Have you been Catfished?

On Life and Love after 50 eNewsletter – August 2, 2019

by Columnist Tom Blake

Have you been Catfished?

OK – so this is not a catfish, it’s a trout, but you get the idea (Photo by Tom)

Catfished–a relatively new senior dating term.

Last September, Champ Rabecca emailed, “Have you ever written about ghosting or being ghosted?”

I replied, “What the heck is ghosting?”

Rabecca said, “It’s a term used in dating.”

Her question led to the creation of two eNewsletters. The first, dated September 14, 2018, was titled “Ghosting” and the next week, September 21, the second–as a follow up–was titled, “Who hasn’t been ghosted?”

All previous eNewsletters, including those two, are archived on the Finding Love after 50 website. if you’d like to read or reread them, see the link at the end of today’s issue.

The Urban Dictionary defines ghosting as: “The practice of ending a personal relationship with someone by suddenly and without explanation withdrawing from all communication.”

At least 25 Champs responded to the first eNewsletter and most of those responses were featured in the second one. Most everyone has been involved in ghosting—on one or both sides of the coin.

                          And now another new term (at least for me)

Recently, Champ Joel Blackwell brought attention to another new term, at least to me, and, Joel said, to him as well, “catfished.” Joel posted a comment on our Finding Love after 50 Facebook group page that resulted in responses from people who are members of that closed group. As of today, there are 522 members.

(A “closed” group means to join, people must request permission from me, the founder of that Facebook group. I keep it closed to keep intruders with evil intentions from getting into that group to protect our members.)

Joel provided the definition of “catfished” as stated in The Urban Dictionary. It’s luring someone into a relationship by means of a fictional online persona. He saw the term “catfished” in a New York Times Modern Love article, titled, “When a Dating Dare Leads to Months of Soul Searching,” by Andrew Lee. The link to the article is also provided at the end of today’s Finding Love After 50 eNewsletter.

Facebook member Marilyn wrote, “I was ‘catfished’ while on Match.com. He was charming and intelligent and said all the things I wanted to hear to open the lines of communication.

“He claimed to be a widower, well-traveled, ready to retire, etc., First red flag: there was always an excuse why he couldn’t meet in person, although he claimed to live locally.

“Second red flag: after a dozen or so emails and phone conversations, he started suggesting I join him on an incredible European investment deal, but he needed to use my name and bank account info to hold some funds for him. Hah!

“A little online research revealed this man (from Nigeria) used the same profile pics, verbiage and tactics on all his contacts and I was only one of many selected. It was eerie how he used the very same lines on each of the women. Even when confronted, he claimed I had misunderstood his intentions!”

“Catfish lessons learned: if the topic of money or finances comes up after a short acquaintance, Run! If he says all the right things, Run! If he finds reasons not to meet with you, Run!”

The story in that New York Times Modern Love article is well written, informative and interesting. I won’t tell you how it ends. You can read it yourself. Joel provided the link to it:

New York Times Dating Dare article

So, there you have it, another online dating term to add to your vocabulary. If someone is “catfishing” you, i.e., using fictional online persona, that person is up to no good as Marilyn explained with her online experience. It’s often the precursor to an attempted scam.

“Ghosting” and “Catfishing.” Two ugly dating terms, although not exclusively applicable to seniors. “Ghosting is mainly being inconsiderate, the chicken way to move on from someone.

Catfishing is posting bogus information and being dishonest. Being catfished can lead to more serious issues, like losing money or putting oneself in danger.

Just be aware. It’s a complicated dating world out there.

The link to all 2019 and 2018 eNewsletters is:


Once there, go to the right-hand column and under Archives, click on September 2018 to read the “Ghosting” and “Who hasn’t been ghosted?” eNewsletters.

Meet and Greet information for Dana Point, California area for August:

Monday, August 19, 5 to 7 p.m. The city of Dana Point Recreation Department is starting a mixer called Active Lifestyle Connections for 50+; Dana Point Community Center – Garden Cafe 34502 Del Obispo. Light refreshments (no alcohol). For information, call Monique 949 248-3507. No cost.

