Ghosted

dating7Where’s Dan Ackroyd, Bill Murray and the other two when you need them? For the uninitiated, ghosting is when somebody stops communicating with you and they just disappear off the face of the Earth. But unlike ghosts, who may come back to haunt you, these people never return.

It appears I’ve become a victim of ghosting and it has affected me more than I would have imagined. I’m a pretty pragmatic and realistic person, who never takes much for granted, but this particular ghosting was quite unexpected and has left my questioning my own personality and judgement of others.

The Beginning

I managed to get myself a very rare match on one of the online dating apps, and after striking up a conversation with the woman, we organised a first date. All went surprisingly well on the date, she was extremely attractive, intelligent and good company. Too good to be true I thought, so I was expecting that to be the end of things. If you’re going to get ghosted, it’ll be straight after the first date; but no, she’s kept in contact afterwards. We met for a couple of further dates, and we began to enjoy each other’s company and I began to feel more relaxed with her, and we had plenty of messaging between us on a daily basis. So things were looking good.

Busy Lives

We were both busy people, both parents with full-time jobs, so finding time to meet up was difficult. But we both understood that, and she always seemed keen to meet again once we’ve got our various distractions out of the way (usual things like winter bugs, weather, work and so on). There was even talk about maybe meeting at either of our houses, which of course would be a major step forward. That idea certainly got my interest up! It was just a case of finding a suitable day to do this, and in the meantime we kept the messages going, discussing our daily lives, and learning more about each other. Everything was going well, and I really felt we were forming a good relationship that had serious potential.

The Silence

She sent me a message one morning, which was nothing unusual in content or timing. I replied to it a couple of hours later, and said nothing particularly unusual, just something benign, but the sort of the thing that would normally be answered. We were never quick repliers to messages, as we’re busy people, so not getting a reply for several hours was normal and fine. However, I’d noticed by message hadn’t been read, which was less usual. I followed up with a couple more short messages to check if she was fine, but they weren’t read either. I was now starting to get worried, as she would normally reply within a day, and would have at least read them, but not this time. I decided to call her in the evening the next day, but it either went straight to voicemail or just rang unanswered.

The Concern for Her

After a couple of days of no response to my messages, which were still unread, or to my calls (just a couple of them, I didn’t want to appear overly persistant), I assumed she was having some problems. Maybe a family problem? One of her children was ill? Was she ill, or worse? I was now getting very worried for her. Why hadn’t she even let me know?

All I had was her phone number, I didn’t know her address, and I didn’t even know her surname (she did casually mention it, but I didn’t really mentally take note at the time). So there wasn’t much I could do. So all I could was wait and hope she’s get back to me. So I waited and waited…

The Realisation of Ghosting

After a few days, it began to dawn on me that I’d been ghosted. She clearly didn’t want me contacting her as a later attempt at a message didn’t even get delivered, so I seemed to have been blocked. Her profile on the dating app has also been blocked to me. I wasn’t just been ignored, I’d been actively blocked off from her life. I tried to recollect what may have triggered this, but there was nothing to suggest she wasn’t interested anymore. She never read the reply to the last message she sent me, so it’s not like there’s anything I said that would have caused the sudden cutting off. Maybe she had another man (or men) on the go from her dating activities, and decided to plump for one of them instead of me. It would have been nice to know where I stood, but I was just left hanging for days on end without knowing. In fact, I still don’t know the reason.

This rejection really hit me hard, as we had been on a few dates and really felt we were gelling and getting closer. On the last date, she was getting quite flirtacious, and the body language was very positive, so I things were really heading in the right direction. She was always on my mind, and I hadn’t felt that way about anyone for a very long time. I simply do not meet women like her, so I didn’t want to miss out on making something of this. So when I realised she had rejected me after such a build up, it felt like the last fish in the ocean had been hooked away from under my hose.

The Undigified End

What really rankles with a ghosting like this, is that she never had the decency to let me know it had ended. Even just a message to say “I’m not interested anymore, so will not be talking to you anymore”, would have been better. At least it would have been an instant line in the sand, and I could move on. I would have preferred an explanation, so I knew what I could work on if it was something at fault with me. To me, she is just a cold-hearted coward. Does she do this to all the men she meets? I can tolerate a ghosting after a first date, as it almost goes with the territory, but not after a series of increasingly better dates.

Even now, several weeks after I was cut off I still think about her, and wonder what I could have done to not get rejected. I’m always wanting to know more about her, but I don’t want to end up as some bitter stalker, trying to track her down. That would just be bad from every angle, and I just have to move on, and respect the fact that she’s now back to being a person I don’t know anymore.

Photos that Fail

Your main photo on a dating app is so critical to get matches, but some many people seem to kill their chances by putting something on there that will just either scare people off or just get ignored. Your image is going to be looked at for just a second, so you need to make it count. Here are some of the typical mistake I’ve seen when picking my way though Tinder, POF and other sites. As I’m a male looking for women, it’s very much geared towards women’s pictures, but many of the mistakes would apply to men’s pictures too.

