"He ghosted on me. Why?" — Ask Charles

Dear Charles:

I have been dating a man for three months, who has now completely "ghosted" on me. Last time I saw him he was fine, telling me he loved me and making plans for the near future. Now: No calls, no texts, and no emails. I've asked him to let me know he's okay—just out of courtesy—but i haven't chased him. I won't be taking him back if he reappears as that will send out the message that it is ok to do that to me, and it is not. But my question is... why do they do that? Who is too cowardly to even break up by text?!  —J


Dear J:

Early dates offer you a glimpse of who the person is, but you don’t really know them; you just have an impression, and they have one of you. There’s no telling what was going on behind the scenes for him: Multiple dates with multiple people, just out of a prior relationship, busy work schedule, family issues – there’s no knowing. The fact that he didn’t get back in touch after putting in the beginnings of effort, however, is a huge red flag. If he’s going to say one thing and then do another, it sounds like he’s done you a favor by dropping back. After all, it just takes a moment to communicate if something has changed for him. Even if an emergency arises, getting in touch with someone you are involved with is normal. 

Is there any way to prevent ghosting? Somewhat, yes. In today’s technology-centric world, many people think they “know” someone just because they've had a few conversations (and read their profile, and Googled them, and researched online ad nauseum). But the truth is: getting to really know someone takes time… as people reveal who they are over the course of dating. The best way to “prevent” ghosting is to manage your own expectations. Recognize that you are both getting to know each other… and some people—while nice at the beginning—aren’t worthy of a full investment.

Bottom line: Someone who disappears without a trace is doing you a favor. If they can leave so easily that early, they either have their own stuff going on (from their past… which you can’t solve), or they weren’t really into you in the first place. But most importantly: If they vanish… that isn’t a reflection on YOU or your own worthiness of love. They could have called and/or wrapped things up in a respectful manner. Maybe they had an emergency… maybe they didn’t feel the connection… maybe a million things, but that is all about THEM. YOU are still worthy… and sometimes the Universe takes away what you think you want to make room for what you actually deserve.

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