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Question:  This gentleman expressed interest in me via email and we began emailing to get to know each other. 3 weeks into the emails – we decided to meet. The night before our "date" – his Dad had a heart attack...needless to say the date was cancelled. We continued emailing for a couple more weeks and talking about meeting but he was different and then he just said he couldn't do this anymore. He said it wasn't anything I did...did he just run away...was it dealing with family issues? I just don't know and it really shook my confidence because we had gotten very close thru our emails. Thoughts? ...Robin

Answer:  From what you have told me, I see two possible reasons for your gentleman friend to have acted the way he did: 1) His whole world was thrown into an uproar because of his father's heart attack, which caused him to re-evaluate his life, loves, career and direction. Unable to come to terms with the sudden emotional upheaval in his life, he decided to withdraw from interpersonal interaction until he could "put the pieces back together" and make sense of his current situation and his future; or 2) He enjoyed your online relationship/flirtation, but was either afraid of or uninterested in taking it to "the next level."  


Of course, both are reasonable explanations – two perfectly plausible motivations that precipitated his actions. That said, if I were a betting man (which, by the way, I am), I'd be going "all-in" on reason number 2. Why? Because I find it a bit too coincidental that his father's heart attack occurred the night before you two were supposed to meet. Sure, it may have happened, but I believe the timing is a bit suspect. It seems far more likely that he came up with a very strong excuse to cancel your date, and then realizing that re-scheduling was an inevitability, decided to make himself scarce before he had to once again deal with actually meeting you in person.  

But why would he act that way, when online he seemed so interesting and interested? Well, there are several possibilities. Perhaps he is not what he represented himself to be. Online, he could be handsome, tall, and athletic – the perfect male specimen. In person, he might be three hundred pounds, missing a few teeth, and reeking of body order and Old Spice. Online, he could be witty, insightful, and articulate. In the flesh, he could be painfully awkward, unable to string together a cogent sentence, let alone participate in meaningful conversation. Other possibilities abound. He may be significantly older or younger than he let on. He may be married or otherwise involved, and online romance is fine (in his mind, anyway), but actually meeting you is "crossing the line." He may be having these kind of communications with many different women and is completely fulfilled by his email adventures. He may be in prison. Or he may not even be a man. The bottom line is this: Online relationships allow the participants to be whoever they want to be. In person, you are who you are. I believe that, for whatever reason, he just didn't want you to see who he really was. Of course the irony of it all is that had he been honest with you from the start, perhaps you would have been just as attracted to the man as he actually was, warts and all. Unfortunately, you and he will never know.

On a positive note (I always try to find one – cockeyed optimist that I am), this truly appears to be a case of "it's not you, it's me." It doesn't seem like you said or did anything wrong. Thus, there is absolutely no reason to beat yourself up or lose one iota of self-confidence. He ran away – not from you, but from the truth. And that's not your fault; it's his...and his loss, as well.

If you have any questions about men, relationships, dating or a related topic, please feel free to email them to me at: **. I will try to answer as many as I possibly can here in my column.

(C)2008 David M. Matthews.  All Rights Reserved.


Member Comments

    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Yana Berlin wrote Oct 1, 2008
    • In other words... insecure an weird... sounds like a lot of men....

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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Cheryl Phillips wrote Oct 2, 2008
    • I tried on line dating a few times several years ago. I can honestly say that “insecure” and “weird” are two words that just about cover it. They love the on-line conversations but get nervous the minute things become real. I didn’t want a pen-pal or to tell my life story to a stranger thru typing, so it was meet or see ya’ later. When I did try to change my ways and spend more time typing back and forth, my assumptions were correct when we finally met.....the guy was better off behind the computer than out in public. I’m sure there are success stories but no thanks. I’m all for face to face and VERY LITTLE  emailing in a relationship. It can make problems that typically wouldn’t exist.  

      I love that I get a text message once or twice a day from my  honey. Typically just XOXOX or How’s your day! See you soon!
      Just enough....we spend hours talking in person. Face to face is the way to go if possible. Body language and tone of voice is SO important. So, for two very technically savvy people, we leave the tech out of our relationship. Result? A really great bond and excellent communication.

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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Jacquie6363 wrote Oct 2, 2008
    • I have never tried it and probably would not.  As I am sure, you could meet the most insecure and weird person without going online, but the online thing would be a bit too risky for me.  I do however have a girlfriend, who spends the most part of her day chatting with all these guys online and they send her some of the most disgusting pictures of themselves.  I personally have not seen any and do not want to see what they do send her.  I tried to encourage her to leave all that alone and just wait patiently, because if it is meant that she finds a good man, he will come.  

      I took her to Walmart one day and unknown to me, she had agreed to meet this guy there.  While driving she called him and said to him, I want you to talk to my girlfriend, so she passed the phone over and I chatted with him for a minute.  He had a very pleasant voice and spoke very well.  While in the store, she kept looking around and it was then that I knew she had arranged to meet him and her having me talk to him, was kind of her way of him and I breaking the ice.  

