Kathryn's Blog

Why did he just disappear?

One of the questions I get most frequently (right after “Why didn’t he/she answer my email?”) is “Why did he just disappear?”  The “he” is purposeful, because I practically never hear that women “just disappear,” though the men seem to on a regular basis.
The disappearance usually happens in what has up until then been a pleasant email exchange, or after the first date, or somewhere in the dating process.  It’s a frustrating and painful experience for the receiver of this non-behavior (dropping out of contact), and “Why?” is the natural question.

Well, first off, you probably will never really know why, because part of the nature of online dating is that you don’t know this other person and probably will never run into them in real life so that you can ask.  And if they refuse to reconnect via email, phone or otherwise, you are left with your “Why?  What happened???”  And the natural next question is “What did I do wrong?”

Most likely, you did nothing wrong.  Or nothing so grievous to deserve a silent cutoff.

Here are possible explanations: 

1.  He got hit by a bus.  His computer died right after he sent you the last email.  He lost your phone number.  He has been abducted by aliens.  Or worse. 
Unlikely, but possible. 

2.  He decided he is not interested in pursuing contact and is too rude or unskilled or scared to tell you directly.  Email and anonymity make silence a perfect solution.
More likely and quite possible.  Don’t let “I was too busy with work” excuse this kind of behavior.  It takes practically no time at all to zip off an email or speed dial your cell phone.

3.  He got scared.  Yeah, scared.  Grown ups get scared about developing relationships, even when they are lonely and want one.  At each point that a budding relationship takes a baby step towards more closeness (like moving towards a first meeting, deciding on date #2, going public by meeting family and friends), fear can get stirred up and bad behavior result. 

Most likely, and usually the reason behind deciding not to pursue contact, too.

Now, both men and women have fears about getting closer, but men seem most prone to silence and the disappearing act.  Here’s why:

1.  Disappearing is easy.  You just do nothing, and probably you will never get directly confronted.

2.  You don’t have to give bad news and face the upset of the other person – ie crying.

3.  You also don’t have to confront yourself about the implications of your callous behavior.

Guys, correct me if I am wrong about this, and/or tell my about your experiences with disappearing ladies.  I’m willing to learn!

Anyway, I had exactly this kind of issue come up with one of my clients recently.  Lisa is a lovely lady, just over 60, very pretty and looks much younger.  She had been emailing nicely with a gentleman named George and they were starting to plan their first meeting.  Then…nothing.  This was not the first time this had happened to Lisa, and she was dumbfounded about what was going on.  Why would someone just “drop out of sight”?

I explained the “Hit by a bus, he’s decided ‘no, thanks,’ or he’s scared.”  Lisa was incredulous.  “Why would he be scared? I’ve done nothing to scare him.”  Of course, we couldn’t know precisely, but getting closer risks potential loss, maybe being “found out” as not being as presented, old pains getting reactivated. 

Here’s what Lisa (who as she says, has a hard time giving up) did – and this was all on her own, without my prompting – she emailed George the following:

Is this the point when someone gets scared .. and thinks

(Multiple Choice)

a- she may be the size of a tent and not look like her pictures at all

b- she may want to get me drunk and take advantage of me

c- she might expect me to give up my freedom and see her
constantly and never have a free moment again (even though
she lives 3 hrs away)

d- she may throw away my remote control

e- she may be the mean step-mother type

f- what if she has a social disease

g-what if she is after my money

h- maybe she shops til she drops and brings in bills instead
of money
i- Other

George’s email reply:
I guess I must plead guilty to not getting back to you…I work a lot….sometimes too much….and I tend to slip away from things that are out of my comfort zone…like “dating”..LOL!
I have come close to the number of “dates” where one questions his choices or his dating skills..I think I am bad at both.

NO….I’m not afraid if you don’t look like your photos….I’m used to it…
it would be nice to find someone who is MORE interested in What you are about..more than what you have in life.
I’m a little burned out and dissapointed in people ,“our” group…who just Don’t get it.

