Women don’t ghost because ghosting is easy. Well, yes, it is easier to ghost than to have the break-up talk. And that is why it is a go to option for most millennials. But to be fair they were never about to launch into an explanation anyway. Most of them would have otherwise just dropped a text, if it didn’t fizzle out automatically. But, for women who prefer to talk and have closure, ghosting is not their first choice. At least not at the beginning.
However, experience shows them that delete-and-block is the only option and not just a better alternative in some cases.
When No is Not enough
Dr Anupama is in her 40s and prefers to ghost when she is not interested or not comfortable about answering questions. She confesses that it is because she doesn’t want to repeat her past experiences where she has had difficult conversations and later felt it would have been better to simply block.
Having been on and off on dating apps for a while, she has had many outrageous matches but the one thing that is constant are the guys who despite campaigns like “#NomeansNo”, refuse to accept it.
“A year after I told a guy that we are not a match, he messaged and asked me if I’d like to pursue a relationship. It was awkward to say no again. And then again. And again. Finally, I had to lie and say I am in a relationship. And then he asked why I was on Tinder and whether it was an open relationship. By the end of it all I lost any and all respect I had for him and was disgusted enough to block him.”
Unfortunately, the story didn’t end there. The guy still sends her likes on dating apps. As a paid member on Tinder, she can see his likes and now she wishes she had never met him.
And this is not an isolated incident. There have been other guys she has met who simply feel that women don’t know their own mind. Like the guy who had his own theory about everything including the fact that sex with him was great when she was clearly dissatisfied and didn’t want to hook up with him again. He actually went on to tell her how she was supposed to feel because he apparently had many testimonials from satisfied women.
Even if that were true, the fact is they could have still been incompatible. And the whole episode could have remained an unpleasant memory that faded over time if he didn’t keep raking it by seeking her out on all dating platforms.
“I am frustrated but what do you say to a guy who would talk your ear off and who just won’t accept any alternative explanation?”So Dr Anupama continues this merry dance of blocking at every turn because nothing else works.
Moment of truth
Some of the men who spoke to THE MAN wonder why women ghost when all is well. But, if you or anyone you know has been ghosted, try and recall what she has been telling through her words and her body language. It is not likely that all is well for her.
At 50, Kumar has no qualms in revealing that his ex-wife told him years later that she never once experienced an orgasm with him. The feedback stuck and he readily accepts that he didn’t know better at the time.
When freedom of expression can come back and bite you
Janet is a 30 something journalist who feels that the older she gets, the more she prefers distancing herself from those who might lack empathy. In her experience, political and ideological differences can lead to confrontation. While debates and discussions are welcome, she prefers to ghost to protect herself from vicious attacks. She feels, “Indian men tend to brush aside sexism as if it doesn’t exist any more. They side with the oppressors and tend to dehumanise opinionated women.”
Obviously, one can always tell if the conversations head in that direction and Janet hits the block button the moment she senses apathy or discriminatory beliefs.
It is not just the differences that are an issue, it is the tendency to lash out when a woman expresses her belief and opinion. Janet is tired of the verbal assaults and makes it a point to let people know when it is not working out only when she is sure that they are not prone to outbursts.
Moment of truth
Did you ever discuss #MeToo or make any disparaging remarks about feminists or homemakers or shame victims of crimes or side with an oppressive regime?
Forty-something Harsh confesses that he tried to kid about the Covid situation while chatting with a potential date and apparently struck a nerve. Perhaps the woman in question had experienced some trauma. He would never know but hopefully it served as a lesson in sensitivity.
When you are stalked and attacked
Awkwardness and verbal assaults are bad enough, but what do you do when someone is literally watching every move you make like the song says.
At 28, Pooja is traumatised by events which nobody could have anticipated after changing cities to avoid her ex after she ended the relationship. But the stalker found out where she lived and broke into her apartment. “I don’t give out my last name and even have a separate phone number so guys can’t track me. Despite that he tracked me and followed me to my apartment. I couldn’t even go to the cops because I knew they would blame me.”
Pooja had a lucky escape, but now her radar is on high alert. If she senses something is off, she doesn’t think twice about vanishing without a trace.
Moment of truth
The worst dating experience that most guys share is having to block a woman’s number and that is that. But, there is usually a solid reason why women don’t reveal their real name or where they live while chatting on a dating app. While it may be frustrating to know that the woman doesn’t trust you outright, can you really blame her for waiting till she is comfortable?
Is it just baggage then?
While these three women agreed to go on record and share their experiences on condition of anonymity, there are many women who went through similar situations but did not want to reveal anything for fear of exposure. And the godawful truth is that these episodes are not unique. So if you have somehow received the impression that you are paying the price for some other guy’s crime, please stop and introspect.
You may be exhibiting some tendencies that signal a potentially uncomfortable or disastrous situation. Women observe patterns and some red flags emerge very clearly when one is experienced enough to know without having to actively look out for them. Having said that, few of the women who spoke to The Man shared some the actions and behaviours that trigger a block response:
Unwillingness to recognise lack of chemistry or spark
(Texting “aur batao” for lack of conversation is a buzz kill)
Slut shaming or blaming their ex
(Who is to say you won’t do it to her?)
Asking for sexual favours before any intimacy is formed
(Pushing her head down is a big NO!)
Unnatural curiosity about their previous partners or intimate relationships
(How long have you been single? Beep! Wrong question!)
Impolite and rude responses
(“Why should you care if I am married? This is not a matrimonial app.” Dude she knows this is a dating app and can still prefer to date a single guy)
Behavioural experts might say that ghosting is not healthy. If we lived in an egalitarian world, then yes. However, in a world where a woman is relentlessly harassed in the name or wooing or pursued after saying no or worse, ghosting is the only sensible choice.
Non-threatening behaviour ABC
* Accept no and move on
* Beware she may not have reason to trust you
* Condemn and do not condone locker room mentality