Are People Using Coronavirus to Score Dates?

It appears coronavirus has become the perfect pick-up line.

The deadly virus might be causing us to stockpile goods, work from home and avoid contact with other people, but Brits are undeterred when it comes to dating. A recent survey from the dating website OKCupid reveals that people are still looking for love, and they are using coronavirus as a conversation starter.

Between January and March, COVID-19 has seen a boost in mentions on dating profiles by 262%.

Woman with family locked down in Italy poses naked with face masks to urge everyone to be safe It makes sense, because who doesn’t want a loving, caring and coronavirus-free partner in these dire times? What’s more, the findings show that 93% of survey participants based in the UK are still willing to brave public spaces and go on dates. That’s a commitment to romance, if ever there was one. Italy are understandably less keen, with 55% not up for a first date in the current climate (and, you know, the lockdown) but head to Germany – if you can – and you’ll find 95% of people are down to date.

Or France, arguably the country of love, where 94% are still willing to risk it for romance. For those considering a quick ‘Netflix and Chill’ session, can we please remind you that condoms do not protect against coronavirus. If you have COVID-19 symptoms, the British government recommends that you stay at home for seven days, so this is the perfect opportunity to really get to know the person you want to date, until you feel safe to step outside again. Real love will wait. Already in a relationship but self-isolating?

 

 

Here’s Why You Got Ghosted After a Great Date—And What to Do About It

When Maggie first met Ben* on a dating app, she had no expectations—in fact, she’d been casually seeing a couple other guys. But the two of them clicked immediately. “The chemistry was off-the-wall insane,” she says. “On our first date we closed the restaurant down, and it escalated quickly. We got drinks a few days later, had some deep discussions about work and life and family, and spent almost an entire three-day weekend together.” The romance wasn’t Nicholas Sparks movie-levels of epic yet, but things were promising. And then…well, nothing. Total radio silence. “I texted him to set up a fifth hang, and never heard from him again.”

It’s called ghosting, it happens WAY too often, and it occurs between friends and romantic prospects alike. It’s so common it’s inspired a 2019 TV reality series called Ghosted: Love Gone Missing, in which two hosts track down a person who’s vanished from someone else’s life—without so much as a Sex and the City-style “I’m sorry, I can’t, don’t hate me” Post-It note—to sort out exactly why they did it. That premise is bound to appeal to the thousands of people who are checking their phones this very second, waiting for a message that’ll never come.

Here’s what an expert has to say about ghosting, why some people do it, and how to deal with the action.

What counts as ghosting in the dating world?

Ghosting is officially defined as “the act or practice of abruptly cutting off all contact with someone (such as a former romantic partner) by no longer accepting or responding to phone calls, instant messages, etc.”

While my most brutal ghosting experience wasn’t a date but a childhood friend who dropped me out of nowhere, it runs particularly rampant in the world of online dating. Stan Tatkin, psychotherapist and author of Wired for Love, says that’s because apps have created a consequence-free environment—or at least, the illusion of one.

“It used to be when we dated people, we met them at work, or school, somewhere in their neighborhood, friends of friends, and so on. So our behavior would reflect badly on us if we treated somebody poorly, such as just disappearing,” he explains. “It’s much easier today, because people are more anonymous, and they’re getting away with more.”

Maggie’s personal rule of ghosting involves what she calls a “two-date cutoff.” If either party isn’t feeling it after two dates, they can slip away without explanation. “After date number three, you’ve invested a not-insignificant amount of time and energy in interacting with this person, so the least you can do is send a quick text, call, or email saying you’re not into it.”

it’ not about a quantifiable amount of time invested; it’s about how their vanishing act made you feel—even if you were strictly exchanging messages for a few weeks. “If it felt to you that the person just disappeared mid-sentence, and you sensed the jarring effects, then yeah, that’s ghosting.”

What’s the psychology behind ghosting?