So take my remote..there’s nothing on that I haven’t seen before.

Stay warm

Bingo.  I was right.  George was scared.  Even this note showed it – though he had the guts to write back (Lisa had done a fabulous job with her light, humorous, yet to-the-point email), George did not clearly indicate a “yes” or “no” to further contact.  So Lisa hits the keyboard again:

Thanks so much for the great and honest answer and for not taking the easy way
out by fading into the woodwork and disappearing.
This means you have character. :-) big points
I have experienced the dating disappointments and the people who
just “don’t get it”. I have questioned what this dating thing is all
about and how people can be so “reckless” when we are all putting
our heart and ego out there. But, I’m not good at giving up and
I hope you aren’t either. Plus, you have the sense of humor to
keep this in perspective.

What can I do to make you feel more comfortable? First, I do
come with references. LOL and I promise not to steal the remote.
I won’t even ask where you live nor become a stalker. LOL
Second, you pick the place and timeframe
that makes it easy… 10 min at the local 7/11??
enough time to eat a great burger?? one drink and one
dance at the local casual bar (lesson free) Timer and batteries

Besides, if you didn’t meet me, wouldn’t you wonder? Did I miss
meeting somebody who DOES get it? and is as nice as she says
she is? How can someone who adores a true Irish twinkle be so
bad? Wow, and she knows how to dance (even lead if necessary)?


Isn’t Lisa something?  She is handling this situation PERFECTLY, and subsequent emails indicate that George is gingerly taking his fear in hand.  They are talking about meeting again. 

Here’s the lesson:

Singles pursuing love get scared easily.  Expect that fear will crop up, especially when the budding relationship gets ready to take a step forward.

Acknowledge fear (maybe expressed through silence), treat it gently and with humor.  You don’t want to stir up still more fear.

Be persistent, though do not become a stalker.  If someone tells you a clear “No,” then respect it.


Nudging yourself towards love

What do a fly in a urinal, an alarm clock that jumps off your bedside stand and dives under your bed, and parking places in Florence have in common?  Even better, what do they have to do with your efforts to find love?

The fly, clock, and parking spaces are all examples of the new trendy trend “nudging.”  A nudge is a gentle push, or when used as a verb: To push against gently, especially in order to gain attention or give a signal.  Nudging is the hottest thing in getting people to make the right choices.
Some bright dude figured out if guys had a target to aim at in a urinal, “spillage” was reduced significantly.  Ergo: The fly.  A nudge towards aiming better.  Take a look.

The clock actually does jump off onto the floor when the alarm goes off, and then proceeds to dash around madly until you get up, chase it, and turn it off.  By then you are up.  Might as well stay that way.

Parking spaces in downtown Florence, Italy, are the size of Smart cars, so no big vehicles can park there.  Ergo: a nudge towards buying Smart cars.

Getting and keeping moving towards finding love can be terribly difficult for singles.  Even if you are lonely and miserable, the anxiety of going out and looking for love can keep you stuck in singleness forever.  Jumping in the seemingly icy water of dating, Internet or otherwise, can be too much of a shock to contemplate. 

So how can you use the concept of nudging to get you and keep you moving in a direction that is likely to find you love? 

I use the “slice and dice” method all the time, both with myself and with my clients.  “Slice and dice” is chopping up a task into smaller and smaller bits until you can actually do one of the bits – and then another – without distress.  Nudging is similar.

What can you do to give yourself a little push in the right direction?  Not a big push that would scare you and stop you in your tracks, but just a little push that gets you moving.

Here’s a fabulous gadget, another alarm clock configuration, that would get me moving for sure: the SnuzNLuz Wifi Donation Alarm Clock.  You’ve GOT to take a look: http://www.thinkgeek.com/stuff/41/snuznluz.shtml  You can set the SnuzNLuz to donate to your least favorite charity or organization automatically unless you turn it off beforehand! 

