Are You Dating a Ghost?

This is an article that was recently posted on the Huffington Post, I thought it was very appropriate to post on Halloween. I think we have all dated a few ghosts… not that I would mention any (real) names, yet!

After three months of dating, 23-year-old Michael was optimistic about his relationship with Linda*. They were together often, and he’d even met her parents. One night at dinner, the “where is this going?” conversation came up. Michael and Linda mutually agreed that they wanted to move forward in the relationship. He dropped her off at home, kissed her goodnight … and never heard from her again.

After his attempts to reach her went unanswered, Michael put on his cute-guy hat and delivered Linda’s favorite cupcakes to her office — only to find out his name had been removed from the guest list at the gate.


The term “ghosting” (sometimes known as the “slow fade”) refers to the anecdotally pervasive act where one dater ends a relationship by simply disappearing. The ghost does not give an explanation of any sort, leaving the ghosted wondering where he or she went wrong.

This phenomenon isn’t new, of course — prehistoric daters sat by their curly-corded phones waiting for their ghosts to call, and assumed that call must have come when he or she was out of the house. (The Discovery Channel has yet to confirm the anecdote, but current 20-somethings speculate as much.)

But in an era of Tinder, OKCupid, JSwipe and Hinge, matchmaking often happens by swiping right and left, making potential daters literally disposable. The ease of app and online dating has allowed ghosting to take new form. Chelsea, a 25-year-old Manhattanite who has been both a ghost and a ghostee says the fast-paced, onto-the-next mentality of online dating makes the need for an “it’s not me, it’s you,” conversation irrelevant. “Even after one or two dates they are still just a profile to you, not a person. I don’t feel the normal empathy I would for someone I met organically,” she said.

Logan Levkoff, sexologist and expert on “Married At First Sight,” explained that online dating and apps take the humanity out of the process a bit, which could make users prone to being ghosted. “[Because] all it takes is a swipe,” she said. “The quantity [of how many people experience ghosting] is more because it’s so easy to do and it requires very little human engagement in order to do it.”

In fact, in a poll conducted by YouGov and The Huffington Post, respondents ages 18-29 were more likely to admit they’ve experienced ghosting on either end than any other age group.

Breaking Up Is Hard To Do

Dating is, in some ways, a metaphor for Halloween. (‘Tis the season, go with me here.) Trick-or-treaters go from house to house, tasting all different types of “candy” (aka men or women) until they’re completely exhausted. They go home, put on comfier clothes, consume literal candy until they can’t even breathe declaring to their friends, “I’M NEVER DOING THIS AGAIN.” That is, until a cute guy or gal … er, Hershey bar … messages them.

In a 2012 study, researchers identified seven types of breakup strategies. Trick-or-treaters polled considered confrontation the best way to breakup, while they classified ghosting (avoiding/withdrawing from contact with your partner) the least ideal method to end a relationship. The YouGov/Huffington Post Poll confirmed these sentiments. Only 13 percent of 1,000 adults polled consider breaking up electronically very appropriate or somewhat appropriate.

But while most don’t condone ghosting, that doesn’t seem to influence whether they’ll do it to someone else.

Chelsea admits that’s the case for her and a bunch of her friends. “I’m a total hypocrite in that respect. I’ll ghost someone without a second thought but when it happens to me I’m the first to run to my girlfriends in disbelief saying, ‘The least he could do is let me down easy,'” she said, adding, “It’s probably karma.”

So, Is Ghosting Morally Wrong?

New York-based location scout Victoria Carter protested the slow-fade in a 2013 blog post on XOJane. “When you disappear into the ether without any indication why, all I can do is come up with a million and a half reasons why you’re not into me,” she wrote. Ghost victims have certainly been there and done that too, wondering… He could be out of the country without cellphone service, maybe she really is busy at work, Miranda’s date actually died in one SATC episode… it could happen.

To members of Ghosters Anonymous, Carter continued, “Until you close the door and close it completely, I can hold on to that tiny unrealistic shred of hope that you DO still want to hang out, and that maybe you’ll call (text, who am I kidding, nobody calls anymore and I hate it) and it’ll all be great.”

