Right before my 40th birthday, I jaunted off to Italy to have some fun. I immediately met a handsome and charming chef who was six years my junior. I vowed to only have a fling with him and enjoy myself. Later, however, after returning to the States, we developed a relationship, and I fell in love with him. We talked, texted and emailed constantly, anxiously making plans to see each other again for Thanksgiving, where we were going to spend a week in Rome and Lisbon. Suddenly, only one week before my departure, he stopped responding to texts and refused to take my phone calls. This left me both anxious, shocked and eventually devastated. Then, as only two days before the trip approached, I learned from his best friend that he had hopped on a plane to Istanbul. Allegedly, he was overwhelmed and needed to be alone. I never saw him or heard from him again. Quite simply, I was ghosted – Internationally.
Ghosting is a very painful experience. It is not only unbelievably shocking, it’s also an experience that leaves you feeling confused and empty — You never get the closure you so desperately need. In fact, it was so devastating to me that I wrote an entire book about it.
It seems like ghosting is the newest dating phenomenon due to technology and it can happen at any age. Unfortunately, it is here to stay ladies, but you can catch a ghost before the heartbreak. Here are a few signs you may see that should signal the red flag:
1. Massive Large Doses of Affection. Be very cautious of guys who pour on the affection, privately and in public, and dole out an enormous amount of compliments. This type of attention can be intoxicating but remember they are just words. Anyone can say anything. In sum, if it feels too good to be true, it probably is.
2. Sporadic “Check Outs.” If the guy has been sending you constant texts and blowing up your phone then stops for a little bit– Be wary. This could be a sign that they are going to check out for good soon. You should not be the person to constantly initiate communication. If you do, this is your insecurity and your desperate attempt to hold on.
3. Failure to Make Concrete Plans. If he is communicating with you through text and email regularly, but never makes a definitive plan to get together, then you should be on guard. Men like attention and he may even like you, but he probably needs attention from a lot of women and may be on the precipice of ghosting you for a perceived better catch.
4. Relationship Talk. If he starts to talk about past failed relationships or his difficulties associated around relationships, listen. If he has had a litany of failed relationships, he just may not be ready for this one.
5. Not Responding to Texts or Calls Promptly Anymore. Typically the ghosting type of man will immediately respond to texts or calls. He will feed you lines such as, Sorry I can’t talk right now. In a meeting. Will call after. This is tricky because it makes you believe they care about you and are incredibly emotionally available. Be alert when these type of responses cease, which they often do. You may be on the verge of being ghosted.
6. Lots of Excuses for Absences. Men who are checking out on you and on the verge of disappearing for good, tend to be cowards who simply cannot tell the truth — I’m just not that into you. When you start to question them, they will make up “good” excuses — Work is so busy now. Traveling nonstop with work. Pressure from my family to come visit more often. Most often, they will blame work. Watch for these lame excuses. They usually are a harbinger of things to come.
Ghosting is brutal. How do you deal with it? Well it is easier to tell you what not to do….Do NOT contact him again. If he wanted to talk to you, he will be in touch. Men are hunters and are aggressive. They will move mountains to get what they want, especially if they are truly interested. Do not bother texting him either to see what happens, this actually gives you the upper hand in the situation if he runs back to you. He won’t respond, you will just embarrass yourself by reaching out again.
I wrote the book, Smoke Drink F*#k, to help me overcome being ghosted, but friends and your therapist would easily lend their ears to you. You may never get the closure you desperately seek and deserve. But you will have your dignity and you will move on – The sooner you do, the happier you will be.
About Esme Oliver
Esme Oliver has worked as an attorney, a health-care lobbyist, and a legislative director for two US Senators; work which sharpened her left brain but didn’t quite fulfill her soul. Esme eventually left DC for her native Midwest, where she now writes grants (for money) and stories (for fun). She enjoys lots of travel and a long list of other activities that pair well with a nice Pinot. Her new book Smoke Drink F*#K is available at RiverdaleAveBooks.com, Amazon, Barnes & Nobles Nook, iTunes, Kobo and where digital and print books are sold.