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Online Dating Magazine > Columns > Dating with Disabilities > Runaway Train Syndrome

Dating with Disabilities
by Melissa Blake

Runaway Train Syndrome

TO: Men all over the planet
FROM: Melissa
RE: The Runaway Train Syndrome
DATE:  October 6, 2009

Let's just get this out of the way: You're a runaway train, and like the insanely catchy ‘90’s song, you’re never coming back. But guess what? You don't need to come back. I may say I want you to come back, that I desperately want to see you, but really and truthfully, I don’t.  Frankly, you’re “supposed” disappearance into the night? Well, it's just a cop-out, to say the least. I know you haven't disappeared off the face of the Earth. And those old-fashioned lame excuses?

I moved and my mail wasn't forwarded.
I tried calling, but couldn't get through.
I donated a kidney to my long-lost twin brother.
I lost my phone.
I was taken captive by pirates.
I was in a terrible, horrible accident. I now have the worst case of PTSD and right now, just thinking about it, I want to cry.

I became a Doctor Without Boarders in just 3 months, can you believe it?
I had to go into the Witness Protection Program for reasons, obviously, that I couldn’t share with anyone

Sorry, but those excuses just don't cut it anymore. Why? Oh, I don't know...ever hear of a little thing called Google? Or Facebook? Or Twitter? Yup, I'm on to your types.

I call it The Runaway Train Syndrome. You're great friends with a guy (or maybe more than friends, depending on your particular situation), and suddenly, quite possibly out of nowhere, he just POOF! Disappears. He's gone. He's MIA. He' it up in Los Angeles? Welcome to my ongoing frustrations with, let’s call him LA Hot Shot. The Cliff's Notes version goes like this: We worked on our college newspaper together, got along great (actively talking to someone IS getting along great, right?), he made me laugh (at a time in my life when I really needed some good chuckles after my father’s death). And OK, he was cute too.

But the point: the laughing stopped. And quite suddenly, at that. After we graduated college, he moved on, apparently, to bigger and better things in California. I tried emailing him a few times to see how he was. No response. Ever. And then I discovered that he DE-FRIENDED me on Facebook - a 2009 version of saying "I don't like you anymore. Good bye."

What sort of guy does this? And what's more, why in the heck am I letting it boil my blood so damn much?

LA Hot Shot, you must have been through with this whole Midwestern existence thing - maybe it was merely a stop on the way for you. Maybe you wanted to leave everything behind.

You know what? I don’t buy any of those excuses. Because, whether you knows it or not, it wasn't a stop on the way for me. It was real. Maybe you aren't aware that you hurt someone's feelings. Or maybe you don't even care. I’m not sure which is sadder.  

But thank you, though, for making me feel like a complete freak. Thank you for making me think (falsely, apparently) that, and this is a shot in the dark here, some sort of friendship was actually established. Did I forget to sign and initial some dotted line or something? Did my disability really repulse you THAT much that you had to flee halfway across the country? I didn't think my little old genetic disorder had that much power. Maybe I should start controlling it.

Guys, we know you just didn't fall off the face of the Earth. You think you're being coy and slick. You think you’re being “nice,” by seemingly letting us down gently. Well, you're just not. At least have the decency to give us the courtesy of a proper farewell. Or at least give us a chance to say what we need to. Is that really so hard for you? If it is, I feel very sorry for you, then.

P.S. For future reference, if you DON'T want people to know where you are and what awesome things you're doing, I suggest you set your Facebook profile to private. Just a tip. Looks like they can't teach you everything in that glossy California bubble.

Dating with Disabilities is published every Tuesday by Online Dating Magazine columnist Melissa Blake. Melissa is a freelance writer and columnist. Her work has been featured in Redbook, Pregnancy magazine and the Chicago Tribune. She can be reached at

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