In the internet age, dating has changed almost beyond all recognition.
With new technologies come new behaviors, and new terms to describe them.
If you’re out on the dating scene, you might well have experienced ‘breadcrumbing,’ ‘slow fading,’ ‘benching,’ or a whole host of other things.
But one of the worst is most definitely ghosting.
If you haven’t come across the term, then either you’re lucky enough to have never had it happen to you before, or you just didn’t realize that there was a name for it.
What Is Ghosting?
Ghosting is when someone just disappears.
You might even wonder whether they’ve died, because they will suddenly show no signs of life.
Hence the ghost.
Ghosting can happen at pretty much any stage of a relationship.
It’s most common when people meet online or on an app and exchange messages, and one or both of them decides to stop speaking to the other without any explanation or goodbye.
Ghosting is taken to the next level when you’ve met the person face to face.
Someone might do it to you after one date, but it can happen even when you’ve met several times.
I once dated a guy for about three months on and off, and one day he just stopped answering his phone or responding to messages.
Granted, I was moving countries in a couple of weeks, but still, it was more than a little bit rude, and I was left questioning what I’d done wrong, and wondering if he was okay.
And you hear some crazy ghosting stories….
I’ve heard of people having had a relationship that lasted for months and months, with declarations of undying love being made, only for the other person to completely drop off the face of the earth.
But, for the purposes of this article, let’s focus on the less drastic versions of ghosting, rather than the people that disappear to get out of a long-term relationship.
If you’ve been messaging someone or have been on a few dates and they disappear on you, why might that be?
And, if you really liked the person that’s ghosted you, how can you move on, process it, and not let it dent your confidence?
Read on to find out everything you need to know about ghosting.
Why Do People Ghost?
1. They don’t fancy you.
This might seem like a slightly brutal note to start on, but it’s important to accept that, whilst there might be all kinds of reasons why someone goes quiet on you, it’s likely they were not that into you in the first place.
That’s no reflection on you. It doesn’t mean you’re unlovable or undesirable. It just means that you weren’t their cup of tea, and that they weren’t right for you.
Accepting that fact will help you to move on from the situation faster than if you spend time dwelling on why it was that they never texted you back.
2. They’re not good with confrontation.
Many of us will do absolutely anything we can to avoid a confrontation… with anyone, about anything.
I, myself, have been guilty of avoiding a situation and hoping against hope it will just go away so I won’t have to face up to it.
That doesn’t mean it’s the right way to behave, but it might go some way to explaining why someone might ghost you.
They’re not trying to be mean to you as such; they’re just incapable of biting the bullet and are firmly sticking their head in the sand.
3. They don’t want to hurt your feelings.
This one might seem illogical, but when have we humans ever been particularly logical creatures?
A person may convince themselves that disappearing will hurt your feelings less than sending a message telling you that they’re not interested in carrying things on.
It’s easy for someone to believe that they’re ghosting you for your benefit, despite the fact that the opposite is true.
4. They want an easy way out.
They’re not willing to take the time to put together a message or meet you face to face to tell you they don’t think it’s going to work out.
They see ghosting as the easy option, and they’ll happily take it.
5. They’ve lied to you.
Some people may lie to you via message or on your first couple of dates, about absolutely anything, from their job to their likes to their financial status.
If this is the case, and they know they can’t keep it up, they might have decided to ghost you rather than coming clean.
6. They’re busy.
We’re all busy people.
If they’ve got a lot going on in their life and are dating or talking to a few potential love interests at once, you might have just slipped through the cracks.
Whilst the truth is that they probably weren’t that interested either, they might not have deliberately ghosted you.
7. They can.
Modern technology is wonderful in a lot of ways, but it does, unfortunately, give anyone who wants it the opportunity to just disappear, rather than being honest with someone they’ve been dating.
This is particularly true if you’ve met someone online.
Traditionally, we’d all meet people through work or mutual friends, meaning that we couldn’t just disappear because we’d see the other person around and have people asking questions.
But if you can be sure that you won’t bump into someone you’ve met online, and don’t have any friends in common, then you can ghost them without having to worry about the consequences, and some people take full advantage of that.
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8. They’re tired of dating.
Have you ever been on a real dating spree, going on lots of first dates, and then suddenly just not been able to face making the effort anymore?
