Halloween is a time to gaze into the darkness. A time to confront head-on the terrifying monsters and ghouls — some real, some imagined — that keep us awake at night, and then turn them into sexy costumes.
Maybe you’re afraid of vampires, or sharks, or clowns, or that absolutely terrifying Jack in the Box guy and the presumably deeply unwell ad executives who conceived him. Or maybe it’s something more insidious. Three dots trembling at the bottom of a phone screen and then disappearing forever. The “Hey! Haven’t heard from you in a while” text. Maybe it’s wondering for the rest of time what it is about you (your looks? Your personality? Your laugh?) that led someone to disappear from your life and maybe the planet.
To honor this spooOoky season, the Cut spoke to 11 women about their chilling stories of ghosting and being ghosted. Some names have been changed to protect the innocent. Read on … if you dare.
“It is the worst thing I have ever done to another person.”
I ghosted the boyfriend I had as a Peace Corps volunteer, after I’d finished my service and was back in the United States. I really loved him but knew that we did not have a future together. I simply did not have it in me to maintain a long-distance relationship — bring over a significant other. I couldn’t support myself, nonetheless support him. I did not know how to tell him. So I just stopped talking to him. It is the worst thing I have ever done to another person, and I was sick to my stomach for months about it. After a few months, I called him because I knew he deserved some kind of explanation, and he had never been anything but wonderful to me. Now, we talk on Facebook occasionally. He’s married now, and seems to be doing well.
“I once let him finger me at 8 p.m. in Madison Square Park […] But that was also the last time I ever saw him.”
I’ve never ghosted, but I’ve been ghosted twice before. The first made sense: I met him on Tinder, and on our first meeting, I talked about The Bachelor for two hours straight (and I’m barely exaggerating). So, like, yeah, I get it. My B. The second showed more promise. We met in Flatiron at a fruit stand, near where we both worked. Gasp, we both reached for the peach. He was nice and cute and local; the convenience was extremely attractive. We met for a few lunch breaks and post-work happy hours. I once let him finger me at 8 p.m. in Madison Square Park (which was our halfway point … the convenience, y’all!). But that was also the last time I ever saw him. You win some, you lose some.
“How could he miss the woman on crutches frantically trying to hobble away from him?”
Last year, I went on a few dates with a guy who lived a couple of blocks from me. It’s unclear who ghosted whom — maybe he ghosted me, or I ghosted him — but either way, things fizzled quickly and neither of us contacted each other. Almost immediately after the slow fade, I broke my foot. The first time I was eventually stable enough to take the subway post-injury (by that I mean, with my foot in a boot that went up to my knee and on the crutches I needed to function), I immediately saw him on the platform. Knowing one or both of us had been ghosted, I tried to ignore him and hoped he didn’t see me. But how could he miss the woman on crutches frantically trying to hobble away from him? I saw him look at me, and I quickly (or rather, slowly) turned around on my crutches to get away from him. Lo and behold, while we ended up in different cars, we still got off at the same stop, where we crossed each other trying to get out opposite exits. We both distinctly looked up and away as I slowly crutched past him. I’m still haunted by this 30-minute ordeal.
“I ran into him at the Chipotle and […] he informed me that he had ghosted me weeks ago.”
I was ghosted by a guy I dated for a few months in graduate school. The funny thing is, I didn’t notice he had ghosted me for two weeks. I was trying to finish up my thesis, graduate, and secure employment — my mind was on other things. When I ran into him at the Chipotle on campus, I suggested we grab drinks. And he informed me that he had ghosted me weeks ago and that I was really self-centered for not noticing. He was actually hurt that he ghosted me and I hadn’t noticed.
“He asked me to hold him like he was a baby.”
The man I ghosted, let’s call him Noah (because I don’t remember his name), never gave me the impression that I’d want him around for a long time. But he was hot and a skateboarder and wore trendy clothes, so he had appeal. That appeal quickly diminished when, after we were done hooking up in my dorm bed, he asked me to hold him like he was a baby. He was four years older than me. I made excuses and walked him out of my dorm. I never talked to him again and ignored his texts when he asked me to hang out later.
“The only thing you did wrong was that I liked you too much, and thought you were too cool.”
I briefly dated a guy who was super hot, super tall, and appeared to share my sense of humor and political views. All in all: a perfect specimen! After approximately our fourth date, he didn’t respond to any of my Snapchats and didn’t answer me when I asked how his weekend was. I was clearly ghosted.
A few weeks later, he started liking my Instagram posts, which was irritating because I’d totally stopped thinking about him. One day, I purposely posted a picture I knew I looked good in, just to see if he’d like it. He did. Then I texted him, calling him out for ghosting me but still lurking on my social media. He responded by spilling his guts to me in a five-paragraph essay about why he ghosted me, and asking to “have a beer with [him] and sort these issues out.” I agreed, because how could I not?
On this date (meet-up? Reconciliation? Apology tour?), he basically said I did “nothing wrong.” “The only thing you did wrong was that I liked you too much, and thought you were too cool.”
