The thing is, I live in a small town and we have some mutual friends, so the possibility of my running into him again is fairly high. When I think about this happening, the angry gremlin side of me gnashes its teeth and can only see two (not good or mature) options: a) ignoring him; or b) confronting him. I don’t like either of these ideas, and I am wondering if you might have any insight as to how I could handle this probable encounter in a classy way? — No Ghostbuster
Yep, neither of those options are mature. Worse, if you behave that way, you risk embarrassing yourself and potentially offending someone who may have some good reasons for not getting in touch with you for the few weeks he was gone. Rather than feed the angry teeth-gnashing gremlin inside of you (and, really, perhaps some of your anger is a little . . . misdirected? Over-dramatic?) if you run into him, offer him a sincere hello and ask how he’s been. He may surprise you with an explanation for his disappearance, but, at the very least, you’ll retain your dignity and won’t have given him a reason to be relieved he’s been out of touch and has seemingly lost his chance with you.
P.S. Since being “ghosted” is a new thing for you, here’s a good lesson to learn: Not everyone you feel you connect with is always going to feel the same way. It’s not a reflection on you. Maybe timing was off. Maybe he met someone else he connected with more. Maybe, for whatever reason, it just wasn’t “there” for him. Do yourself a favor and, when that happens, just MOA. Life’s too short to get intensely angry every time you feel rejected.
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If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at [email protected].
muchachaenlaventana February 3, 2015, 1:30 pm
I had this situation happen to me. It was really confusing and hurtful more than anything but basically the next time I ran in to the guy, I just said hi and acted normal if a bit aloof/not our previous level of comfort and he apologized profusely for being a dick, told me what had been going on and asked me out on another date. Point being it is a lot more mature/classy to act like whatever that person did is whatever, I wasn’t buddy buddy but said hi and just moved along. The fact I wasn’t acting towards him the way I had previously sent the message I had been hurt without saying it or being rude.
I have seen this play out the other way though, this girl my boyfriend dated before me was a serious brat the first time we showed up hanging out. He didn’t ghost her, but I guess once he met me he pretty much decided he was completely done with anyone else and ended their more casual situation really abruptly. She and a friend awkwardly cornered him asking if I was his girlfriend and doing a 20 question routine and then she kept texting him to hang out until he had to finally be like, sorry but not interested this is my girl (this was all still in our pre-official phase) anyway now whenever we see her it is still pretty awkward. We also live in a really small town social life wise and I think making things awkward especially when this can be par for the course is not a good idea.
Case in point is the first dude I mentioned now seriously dates and lives with one of my close friends, if I had been a total diva to him or called him on shit, I doubt we would be friends now or have the easy relationship we do. If this were a bigger town maybe that stuff wouldn’t matter but where I live everyone dates everyone hooks up with everyone is friends with everyone so you do have to err on the side of caution.
SavannahAnna February 3, 2015, 1:49 pm
Also, you said it’s only been a few DAYS since he was supposed to get back in town? You only dated for a month, and he has been gone almost that long. So if you run into him, be nice and ask how he is. The anger is misplaced, and it’s not doing you any good.
zombeyonce February 4, 2015, 9:49 pm
After being gone for weeks, he’s probably got a lot to do to catch up (especially if he was gone missing work during that time). Since this is such a young relationship (if you can even call it that), I wouldn’t even call it ghosting at this point. Maybe in a week.
ktfran February 3, 2015, 2:35 pm
Damn again Wendy, you’re nailing it today.
LW, I was ghosted by a dude who was very good friends with mutual good friends of mine. We were bound to run into one another eventually and we did. Do you know how I handled it? I did exactly as Wendy said to do. I said hello and asked how he was. I was friendly. And I didn’t act like anything bothered me. That’s how mature adults behave. I ALWAYS STRIVE to error on the side of being the bigger person and behaving in a way I’m proud of. Even if I’m secretly seething inside.
Eve February 3, 2015, 2:45 pm
Do what Wendy said. Look at it this way. The more mature and confident you come across, the more he will regret/have doubts about ghosting you. If you act childish or immature, he’ll think “Good thing this happened, didn’t miss out on much”.
I understand that some of us can’t control how we feel so people telling you “You are wrong to feel this, you shouldn’t be feeling this, etc” is the last thing you want to hear when you just FEEL the way you feel. So I advise you to shift your anger in a way that will make him regret what he’s done (i.e. be mature and confident and calm and living your life). The moment you start acting immature and defensive, you lose this power and he may just end up feeling relieved he’s made this choice.
