by Kate Fellows
You’ve been on a number of dates with someone you really get on with. You have amazing chemistry, loads in common and have shared a cheeky snog or two. They always send a follow-up text telling you what a good time they had and how they can’t wait to see you again. Then suddenly, just when you think you’ve struck gold, they vanish – either by pulling the ‘slow fade’ (taking longer and longer to reply until eventually disappearing) or simply cutting contact without warning.
Ghosting is both baffling and incredibly frustrating. There’s nothing worse than checking your phone every ten minutes, wondering why you haven’t received a text. You remind yourself how well things were going and rack your brains on what could possibly have made them change their mind. Then, once the initial shock has wore off, you begin to feel angry. How rude of them to ignore you instead of just being honest – why didn’t they have the decency to simply say they weren’t interested?
Sadly, people are cowards. They don’t want the confrontation of telling you they don’t want to see you again, so instead, they ignore you and hope you get the message.
Being disregarded in this way is really hurtful and your self-esteem can take a knock. The truth is, unless you spent all evening crying to your date about your ex or got pissed and threw up on them in the taxi home, it’s usually nothing you did that made them pull the plug. Below I’ve listed some of the main reasons ghosting happens… 9 times out of 10 it’s them with the issue, not you!
They found someone else. This one is a pretty bitter pill to swallow but sadly it does happen. It’s possible that your date was perusing someone else alongside you and has decided to see how things go with them. Although this can feel like a low blow to the old ego, there’s no need to take it personally – sometimes we just gel with certain people better than we do with others. That’s life. Pick yourself up, dust yourself off and take comfort in knowing that a better match awaits.
An ex got back in touch. If you’ve not long met this person then chances are you know little to nothing about their past relationships. Your date could still be emotionally attached to an old flame, or, as shit as it is, you might have simply been a rebound.
They were never that interested in the first place. I have watched so many girls (myself included) invest all their energy into guys who have explicitly said they don’t want anything serious. This is a sure-fire way to get your heart broken. If you have feelings for someone who has told you from the get go that they’re not looking for a relationship, and you continue seeing them hoping they’ll change their mind, it’s likely you’re going to get hurt.
Of course, if you’re not necessarily after anything serious either and are happy to just enjoy it for what it is and see where things go, then by all means, stay safe and have fun! But if you’re secretly praying that they’ll do a 180 and fall head over heels in love, then my advice would be to remove yourself from the situation sharpish. It’s honestly not worth the heartache.
They’re busy. I know many people insist that claiming to be busy is ‘just an excuse’ but sometimes we are genuinely swamped with other things. Everyone has so much going on in this day and age and it might just be that they’re engrossed in work or other plans. If they’ve not text back for several hours or seem a bit disengaged, step back and give them some space. If his quiet spell continues, then you have your answer.
He’s just a f*ckboy. F*ckboys are often hard to identify at first as they know exactly what to say/do in order to charm you and pique your interest. They often come on very strong at the beginning; talking about the future, making empty promises and leading you to believe they’re after something long term. Then, as soon as they’ve had their ego massaged they’ll make a swift exit, leaving your head reeling.
After ignoring you for several weeks/months, a f*ckboy is likely to get back in touch with an ever so subtle ‘Hey stranger ;)’ text at 3 o’clock in the morning. Please don’t waste your time on a reply. A man who is truly interested and is worthy of your efforts would not send a message like this. F*ckboys are selfish; they care only about what they can get out of a relationship rather than concerning themselves with your feelings. Avoid this one like the plague – you’re probably not the first woman he’s treated this way and you certainly won’t be the last, so give him up as a bad job and be thankful you dodged a bullet!
WHAT TO DO IF YOU THINK YOU’RE BEING GHOSTED
NOTHING. The internet, women’s magazines and self-help books are filled to the brim with ‘rules’ in which you should follow when pursuing a new relationship. Don’t sleep with him on the first date, never be the first to initiate contact, don’t accept last-minute arrangements, yada yada yada. I firmly believe you should just be yourself and go with what feels right, as long as you’re happy and comfortable. However, one piece of advice that I will always 100% agree with, is that if you feel your man may be pulling away, you should do nothing.
Posting cryptic messages on social media (knowing he will see) or sending him a text saying ‘it’s alright if you’re not interested! Just hope you’re okay!’ in an attempt to provoke a reaction is so passive aggressive and will probably just push him away even further. He might be busy, or he might need a bit of time to think. Or, maybe he has lost interest. Leave him to it. If he’s worthy of your time and energy, you’ll hear off him.
Continue to go about your life as you did before you met him. Go out with your friends, watch your favourite series, go to the gym or catch up on some work. Don’t mope about your room panicking and checking your phone every 30 seconds to see if he’s been in touch – this will achieve nothing.
Get in there first. Okay, I’m aware I’m kind of contradicting myself with this one, but hear me out. A few years back I was seeing someone who in the beginning seemed really keen. He text me every day, always asked when I was free and arranged lots of fun and interesting dates. A month or two down the line however he began to pull away – our conversation dwindled down to next to nothing and he stopped initiating plans. After several days of zero contact, I received a half-arsed text asking what I was up to. I ignored it. Despite the fact I liked him and had initially wanted to continue seeing him, I knew he’d lost interest, so I decided to do us both a favour and ghost first. Not only did I feel more in control (and I’m not ashamed to say, a little smug), it was nice knowing I had ended what probably would have been a mundane and torturous string of final messages. Don’t assume the ball is always in their court – if someone is making you feel miserable, you have the power to end things, too.
Put it down to experience. I know how heart-breaking it can be when someone you saw as a potential suitor suddenly flicks the switch. However, contrary to popular belief, you can’t control how someone feels about you, no matter how much game-playing you do. Fortunately you can control how someone makes you feel. When something is new and exciting, it is so tempting to invest all your energy and efforts into it. Sadly, this can be a recipe for disaster if your date doesn’t reciprocate. In a nutshell, never, ever put the key to your own happiness in someone else’s pocket.
In the early stages of dating, you’re still getting to know someone. Don’t pin all your hopes on one person, no matter how wonderful they come across. Enjoy living in the moment – if it goes somewhere, great. If it doesn’t, then don’t worry. It clearly wasn’t meant to be!
In truth, you know in your heart of hearts if someone is into you. If you don’t think they’re interested then chances are they probably aren’t. If things do go quiet, then there’s little you can do other than give them space and concentrate on yourself. Take comfort in knowing that someone who ghosts is very unlikely to be boyfriend/girlfriend material – see it as a blessing rather than a loss. If effort or affection isn’t given freely, then trust me, it isn’t worth having!
These words of wisdom were brought to you by Kate, check out her lifestyle blog here for more great content.