A Double Dose of Ghost
Why would a person ghost, then reappear after over a year, only to ghost again? Molly explains the reason behind this infuriating and puzzling behavior.
Q. Over a year ago, I dated this guy for about two months. Long story short, he ended up ghosting me after explicitly telling me he wouldn’t. Sixteen months later, he popped up out of NOWHERE to apologize and say that he wants to catch up. Suspicious, but hopeful, I respond. And then, nothing. I never heard from him again. What the f&*$ happened?
Emily, 27, New York, NY
A. Great question. In this well-documented time of the “dating apocalypse,” this is an unfortunately less-than-rare occurrence.
If dating has taught me anything, it’s that anyone who exhibits traits starting with “F” should be avoided: flakes, fuckboys, and full-on stage five clingers. Unfortunately, your man falls into categories one and two. He is a flake because he can’t commit to plans with you (hence his wishy-washy “let’s to catch up” suggestion), and a fuckboy because he thinks he can ghost you…then waltz back into your life as if nothing happened and ghost you again.
You seem like a sweet, genuine person, and sweet, genuine people often have a hard time understanding why anyone wouldn’t exhibit the Golden Rule. I, like you, cannot wrap my head around the idea that someone I care about, or even someone I’ve taken an interest in, wouldn’t be honest or straightforward. Because of this, I (and, it sounds like, you) too often give the benefit of the doubt to people who don’t deserve it.
Let’s dissect your exact situation piece by piece. First of all, a question — what do you mean he explicitly told you he wouldn’t ghost? Normally people do not have to explicitly state they won’t ghost someone — they just don’t. That should’ve been red flag numero uno, but don’t feel bad — we’ve all been there, setting up perma-camps in the Land of the Red Flags.
So, what the f%&* happened, you ask?
You guys dated for two months. Although this may seem like a long time in the world of dating apps, it’s really not. My guess is that he started dating someone else (ugh) and didn’t have the balls to tell you, so he ghosted. Now, sixteen months later, his sad self has found himself alone again. He went through his phonebook, looking for some sort of validation, and came across your name. He texted you. He apologized because he knew what he’d done was wrong. Because fuckboys are surprisingly intelligent when it comes to below-the-belt matters, he knew he’d have a better chance of hooking up if you weren’t angry about his previous transgressions.
I doubt you are the only girl he texted. Guys do this when they need an ego boost. Don’t fall for his crumbs — crumbs he will sprinkle in your path again, by the way. Guys like this always resurface. Best to block him now so you aren’t tempted.
Keep your head up. You will find someone so much better than this guy. Easier said than done, I know, but it’s true. People like this will only cause you pain in the long run.
*June 2017 Hinge data analysis
Molly Fedick is the Editor-in-Chief of IRL. She has written extensively on the role of technology in modern dating for publications including Glamour, NBC, the Chicago Tribune, Elite Daily, and Huffington Post. You can follow her on Twitter and Instagram @mylifeasmolly. Send Molly questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.