Midlife Dating Podcast

Episode 7 - Is There a Case for Ghosting?

January 04, 2022 Paul Nelson Episode 7
Midlife Dating Podcast
Episode 7 - Is There a Case for Ghosting?
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

They say that breaking up is hard to do—true, but you can remove a lot of pain on both sides by using The Two-Sentence Rule. Paul takes a closer look at today’s glossary term with some examples. Then he discusses what author Vince Guaglione calls the "Tinder Time Wasters" in Guaglione’s book Why Are You Still Single?: An Average Joe's Take on What's Really Going On in the Dating Pool and What You Can Do to Stay Afloat.

The dating question for this episode asks what to do if your boyfriend/girlfriend continues to communicate with their ex regularly, while in the central Potpourri Segment, Paul examines the case for Ghosting. 

In dating stories, Paul has two experiences from October demonstrating that dating is a learned skill and that it's easy to provide Too Much Information upfront without allowing yourself the time to provide context. He also notes why showing up to a date dressed for a Costco shopping run is not the best of ideas.  

The transcription below is provided for your convenience. Please excuse any mistakes that the automated service made in translation.

Episode 7 - Is There a Case for Ghosting?

Episode Introduction

Paul Nelson: Hello, 50 Daters, and welcome to episode seven: Is There A Case For Ghosting? Today, we're going to cover the glossary term known as The Two Sentence Rule, which is used for ending dating relationships any time between the first couple of dates up to about two months of dating. 

Not only is the use of this rule one of the most humane ways to end a relationship, it's also the fastest. By the end of this episode, you'll know how to apply The Two Sentence Rule on how to end a dating relationship. 

I'll be giving you a non-dating world, real-life example that happened to me, utilizing the two-sentence rule, and how it'll also apply to a dating relationship. 

Any of you 50 Daters that have been on Tinder have no doubt run across "The Tinder Time Wasters." On dating apps like Tinder and many others, the bench is deep with this character. They excel at endless texts, phone calls, missed calls, ghostings, meetups canceled at the last second, and general bad dates. 

Author Vince Guliani, who is in the 50 Dater age group, tackles this subject, along with dating stereotypes, how the hangout culture has affected Gen Xers and boomers, in our book review, Why Are You Still Single: An Average Joe's Take on What's Really Going on in The Dating Pool and What You Can Do To Stay Afloat

The dating question for this episode is on the best approach if a boyfriend or girlfriend continues to call and text their ex. 

My dating for the month of October is slowed due to several last-minute band bookings and building this podcast. But, I have two experiences worth mentioning and what was learned or previous lessons reinforced, if you will.

We all get ghosted, and it's a frustrating experience. So, is there a case for ghosting? We'll discuss that in the Potpourri Segment. 

Before we get started, if you like, what you hear, please take a moment and click on subscribe. I don't want you missing out on making your date nights more memorable. So now 50 Daters, let's start turning those dating busts into dating bests. 

The Two-Sentence Rule: Glossary Term

Paul Nelson: This episode's glossary term is The Two Sentence Rule

The Two Sentence Rule is used in ending a dating relationship. Generally speaking, when breaking up with somebody who you've been dating for a few weeks to a few months, less is more. 

Whatever needs to be said is best said in two sentences or less, as described in Robert Glover's book, Dating Essentials For Men. This book has an entire detailed chapter on ending dating relationships in a humane manner. Highly recommended reading for 50 Daters. 

Why Are You Still Single? - An Average, Joe's Take On What's Really Going On In The Dating Pool And What You Can Do To Stay Afloat - Book Review

Paul Nelson: Why Are You Still Single: An Average Joe's Take on What's Really Going on in The Dating Pool and What You Can Do To Stay Afloat, by Vince Guliani. 

Why Are You Still Single is about Vince's average Joe experiences with online dating and relationships. But as you'll quickly find out, Vince has a lot more depth than the average Joe. Using his Gen X life experience as a compass, he reflects upon what he's learned over the last seven years from his middle forties to his early fifties from dating and relationships. 

Frustrated with the vast majority of his online experiences, Vince analyzes and categorizes the specific reason for these frustrations. Through some trial and error and personal growth, he establishes a workable set of dating guidelines that help minimize frustration. It's a calibrated approach to setting yourself up for online dating success, becoming a better dater, and finding those seeking the same relationship goals as 50 Daters. 

I learned about Vince on Dimona Hoffman's Dates and Mates Podcast, specifically episode number 307: Tall Guy Vibe and Keeping it Cute. This is back from April, 2020. 

