Ghosting isn’t a phenomenon. It’s an epidemic. Experts tell us that the reason people ghost isn’t always personal, but that doesn’t change the fact that pulling a disappearing act can bring feelings of rejection and self-doubt in the ghostee. In the wake of an abrupt departure, the only thing left is speculation. Without closure, you never really know what happened — you just hope it wasn’t you. For those of us actively playing the field, ghosting can sour our attempts to grow and learn from each dating experience.

Think of it this way: When you’re interviewing for jobs, you end up going in for a few that don’t exactly match your qualifications. The hope is to gain interviewing skills that will help you land the job of your dreams. During this time, it’s likely you decline a few offers, but it’s even more likely that several employers completely ghost you. It’s easy to start worrying that there’s something specific you’re lacking, but what? For me, the mystery is maddening.

That’s why I asked four men from my past why they ghosted me. When I pitched this very humiliating article to my editor, I gave myself enough time to put it off, so in the end I was forced to break the silence with each of them all in one week. If you’re ever feeling a little cocky, this is certainly one way to bring your ego back down to size.

Cody

Chatted briefly about meeting up for a week. Ghosted in January 2018.

Cody and I matched in January. He wasn’t my type, but I overlooked what was likely to be a subpar personality because I found him incredibly attractive. On the day we had plans, he suggested I come over to his house. IMO, if you want to go out on a date with me, you should at least be willing to put on shoes. I suggested we meet at a bar instead. Silence.

Cody and I matched again on Tinder, just when I was in the throes of this experiment. Well, well, well, I thought. The plot thickens. Unsurprisingly, Cody didn’t remember I existed, so suffice it to say, it wasn’t a huge shock that he didn’t recall why he ghosted me.  

So I ghosted him.

Ben

Dated casually for two months. Ghosted me in March 2018.

Ben and I dated for a couple of months. We had daily communication and hung out a couple of times a week. That is, until our blossoming relationship exploded in our faces. Ben was seeing someone else, and even though I was continuing to go on dates, I found it strange that he wouldn’t mention he was sleeping with two people. I said exactly that. This sent poor Ben into an anxiety-fueled panic. He quickly became a martyr for his dishonesty, and woe was him. When we made plans to meet up and talk about our expectations, he disappeared — leaving me wondering if he ghosted because of his frail ego or me.

I never heard back from Ben about my experiment, but I imagine he was just a figment of my imagination — I mean, that’s the only logical conclusion one could draw. 

Hugo

Dated casually for one month. Ghosted me in April 2018.

Sometimes it’s merely a miscommunication that makes someone ghost. Hugo and I went out for about a month. I had concerns because we were both Sagittarii and frankly, we’re a little intense. However, in this case, my memory did not serve me correctly. When asked about his disappearing act, Hugo had this to say: “What are you talking about? I did not ghost no one. I said, ‘Hey girl how was your night?’ and you never responded.”

Oops!

Brandon

Dated casually for one month. Ghosted me in May 2018.

Brandon and I went on four dates. On the night before our fifth date, he texted me that he needed to cancel due to a project at work, and perhaps he may have time the following night. No big deal, I said. “The tickets were cheap and if work was still busy, we could reschedule.” Silence.

Reaching out to him made me feel the most anxious. I certainly knew it was likely he would ignore me again, and I’d feel that painful rejection all over again.

He certainly took his sweet old time responding to me, but when he did, my priorities completely changed. I initially tried to play it cool when I reached out, asking him how work was going, and he expressed some legit interest in joining my company. So instead of asking him why he ghosted me, I referred him for a job. Sorry folks, the potential referral bonus I could get from the recommendation is too tempting to pass up. The experiment wasn’t a total wash, though — I’ll get around to asking him about it if he ends up accepting a job. In the meantime, we’ve been hanging out, and I have a feeling we’re going to be much better friends than we ever would have been as lovers. Sorry, but also — one hundy P not sorry.

What did I learn from this experiment? Well, a few things. For starters, I probably should talk to my therapist about the masochistic experiments I assign to myself. I also realized you’re likely to get ghosted a few times when you’re aggressively trying to date in order to figure out what is is you want. More importantly, I realized that you can conjure up a ghost from your past with just a little courage.