The reasons people choose to abruptly halt contact—meaning, the rationale they told themselves to justify it—can certainly vary, since no two situations are the same. But as Tatkin explains, many believe these budding relationships are somehow less real in the age of dating apps and text-based communication, and can be treated as such.

Despite Maggie’s negative experiences as a ghostee (Ben was just one of several instances), she says the majority of men in her social circle insist it’s become a perfectly acceptable practice. “My guy friends maintain that ghosting is a result of us becoming culturally desensitized to meaningful communication while throwing things around in a digital-only environment,” she says.

From a psychology standpoint, Tatkin believes there’s often a deeper motivation—especially for those who are habitual ghosters—and it has to do with something called an attachment style. Attachment theory is a psychological model that aims to identify the different ways people bond with others, going back to their earliest interactions with parents as a baby. In adult romantic relationships, the theory goes, there are four main attachment styles that affect everything from which partners you choose to why your relationships end: Secure, anxious/ambivalent, dismissive-avoidant, and fearful-avoidant (read more about each attachment style here).

Ghosting falls squarely in the realm of “avoidant” behavior, Tatkin says. “People who are dismissive and avoidant are more likely to ‘rotate’ people,” he continues. “Ghosting is another way of basically not having any conflict, right? People who are conflict avoidant would be natural ghosters, because no muss, no fuss—you just disappear. So it’s ‘good for me, and if it’s not good for you, then sorry.'”

The bright side? You might have dodged relationship challenges down the road, had you continued to see each other. “The group of people who are most likely to do this have a hard time with dependency, and with commitment,” Tatkin says.

Some people ghost to protect themselves from rejection.

Here’s where Tatkin blew my mind: Some people cease communication not because they’re commitment-phobic, but because they’re scared you’ll hurt them. “There are people on the other side of the spectrum who are much more afraid of abandonment and rejection,” he says. Those with an anxious or ambivalent attachment style may ghost as a sort of preemptive strike—either out of fear that you’ll disappoint them in the future, or because of a perceived slight on your end (regardless of whether you actually did anything wrong).

“If I was really sensitive to abandonment, withdrawal, and punishment, I may try to get even,” Tatkin says. “So in doing that, I would ghost you, and that would give me some satisfaction—the idea that I’ve hurt you in the way that you’ve hurt me.”

Try not to blame yourself if you’ve been ghosted.

Due to what psychologists call negativity bias—the natural human impulse to dwell on negative events over positive ones—those whose texts and messages go unanswered often wonder what they did to deserve it. “What’s particularly cruel about this, is that without knowing why or what happened, the person is now left with their imagination, which is more likely to be negative,” Tatkin explains. “They reflect on themselves. ‘This person feels aversion towards me. I must be ugly, I must be stupid. It must be something I said.”

Tough as it is, the healthiest thing is to avoid self-blame, cultivate the self-love you deserve, and keep it moving.

Confronting them isn’t the best option.

Yes, telling them off would be a gutsy, *possibly* gratifying move. Or, it’ll reopen the emotional wound, particularly if the ghoster acts cagey about why they did it. “To confront somebody who’s ghosted you risks further rejection,” Tatkin says. “So it would take a lot of courage to do that, hopefully with the realization that it’s not going to turn out well.”

Getting even post-ghosting isn’t the best idea, either.

Calling them up to tell them off may leave you feeling worse, and spreading the news of their poor behavior might not make you feel better, either. “Some people will make sure this person has a bad reputation, if they can,” Tatkin says. But that won’t soothe your rejected feeling. “It just sucks, because ghosting is an aggressive, cruel thing to do. There’s no other way of looking at it.”

Surround yourself with people who care about you, and reconsider your dating strategy.

As with an actual breakup, this too shall pass, and in the meantime, you’ll want to spend time with friends who’ll build you back up. Trying to meet new people offline, while taking a break from dating sites, can’t hurt either. “If I’m going to play on a field that’s anonymous, then this is going to happen, because people abuse this whole thing,” says Tatkin says. “If you can be just a picture and words on a screen, you can be dispensed with easily.”

