I’m Still Thinking About the Guy Who Ghosted Me

So, I was dating a guy for two months and things were going pretty great in my opinion! However, he started to do the slow fade after spending the night (no sex). I recognized what this was early on, and just let it be! He just wasn’t interested and there was nothing I could do about it. In responding back and forth I let my efforts match his. I didn’t blow up his phone, did not get mad- I just let it be what it was. He’s a busy guy with a lot going on and so I knew that it was a possibility that he was simply overcommitted. However, as the quote says, "No one is busier than someone who is ignoring you" and despite what my friends said, I didn’t chase him.

Well, instead of just staying away he came back and we went through a month of these strange non-committal back-and-fourth text exchanges that would happen once a week. After the end of 3 weeks of this, he texted me telling that he was finally done with his commitments and ready to hang out in the near future. We started texting back and forth like normal and decided on a day. I thought, maybe I was reading this whole thing wrong and he was just crazy busy. That would explain why he kept reaching back out. And then…nothing. I never heard from him again.

I have listened to your podcast and read your articles of why men ghost, but what does it mean when the ghost haunts? It does not make any sense Evan. You said that men do not play games, but am I crazy for feeling like my feelings have been played with? Maybe you can make more sense of this than I can!

Best,

Shay

Sorry to hear about your struggles, Shay. My ghosting podcast and men don't play games article mostly articulate my thoughts on this subject.

But because you took the time to write, I want to ask you to consider an alternative theory - one that does not start with "this man is intentionally playing with my feelings."

So, why would a guy hook up with you, do the slow fade, and then intermittently text you over the next three weeks?

  • He's attracted to you, but doesn't know if he wants a relationship with you.
  • He's attracted to you, but doesn't know if he wants a relationship with anyone.
  • He's lonely, and your texting made him feel connected.
  • He's seeing a few women and he liked someone else better
  • He's seeing a few women and he slept with someone else, which intensified their relationship and now he's pursuing it exclusively, even though he never really got to know you..
  • He's seeing a few women and realized that he's not in a place to commit to anyone because he's hung up on his ex or busy at work.

Let go of the feeling of being haunted by this particular ghost.

We could go on, of course, because the truth is, we have no idea what he's thinking. I just don't believe this is something that's unique to men, nor is it unique to this man.

At any given point in time, you've got millions of people on dating sites who really, truly want to find love and connection and commitment and simultaneously have ambivalence about dating, sex, commitment, the opposite sex, as well as a host of personal issues.

All I'm saying is that these aren't bad people, evil people, or sadists who are trying to hurt you. They are just like you. Normal. Confused. Torn between being single and finding love. Torn between chemistry and compatibility. Torn between innumerable dating options that may look better from the outside.

The best thing you can do is let go of the feeling of being haunted by this particular ghost - it wasn't the first time, it won't be the last. In fact, you'll probably do the same (maybe with different communication) with some guy down the road. And if you want to know why good men ghost good women, click here and I'll explain everything to you.

Best of luck moving on.

Your friend,

Evan

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Comments:

  1. 1
    sylvana

    I’m sorry. But – whether deliberately planned or not – all of the above examples are exactly what game playing is. Leading someone on without having any intentions of actually going somewhere with it.

    1. 1.1
      Adrian

      Hello Sylvana,

      I don’t see his actions as game playing. To me it was the “result” of a misunderstanding on his part. He may have taken her mirroring as a sign she wasn’t that into him, she didn’t want to seem too eager but perhaps to him it just seemed like she was not into him. The only example Evan gave that I could see as game playing is the one where he only texts her because he is lonely.

      1. 1.1.1
        Nissa

        I just don’t get this thinking. I see so often here that men are worried, worried, worried about women not being that into them. Guys, if a woman is taking valuable time out of her day to text you, talk to you, pick an outfit, get pretty, and show up – she is at MINIMUMUM considering you. Maybe she’s not sure yet, ya know, because you are a STRANGER and people in general have a tendency to hide their flaws, but she has to actually spend some time with you before she can make up her mind.

        This just seems like such insecurity. Why is the FIRST assumption “she’s not into me”? I get that before  she says yes, or maybe before she shows up, but after? Why not assume you are a guy with many awesome qualities that may or may not match her? And that even if it’s not a match, that it means you are deficient in some way, vs she doesn’t know what she’s missing? For example, I don’t want kids. If a guy rejects me for that, it’s not a sign that I’m unattractive or not a nice person. It literally just means we have different priorities.

