Have you ever been dating someone and they suddenly stop all communication? That's called ghosting. And it fucking sucks.
Recently, I received an email from a reader asking the following:
Throughout my dating life, this exact scenario has happened repeatedly: I'm dating someone new and things are going good to great. The dude is really attentive, he pulls out all the stops and makes future plans frequently.
Then, out of nowhere, he straight up disappears.
What, in all the effs, am I missing here?
I put the question out on social media and got a huge response. The good news, dear reader, is that it is not just you. You're not some sort of unloveable monster who ruins all relationship chances. The bad news is that this ghosting stuff is really, really wide spread like some sort of emotional virus. If you want to avoid seeing a girl cry for a few minutes and instead send her off on a really painful existential crisis that you don't have to watch and might break her actual being, maybe ghosting is for you.
I've definitely experienced this before, far more frequently than I would wish on anybody. I don't know why guys do this. It's been a huge issue for me. And, since I'm not equipped to explain this myself, I asked a couple guys to share their stories.
I was reluctantly in a relationship for about 6 months. I say reluctantly because throughout our relationship I always had one foot out the door. Despite that, we spoke everyday, saw each other 3-4 times a week, actually went on dates, hung out with friends, and all the other normal relationship behaviors you'd expect. When we were approaching our 6th month together, she started asking the "What are we"question a bit more forcefully than before and I kept avoiding it until one day, I simply stopped responding to her calls, texts, and chats.
As for why I did it, it was mostly because I had an irrational fear that if I said the words "We're in a relationship" I'd suddenly become unhappy, even though I had been monogamously dating her for 6 months. I didn't understand exactly how I actually felt at the time, so instead of trying to talk it out, I ghosted.
I never called it The Ghost. It was termed the "Fade Away" or the dusking. I would be ridiculously sweet and attentive and give them the security they needed to let me work late nights in the [his work situation]. Then, I'd alert them that my nights were getting longer and I'd be getting busier. Then the texts wane in frequency as do the visits. No tweets or FB posts - THIS IS THE KEY RULE. Then, you just "fade away." And six weeks later, she'll see you at the Metro with some other girl.
With me, at least - if I sleep with a girl right away, then what the shit do I have to work for? If I really like the girl, I try my best to not bring them home until like six dates. That can backfire too, because then they think you're trying to hide something. But, if we have sex too soon, I lose interest. Happens every time.
I only go ghost if I'm actually in a relationship. Totally f***ed up. I know.
I used to disappear when it was all I thought it was (read: a fling), or I got scared of finding what I wanted. New territory, after all. Or some kind of fear factor from a past relationship kicks in, to which I say — get better at being better and take more chances. (See: https://medium.com/@borderlinephil/high-quality-people-are-always-worth-betting-on-f833bef9ecdc) Whatever my Lulu rating is probably suffers from that.
Although these are all finding yourself kind of bits. Thru my late twenties until now, I feel that it has to do with work. There’s more that’s expected out of everyone. Not just this economy, or the sweeping trend of entrepreneurship. Fewer women are out there to take care of themselves until they’re taken care of. Modern guys get it and are looking for that.
We have a more balanced workforce now, and both men and women have to find their own way. Independence doesn’t advocate for co-dependence, you know, and the more detached you are, the better you get at taking care of yourself. It also makes it a lot easier to ghost on people. It’s just the way we’ve conditioned ourselves, so it’s no gender’s particular fault.
Feeling tossed aside takes us out of our comfort zone and changes how we see ourselves at the moment; we all get that. However, 'you doing you' isn’t something we should have to apologize for. Not communicating, though, is.
Being earnest about not wanting to be in a relationship right now, I think, is important. Telling someone you really like that if you’re not communicating enough, to reach out — disappearing is not something you’re doing on purpose. And as with most things in life not decided in some way by numbers... If you have to ask, then you already have your answer.
Well. Fuck that.
Hey guys, you don't need to tell her that you love her. You don't need to send her messages saying how she is the only one for you. You don't need to do everything within your power to get her to trust you. We can have fun for a few weeks/months without you doing any of that. How in all the world are we supposed to tell the difference between a guy who means it and a guy that is going to ghost as soon as you start believing him?
What say you?
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