The sting of waking up to a blank phone screen the morning after a hook-up — whether or not it was any good — is its own little circle of hell. It comes barreling down in a wave of fresh shame, self-doubt, and maybe even loneliness. Maybe you shrug it off and tell yourself they just haven’t woken up yet; they’ll text you later. But then “later” turns into tomorrow, and tomorrow turns into the rest of the week. You find yourself looking over your shoulder to see if your phone has lit up with any signs of life, until finally, the unsettling realization sinks in: You’ll never hear from this person again.
If he stopped texting you after you slept together, he’s a ghoster. If she ignored your last message after a hookup, she’s treating you without respect. And this is all part of an unfortunate trend in modern-day dating: A 2018 study published by the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships found that, of 1,300 participants, roughly a quarter reported having been ghosted by a partner, and one-fifth reported having ghosted someone else.
But the question on many people’s minds — why do guys stop talking to you after you sleep with them? — is nothing new. It may just be that our unprecedented access to technology and different means of communication makes it especially obvious when someone is ignoring you.
And while it sometimes feels like the overwhelming majority of ghosters are cis dudes, ghosting can come from anywhere and anyone. London-based celebrity life coach and relationship expert Sloan Sheridan-Williams acknowledges that perhaps the most frustrating consequence of the post-coitus disappearing act is that you may never know exactly why the other person disappeared. “There are many reasons why people stop texting after a hook-up. They might have misunderstood and thought you wanted a casual encounter or they might not have been that into it. It’s probably somewhere in between,” she tells Elite Daily. The real key to getting over a ghost is to do your best to not take it personally.
Sheridan-Williams says she’s had plenty of clients who have previously committed this cardinal dating sin. Their reasons? Everything from “I’ve got a lot going on lately” to “I don’t do relationship maintenance” to “I was embarrassed,” “I forgot,” “I lost interest,” and everything in between.
Read on for 15 stories from real-life ghosters to help you understand why someone might ignore you after hooking up.
The chemistry wasn’t there.
Honestly, if I've ever hit it and quit it, it was just because that person was hot, but not interesting enough or good enough in bed to keep it going.
— Becca*, 24
If they’re not going to make an effort, neither is she.
I’ve ghosted so many times. Usually, it’s because they didn't text me first, so I just never reached out. I never reached out because I thought if they wanted to see me again, they'd text.
— Ash, 24
He just isn't great at communication.
Usually, I meet someone drunk at a bar or through friends. Some of us just aren't good at texting or maintaining relationships because we are too focused on work and sports. If it wasn't for group texts, I wouldn't talk to anyone.
— Marc, 26
It's a rule of thumb.
It was the next day. Why would I talk to them?
— Treez, 24
He thought it was a mutual understanding.
I had been friends with this girl since high school and we always had some sexual tension. About six months ago, I ran in to her in LA after a job interview. One thing led to another and I ended up at her place after one too many drinks. I think we both avoided talking to each other for a bit because we both realized how embarrassing we were. It seemed like a mutual understanding... maybe I'll give her a call and see what she's up to.
— Rich*, 23
His dirty talk wasn't doing it for her.
We met on a dating app, and I really liked him until our third date when we went back to his house and he had the most intense dirty talk of all time. He didn't care that I said I didn't like it, so I ignored all his calls. Eventually, he stopped texting me a week after we slept together.
— Michelle*, 27
She thought ignoring him was nicer than the truth.
I matched with someone I used to have a crush on. After we got drinks, I slept over, spending most of the night thinking of the most tactful way to get out from under his arm, but I was pinned. We woke up and didn't really say much to each other. We had an uncomfortable cup of coffee, said our goodbyes, and I haven't spoken to him since. Luckily, I was going out of town for the next week so I had an excuse not to make immediate follow-up plans. I didn't want to invest the time into dating someone I wasn't into and who I didn't think was very into me, but I still wanted to get laid. I stopped talking to him because it was much easier than saying, 'The sex wasn't very good and we are definitely not right for each other.'
— Maggie*, 22
He couldn't keep up with his lie.
Well, she was at the bar... Naturally, I went up to her and pretended like she was supposed to know who I was because according to my fake website and fake medical journals, I'm a billionaire... We made love until the sun came up... and then I never called her again.
— Lorenzo, 27
She just got over him.
I met this guy sophomore year of college, and after one class together, I never really saw him much. Then, the week after graduation, we were both at the same bar and it was just mutually known we were going home together. We had sex and it was actually some of the best sex of my life (like, easily top five), but the next morning I was like, eh. I drove him home then we never spoke again. I guess since we never hooked up despite our sexual tension sophomore year, I had this mysterious illusion about him and once that was shattered, I was satisfied with just solving the mystery and continuing on my merry way.
— Kelli, 22
He was less dominant than she would have liked.
He is 35 with an alpha male personality. I was expecting the sex to be way more intense and aggressive. However, I was sadly mistaken. He was very passive in the sack. I took charge of the situation, and things were awkward between us afterward. We went from texting several times a day to not at all. I guess we were both equally unpleased with the situation.
— Monica*, 27
The sex was angry.
It was angry sex. With a co-worker. They ended up getting fired.
— Alexa, 24
He wasn't confident enough for her.
I was talking to this guy I met a bar and I was a little apprehensive about to begin with. He seemed a little too clingy and needy for my liking. He needed constant reassurance that I liked him. We ended up having sex after our fifth date and afterwards, he was so nervous I didn't have a good time or that he didn't perform well enough. He kept bringing it up in conversation and he said, 'Next time, you will see how good I am.' I just couldn't take it anymore. I had tried to reassure him that everything was great, but it didn't work. He texted me when he got home that night asking if I had a good time. I responded back yes and that he needed to have more confidence. The day after, he texted me again asking if I was sure I had a good time and I never responded. Then he texted me for a week straight wanting to know why I stopped talking to him and if it was because the sex was bad. I felt bad not responding, but I knew that if I did, he wouldn't like my answer.
— Elizabeth, 31
He was too entrenched in her everyday life.
I accidentally slept with a co-worker once. Huge mistake. I had to choose being an editor over a producer to limit those awkward interactions.
— Sammy, 22
The hookup went south — and not in a fun way.
I stopped talking to a boy who I found breathtakingly attractive (and thus assumed we'd have chemistry) after we had sex for the first time. He head-butted me during a kiss and gave me a nosebleed, period-shamed me, and said 'I hate to tell you, but I'm done' after about a minute. The next day, he cursed me out over text for telling my friends. Bye!
— Mackenzie, 23
It was a space issue.
My bed was small and he was big. I told him I'd like to sleep more and to have a nice life. He left. We never spoke again.
— Georgia*, 26
*Names have been changed.
Freedman, Gili; Le, Benjamin; Powell, Darcey N. (2018) Ghosting and destiny: Implicit theories of relationships predict beliefs about ghosting. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships.
Sloan Sheridan-Williams, celebrity life coach and relationship expert
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