Kate B. February 3, 2015, 3:24 pm
The old saying, “Living well is the best revenge” applies here.
Moneypenny February 3, 2015, 3:01 pm
Being ghosted on rarely feels good, so your feelings are pretty normal I think. But, it’s truly the best thing to take the high road here. If he’s gone for good you’ve only spent a month of your life on him (not much, in the long run). If you run into him, you can just be polite. No need to waste your energy on being mean/vindictive/etc etc.
mrmidtwenties February 3, 2015, 3:02 pm
Perfect advice Wendy, as someone who has ghosted and been ghosted, it certainly can hurt, but you never know what someone has going on in their life.
FireStar February 3, 2015, 3:23 pm
True. My friend was ghosted by a guy she dated for a little while…turns out his dad just recently died and he just withdrew from everyone. She just thought he was flakey – which seemed out of character for him. He kept his old cell phone that had her number though (I don’t know why he would just import the number into the new phone – but whatever) and contacted her again almost a year later. And now hey have ben married for about 7 years and have a cute little daughter. Not taking it personally and keeping an open mind worked for her. And now she has something to tease him about or the rest of his natural life…
mrmidtwenties February 3, 2015, 3:46 pm
I actually ghosted someone I had been seeing for about a month for similar reasons, though I don’t really have any intention of contacting her. If I did though, she would have something to tease me about for life. With my current situation, we constantly make fun of each other for meeting from Tinder and get quite a kick out of reading all the Tinder horror stories.
sobriquet February 3, 2015, 3:20 pm
Maybe you should have taken a hint and started to move on after 1 or 2 weeks without any contact? It seems to me like you’ve probably been letting this fester for a few weeks now and were holding on to the slightest hope that he would get in touch with you the moment he returned for his trip. If that’s the case, then I understand your frustration, but I do think it could have been avoided completely if you had started to move on a couple weeks ago. If you have a good, genuine connection with a guy (even after only a month, when feelings tend to be heightened due to all the hormones), he will find the time to get in touch with you- even sporadically- while on a month long vacation. He just will.
Lyra February 3, 2015, 3:27 pm
This sounds like the infamous Dater X. Just move on. You’ll do yourself a favor by doing so.
bittergaymark February 3, 2015, 3:34 pm
God, some people are SO needy. He has been back for merely a few days and you are ready to blow up at him… Yikes. So dignified and so mature. So READY for a relationship… Hopefully, for his sake, he DOESN’T call you.
Jane February 3, 2015, 3:36 pm
LW, I totally understand your urge to react in some way toward him. But as others have stated, the best reaction is a non-reaction. You don’t have to be friendly and bubbly (when that’s happened to me, I certainly couldn’t be), but just be polite as you would be toward a vague acquaintance.
While we’re on this, I would like to say that I think ghosting is completely rude and often cowardly. If someone spends time with another person face to face and they did nothing wrong, it’s just good manners to offer a short “Hey, it’s been nice getting to know you (optional), but I am no longer interested in dating you.”
It’s not a fun conversation to have, but it lets the other person off the hook and you have less of a chance of the other person contacting you repeatedly, thinking that something is still going on. Whenever I’ve done that, in almost all cases the guy said he was disappointed, but thanked me for being honest. I know that’s what I’d prefer even if it hurts to hear sometimes.
ktfran February 3, 2015, 3:53 pm
I almost always let the person know I’m not interested. The only two time I haven’t is when 1. I never met this one dude in person and so I just stopped responding because he was a little off putting. And 2. I have this friend that I use to date (we live in different states now) and occasionally he’ll start texting again. They usually start out friendly and I’ll think cool, he just wants to be friends, then they start to turn manipulative and make me feel bad, so this last time, I decided it wasn’t worth it and just stopped. Knowing his MO from past experience, he would have turned it around on me and said I was fucking crazy.
Anywho. I prefer to treat people the way I want to be treated, and so I try to kindly let someone know if I’m not interested.
