It turns out ghosting isn’t exactly the healthiest way to break off a relationship. In fact, according to relationship expert Esther Perel, ghosting is the least accountable way a person could end an arrangement. It even creates long-term resentment in partners.
While it would be better to part ways by clearly communicating that you do not want to date a person anymore, there are some instances when it’s perfectly acceptable to flake on the person you were seeing. When you ghost, it should be because the person has done something that has proven they are literally not worthy of your time anymore.
It should be because they have done something that makes you want to avoid them. It shouldn’t be because you are avoiding your feelings about the person, or because you don’t want to see the pain you might inflict on somebody else.
With that in mind, these are the cases when it is perfectly acceptable to evaporate on someone you were casually seeing.
1. He Sent You An Unsolicited Sext
Although I have sung the praises of the sext, gaining unrestricted access to someone’s — ahem — inbox is a privilege that should be treated as such.
Sexting frees you up to explore your wildest fantasies without getting hurt, but consent still needs to be established. That means that before someone starts sexting you or sending nudes out of the blue, they need to ask whether that’s something you’re into.
Just because you’re flirting, doesn’t mean you want to wake up to a wiener on your phone. Just because you had sex, doesn’t mean that you want to receive a sexually provocative message during your work meeting.
If you feel like someone has violated a boundary by sending unsolicited nudes or sexts, then there is nothing wrong with cutting them off without saying a word. It’s not your job to educate a creep. Not even a creep like James Franco. Now there’s an example of when ghosting someone was totally legitimate.
2. He Is Being Non-Responsive
I hate wishy-washy dates. I hate when I hook up with someone and then hear nothing from them until weeks later, when they lurk on my Instagram, like my latest selfie, and then hit me up to hang out again.
In the meantime, I have probably texted him for a second date, and he’s either left me on read or been evasive. I’ve probably filled in the little crack in my self-esteem that he inflicted and started swiping again.
Before someone busts in like the Kool-Aid man to announce that “not all men” flake on their dates, I can confidently say that I date everyone, and men are typically the ones who engage in this kind of childishness. Trust me, I’ve done the field research.
When a guy engages in this behavior, his motivations are absolutely crystal clear. He got what he wanted, got distracted, and then got thirsty again. Is it really worth my time to politely decline?
While I might hem and haw over sending just the right cutting text to pop a hole in his self-esteem, it’s only worth the brain power if I’m really bored. Plus, there are always dudes who get off to any form of attention, including rejection. Don’t provide him with the satisfaction.
If he has no time for you, why should he feel entitled to take time from you?
3. He Is An Emotional Vampire Who Drains Your Soul
Have you ever gone on a date with someone you thought you really liked, only to discover he is actually Nosferatu? OK, maybe not actually Nosferatu, but Nosferatu-like. This breed of character is an emotional vampire who thrives off of sucking peoples’ emotional energy.
If he’s an emotional vampire, you spent your whole date comforting him about his last breakup. If he’s an emotional vampire, he engaged you in a lengthy intellectual debate because he says he “is interested in your mind,” when, in fact, he is actually interested in obtaining your undivided attention and depleting your mental energy at the same time.
When you are going through a really rough time — like, one of your parents is in the hospital, you are broke, and you drove your car into a pole kind of rough time — an emotional vampire will still manage to make it about him. If he is an emotional vampire, you could tell him that you are literally dying and seconds later find yourself comforting him over his own fear of death.
If you find yourself dating an emotional vampire, that’s another situation when ghosting someone is absolutely acceptable. If you don’t ghost, he will suck you into another four-hour conversation that will drain you even more. If you’re an empath, you might even get sucked into another date. It’s just not worth the risk.
Of course, it’s always better to end things face to face — or at least send a text. It’s better for the person you’re seeing, because they have a resolution and aren’t left with lingering doubts. And it’s better for you, too, because it demonstrates that you are confident enough in your feelings to act on them.
However, if this person has already taken too much of your time and energy, you can give yourself permission to save yourself the trouble and disappear without a trace.
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