On Being Ghosted. Again.

You guys, I’ve been ghosted again.

I won’t lie, it’s been pretty crushing this time. I sensed it was coming from a week out: unanswered phone calls, monosyllabic text messages, all petering out until… nothing.

Nothing but a huge empty canyon where the communication should have been.

This time I completely missed the mark

Funnily enough, I wasn’t upset because I missed the person I was dating. I was more gutted that again I’d somehow put myself in the vulnerable position of being ghosted. After the last time I’d vowed I’d be wary, exercise caution when I figured out who to trust relationship-wise, and when. Yet this time I somehow completely missed the mark.

The ghosting came completely out of the blue, as it always does. I was three months into dating a man a similar age to me, someone who worked abroad a great deal. This was OK with me – between my children and the business I’m always busy and wanted to take it slow – and with WhatsApp and FaceTime, not being in the same time zone for a week at a time didn’t seem like a big deal.

It was progressing as you’d expect: I’d accompanied him to the Christening of his friend’s children, been invited to be his date at his sister’s wedding. We’d spent a little time at each other’s homes, enjoyed some lovely dates, started tentatively discussing a 10-day holiday (New York then Miami). It was, I thought, going swimmingly.

Until it suddenly wasn’t. One moment I was excitedly waiting for him to return from a long trip to Russia, chattily confirming table reservations for our date that weekend, the next I wasn’t sure if he was alive. It was that sudden: out of nowhere, all communication attempts went ignored.

I read between the lines and, having not heard from him in 48 hours, cancelled the table I’d booked. I sent one final message: “are you dead?” (subtext: “you will be”), and hours later received a message back about having a hard time at work and needing ‘some space’.

That was the last I heard from him.

You need to man up and be prepared to dump someone

Correct me if I’m wrong, but there is no way, no way, that it’s acceptable to be fawning over a person one week then ignoring them the next. In my opinion (that of a 31 year old woman who has near enough had it up to here with the dating behaviour of blokes), every single romantic dalliance, whether that’s one date or one hundred, deserves a polite ‘thanks, no thanks’ before exiting stage right. With the exception of escaping an abusive relationship, you need to man up and be prepared to dump someone if you no longer want to spend time with them. It’s simple manners, grown-up dating etiquette.

Rudeness aside, it’s really rather horrible for the ghosted party. They’re left wondering, as I was, where they went wrong. Why they are so undesirable, so undeserving of a polite reason why they’ve been rejected. I spent days fretting what was wrong with me: Too independent? Too needy? Too old? Too fat? Too thin? With me, I always return to my place of undesirable single motherhood. As I feel so sorted in every other respect of my life – I cook the best fried chicken this side of Buffalo, after all – I always assume my children are the reason men don’t want to date me.

Like I said, it wasn’t this particular guy that left me so very crushed. It was the process of the ghosting that did it, the sheer disappointment once again of human nature. This is the third time I’ve been ghosted, and it makes me feel sad that I can’t trust men I date to play nicely with my feelings and emotions.

When I first leapt onto the dating scene four years ago (and there was leaping, I was damn excited at what awaited), I trusted implicitly. I completely believed I’d find love, innocently believing the lies I was told (“I got divorced last year”… no you didn’t, you cheating arsehole). I happily enjoyed the company of men, allowing myself to dreamily develop feelings at the drop of a hat.

Now, it’s more difficult. I second guess the things men tell me, going on dates with trepidation and borderline trust issues. My faith has been beaten down and I worry that one of these days it’ll disappear completely. Quite simply, I’ve lost my dating innocence and I miss that joie de vivre: it’s difficult, almost impossible, to feel excited about the possibility of being in a relationship again. What’s the point, when I’m only going to be let down?

Having dinner with my best friend on one of the evenings I had a date booked with the ghoster I asked her how she thought I should proceed. I was desperate to contact him once more, to give him and his behaviour a piece of my mind, perhaps gleaning a little of what the people on the telly call ‘closure’. Quite rightly she warned me to stay away and I agreed, knowing I would retain something of my shattered dignity by not sending a barrage of insulting WhatsApps (as much as I wanted to).

I bumped slap-bang into the ghoster

Which is why I enjoyed seeing the universe at play the very next day while shopping for an outfit to wear on a date (with someone who seems to believe in communication, thank goodness): I ducked out of a restaurant to bump slap-bang into the ghoster.

I was happy to note he looked suitably sheepish, “Oh, you’re not dead” I said.

