According to Urban Dictionary, “Ghosting” is defined as: The act of suddenly ceasing all communication with someone the subject is dating, but no longer wishes to date. This is done in hopes that the ghostee will just “get the hint” and leave the subject alone, as opposed to the subject simply telling them he/she is no longer interested. Ghosting is not specific to a certain gender and is closely related to the subject's maturity and communication skills. Many attempt to justify ghosting as a way to cease dating the ghostee without hurting their feelings but it, in fact, proves the subject is thinking more of themselves, as ghosting often creates more confusion for the ghostee than if the subject kindly stated how he/she feels.
Admittedly, I’ve used this technique, although I’ve used “gradual ghosting”- slowly reducing the amount of communication until it trickles to nothing, rather than suddenly disappearing. I guess I felt that slowly tiptoeing out of a room might be less noticeable than just vanishing. However, when I’ve done it, I felt incredibly guilty, and usually ended up returning and just having the necessary conversation. I’ve since stopped “ghosting”, and learned to just speak up from the start.
All this to say, I’m writing this piece after being “ghosted,” suddenly, and hurtfully. I thought that things were going well (well enough, anyway), with the guy I’ve been seeing, but he abruptly disappeared and stopped responding to all forms of communication. I’d actually avoided talking and writing about this contender, fearing that my discussions of my love life were somehow jinxing things, but even though I kept quiet, it still ended up as another failure. Yeah, I was trying to avoid writing another sad, indulgent story about another of my dating missteps as a unicorn, but since that is exactly what I’m facing, that’s what it will be. #sorrynotsorry .
This situation was again long distance, but we had LOTS of communication: daily phone calls (and for someone who isn’t a phone person- that’s a big deal), video chats, and texts throughout the day. I loved his attention and our conversations had become part of my daily routine.
I should have heeded the warning signs from the start. We were in a private LS Facebook group together, although I rarely posted, preferring to maintain a bit of mystery instead of flooding the page. He had a degree of celebrity, having an up-and-coming career and a few television appearances. I could tell that he had a bit of ego and vanity, but I didn’t think much of it initially (red flag #1). I admired his ambition, drive, intelligence, and looks. He was absolutely beautiful – smile, eyes, height, body (including the “package”)- he had it all. He knew it, and relished the attention that his “celeb status” and looks garnered. We flirted online, moved to text and talking, and got to know each other. While we talked a lot about sex, we didn’t talk much about LS stuff, which pleased me. I was tired of meeting guys who wanted to discuss threesomes and swapping from the beginning rather than actually trying to build something with me first. I grew to like him and looked forward to meeting him in person.
The red flags kept popping up, though. After a trip I took with one of my good girlfriends, he sent her a friend request on Facebook (she declined it). Few things irk me more. Luckily, my friends and I agree on this topic. There is no need for anyone I’m seeing to be Facebook friends with my close circle of girlfriends- and vice versa. It looks suspect all around. She told me about the request and I mentioned it to him casually. He acted like it wasn’t a big deal and I shouldn’t be concerned. Hmmm…
Another red flag arose when we made plans to see each other. He raised going to a swing club during my visit, which rubbed me wrong. “Wait…this is our first time meeting, the first time we’ll have sex, and you want to go to a swingers club?” I asked. “It was just an idea,” he replied. “I’d never been to that one, and since we’ll be in the city, I just thought it might be something fun and different to do.” “No, I don’t think I’d want to, especially on a first meeting.” He dropped it, but I was perturbed. He’d acted like he actually cared about me, wanted to have something with me beyond just a hookup, so why would he want to swap so soon? We hadn’t even established anything yet, hell, we didn’t know if we’d even enjoy each other sexually. Sigh…I really didn’t want to go down the PS road again, and I didn’t want to just be his play partner and said so. He let it go, but I felt the discontent.
Regardless, we planned to see each other in a city where he had a scheduled event (in retrospect, a bad idea). Our sexual chemistry was electric. Other things, not so much. His ego was amplified, preparing for the event was stressful, and he didn’t understand why I disliked being introduced by my resume (ie, “This is Devin, she’s a model, a blogger, a fitness instructor, and a podcaster). He didn’t seem to accept the real me, which was confusing. We’d had so much communication that I thought he had a good sense of my personality (shy, introverted, quiet at first, quirky, goofy, and nerdy), but he’d created an image of me based on social media. I guess that’s somewhat my fault, but it still struck me as odd, especially because anyone can get a VERY good sense of my personality by reading my posts, articles, and just listening to me. But he didn’t seem to make the effort to do so (another red flag).
The weekend was full of missteps- a lost drivers license (mine), rain, an unsuccessful event (his), and just a difference in energy. While I’m content to relax and chill and just get to know someone over dinner or lying in bed watching movies, he wanted to “turn up”, show off, and show me off. While flattering, it wasn’t what I wanted. I was exhausted by weekend’s end, and knew we were probably a bad fit for a relationship (red flag), but I still liked him. We discussed his planned trip to see me, the future, and left things on a good note, or so I thought.
And then- ghost. By the following day, I could tell that something was amiss. No phone calls or video chats, my texts were responded to curtly, my Facebook messages ignored. The next day, more of the same. The following day, no contact at all. A cryptic message the next day, saying he had some “personal things” that required his attention. Then nothing. Sigh…
Having “ghosted” in the past, I guess I understood. If he wasn’t feeling it (or me), disappearing may seem easier than having an uncomfortable conversation about why things weren’t going to work. However, it struck me as strange, given that we seemed to get along overall and we had such intense sexual chemistry. One thing I appreciated about both PS and OSI was that we had very mature conversations once one of us decided to part ways- which is why I’m still friends with OSI, and at least still friendly with PS. Alas, it wasn’t to be here. I wallowed in my misery for a while before I let it go and moved on. In retrospect, the feelings of “sunk cost”- having devoted so much time and energy to him only to have it disappear so abruptly, and ego bruise (“I'm awesome, why can't he see that?”) probably contributed to my hurt feelings.
Someone suggested I stop looking for relationships in Lifestyle settings. Finding a “Lifestyle” single guy who actually wants a relationship is like finding a needle in a haystack. I may have to traverse the “vanilla” road again, and see if I can find a guy who has the balance of open mindedness and depth- with the chemistry and connection that I crave. Maybe that will be just as hard to find, but this current strategy isn’t working. Most of all, I need to stop ignoring red flags. I am glad that I’ve found my voice, at least and speak up when something bothers me rather than keeping it inside.
So..onward. I know that I’m a good person. I’m sweet, kind, intelligent, and attractive, so I’ll just chalk this one up (again). I guess I’ll never know why I was “ghosted,”- was it just the thrill of the chase, the hunt, satisfaction in making a conquest, a notch on the belt? I guess it doesn't matter, but it was a lesson learned. Things could have gone much worse (I later discovered some information about how he’s treated other women), so I’ll consider myself lucky). I still have many people in my life who love and cherish me just the way I am. And that is real – no ghosts haunt me here.
Fantastic article! Sometimes, when you have so much stuff going for you it’s a lot for people to keep up with and instead of stepping up, they ghost. Just keep on keeping on, it’s all you can do. Here for you!
Ugh! Ghosting is the worst. I’ve had it happen a couple times, even when I’d had the up front, ‘hey, if it doesn’t work, no big deal, just let me know’ conversation. Sounds like you dodged a bullet and that he wasn’t what he’d initially seemed, but it still feels awful that someone can’t be grown up enough to express their feelings straight-up. Glad you were able to take some lessons away from it and move on to better things.