Meet Ghosting's Even More Screwed Up Cousin, Mosting

And you thought ghosting was bad. Many of us have already had the unpleasant dating experience of someone suddenly vanishing without a trace, leaving us grasping for some sort of explanation and closure. Well, get a hold of those heartstrings, people, because now it turns out there’s something even worse. This “new” dating trend isn’t necessarily new, but it now has a name, and it may be something you’re (unfortunately) all too familiar with. Everyone, meet “mosting.” 

“‘Mosting’ is a form of ghosting where someone really goes overboard—making it seem like you have a special, unique connection, and then they bail,” explains Tracy Moore, the writer who coined the term for MEL magazine. “Whereas normal ghosting could happen after you thought you had a great date or a mediocre or terrible one, you’ve been mosted when the date felt like magic, and sparks flew, but then he vanished.”

Moore credits the inspiration behind creating the term to a Modern Love essay she read in The New York Times where writer Gabrielle Ulubay describes “a date with a guy that’s seemingly perfect. They match on Tinder and meet up. They hit it off and they hook up, but he doesn’t split, instead staying the entire next day to keep up the pillow talk. At this point, and it’s a critical one, he tells her—after they’ve had sex—that she’s the girl of his dreams. Then, as you can guess, they never speak again.”

Having flashbacks? Yeah, you’re not alone. In fact, Moore believes “many women” have experienced this tragic event, and shares her own mosting tale.

“For me, it was not dissimilar to Gabrielle Ulubay’s experience: Men who just really lay it on thick and act like they’re smitten, showing, basically, what you’d call potential boyfriend interest more than casual fling interest, and then vanishing. And it’s bewildering when men essentially cast out boyfriend lure when they have no intention of being a boyfriend. I’m surprised men still feel the need to do it now, when lots of women are open to casual hook-ups that need no such fluffing.”

When I first heard of mosting, I was instantly triggered, because quite frankly—this is, in a nutshell, most (no pun intended) of my dating experience. One particular example was with a guy, who, much like Ulubay, I met on Tinder first. After weeks of texting nearly all day, every day, we had two magical, straight-out-of-a-rom-com experiences together.

It’s really insulting to women’s sexuality, this notion that the only way we’d have sex with a guy is with the promise of love. It’s such an old-fashioned move I thought we’d evolved past.
The first was a casual hangout at my place, where we spent the entire night talking (yes, just talking) until we realized it was 6 a.m. and went outside to watch the sunrise together before proceeding to grab breakfast at a local diner. The second was our first “real” date, which was dinner (where he gave me a very thoughtful handmade gift!), a romantic walk through the Venice canals, a night trip to the beach—where conversation stemmed around family and children—and then, finally, a movie. Yes, all of that. We spent seven hours together that night, and every minute was freaking perfect.

As if that wasn’t swoon-worthy enough, our night was capped off with a long text from him the following day, where he stated everything he observed and loved about me throughout the date. People, I was ready to pick wedding venues. The never-ending communication, sweet words of praise and sentiments of wanting to create something substantial together continued—until one fine Friday afternoon when my texts kept being left on read. This guy ignored all my messages and basically my entire existence for two whole weeks until I got an e-mail from him to say he just “wasn’t ready for a relationship.”

Clearly, all I wanted to know was WTF happened? But any and all follow-up questions were met with silence, forcing me to just give myself the closure that he wasn’t willing to offer me. Y’all—and I’m not even going to try and save face right now—that messed me up for years. All I kept thinking at the time was, “Why do and say all of these things to make me believe you wanted this to progress if you didn’t?” And that was then followed with the misdirected question of, “What’s wrong with me?” The judgment I began to place on myself is not unheard of in these cases.

Relationship coach Amy Schoen explains that the impact felt by those who have been mosted tends to be distrust within themselves, because “it feels like the rug is being pulled from under you. You question yourself and your judgment, and you have a harder time trusting other men (or women) when you actually do meet someone who is ready for a real relationship.”

As you can guess, the most common question lingering on the minds of those who’ve been mosted is simply, why?

Schoen offers a plethora of reasons: “Some people are in love with falling in love. Or they are really good at being in the moment. They want it to work out for them, so they turn on the charm. Then, they find something that is a deal breaker for them. Instead of being mature and having a conversation, they just drop out of sight all together.”

Another possible explanation is sex.

“In researching the concept, it seems that relationship experts think men ‘most’ for fairly innocent reasons: They feel really strong chemistry or just get caught up in the moment. But in other coverage of the term online, experts say this is straight-up tactic dudes employ to get laid. They think if they don’t convince you they are basically in love with you, you won’t put out,” Moore states.

“It’s kind of a funny image, a guy falling all over himself to convince you he’s some kind of Casanova when you were probably going to sleep with him anyway because you thought he was good-looking. It’s also such an old-fashioned move I thought we’d evolved past. It’s really insulting to women’s sexuality, this notion that the only way we’d have sex with a guy is with the promise of love. That’s certainly true for some people, but those aren’t the people who are going to sleep with you on a first hangout anyway. If we’re going off really broad stereotypes here, women have stopped withholding sex for love. Men should stop promising love for sex.”

While we can’t pinpoint the cause of mosting for every situation, because it’s too broad (and mosters are apparently allergic to offering explanations), all we can really do is focus on finding it within ourselves to move forward without the need for closure from an outside source. Tough as hell, absolutely, but what’s worse—taking the L and moving on or stalling your life and crippling your self-esteem over someone who thought it was cool to do a pump-fake on your heart?