Know that ghosting in dating is absolutely rude.

Tatkin will say it one more time for the back row: Ghosting is lousy. “It should bother people doing it, and it should bother people when it’s done to them.”

As painful as it is, Maggie’s learned this herself. “It sucks to be on the receiving end, but it gives me clear information on where to direct my energy so I don’t waste any days, she says. “Ghosting is a really great way to tell someone that you don’t respect their time.”

*Name has been changed

 

 

Sun Stories – Just Another Sunday at the Salon…

Cherie is a wonderful woman but sadly has failed me on so many levels I have decided to compartmentalized my life.

Despite everything else that’s been going on, I was still  focused on my last (and probably final) encounter with Kita.

I thought back on our relationship all the while dating Cherie and cheating on her with other women.

Was Kita just another notch in the bedpost that was my life now?

No. She’s a sweet girl I really like and want to help.

But who am I kidding? As nice and as charming and as moral as I am, I’m just the best shark wrapped in wolf’s clothing dressed as a lamb.

What have I done?

I really liked little Kita. I guided her as best I could with all of the knowledge and wisdom about dating and relationships.

She would blow up my phone on my day off about her problems with her silly boyfriends. I was there for her. I got her pepper spray. Snacks, knowing she’d be in to enjoy them. Lunches. Dinner dates. Treats to send her off with at Christmas break.

I did everything a good boyfriend should do for his girl. But she wasn’t my girlfriend.

I did these things because I fell in love with her. A 22-year-old girl.

Her dad is busy and is never around. Her mom put her on antidepressants to deal with her. She’s obsessed with tanning.

This is damaged girl.

I just wanted to help her navigate her life because she had no experience in the ways of romance.

But in doing so. I made her mine.

Sure, when I laid eyes on her I was immediately attracted to this cute, fit little Asian beauty, but that was nothing more than the passing phicklephilly lust. I never saw all of the gifts and dates we experienced. Not in a million years.

Or did I?

Is this what I do now?

I’ve always been attracted to younger women my whole life. Is this how I do it now? I protect, shelter, counsel and then covet these young girls?

Now I don’t know.

If you read the entire Kita series I think you can see a real interest and care for my subject. But rather quickly once she awakens from her folly she submits to me. I never elude to it or ask for it. I never had to in my life. I’ve always been disgusted by men trying to get sex from women in their life. It’s always seemed so clumsy to me.

Every time I’ve ever been intimate with a woman it’s always been relinquished to me without request. I think that’s how it should always be.

It’s her choice.

She decides she wants you.

You can never take her or press her no matter how much you want to. If you’re a good man, she’ll yield to you.

Kita came to me.

She came here drunk and ready to play.

I feel something about that, but it isn’t guilt or sorrow. It was an exciting act of celebration and retribution for us both. She the broken toy with the lost boyfriend, and shitty current boyfriend, and me the sheer joy of the ease at which I was able to close this sweet young client.

Cherie is a wonderful woman but sadly has failed me on so many levels I’ve decided to compartmentalized my life.

I just never thought I’d fall this far.

I was so in love with Cherie. Our love was so sweet. She was always so horny, which was fun. I’d never met a woman who was so well-connected to her raw sexuality.

Truly a queen.

But here I am doing my job and wondering after what happened between Kita and me if I will ever see her again.

As much as I’ve been a mentor to her, I have to admit all I’ve wanted to do was to split her like a ripe melon and fuck her back to China.

See if you know anyone that has the balls to say that?

I can’t lie in my blog. I’ve got readers counting on me to be honest.

It happened. I did it to her.

How is she?

Did I mess her up?

I can’t live with that. Too much anxiety.  I never want to hurt a girl. I couldn’t live with myself.

If Achilles finds out I’ll probably be fired.

