Valentine’s Day: LA dates share ghost stories, advice


Like many singles am I on the dating apps. And over the years I’ve been on both ends of the ghosting spectrum – a ghoster and a ghostee. Sometimes I just forget to reply and don’t want to ghost anyone. (Sorry!) Other times I definitely ignore a creepy message sent at 2am (Sorry!)

Ghosting has become so common that Merriam-Webster added a definition in 2017.

As Valentine’s Day approaches – February 14th isn’t just for happy couples – I asked Angelenos and Jo Portia Mayari, a Conscious Sex and Relationship Coach, to tell us about this common but painful phenomenon.

First, Mayari explains ghosting

Replies from Jo Portia Mayari have been edited slightly.

What is ghosting?

I love the actual definition of it. Because it is the practice of ending one’s personal relationship with someone by suddenly and without explanation withdrawing from all communication. I love how direct this is. I love that it also says it’s a practice because it means it’s something people do and choose to do. In terms of frequency or when it happens in the relationship, I think it all really depends on the person. Because sometimes it happens after the first day; sometimes after three.

Why do people do it?

I think the real reason for this is the fear of confrontation. It’s a fear of possibly taking responsibility, for yourself or your partner in this relationship. I also think people do it because nobody has ever really learned how to end a relationship effectively or communicate that the relationship isn’t what you want to be in anymore.

I think there is sometimes a lack of awareness of needs. We don’t often see healthy disconnects in media or culture, so I think as a culture we tend to romanticize toxic endings. It’s the lack of healthy end models and conscious decoupling, or even conscious exit strategies.

How do you recover from being ghosted?

I guess I would just say don’t be afraid to get into a relationship just because you’ve been ghosted in the past. Get curious about yourself and understand how you relate to ghosting, so it may just be something you want to learn how to navigate to make yourself feel empowered rather than disempowered. sit with it I’m a big advocate of journaling. Some questions you can ask yourself and maybe take some time to write about are:

  • What does it mean for me to be ghosted?
  • How do I relate to ghosting? how do i see it
  • Is it a bad thing or a good thing?
  • what does it remind me of
  • Is there a moment from my childhood that reminds me of this experience?

Is ghosting ever the right thing?

I’m a big advocate of conscious communication. I think one should always communicate when one is going to finish something. I think there are situations like abuse situations where ghosting is definitely permissible. There will be a handful of those situations where you just stop contacting that person.

What can people do instead?

Before attempting to communicate, quickly examine why this communication is so difficult. Do you feel like you’re getting into trouble? I think sometimes people feel like they might get in trouble, which is why they don’t really want to communicate the matter. They want to communicate, but it’s embarrassing that they don’t want to be in that relationship. So I think it’s a matter of understanding the sensations and seeing if that reminds you of some type of experience you had that had a negative outcome, that you were embarrassed, verbally abused, or got into trouble because you did something when you had to communicate something. I would probably start there first of all and then see if you can find a way to close the internal stress cycle of anxiety that is occurring before you can actually communicate this to the person.

Now reader stories about ghosting and ghosting

Readers submitted their stories via a prompt on The Times confirmed each person’s identity prior to publication, but we do not provide their names.

Ghostee from Silver Lake
Ghosted by someone just to see them at work.

I wasn’t in a committed relationship, but I was casually dating two guys and I started falling for one of them. He and I initially acknowledged that it was casual, but he gave signals that he wanted it to be steady. I even met his sister. So I told him personally that I like him a lot. But suddenly I heard nothing more from him. Then a few weeks later he comes to a restaurant where I worked in the evenings with another girl. It was a huge WTF moment. I tried to be professional, asked for their order. But my feelings overwhelmed me. I stopped and asked, “What are you doing here? (He knew I worked there as we visited the restaurant many times.) I asked the question and tears rolled down my face. He looks at the girl and gives her a look that suggests, “This girl is crazy, huh?” He just smiled and laughed awkwardly and shrugged. I ran to the back to cry it off and tell my colleague. I was hoping they would go. No, they finished the order and I was forced to serve them.

Ghostee from Koreatown
Spooky after an international meet-cute.

So I met this guy in Seoul – we were both visiting and I wanted to make friends and have someone show me around. (We’re both Koreans, from the US and Canada.) We ended up kind of fake dating, and when I realized I actually fell in love with him, he disappeared from all social media. He eventually came back – but that was after we had returned to our homelands. Aside from his explanation, he also said that he felt like he was really in love with me too. So we kept chatting, flirting, etc. – then he disappeared again. It hurt a lot because he said he wouldn’t do it again, but at this point I’m convinced he has a bonding issue. He was the first guy I really had Yes, really like.

Ghosts of North Hollywood
Ghosted someone after they mixed up two profiles on a dating app.

I messaged two men on Hinge. One was a financial analyst; the other was an architect and photographer. I was going to message the architect and inadvertently replied to the analyst that I would be happy to accept his offer to do an architectural tour of downtown LA, adding that I had a DSLR camera and would be happy to use it. The analyst who played out the strange, out-of-the-blue statement went on to say, “I’d love to do it, but you should know I don’t have a creative bone in my body!” I still thought that the Architect was shy and said, “Your Instagram would suggest otherwise!” Then, realizing the mistake, I knew that no matter how I twisted this interaction, it couldn’t be salvaged. what will i say “I was talking to someone else I was more interested in”? I desperately surpassed it and, to my relief, was lost in the ether forever afterwards! I also wordlessly passed the Architect, deciding that he was too stuffy and that I didn’t want to go after him out of some dumb sense of duty.

Ghosts of Inglewood
Ghosted a love interest after looking at her phone.

I glanced at my partner’s photos on their phone and saw intimate photos of them with another person. We had a recent date that felt like our most passionate yet. After a perfect evening, I took her home and never responded to a call or text again.

Ghosts from Altadena
Ghosted someone before it was even a thing.

I did that about 34 years ago. That’s something that still bothers me to this day. We were both young, 21 or so, and we met in a class at community college. We were together for several months and she was a wonderful woman. I think we were about to fall in love. I still don’t know exactly why I did it. I think it was a combination of immaturity, low self esteem and feeling like I was settling down too soon. It is one of my deepest regrets. I’m now firmly in the camp of honest, open conversations about your feelings. Easier said than done, but I promise that if you’re honest about it, you’ll feel better about yourself and the memory of the relationship that’s ending. I think the approach should depend on the situation. For shorter relationships like a few dates, I think a call is better than a text. Anything longer should probably be face to face. We would all rather hear it directly than wonder.

Ghosts of Highland Park
Ghosted someone after they got bad vibes.

For LA dates, just communicate. People deal with their own emotions, and sometimes getting some closure is something who they date is so they don’t have to question what they did wrong. Just finish on a good note if possible. If it’s a no-go from the start, then run! Just kidding – try to let her know it’s not going to work out. I know rejection is a terrible feeling, but it’s life. We must live and learn. Valentine’s Day: LA dates share ghost stories, advice

Russell Falcon

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