I Got Ghosted by a Guy AND His Real Name Was Casper.
5 ways to tell if the guy you're dating is emotionally unavailable and won't commit.
Okay, I've kinda vowed to always keep people I've dated fairly elusive. Giving just enough detail to subtly hint at the obvious, without naming names. But this one? It was too good not to.
His name was Casper (I can't make this up).
Late last year, I made an unusual swipe right on a dating app. Tattoos aren't usually my thing, and this guy had his entire chest and a full sleeve done up. He was Scandinavian (hence the name), with an 8-pack (I didn't even know that was a thing), good style, and love for similar activities... according to his Instagram.
I'll admit, this isn't an ENTIRE story about an asshole that ghosted me after a few dates. While there were painful periods of "disappearances" that will probably resonate with you, this is more about commentary on flaky dating behavior, and more so, commentary on commitment.
AND MORE SO, on a man that was unavailable from the get-go.
Parts of this story are embarrassing to admit since I made so many obvious mistakes. But even though we're growing wiser, it's important to remember we’re still human, and act accordingly (I MEAN IRRATIONAL) when we like someone.
What's crazy, is that I can truthfully say that almost every one of my single friends has been in a similar flaky relationship THIS YEAR. From a high power exec that dated a 28 year old who mostly DM'd her, or a newly single friend that started a texting relationship that never led to a date, or a gorgeous gal who would be invited to his work events but he'd never try to see her on the weekends. We've all excused poor behavior in hopes of things progressing over time.
Hopefully, when you read this you can identify similar patterns you've experienced, and take my ghost story as a reminder to not.let.this.happen.again.
This will help you learn how to visibly see signs for men (and women) that actually want to date you. And letting it go sooner if they don't. And NAILING IT IN YOUR BRAIN that actions speak louder than words. We're in our thirties, when are we finally going to get it?!
Definition of an Unavailable Man.
Tell me if this rings a bell. My description of an emotionally unavailable man is:
He's hard to read; you're constantly analyzing him. His actions are hot and cold, some days you have a great texting dynamic or you'll go on a great date, the other days you're left wondering if you're ever going to talk again. You catch yourself thinking about him, more than he's thinking about you. Your instincts are confused if he's into it or not. He uses a lot of nice words, but doesn't have a lot of follow through. Most importantly, he has a lot of qualities that match your checklist. So, you constantly excuse this behavior because you've found someone that's finally a potential match!
Actually, let me break it down more simply: HE LEAVES YOU CONFUSED. PERIOD.
Why are men's actions confusing? They're not, we just make them out to be.
In this day and age of unlimited options via our smartphones and millions of beautiful women in New York… it’s not a coincidence that dating and mating rhyme
One of my best guy friend’s goes on one, or sometimes multiple dates a week ...without looking for commitment. I’ve asked him several times WHY he continues to pursue women if he’s not looking for more?
“Because I want to have a fun night out. Have good food and drinks or go to a cool concert...and end the night with a beautiful girl. I’m just looking for FUN.”
Then he'll go on one more, maybe three, sometimes five dates with them and end it. Blaming it on timinggggg and his emotional capacity. And really, these things were apparent all along. He wasn't texting all week or acting "super into it". He was busy, and he wasn't emotionally there.
Maybe (I hope one day), he'll find the right person (I mean Meghan Markle) and change his mind... but until that happens, he’s made it clear he's only there for the amusement ride.
So, how do you tell the difference between someone that wants to date, and who’d rather just mate?
Listen to my story, and you'll pick up on clear indications...
Flaky Sign 1: Two months of texting
Are they flaky with initial communication?
Back to Casper and the transparency issue at hand. When two people with busy social lives match on a dating app, it can take a while to align schedules.
But NOT two months worth if they're open to meeting someone.
It was around November and I was traveling to Europe and California (I got to go to work, I'm not that fancy), and he was off to Denmark and Africa. Exactly why my interest was peaked in the first place - we were both world travelers (check that off the list).
