He keeps disappearing

Lots of drama yesterday. Two letters. Updates. I'm still reading all of it.

Hi Meredith,

I read your column often and am looking for some advice. I am a single woman after almost 20 years of marriage. After hearing that some of my friends had success with online dating, I decided to try it myself. I was nervous since my last first date was 25 years ago, but I went for it.

I am happy with my life. Mom to a great kid, successful at work, have good friends and a supportive family, but I miss having a connection with that special someone at the end of the day. I met a few men online, but for whatever reason it didn't work out. Either I wasn't attracted to them or they weren't to me.

After a couple of months, I did meet a man and it seemed like we hit it off. We went out for dinners or drinks once or twice a week and sent several flirty emails. Knowing that he still had a profile online, I asked him what we were doing. His reply was: "Casually dating and let's see where it goes." He said he "enjoyed my company and that was a start." After a couple of months it was getting more difficult and expensive to get babysitters, so I invited him to hang out at my house. This became the norm for a few weeks. And we became intimate. And again, knowing he still had a profile on a dating website, I told him I didn't think we could be intimate anymore. We agreed that we should just see each other when we go out for dinner, etc. I was disappointed, since I started to develop feelings for this man. But he again said it was casual and he liked my company.

A week later, he told me he was moving out of state for work. He had been traveling a lot for business anyway. He promised that when he came back (his family still lives here), we would get together. His online profile disappeared. Occasionally, I would get a flirty email from him. And once he said he was coming back for a few days and would contact me but never did. The emails became less frequent and I had given up hope of seeing him.

Eventually, I heard from him. He was in town and asked if I wanted to get together. (Yes, I did.) We had a nice time and were intimate again. This occurred for the next six months when he was in town for work, etc. I saw him almost every six weeks and thought we were fine. He was complimentary and sweet. Always promised that we would see each other again. Once, when I hadn't heard from him, I snooped and found that he had a profile online from this state again, I was devastated. But never said anything to him.

A month later, it disappeared from the website. We saw each other a few months ago and had a nice time. That was the last time I saw him.

Not too long ago, I sent him an email congratulating him on meeting a milestone at work. We sent each other a few emails back and forth. But this time, there was no mention of a visit or a promise to see me when he returned.

I've tried dating a few men since he moved, but they didn't work out. I miss him terribly. And don't understand how he can just date me casually. We seem to have a great connection and he has even said "we are good together." I keep telling myself that if he were into me, he would let me know. So I guess I need to move on and forget him. Or should I tell him how I really feel? I have been too chicken to put myself out there. And afraid to hear his answer. Is he just not into me? Is he afraid of committing to someone? Maybe someone with a child? What should I do??!! After all, he was back online from this state.

– Standing by in CT

I'm pretty sure that you've already put yourself out there, SBICT. You've made yourself available. You've asked him about his intentions several times and have tried to set rules about intimacy. If he wanted a commitment from you or to see you more often, he would have asked. You've made it really, really easy for him.

Dating has certainly changed a lot over the past 20 years. People meet online. They text. Women have taken a more active role in the courting process.

But none of those changes mean that we're supposed to put up with nonsense or accept less than we deserve. This guy is all over the place and unreliable. Even if you just wanted a casual fling, this guy wouldn't be your best option.

I don't know whether it's your kid, a fear of commitment, or him not being into you, but it sort of doesn't matter. He's not fulfilling your needs so you should be ditching him.

There are other people out there. I can't say that they're easy to find, but looking for a new partner will be less work than trying to figure out whether this guy is online, in your home state, or avoiding you. Stay on these dating sites and keep browsing. Mourn the loss of this magnetic, dramatic, exciting, and very annoying relationship -- and then move on. Use the babysitting money you save to buy yourself a fantastic outfit for dates with other people. Feel good about the fact that you were very much desired -- just not by the right person.

Readers? Should she tell him how she feels or does he know? After 20 years out of the scene, what should she know about expectations? What’s happening with this guy? Help.

– Meredith