Ghosting in dating SUCKS. Ghosting is maddening, ego-shattering, heartbreaking, insecurity-igniting and wtf-is-wrong-with-me, embarrassing. It doesn’t just happen in romantic relationships either. It happens with friends too.
What is ghosting?
The dictionary defines ghosting as “the practice of ending a personal relationship with someone by suddenly, and without explanation, withdrawing from all communication.”
Just a few months ago, I was ghosted by a girlfriend. It had been a while since the last time I was ghosted and it triggered me into the “must find out why I’m not good enough/getting a response,” quicksand.
Sometimes (usually after a few weeks/months have passed since being ghosted) we find out that the person who ghosted us has made a big change – they got engaged, had a baby, got that promotion, eloped, met someone that’s everything we’re not, etc., all while we are screen-shotting and zooming in with nothing better to do.
Sometimes, you go on a couple of dates or you have an acquaintance that’s fun for a few brunches and nights out, but eventually, you guys stop talking. Or, you’re in a relationship with an emotionally unavailable guy who has consistently been shady, ambiguous, and disrespectful to you, so you eventually decide to speak with your actions and cut him off. That’s not ghosting, that’s just what happens sometimes in life.
The thing with ghosting in dating, committed relationships, or in friendships, is that the whole time, you’re under the assumption that you’ve got a good thing going until all of a sudden, you don’t. You don’t have a f*cking thing. Not an explanation, not a returned call, nothing.
Is it really THAT hard to reply? It is really THAT easy to pretend we never met? Is it really THAT hard to acknowledge someone’s existence (that didn’t ever intentionally hurt you like this)? Is it really THAT cool to be so uncool?
Why is ghosting in dating and friendships such an epidemic? Why do people ghost?
& HOW can you lessen the impact of being ghosted and turn yourself into the ultimate ghostbuster?
Here’s why ghosting in dating and friendships has turned into an epidemic + why people ghost…
Ghosting doesn’t seem “new-agey” to me at all. It’s an outdated and lame way of making an amateur-hour exit. This has nothing to do with advances in technology or new generations. Ghosting in dating and friendships happens to the extent that it does because we live in a world where the real currency and oxygen is not money and air. It’s validation and reactivity.
EVERYONE wants to feel valid. Some people are so desperate for validation though, they’ll go down the most unhealthy and heartless avenues to attain it. Their validation is dependent on how much of a reaction they can elicit from people. It’s the only way that they can maintain feeling like they matter, and continue to (poorly) conceal the one thing that they try with all their might to guard: their insecurities and perceived worthlessness. If they didn’t feel worthless, they wouldn’t have to make someone else feel worthless via ghosting.
So does ghosting in dating and friendships only happen because people want validation and a reaction? No.
But, people who need reactivity and validation like they need air to breathe, are more likely to CHOOSE ghosting when wanting to end a relationship as opposed to communicating in a decent, mature, and respectful manner.
They choose ghosting because they not only get what they want (the relationship to end), but they also get the added benefit of seeing your reaction. This allows them to see how much control they have over your emotional weather.
5 things to know about ghosters:
- The ability to ghost and having healthy levels of self-esteem will never coexist. Bottom line: There’s no point in “retaliation” or to plan a “ghosting revenge.” These are people who already feel sh*tty enough about themselves to begin with, or they wouldn’t have to do the ice-out-cop-out. The way that they feel about themselves deep down, is their punishment.
- They are the most avoidant people you will ever meet. And avoidance is one of those deal-breaker red flags that will never allow a healthy and mutual relationship/connection to develop. Ever.
- They sh*t their emotional shorts. They are so conflict and “difficult conversation” avoidant that they would rather go MIA with their adult binky in tow than have a two-second conversation with kindness and clarity. I mean, how hard is it to say “I’m sorry, but I can’t continue on in this relationship.”
- They’re empathetically bankrupt. They can’t put themselves in your shoes, ever. And without empathy, you’ve got nothing.
- They’re emotionally constipated. And because of this, they’re only capable of transactionships, not relationships.
Understand and acknowledge that the ONLY reason this has such a destructive and long-lasting impact on you is because you are making the emotional amateur hour of a grown adult, all about you not being “enough.”
If you had healthier levels of self-esteem and self-love… yeah, ghosting would hurt but its effects would not be nearly as long, impactful, and damaging.
It hurt like hell when my boyfriend ghosted me but at the end of the day, I had to keep reminding myself of the truth:
Even though the relationship had ended, I could walk away knowing that I’m still Natasha, I’m still me. I’m an incredible friend and any attempts at a genuine connection, whether they be in love or friendship, are always a risk worth taking. What isn’t a risk worth taking? Banking on a toxic person to be decent and tying your worth to the subsequent indecency.
This is how you avoid being a doormat, a closed-off ice queen, a closure-seeking stalker, and just be: Accept who someone is when they show you who they are. And adjust your boundaries accordingly.
There’s no need to dig, FBI-style investigate, reach out and search for “answers.” The 5 reasons above will give you more peace than continuing to knock on anyone’s closed door ever will.
Written by: Natasha Adamo