My [26F] on/off ex [41M] of 4 years is a chronic ghoster...

Every time since it has been directly after we spend a short amount of time together, he will find an excuse during that time to "break up" and ignore me again.

This is ringing alarm bells to me. Are you sure he's being honest about being "forty and lonely"? On the surface that sounds as if there's someone else somewhere. Perhaps he does move around a lot with his job, but that doesn't mean there isn't a longterm someone out there either. If there's not, it really does sound like he only sees you for one reason, and you're right, you don't deserve that from anyone. You're still young, I'd push this guy to the side and find someone to focus your time on rather than a guy who's still trying to play at being in his twenties.

As for your tl;dr, I've only ghosted once and that was because he became unnecessarily clingy. I'm not the best texter -- I'm honestly the personification of that saying "I'm really bad at texting unless I'm in love with you". So he'd text, and then I'd get busy during the day with work/exercise/general stuff. In between these pauses, he'd send one, two, three Snapchats of the most menial things (what he was cooking, a Jeremy Kyle screenshot, etc) that he'd also add to his story, so it became apparent after about the eighth time of this happening that the sole purpose of sending them was to see if I was near my phone. Then, you might have guessed it, he'd use that as a reason to text again. And again. It got to the point where by ignoring the Snapchats, I could avoid multiple texts. Eventually I waited for a week of silence, and blocked and removed the SC and the number. I'd met him through Tinder, and thankfully hadn't exchanged social networks so I did just drop off the face of the earth. I don't like ghosting, I do find it rude and I think everyone deserves to be told the truth "It's not working out, I don't see this longterm" etc, but it became so annoying coupled with the fact that he became a little creepy, always trying to initiate sexting and asking for naked snaps that I just had enough and felt like there was no way of saying it nicely.

/r/relationships Thread