Here Are 7 Telling Traits Of A Serial Ghoster
It has been almost four years now (y’all, where does the time go?!) since I wrote a piece for the platform entitled, “I Was 'Ghosted' By My Best Friend.” Although I personally don’t do social media, I do check in on different accounts from time to time and I recall some people saying in the comments of one of ours that if a BFF ghosted me, we were never friends, to begin with. Yeeeeeah, I beg to differ because I know parents who have “ghosted” their children, spouses who have “ghosted” their partners, long-term people who have "ghosted” their relationships, and yes, friends — genuine friends — who have “ghosted” their friends.
To me, the thing that I think isn’t discussed enough is the kind of people who are serial ghosters (folks who run more from and avoid situations rather than dealing with them head-on). Because when the traits of ghosting are in you, it really doesn’t matter what kind of relational dynamic you are in — more times than not, when it gets to be too much for you (whatever “it” might be), you’re gonna “get ghost” regardless. Therefore, it’s up to the rest of us to know what the signs of ghosting look like, so that we can decide how deep we want to go with these types of individuals.
That said, it is from both my personal experience along with the observation of other individuals and their relationships, that I’ve come up with seven pretty spot-on indicators of a serial ghoster — ones that can spare you a lot of pain or at least shock, should someone like this decide to up and ghost you one day (hey, it happens to the best of us).
Just so we’re all on the same page of what I’m talking about here, one definition of ghosting is “the practice of ending a personal relationship with someone by suddenly and without explanation withdrawing from all communication.” And you know what? If someone has done this to you before, I’m willing to bet some pretty good money that, whether it was when you were first getting to know them or towards the end of the relationship, you picked up on signs of them being vague. You’d ask questions that wouldn’t get direct answers. You’d inquire about things that, while they were all for you talking about them, they had little to say.
While in some areas, you felt close to them, in others, the two of you couldn’t be more distant. And if you really think about it, wouldn’t a ghoster being vague about stuff make a lot of sense? Because if you’re not being clear or direct about your feelings, thoughts, or actions, that typically means that there are some walls up. And if that is indeed the case, that makes it easier to up and one day just…vanish.
People who know me know that if there is one thing that I loathe — LOATHE — it’s inconsistency. Shoot, I’d rather you be consistently mean as a bat than sweet as pie on Monday only to drastically switch up on Wednesday. Consistent people can be trusted (even if that means, as Regina King’s character said in A Thin Line Between Love and Hate, “trusting you to be you”) because you know what you’re dealing with and there is something that is super refreshing about that. That said, serial ghosters lack consistency. One day, they are “all in” the relationship, and the next, they are trying to gaslight you into thinking that you are “doing the most.”
What you need to always remember when it comes to this particular point is consistency speaks to character and reliability. If you can’t say, without absolute certainty, that someone is reliable in your eyes, something is “off” and ghosting is definitely a possibility.
How selfish people have friends is beyond me, chile. Because, how are you able to maintain anything if the only thing you really think about is yourself? And yet, I bet if you really “sat in it” for a moment, you could think of at least three people in your world — whether it’s personally or professionally — who are selfish like a mug. Case in point — I know a guy who knows how to charm the pants off of just about anyone to the point where, until you really get to know his core, do you even pick up on how selfish he really is? But boy, be in a jam where you need his help and watch him go from kind and funny to a total assh--e if he can’t find a way to rationalize helping you to benefit him (for instance, posting on social media what he did, so that everyone can think he’s a hero).
Those of you who are fans of ghosting may not choose to see it this way (and that’s fine), but I don’t see how ghosting isn’t a selfish act. If you are in a personal relationship with someone and you suddenly remove yourself from the situation, surely you don’t think that the other person is benefitting from that; surely, the only person who you’re actually considering is yourself. And while you might want to rationalize that it’s a form of self-preservation, stating where you stand,setting boundaries, and/or removing yourself from the situation is the far more mature approach. If you don’t believe me, tell me how mature you would think it would be of someone to up and, out of nowhere, ghost you.
The former friend that I referred to at the beginning of this? After doing some shady stuff in her marriage and then telling me during that time that she’s not sure if she’s ever really loved anybody, I really should’ve taken all of that to heart because what she was really saying is she struggles with commitment — and someone who rolls like that? They most definitely have the potential to ghost you. And here’s the thing — anyone can feel the wrath of a commitment-phobe. I mean, just think about it. Commitment-phobes run from deep emotional attachments. Commitment-phobes don’t like making long-term plans. Commitment-phobes never really let you know where you stand with them. Commitment-phobes act like accountability is “suffocating them.” Commitment-phobes are hot one day and cold the next. If just reading this caused you to immediately think of someone in particular, that’s not by happenstance. Your conscience is trying to alert you to the fact that you just may have a serial ghoster in your world. For the sake of your heart, don’t take that lightly.
