I Was Ghosted. Here's How to Deal With It

August 16th 2015

In the new world of dating, there has become a development in how you can dump someone. It is now easier than ever to instantly connect with someone, and just as easy to disconnect from the same person. It's called "ghosting."

What is "ghosting"?

"Ghosting" is what the New York Times describes as the phenomenon known as the "ultimate silent treatment." Urban Dictionary defines "ghosting" as:

"The act of suddenly ceasing all communication with someone the subject is dating, but no longer wishes to date. This is done in hopes that the ghostee will just "get the hint" and leave the subject alone, as opposed to the subject simply telling them he/she is no longer interested.”

Why do people "ghost"?

There are many reasons why one might want to disconnect or “ghost” a new potential partner or friend; this is extremely important as far as safety is concerned. Do we ever really know the person we are swiping right to on dating apps? Sometimes it takes a few dates to see someone’s true colors, and when that is the case, disappearing or disconnecting from them is vital. If someone ever makes you feel unsafe on a date or in a friendship, it is key to remove this person from your life, and understand that you do not owe him or her anything.

But then there's the alternative. What happens when you thought things were going well, and you have made what you thought was a great connection, then Mr. (or Ms.) Perfect starts to do the slow fade and ultimate disappearing act? Mr. Perfect has just preformed the art of “ghosting,” and our society, and technology is allowing it to become just as normal to “ghost” someone, as it is to ask him or her out.

When "ghosting" happens

Let it be known that when I'm talking about ghosting, I’m not talking about cutting off all communication from an ex lover by the way. Whenever you break up with someone there is usually the breakup conversation, and then the cut off from contact comes after both parties agree upon the break up. On the other hand, I’m discussing a situation where people are becoming too uncomfortable with actually going through with the break up, that they just back out of the relationship until they are out of site and out of mind. What is causing people to be so scared of facing the truth and confronting the problem head on? How come we have let people get away with this behavior?

Living in a world with so much access to one another you would think that “Ghosting” wouldn’t be an actual epidemic. There are a million ways from the archaic email, to DM’ing someone in their Instagram account. How is it that you haven’t heard from Becky for three days? Has she really had the audacity to ghost me, when I can see that she just posted a selfie with her stupid dog? Let me tell you my friends, the ghosting problem is getting worse, and yes I said it: problem.

As adult members of the dating pool, we have a responsibility to express in relationships that what he or she is doing wrong is hurtful, in hopes they don't confuse the next person. But, for some reason we have become cowards. We have become a generation of people that can left swipe someone out of ours lives in two seconds, and then still have the same disconnect with the next people we meet. I understand that you might not feel that you owe someone you gave such little time any explanation, but for the sake of having some sort of humility, it is the right thing to do.

Coping with 'ghosting'

We’ve all done it, and we’ve all had it done to us. How did it make you feel whenever that guy or girl you were seeing for three weeks suddenly disappeared? Did you not want an explanation? Did you want the closure so you could get them and what you did out of your head?

Let me give you a personal example. I met a very charming, tall, handsome, successful former baseball player turned actor—he had it all. We met, and had an amazing first date, and continued to date for three more weeks. I did all the correct things that every dating novel in my Kindle told me to do: I didn’t kiss on the first date, I never chased, and I held out on the sex. Then comes week three. Things started to get complicated, and they weren’t easy anymore. Sometimes, for some reason, when things aren’t easy in life, someone in the party can bolt. In this party, he bolted.

I went to Texas for a week to see my family and we talked once while I was away. Then the slow fade of ghosting crept its way in. I gave him a week of no communication. Then I got the courage up one night to just flat out text him.

“Hey! Can’t sleep, just got off work… Wondering what exactly I did to make you vanish… Not mad, just curious… I’ve never had someone disappear [kind of a lie] and not even try to be friends, I thought I was nice… Anyways, have a good week sir, even if I don’t hear from you thanks for everything.”

Not bad right? I was actually proud of myself. I could have been totally insane, but I was legitimately curious as to why he went away, after all how do we learn from our mistakes if they are not presented to us? At that point I wasn’t concerned if he responded or not, because I was proud of not being silenced, and actually holding someone accountable for the way they treated me. I have a huge issue with feeling disposable, but I’m also not crazy enough to call people out on it. (Which is bullshit to call a girl crazy if you ghosted on her and she wants to know why.) To my surprise though, he did respond:

“Hey. I just didn’t think we were right for each other and few days went by while you were in Texas and I didn’t really know what was best. Didn’t know if it would be insulting to you since we only hung out a couple of weeks and say anything. Wasn’t sure so just pulled back”

This was great feedback. Here's why:

  1. Because I feel like every man, or person in general, struggles with “letting people down.”
  2. He actually responded.

Sometimes the shoe fits, some times it doesn’t. I know now that I dodged a bullet, but if I never reached out for that closure then I’m not sure I would know. Moral of the story: writing someone off and disappearing is not the way to handle a situation that isn't working for you. In fact, it’s just rude. That said, I want to challenge everyone, to hold daters accountable, as well as holding yourself accountable. It’s all about learning, growing, and communicating as better adults. It’s not always going to go well, that’s for sure, but at least you can say you closed the door, and gave someone else closure as well as getting it for yourself.

I still struggle to hold my self to this standard. It’s hard to know someone likes you and you could potentially hurt them, but the thing is, to grow as a responsible, mature society of daters, we need to at least try to give closure where closure is due. I can speak from experience, and say for sure, that you can expect to be happier for it.

Share your opinion

Have you experienced 'ghosting' in a friendship or relationship?

No 11%Yes 89%