I’ve been back in the dating game for a while now, and although it’s had it’s ups and downs, for the most part, it’s been quite fun. Recently, however, I experienced something that no doubt every modern dater will have had happen to them at some point. I was seeing someone – it was fun, chilled and completely carefree. We went through the usual things of talking and laughing for hours, messaging each other stupid ‘inside jokes’ and hanging out as and when we could, until one morning – nothing. This person completely disappeared out of my life with not even so much as a text – that’s right I got well and truly ‘ghosted’.
So What is Ghosting?
For those of you who are unfamiliar with the concept, ‘ghosting’ is when someone close to you disappears out of your life with no explanation. Although pulling a disappearing act isn’t a new concept and people have been doing it for years, that type of behaviour was, in the past, reserved for certain “scoundrels” if you will. Yet, with the rise of dating apps and ‘modern dating’, it seems to have become the normal way of ending something without getting your hands dirty. According to a survey by dating site WhatsYourPrice 38% of daters say that ghosting is the one dating habit they wish would disappear. So it begs the question – why do so many people do it? Although it’s not a route I would personally take, I don’t know anyone who hasn’t experienced ‘ghosting’ to some extent, and somewhere along the line, it’s become acceptable to treat people as disposable.
How does it feel?
In my personal opinion, I think that anyone who does that isn’t worth a second thought, yet, I can’t speak for the people who have a fragile self-esteem or suffer from a type of anxiety. Ghosting at best makes you pissed off for what you inevitably see as wasting your time, but at worst it can make you feel miserable and rejected. You suddenly have something snatched away from you with no prior warning: it literally provides you with an “I did not see that happening” moment. The people who do the ghosting, on the other hand, get an easy way to run away from something they would rather not face. Indeed, according to a recent article in Psychologies Magazine, people who tend to ghost others are people who can’t deal with their own emotional discomfort – no surprise there. And although a lot of what I have read on the subject points to the clear fact that men ghost because speaking about their feelings is too scary for them, I do know a few women who have ghosted in their time too. I realised I couldn’t be alone in this so I turned to twitter and asked people if they had received similar treatment. I had loads of people get back to me, but one response, in particular, seems to hit the nail on the head.
“It was the rejection that did it, I couldn’t help but think I did something wrong. I was dropped with no reason or explanation – it made it really hard to move on”
There we go, the thing is, what makes you feel bad is less likely to be the thought of not seeing the person again, and more the raw sense of rejection. It’s cutting. One of the worst parts about it is that subconsciously it makes you question your own self-worth – as if most people don’t have enough to worry about as it is. We’ve evolved to deal with hard situations based on understanding the reasoning behind them, so when we get ghosted and denied that reasoning it automatically makes it harder to process. Yes, something has ended, but by being declined an explanation, it’s really hard to get the closure you need to put it completely behind you.
So is this our future then?
Ghosting has become a by-product of meeting someone online, so are we expected to approach every potential relationship with the niggling feeling that one morning it will all be over as quickly as it started? As much as I don’t want to say yes, having spoken to so many people about it and heard so many similar experiences, I can safely say it’s something you have to be aware of. The hard truth is that 21st-century dating has made people disposable. When it happened to me I felt a bit like I had been punched in the stomach, and although that feeling soon turned into me wanting to punch the “ghoster” instead, the disrespect I had received still stings. It’s hard sometimes, but I do still think that there are people out there who have enough decency to speak to you face to face about issues they may be facing, I have yet to meet them – but I am sure they are out there somewhere. And as for the people who ghost you, Elite Daily recently wrote a piece claiming that “ghosters” could very well be suffering from borderline personality disorder, so I don’t know about you but I think I will have that in mind should it ever happen to me again.