5. Perfectionist (Kinda)
You might not’ve seen this one coming, but just hear me out. Have you ever paid attention to how people who ghost others talk about the situation? It’s usually something along the lines of, “I don’t have time for that BS. I deserve better.” Yeah, one day, sooner than later, I’m gonna write an article about how deserve is earned, by definition of the word (“to be worthy of, qualified for, or have a claim to reward, punishment, recompense, etc.”) and a lot of people are out here talking about what they “deserve” while thinking that they shouldn’t treat others in the way that they would like to be treated. And you know what? Anyone who says that they would prefer to be ghosted is lying. I don’t care how much a ghoster ghosts other people, it’s usually not until it’s done to them that they realize how utterly disrespectful it can be.
Anyway, let me get on to my point about this trait of serial ghosters — watch out for people who hold others to a bar that they don’t even keep themselves. It’s like, no matter what you do and how hard you try, to them, it’s never good enough; yet somehow, you should accept whatever crumbs or fickleness the ghoster offers you. Yeah, don’t even get me started on how a lot of ghosters are also narcissistic as hell (check out “3 Warning Signs You're In Love With A Narcissist” and “What If It's Your Parents Who Happen To Be The Narcissists?”). For now, I’ll just say that some ghosters will justify ghosting on the grounds of someone not being “good enough” to them when they are actually not all that impressive in the relationship their damn selves. Yeah, people who are ego maniacs or who lack humility typically have no problem with ghosting folks. Watch out for them. That kind of arrogance is dangerous.
6. “Passionately Shallow”
Another trait of a serial ghoster is the fact that they tend to be quite charming. Yet, strangely enough, at the same time, no one can really say that they know them. Not when it comes to anything of any real depth or relevance. A part of that is because, again, oftentimes ghosters have huge ego issues which is why they don’t want to face issues head on — they would rather run than really deal with things because dealing requires revealing.
Also, serial ghosters don’t usually care for anything deep and meaningful. As long as stuff can remain on the surface, that’s comforting for them because shallow doesn’t require very much intimacy. So, while they may be all about making sure that you have a good time, if you are looking for something heartfelt or long-term, they are probably going to disappoint you — more times than not.
7. Reactive Instead of ProactiveWhich One Are You Reaction GIF by Dr. Donna Thomas RodgersGiphy
Last one and this is a biggie. Because of all of the other traits that I just shared about serial ghosters, please hold close the fact that they usually are not very proactive as it relates to maintaining relationships. They aren’t spending a ton of time trying to figure out how to support you, meet your needs or keep the relationship going for the long haul. They would rather disappear and come back and apologize (usually when they want something else or more from you) than show up on the front end of…just about anything. And because they are this way, it means that, with a ghoster, 8.5 times outta 10, you are going to be doing most of the work. And you know what? 9.5 times outta 10, it’s never worth it in the long run.
An author by the name of J.M. Darhower once said, “Worse is loving someone who disappears and never knowing if they’ll come back. Because how do you move on if you’re not even sure they’re gone? The answer is—you don’t. When you spend most of your life chasing ghosts, eventually, you become one.” This is absolutely why I wrote this article — so that you don’t allow the destructiveness of serial ghosters infect you to the point that you become one of them.
There are other more mature and responsible ways to handle relationships, even when it’s time for them to come to an end, than ghosting. If you’re constantly being ghosted, please raise your bar. If you are a serial ghoster, please seek help. There’s nothing admirable about vanishing outta people’s lives and karma tends to handle ghosters with a vengeance. Never say that you weren’t warned.
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After being a regular contributor for about four years and being (eh hem) MIA in 2022, Shellie is back penning for the platform (did you miss her? LOL).
In some ways, nothing has changed and in others, everything has. For now, she'll just say that she's working on the 20th anniversary edition of her first book, she's in school to take life coaching to another level and she's putting together a platform that supports and encourages Black men because she loves them from head to toe.
Other than that, she still works with couples, she's still a doula, she's still not on social media and her email contact (firstname.lastname@example.org) still hasn't changed (neither has her request to contact her ONLY for personal reasons; pitch to the platform if you have story ideas).
Life is a funny thing but if you stay calm, moments can come full circle and this is one of them. No doubt about it.
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From Monogamy To Polyamory: 'I'm In An Asexual Poly Marriage With My Husband Of 7 Years'
Have you ever wondered what it's like to be asexual and in an open marriage? Relationship Coach Mikki Bey shared her first-hand experience with us as well as answered some of our burning questions.