Now, we are talking about getting you moving to find love, not waking up in the morning, so how could this alarm clock help?  How about if you made a deal with yourself to do something, anything!  Or take a particular step each day towards finding love?  If you HADN’T done anything that day by 9pm, let’s say, the clock would automatically make your donation.

You set up a similar system without the clock:  Write a series of checks to your least favorite organization in an amount that is significant to you, place each one in an addressed envelope, line them up on your desk, and put one in the mail every day you do nothing to find love.


Frustrated with Internet dating?  Maybe it’s you…

Whether or not you have been using an Internet dating site to find love, a better question than “Why try Internet dating?” is “Why not?”

Yes, online daters experience myriad frustrations.  Here are a few that I hear regularly from my clients:

It takes so much time.

I hate all that emailing.

I feel so exposed.

What if my friends/relatives/clients see me on a dating site?

Love should happen naturally, without this kind of effort.

The only people who contact me are jerks/fat/crazy/boring/out for my money/interested only in sex/not interested in sex/ugly/loaded with baggage/scary/liars.

I can’t write about myself.

I don’t have any good pictures.

Any of these sound familiar?  Of course, there is some truth in each statement; otherwise, the complaints would not sound so believable.  But none of these excuses are good enough reasons not to use the best tool that has come around to help older singles find love – singles over 30, I mean.

The Internet and dating sites are merely tools, good, sophisticated tools, but just tools, nonetheless.  You the user have to learn to manipulate the tools to do what you want.  If you are not using the tool properly, or haven’t learned how, it’s no surprise that you don’t get the results that you want.

Think of Internet dating sites like specialized telephone directories.  Just as everyone with a land-line telephone gets a listing in the local telephone directory, any single with access to a computer and the Internet can sign up to be listed on an Internet dating site. 

We all know how marvelously useful telephone books are.  I’ll bet it would be hard to find a household without one.  If you have a business, you’d be crazy not to have a phone book listing, because that’s where people go to find a plumber or beauty salon or the closest pizza parlor.

Similarly, Internet dating sites are very, very useful.  The biggest advantage is that everyone listed is looking for love.  Keep in mind how hard it is to tell if someone is looking if you bump into them in the grocery store.  On a dating site, you know.  And so does everybody else. 

But also, think about how much more information you get about an individual who had listed on a dating site, much, much more information than you would get in a Yellow Pages ad.  We never think twice about using the Yellow Pages to find a plumber, let’s say.  We may ask a friend for recommendations, but we don’t blame the telephone or the directory if the plumber turns out to be a jerk.  Nor do we never hire a plumber again.  We use our judgment.  We simply don’t use that plumber, and we go back to the phone book for another one. 

We don’t throw out the phone book or the phone simply because we dialed a wrong number either.

The phone book is full of people who lie, cheat, and you wouldn’t want to marry.  But the phone book also contains nice people, great folks, even, and we all know that.  We know how to use the phone book as a tool to contact those folks, and we never even notice the listings we wouldn’t be interested in.  We skip right over what we don’t want.

Don’t throw out the Internet equivalent of a phone book for singles, simply because you haven’t figured out how to use it to your advantage.  Yes, Internet dating sites are much more sophisticated than a telephone directory, and therefore harder to learn how to use effectively, but the principal is the same.  Dating sites list hundreds of thousands of singles, 99.9% of whom you will not be interested in.  Same with phone books:  99.9% of the listings in the phone book you will never call and never want to.  But that .01% you would be VERY interested in, and the phone book/ dating site allows you to find them. 

The anger, disgust, disappointment that you may feel about looking for love online is not the fault of the dating site, that is, if you have picked a good, reputable one.  Your frustration most probably is that you have not learned how to use the Internet and dating sites to get what you want.  Or perhaps, what you want doesn’t exist, so you need to readjust what you are looking for.  But the point is, the solution lies in you – and part of that solution may be getting help to learn what you don’t know about making online dating work for you.  This is where hiring a coach can really pay off handsomely – just try me.


