Why I Ghosted The Perfect Guy (And Didn’t Feel Bad About It)

“Derek” and I matched on Bumble, and talked for a few weeks before meeting. He was perfect—driven, funny, and charming. The night we met, on our first date at an upscale gastro pub in the city, was the last time I ever talked to him. Here’s why I ghosted him and never looked back:

  1. He Checked Off All My Boxes. As Derek and I got to know each other prior to our first date, I was happy to learn that we had a ton in common. He was funny, worked in the same field as me, and made a point to tell me that he wasn’t just looking for a hookup. Physically, he was exactly my type. We had talked about our relationship histories, and bonded over the fact that we had both experienced being cheated on. It felt reassuring to open up so early on.
  2. I Went In Without My Guard Up. We had spent almost a month messaging on Bumble and texting before we met in person, which, honestly, I liked. Though it took longer to meet in person than I was used to, I enjoyed talking a little bit over a longer period of time (to make sure he wasn’t a creep) before meeting. Doing so made me more confident going into the first date—it helped calm my fear of the unknown and allowed me to approach him without my guard up.
  3. He Made Me Laugh. He had the ability to convey dry, ironic humor over text, making outlandish observations about current events, taking part in well-timed, self-deprecating humor. I was excited to engage in some witty banter during our first date but it never happened. He was always very serious, had consistent trouble picking up on when I was kidding, and he didn’t crack a joke the whole time. Turns out, I had been giving Derek too much credit during those text conversations; he wasn’t being sarcastically funny those past few weeks, he was just being unbelievably boring.
  4. He Was Generous. The night started with drinks at the restaurant bar before dinner. Derek was very attentive, consistently asking me how I was doing and if I needed anything else. We had been at the bar for about half an hour before making our way to a table for the meal. In that time, I’d made a pretty decent dent in my drink but he was already onto his third and had bought me another. The theme continued through dinner, and after I politely declined the fourth drink, he was visibly frustrated for a minute. I couldn’t say for sure that Derek was trying to get me drunk but the fact that I wasn’t certain was enough to make me slightly uncomfortable.
  5. He Brought Up Gender Equality. Dinner had wrapped up and the waiter placed the check on our table. Derek grabbed it right away while simultaneously bringing up a conversation we had about unequal pay (which came about after he had shamelessly low-ball guessed my salary). As he signed the check, he made a snide comment about how I should be footing the bill, since I “was the breadwinner and all.” Maybe I was wrong about him having no sense of humor before because this date had turned unbelievably laughable.
  6. My Foot Popped When He Kissed Me Goodnight. Just like in The Princess Diaries, when Derek kissed me goodnight, I had a “foot pop” moment right out of a movie scene—not like the kiss at the end of the movie where Anne Hathaway is with her Prince Charming, but more like her kiss with that jerk from school who was using her for fame. Derek had plopped his mouth on mine so suddenly that I literally lost my balance, kicked a foot up to stabilize myself, and smacked my funny bone against a parking meter. Not so funny. Unfortunately, Derek being extremely handsome did not translate into actual sexual chemistry.
  7. He Followed Up Right Away. About an hour after we had parted ways, Derek texted me asking if I had gotten home. I didn’t answer right away and he sent another text a few minutes later to tell me that he had a great time and couldn’t wait to see me again. I chuckled and immediately called my best friend looking for advice on how to respond. How could he have thought the night went well?
  8. Thinking About Our First Date Kept Me Up All Night. After calling my friend, and debriefing her on how the night unfolded, she advised me to simply go to bed and reply to Derek in the morning. The problem was that I couldn’t fall asleep. The more I thought about Derek, the more agitated and anxious I got. How could I have misread him that much? I looked back through our old text conversations and tried to figure out which texts I misread and what wrong inferences I had made. I began to feel self-conscious. How did I attract this type of guy yet again?
  9. He Helped Me Realize My Worth. My mind kept reeling the next morning, but what began as self-criticizing had turned very motivating. Of course he was intimidated when I talked about my job. He should be—I have a kick-ass career and I’m proud of it. Also, it wasn’t Derek that was making me laugh in those texts prior to our first date—my own sense of humor was entertaining me. Despite how horribly I felt the date went and how uncomfortable I felt during it, he still thought the date went well. Imagine how great he’d have felt about it if I’d been on my A-game.
Emily Boudin is a marketing professional based in New York City. She also is an active advocate for women's issues and shares about her experience with sexual assault and abuse.