Now my impression here is it was easy for me to identify with Vince, as he had just recently turned 50. Several of his observations hit close to home. This started with the section on the hard sell. Here, Vince explains how individuals with complex personalities have a disadvantage in the dating world. 

If our fellow daters can't package us up neatly in a box, we become too much work, which leads to being quickly dismissed in favor of the simplistic and familiar. Shortcuts are the norm for most daters. 

This started with the section of the hard sell here. Here, Vince explains how individuals with complex personalities have a disadvantage in the dating world. If our fellow daters can't package us up neatly in a box, we end up becoming too much work, which leads to being quickly dismissed in favor of the simplistic and familiar. This is because shortcuts are the norm for most daters. 

Vince is an IT guy by profession. I'm an engineer. And when it comes to dating, both occupations are immediately stereotyped as nerdy, geeky, and the introverted personality type. When you don't fit the stereotype, people don't know what to do with you. 

Personally speaking, several women I've dated have called me an enigma. They don't know what to do with a guy who is an engineer, an entrepreneur, musician, writer, blogger, podcaster, a guy who takes singing and dance lessons, and who does what he says. 

Getting back to Vince here. When he got back into dating in his early forties, he explains that it took them a couple of years to realize that he wasn't ready to be in the dating pool. 

But the reality is, at some point, we're all part of the problem as we learn and grow. 

Vince does an excellent job of identifying where most singles end up wasting their time with online dating. This comes in the form of endless texts, emails, phone calls that don't happen, ghosting, meetups that are canceled at the last second, and bad dates. 

He identifies the root cause that that draws you into these cycles and describes what he had to do to overcome what he calls the "Tinder Time Wasters." 

Vince's take is, is not only focused but accurate on the dating confusion generated today from men: nice guys that would be deferring the traditional dating roles and letting women take the lead. 

He explains how this role reversal of the natural male-female dating dynamic takes its toll on a romantic relationship. 

The damage that hangout culture has created is also thoroughly addressed. Here, regular dates have morphed into open-ended hangout situations. A man no longer has to take the lead. Just show up at the woman's home or apartment, and leave the door open to opportunities for sex. 

Vince is surprised at the willingness of women to begrudgingly accept this, thinking that the hangout will eventually lead to a real date. Of course it, it never does, and the man can get what he wants without putting any effort into it. 

One of the best parts of the book examines how we can adapt, stay positive, and set ourselves up for dating success by owning our previous lousy dating relationship decisions, creating and sticking to our Must Haves and Deal Breaker Lists, dealing with rejection, and putting in place a functional dating process that allows us to trust and connect with others in a meaningful way. 

There are many, not so obvious, small obstacles that get in the way of having a positive dating and relationship experience. Many of these little things are brought up in Vince's book. Just by having a better understanding of some of them, we can easily adjust our attitudes. And for many of us, those minor adjustments can have life-changing results. 

Here's a sampling of the subjects discussed that are worth going over, starting with:

Why most of us have become very disillusioned with dating, but still continue to date. How failing to address our issues poisons the dating world. What emotional baggage is and what its consequences are. How everyone is in a different stage of growth, and the trick is finding someone that's in a similar stage. How fear of intimacy is one of the most significant issues in the dating community. How difficult it is to remain vulnerable after so many disappointments. How dating today is used to compete, to serve the ego, to pass the time, to experiment with social strategies, and even to test the theories of close friends. How achieving an intimate, romantic connection these days takes patience, dedication, and self-reflection.How a shift back to self-awareness and authenticity is happening in the dating world. Though, it is a struggle to find like-minded people who share our vision of an intimate connection. How online dating is the reverse of what dating used to be. Online dating starts with seeking commonality and then looking for attraction, while in the old days, it was attraction first, followed by seeking commonalities, which tends to have more staying power.Why people should use the Bumble dating app, which we here at 50 Dates at 50 also recommend because of the control it gives women in the online interaction. This in turn allows men to focus on women who have a mutual interest in meeting them, and thus reduces a lot of wasted time. 

Dating Questions and Answers - I Caught My Girlfriend Talking to and Texting Her Ex

Paul Nelson: Question: I caught my ex talking to and texting her ex more than a few times over our relationship. I can't trust her. However, after talking to her about it several times, she assures me she's over him now. I treat her like the queen she deserves to be, but I don't think she's over him. I suspect she's talking with him again. What should I do? William, 54, Seal Beach. 

Answer: William, there are a lot of things going on here. Although, a few key words give me a pretty good idea of what's going wrong. It sounds like you're suffering from Nice Guy Syndrome.

Here is why. First, nice guys like project women whom they believe they can fix. Your gal kind of sounds like a fixer-upper. Second, you use the term "Queen." When a nice guy treats a woman like a queen, he does nice things for her, expecting something in return. Queen treatment is actually a turnoff for most women. Women that continually need fixing, however, will take advantage of it. 