Thursday, August 22, 5 to 7 p.m. Meet and Greet for 50+, Tutor and Spunky’s, 34185 Pacific Coast Highway, Dana Point. This is our usual 4th Thursday event. Greta and I will be out of town, so Maria Olamendi, has offered to act as hostess. Food complimentary. Beer and Wine $5 each. Greta and I will be at the September event. Details on where we will be in August will be in next week’s eNewsletter.

Who HASN’T been ghosted?

On Life and Love after 50 eNewsletter – September 21, 2018

by Tom Blake Columnist

The question is: Who HASN’T been ghosted?

Two weeks ago, I didn’t even know what the term “ghosting” was as it pertains to senior dating and relationships. So last week I wrote about it. Nearly 25 Champs shared their ghosting thoughts.

Virginia said, “It speaks to the core of the person who uses this self-centered, rude method of ending a communication. Someone should write a book of ethics for dating, starting with ‘be respectful’ of the other person’s feelings, it doesn’t take much to do it properly.

The person you are ‘ghosting’ may very well know somebody who could be a better fit for you, and certainly wouldn’t recommend you to friends if you participate in this ghosting practice. It shows your substance is weak, rude, low-class, and you have unethical character traits.

Maybe Champs could offer enough suggestions to create guidelines for dating seniors…sort of like the ‘Amy Vanderbilt Socially Responsible Guide to Dating for Seniors with Class,’ except it would of course be ‘Tom Blake’s Guide to Dating with Class.’

Wouldn’t it be nice to accept a date with someone who was a member of this new branch of your club? It would take some of the anxiety out of first dates. Sort of like belonging to a country club where at least you know people will have some manners!

Who knows? it might make the best seller list!”

Terry Lee, “I have had it both ways many times. If a person doesn’t want to continue, it is his or her problem. I have many things to offer and recognize there are areas others could care less about. I would at least let them know nicely.”

Liz, “Two weeks ago, I was senior ghosted for the first time. Had a first date with someone I knew slightly. He acted as if he was very keen and then nothing. Made me feel insecure as I have no clue why. Usually, you have some idea.”

Terry: I get “Ghosted” or “Shun-Moded” a lot on Facebook due to my political beliefs and affiliations. Facebook calls it ‘Unfriend’ and ‘Blocking.’”

Margaret: “I was recently ‘ghosted.’ A friend set me up with his widower pal. We met for lunch and I thought we had a nice time and he told me he would like to go see me again. This was a few weeks before Christmas. After the date, he sent me this email:

“Just wanted to say thanks again for a great afternoon shared with you Saturday. It was so refreshing to sit with someone as vibrant and fun as you are. I hope you and your family have a blessed Christmas. I look forward to sharing time with you again soon. Talk soon.”

I responded: “Thank you for lunch and a great conversation. Looking forward to spending time with you.”

After a couple of emails wishing each other “Merry Christmas” and “Happy New Year,” I never heard from him again. Finally, my buddy that had set us up told me this man had met and was dating someone he really liked. Knowing this, I felt so much better that it wasn’t something about me; but, that he had met someone he had a lot of chemistry with. I wish he had simply let me know.

I also “ghosted” someone 18 months ago. We had dated for six months and I realized there were too many qualities and warning signs this man was not the right person for me. He was a kind, nice and generous man so I didn’t want to hurt his feelings by telling him the reasons this relationship wasn’t going to work. I stopped answering his calls, texts and emails.

In retrospect, I feel bad that I didn’t tell him the relationship just wasn’t working for me. I was nervous he would ask me why.”

Don: “I went for a first meeting after talking and/or emailing women I met on Plenty of Fish. In most cases, the woman was older than her picture. Noticeably older, decades older in one case.

