You just met the cutest person at your sister's art show (read: on Hinge) and couldn't wait to meet up for drinks. After linking up at your favorite Italian wine bar, you going back to their place for a nightcap, you end up staying the night. (Heck, ya!) Trying to "play it cool," you wait for them to text you for another date. And as the hours turn to days, then —gulp — three and a half weeks, you realize you may not be hearing from them ever again. WTH?
If you get ghosted after a hookup, it's totally natural to feel a little confused. Did you do something wrong? Make a weird joke? Kind of misread the situation and came off as a fool? A terrible mixture of all of the above? No matter how you slice it, ghosting can make you question everything. Even if you left your hookup feeling like a million bucks, never hearing from someone again can get you all in your own head.
Of course, you're a flawless angel and someone ghosting you says more about them and their behavior than you and yours. Everyone deserves respect and communication, and someone leaving you out to dry isn't just "unchill" — it can be really stinking rude.
If you had an amazing date, and you're considering reaching out to your hookup just to know what the F is happening, here's what experts suggest saying.
"This one is tricky because you don't want to look desperate, but you need a resolution," Susan Winter, NYC relationship expert, love coach, and author of Breakup Triage: The Cure for Heartache, tells Elite Daily. "Invite your casual date to coffee, drinks, or anything else that they seemed to like, but do it from the 'I'm doing this. Join me' approach: 'I'm going to be at [fill in venue] at [fill in date/time] Stop by if you can.'"
According to Winter, if you have a really good time on your first date or you'd like to hook up again, sending a casual invite can be a last-ditch attempt to see if your date also felt a connection. "I suggest one last effort at reaching out, but no more after that," Winter says. "If you don't get a reply, or get a vague 'breadcrumb type' answer, then bail."
For dating coach and dating app expert Meredith Golden, if your hookup doesn't get back to you first by text or call post-hookup, it may be time to move on. "If someone doesn’t respond to one text or call, there’s a high likelihood that you’re [getting] ghosted, Golden tells Elite Daily. "Especially if you’ve only gone out less than three times."
While your hookup leaving you on read can feel totally painful, Golden shares that you may be better off without them. "The person [ghosting you] is making it clear that they lack manners, don’t know how to communicate or don’t want to communicate further," Golden says. "Don’t waste your time on someone like this — onward and good riddance!"
Though you may initially want to blow up your ex's phone with "Did you die?!" or "WTF!" texts, Winter thinks that further contact may not be worth your time. "It's your ego that wants to lash out," Winter says. "Accept the facts for what they are and be grateful you're not being strung along or played." While getting ghosted after a hot hookup can be all-levels of confusing, Winter shares that it may be a blessing in a textual disguise. "It's better to have an ending before you develop deep feelings," Winter says.
Of course, if your hookup comes out of the woodwork weeks or months later, you may be facing a whole new round of questions. Can you trust this person? Do you want to see them again? Did they really ghost you? As Golden shares, your response (or lack thereof) should depend on what was going on in your hookup's life, and why they never got back to you.
"If, for example, they explain and apologize that a parent was ill, certainly give them another chance," Golden says. "If they pretend like they didn’t ghost — don’t engage." As Golden explains, sometimes someone isn't able to get back to you in a timely manner. From work to family issues to illness, there are a lot of extenuating circumstances that may come before texting your hookup. However, with the amount of public Wi-Fi and charging ports around, it's unlikely that your date's phone was dead/without service for a month and a half. And if they're bad at getting back to you after your literal first date, it's likely they're not really in a place to be seeing anyone, let alone a superstar like you.
Still, the heart wants what it wants, and you may find it hard to shake your crush on your hookup, even if they're an unreliable texter. As Winter shares, if you'd like to continue seeing your hookup, it may give you peace of mind to establish some texting expectations. "You can give your new date your terms of engagement," Winter says. "Tell them that regular contact lets you know there's interest. Otherwise, you assume there's no connection." Additionally, you can let your hookup know that you lose interest when you need to wait four days to hear from them and that you expect a timely response. You're not "needy" for having clear boundaries, you're a mature communicator. And honestly, that's hot.
Though ghosting may leave you with a ton of questions, inviting your hookup to a casual outing may help you pull back the sheet on the whole interaction. (Get it? Like, a person in a sheet being a ghost? Never mind.) While you're certainly entitled to clarity from the people you've hooked up with, if you don't hear from someone after a while or only seem to get wishy-washy answers, it may be time to move on. You're a superstar, a powerhouse, and a person that deserves love and respect. And anyone who can't see that can see themselves out.
Meredith Golden, dating coach and dating app expert