Third, if a woman is genuinely attracted to you, she won't be covertly communicating with her ex unless, of course, if she and her ex have kids, which is an entirely different story. 

My experience tells me that you've probably been coming on too strong, most likely spending way too much time around her and are acting in a needy fashion, especially right after the times you found her communicating with her ex. Men tend to double down in an attempt to compensate by spending even more time around their gals, thinking that this will correct the situation, when in fact, this ends up doing the exact opposite and will end up driving her into the arms of her ex. 

When one is not quite over their ex, they'll think of all the good times they had and not the bad. Absence creates attraction. With the COVID-19 lockdowns, most couples were spending way too much time together. You've most likely been caught up in that.

That is exactly why you need to back off and give her some space. Let her contact you when she's ready. Use absence in your favor, just like it's worked for her ex. Keep in mind, however, that this is not the same as playing games. You need to sort things out. Figure out if you really are in a relationship with her and overcome your Nice Guyness

I'll say this till I'm blue in the face, but you need to get the book No More. Mr. Nice Guy by Dr. Robert Glover. I recommend listening to it in audio format in the car to, and from work. Every time you feel the urge to contact her, go listen to the audio portion of the book instead. 

Once you finish it, you'll have a completely different perspective on how to approach things. 

So, I can hear what you're saying right now. "Well, Paul, what if she doesn't call?" Well, then you know where you really stand. It's important to remember that you can't change her. You can only change yourself and challenge yourself to be a better man. 

A 50 Dater Man. 

Potpourri Segment - Is There a Case for Ghosting?

Paul Nelson: Is There a Case for Ghosting? 

One of the biggest issues people complain about in the modern world of dating is ghosting. 

If you have a first date and the conversation appears to go well, you inquire about that second date, and the response is silence. Why does this happen? 

Ghosting is when somebody doesn't return texts, emails, voicemails, or internal messages on dating websites or apps. 

I believe we're all guilty of ghosting in online dating to some degree. We start conversations only to watch them die after a couple of exchanges. While this is frustrating, it is part of the online dating dance. These conversations die for various reasons. Most of them not having anything to do with you personally. 

Ghosting does give you candid feedback about the interest level the other person has for you. If they don't reply to your message, it's probably due to one of two reasons. Either they have not had a chance to get back to you, or they're caught in the candy store, pursuing more immediately intriguing dating options. 

Once a conversation stalls, you need to move on. You can wait a week and re-message to see if you get a response, but you're not likely to.

 In a future podcast, I'll discuss some techniques for laying the groundwork to restart a conversation. For now, you should know there is an unwritten dating rule that women tend to stay pretty true to. And it's this: a man is penalized quickly when a conversation stalls due to his lack of response. You get one chance to push a conversation forward. If you don't correspond in a timely manner, you're toast. 

Because of my active lifestyle, I've personally been responsible for many conversations stalling. It's not uncommon for three or four days to pass where I have absolutely no time to manage my online dating accounts. My days at work get busy with engineering duties that barely leave me enough time for a lunch break. In the pre-COVID days, you could tack on commuting time, a dance lesson on a Monday, band rehearsal on Tuesday, a first date meet up on a Wednesday, a class at a local community college on a Thursday. And the next thing, you know, four days have evaporated. There's just simply no time to get online and maintain a conversation. 

And I can hear it now, "Paul, Paul, this must mean you don't have time to date!" Well, that's nonsense. You set time aside for that, but you also need to have time for other activities in your life that you're passionate about. If dating is your only passion, that's a recipe for disaster and disappointment. 

When you find someone that looks like a good fit, you're able to adjust your schedule. Time is a precious commodity to a 50 Dater. 

There is a valid argument for ghosting being the least negative way to let somebody down. Sending someone a text letting them know you're not interested is definitely not a positive message. We'll go into why you never send negative text messages or emails in a future podcast. 

As mentioned earlier, it's very common for daters to get caught up in the online candy store. The candy store gives most people a false sense of missing out, otherwise known as FOMO or "Fear of Missing Out." 

This is the misleading perception that "The One" could be the next profile they see online, and this is where you can get soft ghosted and put on the back burner. Examples of soft ghosting include responses to your messages with likes or a smiley emoji, but not sending an actual message. Soft ghosting allows the one that is doing the ghosting to pick things back up if the new flame they're pursuing doesn't quite meet their expectations. If they drop the conversation and cross paths with you again, they can say they never really stopped messaging you. 

