Largely, this is because during her time at a naval base Elizabeth did become engaged. At least, maybe she became engaged. This is where the details of the case become a bit fuzzier.
When she was working on the naval base, Elizabeth met Major Matthew Michael Gordon Jr. He was soon deployed oversees and, following a plan crash in India, Elizabeth claimed that he sent her a letter proposing marriage. Following her death, his friends confirmed that he was engaged to Short. However, his family denied this entirely.
It’s also possible that during their time together, Elizabeth and Matthew never actually had sex. This was, after all, the 1940′s. In their letters to one another it sounds as though they were planning to wait until the night of their honeymoon to consummate their relationship.
Now, it’s possible his friends were lying because they wanted more publicity. People do that. Or it’s possible his family was lying because they wanted to defend his reputation from someone who was being depicted in every newspaper as a prostitute prowling the boulevard.
That seemed somewhat unnecessary though, given that Matthew had died in a plan crash. The event shook Elizabeth to such an extent that she told her friends that she had a husband who had died – and that she had a child who died in childbirth. The “husband” in question seems to be Matthew, though there is no evidence that she ever had a child.