Just when you’d gotten used to the sting of being ghosted, there’s a new, upgraded version to worry about: mosting.
Ghosting is when a prospective partner completely vanishes from your life after a series of dates. With mosting, the prospective partner lays it on thick, more or less convincing you that you’re The One, then ghosts you. As with ghosting, you’re left totally blindsided but also wondering, “Why put in all that effort?”
“Mosting is ghosting, but where before you ghost, you completely love bomb the person with praise, compliments and faux perfect soulmate-type stuff,” she told HuffPost.
“It’s so over the top,” she added. “The ghosting is much more confusing and painful, because this wasn’t just a ‘meh’ date that you could take or leave. This person really made you feel like you had a rare connection in a sea of duds.”
Moore came up with the phrase after reading a New York Times’ Modern Love essay by Gabrielle Ulubay, a writer who was ghosted after a night and morning of amazing sex with a guy who seemed totally into her: The man called Ulubay the “full package” and “the girl of [his] dreams,” and marveled at the fact that they’d met on Tinder. He left in the late afternoon and then she never heard from him again.
“The author didn’t identify the behavior as anything other than disappointing but I realized after talking with friends that we’d all had dates like this,” Moore said. “Guys who act just gobsmacked to be with you, then you never speak again.”
Nick Notas, a dating and confidence coach who works primarily with men, confirmed that mosting is definitely a thing.
“A few of my male clients have mosted women before coming to me or early on in our work,” he told us. “I can’t divulge details, but rest assured, I tear into them for it.”
As for why men (and women) do it, Notas said that most recognize that the effort required in mosting is relatively minimal for the high payoff of sex.
“These men know flattery is an easy way to build interest,” he said. “They’re usually thinking about having a casual hookup and don’t have the guts to be upfront. Because if they do, they think some women won’t sleep with them.”
And that’s the most frustrating part, said Moore: In the age of hookup apps, there are plenty of women out there who’d be down for some casual sex without a man paying lip service to how amazing they are.
“If you’re mosting just for sex, you’re wasting a lot of needless effort on women who might be perfectly willing to sleep with you for no other reason than they think you’re hot,” she said.
It’s not always just about easy sex, of course. For some mosters, the habit is tied up in some deep-seated behavioral patterns. Attachment styles ― how we’ve been taught to emotionally bond and show affection to others in our adult lives ― underlie our dating behaviors.
If someone has an avoidant attachment style, they may crave love but struggle to create closeness and intimacy, said Samantha Burns, a counselor and author of Breaking Up and Bouncing Back: Moving On to Create the Love Life You Deserve.
“There are people who self-sabotage a relationship, where after a great date they don’t follow up, get back on dating apps, or bail when it starts to feel too real,” she said. “They tend to use emotional and physical distancing strategies to keep intimacy at bay.”
People with avoidant attachment styles hold fast to their fantasies about their ideal relationship, and “when they haven’t found the perfect person, they get rid of them,” Burns said.
In that case, the moster is probably doing you a favor by showing you their shortcomings as a partner early on.
But what should you do if you find yourself chronically falling for mosters? Keep reminding yourself that excessive flattery right off the bat isn’t normal, no matter how good the sex or chemistry is, said Neely Steinberg, a dating coach and image consultant.
“I’ve had clients tell me stories where guys have really come on strong in the beginning and then all of sudden disappeared,” she said. “But the thing is, there are usually yellow flags, if not red flags, that perhaps they chose not to notice. It’s almost a false sense of intimacy that people want to believe in so they ignore the quick pace of things.”
“Mosters should realize ― especially if they are men ― that if you’re doing all this to get laid, you don’t have to.”- Tracy Moore, journalist
If you’re reading this and recognize yourself as a serial moster, Moore kindly asks that you learn to dial down the high praise on early dates.
“I would recognize that you can compliment someone and be really into them but still take it slow enough that you don’t come on too strong,” she said. “Most importantly, mosters should realize ― especially if they are men ― that if you’re doing all this to get laid, you don’t have to.”
If a hookup is what you’re after, learn to be upfront about your intentions and use your words, Notas said.
“Mosting is cowardly,” he said. “Tell people beforehand if you’re just looking for sex. They should know your intentions so they can make an informed choice of whether or not to sleep with you. You may be surprised at how much they appreciate your honesty.”