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It finally happened. I was ghosted.
The short story is that I was in a long-term relationship. We broke up a few months ago. I started doing the Bumble thing, going on dates, meeting people out. It was fun. I liked one guy — we can call him Al — the most. We went to drinks a few times and hooked up more than once. We talked a lot and he brought up hanging out more often. And then, poof. He just stopped texting me. Stopped answering my texts. He’s yet to like an Instagram but he’s still watching my Snap and IG stories. What the hell? It’s the first time I’ve experienced ghosting as an adult. Now what?
Hello and welcome to Dating Sucks 101!
There are three big truths to ghosting. The first is that you cannot take it personally. The second is that someone who really likes you and wants to pursue something will not ghost you. The third is that there’s no point in resurrecting the dead.
Truth #1: You Cannot Take It Personally
People ghost for a wide variety of reasons, none of which feel particularly great. People ghost because someone else came along and they don’t know how to tell you. Or forget to tell you. Sometimes people ghost because they literally forget. People ghost because they decide you’re not a match, even if, for a while there, you two were connecting. (Physically, mentally, yadda yadda.) People ghost because people are assholes, because people get scared, because people think it is the most kind — or the most chill — option*, and people ghost because it is so much easier to not deal with confrontation than to deal with confrontation.
You might find yourself ghosting someone in the future. That doesn’t make it “right,” but even as a big believer in being straight-up so as not to waste other’s time, I, too, have been like, “Yeah, I’m gonna leave that text unanswered forever or at least 10 more years.” Which brings me to that asterisk above.
*The most chill option: Sometimes people ghost because it seems dramatic to “end something” that wasn’t really…a thing. If you’re talking to someone and have hooked up with him/her once or twice but you two are not really dating, a fear exists that anything of the break up/ending it variety could seem overboard, unnecessary and self-absorbed, even. God forbid any of us blow anything out of proportion or show human emotion.
It’s so dumb. It’s all ego-related, which means little comes from overthinking it.
Truth #2: Someone Who Really Likes You and Wants to Pursue Something Will Not Ghost You
No, no — do not tell me about your friend who got ghosted only to get married to the ghost in the end, and don’t tell me about your other friend who was possessed by her ghoster so that the two of them could slow dance one final time because that sounds an awful lot like a scene from the movie Ghost starring Patrick Swayze and Demi Moore. Someone who really likes you and wants to pursue something with you will not ghost you.
However. Sometimes ghosters do come back — typically around the holidays, always when convenient for them. It’s up to you if you want to pursue that person, though I’m inclined to advise that you ignore them. Which brings us to our last truth of ghosting.
Truth #3: There is no point in resurrecting the dead.
Don’t waste your time on someone not making time for you. There are too many people for that, and you are busy!
If someone ghosts you, there can be a lingering “what if.” What if her phone died, what if they didn’t get my text, what if he had a family emergency, etc. Sure. It takes two to ghost, so if you feel ghosted truly out of nowhere following good momentum, first ask: “Wait, did I accidentally ghost?” Reach out and initiate more than contact (no limp-noodle “hey…”), initiate face time! Suggest bagels or drinks.
If you know you’ve been ghosted (like that text conversation is all you) but feel there has to be a mistake: throw out a Hail Mary. So what? The worst that can happen is that nothing happens, which is the same predicament you’re in.
The good news either way is that you’re alive. Put on your favorite shoes, get naked, find your apartment’s most flattering mirror and dance.
Photo by Krista Anna Lewis.