But Greg Behrendt, author of the best-selling book turned movie, He’s Just Not That Into You, firmly believes that silence speaks louder than any words could. “What I find weird is that there has to be an explanation after two dates. If someone doesn’t call you after a couple days, that should be enough to say, he’s just not that… oh God, I don’t want to quote myself,” he said (quoting himself anyway).

It’s simple, and there’s no need to contemplate the many “reasons” a date is unresponsive, he explained. “When someone’s not texting you and you see they’ve read your text, then you should really get it,” said Behrendt, who recently co-authored a book with his wife, appropriately called, It’s Just A Fucking Date.

Defending ghost tendencies in an Oct. 2013 post on Slate, writer Amanda Hess echoed that sentiment:

The idea that a direct message is necessary to cement a relationship’s end is yet another obfuscation. When it comes to modern digital relationships, the rhythm of the exchange tells us as much as its literal content, and it doesn’t take any specialized skill to read between the lines. If you’re initiating all the texts in the relationship, the recipient just isn’t that into you; if you’re not getting any texts back, the recipient isn’t into you at all.

Yes, lack of response from someone you’re digging feels crappy. But is it morally wrong? Behrendt doesn’t think so — and he can’t understand why humans can’t apply the same understanding about changed feelings to relationship as they do to virtually everything else.

“Feelings change about a lot of things… about a band, about a food, about certain things you thought were fun that you don’t think are fun anymore. But it becomes so profound in relationships like, ‘that’s never happened in the history of relationships and why would he just walk away?’ Well haven’t you just walked away from a million different things in your life because you weren’t into it? It’s the universe taking care of you saying, ‘”I’m sorry but that particular thing is over, go this way,'” he said.


But… What About R-E-S-P-E-C-T?

On the flip side, Levkoff feels offering an explanation — even if it’s a short one — is just part of being a standup woman or man. “It’s nice to be able to say to someone, ‘Listen I’ve enjoyed getting to know you, but I don’t think this is going to move forward in a romantic way,'” she said.

The likelihood is that you’re not going to feel great if a relationship ends, be it one minute or a year. So a statement like that might hurt feelings, “but it means they respect you if they care enough to be upfront with what’s going on,” she said.

Plus, without a conversation, you run the risk of a ghost coming back to life. “When nothing else is going on those people tend to show up again, and then you’re like what happened for all that other time?,” Levkoff said.

Writing about the subject on The Date Report in May, reporter Sara Ashley O’Brien explained that ghosting just prolongs the time it takes to move on:

A simple acknowledgment of an appreciation for the time we did spend together, “Hey, I had a fun few dates with you but I don’t think we’re right for each other beyond that,” would provide so much more closure. It’s always a blow, but you can get over it in a few days. When the ghost disappears, you spend the first few days wondering when you’re going to get a text back and then weeks trying to figure out what went wrong.

At the end of the day, Levkoff explained, it’s each ghost for himself. “We have to take ownership and hold ourselves accountable,” she said.

It’s not them, it’s you?

In the days post-ghosting, the unanswered often retrace the ghost’s steps, looking for possible clues as to why he or she disappeared. “I don’t get it, we had such a great time on our date,” or “He promised he would call! There were no signs!” are frequent quotes that friends of ghosting victims hear.

But Behrendt believes that’s never the case — there are always signs. “Part of it is the way you set the relationship up, and what you allow to happen so that somebody is going to be able to escape,” he said. That’s the big problem with #kidsthesedays and relationships via text or Tinder or Hinge. If the majority of your “relationship” takes place on one of these platforms, there’s a surefire sign that the receiver of your iMessages might disappear. Rule of thumb, Behrendt warns: “If it’s not in person, it’s not real.”

But given that not-in-person early courtships aren’t going anywhere — what’s a woman or man who wants to avoid being ghosted to do?

Ghosts don’t necessarily have personality patterns, and so, the onus is on you to be clear and upfront. Echoing Behrendt’s take, Levkoff said, “If we don’t acknowledge what we want right from the start, if the beginning of your relationship is about texting back and forth and the conversation is fairly benign and short, it lends itself to easy in, easy out she said.”

