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.

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Ghosted.

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.

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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

A New Man In My Life.

As my next court date grew near, well not near but closer, I began to worry that he would find a way to postpone it again. I spoke to my lawyer and asked that he give me every scenario of what could happen when we walked into court. Looking back I realize this was probably an unnecessary, not to mention expensive, move, but the last time I was so unprepared for the postponement I didn’t want to be taken by surprise again. In the state of California the family court system doesn’t care who did what, it’s called a “no fault” state. Basically, it means they don’t care that my husband had a double life or that we had lived together for four years. All that mattered was the date we got married and that I walked out on our marriage four months after we walked down the aisle. It is a dumb law- just sayin.

After reliving my week of “one-year” mark memories, I decided to take my friends up on the invite to spend a week in Hawaii. I thought it would be a great time for me to relax. I could work from anywhere I had a phone and a laptop, and the idea of getting out of LA for a bit sounded like heaven. This trip would be very different from the last time I was in Hawaii. I had no intention of sitting on the side of the pool and crying for two hours; I did however have plans of lying next to the pool with a cocktail in hand for many hours! I was in a much better place and felt like I could enjoy myself. Just looking at my calendar these days made me exhausted, so I welcomed the break.

I also had a new man in my life, my assistant Jack, and he was fabulous. He was reliable, honest, funny, caring, had flawless style and fabulous hair. He could give a look of death in less than 3 seconds, one of those looks you can only learn from your east coast Italian mother. He quickly learned about everything that was going on in my life, and I began to notice that my calendar was suddenly so packed that I didn’t have time to be sad or lonely. From the day Jack started working for me, he always knew what was best. Jack had dropped out of Medical School to move to LA and become a stylist. When he first told me this, I blurted out, “wow, your parents must be so proud,” intending to sound as sarcastic as it did. He immediately laughed, and I knew we would be together forever! A celebrity client of mine introduced Jack and me, he had interned on a movie she had just finished and when I mentioned I was looking for someone she jumped at the chance to introduce us. It was love at first site. Jack quickly became the man in my life.

I was crazy busy with work and decided I didn’t even have time for men in my life other than Jack. Of course, Jaxton was in and out, per our usual routine of the past one hundred years. Rick, on the other hand, was in my life often, he was someone I relied on regularly; he was dependable, strong, caring and kind. I remember on particularly stressful week, he called and asked if I could be at a meeting with him the next afternoon. I agreed, even when he called back 2 minutes later to say that I better clear my whole afternoon because the meeting may take a while. I didn’t have time to ask questions, so I said ok and rearranged my week to block off the day. I figured the meeting regarded a show we had discussed and that we probably had several meetings lined up back to back. Rick was picking me up at 9 am and at 8:30 he called. “Wear something comfortable,” he said. “What does that mean?” I asked. “Well, you need to wear shorts and tennis shoes,” he replied. “I am NOT wearing shorts and tennis shoes to a meeting!” I said with my voice raising. “Well, I might have stretched the truth a bit about the meeting. We are not exactly going to a meeting today. Just get dressed, and I will explain when I pick you up, be there soon!” He said as he quickly hung up the phone. Grrrr, I was so pissed. I had a super busy schedule and didn’t have time for this shit. I took a deep breath and decided to put on shorts and tennis shoes and meet him outside. Rick had been a great friend, and I wasn’t going to throw a fit when he was trying to do something nice, though I thought about it.

“Where the fuck are we going?” I said as I got into the car and slammed the door. “Good morning to you too,” he said in an annoyingly cheering voice. He immediately started driving, probably so I couldn’t get out of the car. Before he could tell me where we were going I started asking a million questions; “Where are we going? What time will we be back? Will have cell service? Why didn’t you tell me?” “Just relax! You have had a rough couple of weeks, and I think you deserve a day of fun. He didn’t know I was headed to Hawaii in a few days, and I decided to keep that to myself. No need to ruin his fun! As we drove further and further outside of LA, I was totally stumped. Finally, I got it out of him; we were going zip lining at some semi-ski mountain town 2 hours outside of LA. WHAT? I had two thoughts; two hours outside of LA??? And, this was the sweetest thing anyone had done for me in a long time!

Being a girl who is afraid of heights I knew this was going to be a challenge for me, but it was exactly what I needed. The field trip got me out of my head, which has always been pretty difficult to do, and got me smiling and laughing all day. I couldn’t remember the last time I had that much fun. After our zip lining adventure, we went for Mexican food and beers. It was the perfect ending to an unexpected perfect day!

As I left for Hawaii, I knew all the time on my hands would either be a great thing or a not great thing. At times, I feel that too much time on my hands causes me to over think things, wait, but maybe that is wine. Lately overthinking things had become my new past time, and it was dangerous. I started writing in my journal more and more and when I would go back and read the entries it always seemed like someone else had written them. I would swing between sad and lonely to positive glass half full, I can concour the world attitude. I don’t know if it was the roller coaster of emotions or the feeling of being a stranger to myself, but either way it was exhausting! Sabrina would tell me it was perfectly normal, but I felt like I was crazy.

Once I arrived in Hawaii and smelled the ocean air, I decided to treat Hawaii like a spa vacation. I slept a lot, went for long walks each day, swam in the ocean, tried not to drink too much. I wanted to come back from the trip feeling great, and I did.

I came back feeling powerful and recharged. I knew it was going to be a hellish couple of months with work, my pending court date and the holidays. I am not a fan of Halloween and barley recognize it as a holiday, ever. I would spend Thanksgiving in New Hampshire for the Miss New Hampshire USA pageant and though I hated not being with my family on holidays, this year it was a relief. The thought of going home this year didn’t even sound fun. The thought of sitting around a table, seeing friends, and having everyone giving me pitty face was something I was not interested in. I decided work was the perfect excuse to avoid my first holiday as a single!

