Getting Ghosted Sucks More During a Global Pandemic Like COVID-19

I really was not going to date at all during this pandemic because, like, germs. But around 11 months into my semi-self-imposed solitary confinement, I matched on Hinge with a French lawyer who loved cats, and it was game over.

In the three or so weeks that we were chatting, I flaked on drinks with him twice. I was still a little unsure about the whole going-on-dates-in public-venues thing, and yet somehow, he still wanted to hang out with me? So I took this as a sign he might be worth the risk. (Spoiler alert: He wasn’t.)

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Mr. Frenchman and I went went on exactly three dates in a five day period, all conveniently located within three blocks from my apartment. Our first date: hot toddies by the firepit in a backyard bar, our second: hot toddies on a cute outdoor terrace, and third: pseudo-French food and wine in a restaurant garden.

It was only after this kind of consistency, after he showed me pictures of his nephew, after he memorized the names of my siblings, and after he bought me a real dinner, that I felt okay with letting him into my apartment. And yes, he slept over.

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But then, in the morning—like the! morning! after!—he unspooned himself from me, hustled into his clothes like he was being timed, decided it wasn’t worth the extra 30 seconds to continue looking for his T-shirt, kissed me, and sped out of my apartment so fast, he almost forgot his sweater and scarf. (To say it was sus is an understatement.)

No surprise, I didn’t get the follow-up text I was expecting that day. When I reached out, I got the most minimal replies possible. Not even emojis, I’m talking emoticons. Like, excuse me, what?

Seriously, bless my group chat of besties for patiently putting up with one okay, five days of me texting “WTF???” and “He SLEPT OVER tho!” as if I’d never been ghosted before. But this time, it truly felt different. For lots of reasons.

But before I explain why it sucked exponentially more, let’s get one thing on the record: This is an unfortunate trend happening that needs to stop. Like, now. According to a recent Cosmo poll, 80 percent of you said you’ve also been ghosted more in this pandemic than ever before. Like, what???

I figured ghosting would happen less often during These Times because who isn’t looking for someone to cuddle with when the world is ending? And I don’t know about you all, but I am personally wayyy more selective about who I let in my home, let alone my bed, and I’m also starved enough for contact that I’m more inclined to cuff up than not. But I guess that’s not the general consensus.

But like I said, being ghosted right now hurts so much more than any dude could have hurt me before—and 86 percent of y’all also agree with me there too, according to another Cosmo poll.

This is probably because, before, I could just shrug off the blow and move on to the next. But now, without the luxury of escaping to my family’s country house on the beach or going to an IRL brunch with my friends to discuss the drama, my single-person loneliness has been quadrupled.

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And given social distancing guidelines and the dangers of any kind of physical intimacy these days, it takes a lot more trust than usual to get to the point where you’re willing to let someone in your personal space. You’re not just handing out invites to your pod willy-nilly. So, to just dip after cultivating more trust than you’d normally ever give a Hinge match is really, really shitty.

I mean, right after this dude ghosted me is when my spiraled thoughts started. I realized that if homeboy was perfectly okay with entering my germ space and then leaving it this casually, this easily? He had probably been in someone else’s germ space just as easily too. And at that point, I was now inadvertently exposed to lots, and lots, and lots of germ space.

So my point is this: What was the use of all my masking and double hand-washing and protecting myself if some guy from a dating app was going to waltz in and cough all over my carefully sanitized space—without so much as a text back?

For closure, I did the only thing I felt like would help: I talked to other single people who’ve been both casually pandemmy ghosted and full-on abandoned like me. And they had some thoughts too:

  • It definitely was worse during the pandemic because I was already being deprived of contact with others. I started talking to someone from the Hinge app. Everything was cool, until one day he just disappeared.” —Tara*, 30.
  • “I was ghosted during this pandemic after an intense and promising two-and-a-half month relationship. We traveled together and stuff, so it was shocking. But seriously, nothing says ‘I don’t care if you live or die!’ more than a pandemic ghosting. It’s also just… wasteful after investing in the rigorous precautions, advance testing, and extra creativity required to do fun things.” —Kris*, 35.
  • “We had never talked about being exclusive, but I was only seeing one guy at the time just cause I didn’t want to be spreading germs. I feel like we got to know each other a lot faster just because you don’t have the distraction of a normal date because there’s not a lot going on around you. So you talk a lot more, I feel like. I definitely feel like him ghosting during a pandemic was extra shady, especially after we had been physical.” —Miller, 25.

    Touché to literally everything above. I even tried to get some intel from peeps who have been the ghoster for this article, but I decided that I don’t really care what they have to say because ghosting, no matter the reason, still seriously sucks.

    ~Now more than ever~ we have to learn how to have conversations that make us uncomfortable. And by “us” I mean those of you who somehow still can’t figure out how to be straight up about your intentions and/or say, “Sorry, not feeling it.”

    Because look, I get not having the energy to reply to every rando in your inbox right now. But I also do not have the energy to chase after some man who scammed his way into my bed via forehead kisses and pretending to be interested in my family. (BTW, Jacques*, I found your T-shirt and I’m keeping it as a dustcloth.)

    So please, given the whole global pandemic thing happening right now, can you ghosters maybe step up your communication skills and not add cowardly and unexplained rejection on top of everything else making us sad and anxious and insecure right now? Would be very much appreciated, TY!

    *Names have been changed.


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