That might be an explanation for why someone you’ve been dating has suddenly disappeared off the face of the earth.
9. They’ve got back with an ex.
If they’ve been telling you horrible things about their ex and then decide to get back with them, they’re going to be a bit embarrassed about it.
So, they might just decide not to give you an explanation at all.
10. They’ve met someone else.
It’s pretty normal for single people to be seeing multiple love interests at once, and it might be that they’ve decided to make things exclusive with one of those other people.
In an ideal world, they’d let you know about it, but unfortunately, we don’t live in an ideal world, so this could be the reason they’ve suddenly gone silent on you.
11. They’ve got a lot going on.
If you’re going through a rough patch with your family, or with your mental health, the last thing you need is to be trying to maintain a new relationship.
It could be that the person you’ve been seeing has some big stuff going on in their life, meaning they just don’t have the mental space to dedicate to you right now.
The two of you haven’t got to a stage where they feel they can discuss these things with you, so they’ve just blocked you out instead.
12. They’re intimidated by you.
So, you’ve been chatting, or you’ve been on a date or two, and they’ve realized that the two of you are not on the same page.
You’re doing well with your life and career and have got your ducks in a row, or you’ve achieved a lot, and this makes them think that you’re out of their league.
But they don’t know how to explain that to you in a message or to your face, so they opt for the silent treatment instead.
13. They didn’t like something you did.
The fact that they’re ghosting you could be the result of something you said or did that didn’t sit well with them.
You might have a good idea of what that was, but you might not have a clue.
Either way, don’t worry. Hard as it might be to accept, you can’t be everyone’s cup of tea.
14. They’re inconsiderate.
Whatever their reasons for ghosting you, it’s not a nice thing to do.
They’re not particularly considerate of your feelings and don’t want to put themselves out for your benefit by ending things, so you can be very sure that you’ve dodged a bullet.
How To Get Over Being Ghosted
1. Make sure you have been ghosted.
It’s been a few days or weeks since you’ve heard from them.
Before you totally give up on things, and if you haven’t already, make one last attempt to get in contact with the person you’ve been seeing.
Check in casually and ask how they are and if they’d seen that you’d called or messaged.
If they still haven’t got back to you within a few days, it’s time to accept that you’ve been ghosted.
(Optional) Feel free to send them a message letting them know that you’ve accepted it’s over, but that you’d wish they’d been honest with you rather than behaving so rudely.
2. Don’t be tempted to try to stage a meeting.
You’ve got to accept the situation and put it behind you.
Going to places you know they hang out and staging ‘coincidental’ meetings to remind them of your existence isn’t going to change anything.
Make a conscious decision to focus your energies on you, rather than putting any more effort into a dead relationship with a person who clearly doesn’t value you.
3. Take time to be sad.
It’s okay to be upset.
It’s okay to cry.
It’s okay to need a hug.
Even if it was early days, you might have been really excited about this person, so don’t be harsh on yourself for getting upset about it.
4. Acknowledge that it’s their problem, not yours.
The first step toward getting over being ghosted is to not blame yourself in any way, shape, or form.
Unless you behaved inappropriately, you didn’t do anything to deserve being ghosted.
It’s entirely their problem.
Try to steer yourself away from the temptation to blame yourself, and don’t waste time wondering what you could have done differently.
5. Move on, but don’t rebound.
Moving on and dating other people can be great when you’re ready…
…so long as you’re not getting desperate and just trying to find someone to date at all costs, no matter how unsuitable they might be.
Make sure you’re keeping those standards high, and not just dating in order to fill a ghost-shaped hole.
6. Focus on you.
Whether you choose to take a break from dating or go back to it, the focus needs to be on you.
Make sure you’re not compromising on time spent doing all the things you love and that you’re spending plenty of time with your friends and family.
Take the time to talk the situation through with people you trust, but make sure it’s not your main focus.
Focus your attentions on the good stuff in life whenever you can.
And, don’t forget to make sure you’re sleeping and eating well and getting some exercise.
7. Do unto others.
Many people complain about being ghosted and then go and do the very same thing to the next person they date.
If you want to break the vicious cycle and feel better about your dating life, you need to treat the people you meet with the same consideration that you’d want to be treated with.
Don’t succumb to the temptation to ghost any future dates, no matter how awkward you might feel.
Always be upfront and remember how it felt when it happened to you.