I learned to ask to meet for coffee on the first date. This way it was not a big deal. It just made for an interesting encounter. But, I was not attracted in a romantic way. I always tried to be kind by saying ‘I’ll call you.’ I guess I was ghosting.

I met some women who enriched my life with travel and affection. I had one experience where I flew from Texas to Calif. to meet a woman for the first time. She met all my expectations, but I knew at the airport she was uncomfortable. We hugged three days later when she dropped me off at the airport.

That was our only contact. It was embarrassing to me and I assume her. If a woman tells me she will call and doesn’t, the message is clear.”

Gail, “I’ve been ghosted and it was painful, but, later, I realized it was for the better. The act of ghosting is passive, aggressive and I cannot stand people that have that trait. I am no longer on dating sites and haven’t been for a while. Ghosting–but maybe not the term itself–has been around for ages.”

Stella, “I would prefer being ‘ghosted’ vs. being told ‘I’ll call you,’ and wait for the call that never comes.”

Linda, “I wouldn’t mind being ghosted on the first date. We all do it to some extent. Have you ever had a needy neighbor or relative who just keeps calling or tries to engage with you and you’ve had enough for a while?

Some of us have children we have ghosted. I love my children but one of them has so many problems from the decisions he makes, that a good ghosting from mom is a form of protection.”

Jeanne: “Whatever happened to the good old-fashioned truth? What about saying at the end of the date: ‘I enjoyed meeting you (having dinner with you etc.) but I don’t think we are a match?’ Or, ‘I wish you great good luck in your search!’

This has worked for me many times! These are human lives and egos and feelings we are dealing with here. I am not so abrupt sounding as the above sounds, but you get the drift. Kindness and honesty together.”

Kim: “Two years ago, I was ghosted after 30 years – that was pretty tough on me, but all good now that I am independently owned and operated. I am a Champ from Galveston Island, Texas. It has been interesting – small dating pool! Dating is complicated at 56, but intriguing. A great learning experience regarding people, personalities and pasts.”

Note from Tom: Kim answered the mystery photo question from last week. She said, “I wanted to show you my picture of Sonny Bono and me in Palm Springs.”

Champ Kim, 56, from Galveston Island, Texas. Statue of Sonny Bono is in the heart of downtown Palm Springs, on Palm Canyon Drive, adjacent to Ruby’s. (Photo courtesy of Kim). Email me if you want to contact her. 

Elaine, “Being online essentially means you’re cloaked by anonymity. Disappearing (ghosting) is easy. It lends itself to dismissive behavior and discards manners, which is prevalent in today’s world anyway. If a man meets a woman and he’s unimpressed or there is no chemistry, it’s probably easier to hit the road without explanation than explain that we’re not a Match and I’m moving on. It’s part of the dating world culture and though it’s rude, it isn’t personal.

There’s always a bigger, better deal out there or at least that’s what many believe. Women do it too. If ghosting hurts your feelings, online dating may not be for you. It’s a great way to meet people but some don’t look like their pictures and meeting someone is the only way to determine attraction. It can be disappointing especially for seniors who are often unfit and set in their ways.”

Joel, “Way before the ghosting term was invented and for several years in my quest for a mate, if I had no interest after the first meet-up, I just walked away. To those women today I would say I’m sorry, that was a cowardly thing to do. I did it because I didn’t want to have to explain what I was thinking because it might hurt the woman and make me look stupid and shallow.

Later in my dating life, I realized the value of giving and receiving honesty and candor. A turning point came when I received a response from a woman I had emailed on Match.com. She wrote, “I’m not interested.”

Wow, I thought, what a time saver.”

Tom’s conclusion: So, there you go Champs. Lesson learned, in my opinion: Instead of saying nothing, this is better. “We are not a match, but you are a good person. Thank you.”

Also, wanted to say, there were other terrific responses last week, on other dating topics, which I will include in future newsletters. Thanks to all of you.

In next week’s newsletter, I’ve got something big to share with you. Until then,  adios.