If you thought that ghosting was the pinnacle of dating brutality, allow me to introduce you to ghosting’s manipulative cousin, ‘phantoming’.
Phantoming is a term that we have coined here at Drawing Down the Moon. After many years of listening to the stories our clients have kindly shared with us about their lives prior to joining us. The story was all so common, we felt it had to be defined.
Phantoming makes ghosting and breadcrumbing look like a trip to Disney Land.
We have all been there; I guarantee that if you have been an active dater, you have been phantomed at some point or another.
Here’s how it happens: You feel excited about your new relationship and the prospect of being with this person for the foreseeable future.
You are not just dating you are “going steady”. They are your boyfriend or girlfriend and you refer to one another as such… You have told your friends and family all about them, and your friends and family have met them.
This is it, you have never felt more elated or excited. But reality check, sorry, but unbeknownst to you, you are not actually in a monogomous relationship…(insert awkward silence).
Yes, the devious Phantomer has lead you to believe that he is your ‘boyfriend’or she is your ‘girlfriend’ when the reality of the situation is that he is about as much of a ‘boyfriend’ to you as Jason Statham or Pamela Anderson is. The Phantomer has snaffled your heart and wants to place you in a false bubble of security but sadly it is all an elaborate con. They have other “boyfriends” other “girlfriends” or are even married!
So, how do you know you are being phantomed? It is a tricky business but the signs are there from the offset if you know what to look out for.
1.) Last minute Cancellations
This one is very simple; someone better came along, you are one of many! He/she is dating multiple people whilst maintaining the façade of being your ‘Phantom partner”.
2.) Not on the Guestlist
You begin to notice that your plus one invitation is lost in the post. You are not invited to the black tie event that they are attending and you suspect they might not be going alone. Chances are they are taking another deluded person who is also being phantomed by “your” partner.
3.) You do not meet their friends or family, ever.
Why would you? They would then have to explain who you are and that would catapult you into the ‘relationship realm’, an area these underhand people have strategically stepped away from.
4.) They are not available at the weekends.
They do not make plans with you or see you at the weekends because they are too busy going out and trying to meet someone else. The texting often continues throughout the weekend , with your would be partner misleading you into thinking you are at the forefront of their thoughts, whilst they are out pursuing other phantom victims, and having fun with the friends they don’t seem you special enough to meet.
5.) Their house is off limits.
The Phantomer cannot risk you finding the everyday detritus associated with other partners. Other victim’s paraphernalia would lead you to suspect that you are not the only one! It is so easy to meet in bars and restaurants and go “back to yours”.
So what do you do about a phantom relationship? The best thing you can do is identify you are in it, and get out. You will never persuade the person who is phantoming you to leave their wayward ways…