten. I will not contact him again.
“If he was in an accident, he could still have contacted me. If he is in a coma, he will either come out of it and possibly call or never come out.
“Why did he ghost me? I think because he is a nice-looking man, still playing the field. Closure will come to me sooner or later.
“If there is truly an interest as it appeared, he will be back in touch again with an explanation. Nothing short of death or a coma will suffice.
“I am a little down, having lost my husband and now my sister. My heart can’t take more grief. I want some comfort, not rejection.”
I responded to Beth: “I’m pleased you checked the obituaries to be sure nothing tragic happened to this man. And, yes, your story appears to fall within the definition of ghosting. To you, it seemed like the early stages of a budding romance and then, poof, he was gone.
“I understand, Beth, why you feel so empty. You are still grieving the loss of your husband and your sister. Your feelings are raw. And now, another loss. Senior dating is difficult, and being ghosted adds to that difficulty.
“Hang in there, chin up; someone more ideal for you will come along. Instead of ghosting you, he will hug you.”
Tom Blake is a retired Dana Point business owner and resident who has authored books on middle-aged dating. See his website at findingloveafter50.com. To comment: email@example.com.