However, the ghosting signs were there in the beginning and I chose not "to see" them. On a few occasions when we were both in town, we tried picking a day to meet up.
"Next Tuesday let's get drinks" he'd say (we'd set this the previous Thursday).
Monday would come around, and no word from him. Tuesday came around, no text.
Wednesday would happen and he'd finally say, "Ahhh sorry I forgot about this week, let's plan for the next week we're both in town."
His flakiness was there from the get go, but I tried to give him the benefit of the doubt. This happened twice.
*NOTE TO ALL MEN (women will rejoice by me saying this): We appreciate a text the day before a date to finalize plans. Timing and place is very helpful to know how to coordinate work out schedules, what we wear to work, etc. It's a very simple and common courtesy I hope all men can learn to adhere to, and at least some will do so because of this post.
Flaky Sign 2: You’ll Have a Good Date
Okay, the first two dates weren’t actually flaky, they were actually pretty great. BUT, I guess that’s what flaky means, a person that causes you to be in the state of the unknown.
Finally in January, we have our first date at a speakeasy in East Village. It goes really well, better than average. We meet around 8pm and stay out till 2. We talk about a range of subjects from our 2018 life goals to the backgrounds of our lives and families. I'd call it a successful date with a successful amount of spicy margaritas.
The second date was similar, another 6 hour amazing hangout with dinner and drinks at an underground spot in SoHo. Conversation was super easy and we had a lot of fun. And a lot of margaritas. We were having a blast getting to know each other. I knew he liked me and felt a unique connection, but there was still some unexplainable distance. I chalked it off as the “Scandinavian” freeze.
Flaky Sign 3: Club with Lasers
He’ll actually, ghost.
This is when had his first disappearance - I’m still livid telling this story.
We shared a love of modern art, and after our first two dates he mentioned going upstate to visit a museum and picked a Sunday. We'd rent a car and make a day of it. So, I planned accordingly for the weekend (choosing to see a movie Saturday night vs. going out).
He texts me the night before telling me he was going to a birthday party in the West Village. BUT, he’d head out early to prep for the next day. 😉 If you don't know, West Village has a low-key neighborhood-vibe.
Sunday morning rolls around and I open Instagram. He had posted multiple stories at a club, raging his face off with lasers and dancers all around. I sigh and give him the benefit of the doubt, maybe it was his best friend’s birthday... or maybe he doesn’t get hangovers? I continue on with my morning - after all, he is the friendly social ghost.
I go to yoga, I come home to get ready, and noon rolls around. The exact time we're supposed to meet for our date.
My phone sounds like crickets.
12:30pm rolls around, and there were still subtle chirps. No text OR call. I decided to not wait another minute and made plans to meet up with friends for brunch.
And I caved. I know I shouldn’t have been the one to text first, but I argued to myself that we’re both adults and should be able to have an open conversation, and more so, the silence was killing me. I let him know I was making other plans and our day was off.
I remember telling my good friend at brunch that the ONLY way I'd ever forgive him is if he gave me a Larry David kind of apology. A simple "So sorry I slept in, I feel really bad, blah, blah, wasn't going to cut it."
If you know Larry's character, or have seen Curb Your Enthusiasm Season 9, then you know what kind of apology I was looking for. An honest, and almost self-deprecating apology without excuses and comes across as extreme and over the top kindness (he's a dramatic character, and maybe so am I).
And turns out, I actually got one. He promised to make it up to me on Friday and plan a surprise date night. I told myself this would be the last spooky sign I’d ignore...
Looking back, if I hadn't texted him that day, would he have at all? My gut tells me he would have avoided it for a while, or perhaps started the ghosting right then and there.
Learning lesson: Stay strong and don’t text first when the other person drops the ball! They’re actions will be more telling than any words, Larry kind or not, of an apology they give you.
P.S. What was the surprise date? I kid you not...a virtual reality exhibit of the Ghostbusters in Times Square. I didn't even realize the irony in this until I started writing this post.