To that end, I’m usually ghosted. Most men/boys I’ve dated are too cowardly to offer me the kind courtesy of saying they’re not interested.
sobriquet February 3, 2015, 4:18 pm
I know I’m in the minority on this, but I actually don’t think ghosting is that big of a deal in a lot of scenarios. It depends on the amount of time invested, and also whether or not the other person reaches out to you. If someone reaches out, I think it’s pretty mean to leave them hanging. BUT, if you’ve been on a few dates with a person and you’re just not feelin it, and the other person hasn’t reached out to you, then I think fading out is completely fine and often the best option. I’ve ended several dating experiences (the longest being about 6 weeks of dating) in this mutual fashion and I think it would have been incredibly awkward and almost insulting if someone had reached out to tell the other that they just weren’t interested anymore.
muchachaenlaventana February 3, 2015, 4:27 pm
What if the person who reached out is an ex of like 3+ years?
sobriquet February 3, 2015, 4:44 pm
Oh, hell no. It’s funny, an ex of mine from way back in 2009 recently emailed me (the subject line was just a question mark, and the content of the email was to ask me if I had tried to “chat” with him earlier- I’m guessing on AIM, which I haven’t used for years now). I didn’t reply. I don’t know what good it would have done. I don’t think you ever have an obligation to respond or reply to someone you dated a long time ago.
muchachaenlaventana February 3, 2015, 4:54 pm
Okay cool that is how I felt. I dated this guy but we broke up 4 years ago now, and it wasn’t a bad break up and we were together for a year but he texted me this year on my birthday and then again around Christmas and I was just like what good will it do to respond I just am not interested.
mrmidtwenties February 3, 2015, 4:35 pm
I’m with you 100% @sobriquet
courtney89 February 3, 2015, 4:17 pm
Okay guys, what about this scenario – met a guy at a friends birthday dinner, we spent the whole night chatting, had easy conversation, enjoyed getting to know each other. Hung out for the next couple of weeks then well, hooked up. I should have known when he didn’t tell me (Text me when you get home so i know you got there safe) and didn’t seem to give a crap, but after a couple of days, he completely ghosted.
My friend says when i (inevitably) run into him, i need to be casual and breezy like what he did didn’t bother me, when all i’m going to want to do is lay into him!
Crazy_Pug_Lady February 3, 2015, 4:28 pm
Wendy’s excellent advice applies to your situation as well. Taking the grown-up/mature route will bring you more satisfaction in the long run. Laying into the guy isn’t going to solve anything and will probably just a generate a meeting that will be not only uncomfortable for him, but for you as well. WWS, Life’s too short and you deserve better, don’t waste your time on someone that doesn’t treat you the way you want to be treated.
muchachaenlaventana February 3, 2015, 4:29 pm
my boyfriend never or rarely ever is like “text me when you get home so I know you got there safe” that seems like a pretty old fashioned thing to do which if you are just driving somewhere is really strange if you think about it. Basically just to say I wouldn’t necessarily take a person’s lack of doing that as some marker for whether or not they care.
muchachaenlaventana February 3, 2015, 4:32 pm
also if you “lay in to him” after something so little and inconsequential you are going to come off a bit looney…he ghosted you, don’t also give him the satisfaction of knowing it got to you.
booknerd February 3, 2015, 5:21 pm
WWS. You were casually dating. It’s not worth getting so upset about. I really don’t think you need to overthink this. If you do see him socially, a hello is suitable. Analyzing and carefully crafting a response based on whatever he says….come on. Why spend more time analyzing and scheming for a dude that ghosted you? If we was into you, he would’ve contacted you weeks ago. Don’t get so attached to something so obviously casual. It’s nothing personal.
ghostie February 4, 2015, 9:29 am
LW here! I *know* that I was feeling more hurt than was necessary, and that following just my emotions about it wouldn’t lead anywhere good, which is why I asked for advice. I wouldn’t have sought him out to give him crap about it; I just felt weird about the whole thing. Sometimes when you are hurt you can’t see straight (and know it), so I really appreciate the constructive insight you guys have shared! Though I felt that the proper response was probably somewhere along those lines, it definitely helps to hear ways others have seen (or wanted to see) this sort of thing play out. So thank you ALL! <3
Anna February 4, 2015, 12:46 pm
I am of the opinion that ghosting is only ok if you’ve been on 1 or maybe 2 dates. At that point, you don’t owe them anything. If you’ve dated steadily for a month or more, it’s fucked up to just disappear and leave someone hanging. It’s happened to me more than once in the last year. The first time was about a year ago when I was trying POF. I dated a guy for over a month and we made plans to go to dinner on my 30th birthday (yes he knew it was my bday). He stood me up on my birthday and I never heard from him again. That was really fucked up. Then, after that, I dated the next one for 4+ months and we even went on a weekend trip to Myrtle Beach together, after which he ghosted me. That was even more fucked up.
After my experiences, I’ve made it my policy to be honest if I’m no longer interested in dating someone so they are off the hook and can move on cleanly. If I like the person as a friend, I let them know that and give them a chance to have a friendship. So far, most have turned into total assholes at that point because apparently it’s not worth being friends with a female unless she might suck your dick someday? Smh.