It’s Thanksgiving, and it’s easy to be grateful for the things we have: family, best friends, a job that finally pays a decent amount, and all other things, big or small. But what about the things you’ve left behind? Sometimes the biggest blessings manifest themselves in their absence.
We’re celebrating the women who found it necessary to ghost someone toxic in their lives. Ghosting, by definition, is known as the abrupt, blindsiding disappearance of somebody that you used to bone. Here then, are stories of two-timers, commitment-phobes, and boys who disguised themselves as men. Ghosting may seem harsh, but sometimes it’s healthier to cut the cord.
So, here’s to six empty seats at the Thanksgiving table—and why these women are extremely relieved by it.
The social media detox
“I once had a boyfriend for three years. We tried to end things on good terms so we agreed to stay friends even after the break up. Since he was a popular basketball player, photos of him kept appearing on my Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook feeds—even on Snapchat! On top of that, he would still text me every now and then.
“There was this one time that I bumped into him at a party, and he even introduced his current girlfriend to me. So all this time he was contacting me, he had a girlfriend! That was when I couldn’t take it anymore. I decided to ghost him. So I ignored his texts, calls, and I unfollowed him everywhere on social media. I decided to cut ties with him because being updated with his life wasn’t healthy for me anymore. And to be honest, it actually felt pretty good. I felt like for the first time in a long time, I finally did something just for myself. Love yourself first, right?” —Rose, 21, student
We weren’t on the same page
“I met Zach after impulsively signing up on a dating app one day. I had no idea what to expect, but our first date turned out to be one of my favorites. It was this epic, 10-hour adventure through the city that included all of my favorite things. We had hipster third-wave coffee and stood in line for cruffins for an urban picnic on a rooftop terrace. He brought me to a Giants game and sang me the baseball song. Twice.
“We ended up seeing each other a couple more times, and each date was better than the last. On another date, we sat inside a dog cage and played with rescue puppies. (I later found out he was allergic. Oops.) He charmed my friends, and I was sold.
“Over dinner one night he asked me what I was looking for romantically. I was surprised that he brought it up so soon, but I was honest and told him I wasn’t looking for anything serious but that I did like him. He said he felt the same way. I assume he was lying about wanting something casual, because he never replied to any of my texts after that night.
“Here’s the thing: I won’t fault him for realizing we weren’t on the same page. But at least I was honest, and I feel like maybe I deserved the same from him. Ghosting sucks, but it’s telling of the other person actually doing it. At least now I know.” —Hannah, 24, medicine student
He almost killed himself
“I’m blonde, white, and mostly British. A few years ago, I moved to India for a year to work for an NGO.
“I went to a few parties in the cityand one night, I met an Indian guy who immediately latched on to me and we danced. We kissed under the neon disco lights and he told me, “I feel like I’m in heaven when I kiss you.”
“Fast forward to my last week in India, and I had a group of friends from London coming to visit. We planned to travel around the country and do all the touristy things: the Taj Mahal, Jaipur markets, overnight trains, and drink lots of chai.
“I left my crazed lover behind, and this was not okay with him. In fact, and this would be understatement of the century, he flipped. I got a constant flow of text messages from the moment I checked in at the airport: ”I can’t believe you’re leaving me on your last week. You’re a bitch. I’m gonna send messages to all your friends and family telling them what a bitch you are.” That was the tip of the iceberg.
“We arrived at our hotel in Delhi late at night and I decided to ignore my phone for a while. 10 minutes later I looked at it and, if my memory serves me right, I had 59 missed calls. Then a text message came saying, “I’m going to die now. Thanks for everything. Wait, I’ll send you a picture.”
“That picture never came, but obviously, it freaked me out. What made this worse was that our room was right next to the elevator and every time someone pressed the call button it played the Titanic theme tune.
“To state the obvious, it was a sinking ship, anyway. But he didn’t die. To this day, I’m still not sure if he actually even tried to kill himself. I never asked. But his friends say they saved him.
“I left the country under the protection of my four girlfriends and promptly ghosted my Indian-lover forever.” —Nathalie, 27, NGO manager
Thanks to ghosting
“I was a personal trainer in a fitness center. On my first year of work, I met this guy who was 10 years older than me. He was my colleague and a personal trainer, too. We privately dated back then since I didn’t want anyone in the workplace to know about it. Five months into dating a new girl got transferred to our gym and turned out to be his girlfriend. So I was basically the third party!
When I confronted him, he simply apologized. He didn’t have the balls to choose, or maybe didn’t even want to. No explanation was acceptable at that time.
“After a week, I just decided to resign without telling him and find another job and another life. I changed numbers, unfriended him on Facebook, and cut all connections we had. Cutting him off was so liberating that I would do it all over again if somebody becomes too toxic for me.
“At that time, I was fresh out of college and didn’t know what wanted to do with my life. After much contemplation, I realized I wanted to work with kids more than with adults. So I left my job as a personal trainer and decided to work with kids with special needs. If it weren’t for that incident, I would have just settled for what I had then. So in a way, I was thankful for him. I found something I’m truly passionate about.” —Nikki, 28, special needs teacher
The bitter ghoster
“I’m a writer and a perpetually chatty person. So ghosting is a totally new concept to me. Basically because it’s something that I would never want done to me. I don’t want anyone to leave without an explanation. Especially when I know I deserve one. But one time, some self-obsessed former Philippine reality TV star (who didn’t even have a great career after his short TV stint) decided to be a douche and played games when we were seeing each other.
“He had a ‘girlfriend’ that he didn’t tell me about, and I found out only after all the hit the fan. Then I understood why ghosting is a thing. Because some people are so repulsive, even having to reach them to explain is horrendous. I’m happy to say that karma hit him hard, and he’s apparently not having the best time now.
“I got a message from him (after so long) last night, and he says he’s back with the same girl. Good job, you two. May the odds be ever in your favor.” —Meg, 22, columnist
Art by Dorothy Guya