In an ideal world, people would go on dates, realize their date wasn’t doing it for them, and have enough decency to say, “You’re great, but I’m not looking for anything serious/I see you as just a friend/I don’t think this will work because you like pineapples on your pizza.” But alas, we are not in an ideal world, and ghosting (aka disappearing into thin air without giving the other party any closure) is still the exit strategy of choice for a huge chunk of the dating population—and we’re going to hazard a guess here—including you, dear reader.
Here, we got 10 people from either side of the ghosting fence to share their experiences: the ghosted describe how their pain runs deep, while the ghosters explain why they even made like Casper in the first place. Read on to see how commonplace ghosting is, and realize how all this hurt can be avoided with just some basic kindness.
The ghosted who’s tired of being ghosted
“I’ve been ghosted not once, not twice, but three times. It’s sad because I was ready to give my all to them. I’m getting older and the idea of settling down is already there, lying at the back of my mind.
I met Number One through Tinder. I got so used to talking to her every day until one day, “seen” na lang ako! No replies, my calls not answered, but my messages were “seen.” Days passed with no response until one day, I stalked her Facebook profile and saw a picture of her back with her ex.
Number Two was nowhere near my type, but I can’t explain why I liked her. We opened up to each other a lot, and I wanted to make it last with her until one day, she stopped replying. I heard from her a few weeks later and she said na-realize niya na ‘di pa siya ready.
Number Three happened recently. I wasn’t really expecting anything when I met her but we clicked—or so I thought. It was going so well that I got scared it would all go away in an instant, and it did. The communication slowly died until I never heard from her again. It’s sad when you realize that things have changed and you have no idea what the hell went wrong.
I don’t know what’s wrong with me, but I’m still hoping for the best. It’s all I can do.” – Jan, 25
The ghoster who just didn’t know any better
“I became friends with this guy because we always took the same jeepney route home and it turned out we had the same taste in books. He gave me a lot of books, and we’d also text each other and walk home together a lot. At the time I had barely had any experience with guys—I had never even been on a date—so I thought nothing of it. Little did I know that all of that meant something for him.
One time, he held my hand while walking. Then once I got home, I got a text from him asking me out on a date. I never replied. Then I started taking an alternate route home.
I still hate myself for doing that because he’s a good guy, but I just wasn’t used to guys liking me; I was used to just hanging out with them as friends. If we had gone out more before he even sprung that on me, I could’ve started liking him back, but this happened in the span of a few weeks, and my romantically inexperienced self just didn’t know any better.
I see him out at events sometimes and I just avoid him because it’s too awkward. We could’ve been great friends if only I had just replied to him, ‘Sorry, pero okay lang ba na friends lang tayo?’ It’s the least I could have done.” – Jane, 22
The ghosted whose heart ached—literally
“Three years ago, I dated a guy who had just gotten out of a relationship. It was this reason (and because I didn’t want to get hurt) that I decided to nip it in the bud and told him we should stop all forms of communication. He agreed.
A week after our agreement, I flew to London for work and landed on the same night of the attack on Paris. He was the first one to message me out of concern, breaking our agreement. He told me he missed me and was worried about me, even mentioning that he couldn’t wait until I flew back.
We continued dating upon my return, until a few days after my birthday when he just stopped replying. At first I thought something had happened to him as he was never online, but when I realized I was being ghosted, my stress levels kicked in, sending me to the ER, where I was diagnosed with an acute heart condition that was caused by ‘extreme emotional distress.’
When he finally talked to me, I was already furious, but I was even more infuriated when he told me he didn’t care about me as much as he had told me. The asshole didn’t want to admit it, even though he was the one who broke the agreement and messaged me first. ‘Sana hindi mo na lang ako minessage nung nasa London ako,’ I told him, and never looked back.” – Betina, 32
The ghosted who still bears scars nearly two decades later
“We were both just teenagers, and hid our feelings for each other under the guise of being ‘friends’. After being each other’s grad ball dates, I went to college thinking we could make our relationship official. But he said that our ‘thing’ was ‘too special to be labeled with worldly constructs.’ I naively found this secret love so romantic, so I played along.
We had many rendezvous in school, in his car, in deserted hallways. We never held hands when others were present, only nodded when we saw each other in school corridors. But his text messages were effusive, his emails brimming with emotion. He even wrote me poems, gave me his own private nickname, dreamed of our future house and family. Then after one passionate evening when I told him I loved him, he disappeared from my life.
An entire semester later, he emailed, saying he needed to find himself: ‘It’s not you, it’s me.’ That same month, I saw him in his car with another girl.
He’s never acknowledged me as his ex. It took me a while to get over him, because he severed ties at that point when I thought I knew what love really felt and meant.
I can never imagine myself now being with him. But there is still that tiny shred of hope that he would one day tell me he had made a mistake, that he really did love me—even if I don’t love him anymore.” – Carly, 35
The ghoster who disappeared because he had been burned before
“I met this boy randomly at a train station. After finding out he was fairly new in the city, I told him I could show him around and he said yes.
The first time we grabbed drinks together, we ended up sharing a cab. I’m gay, and I knew he was straight, so I just really wanted to be friends. I wasn’t even attracted to him. But he held my hand and looked at me in the most tender way so I thought, ‘Okay, let’s see what happens.’
One night, we ended up in his bedroom. We made out and he said it was his first time to make out with a boy. He spilled his vulnerability all over the bed, while kissing and embracing me all night. He was almost crying.