Single & Stylish,

xx Keylee

As I think about the holidays and spending time in cooler weather I think about winter coats, and this year I am obsessed with capes! They have such a glamourous European feel to them and they are perfect for fall and winter- in LA there isn’t that much difference!

*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 KeyleeStyle.com, 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 KeyleeStyle.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

I Was In Stage Three.

After my October 8th burning ceremony, I felt a bit better. It is amazing what a little pyro- therapy can do for the soul. I decided to take that “better” feeling, slow down and reflect on what had happened the last nine months. I first turned to Gina and Lisa for a girl’s sushi night. This had become our tradition, and it was our favorite form of group therapy- with sake! I then turned to Sabrina. She was proud of me for burning my wedding photos and felt it was good therapy. She was also proud of me sending an email to my husband’s family. Though it had been a few days I had not heard back anything from any of them, funny thing was, I didn’t care. I didn’t write that email for a response, I wrote that email for me. I hadn’t spewed anger at them; it wasn’t the goal. I had plenty of it, but I knew it was pointless. I basically said that I would spare them the ugly details, I wished things had turned out different, and I wished them all well.

Though my life was fun and seemed exciting from the outside, and much of it was, I was lonely. I had become an expert at avoiding my feelings, pretending everything was ok and getting on with my life – but that had not gotten me very far. The reality of my situation started to settle in, like really settle in. Ever since the one-year anniversary all I could think about it is, “it was one- year since…” this or that.

At work, we were all preparing to head to the east coast for New Hampshire pageant orientation. One-year prior I had gone to the New Hampshire pageant orientation the weekend after my wedding. We had decided to put off our honeymoon due to our work schedules. In fact, the day after our wedding we flew to Las Vegas for a work conference that my husband needed to attend. Literally twenty-four hours after my wedding I was at a cocktail party on my new husbands arm schmoozing and being the supportive Mrs. Married Woman. Two-days after we returned home, I barely had time to unpack and head to the airport. This was normal life for us; we both often traveled and had adapted to mutual hectic schedules over the past several years. It hadn’t always been easy, but we found our groove.

I was heading east, and my husband was speaking on a work conference in Napa. He was a bit nervous for his speech, but he was so charismatic I knew he would do great and charm the room in an instant. I kissed my new husband curbside at the airport and was off. We kept in touch throughout the weekend via text and brief phone calls. The three hour time difference made it difficult but we made it work. He told me his speech went well and sent me a photo of a wine label from the bottle he was enjoying at the dinner. Since moving to San Francisco, we had started to enjoy wine so whenever either of us had a special bottle we would send the other a photo of the label. It was our way of saying, “wish you were here.”

He spent the weekend, what should have been our honeymoon, networking and entertaining. I spent the weekend working with pageant girls and parents, proudly showing off my new ring. Though the trip was going well, I had so much guilt for having to go to New Hampshire. I had was married less than a week and here I had flown off, leaving my poor husband. I felt like a terrible wife. He reassured me that it was fine, it was going to be mostly men at the conference anyway he said. I was so lucky to have such a supportive husband.

What I would later learn is that my husband spent the weekend in Napa, not alone, but with Katy. I even found the same photo of the wine bottle on her Facebook page months later. When people would ask me about our honeymoon, “no we didn’t take one, well my husband did, he just didn’t invite me.” Had become my standard smart-ass reply. Needless to say, we never took a honeymoon.

During my next session with Sabrina, I told her I wanted to step up the work I was doing. I, of course, thought that if I could speed through the steps and really dive in, I would be back to my old self that much quicker. I know that sounds crazy, but it made sense at the time. I started dating less, and though I was still in my bad habit of recycling I decided only to spend time with those in my life that made me feel good about myself. In LA that is hard to find but I was lucky to have supportive friends.

The one person, man, I knew I could still rely on was Rick. Rick and I had stayed close and for some reason I felt close enough to him to tell him everything. All the dates, the drama, my feelings… which I shared with almost no one. I kept thinking that if I pretended I was ok, I would eventually actually be ok. This act might have eventually worked in the long run, but it wasn’t working for now. Rick could see the semi- self-destructive path I was on, and I think he stayed close and put up with my over-sharing to make sure I didn’t spiral out of control.

I decided to take a break from men, which, let’s be honest, lasted all of about 15 minutes, and I was busy at work which kept me focused. We were only a few weeks away from our first pageant of the season, and things were getting hectic. I started staying later and later at the office. I didn’t like being alone in my apartment, so I started going home late and left early each morning. I started going to the gym again and decided to do whatever I could to get myself into a good place. Sabrina told me to be a bit selfish; that is what I planned to do.

Sabrina and I also discussed the five stages of grief and loss: 1. Denial and Isolation 2. Anger 3. Bargaining 4. Depression 5. Acceptance

At this point, I was in stage 3. Bargaining. When you feel helplessness and vulnerability, you have a need to regain control. I needed to regain control of something in my life. The hardest part was I didn’t even know what I was trying to regain control of. During this stage many people try to give the marriage one last-ditch effort, this was not my case. I defiantly had zero desire to give my marriage another try; I just wanted to give my life another try. The life I had before I ever met my husband.

I did eventually get a response to the email I had sent on October 8th, eight days later. The response was what I expected; brief, empathetic, and final. We never spoke again.

Single & Stylish,

xx Keylee

When you are going through an “all about me phase,” it is good to spoil yourself a bit! Here are a few things that will make you feel spoiled but won’t ruin your wine budget!

*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 KeyleeStyle.com, 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 KeyleeStyle.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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
-Larabars
-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.

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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