It’s a tale as old as time: Boy meets girl, boy likes girl, boy Snapchats/Texts/DMs girl all day, girl starts to like boy, boy ghosts girl. What *the actual* eff?
If this sounds familiar to you, you're not alone—I mean, even The Duchess of Freaking Sussex was reportedly ghosted by a dude who seemed to like her in the beginning. But why? Why do dudes who seem to like you suddenly freak out and bail without any explanation?
“It’s human nature. You feel something very strongly, and then after you actually get to know the person, you see their real self and things change,” explains Niloo Dardashti, PhD, a psychologist and relationship expert in New York City. “We lost the ability to be able to just say, ‘I’m sorry I’m not interested’ or actually just break up with somebody,” he says.
But here’s the toughest pill to swallow: Being ghosted doesn’t necessarily mean the guy didn’t like you. I know that just sounds like something dumb your mom would say to make you feel better, but this time it’s true.
“I think it’s very likely that you could have feelings for someone and just be so overloaded with choice and people around you, you aren’t in tune with what’s really feeling right for you,” says Dardashti.
We spoke to dudes who ghosted girls they admittedly liked at the beginning (and sometimes also at the end!) to get to the bottom of this. Brace yourself… their stories may be rattling, to say the least.
Mark*, 22, ghosted a girl he was seeing for a couple of months until he decided she was “a little annoying.”
“I met this girl my senior year of college. We had a ton of mutual friends throughout school, but I never really made any effort to get to know her,” he says. “We had some people over toward the end of the year after the bars and we just kind of hit it off.”
They started seeing each other regularly for a month or two, and all was going well until they went golfing with his friends one day.
“At first, everything was fine and we were all having fun, but by the time we made it through the front nine, she was already complaining about how bored she was and how much more fun she would’ve had doing anything else,” he recalled.
“It was a little annoying and I wasn’t looking for anything serious at the time, so I felt fine just going separate ways after graduation.” He stopped responding to her texts and snaps all-together.
Dan*, 19, decided he was in too deep when the woman he was seeing let her guard down.
“I met this girl who was a friend of a friend’s and she seemed chill and normal, so we ended up exchanging snaps. Then, a week later, we made plans to hang out,” he says. “We went on a super low-key date where we just went up to the top of some hill and ate while we watched the sunset.”
“We kissed for a bit and, while we were kissing, she started giggling. I was like, ‘uhhhhh what’s up?’ and she said, ‘This is gonna sound dumb, but when I first met you, I had a really good feeling about you and me.’" Dan admits he thought what she said was a little weird, but said he felt the same way too.
"Then, she got super wide-eyed and said ‘I swear to god, sparks flew! I knew you felt that connection too. I knew it.’” Let's just say, that freaked Dan out even more: “I was pretty rattled about that and I was like, ‘yea, maybe things might be moving a bit too fast.’ So after that, I just stopped texting or snapping her even though I did still kind of like her.”
Daveed M., 27, had a pretty legit reason for ghosting.
“I hooked up with a married woman (and two kids). At the time, she told me she was divorced. Sadly that was a lie, which I found out via social media. She ended up texting, snap chatting and Instagramming me. I had to go ghost mode because I felt guilty.”
Axle*, 26, ghosted a woman he originally really liked because she was rude to his friends.
He met her out one night, and the two immediately hit it off. “I ended up hooking up with her that night and got breakfast the next day. I thought she was super cool,” he says.
“We went out a couple of times, and then the first time I brought her to introduce her to friends, she got kind of drunk and super weird. She wasn’t friendly at all and made fun of one of my friends. I kind of ditched her that night, and she texted me the next morning apologising . I was like, ‘Oh, no I get it. It happens.’ But then, afterward never spoke to her again.”
Colby W., 26, ghosted his girlfriend of a year and a half after he found out she was cheating on him.
“She had been acting distant and different, strayed from our normal routine of calling and FaceTiming because this was a long-distance relationship,” he says. “Her friend felt so bad for me, she ended up telling me. I didn’t feel like she deserved my energy anymore, which is why I ghosted. A formal breakup would’ve only lead to a heated argument where she tried to explain why she did it and that she’ll never do it again, but the trust was broken.”
Anand B., 43, ghosted a woman because she was super ambitious and destined for greatness—he just didn't have those same aspirations for himself.
Anand met her through a mutual friend eight years ago. They hit it off instantly and wound up dating on and off for years. To this day, Anand says she’s “amazing beyond description.” So why ghost someone so obviously awesome?
“It wasn't an instant ghosting decision, but I just knew I'd hold her back somehow,” he says. “It was becoming clear that, no matter how it played out, she'd most likely end up compromising for me. I just can't let a woman like that compromise herself, especially not to that drastic of an extent. I couldn't even take the risk of giving her that choice, nor the chance to salvage the relationship via traditional ‘breakup' talk.”
Axle, 26 (yes, same dude as above) ghosted, again, because he wasn't ready for anything serious.
"I was originally set up with this woman by my friend. We went on a bunch of double dates and I liked her as someone to date, but not to turn into a girlfriend. It was summer and I wanted to be single and have fun. Then, she tagged me in a picture of us with my friend and his girlfriend together, so I untagged myself to make it clear I didn’t want to be in a relationship. She got the hint, but then I met another girl, fell in love, and just completely ghosted the other girl.”
Moral of the story? Cheers to hoping that the next time we get ghosted, karma brings us a prince to marry right after too.
*Names have been changed.