Flaky Sign 4: You’re Initiating More
This part I really regret. I REPEAT, if they aren’t texting you to confirm plans DO NOT be the one to do so.
Fast forward to around 8 dates, it was going at a somewhat slow but normal pace. With travel schedules, we’d see each other once a week.
He’d suggest doing dinner and pick a day, whilst keeping details loose. But the day of (around 4 pm), I'd have to be the one to text for the plan. He'd write back immediately giving them, and we’d hang out, but it completely affected my excitement to see him. I'd use the excuse, "Maybe he's just really busy at work."
Another clear sign of emotional unavailability that I just ignored. He liked me, but he wasn't dying or making sacrifices to see me.
This constant state of flakiness always left me uncomfortable. My own insecurities would creep in and I'd wonder, would this be our last date? I wasn't being fair to myself and I felt as though I lost power in our dating dynamic because I let him continue with these actions.
It was no wonder why after so many hangouts it was still hard to get close to one another on an emotional level.
Flaky Sign 5: They Cancel Plans
The last week of February was a very busy week for both of us. I had been gone for a few days on a trip and we had one night free for a movie night. Things went really well, and I saw a glimpse that things were progressing.
We talked about seeing each other that weekend regardless of busy schedules. He'd stop by my friend's 1920's themed birthday party - meaning he'd meet my friends for the first time. We chatted about his outfit, he seemed eager about it. He even spoke briefly of wanting to go on a weekend vacation to get to know each other more on a deeper level. He explained timing was going to be busy for that, but because he mentioned it (words vs. actions) I assumed he was emotionally there.
I texted with him a bit the following day, and he told me he'd text in a few hours after a work event since it was supposed to end early. He never did.
The next morning (day of the party he didn’t either). My gut told me he was pulling the laser trick again,and would try to get out of going to the birthday by doing his usual...ghosting and avoiding.
It was the last straw. I knew I didn't want a guy that would continue letting me down so I started the conversation to break things off.
He agreed he couldn’t show up to the plate and blamed his distance on a busy work schedule and future travels (he'd be gone often from March-May). Could he take a few weeks and reach out to me when he was back?
I told him it was apparent that he didn't want to build something and I wanted something different. It was a somewhat amicable goodbye (it took quite a few texts to end it).
Why We Make Excuses In the First Place
I know you’re thinking, WHY on earth did I continue to keep the friendly-ghost in my life? Like I said in the beginning, he had a lot of "checklist" qualities I was looking for. And no, they aren't all superficial. I had more fun with him than the majority of dates I go on. We had plenty in common and he had some je ne sais quoi. We could go from talking politics to the pretentious coolness of airbuds, to old relationships and what we've learned, to favorite travel stories, to marketing hacks, to childhood friendships, seamlessly...in ONE dinner conversation. But the most important communication to develop a meaningful connection was still invisible.
After all of my blogging and "life experience" I was still blind to his emotional unavailability because I caught the nastiest four letter word out there, HOPE. I hoped that the relationship would evolve because I fell for the potential of it.
I'll miss his emoji
Do I wish things would have ended differently? In part, but mostly only because we had a great connection on the "fun scale". I'll also miss getting to use the ghost emoji in place of his name.
Casper wasn't a bad guy. He just didn’t want a relationship at that point in time. He made the mistake of not communicating and using distance as a defense mechanism, and I made the mistake of ignoring the visible signs from the get go and pushing the relationship to continue. When it probably should have ended on date three.
The moral of the ghost-story is: You don't have to read for 15 minutes, or listen to a 20 minute podcast to know whether or not a guy is available to date you.
If you have any doubt he’s making an effort to have you be a part of his life, THEN LET HIM FADE AWAY.
P.S. Funny enough, the International Business Times has recently coined the term “Caspering” as a friendlier version of ghosting:
To Casper someone is saying something nice before blaming your lack of compatibility.