The dictionary says that ghosting is ‘the practice of ending a personal relationship with someone by suddenly, and without explanation, withdrawing from all communication’ and that pretty well sums it up.
It seems that it’s a common dating problem but that doesn’t make it any easier if you’re trying to understand why someone’s ghosted you. Since dating apps became popular, it’s been a lot easier to drop in and out of someone’s life without any explanation.
What typically happens is that you’re in a relationship which you’re thinking might be long-term because you like them, they seem to find you attractive and fun plus things seem to be going well, when, out of the blue, they just disappear!
From texting and talking every day, going out at weekends and discussing a possible holiday together, there’s suddenly…..nothing. Most people are left feeling hurt and more than a little confused. Basically, what it means is that for whatever reason, the other person isn’t happy about something but they don’t want to have to explain it to you (or even themselves!). But another way of looking at it is that no message is a message in itself.
It’s pretty selfish because they get out of it without having to experience any upset themselves. Whereas, for the person who’s been ghosted, it’s a rejection that has no real explanation. It also shows a lack of respect if they don’t even care enough to give you any reasons.
Even if you do happen to bump into them at a later date, it’s unlikely that you’ll get a straight answer to the question “why?”. That could be because they’re not great at communicating what they feel, they felt that they were ‘too busy’ (although who wants to date someone who’s too busy to even text?) or that they just don’t feel the need to explain.
People who are reluctant to get close to someone, maybe due to trust or dependency issues, often use indirect ways, such as ghosting, to end a relationship. Also, there are those who believe some relationships are either meant to be or not (in other words, they believe in fate), are they’re more likely to think that ghosting is an acceptable way of ending things.
Ghosting isn’t confined to romantic relationships – it can happen with friends or work colleagues. Walking away with no explanation means that there’s no drama or justifications involved for the ghoster.
One thing I want to mention though is that they are the problem, not you. It may not feel like that immediately, but further down the line, hopefully you’ll realise that that’s the case. There will be a more compatible partner out there for you even though it may not seem like it straight away.
But when you’re still feeling hurt and maybe mystified, how can you deal with it?
Reflect on what’s happened and send one text, if you want to, asking if they’re alright – that gives them the chance to tell you what’s been going on for them. If they don’t reply, it’s time to find ways to move forward without them.
First of all, try to avoid reminders of your ex (or friend) so don’t sift through old photos on your phone or look at texts you both sent in the past. Most of all, don’t go over social media postings – it won’t help, whether or not there are new posts.
Focus on yourself, taking care to fit in some exercise every day and catch up on things that you may have put on hold. Most of all, be kind to yourself and don’t get into behaviour patterns that are self-destructive – they won’t help and you’ll end up feeling worse. Instead, use this time to deal with any anxiety, using a meditation app. or watching a YouTube video.
Although you need to grieve for the relationship, try not to dwell on it because the underlying causes won’t be to do with you, but will be about the other person who doesn’t know how to communicate effectively.
As with any relationship that’s comes to an end, it will take time, but have faith that you’ll eventually move on from it.
If you’ve been the one who’s been ghosted, I hope that this has helped. If you’ve been the ‘ghoster’, maybe it’s given you something to think about….! Also, in the future, if you find it difficult to figure out where you stand with someone, it might be a good idea to stop standing and start walking!
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