Ghosting: Now You See Me Now You Don’t


What is “ghosting?” Ghosting is a “now you see me, and now you don’t,” type of dating tactic where one person ends a relationship by disappearing. I’ve read a lot of opinions about ghosting that mostly say it’s a terrible, rude, insensitive practice. People think that ghosting doesn’t give the ghosted “closure.” People make it sound like it’s a new phenomenon, but ghosting has been around forever. Technology, internet dating, and living in a global economy just make it easier for someone to “ghost.” 

Rejection hurts, and breakups are genuinely miserable experiences. Sure, having someone tell you it’s over might be better than wondering, but when someone disappears from your life, you know there is a problem. Maybe knowing why can help you, but it might not. It’s OK to want the person who rejected you to be polite and straightforward enough to come up with a reason why they’ve left you, and now you’re hurting. But your ghost might not even know why he wants to end things between you. In these cases, silence speaks louder than words.

If a guy isn’t contacting you, something is clearly wrong. Men demonstrate their interest in a woman primarily with their time. When they don’t give you their time, they just aren’t interested. It could be that he’s met another woman or he’s got a crisis in his life and doesn’t want to share it with you.

The bottom line is the same in all these cases: the relationship is going nowhere. What man who just met the woman of his dreams would wait weeks to contact her unless he’s really scared? And if he’s that scared, you’re better off just giving him his space because he hasn’t decided he wants to be with you yet. It’s OK to spend your time moving on.

Nobody complains about ghosting when they aren’t interested in the ghost. When it’s mutual, it’s somehow OK. Let’s face it, men and women have trouble telling others they aren’t interested. They don’t want to cause anyone pain. Maybe they’re afraid the other person will be angry with them or demand an explanation. They may not have a clue how to explain it. After all, it may feel hard to explain your lack of chemistry for someone without sounding critical. “You’re too short,” or “you’re too fat,” is never a helpful thing to say.

People often don’t realize how unnecessary the explanation is. A simple, “You’re a great man (or woman), but… I don’t feel a spark.” Or, “I don’t think we’re a match.” Any explanation like that is often enough to give the person the closure they need. Even if the real reason you aren’t interested is because the person is “too short” or “too heavy,” you don’t have to say that. There is no need to criticize or get into specifics when you’ve just had a few dates. Dating is hard enough, but saying something critical is not only unnecessary in the grand scheme of things, but it can shatter someone’s confidence.

But what about ghosting after a serious relationship?

Do you drop off the face of the earth if you’ve met someone else or you didn’t like something they did? Are you obligated to call? “Hi, Brad. I just want you to know I met someone else who I like better than you.” Even if you don’t say it that way, you know that’s how they hear it and how they feel about it, because that’s what it is.

So, how helpful is that kind of news? Ideally, you would call and let them know how wonderful they are, and give them the bad news and it would soften the blow, but does it? Some people want that call. Others might feel like it’s rubbing salt in their wound and can figure it out without your explanation.

Ideally, people would handle life maturely and do what we need them to do, whether it’s to tell us if they are dumping us or to spare us the pain. People aren’t always going to handle painful situations maturely. A person who you dated for a while who ghosts you is giving you information about how they handle problems in a relationship: they disappear.

Avoidance is a coping strategy that many people rely on, but it often doesn’t work well when a couple has problems to avoid facing them. Communication is part of the glue that keeps couples together. Your ghost may be doing you a big favor to show you his true colors. Chances are, he doesn’t have the communication skills to make your relationship work anyway.

Have you ever been ghosted? Or were you always given an explanation for why someone didn’t want to pursue a relationship with you? Perhaps you’re the ghost. Let us know in the comments what your experiences have been and if you prefer one method over the other.


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