My question is about the etiquette + manners of ghosting. She ghosted me and I want to know why?
After meeting on social media and messaging for months followed by months of dating, she’s disappeared. It’s like I can’t believe it. Over the past six months I fell hard.
I was actually worried that something terrible had happened to her. How was I to know she wasn’t still alive? So, of course, I started stalking her on social media. What I was looking for was evidence that she was 1.) still alive and functioning, 2.) she was seeing someone else. I almost wished that she wasn’t still alive, because it would be less painful and I could mourn her.
But there were no tributes to her posted by family and friends. Her posts were the same as always about fashion and friends. Friends, whom I thought were becoming my friend as well. Although, I wouldn’t feel comfortable asking to meet any of those friends for drinks to find out why she was ghosting me.
Why? I am supposed to be an upright, secure professional; smart enough to figure out matters of the heart and win her back without enlisting outside help.
Looking back at previous relationships, it seems I’ve been the one to break it off; either because I was going away to college, relocating to another city or simply wasn’t into drinking every night. In that case, I told her that she had a problem and that if she didn’t control her drinking, I couldn’t be with her anymore. Ultimately, it was her choice, she couldn’t face the fact that she was a drunk.
As far as I could see, there was nothing wrong with my current ex or with our relationship. Not a clue of another boyfriend or that she didn’t like being with me and the sex was outrageous. When she stopped returning messages, I asked her why she wasn’t replying and to tell me what was wrong. In the past, she always replied quickly. Now, nothing.
I tried to get her to meet me, and I almost waited for her outside of work, but decided that ambushing her would put her in an uncomfortable position; especially if someone was with her. I’m not going to spy on her.
Even if she messaged me, “it’s not you, it’s me” the blow would be softened. Or if she said, “I’m really busy,” but of course I would be able to see that she wasn’t too busy to be posting on Instagram.
What should I do? Last month I bought her pearl earrings she admired for Valentine’s Day, which I should probably return.
–Jack, Brooklyn, NY
Come what may, whether ghosting is a human issue or a technological one, return the pearl earrings. You can’t mourn your ex-girlfriend, because she is still alive. Accept that ghosting is a ghastly dating trend and go back on the dating app and ask trusted friends to set you up. Unless she’s blocked you, she’ll see that you’re dating again. As a last resort, simply delete your dating apps.
GHOSTING (also called SUBMARINING) is a dangerous, hurtful game. Ceasing contact without so much as an “it’s me, not you,” is rude. YOU ARE NOT ALONE. Welcome to being one of the 80%+ of millennials that admit to being ghosted.
- Investigate new features, such as from Hinge, that send the message “Your Turn” as a follow-up to all messages sent. Some give fair warning: “NO GHOSTING ON BUMBLE.” Use apps that encourage feedback from the recipient.
Looking for an addictive dopamine hit? We get the game being played on social media.
Under the guise of introducing you to a potential mate, they keep you coming back for a fix–a dozen, two dozen more swipes. Apps that gamily search for love–sometimes in all the wrong places–that is nothing more than monogamous romance, through instant gratification of having a possible match pop up with a swipe! Is she the one?
- Some see the rise in ghosting as an intrinsically technology-driven problem.
- Some blame the childlike behavior (as in the childish word ‘ghosting’) on the narcissist who doesn’t respect the rules of the game and consequently hurts other people’s feelings again and again.
- Others blame the game on the anonymity offered by a screen, the sense that the world is their oyster and swiping is their knife to finding the right match–after opening the oyster to find the perfect pearl they can do anything they want.
- In that vein, bad behavior becomes bad manners and etiquette.
One of the first things we strive to teach children is to be sensitive to other people’s feelings. Your ex-girlfriend didn’t get that important lesson. Not all oysters produce pearls. Return the pearls.
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