I know you’ve been ghosted before, I mean pretty much anyone who’s dating in 2020 has been ghosted before. It’s awful, awkward and weirdly unnerving.
If you’ve never heard of ghosting before, it’s basically getting left on read even though you might have had a romantic connection. For whatever reason, the guy just stops communication. Poof, gone, like a… ghost.
The dating phenomenon can leave you really, really hurt, and not really understanding what’s gone on. It’s arguably abusive AF, so try not to lose sleep over him. If nothing else ghosting is a giant red flag that he’s an ass-hat and doesn’t deserve your time, boo.
Now, you might be asking what did you do to deserve being completely ignored, never hearing from him again? You’ll never know, unfortunately, but there’s a new level of awkwardness in dating: gay haunting.
What is haunting?
Well, if I’ve just blown your mind with ghosting, I’m not sure how you’ll take haunting. This new dating trend is hitting the scene as hard as the circuit queens do during pride. It’s when a past fling watches your Instagram stories and occasionally likes your pics.
Now, not only do you have to worry about not hearing from him directly, but you’re getting notifications that he’s still there. Like signs from the other side, it’s hard to ignore.
Every like and watch is a weirdly loaded question. Does he still have feelings for you? Why does he still follow you? Should you block him? So many thoughts swim through your head so fast, and once you start seeing it you can’t unsee it. The haunter is usually the one who ended things, so why is he lurking around?
I had to dig really deep to find out more information for you guys because this shit is whack.
Why do guys ghost?
It’s a habit really, the unexpected ending of a relationship leaves the departed with no choice but to move on from him. The lack of closure can be hard to deal with and downright hurtful. Usually, it’s not because they’re busier now or that they forgot to reply, they just ghost, on purpose.
Whether it’s because they think it wasn’t serious enough to deserve a formal ending, like, you know, basic communication, or they just don’t like you anymore, the intent is for them to rip the bandaid off and move on. Hopefully, they don’t have a multitude of reasons, but whatever they may be, they just want out.
Maybe they’re just plain old avoiding you to not hurt your feelings. This fear of confrontation is present in a lot of us, and while understandable, it’s not the best way to deal with anything. Honestly, they may not really even have a reason and are just as dumbfounded as you, only they don’t want to be together. Which is weird, and sounds very fuckboy-y, but it can happen.
At the end of the day, they didn’t know how to articulate breaking things off, which is a pretty lame excuse, but just highlights a red flag. Their lack of ability to handle confrontation or disappointing someone would just pop up down the road in a relationship anyway.
What you can learn from this...
The ghost might think it’s obvious as to why things didn’t work out. But as the ghost-ee you’re likely confused as fuck, it’s not obvious or even remotely predictable to you. Sure, things can get complicated in unique ways, but that’s not necessarily a valid excuse. Disappearing after a few dates or just ignoring someone because you aren’t sure what to say isn’t exactly boyfriend material anyway. But it still hurts.
Even if after a few dates it becomes obvious things aren’t going to work out, a lot of people, especially us millennials, have a difficult time with confrontation. Confrontation can be hard to do in person, but what’s stopping them from sending a text. I mean, you likely met over Grindr or some shit, so send a text.
At the end of the day, not everyone ghosts. Some people fade out of a relationship or start distancing themselves, pushing you away, taking the weird side of a conversation. Almost purposefully being an ass just to stop dating. Passive-aggressive efforts are pretty common, honestly, and it’s a shame we resort to this.
Why does it hurt?
Sure, you’re playing it cool on the dating scene. You’re looking for a ‘LTR’ or maybe just casual sex. Your bio says it all and you think internet dating should have a go with the flow mentality. Which is true… kind of. Aren’t you just as confusing? Looking for a relationship and casual sex at the same time is already disingenuous.
This mentality is part of the problem. We’re all desperately trying to find something, any human connection at times can be such a relief from the hustle and grind. That just simply doesn’t mean looking for anything and everything is productive. Being clear with your intentions from the start will help everyone involved have a clear understanding of the expectations you have for the relationship.
Being open to a relationship and DTF with a casual hookup is pretty misleading. If you’re looking to fuck, just say so, seriously. A good fuck-n-chuck is a great stress relief, but it’s a lot different than looking for a committed exclusive relationship. So, try not to mislead each other and yourselves with a too open for anything mentality. Try limiting yourself to a range, like something ongoing that leads to more, or strictly a friends with benefits situation.
