Love Letters

Dealing with ‘the fade’

Q. I am recently divorced after 18 years and am 42 years old. I joined an online dating site on New Year’s Day to attempt to make 2014 better than 2013.

I need some advice/explanation about “the fade.” I’m looking to date men between 40-50 and have been very surprised that games are still actively played in this age group. These are busy men with kids, mortgages, careers, etc. At some point in a 50-year-old’s life, shouldn’t honesty be mastered as a life skill? I had a fabulous date with a professional, divorced dad and we had a lot in common. Fantastic kiss at the end of the date. Calls and texts for the week after. Then POOF (!) he’s gone without a trace. Never made it to second date . . . what gives?

The Fade,


A. This happens in the world of online dating. After an outing or two, people can just . . . disappear. It’s so easy to vanish, especially if you don’t have any mutual friends.


The best way to deal with the fade is to date a lot of people. I don’t want you to exhaust yourself, but as you look for partners online, keep your options open — and don’t stop searching for new people until you’re at date five with someone with plans for six.

Get The Weekender in your inbox:
The Globe's top picks for what to see and do each weekend, in Boston and beyond.
Thank you for signing up! Sign up for more newsletters here

People play games, especially online, because there are pages and pages of new faces. They assume they have unlimited options — and maybe they just like the how it feels to send a message and get a response. Sadly, this doesn’t get much better with age.

Cast a wide net and try to keep your excitement in check until after date three. And consider widening that age range — maybe from 38 to 50. There’s no need to limit yourself.



Eh, whatever the age, I think a lot of people just want to avoid an awkward conversation and vanishing is just easier for them.


Maybe they met someone they like better. Maybe they’re jerks. But I’m not sure what you think they owe you after two weeks of dating.



Unfortunately, that’s common. Fortunately, you didn’t invest much. On the plus side, it is a good way to weed out idiots without having to expend too much energy.


At least you’re getting phone numbers and dates! From a guy’s perspective, it is not uncommon for women to be phone-number-shy, and are really just seeking pen pals.


I have been there. Great dates and communicaton, then the “Poof!,” gone. Heck I had three different guys all stop communication the same weekend. It’s not easy, especially if you feel there is a connection. I suggest supplementing online dating with other activities, like meet-up groups or social activiites in your neighborhood. Don’t rely solely on online dating. It can get old fast, and you will keep on seeing the same guys over and over.


Column and comments are edited and reprinted from Meredith Goldstein can be reached at