Distant Shot

dating5_1OK, you may be stood in the most picturesque setting in the world, but I’m not here to look at the scenery. I’m trying to see you on a 13 cm phone display, so a 1 cm tall version of you isn’t going to show me much. I can probably just about make out you’re a human, but not much more.

Bad crop

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Do you have a mouth and nose? You do? So why not show them? Some crops are arty, some are just crap photography. Either way, it would be good to see your whole face. I’ve also noticed a tight face crop is popular with the larger lady, to try and hide as much as possible. This is a shame, as there’s plenty of men who love women on the cuddly side, so don’t be shy to show that.

Body only shot

dating5_3 OK, you’ve got the Mitchell brothers tucked into your skimpy top and a tummy flatter than Holland, but why the decapitation?

Crowd of people

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So which one are you? Do I need to look at your other photos to work out which one you are? Or do I take the gamble you really are the hot one in the photo and not the one that gives me nightmares?

With another man

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So who is this man you’re with? You husband, boyfriend or ex? Even it’s just a friend or brother (which in some parts of the world doesn’t stop them being the boyfriend too), I want to meet someone where I’m the main man in your life.

With your child

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I’m a parent, and don’t mind dating women who are parents too. But if I want to think of romance and sexy things, children are a serious turn-off. Is our first date going to be in an indoor soft-play area?

Not even you

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You might love horse riding or have a few cute dog, but I’d actually rather know what you look like. Unless you really do look like that, then I suggest a more specialist website. Even worse is a photo of some location you’ve been to, or some stupid ‘inspirational’ quote.

Back turned

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I do admire a shapely derrière, but I would like to see some face to go with the bass.

Mobile phone obstruction

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I know taking selfies can be tricky, but try and keep the thing away from your face if using a mirror. You can still make it worse by having the flash go off too, so end up resembling the nativity star.

Shades

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OK, I know we tend to take more photos while on holiday and on sunny days, so you’ll have your sunglasses on. But they hide half your face and the eyes are the most important part of it. Maybe hiding a slightly alternative fact when it comes to your age maybe?

Not enough pixels

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Cameras on phones these days have plenty of megapixels, and we’re not needing to compress our JPGs down to 1k any more. So how did you photo appear like it’s been taken by a 1950s early NASA mission? Or is it just a cut-out of some photo of someone else you found online?

Duckface

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This is trend that’s been going for a year or two now. Is it a Kardashian thing (whatever they are)? Anyway, it makes you look stupid, not sexy. I like ducks, particularly with hoisin sauce.

Crown of flowers

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Another trend, which I suspect is from Snapchat (not a user myself), where a GCI crown of flowers is plonked on your head. Not only that, the ‘enhancement’ tool also does something weird to your eyes, so you resemble the lovechild of a zombie and Pokemon.

 

 

 

 

 

I’m sure there’s plenty of other types of bad photos out there, but these are the ones that I’ve seen repeatedly over the past few weeks. I don’t think anyone expects professional studio quality photos, just one which shows your whole face without any distractions, adornments or modifications. A full body shot is fine too, as long as it’s close enough up and of a good enough quality to show your face clearly too.

As for facial expressions, I personally find a smile most appealing, but don’t mind other expressions as long as it’s natural and you don’t look angry or upset. If you’re made out of Lego, then the choice of expression can be rather limited.

It’ll be interesting to hear of any other types of typical photo failures out there. Do men have different bad habits when it comes to their pictures?

The Trouble With Me

Dating can be hard and there’s many things that can count against you appealing to others. Here’s a list of my own potential flaws:

I’ve got kids

Yes, I’m a dad (there’s a clue in the blog name), which means I’ve got responsibilities and need to spend time with the children. So any potential partner will have to realise they aren’t going to be the focus of attention 100% of the time. It also means I’ve got less disposable income, as kids are expensive to run. So I can’t just shoot off on a two-week luxury holiday to the Maldives at the drop of a hat. My kids also live with me, and I still haven’t made my mind up whether I’d want someone else in the house living with me. There’s also the mother problem, unlike childless break-ups you can’t detach completely from the mother of your children. You still need to communicate with them for parenting purposes. So any new partner has to realise I will need to speak to the ex on a regular basis, no matter how much I dislike doing so. Oh, and exes are expensive. They bleed you dry of any spare money you may have, so any hope of saving a few quid for a couple of drinks on a potential date tend to vanish pretty quickly.

On the upside, being a dad should mean I’m more mature, more caring, and probably more domesticated (makes me sound like a cat). It also means I’m probably more attractive to single mums rather than childless women, which I still can’t decide is a good thing or not.

