How to end a relationship without ghosting, according to a sexpert

8 mins
12 Dec 2022
How to end a relationship without ghosting, according to a sexpert

Anti-ghosting prompts for good karma and more spicy sex and relationship tidbits 🍒

image The Regular Show / Cartoon Network

words Megan Wallace

Hiya shaggers. I'm Megan, and for the past five years I've written about all things sex and relationships: heading to sex parties, reviewing dildos and navigating non-monogamy to find out what's new and exciting in the world of the sexually delighting. Every month, I'm coming to you with sexpert advice: my picks of the best ~sexual wellness~ bits from the world of woo, the science of sex and my (sometimes unhinged) musings from the dating wilderness. Today, I'm thinking all about the ghosts of exes past. Happy reading!

It’s December, which means we’ll soon be treating ourselves to our annual, guilty pleasure rewatch of The Muppets Christmas Carol. In case you have a modicum of cool and don’t know what this is, it’s the deranged puppet adaptation of a Dickens story wherein a tyrannical boss is visited by ghosts and suddenly believes in workers' rights (an unconventional approach to labour organising, even by Victorian standards). Admittedly, these are the good kind of ghosts, there to prompt us to have moral fortitude, but what about the bad kind? Those ones that pop up on a dating app and then seem to evaporate as quickly as they once appeared?

Yep, this was all just a very Christmassy way of segueing into a dating crime we’ve all heard about ad infinitum: ghosting. In order to give you a quick refresher, ghosting is when someone seems totally into you but then seems to drop off the face of the Earth: never again reaching out or replying to your messages, maybe even blocking you. To put this in grown-up terms, it’s when someone decides to end a relationship or connection without telling the other person (or people) and giving them the necessary closure.

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The funny thing is, we focus so much on the experience of being ghosted (triggering for the anxiously attached among us) but not so much on the fact that many of us are serial micro-ghosters. Can’t be bothered to reply to that girl who bore her soul to you on Hinge? Sneakily unmatched that guy whose tobacco-flavoured vape give you the ick? Ignoring the genderqueer barista who criticised your choice of alternative milk on your coffee date last week? Yep, given that they can’t read your mind and you’ve certainly not sent any texts for them to micro-analyse, there’s a chance that they are experiencing this as a form of ghosting. Especially if they were previously wowed by your wit and charm, of course.

One of the basic tenets of accountability is recognising that we all have the capacity to cause harm and be harmed. And you, my friend, may be causing your fair share of emotional harm. The solution? Be an adult and clearly communicate how you feel whenever it is safe to do so. If you don’t think you’ve known someone long enough to have to explain your behaviour, I have an inconvenient truth to reveal: everyone deserves clarity and honesty as a bare minimum.

Sexpert-approved anti-ghosting texts 👻

As it turns out, people on TikTok have already come to this conclusion. The tag "antighost" has 7 million views on the app, and is filled with people giving examples of the texts they might send to someone to tell them after one or two dates that they're not really feeling it and won't be pursuing things further. So you don't become the next West Elm Caleb, it's worth flagging that plenty of people on the app seemed to be of the opinion that, after four or five dates, you should probably have a conversation with someone to break things off, rather than just send a text.

So, to give you some more info on how to nicely break up with someone, we called up Bumble’s Sex and Relationship expert Dr Caroline West. Unsurprisingly, she's a major advocate for communication and closure. "When it comes to ending things with a love interest, it’s important to strike the right balance of being honest about how you feel, whilst also being kind and considerate - spare them the details if you think that it could hurt their feelings," she explains.

It's also important to try and sweeten the message - without giving the other person any false hope. "Try to weave in a compliment when you message them, ensuring it centres around the date itself rather than them as a person, in order not to send mixed messages," Dr West adds. "For example, ‘I really enjoyed swapping White Lotus fan theories with you last night…’ followed by a short and concise message as to why you’d not like to take things further."

Below, discover three anti-ghosting texts (each for a different situation) to send to whoever you've been seeing so that you can "tell them where your head's at and they can move on."