That’s one place where dating sites and apps might actually lend themselves, she explained. It’s very easy to start a Tinder conversation with, “Hey, so why are you on here?” for example.

Levkoff advises throwing the idea that that type of conversation is “off-limits” out the window. “I don’t believe there are any rules when it comes to love and sex and relationships. I think if there’s something you want, you should be upfront about it. I don’t think game playing makes sense at all, and if someone doesn’t respond well to directness, then they weren’t the right person anyway,” she said.

And if your potentials keep disappearing, take a step back and look in the mirror (unless of course, you are the ghost, in which case, owning a mirror would be quite silly). Ask yourself these questions: “Is there something with the people you’re meeting? What do they have in common? What are you looking for that’s causing the same outcome over and over again?,” Levkoff said.

Behrendt adds a few more warning signs to watch out for: “Look at where he wanted to meet you, look at what his plans were, look at how difficult he was to get in touch with.”

And if you’re unhappy with the answers to those prompts, rest easy knowing that even the most notorious ghosts will change their stripes when the right person comes along. Right, Casper?

Single, Stylish & Haunted,

xx Keylee

Your Waistline & Wardrobe Will Thank You!

We all have had moments of emotional drama; breakups, breakdowns, job stress, fear of the future, watching the ASPCA commercials, etc. In times like this, we rely on our vice(s); the most common vice is food! It is that one thing we grab when we are feeling down; cookies, chips, ice cream, booze, red vines, In and Out or Del Taco in my case. My two vices are anything salty! Though, after some very unscientific research, I found that sugar is the most popular vice for women! This got me thinking, the only thing worse than an emotional drama is having that emotional drama and then on top of it, realizng your favorite jeans no longer fit!

So I asked my friend, fellow blogger, nutrition expert, entertainment reporter, all around fabulous girl- Whitney English the question everyone wants to know, “How can we indulge during these emotional times without busting our waistline?” Screen Shot 2014-10-16 at 9.24.14 AM

1. What are your go to food items that satisfy a comfort food craving but not kill the waistline.

When I’m upset about something – whether it be man-related or otherwise – I want something comforting. For me, that means cookies and ice cream!

I’m totally that stereotypical girl in the movies who sits in bed watching a Rom-Com, blubbering into a box of tissues and gorging on sweets. However, this emotional disaster scene doesn’t have to turn into dietary destruction as well.

My favorite alternative to traditional ice cream and cookies is Banana Froyo with 4-ingredient Cookies crumbled on top. These two desserts taste so decadent, but they’re only a fraction of the calories of the real thing:

Screen Shot 2014-10-09 at 9.23.19 AM 4-Ingredient Cookies

Screen Shot 2014-10-09 at 9.23.02 AM Banana Froyo

2. What are a few mood elevating foods to help get us back in the right frame of mind?

As many people know, serotonin is a neurotransmitter in the brain that contributes to feelings of happiness. Your body naturally produces it, by way of the amino acid tryptophan (a biochemical precursor). Tryptophan is found in many protein based foods – from animal and plant sources – like egg whites, soybeans, oats, salmon, turkey, sunflower seeds and the best one…chocolate!

Some studies show that consuming foods high in tryptophan can reduce feelings of depression. So again, those 4-ingredient cookies with oats and chocolate would be a great choice!

Tryptophan is also a pre-cursor to the hormone melatonin, which induces sleep. Bad breakups can often disturb your sleep, and many studies have shown a lack of sleep can lead to increased stress which is also a contributing factor to weight gain. Yet again, another reason to up your tryptophan intake when you’re feeling down.

3. Any other suggestions to satisfy the sweet tooth?

-Frozen Grapes
-Peanut Butter & Banana Bites or Sandwiches
-Fat-Free Greek Yogurt topped with diced strawberries and a tsp. of honey.
Black Bean Brownies – sounds gross but I swear they’re delicious:
*Note: I’m seriously obsessed with these things.

Screen Shot 2014-10-09 at 10.23.02 AM

Thank you to Whitney for all of her decadent advice! Our skinny jeans say thank you too!

