The Morning After: A Filipino politician is trying to make ghosting a criminal offense


Ghosting can hurt, for sure. When someone suddenly cuts off contact, doesn’t show up at a date or just unmatches on one of those many dating apps, it sucks. One Filipino lawmaker is trying to make it stop, which could be a tall order. Arnolfo Teves Jr., a member of the Philippine House of Representatives, said ghosting was “a form of emotional cruelty and should be punished as an emotional offense.”

The bill — yes there’s proposed legislation — doesn’t offer specific penalties, but Teves suggested in an interview that community service might work. The bill tries to define a dating relationship as one where the parties live together without being married or are “romantically involved over time and on a continuing basis.”

Teves said neither casual acquaintances nor “ordinary socialization” constitutes a dating relationship. But those are likely the connections that ghost the most. The bill doesn’t account for blocking someone without explanation if they’re being creepy or threatening, which can often be the case. (Why am I coming across as a regular ghoster / ghostee?) Silently ditching a conversation is usually easier than being honest, sadly. It’s not cool, but I’m not sure it’s truly a criminal offense.

— Mat Smith

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