Ghosting is a s***y but inevitable part of dating these days. It’s never the best way to stop seeing someone, but we all do it. If you only went on a couple dates, or both mutually aren’t putting much effort into whatever this thing is, than it can kiiiinda be forgivable.
However, ghosting someone that you’ve dated for years? After you’ve lived together? That’s pretty much unforgivable. This guy did it, and his karma came back to bite him in the ass so hard he’d probably switch places with Littlefinger or Paul Manafort at this point.
Here’s how his story begins:
I have been an expat since graduating and have been moving a lot. More than a decade ago, when I was still young, I was in a relationship with a woman, Sylvia, in a country where we both lived. Sylvia wanted to settle down but I was not ready to commit so young. We clearly had different expectations from the relationship. I did not know what to do and, well, I ghosted her. Over the Christmas break, while she was visiting her family, I simply moved out and left the country. I took advantage of the fact that I accepted a job in other country and did not tell her about it. I simply wanted to avoid being untangled in a break-up drama. Sylvia was rather emotional and became obsessed with the relationship, tracking me down, even causing various scenes with my parents and friends.
First of all, yeah. Obviously she became obsessed with tracking you down, you f***ing psycho. You moved out and left the country without ever telling her. Can you imagine going home one day and your boyfriend of 3 years is just gone? That borders on emotional torture.
Anyway, it gets better… and worse:
Anyhow, fast forward to now. I now work as a math teacher in an international school. I have been in other relationships since, so Sylvia is a sort of forgotten history. Sadly, till now. This week, I learnt that our fantastic school director suddenly resigned due to a serious family situation and had to move back to her home country over the summer. The school had to replace her. We are getting a new director. I read the bio of the new boss and googled her and was shocked to discover it is Sylvia. We have not been in touch and do not have any mutual friends anymore. I am not a big fan of social media and had no idea what she had been up to since the unpleasant situation a long time ago.
Bam! Karma is a bitch and her name is Sylvia.
Also, a couple things here. First: “Sylvia is a sort of forgotten history.” On behalf of Sylvia and respectable human beings everywhere: F*** you.
Second: “I am not a big fan of social media.” I can’t think of a single phrase that more succinctly says “I’m an insufferable douche” than that one. Oh you’re not that into social media? Congratulations on being edgy and original!
Anyway, the guy decided to ask for advice on Ask A Manager, and the advice boiled down to exactly what you’d expect: You’re f***ed, bro:
I don’t know that you can salvage this! It’s not reasonable to ask Sylvia to manage someone who she has this history with. You can try and see what her take on it is, but I’d be prepared to have to move on, whatever that might look like for you. I get that it’s going to be inconvenient — maybe even quite hard — but there may not be an alternative here.
Your best chances of an okay outcome are probably to contact Sylvia ahead of time to let her know you work there so that she’s not blindsided by it on her first day. Acknowledge that you made a terrible mistake when you disappeared, say that you’re very sorry for the hurt and alarm you must have caused her, and say that you realize that neither of you are in a great position to work together now. Ask her if she’d like to talk about what to do. (Beyond that, I’d avoid sounding like you’re presuming anything about how she’ll feel now, since who knows — best case scenario, if she actually can work with you now, she might be offended that you’d think she couldn’t.)
Remarkably, the story has a happy ending. Douchetron4000 set up a meeting with Sylvia and the school’s director:
I met with him, together with Sylvia, the same day. As you can imagine, this meeting was incredibly embarrassing for me, personally and professionally. Fortunately, unlike some of your readers hope, they did not think the past failed relationship was a sackable offense. At the end, there is not that much interaction between the director and employees on daily basis. The chair was more worried about possible gossip and related implications for the organization. Ours is an expensive enterprise, this is a conservative place and nobody wants any scandal. At the same time, they considered it was necessary – as they framed it – to put some measures in place to avoid possible problems in the future. I was also told in no uncertain terms that although the schedule for the year was already set, it was far more difficult to replace the director than an employee (me). I do not want to go into too much details but I found the proposed measures rather excessive. It would make my position unattainable, even in a short run. Therefore I resigned on the spot. My resignation was later accepted.
Once again… “this meeting was incredibly embarrassing for me.” AWWW! You poor thing! Here’s a big cup of no-one-gives-a-s*** for you to feel better. Ugh…
Anyway, the “proposed measures” involved basically never talking to Sylvia and never being in the room with her without a third party present. Which seems fair, but it was too much to ask of ole’ Doucheman. He resigned and moved back to the states to figure out how to be less of a piece of s***.
As far as Sylvia? The only person worth caring about in this story? She’s happily married with kids. Good job, Sylvia.