The bright side to reading about a million-and-one different versions of what's essentially the same story? You start noticing some patterns. And what's so great about that? I can share those patterns with you here and INFORM YOU.
Now, obviously, don't go losing your mind and freak out that it's over and you're bound to die alone with a broken heart, just because your boyfriend is doing one of these things.
All I'm saying is, of the hundreds of ghosting stories I've read since I started my column, they all seem to share these nine common threads. Do with them what you will:
He starts bailing on plans.
He never bailed on plans in the past, and suddenly, he's the world's busiest man. He's fitting literally everything into his schedule... except you.
You can barely get him to agree to make plans and, on the off chance you do, he's bailing on it as soon as he can. Sometimes, he doesn't even have the decency to cancel on you until you've already texted him to confirm your plans.
You'd never admit it out loud, but there's a little part of you that knows he's not actually going to be there every time the two of you make any sort of plan.
You're initiating most of the conversations.
Back in the day, he was texting you all day, every day.
If you stopped responding to him for a few minutes, he'd bombard your phone with more texts until you finally got back to him. It was cute. It was endearing.
But now, the tables have turned and it doesn't seem like he sees your incessant phone calls and texts quite as endearing as you saw his.
Part of you knows you need to stop putting in all the effort, but another part of you is scared that the minute you stop trying, you're going to lose him forever.
He starts skipping your routine "goodnight" or "good morning" texts.
Usually, from what I've read, it's the absence of one of either a typical "goodnight" or "good morning" that tips the ghostee off to something being wrong.
But the missing text could really be anything. Maybe he always texts you in the afternoon to ask how your day is going. Or maybe he usually texts you those beer emojis as soon as he's off work as your little inside joke.
Either way, the point is that some sort of routine shared between the two of you has been broken.
When you call him out, he says he's been "busy."
You've been noticing he's gradually distancing himself for a while, and you don't want to be crazy and read into it, but not knowing what's going on is really starting to mess with your head. So, you decide to call him out and ask him what's been going on.
You guys, this next part is the one thing that is ALWAYS the same in every story, so pay close attention.
He responds by reassuring you that he still really likes you, but he's just been really "busy" lately.
Note that he didn't deny the fact that he's been distant, but instead, he just gave you enough to keep you on his hook for a little while longer.
You find yourself making excuses for him.
He's not the only one making excuses, either. You find yourself vehemently defending him to your friends and, ultimately, to yourself.
For every day he doesn't make an effort with you, you find yourself coming up with a million reasons for what you could have possibly done or said to make him upset with you.
Or maybe it has nothing to do with you! Maybe he's got family stuff going on. Or he's swamped at work. I mean, he did say he's busy, right?!
Regardless, you find yourself constantly making up excuses in an attempt to avoid the one simple truth: He's just not that into you.
He's ghosted you before.
Once a cheater, always a cheater. And once a ghoster, also always a ghoster.
Someone who did not have the decency to tell you things were coming to a close between you two the first time is certainly not going to have the decency to do so the second time.
And I promise you, there will absolutely be a second time.
Everything moved really fast.
You guys were hot and heavy from the start.
You went on a magical first date and talked for what felt like minutes, but it turned out to be hours and hours. You admitted to each other right from the get-go that this felt different. This felt like it could really be something.
Maybe there were a few red flags in the beginning, but you were way too in LOVE to notice them.
So you decided to throw your heart fully into this guy. And you didn't regret your decision... until he started gradually pulling away recently.
The problem with relationships that start too fast is, they can end just as quickly.
He's warned you that he isn't "looking for anything serious."
If he isn't looking for anything serious, DON'T MAKE IT YOUR RESPONSIBILITY TO CONVINCE HIM.
And don't take his warning lightly either. You shouldn't expect you'll be the one to change his mind.
If you were the one to change his mind, he wouldn't have told you he's not looking for anything serious because, well, you would have changed his mind about that.
Not to mention the two of you not being "serious" is his perfect excuse for ghosting you. Because guess what? People who weren't actually dating don't technically deserve real breakups.
His responses are becoming increasingly short.
OK so he's responding to your texts... but his responses aren't quite what they used to be.
Instead of engaging in conversation with you like he used to, it feels like you can barely get more than a "k" out of him.
You tell him a long crazy stories, and you're lucky to get an "lol" four hours later. And if/when he answers the phone, he's quick to hang up as soon as something "comes up."
Honestly, if you scroll through your conversation from the beginning, you can literally see the change between how he used to be and how he is now.
You have a gut feeling that something isn't right.
That's all this really comes down to.
Maybe he's not doing any of the things on this list, but you can't help but notice that something's off.
Maybe he's literally doing every single one of the things on this list, but you know in your heart of hearts he still loves you as much as he did on that first magical date.
Whatever the case may be, go with your gut.
If you have a feeling something's off, odds are, you're right.
Nobody knows the person you've been seeing like you do. Nobody knows your relationship like you do.