Y’All Need Help #11: Being Ghosted Says More About the Ghoster and Less About the Ghostee, So

I’ve always hated having boobs. I cried when I realized I needed to buy my first bra, used to wear only sports bras and never ever take them off (I had heard it would stop them from growing. Lol did that not work), and have always been jealous of my small chested friends and family. I recently have looked into (became obsessed with) the idea of getting a binder, but I’m not a particularly masculine presenting person and identify as a cis-female (for now? Gender is confusing and hard to figure out). What I don’t know is if that makes me a poser… I don’t really know very many (any) cis women who bind regularly and don’t want to be looked at weirdly for it….


See also: You Need Help: You Want to Bind But Need Some Help by Alaina!

I met up with a new woman from Tinder a couple weeks ago and we had a great time, I thought. We had a good conversation and laughed a lot and even kept texting for a while after that night. When I said goodnight I told her I’d like to meet up again and she said she would, too. But then I texted her to set up date #2 and she never responded. A couple days later (at the advice of friends) I tried again, with a more specific time and place, but still haven’t gotten an answer. And, look, I’m well aware that online dating puts you at risk for ghosting. But I’ve had such a stream of bad luck recently. This isn’t the first date that’s ended this way (more like the 10th). So, what do I do? Call her out for disappearing on me? Or just move on and add her to a long line of ghosts that already haunt me?


So I recently broke up with my partner. We had previously been best friends, and feel very strongly about remaining close post-breakup. We both care about each other and want to remain a part of each others’ lives (the relationship ended on amicable terms, also). However, this is (of course) much harder in practice than in theory. I still feel frustrated and angry, and I want to give myself time to hold those emotions and work through them, but I am also worried that if we have a break in communication, we won’t be able to rebuild to a healthy friendship. I don’t really know how to process the reality of our no longer dating when we still are very much in each others’ lives, but I also don’t want to not be close with them.


Y’All Need Help is a biweekly advice column in which I pluck out a couple of questions from the You Need Help inbox and answer them right here, round-up style, quick and dirty! (Except sometimes it’s not quick, but that’s my prerogative, OK?) You can chime in with your own advice in the comments and submit your own quick and dirty questions any time.

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lnj has written 310 articles for us.


    • Although I’m now wondering if it’s a squid?

      Submission for Y’all Need Help #12: How do I get over my cephalopod identification blindspot?

      • The difference between an octopus and a squid is obvious. An octopus has eight sucker-lined arms, whereas a squid has eight arms lined with suckers.

          • I got curious about science and consulted google:
            Squid have two fins on the sides of their heads, whereas octopuses rarely do. Also, octopuses have eight arms, whereas squid have eight arms AND two tentacles.
            This little creature appears to have four arms and two tentacles, so maybe it’s a squid who has lost half its arms?

            Maybe the circumstances that led to it losing half its arms are what taught it the importance of setting better boundaries? Thank you, Boundaries Squid, for letting us learn from your mistakes so that we don’t have to suffer as you did.

      • It’s Boundaries Squid, ready to eject a cloud of ink between you and your ex if things get too unseemly, like the cephalopod version of a vigilant teacher at a Christian middle-school dance.

    • I also came to the comments to appreciate Good Boundaries Squid. <3

      (It's a squid because of the shape of its body and its pointy head. Octopuses have round heads and their tentacles come out from their head like spokes, squids have more of a linear body shape.)

    • Also into Boundaries Squid, and I hope it becomes universally understood texting shorthand. Laneia, always the trendsetter.

  1. Can confirm re ghosting from someone who’s ghosted rather a lot of people (I’m sorry!). I have really bad anxiety and I tried internet dating for a while.

    I’d talk to super cool people and most of the time make excuses not to meet because THE FEAR, even though I really wanted to! And the few I did meet up with and had a great time with I ended up just ghosting when it came to meet up with them again, not because I didn’t want to but because overwhelming anxiety again. I’m sorry people. I no longer try to do internet dating!

    I still feel guilty especially since nobody ever thinks I could have anxiety and often don’t believe me when I tell them – so if you do get ghosted, is assume it’s someone like me and not because of you or something you did!

    • @squiggly
      I do this in everyday life. Sometimes I walk out without saying goodbye because I have too much anxiety. I probably look like a rude bitch, but I am just afraid of what people think of me.

    • This was exactly my experience with internet dating!! And also non-internet dating. And also friendships. And also always.

      I’m a work in progress…

  2. these photo responses are ????

    also, has anyone actually ever successfully become friends with an ex? asking for well… ??

    • Actually, yes. I had to go back to social circles and activities that I did pre-her to ground myself into a life that wasn’t centred around her. (Luckily I was able to go back to my hometown for a few months for health reasons for this). In that time, my ex and I still Skyped once a week to watch TV together, so that we had set expectations to hang out but still do our own things. The consistency helped for me (the dumped) and the space helped her reappreciate me as a friend after an emotionally draining breakup.

      The friendship we have now is different. We no longer have each other as intimate confidantes, but we’re still close and considerate. I actually went on vacation for 2 weeks with my girlfriend, my ex, and her girlfriend (who is also my friend).

