I, for one, believe in ghosts. The creepy, move-your-keys-in-the-middle-of-the-night kind and the “Yeah that sounds good! I’ll see you Wednesday!” (but never actually see you Wednesday) kind. So in honor of Halloween, I asked for your most harrowing ghosting stories, and boy did you all deliver. We hear from the ghosts and the ghosted, the sad and the ultimately relieved. Pop open your bag of candy corn a day or two early and dig into these haunting tales of love and disappearance.
ON BEING GHOSTED:
I went out with a guy a few times, and we both commented on how it felt like we’d known each other forever. I thought it was going really well until, one night, we were talking on the phone, and he said, “Hey I’ve gotta go, but I’ll call you later,” and I never heard from him again. Now I can laugh about it, but at the time, I thought of anything and everything I could’ve done to make him ghost so abruptly.
— Kaitlin, 22
I recently moved to Paris and took to Tinder as a way to meet people. One guy I matched with instantly asked if I wanted to meet up for coffee, have a nice chill Sunday afternoon and hang out. I said yes and went to meet him in his neighborhood. We had coffee and got past the initial “hi we just met from an app” awkwardness easily, walked around his neighborhood for a while. He sort of played tour guide.
We ended up going back to his apartment to keep hanging out. Eventually, he kissed me. One thing I noticed though was a kind of peculiar presence of female items around. When I asked, he said he hosts for couch surfing and had a girl currently crashing at his place, which I chose to believe. So we spend the whole day together, and eventually he walks me back to the metro, we kiss goodbye, and he says we’ll talk again soon. I go home smiling and then realize we never exchanged numbers, only talked through the app, so I go to message him my number to find that he had unmatched me already — only an hour or two after we parted ways! I know the connection wasn’t in my head, but I’m guessing either those female items belonged to an out-of-town girlfriend, or maybe he was just looking for a one-day fling? Either way, there was nothing I could do but accept this as a proper ghosting.
— Cat, 26
I hit it off really well with this guy, we’ll call him David. We dated for around five months and even met each other’s parents! During the last two months, he became very distant. My initial thought was he was cheating on me. Then he stopped answering my calls and text messages. I finally went to his apartment to find out from his roommate that he had moved to London a few weeks prior for an internship in the financial district there! I was so angry with him that he didn’t tell me and I cut off all contact. Two years later, I was with my new girlfriend and I saw him…working at the Chipotle down the street from my apartment. It was incredibly awkward, and now I have to take the train to get a decent burrito.
— Emma, 22
I was sixteen and met this gorgeous, buff country boy at a party. We dated for six months, and I fell head over heels — he had an old car, a Valiant, with red leather bench seats, and he’d take me to deserted beaches no one else knew about. Once he went out into the ocean with a spear gun and came back with fish shoved up his wetsuit legs. In short, he was a total manly dreamboat. He hardly ever spoke, so was also very mysterious.
One day, he sent me a text saying, “I never want to spk to u again” and disappeared. Changed his number, everything. Gone. Three years later, I was walking down the street in my new neighborhood, stopped at a light, looked to my left, and there he was, sitting in his car. We just stared at each other until the lights went green and he drove off. Every couple of years he pops up — he always seems to find me — and now, fifteen years later, we actually converse over email. Took a decade and a half to have a conversation! I still don’t know why he ghosted me, but I never quite got over it, and I still love him a little bit (though I’m happily married).
— Kate, 31
I actually got ghosted on Halloween. I had been casually dating this guy for a few months and we went to a Halloween party together in a huge multi-floor apartment in TriBeCa. I was no-pants/bodysuit-era Lady Gaga, and he wore a costume he found in his apartment from the previous tenant: It was a knight costume and under the kilt was a huge fake penis. (On his armor it said, “A Knight To Remember.”) Eventually, we both went to stand on line for the bathroom — I went in first and then he went in…but I NEVER SAW HIM COME OUT. I searched the party, eventually left, called and texted and emailed him in the days following, but I never saw him or heard from him again.
— Ariel, 35
My friend made a photoshopped picture (just to tease me) of myself and a guy whom I had gone on a date with. After one night of too much wine, I accidentally sent him that photo and yeah … He never talked to me again.
— Andrea, 22
I had been seeing someone for about a month when I started getting ghost vibes. Never one to just let things slide, I texted him a reminder that next time we saw each other, I needed to get my rock gym membership tag from him. He replied, “What’s your address, I’ll mail it to you,” and later he DID. There was no note, just my tag and a cat sticker (???) on the envelope.