He shuffled around like a toddler needing a wee, making (bad) excuses and attempting to joke around. Having previously imagined myself in this situation – I thought I’d metaphorically twist his balls until he felt so ashamed he exploded – it was interesting that I just said… nothing. I felt nothing, I said nothing, and I walked away with my head held high knowing who came out of that situation the nicer and better person (hint: it wasn’t him).

That evening I enjoyed a lovely dinner and one too many espresso martinis with someone I’d met at the gym, and I had a great time. All might not be lost: I’m a damn sight warier than I was four years ago, but I still believe there are good ones out there. Just.

28 Comments
  1. Oh my god Alice. What an ar&e! What is wrong with men these days? Why can’t they just say I am not that into you, or I am still married, or I’ve got cold feet about the fact that you’ve got kids or whatever?

    Give up men for more wine. It’s the easiest option. Pen x

  2. Obviously you’re well shot of the loser (and GREAT that he didn’t mess you around further down the line) but that massively sucks xx

  3. Hi Alice – goodness me, as Pen says above, what is the matter with men these days? I am so sorry to hear this but baby, you dodged a bullet there. Funny when you bumped into him, he came across like a sheepish toddler. I think that’a a big clue. He is clearly emotionally arrested about the age of 3 or 4. Who knows why he did what he did but it says way more about him than it does about you. You are a gorgeous, talented, organised, loving and passionate woman. Focus on your heart and loving all that you are, and everything will fall into place.
    Interesting I am still single, had three dates with a guy recently which got more and more intense. We hadn’t seen each other for a week and I detected him cooling on me, so we had a conversation about our different needs around communication (he wasn’t so bothered, I was) and after discussion I ended it. I felt we could easily get into the “needy/avoidant” dynamic so better to finish cleanly. Let’s raise our eyes, our hearts and our hopes to a future where we are happily settled in a mutually loving relationship with a gorgeous guy (different ones obviously) xx

    1. I fully agree with what Joanna has said!

      This day and age of internet dating seems to have given certain types of men the go ahead to treat women as if we are disposable trash.
      I hope bumping into the twit and seeing him for what he is has helped you have some closure. I think you’re awesome (and you know you’re awesome).x

  4. Alice, I know how hard it must have been to write this but you wrote it beautifully. As your mum it tugged at my heart strings. Anybody who treats a human being this way does not deserve love. Do not loose faith, you are special and so are your children (and your mum and dad ????)
    In my mind I have a dating site rating, like trip advisor. That would bugger them up for their future dates!

  5. Hi Alice – my friend Pen (above) mentioned your blog to me and I thought I’d check it out. Oh my goodness I am stunned at what a load of losers are out there! I’m also a single mum in the dating game (documenting as I go!) but I’m not far enough in to have been properly ghosted yet. I had a four month relationship with a man who actually made the effort to make the hour long drive over to my house to dump me in person and I have to say, however painful it was at least it was closure to some degree (he told me it was the kids that did it basically :-( ). I guess I’ll always be able to respect him for that even though it was a massive disappointment and a lesson in what I suspect will be a common thread whilst dating as a single mum with a 4 & 7 year old in tow.
    Interesting Joanna’s point about clocking on to what someone else’s communication style is – I kind of figure that if someone really likes you their communication style will be little and often… or a lot and often. If it’s kind of on the Q side then you know that person’s feelings just aren’t strong enough to sustain a relationship.
    It’s bloody hard work the whole thing! Even harder when you are in your forties and still in the throes of a divorce… :-/

  6. Alice
    I love your Mum BTW.
    But him. He’s a dick. End of.
    You write so beautifully and I know through all your jokes and smiles there is so so much hurt and I want to scoop you up and give you a great big squeeze. Which I will. So watch out.
    Keep writing and sharing as shit like this really is real. Xx

  7. Alice, what a an arse wipe. If it’s any consolation, I went back out with a guy who had ghosted me after he came crawling back saying how sorry he was and that he had gotten freaked out because of how into me he was. Yep, you’ve guessed it. I got ghosted by the same man twice. Not sure who the biggest idiot there was.

  8. Oh Alice, being ghosted is awful. Why do they do it? It happened to me years ago when I was a student, I can hardly even remember what the bloke was like but the ghosting and just not knowing was awful. I’m glad you’re out of that situation as you’re definitely better off without him. xxx

  9. Alice Alice Alice, men are like water, they follow the path of least resistance (ok not all, but many). A colleague at work has exactly the same issues with modern dating (via internet dating mostly). It’s not you, it’s just too easy for them. The technology of ‘blocking’ is like the new ‘ending it’. Never lose that spark of enthusiasm that this may be one of the few who isn’t a prick.
    Suzi

  10. Your Mum is a legend as are you. Clearly it runs in the family and that “Beetlejuice” of a ghost doesn’t deserve either of you frankly! I hope his house becomes haunted and he has to live with his own ghost for years to come.