Soft ghosting is actually pretty insidious in that it puts the ghostee in a double texting, or a double messaging position. This is where you end up sending two or more messages in a row trying to get a response. Double or triple messaging makes you look needy and desperate, a Catch-22, if you will. 

You look desperate if you double and triple message them trying to get an answer, but if you don't message them, they can always say that you stopped the conversation. 

The reality is, after a first date, you really don't owe the other person an explanation if you don't want to continue. The proper, or 50 Dater, thing to do, is to let them know you're not interested, of course. But, as many of you have learned, no good deed goes unpunished.

It's not uncommon for the one who's getting dumped to lash out at you when you give them the news, which is generally a good indicator that you probably made the right decision in the first place. 

In defense of women, who date what I would call textbook, "Nice Guys," I'm speaking about Nice Guys in the form of a noun. Now, women will learn quickly that these types behave unpredictably. In this case, ghosting actually makes sense. 

The movie Gloria Bell does a great job of showing women why they should never date a Nice Guy to start with. 

The reality is, after a first date, you don't know the other person an explanation if you don't want to continue. 

If you get around to three dates and it's not working, you do owe of them the common courtesy of letting them know it's not going to work. 

Now that we're speaking about all this too, l let's not forget about Ghosting Karma. If you ghost someone, it's entirely possible you're going to cross paths with them sometime down the road. This has the potential for some embarrassment, and your credibility is going to take a hit with anybody that the person knows that you ghosted. Sometimes it's worth getting snapped at by the person you're dumping to avoid Ghosting Karma

Ghosting can sometimes be confused with going silent, which is creating healthy space between yourself and someone you have a dating interest in. This too is a subject for another podcast. 

All in all, I don't condone ghosting here at 50 Dates. It does have its place, but if you're dealing with a mature person, letting them know you're not interested is the most respectful thing to do. 

Part of being a good dater is learning how to end things properly. If you've only been on a handful of dates and it's going nowhere, you don't need a precise reason. Just stick to the Two Sentence Rule, as I talked about at the beginning of the podcast, and I will go into further detail right at the end. 

To summarize, if you do get ghosted, you've been sent a passive message that lets you know the other person is not interested in dating you. 

Failure to understand this, especially for men, means your ego is getting in the way. 

Often, a person being cut loose wants to know why they were let go, which can be valuable feedback. The trouble is many people don't have the maturity level to handle rejection or constructive criticism. You have to take things on a case-by-case basis, but the main thing is, never be a soft ghoster. 

October Dating Meetup Experience Notes

Paul Nelson: I had two meetup dates in October, and it's worth mentioning a few things about both experiences in today's episode. Date one was with a very attractive gal in her mid-fifties. Meetup was for about an hour over a beer. Good conversation flow. One of the things I did notice is this gal was motivated by necessity versus possibility and spoke mostly about what she didn't want to do, which immediately started to limit potential date ideas. 

I got a good night kiss emoji sent to me after the meetup, which was good news, and then the next morning, I got another message from her where she retracted it saying she didn't mean to send that emoji, but was still interested in meeting for another date. 

This is a yellow flag because this is a mixed-signal, and mixed signals generally indicate that someone isn't very interested. What I ended up doing is, I gave her the benefit of the doubt, and I proposed another date idea, which she responded wasn't very appealing to her. I later then revised that to a different date idea on a different day, and she responded by saying she already had plans for that day with no counteroffer. 

Now for 50 Daters that don't understand what a counteroffer is, a counteroffer is where somebody says, or in this case the gal would say, "Well, I'm not available Saturday, but I am available Sunday or Monday." See, this demonstrates interest, but if there's no counteroffer, it means they're pretty much not interested. No counteroffer means don't call me back. 

So the lesson here is a reminder that mixed messages mean the other party has little or no interest, and it's in your best interest to move on. 

Against my better judgment, I gave her the benefit of the doubt. But the bottom line here is, it's not an effective use of your time to attempt to date someone who sends you mixed messages. 

Date number two was with an attractive woman, age 59. Great phone conversation. In fact, I was impressed. This had some real possibilities. We ended up meeting over a drink. The meetup lasted about an hour. Unfortunately, when she showed up, she was dressed like she was ready to go shopping at Costco: no makeup, frumpy clothing. But, I got to give her kudos because one of the first things that she said was, "This is how I am. This is how I dress. I don't put on makeup. What you see is what you get," so she was right upfront about this. 

Unfortunately to me, there's, there's nothing attractive to showing up like that on a first date. When someone tells you or shows you who they are, by how they dress or what they say, you need to believe them the first time.

The way I look at this is, if you can't make a reasonable effort to look nice on the first-time meetup, that's a pretty good indicator that you're not going to put much effort into a dating relationship. 