        How many times has Evan said, just have fun on your date, get to know each other, and see how it goes? If you are worried that she’s after your wallet, don’t buy her stuff. If she keeps showing up, then you have your answer. And no, that doesn’t mean asking her to dinner, then refusing to pay and sneering at your date if she hesitates to lunge for the check. It means using the tiniest bit of creativity to give her a no cost date. Take a walk, visit with a mutual friend, go to a dog park, fly a kite, tour outdoor sculpture.

        I can see how meeting someone in person might cause one to be unsure, since they might be involved or not ready to date, but it seems that even when we are discussing online dating, the issue is still there. Why not take one another at their word until proven otherwise? If a man says he’s not into anything serious, that’s what he means. If a woman says yes to a date, that what she means.  It’s just not that complicated.

      2. 1.1.2
        Marika

        Hi Adrian

        I don’t see it as game playing either, but for the life of me I can’t see anywhere where what she wrote indicates he could have misunderstood or thought she had a lack of interest?

        She said :

        However, he started to do the slow fade after spending the night 

        The end of 3 weeks of this, he texted me telling that he was finally done with his commitments and ready to hang out in the near future. We started texting back and forth like normal and decided on a day. 

        And then..nothing. 

        I suppose it’s possible he was an insecure guy who wanted her to make more effort, but what in the letter suggests that?

        This type of behaviour plays out regularly enough in online dating to be at least somewhat familiar to most people. I don’t think I know of any situation where the woman being more forward or pestering a guy who’s fading, saying he’s busy with commitments etc..helps the situation improve. Usually he’s seeing someone else and busy with that or he’s not sure how he feels or something…it’s best to let him sort out his own feelings and see how it plays out.

        I’m more like you in that I used to think ‘oh maybe if I put in more effort..’ But from reading Evan’s work, I had to train myself to sit back more. If someone’s behaviour is wishy washy, the best thing to do is mirror and see how it plays out. They weren’t official, he was pulling back, they hadn’t even slept together. When he faded she was being a savvy dater by mirroring. And she got her answer.

  2. 2
    Olongapo

    Shay….if you’re reading. I’m going to offer up a distinctly male opinion, based on my own personal experience of having been not only the ghostee but also as the ghoster.  For me, it has to be “Hell yeah or no” if I’m going to actively pursue a woman beyond a number of dates without sex.  She may get some initial investment but if it’s not happening organically quickly, I’ll cut my losses and move on to the next one.  Sounds brutal, don’t it?  This is the only way that I can preserve my most valuable resource…..which is my time.  If we go out a couple of times and I invite you over for dinner and you’re not activated enough (believe me. I can tell) to get naked with me, then I’ll take no as no.  I’m at an age where I don’t want to waste much time and getting any sort’ve commitment from me is going to require some frequent, freely given, and enthusiastic sex.  The relationship stuff follows suit if I like you.

    The “medium is the message” as a wise man once said when it comes to relationships, and if this guy was as smitten by you as you are by him, you would’ve known based on his behavior.  Men are just as glued to their phones as women are.  If he wanted you, he would have called in-between jobs, or texted you a time and a place to meet, or even emailed you.  Instead, you got the flaky behavior which tells me that he’s got several pokers in the fire or, God forbid, he may be married.  Men lie about this as much as women do.  I also think that you’re feeling the feels (even though you’re not acting on them) and trying to suss out a reason that makes sense.  Evan gave you a list of possible reasons and it may be none of those but that doesn’t really matter, does it?  His behavior is telling you not to waste your time and energy.  Quit wondering and soft next him and wait for him to come to you to propose a substantial action and just not some chit chat.

    There are other men out there.  Tons of them.

    I’ve been ghosted in the past and will probably get ghosted in the future but I have learned that if there’s no response to a text or a voicemail that is “Hell yeah”, it means I didn’t tickle her fancy enough to warrant any sort’ve further progress.  I don’t lose any sleep over it because a new one will come along shortly.

    Nexting is about preserving your well being.  Learn this.

