Just the tip: Not fade away

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Carin Huber, Opinion Editor

Casual sex has lost the taboo it once held. Two people can have some sweaty fun, then may not see each other ever again. This is fine, but it doesn’t mean that we should abandon all courtesy.

It has become common to simply ignore further attempts at contact when one has decided not to see someone again. This is called ghosting, and it’s terribly inconsiderate.

It’s bad enough to be ghosted after one date. The smallest courtesy would be saying, “I had fun, but I’m not interested in a relationship.” To ignore someone’s attempt to connect is the height of rudeness. It’s more hurtful than saying “thanks, but no thanks,” and shows a complete lack of compassion.

Ghosting sometimes happens after a relationship, however casual, has gone on for weeks or months. There is no excuse for this. The other partner in the relationship probably cares for you at least as much as any other person he or she encounters regularly. If you suddenly stop communicating, what is the other person supposed to think?

The first thing likely to come to mind is that something terrible has happened to you. Casual relationships often mean it’s unlikely the two of you have friends in common. You certainly haven’t met each other’s family. Your unwitting ex-partner worries about you, and there is no one who can tell him or her you’re OK. If there were, would you want to put your friend in the awkward position of breaking off the relationship for you?

When the silence has gone on long enough, the jilted party starts to wise up, but this is where the pain really kicks in. Questions and self-doubt bubble up like swamp gas, poisoning his or her self-confidence. They think “What happened? Did I do something wrong? I didn’t think it was serious, but don’t I at least deserve some notice?” Wanting to give you the benefit of the doubt, concern for your well-being still niggles.

I know it can be hard to hurt someone’s feelings. But just disappearing doesn’t make the hurt less; if anything it makes it last longer.

Or maybe you fear a confrontation with an unstable partner. I have news for you; ghosting doesn’t make the crazy ones less crazy, and it can drive a stable person to track you down, in person, for closure. I’ve never caused a scene, but I won’t accept ghosting from someone I’ve known for more than a couple weeks. No one should have to.

At the very least, send a text. People say it’s tacky to break up by text, and perhaps it is. But it’s far worse to just fade away.