Hoping for more where there will be nothing is not the best idea. You’re putting added pressure on a frail budding relationship, and that can give someone reason alone to justify ghosting. This added pressure can come off as aloof or less vulnerable, and likely won’t have the outcome you’re looking for. Check-in with yourself and have a consistent internal message. Be honest with yourself to try and avoid any miscommunication or disappointment down the road.
Lack of accountability
Online dating provides enough anonymity to give way to less accountability. What I mean by this is that the screen we all hide behind to find a guy in the first place are the very same ones we avoid our families on or follow our favorite celebs. If you’re introduced by mutual friends rather than through an app, you’re likely to have different intentions behind seeing the guy.
Whether you use tinder to kill time or drunkenly message dudes you’re never actually going to meet up with, online dating can be really weird. Some of you might use it as a source of validation and boost to your ego. Dating apps host a lot of pressure, creating high expectations of sex and even less trust in the initial relationship. I mean, if he met you on there, who else has he met this week?
Online dating’s plethora of mixed messages really dilute everyone’s intentions. Looking for a long term relationship turns into friends with benefits really fast if you think the guy is hot and non-committal. You might even think you can change that, but these false expectations only hurt us in reality.
Without a mutual connection, neither of you really have anything holding you together other than the mutual physical attraction. Your expectations are bound to be lower for an online relationship simply because you only know what they’ve told you about them and there’s no one to really disappoint if things don’t work out.
Whether or not you met on an app, you’re both humans. You deserve to be treated with the same respect you put out into the world. Don’t let the lack of accountability in online dating get in the way of finding love.
Should you still follow him?
If you didn’t have mutual friends in the first place, you probably aren’t following each other on social media. There’s no rule for the number of dates before adding each other on social media. There’s no hetero-normative gender roles at play, so really the decision is up to you two. Some people think different platforms have different rules, maybe because Facebook is where we have all our family and Instagram is a lot more casual of a platform.
What if things don’t work out though? Say you added him after date two, but after the fourth date you find out he hates puppies like some monster. Now you’ve got a dog-hating ‘wierdo’ on your social media that’s a constant reminder of your decision-making skills.
Put bluntly, adding each other on social media may as well be a jinx. Something could cut the relationship short at any moment, and it leaves you open for several awkward scenarios later. Like, do you block him immediately after things are broken off or do you pretend to be the bigger person and wait for him to ghost you on there, too?
Now, let’s get into hauntings
So, maybe it’s been a few months of dating and missed connections, things are unofficially going places. You’re sending him your usual text after work, but to no response. So you send another, and maybe a few others, ok a ton more after a bottle of wine. Honestly, it’s not cute, but we all have been there.
Your friends take you out on the weekend, and you post on your ‘story’ while out at the bar with your besties. The next morning, you’re checking to see how many views your story got for that much-needed self-confidence boost only to see he’s lurking there. He watched your story and even responded to the poll you posted. Awkward, right?
Maybe you think he’s still into you, or that he doesn’t really want to break things off, so you reach out again, to no response. This can go on for months.
What you should do
Avoid their social media, plain and simple. I’m not saying you have to block him, but it’ll help. These unwanted reminders of a floundered relationship aren’t giving you anything valuable. Honestly, I block all my exes. I don’t care if there are mutual friends, I need the peace of mind from knowing that I won’t see him much at all, ever again. That boundary helps me move on.
Don’t fall into disillusion thinking you want to keep an eye on them because he liked you as a friend or whatever. Nope, not worth it, do not pass go, do not collect $200, just write him off. If you don’t hate him, sure it might sound fine to keep him on certain platforms, but really what good does that do? Is it going to look good having a bunch of dudes following your social media into a new relationship?
You’ll find it harder to move on with all the mixed messages, from DMs to ‘liked’ pics and watching your stories. These little blips of him popping up are constant reminders of the lack of closure and what could have been. Not only is it weird to keep following each other, but it’s just plain confusing.
If you don’t call, text, or fuck anymore, then why are you following each other on social media?
At the end of the day, relationships end for many reasons. Be an adult and say something. Ghosting and eventual haunting are kind of fucked up. If you want the best for them let them know, so you can both move on with closure. No one needs or wants false hope.