    1. 2.1
      Adrian

      Hello Olongapo,

      I disagree that his motivation was sex or he would not have put in 2 months of consistent effort for her; most guys who are only after sex want low effort, quick results. I agree with you that she probably never gave him a “Hell Yeah!” feeling when he called or took her out and that resulted in him slowly losing interest.

      Remember he did a slow fade so I think he was hoping something would happen intimately when he stayed over not because he just wanted sex but because he wanted one last sign to see if he should continue to put in effort for her and the relationship. I am  not putting all the blame on her, he should have communicated his feelings about her behavior and she probably misunderstood how to effectively use mirroring.

    2. 2.2
      Donna

      Thank you for this.  You make a ton of sense.  Which I needed to hear right now, having just reconnected for two months with an old flame who did a quick about-face.  NEXT! is sure about preserving your well being.

  3. 3
    Adrian

    Where is the fine line between putting in effort to make something work and embarrassing yourself by chasing someone who doesn’t want you?

    After 2 months if you are still mirroring then how do you know he didn’t see this as a lack of enthusiasm on your part? The fact that he slowly faded instead of just disappearing shows that in the beginning he was excited by the relationship but if he didn’t feel that same level of excitement back he’ll start to feel less motivated to be with you.

    Also she threw in they didn’t have sex so I am guessing she is thinking that could be a reason he started to fade and I agree except I don’t’ think it was the reason, more like the final piece that confirmed his decision about their “possibly” one sided relationship. After 2 months of her letting him do all the initiating why wouldn’t he feel she isn’t into him after nothing happens when they spent the night together?

    Though from last week’s post about calling the guy if he didn’t call first I know many women feel it’s the guys role to put in the majority of the effort in the beginning and would rather find someone new then put in work to get a guy-some women see a guy putting in effort early on as courting but they see a woman doing the same thing as chasing.

    1. 3.1
      Marika

      Adrian 

      I read it as, she started mirroring his behaviour after he did the slow fade. Which is a good idea. She doesn’t say she lacked enthusiasm or didn’t take any action/initiative before that.

      I can’t imagine you fade or ghost, Adrian, but plenty of men (no doubt, women), do. And they do it for a variety of reasons. I’ve had a couple of ghosters try to get back in my life. And a fader who became a friend. One of them got freaked out as he thought I wasn’t as into him as he was me (and, actually, he was right), one got freaked out as I mentioned ‘relationship’ in passing and he thought it was too early. The friend wants to have kids earliest in his late 40s, so he’ll need someone much younger than him, not a peer. Another guy got the shits as he kept pestering me to come over to his house (second and third dates mind you) – I thought it was too soon. He made some comment like, ‘I’m not going to molest you’, all offended and then disappeared (even though we had plans).

      So you can get ghosted from showing too much enthusiasm /too little enthusiasm or not going by their timetable. Or for a million other reasons. I find in the early stages of dating men/people can be sooo sensitive and easily scared and cut & run over so little…I can’t personally relate. I give chances, I accept minor flaws, give the benefit of the doubt..perhaps too much. But many people aren’t like that. What can you do?

      1. 3.1.1
        Adrian

        Hi Marika, and Nissa,

        Nissa said, “This just seems like such insecurity… If a woman says yes to a date, that what she means.  It’s just not that complicated.

        I actually completely agree with this, Marika said something in another post that made me realize something that is happening to me as a result of reading this blog. I am dealing better with the blog jadedness but I am still being affected by the numerous gender based negativity without realizing it.

        Marika said, “I can’t imagine you fade or ghost, Adrian

        I suffer from being too nice, so I would be curious as to what you would do. I “directly” tell a women that we aren’t compatible but they still call, email, text etc and I never have the heart to just block them especially when they are asking something benign like simple information about something.

  4. 4
    Dana

    As Evan has said before, when it’s right it’s easy. Trying to resolve these questions and complications (so familiar!) can be so compelling, but ultimately are irrelevant. For the right relationship, all this weirdness just doesn’t exist.