I’m old

OK, age is a relative thing when it comes to relationships, but there are some absolutes in there too. The obvious ones are the age of consent and the human lifespan limit, but I don’t think we need to be concerned about these extremities. Without wanting to generalise, most straight men want to meet someone who is no older than them. I’m in my early 40s, so getting to the age where I appear to be considered really old in the dating world. Women have it even harder when they hit the big four-oh, were they are considered only good for the nursing home. On many women’s profiles (POF seems to have a desired age-range category) they seem to have an upper limit of 42 years old for their desired man. Not 43, but 42. I’m not sure what happens on your 43rd birthday, but it must be pretty drastic for you to become utterly unappealing. So I’ve decided to stay 42 for a while longer, a white lie never hurt anyone.

I don’t have a six-pack

Not many men in their 40s have six-packs, particularly dads who don’t have time spend hours in the gym when not working and looking after a family. Yes, dad-bods might be the new trendy thing, but that’s just typical gossip column bollocks. I’m not fat, but have a little bit of a belly which I can hide for a few seconds if I breathe in. If a woman wants a man with a body like Christiano Ronaldo, they’ll have to find a man who will spend most of his day in the gym, and not spending it with you. His cooking will be rubbish too, you don’t end up with a body like that by eating tasty food.

I’m a engineer

Ok, my profession shouldn’t really matter, but engineering isn’t the sexiest occupation in the world. In the UK, the view is particularly bad as many people don’t even know what an engineer is (no, the man who comes round to fix your faulty mains socket is not an engineer). We are considered geeky, which to be honest is pretty true. I do work with some very geeky people, but they are intelligent, kind and caring too; they just don’t have the effortless charm of a George Clooney.

Engineering, in the UK at least, is also a very male dominated industry. We’re desperate for more women to become engineers, but there’s simply not enough girls taking an interest when at school (that’s a whole different conversation I might blog about in the future).

So there’s simply very little chance of meeting a female partner in the workplace, and so we have to go online to meet someone. So this means we’re not very used to speaking to women, not that we would treat them any differently to men. But if you want to meet someone in the workplace you need to go beyond the professional colleague type of relationship and be able to push the conversation to more personal levels. Most of us engineers don’t have any experience at doing this, so struggle when talking to women on a more personal and flirtatious level.

I don’t live in London

London is expensive, overcrowded, smelly, congested and noisy. However, it is where all the single women appear to be. Whereas my small home town is full on families and retired people. There aren’t any singles, and the population isn’t very diverse, so the chance of finding anyone suitable within a couple of miles is zero.

Of course London is full of great things to see and do, and I usually enjoy my visits there, and often work there, but I couldn’t live there (I simply couldn’t afford it anyway). So my on-line searching has to focus on London, but of course when I mention to a potential date I live outside London I’m treated like I’m living on the moon. To many Londoners, the world is split into two regions: London and Outside-London. Outside-London contains places like St Albans, Slough, Manchester, New York and Timbuktu. These places are all in Outside-London so are considered equally remote and inaccessible where they have no shops, electricity or running water (OK, that might be true for Slough). When you try and explain it takes less time for me to get from my home counties house to reach central London than it does for someone to get from Bromley to Harrow, they splutter in disbelief. They treat the idea of visiting Outside-London as some epic journey the equivalent of David Livingstone’s trek across Africa.

So when I discuss my location to potential dates I really need to emphasize the time I spend in London, to stand any chance of not being treated like some remote relationship.

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These are all things I’ll struggle to hide or embellish on a dating profile, and short of abandoning my kids for hours in the gym, jacking my job in and moving house, I’m going to struggle to get hits. But at least I’m not going in there with delusions of grandeur, and my expectations are very well managed.

Having read the Thought Catalog blog, which is from a woman’s point-of-view, at least I don’t seem to be hitting too many of those black marks. She does appear to be American too, so a frat boy is a completely alien concept to us Brits. But you can see from her list, some women (and men for that matter) can have some pretty stringent and, quite frankly, contradictory requirements. For a more British viewpoint from a woman on the dating scene Anna Dates seems to coming from a more realistic viewpoint.

 

Yes, I’m single, so I’m trying to date

I’ve now been single for a few years, with my last serious relationship being with the mother of my kids. I’ve had a couple of minor dalliances since then, but haven’t really found Miss Right, or even Miss Just-About-Tolerable (who must be very posh having a triple-barrelled name). So I’ve decided to get out there and track her down, whoever she may be. When I say ‘get out there’, you know I really mean go on-line and start surfing the dating sites and apps. No scouring around bars and hassling strangers in the street in this day and age.

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I’ll try and share my experiences at my attempts at dating as time goes on. I may even dish out some helpful advice, as how-to guides seem to be popular in blogs. Even I can’t help improve your dating dating chances with my words of wisdom, you can at least revel in my failures, bewilderment with the whole dating scene and be amazed at any successes I may have (come on, Leicester won the Premier league last season, so these things can happen!).