It used to be that your 20s were defined by life events such as starting a career, buying a home, and getting engaged. Now, your 20s are defined by life events such as starting a career, being priced out of your apartment, and getting ghosted.
Ghosting is officially on the menu of normal dating behavior in 2017, and there's a good chance it has happened to you. If it hasn't, maybe don't rub it in. (Also, just wait, it will.)
I was naive once, certain that there'd always be a "this is over" conversation at the end of dating. I usually stayed in touch with people I had been intimate with after things ended. Then, bam — a dude who seemed way more into me than I was into him ignored my invite to a concert after more than two months of dating.
I was not feeling so special anymore. I was feeling so much so the opposite of special that I told the whole internet about the guy who took my ghosting virginity. Oops.
Ghosting is a weird phenomenon. We toss the term around so much that people think it's an appropriate way to end a relationship.
Since the behavior itself is not going away anytime soon, it's important to keep your eyes peeled early on for ghost-busting opportunities. Here are four types of guys who will totally ghost you in your 20s:
1. The Forever Man Child
You meet this guy on Tinder. Your first date begins promptly at 11 p.m. at a dive bar where everyone else is an estranged Grandpa, leather-clad biker, or some combination of both.
The first three things you learn about Man Child are that he's studying for the LSAT, he makes memes as a side hustle, and he thinks it's totally chill to call you "dude."
By date three, he mentions that by the way, he's not looking for a relationship. (You know, because of the LSAT.) You acquiesce to a date four, finally see his apartment, and note that there are zero LSAT books around.
If you sleep with this modern f*ckboy, you're never going to hear from him again (which might be a good thing).
Or just say "peace, dude" and get out of there forever sans sex.
2. The Tortured Genius
He's probably an actor who also bartends at your neighborhood spot. He's hot, and he was on SVU, so you are totally smitten when he slips you his number on a bar napkin one night. (A true artist, très original.)
Fast forward to lots of cute dates and feelings-talks — you know everything about him from his childhood stuffed animal's name to his meditation schedule.
He reads to you from his favorite Vonnegut post-coitally one night and then you never hear from him again, despite the fact that he knows you frequent the bar he works at.
He's like the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man of ghosts: seemingly gentle and looming, but as self-involved and destructive as any ghoster. Beware the softboys.
3. The Super Eager Dude
He looks at you like a puppy looks at his owner, and it's super flattering at first. He send you eight texts after date one, tells you he's looking for something serious on date two, and is ready to propose by date three.
He's perfect on paper, and your parents would love him, but he seems to have pulled a Drake and has gone from 0 to 100 real quick.
He's always diving to snag the check before anyone else can pay because he's a generous guy like that. He sends you flowers at work weekly. Then, when you go abroad for a weeklong vacation with your family, there are crickets on his end.
Once you're back state-side, he has completely disappeared. You text him, but never hear back. Next week, you see him arm in arm with someone else.
Like a true puppy, he got distracted by a new toy. #woof.
4. The Newly Single Dude
He was in a five-year relationship that ended three weeks ago. He mentions his ex within the first half hour of your date, but he's cute and a catch. His manners and well-planned dates mean you hang out with him for a while. Why not, right? He only cried once time about his ex and it was kind of cute.
Then he cancels on a date right around his birthday last minute, and you never hear from him again.
This isn't about you; this is about his ex. She definitely wished him "happy birthday" and then they got back together.
Onto the next one.
No matter what type of guy does it to you, ghosting is the worst. Even if the relationship is only a few weeks old, or you know that the ghosting wasn't your fault, it feels weird to have been vulnerable with someone, only to have them shut you out of their life completely.
Positive thought: There are plenty of human beings with manners who would never ghost, and opt to send a "no thank you to dating anymore" text instead. There are more still who would meet in person to — gasp — end things like adults.
So whether you are on the apps or at your local bar, be sure to keep your eyes peeled for these ghastly types.