Rule 3… You’re available but not available.

I’m losing my shit.

What did I do to this girl?

I was her mentor on every level and then I fucked her on the utility sink of the salon.

I don’t know what to do.

Will she just stop coming here and cancel her membership?

Fuck.

I can’t think about this but I can’t help it.

I love Kita.

That blonde, tanned, fit little 22-year-old naive Asian girl who is super hot and dumb that you just slammed on the back sink of the tanning salon.

I feel awful, but exhilarated.

I put in a lot of time with her. all of the hours of counseling. the endless texts. It was so annoying. Was it wrong for me to extract my fee?

No. She offered herself willingly.

But still.

 

I sweep and mop the salon, and punch out.

This fucking place.

I no longer like it, or Achilles.  But it groomed me to be great at my new job as manager at the restaurant in Rittenhouse.

I lock the door and head down the steps. I card lock the outside door and head West on Walnut street.

I’m tired of working here. This whole relationship with Achilles went nowhere. Which I have learned is how all of his relationships go. Even the one with his girlfriend.

I walk South on 16th, Starbucks and a healthy alternative restaurant that will be out of business in 6 months because their rent is to high and their covers are too light.

I need to quit smoking.

I hate smoking.

The dirty smoke, ashes, paper, glue, carbon monoxide, all of that and $10 bucks a pack need to go away.

 

I’m puffing my celebratory smoke as I walk past the Italian restaurant where I had my final dinner with Annabelle before we saw the worst show ever and then she later dumped me.

I feel nothing now for Annabelle. She is just a series of blog posts that tell my story with her.

 

I approach my place in Rittenhouse  and I pause.

I stand on the steps of my walk up and think about my life for a moment.

I’m surrounded by good people and family.

My health is fine.

I’m killing it in my work life. (And for once I actually like what I do!)

I’m loved and I truly love.

I have things to look forward to.

 

My Magic 5!

 

I’m good. we’ve come a long way.

Like I always do if Lorelei isn’t home, I’m going to sit in my chair in the living room and watch Mr. Robot on the 50 inch.

Life is good.

I’m at peace an I don’t have to be in work until 5pm tomorrow.

 

I’m actually dozing when I get the text.

 

“Hey, how are you? WE should meet up!”

Kita xo

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

Buy Phicklephilly THE BOOK now available on Amazon!

Listen to the Phicklephilly podcast LIVE on Spotify!

Instagram: @phicklephilly    Facebook: phicklephilly    Twitter: @phicklephilly

 

Crazy Dating Stories – Volume 1, is Now Available for Sale on Amazon

If you liked Phicklephilly, you’ll love Crazy Dating Stories. These are tales from the last 20 years of my dating life.

Phicklephilly the book, is a story about me moving to Philly and beginning my search for true love in our fair city.

Crazy Dating Stories is the most insane, irreverent, disgusting, and funny tales from my dating life. Everybody has stories like these, and I’d love to hear them. We’ve all been on a Date from Hell!

I went back into my history and dredged up the wildest, weirdest things that have ever happened to me while dating.

While writing and compiling these dating stories, I realized I’d been on so many I couldn’t fit them all into one book. So this is the first of a trilogy. I hope for my sake there’s never a Volume 4!

I’ve decided to make them available on Amazon Kindle and then eventually in paperback.

With everything going on with the Coronavirus and most of us having to stay home from work, now would be the time to grab a copy and get some good laughs at my expense!

You won’t be disappointed!

If anything, you’ll feel sorry for me. You’ll wonder, why did this guy hang in there as long as he did on these dates?

Now we know the answer.

To eventually get a funny story out of it!

 

You can buy it here:

 

 

MORE TO COME! 

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

Buy Phicklephilly THE BOOK now available on Amazon!

Listen to the Phicklephilly podcast LIVE on Spotify!

Instagram: @phicklephilly    Facebook: phicklephilly    Twitter: @phicklephilly