In the 21st century, dating can be a free for all. With the amount of ease and options that are readily available at individuals’ fingertips, it has severely impacted the dating scene and expectations for a relationship. What’s worse, the term “ghosting” has become so prevalent, the basic ability to communicate has substantially decreased.
What is it?
What actually is ghosting? Ghosting is that gut wrenching feeling of rejection. When you are developing feelings or speaking to someone romantically, then out of the blue, they cut off all communication without a single explanation as to why. The confusing, painful feeling of no longer being worthy; the question making you ask yourself “what did I do wrong?”. Or maybe they’re just busy…right? Wrong.
Why do people do it?
The fact of the matter is, ghosting is easy. It provides emotionally unavailable people the ability to cut off communication without having to dig deep into their emotions. Having to reject someone can be difficult and uncomfortable, but by ghosting, people pull the ultimate selfish move by completely avoiding that discomfort, confrontation, and attempt at avoiding hurting someone’s feelings. There is a common misconception that ghosting is ‘easier’ than rejecting someone, however, like most people, even though verbal rejection is upsetting, it is preferable as it is less painful due to the received clarity and closure.
The problem is the ambiguity; it is left completely open, so what happens? There was no closure, no communication, and no definitive rejection – so more often than not, the feelings are still there. Being ghosted is painful, you think you have found someone that you want to be in a relationship with or see a future with, so why would they do that? With this being more and more common, how can communication be the foundation of any relationship? Gen Z’s and Millennials are so used to being behind a screen and having an online persona, that the fear of communication and social anxiety has exponentially increased. Not only this, the availability of singletons and ‘the next best thing’ is right at the click of a screen.
What to do if you’ve been ghosted?
Breakups and rejection are hard, they are painful and often uncomfortable, now imagine being ghosted. You may be thinking it was your fault, if you didn’t say or do that one thing then maybe they would still be around. No, because more often than not, it really isn’t you, it’s them. The most important advice one can give, is to take care of yourself. Remember that your self-worth is not defined by someone else’s opinion of you. Remember that you don’t need him/her and that it is a blessing in disguise that they have removed themselves from your life. Remember it’s not what happens to you it’s how you handle it.
Rachel Russo, a dating expert and relationship strategist, states if you really want to “you can reach out to the person afterward and ask for an explanation in a calm and collected way. I would suggest calling over texting, as it is easier to ignore a text. Don’t send a long email or seem as though your sanity depends on their validating you. Otherwise, you can gracefully accept that you’ve been ghosted. It happens to the best of us.”
Reasons why the ghost might come back to haunt you…
So, what happens if the ghost comes back? There was no warning when they left, so why would they give you any warning when they come back. You’d be surprised how often they disappear without a trace or warning, just to come back and pretend like nothing happened. More often than not, the moment you feel yourself moving on or not thinking about them as much is exactly when they strike…almost like a sixth sense!
But why ghost and then start up communication again?
- They’re bored
Almost like having the attention span of a goldfish, the reason they cut off all communication was because they were bored, they became even more bored and decided to entertain the idea of you again. A particularly selfish move…don’t allow yourself to become someone’s temporary entertainment at the expense of your feelings. If they get bored that easily, who says they won’t get bored of you again?
- They want to see if you still feel the same
Imagine a puppeteer keeping a puppet on a string not quite allowing it to ever be free. That’s how they like to play with your feelings; they won’t quite ever let you move on. They will ghost, block you, cut all contact, leaving you feeling low and betrayed…to come back a few days, weeks, or even months later, like a vicious cycle that never ends. They want to see if you still feel the same and if you do, when they realise you do, they know they keep you around as a back-up for when they get bored of their other distractions. It’s a way of knowing you are still there…no matter how far they stray.
- It’s their ego
Following on from the last point. If they know they have the power to come and go as they please, it simultaneously gives them an ego boost because they feel wanted. They feel they are in control and have the power. As soon as they come back to get an ego boost, they will disappear again without warning, to do it all over again.
- They don’t believe they have done anything wrong
If they are entirely unaware that ghosting is wrong, hurtful, and not the decent thing to do, they will come back assuming everything is fine truly believing they haven’t done anything wrong. They hope to pick up where you left off as if there wasn’t a completely random non-communicated hiatus. Worst yet, 9 times out of 10 they will never take any responsibility for it.
- They were dumped
Perhaps they ghosted because they found someone new and didn’t want to go through the discomfort of rejecting you. In doing so, they left things open with you, so the moment they got dumped was the moment they came crawling back to you. Probably with an insincere excuse claiming they needed to “work on themselves”.
- They see you doing better without them
They probably did you a favour by ghosting you for you to glow up and realise you are better off without them. They won’t let you live your best life away from them so when they see your new Instagram post or life update, they will slide right back into those DM’s hoping to rekindle as if nothing happened.
If you have fallen victim to being ghosted, don’t worry – it really does happen to the best of us. Pick yourself back up, know your self-worth and don’t let them come back and play you like a puppet! People who ghost struggle to take any responsibility for their actions and it is almost guaranteed they will do it again. If you must, proceed with caution; fool me once shame on you, fool me twice…you know.