Ahhh ghosting. The best part of Beetlejuice but the worst part of dating. Most of us have been victimized by it at some point in our dating lives or done the victimizing. If you’re not familiar (lucky you), ghosting is when you’re dating/in a relationship with someone and he/she just disappears without any explanation. It’s been a hot topic as of late (apparently Charlize Theron is a pro ghoster), and it’s long been something I’ve wanted to address on this blog.
I think that most of the time, ghosting is cowardly. I firmly believe that 1) Honesty is the best policy; 2) You shouldn’t be a pussy; and 3) Karma is so real. The ol’ “treat people how you want to be treated” adage wasn’t created for shits and giggles, y’all. Plus, if you’ve shared intimate, trusting moments with someone, you owe them closure. I also think it’s a sign of immaturity; I may have not done the full-on disappearing act in my early twenties, but I used to utilize the “phase-out” (deny all date invites and be long to respond/short in response until he gets the point), and I’m not proud of it.
But I’ve talked to multiple people (guys and girls) about why they do it. Typically it’s a case of not wanting to date someone anymore, but not having the balls to tell them that. In this XO Jane article, the writer confronted her ghoster and he honestly explained that “even though he didn’t want to hang out anymore, he wasn’t sure he’d never want to hang out again. So he hadn’t said anything at all, hoping he could fade me out without burning a bridge.”
Props for his honesty, right?! Nah fuck that guy. And she had to show up at his house drunk at 4 a.m. to even receive that subpar feedback.
Here’s the thing: It really sucks to be ghosted. To give someone a piece of you (emotionally, sexually, whatever) and have them disappear with zero explanation isn’t fair and it’s selfish on their part. Why should anyone have to spend hours or days (even minutes) analyzing what went wrong just because you’re too much of a pussy to shoot over a text? And that brings me to communication methods–I only say “text” because ghosters are so far from ever doing a mature face-to-face breakup or even picking up the phone, so even a text is better than a disappearing act.
And listen, if the truthful reason for ending things would be hurtful to say (“You just got really annoying,” “I realized I can do better,” “You’re bad in bed,” “You’re hot but you have halitosis,” etc.), I GET THAT. Hit ‘em with something standard like, “I just don’t think we’re right for each other” or “I’m not feeling the way I should at this point in our relationship and that’s not fair to you” (that one’s hard to argue) or the ol’ “I have a lot going on and I just shouldn’t be dating anyone right now” (although if you start dating someone the following week, you’re an asshole). MOST (sane) people will get the point. And often times, an honest explanation can be helpful, transformative even, to a person. I once had a guy (kindly) outline the negative things I did in our short-lived relationship that made him lose interest, and it was seriously life-changing.
At this point in the article, some of you are saying, “BUT WAIT, I HAVE A LEGIT EXCUSE FOR GHOSTING!!” and to that I say, “You probably don’t, but let’s hear it.”
Here are the only times I think it’s semi-acceptable (ish) to ghost:
1. If the person is violent/volatile/certifiably crazy and you honestly believe disappearing is better for your personal safety or well-being than offering any sort of breakup words.
2. If you’ve gone on one date (sans sex). Whatever, they’ll get the hint. Although I still think if they’re hitting you up (because they didn’t realize the date sucked), you should respond.
3. If you have absolute proof they cheated on you or did something equally as terrible. It wouldn’t be my method, but you’d be justified.
Of course I know ghosters are gonna’ ghost outside of those three exceptions, but here is a list of 10 times you should ABSOLUTELY NEVER GHOST.
1. If you’re married.
No-brainer, right? WRONG. I read this story in an NY Times article: “My ex-husband did this after 12 years of marriage. We hadn’t fought (we very rarely fought); he gave me no clue that he was even considering such a thing. He told me how much he loved me up to the day he suddenly stopped talking with me, moved out, and then pretended not to know me when our paths crossed, even when our paths crossed within inches of one another.” #PSYCHOPATH
2. If you have a child together.
You know what, if you’re going to ghost on your child and the co-parent of your child, why don’t you just do everyone a favor and throw yourself off a bridge while you’re at it?
5. If the person has been nothing but kind, supportive, and caring to you.
You owe them something.
7. If you’ve been on multiple dates AND have had sex multiple times.
Hey guess what? You’re not just fucking; you’re dating. That person is choosing to eat in restaurants with you as well as share the ultimate act of intimacy with you. Don’t be a dick.
10. If you owe them money or you share some sort of financial responsibility they will have to cover in your absence.
You’re the worst.
But for the record, it’s always ok to ghost from a party.
And if you have any shocking ghosting stories or “excuses’ for ghosting, please feel free to leave them in the comments!