By Thomas Whitfield

The term “ghosting” originated in 2011, but people have been vanishing from relationships without a trace for much longer. It can be confusing when someone you thought you had a connection with fades away without a warning, leaving you feeling sad and angry.

I’m pretty sure I’ve been ghosted again, and I’m getting really tired of it. I just want to meet someone nice that I can hang with and also have sex—I guess a boyfriend… maybe. I keep meeting guys where it’s very hot and heavy in the beginning, texting and sending pics all the time, then we hook up once and they drop off the face of the planet. I don’t think there’s anything weird that I’m doing sexually, but guys just disappear. How can I stop this from happening? – Male,
Gay, 22

It can very frustrating when you’re into someone and they seem to be too, then poof, they’re gone! There isn’t any way to make someone stay around or interested if they don’t want to be. But you can be very clear with what you’re looking for from the beginning. Depending on where you’re meeting people, you may need to be even clearer. Sure, you could meet a boyfriend on a hookup app, but you’re also likely to get a lot of one-time hookups. Ask people what they’re looking for, and then believe them. If someone says “just fun,” don’t try and make them a boyfriend. If you’re friends with any past hookups, you could also ask for feedback. It’s possible you’re doing something in the sheets you’re not aware of.

I went on a few dates with a guy. It was fun and all, but no big sparks. All of this took place over maybe six weeks. I wasn’t interested, so I just stopped hanging with him and hitting him up. Then he showed up at my work, caused a scene, and almost got me fired. I felt shitty, because he was so upset, but I also thought he was being very dramatic. I think I might have dodged a bullet. At what point do I need to tell someone that I’m over it instead of just backing off? I don’t think I did anything wrong, but similar stuff has happened before. – Male, Gay, 21

Tough question! And I think it’s different for everyone and depends on the connection with the other person. I would say that it’s OK to fade away when you don’t feel a connection, but when that person asks you to hang out again, don’t blow them off: Be clear you’re not interested. People HATE being in the unknown or feeling led on. It causes anxiety and leads people to act out (like show up at your work). You might think you’re being nice by not being direct, but you’re actually just prolonging the end. Just pull the band-aid off next time. it’s OK to not be into someone and let them know.

Sex/Love/Relationship advice? Send your questions to: Instagram: @ThomasWhitfield84