+
More

The Internet was supposed to save dating. Instead, it's ruining it.

Is Ghosting The New Normal?

It was our second "first date."

Two and a half years ago, Steve hit me up on OK Cupid. Not my usual type––he had very long wavy hair, close-shaved beard and mustache, and tats, seemingly everywhere.


Substantially younger than me, he looked older, almost Willie Nelson-ish. Rock girl though I may be in moniker, and in sensibility, that look has nary been my leaning. But, there was something in his eyes, a softness, which softened me. Loving pictures with his young children added to his charm.

They also threw up a big red flag.

My youngest had just left home for college weeks before, and my oldest, although still living with me, was of age, and independent––and, any man who posts pictures with his kids on his dating profile, admirable in so many ways, doesn't exactly scream ready for romance.

I answered him anyway.

Coming off yet another long dry spell, figuratively and literally, there'd been a succession of matches which led to either no communication, conversations which evaporated into cyber air, or, men who did––even after a fun first date.

There was an intense brief romance with a sexy Parisian who said we were soul-connected until he very swiftly disconnected.

He kind of said goodbye before he checked out, which is more thanI can say for Don. His last text invited me to talk. That was three springs ago. He's yet to return the call.

Paul sent me a lovely message saying he wanted me to know he was interested in me but he was leaving the country and that's why he'd be temporarily MIA. Define temporarily.

Post my separation 8 years ago, after a 20-year marriage, I had no clue what dating was about. I'd never done it.

Back in the day, before the internet, and cell phone apps, we met in person. Eyeball to eyeball. Or, at least, eyeball to cute ass. Almost without exception, it was all in for both of us, from the get-go.

My business requires me to leave the sanctity of my kitchen and computer to attend social events; I'm sober, and attend meetings to remain so; I'm blessed to have some wonderful friends who invite me to do stuff with them. I enjoy being out in the world, in spite of my inclination to lazy out and isolate. So, I go.

And, yet, I was meeting no one. It seemed everyone who piqued my interest was either taken or too cool for the room. Or, at least, my room.

After four years of too many nights, weeks, months, alone, with a few dalliances sprinkled in between, my therapist encouraged––badgered me, to get on the dating sites.

I must have had beginners luck because pretty much everyone I matched with reached out and wanted to meet. I had no idea at the time what an anomaly that was. I consumed enough Starbuck's to drown a rhinoceros. Of all the men I connected with, I discovered without exception, all of them had lied about at least one thing in their profile. And none yielded or warranted a second date.

Seeking substance, Tinder led to OKCupid, where profiles were more in-depth and there were questions to match compatibility. But, unlike Tinder, OKCupid, not linked to Facebook, or corroborated by anything, quickly proved to be filled with men who either stole their pictures from others, or, were involved with others, and were just looking for some online intrigue––like maybe some naked pictures, or, a playmate to sext with.

After innumerable connections with men who upon being asked the most basic question, like, "What's your name?" disappeared into the night, I decided to focus elsewhere. Not before being blindsided by a seemingly real, genuine good guy who romanced the shit out of me before pulling a Houdini whenI asked to switch to text.

Doing a reverse Google Image search (I amassed a few tricks after being repeatedly burned) I learned that he was a Mormon, dating a gorgeous 19-year-old who clearly assumed she had his undivided attention. When I messaged him on Twitter, he panicked, claimed someone stole his pics, and within a week, proposed to said girl.

OKCupid, I decided, was stupid.

Back to Tinder, which at least connects to one's Facebook, and eliminated the total imposters. Except Ryan, who was actually Patrick, discovered accidentally when he said he was in one state but the app disagreed and placed him in another. He was gone faster than a box of Krispie Kremes at an AA meeting.

Photo by Jewel Samad/Getty Images.

This time around, matches either never begat a word, ceased after a hello or so, or, they'd provide an unsolicited dick pic within moments.

I was schooled by my male friends that "What are you looking for?" is code for hookup. When I wasn't game for that, they were gone into the ether.

Granted, I lean young, but even when I made a conscious effort to make more appropriate choices the results remained pretty much the same.

It's me. Right?

Speaking to just about every single and seeking person I know––not so much.

When Steve, the single dad appeared, in spite of his hair and tattoos, he was a successful creative businessman and he seemed relatively normal.

After a few days of intense text exchanges, I pushed away a few warnings of deviancy, encouraged by his seemingly sane life, and his dogged appreciation and pursuit of me.

We met at a park on a cloudy afternoon. From the first moment, any reservations I'd had were gone––a bolt of connection and attraction struck hard and fast. We talked for hours, without breaking eye contact.

When he had to leave to pick up his kids, he kissed me, gently, briefly, yet it was sparky and memorable. He said he'd like to take me on a proper date––at night. I was thrilled and yet, without thinking or taking a pause, I asked how this could work with his full-time responsibility to being a dad and my newfound freedom. He assured me that he could work it out, that's what babysitters were for.

