#Ghosted: Why 20-Something Guys Need To Man Up And Ditch The Disappearing Act

by Emma Webster

There seems to be a large amount of confusion amongst the males of this generation as to how to properly put an end to a romantic relationship.

Though I have discussed this issue at length in the past, the message does not seem to be sticking. The amount of gentlemen who use the disappearing act as the most efficient way out of a relationship is troubling.

It seems men all over the world are engaging with females, developing some sort of relationship with them and then deciding to let them know they no longer wish to pursue the relationship by simply never contacting them again.

While I would hope it's obvious that this method is disrespectful and very hurtful, it seems guys are either unaware, or just don't care if they treat a female this way.

Maybe you all see disappearing as the easiest way out, or you don’t want to have a real conversation because it’s too difficult for you. But maybe these guys just genuinely don’t know what else to do.

That’s why I’m here today: to explain the importance of properly ending a courtship with a young lady, and teach you how to appropriately do so without making her feel like a piece of gum you scraped off your shoe. These, gentleman, are your alternatives to the disappearing act.

Let’s start this discussion by defining what qualifies as a relationship.

When I use this word, I do not exclusively mean romantic relationships longer than a year. I mean “relationship” in its simplest definition: the state of being connected.

In your world, you may refer to this as just talking, hanging out or as "a thing." It doesn't matter what you call it; regardless of the title, the feelings there are always real.

Now, there are no hard and fast rules for at what point in a relationship you owe the other person an explanation if you plan on bailing, but I have some general rules I like to follow.

It is not acceptable for you to simply and abruptly cut off all contact with the lady you've been engaging with if ANY of the following ring true:

1. If you have gone on five or more real-life, out-in-public dates

2. If you have met each other’s friends and spent time with them on multiple occasions

3. If you have consistently talked (texting, Facebook messaging, phone calls, etc.) almost every day for more than a month

4. If you’re each other’s number one Snapchat contact

5. If you’ve held hands on more than one in occasion or in public

6. If, at any point, you have told her you like her

7. Were you to disappear, the idea of running into her on the street would terrify you and you would feel guilty, embarrassed, sh*tty and try to hide.

If you read the above and thought, yeah, maybe one or two of those are sort of descriptive of our situation, then I’m sorry, buddy, but you owe this lady an explanation.

I don’t care if you feel awkward about it, and I don’t care if you’re not an “open” person; it’s the right thing to do.

If a few days pass and you haven’t heard from her, this does NOT mean she has let you off easy. It probably means she’s waiting for you to text her, and each day that passes with silence, she is growing angrier and more anxious. Suck it up; be a man and tell her it’s over.

Methods in which to end the relationship, ranking from most to least preferable:

1. Face to face (must be sober)

2. Via telephone call

3. Via text message

4. Via Facebook message (this is a stretch and should only be used in extreme circumstances)

You'll notice that ignoring her texts or simply never contacting her again is not even an option on this list. You'll also notice that breaking things off while drunk is also not on the list. Reasons for both of the omissions should be self-explanatory.

Time at which you should end the relationship:

As soon as you’ve decided you’re over the relationship, you should end it. Not two weeks after, when she’s finally realized that you’re probably not always “cleaning” and has to pry it out of you, and not after she breaks down crying to you or drunkenly sends you an angry text.

As soon as you've made the decision that you no longer wish to continue seeing this girl, you must figure out a way to tell her.

Girls aren't stupid; we know your phone's not dead and we know you're not really busy moving. It's insulting when you make these excuses in an effort to blow us off, so just save everyone (yourself included) the time and energy and be straight up with us.

What to say when you end the relationship:

This has been (choose one: fun/crazy/exciting/worthwhile), and you’re a great girl, but I have to be honest with you and tell you I just don’t think I can do this anymore because I’m not ready to date. I wish you the best.

The bottom line here is, if you have been seeing and talking to someone for a period of time longer than a month, you cannot just peace out. It’s awful, feels awful and makes you look awful, even if, in reality, you’re a great guy.

So please, guys, I’m begging you, just let us know when you’re done. That way we can move on and put a clear-cut end to that part of our romantic lives, instead of staying up every sleepless night playing sad Taylor Swift songs on repeat and wondering where the hell you went.*

*I have never done this, of course; it's just an example of something another female who isn’t me might do in a similar situation.

Photo Courtesy: We Heart It