  5. 5
    Clare

    This situation is so common. It’s happened to me and to just about every woman I know. It may seem baffling, but the explanation is usually fairly simple.The first couple of months of a relationship are a rush – it’s new, it’s exciting, attraction is high, your hormones are fired up, and the attention and novelty are great. Most people find this stage of a relationship fun, easy, and very enjoyable.However, after the first couple of months, generally one of you wants a little more. This is good, natural, and understandable. That person wants to increase time spent together, make plans to do stuff in the future, make the relationship official, meet the family or friends, go away together, or a whole host of other things which signal that the relationship is getting a little more solid and serious. When the other person sees this, he or she has a choice: either they are happy and on board with the progression of the relationship, or they realise it is more than they are ready for or they are not sure if they want it with this person. If a person has commitment issues or is emotionally unavailable, you will usually see some sign of them pulling back at around the 2-3 month mark. If everything has been going great up until this point, him or her pulling back is not personal. It’s simply a sign of what’s going on with that person.That’s why it’s important not to get involved with someone fresh out of a long-term relationship, someone whose life is in a state of extreme flux, or to get too emotionally invested in the first 3 months.

    1. 5.1
      Marika

      Great point, Clare. In my experience, if someone is going to freak out, they either do it within the first few dates when you don’t know the person well, so small things/comments can get blown up/freedom is threatened, or, as you say, around the 2-3 month mark when someone is likely to be wanting more or questioning where things are going.

      Good idea to not get too emotionally invested…if you have any tips on how to do that, send them my way! 🙂

      1. 5.1.1
        Clare

        Marika & Emily,

        I wrote this long post last night and then it just disappeared :/
        Honestly I don’t think there are any foolproof ways not to get too invested or I would have found them by now…

        However, I have found mirroring really helps. Making sure that your effort matches the guy’s helps to keep you grounded in reality. I make sure that I put in as much effort as the guy is putting in. I wait for him to show me his level of enthusiasm and then I try to keep up with that. If you are not careful to do that, it’s easy to do too much, and that in and of itself makes you too invested. I’ve noticed that effort=investment. Doing this also lets you notice when the guy’s energy levels are tailing off, so it’s not such a huge shock if the relationship gets called off. If you don’t let your effort and initiation outstrip what the guy is doing by too much, it’s much easier to scale back and the hurt is much less severe when the relationship doesn’t work out.

        The second suggestion I have may seem obvious: don’t involve the guy too much in your life in the first 3 months. Wait till after 3 months to introduce him to friends and family, don’t publish your relationship on Facebook in the first couple of months, don’t integrate him into your home and activities too much. Honestly, it makes it much easier not to invest too much if he hasn’t become too comfortable in your life. There’s no problem with bringing him into your life slowly after the 3 month mark.

        Finally, I’d say you kind of have to mentally think of yourself as still single for the first 3 months. I’m not saying to date, kiss or sleep with other guys necessarily (in South Africa that’s a big no no, but I know that in the US it’s fine to do that if you’re not exclusive yet). One dating coach I read says, “The first 3 months of a relationship are imaginary,” and I think there’s a lot of truth to that. No matter how good or exclusive they are, the first 3 months do not signal a commitment of any kind, so it’s good to still keep up with your friends, with having fun, with having guy friends around to talk to, meet new people and get to know them. It’s important not to put your life on hold in the first 3 months.

        These are the things I do these days, and honestly I’ve found that they do minimize hurt. Before Adrian jumps on me for not giving the relationship a proper chance – the vast majority of dating experiences do *not* lead to a long-term relationship or marriage. At least in my case. I know that I am looking for someone who makes me very happy and fits with me very well, and I’m willing to wait for that, so in the meantime, I have to find some way to protect my heart or it would be pulp.

      2. 5.1.2
        Emily, the original

        Clare,

        I wait for him to show me his level of enthusiasm and then I try to keep up with that.  … If  Doing this also lets you notice when the guy’s energy levels are tailing off, so it’s not such a huge shock if the relationship gets called off. 

        I think a lot of times you can tell the situation is winding down or not going anywhere. For example, I had a friend who was dating a guy for 6 months, but 6 months in, he was still only contacting her once a week and seeing her once a week. She kept calling him her boyfriend but they had never discussed being exclusive. She was very angry when she found out he went back to his long-term girlfriend (they were on a break), but from what she told me, she was just dating this guy. Things had never escalated to an actual relationship.

