The cruel dating phenomenon of ghosting
‘I wish I felt guilty about it but I don’t’
Whether you want to admit it or not, you’ve probably played the role of a ghost. If you’ve had an awkward one-night stand, followed by a swift exit in the morning before the stranger lying next to you in bed wakes up, you’re guilty as charged.
Ghosting means breaking off all ties with someone you’ve dated, slept with or even been in a relationship with permanently, without providing an explanation as to why. You fade away into the ether, leaving nothing behind. Apart from maybe a little ectoplasm.
It’s sly, but sometimes it has to be done. Experienced casanovas will tell you it’s not a new thing, haunting clingy partners for centuries. But apps like Tinder, POF and Grindr have meant that ceasing contact with a lover requires more of an iron curtain than a cold shoulder.
Logan Levkoff, sexologist and expert from Married At First Sight explained that online dating and apps take the humanity out of the process, which could make users prone to being ghosted. She said: “All it takes is a swipe. The quantity [of people ghosting] is more because it’s so easy to do and it requires very little human engagement in order to do it.”
We spoke to some of John Moores’ ghosts and ghostees to find out what it all involves.
Jenny Kirkham, 20, International Journalism
“I was seeing a guy that wanted to speak to me and see me all the time. I’d only known him a couple of weeks but he constantly wanted to know what I was doing.
“When I tried to explain that he was getting on my nerves he’d just act as if I was being dramatic and that he wasn’t even interested.
“He’d go quiet for a couple of days and then start all over again so one of my friends told me to ‘ghost’ him.
“I felt really rude to begin with but after a week or so the messages and phone calls stopped.
“At first I went really dry with him and if I saw him in town I would act really off, I completely stopped replying to his texts.
“I picked a day and stopped all contact from then. I felt really bad to begin with, but he was a weirdo.
“He text me normally for a couple of days and then after a week he sent a message that made no sense. The next day he text again saying “sorry I was drunk” and a “sorry wrong number” text which was supposedly meant to go to his friend.
“He stopped after about a week but I still get the odd Snapchat or Instagram comment.
“I wish I felt guilty about it but I don’t.”
Connor Cutler-Evans, 21, Marketing
“’I’ve done it a few times but thinking about it I’ve probably had it done to me too.
“You’re lying if you say you haven’t. You do it once you have slept with a girl, or they weren’t what you expected or boring as a nun. That’s when I ghost the most. Mans got rhymes.
“You may have seen them looking a mess on a night out, gurning in Garlands or something like that. They may just be a shit shag so you thought ‘swerve that’.
“I’ve never blocked anyone on social media or fell out with anyone over it, id like to think I would say hi to most of my partners if I saw them. When ending things some people mutually realise and leave it too.”
Emily Knowles, 22, Marketing
“I was dating a guy for about 3 months, everything was going fine but then he cut me out within the space of about a week.
“He’d start by not replying for a few hours, then a few days, then not at all.
“So I text him saying ‘WHAT THE FUCK’ because I was angry someone could do that to me, he didn’t reply.
“I’m guilty of it too, though. I’d recently came out of a relationship and met someone who was nice enough but I wasn’t looking for anything and didn’t know how to tell him.
“I just stopped speaking to him, which I guess is a lot meaner. I stopped replying to his texts less and less.
“It took a while for him to get the hint, I guess because it was so out of the blue but he caught on eventually. I’ve seen him around since and I don’t think he’s very fond of me.”
Aimee Choi, 20, Fashion and Communication
“I’m the person that cuts it all off without any explanation. It’s my way of not catching ‘the feelz’.
“I did it with this guy. I’ve noticed the less I speak to him the more he wants to speak to me and go out and do things together.
“I just ignored all of his messages, calls, and Snapchats. Then I blocked him on WhatsApp for a while but before I changed my settings so he couldn’t see when I was last active. I felt bad so unblocked him but now he’s messaging me all over again.
“Karma will probably hit me soon.”
Jessica Hurd-McFarlane, 20, Drama
“I was working in Ibiza where I met this guy who was from my hometown. We met up there a couple of times when we both got back but I wasn’t really feeling it anymore.
“He continued to call and text me but I didn’t have it in me to say I wasn’t interested anymore so completely ignored him.
“He still hasn’t got the hint.
“I can’t even block him on Whatsapp because he can see when I’m active and I’m not replying to him. He knows where I live and with the way he still calls and texts me I’m scared he’ll make an unwanted appearance at my house.”