Only the gutless ghost
In the brave new world of online dating, we’ve finally found something worse than no-shows and dick-pics. The most dreaded treatment of all…Ghosting.
The kids call it “ghosting”. Up until recently, it wasn't something I’d experienced. And in all honesty, I thought it was a new fan dangle sex position that the polyamorous crowd had coined to describe when the third person jumps out from behind a curtain. It is not.
Here’s the thing — at least Casper was a friendly ghost. He had manners — he wasn't out to hurt anyone. These days you’re lucky to get a pat on the back and a ‘thanks for coming’ (pardon the pun — and again, only if you’re lucky…) when parting ways with a new flame. And that’s if you know you’re parting ways… you might think you’re saying, “See you soon”, meanwhile what they’re saying is, “Have a nice life”. They just forgot to fill you in on that bit.
These days you’re lucky to get a pat on the back and a ‘thanks for coming’ (pardon the pun — and again, only if you’re lucky…)
The read but unanswered texts; the calls that go to voicemail; the wondering what went wrong/what did I say/what did I do/what didn’t I say/what didn’t I do? The inner turmoil someone creates when they simply up and disappear without warning is, quite frankly, selfish, gutless and just plain rude. It’s a jungle out there.
When did people stop caring about how their actions affect others? Did I miss the memo? Because I was taught to treat people with honesty, respect and the way I would like to be treated. Hot tip for anyone out there dating and wondering how they should and shouldn’t behave — no one wants to be ghosted. But we already know that, don't we? It’s a conversation, not rocket science. Call me old-fashioned but I would have thought “chatting” was less of a commitment than putting part of your body inside another person.
I’m no prude, and I’m also not expecting a potential partner to sign a dating contract in blood and ‘cross their heart and hope to die’. Because changing your mind is OK. Deciding you like someone else is OK. Going on dates and meeting more than one person at a time is OK. But let’s be adults here. If circumstances change; if feelings change; if your definition of monogamy changes — it’s OK. Just be honest about it and have the decency to inform the other person.
If you had to cancel the plumber who was booked to unblock a massive lump of turds, tampons and used condoms from your septic tank, you’d probably give him a heads up. So maybe consider extending the same courtesy to someone you’ve shared a bed and bodily fluids with.
My bestie offered the advice that perhaps we should treat dating like a job interview. When it comes to having tricky conversations involving icky things like ‘feelings’ and ‘egos’ and ‘sexy time’, it can be very challenging. She also made the point that it can be incredibly hard to have that conversation after you’ve ‘done the deed’ (and hopefully during the deed too, but that’s another blog….). It might go a little something like this…
You: “Hey we think you’re great! But you’re not quite right for this role.”
Them: “What did I do wrong? How can I improve?”
You: “Absolutely nothing. We’re just looking for something a little different. But we wish you luck in your future endeavours and we’ll keep your CV on file in case a position opens up down the track.”
We’re all adults (and if you’re not, you shouldn’t be reading this and your parents need better rules around screen time). We all know there are no guarantees in life; especially when it comes to online dating (except perhaps a case of herpes and a temporarily lowered level of self-esteem). But I’m going to go out on a limb and say that ghosting someone you’ve been intimate with for a period of time is a low down dog act. But that doesn’t seem right. It’s not fair to dogs.
You see, there comes a time in your life when you stop taking shit from people and accepting poor behaviour. It happened to my dog at age seven (that’s 49 in human years). She just woke up one day and decided if another dog wasn’t to her liking she was quite simply going to try and tear its face-off. Now I’m not condoning or encouraging that kind of behaviour, but based on my recent dating experiences Indi has better manners than a lot of the singletons I’m swiping on. She at least understands the very basics of burying or bagging your shit and disposing of it. We all have shit in our lives — painful experiences; relationship baggage; work/life/financial stress. But deal with your shit before someone else gets caught up in it — because the scent lingers.
So this morning I decided to be ‘that girl’ and tell someone exactly how their ghosting behaviour had impacted me. I gave him the benefit of the doubt — in case he’d been kidnapped, hit by a bus or come down with a nasty case of temporary dementia — and then I unloaded. Some may call me crazy, but I’m done with this shit.
I’m yet to receive a response and I’m definitely not holding my breath — I have stuff to do and new Tinder pics to upload.
Do me a favour people — just be kind to one another, it’s really not that hard.