Ghosting - “The practice of ending a personal relationship with someone by suddenly and without explanation withdrawing from all communication.
‘I thought ghosting was a horrible dating habit reserved for casual flings.’”
I heard this story about a lawyer chick.
You know the type:
Fake hair, fake face, dripping in designer.
Married and divorced.
Dating (more likely attention-seeking) on the apps but clearly seeing the talent pool is slim pickings, as many dating women can attest.
She'd boast of her stories ghosting dudes.
There was one occasion where she was on a date at a restaurant.
A gentleman was seated at a table nearby.
They locked eyes at some point, and she realised it was someone she had ghosted before.
He was clearly uncomfortable with what he was seeing.
A girl (and I call her that because of her childish approach to relationships) he dated, one day stopped responding to his texts.
Ended the relationship without telling him.
Effectively dropped off the face of the Earth.
Without saying a word, the guy moved to another table.
You may never know the true reason you were ghosted.
Past research has found ghosters have:
- Avoidant type personality (possibly due to parental rejection)
- Trust/dependency issues
- Possibly been ghosted themselves (which started them doing it)
Jennice from Psychology Today says of it:
“People who ghost are primarily focused on avoiding their own emotional discomfort and they aren’t thinking about how it makes the other person feel.”
It’s about 50/50 whether you’ve been ghosted or not.
A similar ratio between the two sexes committing the act.
Excuses for ghosting included:
- Thinking the relationship was just a fling; or
- Getting scared because the person is the type the ghoster is truly looking for.
As Susan from Psycom comments:
“Yet they seemingly show no empathy toward the other, and may or may not experience any feelings of guilt over their ghosting behavior.”
Whether you’re a Seinfeld fan or not, understand it this way.
When they ghost it’s their way of saying, “It’s not you, it’s me.”
And they really mean it.
If you have ever ghosted, either romantically or platonically - ask yourself:
- What does it say about my true character? Do I face all my fears and difficulties head-on, or am I not emotionally mature enough to be open and honest with myself and others?
- What does this behaviour indicate about my relationships? Existing and future, intimate and platonic? Are they disposable too? Will I be doing this after having a kid with someone?
- Over the course of my life, what will all my relationships look like? Who will I have in life if I continue to treat people this way?
Ghosters don’t want you to move on fairly - they prefer instead to leave you hanging, wondering “What did I do?”
Because there’s a chance you’ll be back?
Or because you’re too much of a coward, no matter how inconvenient you think it may be?
Those who have ghosted for valid reasons, this doesn’t apply to you.
We’re talking about ones who can’t deal with confrontation because the thought of it fills them with anxiety or fear.
The ones who say it’s society’s fault for making it easy for them to do this.
Or those who are just plain fucking selfish,
And justify their actions with any excuse.
How To Handle Being Ghosted
It sucks, no matter how good you are at handling breakups.
They’ve disrespected you by doing this and you can’t help but feel rejected and confused.
Reflect on how you could have been better in the relationship. If you’re honest with yourself, you’ll know if you did something wrong.
If you did, take it on the chin, as easy as that sounds - it’s not, I know.
They’re being a coward and not affording you closure to move forward, no matter if it was your fault or theirs for this decision.
Regardless, know this person is truly not meant for you in life.
They don’t deserve your attention if they won’t give you the respect you deserve.
When you realise it’s happened to you, there are sensible ways to go about it, and things to consider:
Take control of the situation. Give them an ultimatum that if you don’t hear from them by a certain time, you’re taking the relationship as done.
This is for you - creating your own point of closure for the relationship.
If they’ve been a real piece of shit and stood you up at the venue, assume it’s over from then in most cases.
Let them know how you truly feel.
If they have a conscience, your words may actually affect them.
It’s also your outlet as you go through the stages of grief.
Recognise you may never know if they’ve read any of your messages post ghosting, so all of this may be to no avail.
And if you guilt them into a response, do you really want them back knowing this could happen again?
(The answer is NO! ❌)
You don’t say anything and let them go.
I don’t know how you could do that unless you knew it was coming and/or already accepted you were done with the relationship.
Don’t do anything stupid that could get you into trouble with the law. A criminal record ain’t worth it. There are plenty of fish in the sea...call me. 😉
Signs of a potential ghoster?
- Telling you they’ve done it before should ring alarm bells.
- They seem disinterested or are unwilling to commit. When we’re really into someone we’ll do what we can to make plans with them. There’s no such thing as being too busy when it comes to romance.
- Their text messages become less frequent. When their usually prompt response turns into one single at the end of the day with some bullshit excuse like I’m tired and going to bed so there’s no opportunity for further communication.
Take all the necessary steps to heal from this relationship. As with any break-up, remove all reminders of them.
Here’s a guide that may help.
Getting ghosted will be a hit to your ego, no doubt about it.
You’ll get through this. We all have, and experiences like this make us more rounded individuals.
Remember, "What doesn't kill you makes you stronger."
If you have healthy relationships, call on them now more than ever. You’ve developed these relationships so you can reach out to these individuals to help you through the good and the bad.
But as a true friend, never forget how low you were at the worst of it, and the lengths those around you went to help you back on your feet again.
Be sure to show them your appreciation and return the favour when they in turn call on you.
That’s what real and meaningful relationships are for.
I apologise if I sound curt and abrupt throughout this post.
In the words of M.J.
“It became personal with me.”
I hope what I’m saying resonates with you and you see my point, whether you’ve done it or not.
You’re a coward if you continue to ghost.
Maybe you’ve learnt from your mistakes and have done it the last time. Good on you.
Maybe you’re still searching for the reason to.
I don’t like confrontation. I like harmony, to get along with people.
But it’s sometimes necessary to help others understand you - how you feel.
Wouldn’t you prefer to be understood for the person you truly are and have real and meaningful relationships, or are friends and loved ones disposable to you?
And for all of you still searching, don’t lose faith.
Focus on improving yourself first and good things will happen.
Often, when you least expect it.