— Jessie, 24
Met a man, he moved into my apartment, didn’t pay any rent or chip in for food even though he had a successful career and I was struggling with two part-time jobs. Six months later, he told me he had to go to L.A. for work. We had a long distance relationship with Skype dates, phone calls and sweet texts. Three weeks in, he stops answering, and I haven’t heard from him since. Found out via Instagram that he moved in with another girl, in NYC, two weeks after he ghosted me.
— Emma, 25
ON BEING THE GHOST:
I went over to his apartment to hang out after our first date. Almost all of his furniture was sawed apart. He told me he “loved projects.” However, none of the projects were finished. I’m saying the bed had a frame but no legs, the desk cabinet had been sawed off, revealing a gaping hole, a coffee table sawed in half to make two end tables. Complete with sawdust EVERYWHERE, very rough edges exposed and a saw placed in the kitchen like a regular household tool. He followed up the next day (after no communication) with, “I was so hungry after the train ride home today that I ate three bananas on my walk home and now I might barf. How are you today?”
— Beth, 25
I went out with a comedian in NYC. He took me to three of his shows in one night, which was already pretty monstrous. Decided to slow it down after that and slowly phase out the conversations, but what prompted the ghosting was him texting me a pic of my own apartment door saying, “Is this your apartment?” HOW? WHEN? WHY DID HE DO THIS? I was officially creeped out. Safe to say that’s when I stopped replying.
— Anonymous, 23
He seemed pretty cool, and we had gone on a few dates with not much remarkable happening. One day, we were texting when he told me he got a tattoo. I asked him what it was, and he sent me a photo of a giant character from The Simpsons covering his entire bicep, absolutely unironically. Underneath was a quote about living life to the fullest, and he told me it cost him $300. I blocked his number.
— Annie, 19
A few weeks after my long-distance boyfriend broke up with me, I started to dip my toes into the world of dating apps. I met up with this guy for coffee, and we really hit it off. He was cute and smart and fun to talk to. A few days later, we scheduled a dinner date at his house. A half hour before I needed to leave for his house on the night of our second date, my ex called me saying he wanted to get back together and really try long distance. After a good talk, I decided I wanted to get back together, too, but I had a date to go on! I didn’t want to cancel last minute, so I went over for dinner. I loved hanging out with him and thought he was such a catch, but I still knew I wanted to be with my ex. He kissed me briefly as we were putting on our shoes, and I almost died. Anyway, he told me to let him know when I wanted to go out again. I agonized for weeks over what to say and then said…nothing. We never spoke again. My boyfriend and I are together and happy and not long distance anymore, but I still feel bad about being a ghost!
— Naomi, 28
I had been talking to this guy on Tinder on and off for six months. He was intelligent, well-traveled and had this quirky sense of humor that I found charming. He never asked me out, so I decided to take it into my own hands and asked him out instead. We finally went on a date and decided to go back to his place afterward. We fooled around in the living room for a little while, and he eventually he took me to his bedroom. It was dark and we were making out still, so I wasn’t really paying attention until we were practically naked when he stopped me to tell me he didn’t have a condom. It was kinda frustrating but at least he was honest about it! So we cut it short, he turned on the lights, and as I look around I realize his room is FILLED with Kinder Surprise toys!!!! Literally everywhere!!! They filled multiple shelves!!
I guess him being too scared to ask me out should’ve been a red flag for immaturity, but I never expected it on that level from a 25-year-old guy.
— Marie, 21
Second date and he proceeded to tell me about his arrest record, which all ended up being DUI stories…while we were out having drinks.
— Jess, 28
Okay, I wasn’t exactly the ghost, but I could have been. When I was in college, I went out on a date with a grad student who was kind of dorky. We hit it off at drinks, and so I invited him to the bar with my friends and…he was the WORST dancer I had ever seen! Friends were actually coming up to me asking if he was a weirdo and I wanted them to pull me away. I was so turned off by him that I decided I never wanted to go out with him again. The next day he texted me telling me what a great time he had, and I ghosted him for like nine hours before deciding that ghosting is shitty and I didn’t want bad dating karma. So I politely told him that he was sweet but I wasn’t interested. A few months later, I met my boyfriend who is the love of my life and I SWEAR that he came to me because I DIDN’T ghost. Dating karma is real.
— Alex, 24
I went on a date with a dude I met on OkCupid. I was really nervous and had to run to the restaurant literally right after work. As we ate pad thai, I looked down at his forearm, and he had a massive heart tattoo like the ones old-timey sailors or biker dudes get for their moms — except this one said “Bill Murray,” and honestly, I was down. After we ate frozen yogurt he told me, while we sat in the car, that his ex-girlfriend had stabbed him in the thigh with a steak knife a week prior. I politely ate my dessert and never saw him again. I still love Bill Murray though!
— Reba, 25
Illustration by Angela Deane.