I left him, hopeful and high-flying, my gut nagging, "Why did I pose that question when things felt so damn good?" Fear? Self-sabotage?  Nah! The way he looked at me. It was ok. As if to confirm that, a lovely text exchange followed.

When days later, the texts we're becoming frequently less inspired, and less, period, I was still shocked when without notice, they ceased completely, except mine to him which went unanswered.

I blamed myself.

I obsessively checked his Instagram seeking an answer, garnering none. Eventually, I stopped looking. When I'd scroll past his posts in my feed I'd get a pang of WTF and move on––until this one night two and half years later. An artful, ridiculously sexy image of a man and woman kissing appeared. Without intending to, my mouse lingered a bit too long over the photo and somehow Liked it without my knowledge or consent. Mortified, I instantly reversed it.

Too late. A moment later he private messaged me as if a few days had passed since our last date.

Still, somehow, liking the guy, wanting answers, and not wanting to kibosh it again (because of course, it was my fault last go ‘round), I made no reference to the passage of time or his vanishing act. We went out again, this time on that proper date for dinner; making out like teenagers on the sidewalk afterward, maybe not so proper. So, we took a drive. If we had heat the first time, this time we had fire. When we said goodnight, we talked about picking it back up soon, not before I again brought up his kids. Oh yes, I did.

For the next couple of days, there were a few lame texts, initiated by yours truly. Then silence. When a few days later he reached out, I was ecstatic, this time was different.

That was the last I heard from him.

Boo.

Three weeks ago, Jon asked me out the very day we matched.

I was freshly smarting from a painfully abrupt break up with a guy I'd actually been seeing for a few months. I was determined to get back on the dating horse and not suffer. This was quick, but Jon was intelligent, funny, accomplished, and like-minded. Why not?

Over dinner, we talked about online dating, and ghosting. He admitted I was his first physical date after months on the app. He said he'd ghosted more than a few women after messaging them.

When pressed, he explained his reluctance to start anything––it seemed more effort than it was worth––or he was willing to take after a messy divorce. He said I was different. Walking me to my car he asked permission to kiss me. That's kind of weird, and not very sexy, but he said he’d been thinking about it throughout dinner and wanted me to know this wasn't a friend thing. He added, "No ghosting, ok?" He wasn’t kidding, there’s no friend thing, there’s no no-thing.

It's been radio silence ever since.

I've spent the last couple of weeks talking to everyone I can think of who online dates in an attempt to understand what the hell is going on.

Is ghosting the new normal?

It appears to be sadly more true than not. I'm not the only one having these kinds of experiences. And yet, there seem to be plenty of stories of people who meet online and not only date but mate––some even partnering for the long haul.

Is it a numbers game and I picked a really high one?

It seems in part to be a Mars/Venus thing. Some men swipe every single woman, and then, afterthey match, look at her pictures. If they like her, maybethen they read her profile. I don't know these men personally, or at least none of the ones I do will cop to that behavior. But I do know quite a few who've said that matching alone is the conquest, and once that's done they lose interest and it's on to the next.

What?

Or, they're so interested that fear takes over and worry about money, their car, career, their sex, and whether they'll measure up, drives them to give up before they start. And yet, one friend admitted that if he connected with a woman who really rang his bell he'd push through.

So it's true, he's just not that into you.

Or me.

I know women have ghosted in kind. Myself, included. But I can explain mine. Can too. If a guy's creepy or inappropriate, I feel justified in not responding. And, a few times I realized I’d made mistake and it was easier to just drift away. Shoot me. From the left. It’s my good side.

So where does that leave us?

It leaves me ghosting my machines. I’m done. Finished. I can’t take it anymore.

I’ve said that at least 37 times.

Then I get stuck in traffic, or in line at Ralph’s, and while the cashier swipes my groceries, I’m back swiping my next future ghost.

Could he at least look like Patrick Swayze? Please.

Nature

Pennsylvania home is the entrance to a cave that’s been closed for 70 years

You can only access the cave from the basement of the home and it’s open for business.

This Pennsylvania home is the entrance to a cave.

Have you ever seen something in a movie or online and thought, "That's totally fake," only to find out it's absolutely a real thing? That's sort of how this house in Pennsylvania comes across. It just seems too fantastical to be real, and yet somehow it actually exists.

The home sits between Greencastle and Mercersburg, Pennsylvania, and houses a pretty unique public secret. There's a cave in the basement. Not a man cave or a basement that makes you feel like you're in a cave, but an actual cave that you can't get to unless you go through the house.

Turns out the cave was discovered in the 1830s on the land of John Coffey, according to Uncovering PA, but the story of how it was found is unclear. People would climb down into the cave to explore occasionally until the land was leased about 100 years later and a small structure was built over the cave opening.