        I’m leery if a man tries to push for an instant girlfriend within the first couple of weeks (that’s always a big red flag) and I think the amount of communication/seeing each other should build over time, but if things really click, it usually doesn’t take that long. By 3 months, you’ve probably been in daily contact, sleeping together and seeing each other a couple of times a week for … what? … 6 to 8 weeks? Now, if it’s just sexual, you can keep the other person at a distance, but if you’re interacting as people, it becomes tricky.

        1. Clare

          Emily,

          Here you’ve touched on the nuanced nature of dating and of relationships between the sexes. You can be spending time together, staying in contact, even for a long period of time, without things actually really going anywhere. That’s why it’s so important to look at the other person’s effort, and invest accordingly.

          This actually took me ages to work out. I thought for so long that if just invested enough, eventually what we had would turn into the relationship I wanted. As if it was a project that if I only put enough effort in, would succeed in the end. Other people, like your friend, get so wrapped up in what they want the relationship to be, that they lose sight of the effort the other person is making or the signs that that person is giving off.

          I agree with you that when a guy wants you to be his girlfriend right away, this is a huge red flag. In my experience, when this has happened, it usually means the opposite of what it seems – the guy in question is actually not ready to be in a relationship, and is papering over that fact by throwing himself into a relationship right away. I agree that the healthiest relationships I’ve had have built slowly and consistently – consistency is actually one of the biggest things I look for in a guy.

          I recently had an experience where an ex of mine, out of the blue, wanted to get back together. We dated on and off for 5 years previously, and we always broke up because he couldn’t make a proper commitment or communicate about relationship stuff without getting angry and defensive. This time around, he seemed like he was a lot more ready and willing to make an effort, but he wanted me to move in for a couple of weeks and “see how it goes.” From zero to a hundred, just like that. I had my doubts and was hesitant. I told him I needed time to think. It didn’t take long for me to realize that we still wanted different things. And moving in with him would not have changed that.

        2. Emily, the original

          Clare,

          You can be spending time together, staying in contact, even for a long period of time, without things actually really going anywhere. That’s why it’s so important to look at the other person’s effort, and invest accordingly.

          I think in the example I gave of my friend, it was obvious things weren’t escalating. And with example you gave of your ex waiting so much right away, that’s a red flag. Another red flag is guys who telegraph (through what they say or their energy) that they really want a girlfriend right away — that’s them wanting a relationship much more than the actual person.

        3. Nissa

          @Clare,

          There’s a flip side to that. For people like me, I know myself and what I what well enough that when it’s a yes, it’s a yes – no waffling at all. My inner knowing said ‘yes’ to my husband before I spoke to him, and kept saying ‘yes’ while I was getting to know him. And before everyone says “oh, that was chemistry” it wasn’t – I wasn’t that floored by his looks (being that he looks quite a bit like Sheldon from Big Bang Theory both in face and body), it was his soul. So on the outside, it looked odd to people. But I’ve had the experience enough times to know that when my inner knowing says something, it’s bang on.

    2. 5.2
      Emily, the original

      Clare,
      “or to get too emotionally invested in the first 3 months.”
      To reiterate what Marika wrote, how do you do that? Chances are by the 3-months mark, you’re having sex and are probably seeing each other frequently and in contact daily.

  6. 6
    Selena

    I’m curious about spending the night together without sex after 2 months of things going pretty great in your opinion.

    Seems like there would be a conversation about this: you weren’t ready; you didn’t have sex without exclusivity and he didn’t offer exclusivity; something.

    The subsequent texting without making plans to meet sounds like he wasn’t that into you, but was keeping you as an “option” just in case.

    Accept the you will probably never know what was really going on his head.

  7. 7
    Elle 1

    When I read about keeping it light for three months, not getting emotionally invested, and not going public about the relationship, it reminded me of keeping a pregnancy secret until after the first trimester! I guess relationships are subject to “miscarriages” as well. That is a painful emotional experience to go through.

  8. 8
    Shay

    Hi everyone! I’m reading your comments and am so baffled by your responses. Thanks everyone for your comments. Either way it doesn’t matter, it’s over and done with. However, there seems to be a lot of arguments weather or not sex was a factor. He was the one who stopped things from progressing sexually. There is absolutely no way that I came across not being interested in sleeping with him. Hope that clears things up. I really appreciate everyone taking the time to comment on this.  

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