Mike Gaisser is a former journalism major who graduated last semester.
It’s common knowledge that ghosting is common, especially in the gay dating world. However, it shouldn’t be normalized anymore.
My most recent ghosting experience was in March. I matched with a guy on Tinder (because where else are gay men going to meet during a pandemic?) We really hit it off. We both followed politics, had similar music tastes and I thought he was kind of cute. So I asked him out.
He accepted, but as we were arranging a weekend date, he ghosted me. Dead silence. Not even an, “I’m not interested anymore.”
That wasn’t my first time being ghosted and I’m certainly not the only gay man who has been. But after a year of online dating and getting nowhere partly because of ghosting, I started to question every aspect of myself.
I completely lost my sense of self-worth, esteem, love and confidence. I felt even more unattractive than I did before coming out. I started questioning whether I was successful enough and made enough money. I started picking on the stupidest of things and bringing myself down. As a result, I would lapse into a really bad mental state, wondering if I’d ever be good enough for anybody.
I may have been extreme in my emotions, but I’m not the only gay man who has lapsed into a depression due to dating. I have many gay friends that have expressed similar emotions. In fact, LGBTQ+ individuals are 2.5 times more likely to experience depression than straight people. Younger members of the LGBTQ+ community struggle the most with mental health concerns.
Not only are racism, body shaming, impossible standards and unrealistic expectations prevalent in the gay community, but some gay men don’t consider each other’s feelings either. We want others to treat us with respect, but we can’t even respect one another. In fact, a Pew Research Study found that adults who identify as lesbian, gay or bisexual are more likely than straight people to experience harassment, such as pressuring for sex, unwanted touching and unsolicted pictures when using dating sites and apps.
In the United States, an estimated 1.4% of the population identifies as gay.
Since we’re a small minority with a limited dating pool, gay people are even more likely to use dating apps. However, that also increases the possibility of being ghosted. People who date online are more likely to report they’ve been ghosted. A 2019 CreditLoan.com survey found that gay and bisexual people were more likely than straight people to experience ghosting — nearly 43% — and ghost someone themselves — around 28%.
The following month, I texted the guy mentioned above and asked him why he ghosted me. To my surprise, he responded with “I got really scared and freaked out.” In other words, it wasn’t about me. I needed that clarification. I needed to stop blaming myself for other men’s actions.
I understand not everyone I match with on Tinder is a perfect match. Boring and dry conversations fizzle out. I can live with that. But to ghost someone after hitting it off and agreeing to a date is messed up.
All of us college students are busy with many responsibilities. I’m very busy myself. And especially with the pandemic, life has been challenging for most in the past year. Many of us have a lot going on in our lives. But if one is using Tinder, I’m going to assume they’re capable of responding to texts. It just comes down to whether or not they care enough to do so.
The fact that ghosting has been normalized in gay culture is ridiculous. Ghosting is not only a cowardly and selfish act, but it does nothing but hurt the person on the receiving end. They’re left wondering where they went wrong and start to question themselves.
Fellow gays, we have to be honest with each other, know what we’re looking for, and stop being overly picky. It’s time to be more considerate of each other‘s feelings and stop the ghosting.