In the morning he gave me his shirt because I didn’t have anything to wear to work. He kissed me goodbye as I left and said he wanted to see me more often. But I knew I didn’t want to, because there would be too much drama. I had gotten tangled up with—and was greatly hurt by—a boy who was confused about his sexuality in the past. I never wanted to go through the same thing again.
The next day, he texted me and I never replied. A few weeks later he texted again. I wanted to return his shirt but instead, I kept it and never showed myself again.” – P, 23
The ghosted who got dumped after she met his kids
“I recently dated a divorcé who was much older than me and had two kids. Things were going great between us for the almost two months we were dating—until I met his kids.
We were together the whole weekend I met his kids, and I thought the whole thing had gone well. But a few days later when I asked him if he wanted to hang out, he said that he was busy with some friends from overseas. I let it go, but it was the first time he had passed up on a chance to see me.
The night before my birthday, which was a week since the weekend with his kids, I invited him out again, and he had an excuse for not seeing me again. The next day, he greeted me a happy birthday, but he still wasn’t free to see me. Coming from seeing each other every week to not even asking me out on my birthday, it was clear that I was being ghosted. I got the message and backed off.
It had really all started after I met his kids. Did he not see me as mom material? Or did he realize that he wasn’t ready to welcome another woman into his family’s life after all? It was sad, because I had taken a risk by dating him and I thought it was really going somewhere, but I guess I was wrong.” – Andie, 30
The ghoster who tried to apologize, yet was turned away
“Prior to dating, this guy and I were friends for close to three years. He had witnessed me in the moments I was a total fool for love and going after men who only played me. He would constantly tell me I was such an amazing girl and I deserved better. I thought all along he was just being a good friend.
Two and a half years into our friendship, he confessed his feelings for me. But I was still raw from my previous heartbreak so I told him he might just become a rebound. He didn’t mind. He believed I’d learn to love him as he loved me. Ako naman na uhaw na uhaw sa pagmamahal, pumayag. Even when I knew it would not end well.
We started dating. He was so patient and good to me. His family even opened their arms to me. I was grateful. I was happy. But I was not in love.
I began to act busy and ignore him. He accepted my bullshit and said he’d wait for my response when I was ready. But I’ve never been truly ready, so I never went back to him.
Later, when I realized how badly I had treated him, I tried to at least apologize properly. However, each time I tried to, his friends and brother would keep accusing me of hurting him. So I just stayed away.
I heard he’s in a happy relationship now and I’m happy for him. I just wish hindi nasira friendship namin.” – Sarah, 24
The ghosted who was ditched after they got intimate
“After three years of waiting for some guy to sweep me off my feet (which never happened), I finally decided to be more spontaneous: I joined Tinder. I hit it off right away with the first guy I dated from the app. I really wasn’t expecting anything because, well, it’s Tinder, but we soon fell into a dating pattern. As this went on for a month, I naively thought ours would be one of those one-in-a-million Tinder success stories.
One night, I got super drunk and and we ended up having sex. I figured it was okay because we had already been going out for a month by then. After we did the deed, he said he had to go because he had work the next day. Unfortunately, my room was at the second floor of the house and you’d need a key to open the gate downstairs and get out. Since I had a headache from all the alcohol, I gave him my only key so he could let himself out.
After that, he started getting cold and his replies got shorter. I realized that he was starting to ghost me, so I immediately messaged him that I needed my key back. He was hesitant to meet me that night, but I insisted. After he handed me the key, he blocked me off all his social media accounts. I was dumbfounded, I felt stupid, and incredibly sad.
He’s still on Tinder, according to a friend. But I’ve given up on Tinder completely. He’s the first and last guy I will ever date from there.” – Janice, 24
The ghosted who suffered the very specific hell of long-distance ghosting
“It all started with a friend request. I don’t usually accept friend requests unless we have over 10 common friends, or you’re a listener of the radio station I work for, but he had the same last name as my boss so I accepted him anyway.
Though we were thousands of miles apart and in different time zones, it felt like we were two peas in a pod. We didn’t have any labels; I got deceived by the line ‘Masaya naman tayo kung anong meron tayo diba?’ He said he loved me, but he just wasn’t ready for a commitment.
One day, I asked him ‘Do you see a future with me?’ All I got was deafening silence. No text messages, and the usual calls didn’t come.
Every night, I’d cry myself to sleep, asking what I did wrong, thinking I wasn’t good enough for him to commit. After a month, I mustered all my strength and checked out his Facebook profile. I found out that he was already courting another girl. I remembered him telling me that he wanted to keep ‘us’ private, but it looked like that rule didn’t apply to the new girl. I stalked the girl’s profile and found out that even before we stopped talking, they had already been exchanging sweet messages.
I realized that not getting a message is the message.
P.S.: He still owes me money but I just let it go.” – Sash, 28
The ghoster for whom there will never be a second chance
“The last convo I had with my ex, she was trying to convince me that we should get married so I could have a US visa and live in the US with her. I scoffed and thought it was the silliest idea I had ever heard. My colleague noticed my smirk while I was tapping away on my phone and jokingly asked who I was flirting with. I just told him, ‘I always end up with the crazy exes.’
I didn’t respond to my ex anymore because I thought the conversation was going nowhere. I ghosted her and never chatted with her again.
Fast-forward a year later, on Christmas Day, I thought of posting a Christmas greeting on her Facebook wall. As I went to her wall and saw the messages other people had posted there, I found out that she passed away, and that she had taken her own life. It appeared that she did it just days after our last conversation.
I mourned her passing for a year, and I felt the guilt not because I thought I was the reason why she did it, but because she was probably reaching out for help, yet I wasn’t there for her.” – Cris, 38