      Finally, she saw this guy and said, “oh that looks like.....” I was like, no way, he was the scruffiest, little redneck man that I have ever seen.  She herself was so shocked by his appearance that she pretended she didn’t see him.  The man had earlier sent her flowers to her job with a beautiful card, the whole nine yards.  The next day, she changed her cellphone #, so he couldn’t call her anymore, he, however, sent her a msg online after he got hipped to the fact that she had avoided after seeing him, well it wasn’t a very nice msg.  

      She stills continue to chat with all kinds, but I refused to be used again in her online schemes. Before I give her a ride anymore to Walmart, or anywhere for that matter, I find out upfront, what she is up to. Somehow she tends to seek out the slimeballs, she is still at it...who knows maybe one day she will meet her match

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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Amy L. Harden wrote Oct 2, 2008
    • These dating sites are questionable at best AND I believe it depends on what area you live many filter the men you can meet and speak to by the mile radius from your zip code.  Many people open the radius to anywhere and then just about anyone can be seen....and I mean any body.

      I have only been on one type of these web was only for really it was..I was writing an article about it, as many married women who go in to mid-life crisis use these web sites as a way of finding out if they still have something to offer someone.  It is the way that many women get involved in Emotional Affairs.

      To be honest this site sort of gave me the creeps.  The type of guys there were Mama’s Boy’s, losers and players...mostly.  I am sure that there are some gems in there somewhere...but any man worth their salt will NOT be on or any of the other dating web sites that are out there...they just don’t need them.  Women are knocking themselves over to get to these guys AND they are probably looking for a certain type of woman also...and she probably isn’t there also.

      Another point to make is this...if there are married women on these sites pretending to be single or separated, what’s to say that there aren’t men there doing the same thing?

      I don’t know...since I am not in need of a site like this and I didn’t stick around long enough for anyone to correspond with me...all I know is that for the short time I was there it creeped me out and definitely proved to me that I will stick with the gem that I’ve got.  I feel for the ladies that are looking for a date at mid-life, especially if the men that were in the stable are representative of what is out there to pick from.

      Is there anyone out there who has had success at using this method of finding a date or a mate?

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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Dianne67 wrote Oct 2, 2008
    • I found the man I am in love with on the dating site  We have been together for over a year now.  I was also a member of  I chose dating sites because I figured it opened me up to many more opportunities.  

      There were plenty of creepies.  I took a lot of heat and received nasty emails if I chose not to be interested in a guy on there.  I also figured that a lot were married and most fabricated much of their information.

      I found some of the men’s profiles just to be an interesting read.  I loved the typos, men that sounded like woman haters, etc..

      I was fortunate to find a gem among them.  The guy I am with was and is somewhat shy and he found it easier to approach woman online.  

      I was shy most of my life and forced myself to do things to over come it.  I have been a good influence on him.

      It is like going to a store that has great sale items; but you have to sort through a lot of crap to find something good.  I was not in a rush for a relationship and I found that being complimented on who I am as a person helped my ego after being thrown away like garbage by my ex husband.

      I do warn those out there to be careful and meet in a public place.


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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Feathermaye wrote Oct 5, 2008
    • My husband and I met online. For the 2 years prior to meeting him, I exclusively dated men I met online.

      For me, the beauty of online meet-and-greets was the potential for weeding out the insecure and weird before it ever went too far.

      I was able to set the pace for the whole thing... and I did. I more or less came up with a system that never once led me into a bad situation.

      It always started with email, then would progress through chat, phone and then real life. Many men fell by the wayside during these stages, but that just let me know they weren’t in for the long-haul anyway. The ones who stuck it out showed that they were really interested, no matter what.

      I had a wonderful couple of years and met a lot of great guys who showed me a vast world of ‘good times‘. It really helped me to put myself in a perspective I’d never considered.

      I truly believe that if not for all of those experiences, I wouldn’t have been ready for my soul mate when I found him.  

      Fortunately (for both of us!) I was.

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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Ivia Denice Lopez wrote Oct 6, 2008
    • I met my boyfriend online at Plenty Of Fish as well. We have been together for a year now and I believe I am very lucky to have met him and I am pretty sure he thinks the same as well about me. I often tell him of how many frogs I had to kiss before meeting my almost prince. Online dating is a gamble like everything else, there are good guys and creeps everywhere regardless if it is  on the internet or your local pub. It is just a matter of finding that person that you have such chemistry with and makes you happy. I think that people should, very carefully, try it before knocking it but I believe as well that there is nothing better than to put your cutest dress on and go out with friends , have a great time. Happy is where you least expect it.

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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Denise Alleyne-Hill wrote Oct 25, 2008
    • I met my husband online also...We both were members of a site formerly called ‘Happily Single’ now I think it’s called ‘Mingle City‘...Michael Baisden, an author is the founder of that site and has a radio show that airs Monday thru Friday 3pm to 7pm...He also host a TV show...Baisden After Dark...

      I used to exclusively date men I met online...I found it to be quite interesting actually...To me it was just another venue to meet ‘eligible’ men...

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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Denise Alleyne-Hill wrote Oct 25, 2008
    • gigi..that’s the same analogy I used too...‘I had to kiss a few frogs to get to my Prince‘ cool!

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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Beverly Mahone wrote Oct 30, 2008
    • I met my husband online as well.  It was long-distance relationship also.  We currently have a commuter marriage, however, he now calls where I live home.

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