Additionally, she had a few things to say about her exes that could be easily interpreted negatively without additional context. So, the lesson here is if you let someone talk long enough, or if you talk long enough, you or they will eventually say something stupid to disqualify yourself. 

Good daters have a pretty good idea of what to say and what not to say on the first few dates. This takes practice. You have to put your foot in your mouth a few times before you know where to stop. The truth is you're going to be on many sacrificial meetup dates where you slowly but surely learn what not to say. 

I entertained the thought of asking her out again, just because you never know. However, she deleted me by day three off the dating app. 

In both cases here, these gals made easily correctable mistakes. Remember that most of the time, what you say in a meetup is not necessarily bad, but in many cases, requires additional context so that your potential dating partner doesn't get the wrong idea. Unfortunately, developing context can take several dates. 

Now, waiting three to five days to call for a second date, on my behalf, that's not playing games. What this actually does, is is, this is part of the weeding out process. And waiting a few days smokes out the pretenders who are looking for something fast and furious. If they get upset with you for not calling the next day, or within a few days, this can demonstrate, at least to me, an uncomfortable level of neediness on their behalf. 

You'll end up being the number one focus in their life, and this will end up requiring constant texting and calls. You'll go from one date in week one to four or five dates in week two, and on and on. Let's remember that dating is about balance. 

Two Sentence Rule Example and Conclusion

Paul Nelson: Now for the Two Sentence Rule examples I talked about earlier. 50 Daters may not be aware, but I play in a cover band as a hobby. Our band had made the decision to try working with a hired gun female vocalist from Los Angeles. She was very talented, and we made a mutual agreement to do a band video with her to market the band. 

This was during the time of COVID 19 had set in, and lockdown was taking place in the spring and summer of 2020. Now the band did what I consider to be miracles at this point in time. We're able to get into a studio and record the audio portion of the video. We contracted with a professional videographer to shoot the video. We got permission, permits and insurance to shoot the video outside on the heliport of a building right over by John Wayne airport in Orange County. Within a few weeks before the shoot was to take place, our hired gun vocalist started demanding that we make changes. She'd recognized how committed the band was and she knew that we couldn't do the video without her. 

That said, she started requesting song changes. She wanted to make changes to the choreography that was going to be used in the video shoot. She wanted to change the band outfits. She wanted additional changes in the audio and was asking the band to go back into the studio and record some additional audio. 

She quickly became impossible to work with. The band ended up having a discussion and we elected to cancel the video, eat the deposits, and fire her. My job was to make the call to let her go. 

When I called her, she of course had no idea this was coming. I greeted her respectfully and I said, "I'll get right to the point. The video shoot next week has been canceled. The band is moving on without you." There was probably 15 seconds of silence. She didn't know how to respond. It probably took about a minute of mumbling on her behalf before she ended up showing her true character. 

People respond to the situation in two ways. They either start with sniping comments, criticize, and sometimes go into a rage, or they demonstrate grace. How they act in a situation like this is how they will be remembered. 

This is important for 50 Daters to remember if you're ever in this situation. The last impression that you give somebody is how you will be remembered. 

Now those two sentences that I said, they are short and they're right to the point. They were not critical of her and they were humane. At no point did I give her a reason why we canceled the video, or why we were letting her go. It was not necessary. They did not give her enough time to put up a defense. The sentences were said, and they were over with. 

The same approach is best to ending dating relationships that are anywhere between a couple of weeks and a couple of months old. Anything longer than a couple of months, and you'll need to have a discussion with the guy or gal that you're dating and explain why, out of respect. 

These two sentences in a dating relationship would go something like this, "I'm ending our dating relationship. I'm moving on without you." That's it. 

This is the least painful approach and does not leave anything up for discussion. 

Robert Glover's book Dating Essentials For Men has an entire chapter on how to properly end dating relationships that both 50 Dater or men and women really need to read to learn to be good enders.

That's it for today's episode. I want you 50 Daters to keep the faith. I'm right here with you as we work our way through the dating trenches. 

I'm going to leave you with this little bit of random humor from laffgaff.com. If you were dating an FBI agent and you broke up, would he, or she be your FedEx? 

Until next time. 

Episode 7 Introduction
Glossary Term: The Two-Sentence Rule
Dating and Relationship Book Review: Why Are You Still Single?: An Average Joe's Take on What's Really Going On in the Dating Pool and What You Can Do to Stay Afloat
Dating Question: I Caught My Girlfriend Talking to Her Ex
Potpourri Segment: The Case for Ghosting
October Dating Meetup Experience Notes
Two-Sentence Rule Example