      It’s been 2.5 years since the breakup, but it helped that we both wanted the same kind of friendship, and there was an opportunity for me to have the healthy space and time to readjust to the change in lifestyle. It’s worked out perfectly but it wasn’t easy and it wasn’t always friendly.

      Good luck!

    • One of my best friends is my ex-boyfriend! We did take 4 months off to calm things down and I think we function better as friends. It’s weird sometimes and we have had to navigate our boundaries the hard way (“let’s try this!”…”ohhhh that was a BAD idea”) but 4 years on and it seems to be going well.

    • One of my dearest friends is a Lover Emeritus. I’m polyamorous, which might help? But taking a big break in communication (at least we cut way back for months, if not radio silence) also helped a LOT.

    • Yes! I’m still friends with the ex I started this website with and I’m still friends with the ex I started A-Camp with. For the former, it was easy because our relationship had never been especially serious or intense, we always knew we’d break up eventually and still have to run a business together. Also she’s just really great and fun and chill in general. For the latter, we did have a pretty rough first few months and year for many reasons but a lot of it with resentment and also stuff that happened with my subsequent relationship. But after a while we were able to be friends again. I’ve done interviews with both of them on A+ !



      actually quite a few of the ex interviews are on this topic

  3. Like this format but would like even more if there was another way to read these? Like in easier text or alt text or some other way.

  4. I’ve been ghosted a few too many times, including in person. I will say that one time I thought the person was ghosting me, turns out they could not reply due to health issues and what not. Now I am good-ish friends with the person(they invited me to their birthday months after thinking I was ghosted and friendship grew from there).

    • hello me too! sometimes I just want my t-shirts to fit a certain way, ya know?
      also gender is complicated and stupid so

  5. Transcript of the responses:

    Q1 (about binding as a cis woman):
    Wearing a binder does not make you a poser!

    Wanting to wear a binder is a reason to wear that binder!

    [party decorations, 8-ball emoji, pancakes emoji, raining & umbrella emoji]

    You don’t have to be anything or anyone other than exactly who you are.

    [rainbow megaphone emoji]

    The world is full of people who will look at you weirdly for any number of things, like your height or the tone of your voice or who you’re friends with, maybe even what your boobs are doing. Those people aren’t in charge of you and they don’t get a say in what you do with your hair, your house, your friends, and they sure as fuck don’t get a say in what you do with your boobs. EVER. You want to bind? Bind! Do it proudly and have fun and love yourself and your reflection and be proud that you’re still trying new things in this life. I’M PROUD OF YOU. I love you and I hope you get a kickass binder THIS WEEKEND.

    Q2 (about ghosting):

    1. You did everything right. Everything a person could do to make this new relationship take off, you did it.

    [Doing Your Best 2017 Trophy]

    2. It’s possible that something else is going on in her life that’s preventing her from keeping this connection afloat.
    Like, it’s also possible that she’s just ghosted you.
    And that’s also fine. Both things are fine! Because they ultimately have nothing to do with YOU.

    [‘You’ as a waving hand emoji, a little distance above some emoji of a burning meteor falling into a hole – the meteor is labelled ‘other people’s bullshit’]

    [‘You’ as the lady Bowie/rock star emoji next to an emoji of a fishing rod pulling fish from a hole labelled ‘what’s next’. Below both is an emoji of an apple labelled ‘healthy snack’]

    Q3 (breakups and best friends):

    ACTUALLY – A break in communication is EXACTLY what you’ll need in order to make this work!


    You both need time apart to get your heart on the same page with your brain, which isn’t always easy. Sometimes it’s surprisingly hard? But it IS possible!

    [heart with cartoony person smiling & waving hello]

    Set some boundaries that include where you’ll see each other and for how long. Take the time you both need to work through your emotions. Maybe consider going to one solid couples therapy session with the intention of wrapping up loose ends and moving on as friends.


    [squid emoji]

    As you gradually integrate each other back into your separate lives, it probably will require building another level to that solid foundation you already have, and that’s a good thing! Making this sacrifice now will help you be more stable for the future of your friendship. I PROMISE THIS WORKS.

    [‘Before’ emoji: Sad face, skeptical/side-eye face. ‘After’ emoji: smiling+blushing+jazz hands emoji, cool sunglasses emoji]

  6. okay i came here to say that i’m feeling very autostraddle’s target demographic right now and thank you:

    1. i’m currently being ghosted by a previously very promising tinder girl after three really good dates

    2. i’m a cis girl (i think) and the binder i ordered from amazon came today and i just tried it on for the first time and i love it

    3. i’m in the process of figuring out and redefining boundaries with my ex who i’m still very close friends with as we’re noticing the boundaries we had drawn up aren’t working for us as well anymore in our friendship

    • @notrachel
      I hate boundries, but as I get older I realize that they are so needed. I wish I could perpetually live in the midnight hour and never get in trouble for the weird things I did during my midnight hour including pushing boundaries.

  7. I’ve been ghosted, and didn’t like it much until I remember that I’ve also ghosted people myself, and flipped that around.

    Also, how did I not know about the Bowie emoji?

  8. Oh goodness, while I like the graphics this presents an accessibility issue without a transcript (which a commenter provided– thank you!). I really hope this is considered next time??

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