Keep ReadingShow less
Architectural Digest/Youtube

This house was made with love.

Celebrity home tours are usually a divisive topic. Some find them fun and inspirational. Others find them tacky or out of touch. But this home tour has seemingly brought unanimous joy to all.

“Stranger Things” actor David Harbour and British singer-songwriter Lily Allen, whose Vegas wedding in 2020 came with an Elvis impersonator, gave a tour of their delightfully quirky Brooklyn townhouse for Architectural Digest, and people were absolutely loving it.

For one thing, the house just looks cool. There’s nothing monotone or minimalist about it. No beige to be seen.

Keep ReadingShow less

Finally, someone explains why we all need subtitles

It seems everyone needs subtitles nowadays in order to "hear" the television. This is something that has become more common over the past decade and it's caused people to question if their hearing is going bad or if perhaps actors have gotten lazy with enunciation.

So if you've been wondering if it's just you who needs subtitles in order to watch the latest marathon-worthy show, worry no more. Vox video producer Edward Vega interviewed dialogue editor Austin Olivia Kendrick to get to the bottom of why we can't seem to make out what the actors are saying anymore. It turns out it's technology's fault, and to get to how we got here, Vega and Kendrick took us back in time.

They first explained that way back when movies were first moving from silent film to spoken dialogue, actors had to enunciate and project loudly while speaking directly into a large microphone. If they spoke and moved like actors do today, it would sound almost as if someone were giving a drive-by soliloquy while circling the block. You'd only hear every other sentence or two.

Keep ReadingShow less
Health

Oregon utilizes teen volunteers to run their YouthLine teen crisis hotline

“Each volunteer gets more than 60 hours of training, and master’s level supervisors are constantly on standby in the room.”

Oregon utilizes teen volunteers to man YouthLine teen crisis hotline

Editor's Note: If you are having thoughts about taking your own life, or know of anyone who is in need of help, the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline is a United States-based suicide prevention network of over 200+ crisis centers that provides 24/7 service via a toll-free hotline with the number 9-8-8. It is available to anyone in suicidal crisis or emotional distress.

Mental health is a top-of-mind issue for a lot of people. Thanks to social media and people being more open about their struggles, the stigma surrounding seeking mental health treatment appears to be diminishing. But after the social and emotional interruption of teens due the pandemic, the mental health crises among adolescents seem to have jumped to record numbers.

PBS reports that Oregon is "ranked as the worst state for youth mental illness and access to care." But they're attempting to do something about it with a program that trains teenagers to answer crisis calls from other teens. They aren't alone though, as there's a master's level supervisor at the ready to jump in if the call requires a mental health professional.

The calls coming into the Oregon YouthLine can vary drastically, anywhere from relationship problems to family struggles, all the way to thoughts of self-harm and suicide. Teens manning the phones are provided with 60 hours of training and are taught to recognize when the call needs to be taken over by the adult supervisor.

Keep ReadingShow less
Family

Mom shares her brutal experience with 'hyperemesis gravidarum' and other moms can relate

Hyperemesis gravidarum is a severe case of morning sickness that can last up until the baby is born and might require medical attention.

@emilyboazman/TikTok

Hyperemesis gravidarum isn't as common as regular morning sickness, but it's much more severe.

Morning sickness is one of the most commonly known and most joked about pregnancy symptoms, second only to peculiar food cravings. While unpleasant, it can often be alleviated to a certain extent with plain foods, plenty of fluids, maybe some ginger—your typical nausea remedies. And usually, it clears up on its own by the 20-week mark. Usually.

But sometimes, it doesn’t. Sometimes moms experience stomach sickness and vomiting, right up until the baby is born, on a much more severe level.

Hyperemesis gravidarum (HG), isn’t as widely talked about as regular morning sickness, but those who go through it are likely to never forget it. Persistent, extreme nausea and vomiting lead to other symptoms like dehydration, fainting, low blood pressure and even jaundice, to name a few.

Emily Boazman, a mom who had HG while pregnant with her third child, showed just how big of an impact it can make in a viral TikTok.

Keep ReadingShow less

The cast of TLC's "Sister Wives."

Dating is hard for just about anyone. But it gets harder as people age because the dating pool shrinks and older people are more selective. Plus, changes in dating trends, online etiquette and fashion can complicate things as well.

“Sister Wives” star Christine Brown is back in the dating pool after ending her “spiritual union” with polygamist Kody Brown and she needs a little help to get back in the swing of things. Christine and Kody were together for more than 25 years and she shared him with three other women, Janelle, Meri and Robyn.

Janelle and Meri have recently announced they’ve separated from Kody. Christine publicly admitted that things were over with Kody in November 2021.

Keep ReadingShow less