Like a lot of people, Mikki met her now husband, Raheem Ali, online. As soon as they met, they instantly fell in love and got engaged on their first date. Just 90 days after they met, the couple tied the knot and have now been married for seven years. Raheem and Mikki aren’t your typical married couple, and despite being married for almost a decade, their marriage is anything but traditional. Mikki and Raheem have what she calls an "asexual polyamorous marriage."
Defining Her Sexuality
It wasn't until last summer that Mikki found the language to define her sexuality. "I didn't have the language for it until last summer," she explained to xoNecole. "Looking back, I just thought sex wasn't my thing. It was never enjoyable for me, and I'd go years without even noticing.”
Mikki always thought she was broken because she had no interest in sex. Mikki noticed after her friends came to visit and started discussing their sexual fantasies that she realized something was different about her. “At that point, I knew something was definitely different about me since I do not have sexual fantasies at all. It was truly news to me that people are at work thinking about sex! That was not my experience.” This led to Mikki researching asexuality, which she soon realized fit her to a T. “It felt like breathing new air when I was able to call it by name," said Mikki.
"Looking back, I just thought sex wasn't my thing. It was never enjoyable for me, and I'd go years without even noticing it."
Asexuality refers to people who experience little or no sexual attraction, experience attraction without acting on it sexually, or experience sexual attraction differently based on other factors. Like most things, asexuality falls on a spectrum and encompasses many other identities. It's important to remember, however, that attraction and action are not always synonymous: some asexuals may reject the idea of sexual contact, but others may be sex-neutral and engage in sexual activity.
It's possible that some asexuals will have sex with someone else despite not having a libido or masturbating, but others will have sex with a partner because it brings a sense of connection.
From a Traditional Marriage to Kitchen Table Polyamory
Although Mikki never really had a high sex drive, it wasn’t until after the birth of her son, that she noticed her sex drive took a real nosedive. “I never had a high sex drive, but about a year after my son was born, I realized I had zero desire. My husband has a high sex drive, and I knew that it would not be sustainable to not have sex in our marriage at that time.”
She was determined to find an alternative to divorce and stumbled upon a polyamory conversation on Clubhouse. Upon doing her own research, she brought up the idea to their husband, who was receptive. “It’s so interesting to me that people weigh sex so heavily in relationships when even if you are having a ton of sex, it’s still a very small percentage of the relationship activity," Mikki shared.
They chose polyamory because Mikki still wanted to be married, but she also wanted to make sure that Raheem was getting his individual needs and desires met, even if that meant meeting them with someone else. “I think that we have been programmed to think that our spouses need to be our 'everything.' We do not operate like that. There is no one way that fits all when it comes to relationships, despite what society may try to tell you. Their path to doing this thing called life together may be different from yours, but they found what works for them. We have chosen to design a marriage that works for us,” Mikki explained.
"We have chosen to design a marriage that works for us. We both consent to each of us having everything from casual sex partners to lifetime partners if it should go there. We believe love is abundant and do not limit ourselves or each other on how we express it."
She continued, “We both consent to each of us having everything from casual sexual partners to lifetime partners if it should get there. We believe love is abundant and do not limit ourselves or each other on how we express it. Our dynamic is parallel with kitchen table poly aspirations.”
Kitchen table polyamory (KTP) is a polyamorous relationship in which all participants are on friendly terms enough to share a meal at the kitchen table. Basically, it means you have some form of relationship with your partner’s other partner, whether as a group or individually. A lot of times, KTP relationships are highly personal and rooted in mutual respect, communication, and friendship.
Intimacy in an Asexual Polyamorous Marriage
Mikki says she and her husband, Raheem, still share intimate moments despite being in a polyamorous marriage. “Our intimacy is emotional, intellectual, spiritual, and physical, although non-sexual. We are intentional about date nights weekly, surprising and delighting each other daily, and most of all, we communicate our needs regularly. In my opinion, our intimacy is top-tier! I give my husband full-body massages, mani-pedis and make sure I am giving him small physical touches/kisses throughout the day. He is also very intentional about showing me his love and affection.”
Raheem and Mikki now use their lives as examples for others. On their website, thepolycouplenextdoor.com, they coach people interested in learning how to be consensually non-monogamous. “We are both relationship coaches. I specialized in emotional regulation, and Raheem specializes in communication and conflict resolution. The same tools we use in our marriage help our clients succeed in polyamory."
Mikki advises people who may be asexual or seeking non-monogamy to communicate their needs openly and to consider seeking sex therapy or intimacy coaching. Building a strong relationship with a non-sexual partner requires both empathy and compassion.
For more of Mikki, follow her on Instagram @getmikkibey. Follow the couple's platform on Instagram @thepolycouplenextdoor.
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