Click on all links above to find all of Whitney’s recipes discussed in the post and to follow Whitney on social media check out her website; “To Live & Diet in LA”.

xx, Keylee

I Finally Said The Words Out Loud.

I arrived back from a wonderful week in New York, not knowing if I would ever see Sam again, but at that moment I was perfectly ok with that conclusion. While in New York I had become clear on what I needed to do with my life and now I needed to make it reality.

Waking up on June 12 I had a knot in my stomach the size of a basketball.  I knew the next 24 hours was going to be very difficult but kept telling myself that if I could just get through it I would be ok.

Journal Entry 6/12 morning.

“Today I am crossing the road. I am getting on a different buss and heading back to my path. The girl in the mirror is starting to feel stronger. I woke up today knowing that my life will never be the same. The last time I felt this way it was my wedding day. “

I boarded a Southwest flight from Burbank to Oakland early in the morning, landed in Oakland and got in my rental car. I was there for a one on one therapy session to be followed by a joint session with my husband. I was driving to the therapist office and I began to feel a burning behind my eyes, soon tears started to fall and I wasn’t even really crying.  Now that I was back in California it was all very real, suddenly I wanted to be back in NYC sitting at the rooftop bar sipping rosé.  As I parked and walked into the therapist office I suddenly felt very calm.  I walked into the room and sat on her couch, like I had done many times before, and she asked me the question she had asked me each time, “how are you feeling lately?”

I looked at her and said “I feel pretty good, but I can’t do this anymore.”

Her face had a look of surprise, which she quickly tried to mask, and she replied, “do what?”

I quickly responded, “all of it, the therapy, the marriage, the effort to put it all back together…. I can’t do it anymore. I want a divorce.” I felt such a weight lifted just by saying those words out loud. I was done, I couldn’t keep pretending that one day I was going to wake up feel different, like I could put it all back together and trust him once again. The words of my sister kept playing over and over in my head; “he took 6 years of your life, do not give him one more minute!”

“Ok, I am hearing that you are done trying and you want to file for divorce,” she said.

“Yes, that is what I am saying” I replied. I guessed she was just clarifying my statement and asked that question so I could hear it out loud.  So far it all seemed very standard therapy talk, but what she said next was much more surprising, “if you are sure this is what you want then I will support your decision, but now you need to leave.”

What? Leave? My, soon to be ex, husband and I had a session right after and that is where I was going to tell him my decision. I was so confused. I looked at her, “What do you mean I need to leave?  I want to tell him today, I don’t want to work on this or drag it out any longer”

“I cannot be responsible for the reaction he has when he learns the news, I am not sure what will happen. You are going to go and I will inform him of your decision” she told me.

Again I thought, WHAT?? I was so thrown and so scared at the same time that I just said ok and got up to gather my things.  I am just never going to see him again?  A semi-stranger is going to tell my husband that our marriage was over?  She was going to end my six and half year relationship and I wasn’t even going to be in the room?  I didn’t know what else to do but agree and get the hell out of there.  Suddenly I couldn’t move fast enough, I was almost running to my car.  I got in my car and started driving immediately.  I had decided to stay the night with a friend in San Francisco but suddenly wanted to not only get out of the therapist office but also get the hell out of town!

I decided to drive the long way back to the city and ended up being lost most of the time, I finally found a gas station, I pulled over and bought a pack of cigarettes and sat down on the curb.  I hadn’t smoked in years but it seemed like a good time to start again.  I was shaking, crying, and smoking all at once.  My phone started ringing and I didn’t even want to look at it.  I finally did look at the caller ID and saw that it was my sister.  She was calling to check in on me and ask if there was anything she could do or say to make me feel better.  She couldn’t. I felt like my heart had been stabbed with a hot iron poker and someone was trying to rip it out through my throat.  I kept thinking; What did I just do? Was it the right thing?  Why wouldn’t the therapist let me tell him I wanted a divorce?  Was she that concerned about his reaction?

As I tried to drive again and talk to  my sister I was rambling, shaking, and making very little sense. She was as stunned as I was that my therapist had asked me to leave and that she would tell him, but she felt relief that it was out there and done in some sense. Suddenly I needed to walk around, I felt like I was having an outer body experience, I told my sister I would call her back and got out of the car. I found a strip mall and decided to get some air plus I needed another cigarette without stinking up my rental car and having to pay extra!