  • If you feel that your values or goals in life are too different: "Thanks so much for the drinks last night - was so good to swap our fave Tame Impala songs! I think we’re maybe going in different directions right now though, but I wish you all the best."

  • If it’s clear there was no mutual spark, try something like: "Was great to get to know you a little better, always nice to meet a fellow ‘cat person’! Ultimately, though, I think we’re better as friends, but thanks for spending your eve with me."

  • Or maybe you’re dating around and aren’t sure if you want to commit to this person any longer: "Really enjoyed our date last night, who knew you were a secret mini golf pro? But I want to be honest and just let you know that I think we should end things here, as I’m still figuring out what I want."

Get a load of this 🍆 🍆

One thing about us? We know sex toys: we've even got a whole online store full of 'em. Here, we give you a round-up of our favourite piece of sex tech of the month.

Stroke your ego

Sol Vibrating Stroker

Sol Vibrating Stroker

VUSH
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VUSH is a female-founded sexual wellness brand that's big on pleasure creating fun, functional sex toys that also to happen be things of beauty. The Sol Vibrating Stroker is no exception, coming in a joyful shade of tangerine it's made of medical-grade silicone (trust us, don't invest in anything less) with a ribbed interior. With flexible wings, it's easy to grip and sends tingly vibrations up and down the penis during solo play or, for an extra luxury experience with a partner, it's perfect for upgrading a hand job or even oral sex. Talk about multi-tasking...

Secret sex lives 🍑

Letting us into the intimate details of a week in their sex life is a 26-year-old with a sniffing kink. Here's a little sneak peek below...

When I finally locate the dungeon - walking past offices to head to a converted warehouse in South London - I walk through the door of the reception area and am met with lots of lovely, semi-naked people and fully-clothed waitresses handing out canapés.

I tell everyone I'm not sure about whether I'm up for playing and keep my eyes out for any potential dommes. Most of the time, I'm watching - asking individuals in the playroom if they mind if I watch while they are pummelled with whips or stuck full of needles.

"I walk through the door and am met with lots of lovely, semi-naked people"

However, when I go back to the food and drinks table, I spy a femme reclining on the couch area in the reception. She's with a group, and I'm getting major domme energy from her, so I head over. Offering to get her anything to eat or drink, she quickly gets the power dynamic at play - commanding me to lick her thigh-high boots. I gratefully oblige.

Read the full entry in our monthly anonymous sex diary, as our anonymous kinkster navigates the poly scene through dating apps, dungeons and WhatsApp chats.

The science of sex 🧠

Like many people out there, the subject of our most recent edition of Secret Sex Lives suffers from post-SSRI Sexual Dysfunction but what is it and what can you do about it?

Post-SSRI Sexual Dysfunction or PSSD might sound like a rare condition, but it's way more common than you might think. Specifically, it relates to the sexual side effects associated with SSRIs: antidepressants such as sertraline or fluoxetine. This includes difficulty achieving orgasm or becoming aroused, or a lowered libido.

There is currently no agreed-upon cure for PSSD, allow scientists are hopeful about the potential of low-power laser irradiation to treat loss of sensitivity. However, type "sex toy SSRIs" into Google and you'll get plenty of anecdotal evidence that sex toys can help combat PSSD.

This is something that Ness Cooper, a sexologist certified by the International Society for Sexual Medicine can also vouch for. "Sex toys can help increase blood flow to the genitals and stimulate nerves and muscle fibres in ways manual stimulation from hands isn’t able to," she tells woo. "This can help those who are experiencing sexual dysfunction due to the impact of medication, such as anti-depressants, to feel stimulation and pleasurable sensations."

In a research setting, vibrators have also been used (with positive effects) to help men with genital sensitivity loss. So there you have it, an expert-approved reason to buy sex toys.

If you are experiencing a drop in libido or difficulty reaching orgasm (whether on antidepressants or not) and it is affecting your life in negative way, consult your GP in order to discuss potential causes and treatments.

Products are selected independently by our editors from the woo online store, a carefully curated platform for feel good fashion, beauty, wellness and lifestyle, as well as externally. Discover more here.

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