No More Ghosting: How to end an unofficial relationship

No more ghosting: how to end an unofficial relationship


There’s nothing worse than going out with someone you find totally attractive only to have her disappear after a few amazing dates. You might wonder if you imagined the whole connection, if she was ever into you at all. When the texts and return phone calls suddenly disappear, chances are you’ve been “ghosted.”

Ghosting is a new term for an old trend of avoidance in dating. For example, let’s say you’ve been dating someone for the past couple of months. It doesn’t matter that you’ve been seeing each other regularly – your relationship isn’t official – you haven’t had the “talk,” so your personal life is a gray area. Maybe you are together, maybe you aren’t. During this time, one of you decides that he/she isn’t really into you anymore, and instead of “breaking up” – because really, you were never “going out” – he/she decides to stop texting you and pull a disappearing act.

Being ghosted can be devastating, even if you haven’t been going out that long, or you didn’t make your relationship official. It’s still a relationship of some sort, and chances are feelings are involved for one or both people.

In fact, ghosting generates a LOT of confusion in the dating world, no matter how casual your relationships are. And that confusion can cause you take your weariness and confusion into the next relationship, or on a date with the next person you meet.

It creates a vicious cycle of distrust among daters. Many people who have experienced ghosting assume it will happen again and again – that even if they go out on a few dates, there’s no accountability by the other person for their feelings. So really – who cares? Why invest in feelings? Why trust anyone at all?

This is disastrous for dating.

The truth is, when you date, there is accountability. Just because you’ve only been on a few dates with one guy doesn’t mean that you should disappear if you’re not interested. If he asks you out again, you should respond. Let him know that he’s great, but not for you.

It might seem cold or harsh at first to reject someone so directly, but it’s actually quite the opposite. You’re providing closure – and you are giving that person an opportunity to move on with someone else, instead of wondering what happened to you or blaming you for not returning his affection.

If you choose ghosting, you’re contributing to a cycle of bad behavior – of skirting around problems and confrontations instead of owning your own truth. There’s nothing wrong with going out with someone a few times and then not feeling it anymore. But when you don’t provide a “break-up” for the other person to accept, then it gives the rejected person a reason to behave badly with the next person – so on and so forth. And then ghosting becomes an acceptable part of dating.

So even if your relationship is casual, remember the person you’re dating is still a person, and deserves to be treated with respect.

Kelly Seal
Kelly is a writer and former speed-dating host, and author of the new book Date Expectations: A Guide to Changing Your Dating Life and Finding Real Love at Her contributions have appeared in The Huffington Post, Slate, Examiner, MSN, Yahoo! Living, YourTango, Digital Romance, The Frisky, and Divine Caroline among others. You can visit her blog “Notes from the Dating Trenches” on her Website, or find her on Facebook, Twitter, or Google+.


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  1. Joy 7th May 2015 2:12 am

    Great article. It has happened to me and it hurts like hell. Devastating at best.

    • Jonathan Bird
      Jonathan Bird 7th May 2015 6:14 am

      What did you do?

  2. Single Dating Diva 8th May 2015 12:17 pm

    Ghosting is the worst! It’s cowardly and disrespectful and a symptom of the dating climate we’re in right now. Thanks for the insights Kelly!!

  3. Kelly 8th May 2015 7:29 pm

    Thanks all. I just hate how frustrating it can get to be in a gray area of dating – you think there is mutual attraction, but you question when that person disappears if you made the whole thing up. You didn’t. It’s just run its course, but everyone deserves respect. Everyone deserves communication. Do your best to be the person you want to someday meet. 🙂

  4. Ms. Cheevious 18th May 2015 8:16 pm

    Ghosters are spineless. If you’re a girl OR a guy… grow a pair (of boobies or balls… the choice is yours) and do the RIGHT thing. No chickens allowed in the big-boy and big-girl world of dating.

  5. Phil 21st May 2015 3:27 pm

    Telling the truth is always better. Even white lies are damaging, because they chip away at your credibility. Better to have the sting of the truth.

  6. Daniel
    Daniel 13th August 2015 2:13 pm

    This is a fantastic piece, very well thought out and insightful.


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