As I sat in the parking lot once again, chain-smoking to hold back the tears, I thought about the first time I uttered the words; I want a divorce. It wasn’t any easier this time to say the words out loud but the one major difference was that this time I had the support of my family and friends.  When my first husband and I divorced I had zero support from my family.  From the day, I left I was living on friend’s couches and basically using my trunk as a closet. I hadn’t prepared financially to leave, much like this time, and my parents were not happy with my decision- which they made very very clear.  Granted, when they knew it was what I really wanted they got behind me and supported the decision in the end but it was a long few months of going through it on my own.  The other factor of saying the words, I want a divorce out loud means I was giving up. No matter what the circumstances were I felt like I was “failing” at marriage again.  I know I know, it isn’t failing but no matter what it actually is, in that moment divorce feels like failure- I felt like I had failed.

After a few cocktails and dinner with a girlfriend in SF I went to bed though I didn’t sleep at all. Tossing and turning while going over every moment and every word of that day in my head.  I wondered how he took the news, what his reaction was, why he hadn’t tried to contact me,  what was he doing at this moment.  Even with all that we had been through I still didn’t believe that his intention was ever to hurt me, I never thought of him to be a malice person. Though I could only imagine the rage he had against me now for taking this step and calling it quits.

I woke up the next day hoping to feel better, I didn’t.  My limbs felt like they each weighed 1000 lbs.  Just the simple act of getting out of bed seemed impossible but I had a flight to catch and was anxious to get out of town.

Journal entry 6/13:

“I thought yesterday was hard- but that was until I woke up today. The head spin and fog are overwhelming today. I don’t feel relief, I am just utterly exhausted and sad. It hit me that I may never see my husband again. I remember this thought with my first husband. It is just so strange to go from saying I do and planning the rest of my life with this person- family, kids, dreams, building a life to never seeing him again. I really want to go one day without crying… that would be nice.”

I arrived at the airport, sunglasses securely on my face, and went to purchase my usual airplane necessities; water and a gossip magazine.  “Will that be all” the kind lady behind the counter asked. I went to swipe my debit card and put in my pin, “sorry that card didn’t work ma’m” she said to me. “Huh? I will try it again” I responded.  I swiped it again and put in my pin, taking extra caution to put in the correct pin number- I knew it was correct because it was my wedding date…1-0-0-8. The card was denied again.  I could tell the other fliers behind me were growing anxious so I dug around in my handbag for a ten-dollar bill, paid and was on my way.  As I walked away I thought that is so strange the card didn’t work.  The one thing my husband had been good about was helping support me financially until I got back on my feet.  Since I had a few moments I decided to call the bank.  As the line rang I was hoping to myself that it wasn’t a fraud issue (we had that issue a lot) because then I would have to call my husband and tell him, go to the bank and sign documents, etc… the whole process was just a pain in the ass.  As I called Bank of America and punched in all the numbers it finally connected me to a representative, I explained the situation and she quickly informed me  “I am sorry Ms. Sanders, that account has been closed.”

“WHAT?” I screamed into the phone, everyone in line for my flight turned to look at me.  I ignored the stares and went back to the phone “what do you mean the account has been closed? When did that happen?” “It was closed yesterday afternoon, has there been some mistake?” she asked. “MISTAKE? Mistake? Yes, there has been a giant mistake but it has nothing to do with Bank of America!” and I hung up the phone.  This was one of those times I really wished for an old time phone so I could really slam it down!

I crawled onto the flight back to LA and stared out the window for the next 55 minutes.  He closed our bank account…. suddenly it hit me.   He had just made the first move in what would be a very long war.

Single & Stylish,

xx Keylee

** Sadly the widget I use to post the fun fashion part of my story is down today, but don’t worry the fashion will continue next week!

*All of the events I have written about in the above and previous posts are about me, my life, my experiences and from my point of view.

© Keylee Sanders, Style Studio LLC and, 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Keylee Sanders, Style Studio LLC and with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.