You meet someone. You think they’re hot, funny and interesting. Everything’s going well and then all of a sudden they vanish into thin air. Their cute emoji-filled texts either disappear completely or are replaced by blunt responses, they don’t answer your calls and they un-friend you on Facebook.
Sound familiar? You’ve been ghosted – the dating phenomenon many of us have experienced and been incredibly frustrated by. Unlike a good old-fashioned breakup, there’s no closure, no confirmation of what went wrong.
In the electronic dating world where Tinder, Plenty Of Fish and OKCupid rule and the majority of our flirting is done through emojis and sexy Snapchats, it’s increasingly easy to disappear from someone’s life just by leaving your iPhone alone for a few days.
Ghosting hurts, especially if you’re left puzzling over what went wrong. To help provide some clarity, we asked a handful of 20-somethings who admit to ghosting someone why they did it.
Swipe right for heartbreak
“I matched this hilarious guy called Ed* on Tinder a few months ago and after weeks of chatting we decided to go for a few drinks. One date led to several others and while he was fun to hang out with, he frequently mentioned other girls he’d dated and one time he checked his Tinder in front of me when we were out, which led me to believe things were pretty casual.
“We were seeing each other for about two months before he started making excuses not to see me and being ‘busy’ all the time, so I thought he was done with me and started dating someone else. When he did end up asking to see me, I just forgot to reply. I didn’t really want to give him a dramatic breakup text when we weren’t really together, so I just thought it was best to let things fizzle out.
“He did send me a few messages trying to spark up a conversation after that, so I have no idea if he really expected a proper breakup. I didn’t really feel bad ‘ghosting’ the guy because I never got the vibe he liked me that much.”
“A good friend recently broke up with her long-term boyfriend, and I’d always thought she was cute so I took her out for a drink. One drink turned into multiple and the night ended with a cheeky kiss.
“We followed it up with two more very flirty dates and multiple very flirty texts, but I didn’t really see it as anything more than a bit of innocent fun. One night we got really drunk at a party and ended up sleeping together. I thought we were both on the same page and just wanted a bit of casual fun, so I didn’t text her right away like I would someone I was interested in pursuing.
“After that I decided to give her a bit of space because I didn’t want to lead her on. I left it for about a month before I shot her a text about something unrelated, and she’s been a bit cold since. I’m sure we’ll go back to being friends again, I just don’t think we’ll be going on any more dates…”
An untimely holiday
“I met Emma* online earlier this year. She was absolutely gorgeous, very funny and we had a lot in common, so we went out for wine one night. We really hit it off. She was even fitter in person so I was smug when our date ended with a kiss.
“A few days later I asked her on another date and we met up again, making plans to go see a jazz band next time. She went on holiday for a week and while she was away, I met Sarah* at a party.
“Sarah and I just clicked and spent all our time together from then on and when Emma came back to London, I didn’t really know how to break it to her. It would have probably been the decent thing to send her a text explaining I’d met someone else… but I was too much of a wimp so I just stopped replying to her messages. So yeah, I ‘ghosted’ her. But it was only two dates, so does that even count?”
Buckled under pressure
“On a night out recently, I bumped into this guy Sam* who I have a few mutual friends with. We went to the bar together and ended up spending a lot of the evening chatting in a quiet corner. I was pretty tipsy and we ended up kissing.
“We texted for a little while and I heard from a few friends that he liked me, but to be honest I found him a little bit cheesy. The next time I saw him on a night out we ended up kissing again and he invited himself back to mine because he’d ‘missed’ his last train.
“Despite his best efforts, nothing went any further and he went home in the morning, leaving his belt behind. He’s texted me a few more times asking to see me and ‘get that belt back’ but I just can’t face seeing him on his own so I’ll give it to one of our friends.”
“I used to work in the pub and I was pretty familiar with all the regulars. One night a very drunk regular approached me at the bar and was insistent that she should set me up with her son. Then, much to my embarrassment, she called him in front of me and made him add me on Facebook. Obviously I accepted, as she scared me a bit.
“He started sending me really weird, soppy messages every day and I’d reply out of politeness because I was still working at the pub and saw his mother pretty much all the time.
“The minute I left I stopped replying. He still messages me. I’m an awful person.”
Names of innocent ghost-ees have been changed if marked with a *. We don’t need any more broken hearts.