“Opening weekend comes and goes, and I did not see (A) Black Panther or (B) any sign of life from Joe.”
I made a New Year’s resolution to put actual effort into dating and pretty soon after matched with a guy I’ll call Joe because that is his real name. We had been dating for a month and things were going pretty well. I am a big fan of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and Black Panther was coming out soon. We were out for dinner one night and I was knee-deep in a very nerdy and passionate speech about how excited I was for the movie. He said, “I really want to go see that movie with you opening weekend.” It’s incredibly important to remember this quote, verbatim.
I have, um, intense movie etiquette to begin with, and I do not fuck around with my Marvel opening weekends. But, for the sake of this budding relationship, I decided to relax a little bit. I texted him to see what showtime he wanted to go to. No response. I texted him and asked him if he was still interested in seeing the movie. No response. Opening weekend comes and goes, and I did not see (A) Black Panther or (B) any sign of life from Joe. I ended up going to see the movie on a random Tuesday and hearing NOTHING from Joe. After two weeks of radio silence, he texted me and said he was getting back together with his ex. Spooky!
“Valentine’s Day was the final straw for me.”
Hi, my name is Emilia and I was ghosted on Valentine’s Day. Well, not on February 14, exactly, but it had been days (days!) since I’d heard from the male human whom I was not dating, but seeing regularly for a few months straight, and Valentine’s Day was the final straw for me. Some context: I met this male human on Tinder, so I should have known. Also, he was a skater. And he was Australian. But he was really nice! And cute. And he was a radiologist by day. He told me that radiologists make a lot of money, so I figured he was responsible and worthy of marriage.
Anyway, there I was on Valentine’s Day, ghosted. It was during New York Fashion Week, and like a fool, I lugged around an enormous bag filled with a change of clothes because I figured at any moment he was going to text me to meet up. I would go running to his apartment, which was so goddamned far from mine, and I would sleep over but not actually sleep at all because I’m allergic to his cat.
Of course, the text never came. My first thought was, Be chill. Valentine’s Day is a made-up holiday. It’s not cool to care about it, and as an Australian skater radiologist, there’s no way he cares about it either. No, I would wait until the next day to be mad because you’re allowed to get mad the day after Valentine’s Day. After hours and hours of waiting, though, I decided: fuck that. I sent him a long text message explaining that I totally didn’t care about Valentine’s Day, but also what the hell and why didn’t you text me to say even just “Hello.” That’s all anyone who’s ever been ghosted wants, anyway: proof that their significant other is alive. As a radiologist, he should have known better.
“She just … wouldn’t leave my apartment.”
I’m a serial ghoster, but I think the most blatant case was a woman I started seeing last summer. We had sex in my apartment on our third date, and it was, for me at least, truly terrible. Afterward, she just … wouldn’t leave my apartment. Despite any number of hints about how I had to be up and out of my apartment by 6 a.m. the next day — which was true — she lingered and lingered, pretty much confirming for me that I never wanted to see her ever again. The last text I got from her was a “hot dog or legs”–style picture from the beach the next day. I never responded.
“I stopped responding to his texts, and gradually he stopped sending them.”
The first time I ghosted was freshman year of college. This guy and I had been on a few dates, and overall he was pretty nice, but I knew there was no chance of a relationship with him. He was a former Marine; I’m vocal about my distaste for the military. He drank a lot; my dad was an alcoholic and heavy drinking freaks me out. He was also six or seven years older than me, which is sort of weird now that I think about it. After we went on a couple of dates, which I agreed to because I thought it was the nice thing to do and that I might be able to convince myself that I liked him, I decided to go ghost. I stopped responding to his texts, and gradually he stopped sending them. He did reach out a few months later saying hi, but I’d already made up my mind at that point and didn’t want to have to ghost him twice.
“When I went to our WhatsApp chat to text him and see if everything was okay, that’s when I realized I had been blocked and he had erased his Bumble account.”
We met on Bumble and our first date was on February 14, which I was a little apprehensive about originally since it was Valentine’s day. He took me to a Middle Eastern teahouse since he knew I loved the region and had just moved to London from Istanbul. He then took me to a museum of my choice. It was a great first date, lots of talking and joking, even in the moments of silence it wasn’t awkward. We had a lot in common but were also very different at the same time. Before we parted ways, he asked me out for a second date; I said yes. He suggested we go for drinks the following weekend in East London. He told me to give him the names of three places that I wanted to go to and he would pick one and surprise me.
We continued talking every evening after the first date, until one evening he just stopped mid-conversation. I thought nothing of it till the following evening when I went to our WhatsApp chat to text him and see if everything was okay; that’s when I realized I had been blocked and he had erased his Bumble account. It was in that moment I realized I had been ghosted. I think I got home and cried a little because I was angry and confused. For a split second I thought maybe it was my fault he ghosted me … until I realized it wasn’t my fault at all. The reality is that a 34-year-old man chose to ghost me for reasons I still do not know.