The case for getting out on the dance floor

My client Leslie has been working her way through my book “Find a Sweetheart Soon!  Your Love Trip Planner for Women” and also my ecourse “Ten Days to Get Lucky at Love.”  She’s a great student and taking to it all like “a fish to water.”  After President Obama’s Inauguration, she emailed me the following – I liked her views so much that I asked if I could preprint it here so you could enjoy it too:

On page 16 of “Get Lucky at Love,” you write:

“BTW, women find men who can dance VERY attractive.  And a man willing to get out on the dance floor, despite not being perfect, can ask any woman there to dance.  And she will probably say ‘Yes.’”

Analytical student-type that I am, I’m looking everywhere for Love Luck and Bright Spots, and I found one in the coverage of the inaugural festivities.  What I saw really proves what you say about guys learning to dance—or even trying to dance.  Just a few weeks ago, I wouldn’t have seen this myself, so thanks a lot for that, too!

Everyone—absolutely everyone—is talking about the new President and First Lady and their first dance.  The recap on ABC opened and closed with footage from it.  They do look terrific; I think it’s the first time I’ve thought any of our American presidents actually looked romantic.  But here’s the thing.  President Obama isn’t doing anything all that complicated.  People are saying that they “glided” through a “slow, dignified two-step,” but it’s the same left-LEFT, right-RIGHT, three-two-one-spinnn that I remember from high school.

So lesson A: You do not have to know how to move like a professional to look awfully good.  You just have to look comfortable and into your partner.  People will think you’re attractive even if you’re the President.

Fewer people are talking about the new Vice President’s first dance, but he’s happy to say why.  He says he can’t dance.  He’ll tell anyone who will stand still long enough to listen. He freely admits stalling so that he won’t have to dance as long.  But here’s the thing.  The new VP DID dance in front of the assembled company, even if he didn’t think he was good at it.  And for double bonus points, he said he might not care much for dancing but he loved being close to his wife.

So lesson B: Willingness will get you almost as far as ability.  In some cases, it will get you even farther.

Now, there were doubtless tons of guys at the inaugural balls who couldn’t dance, told their dates they couldn’t dance and then punished themselves and their dates by refusing to dance.  I can’t say for sure because no one at all is talking about them.

Which leads us to lesson C: You only lose if you don’t play.

Dance-shy people take notice!

Talk to you Friday,


Meetup to meet up

When I was dating online back in 1998, I met a guy who not only was doing online dating, but also “It’s Just Lunch” and several other organized activities.  When I asked him why he was doing all those things as well as Match.com, he said his philosophy was to start up as many avenues as possible that might lead to love, the more, the better.  While I think that Internet dating is the best thing since sliced bread for singles, I agree that Match.com and the like are not the only shows in town when it comes to finding love.  This fellow was right: The more options that you create for finding a partner, the more likely it is that you will find one.

I’ve been interested in the Meetup Group phenomenon for awhile, and last week I met with a woman who is active here in Tallahassee Meetup groups.  We actually met because she wants a Romance Coach, but come to find out, she coordinates several Meetup Groups here and has had dates and relationships with men she has met through the Meetup Groups.  For those of you who don’t know, here’s the definition of Meetup for Wikipedia:

Meetup.com (also called Meetup) is an online social networking portal that facilitates offline group meetings in various localities around the world. Meetup allows members to find and join groups unified by a common interest, such as politics, books, games, movies, health, pets, careers or hobbies. Users enter their ZIP code (or their city outside the United States) and the topic they want to meet about, and the website helps them arrange a place and time to meet. Topic listings are also available for users who only enter a location.

Meetup has only been around a few years now, really taking off after 2002.  Meetup’s became part of the political action in Howard Dean’s campaign, then John Kerry and John Edwards.  The grass roots efforts that were so important in getting Barack Obama elected have a strong Meetup flavor.

But Meetup is far more than a political movement.  Meetup groups spring up for all kinds of reasons, but basically, they are a way for people to with similar, perhaps obscure, interests to meet when they otherwise would not. 




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