  11. Hi, I just happened across your blog, and oh my goodness I thought you wrote a great post. This happened to me SO MANY times over the years. I love that you have reached a point when you walked away – and that he ended up realising what a loser he is. Maybe he’ll act differently in future – we can only hope!

    I’m off to check out the rest of your blog now. Hope the next date(s) work out much better!

    Lucy x

  12. I stopped by your blog today, Alice, & didn’t want to read and run. I’m just so so sorry this has happened to you. Just shi**y behaviour on his part. Massive hugs of empathy ((((()))))

  13. Hiya Alice,

    It sucks that you’ve had a crappy experience but I do believe the old adage that everything happens for a reason, and invariably, when you least expect it.

    Keep the faith!

    X

  14. Does no one else think that maybe the guy freaked about about every part of his private dating life being broadcast to the masses? That is enough to scare anyone off.

    1. I would never identify anyone – and if he hadn’t buggered off in such a cruel way then I wouldn’t have written about the situation, either.

  15. I think ‘Anon’ is the ghoster! lol! Seriously Alice, I love your writing, I think you are brave and brilliant. I was in your shoes and I found a good one that wasn’t scared of me having 2 children, keep the faith x x

  16. Sorry this happened to you Alice! I can’t believe people think its ok to just do this! I just ran into someone at the weekend who ghosted me a year ago. He had nothing to say to my face, he messaged me after and I mentioned about the fact that he totally disappeared a year ago. His response was ‘Did I?’. It just really made me feel so angry that not only did he ghost me, he is in total denial about it, let alone an apology! I can’t seem to figure out why men do it!!

  17. I just got ghosted this weekend by a man I’d been talking to for 5 weeks and been on one date with. In the last 2 weeks he’s been mega busy with launching his business venture so I didn’t mind so much the late replies to messages (sometimes none at all) and the lack of availability. Fast forward to Friday 11 Aug, I sat in my apartment all dolled up for over 2 hours waiting for him to call back and say his meeting was finished and he was on his way to meet me for date no.2. I waited until 10:30pm before finally giving up and putting my pyjamas on and wiping my face.

    It’s now Mon 14 Aug and still no word from him at all. Not even a lame text to explain himself – NOTHING. I’m so disappointed and hurt… I shared some really personal things with him about my life and hopes, fears etc. He assured me on several occasions not to worry – that he really likes me and wants to get to know me well. I feel like such a fool. Got played again and I’m really struggling to push through it this time. Why does it always have to be me?

    1. Hi Rachel
      Just feel compelled to reply… firstly to give you a massive warm hug. And to say that you are not alone. There are some very disconnected people out there. Better to find out that he’s a mean one before you got further down the line. You deserve better, you deserve someone who is there for you, and if they say “I’ll be there at 8pm” then that’s where they are. So my advice is to be really kind to yourself and not to take it personally. Imagine if this had happened to a close friend of yours, what would you say to them? It is absolutely nothing to do with you, but says more about them and their issues, whatever they are. And its not your business to work that out. Let them carry on their merry way messing people around. You stay true to your hearts desire and nurture that feeling in your heart, mind, body. “Stay close to wat you really want. Go inside and contemplate what you really, really want, then stay very close to it. Keep it alive in you. And as much as possible, make choices that reflect this deep desire” (Gail Brenner). And remember that you are not alone. You are a world full of people who are loving, who have integrity, who are willing to make those commitments that we so desire. Don’t give up hope Rachel.
      Joanna xx

    2. Hi Rachel, I’m just catching up with my messages and saw yours. I’m so sorry you went through this experience. I can’t understand how men can do this with a clear conscience… what an absolute arse hole. Joanna’s spoken some very true words.

      I know how hard it is to push through and have faith that you’ll find a good one, but you will, I promise. I try to think that each experience we go through like this teaches us a little bit more about what we do and don’t want out of a relationship: a dick head who thinks it’s appropriate to treat you like this is definitely not what you want.

      Oh, and like Joanna said – it’s nothing to do with you, it’s all him.

      Sending you lots of love and hope for the future x

  18. That should read….. Stay close to what you really want …… and There is a whole world full of people who are loving – should have read it through before i posted.
    jxx

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