Ghosting – the reality


I totally get that you go on a few dates with someone and then think actually, not sure we are a good fit.  However, have the decency to say that please! You go from a phone that doesn’t stop beeping with constant messaging to zero, nothing, total freeze out.  This does unfortunately now appear to be the normal way of handling a situation.  Well, here’s the thing – it’s rather hurtful and to be honest cruel. I am an adult and sadly thought I was entering an adult dating zone, but so far I’ve met children.

Exhibit A – we chat on the dating site, we exchange numbers and arrange a coffee meet.  So far, all perfectly normal, we then chatted on the phone for best part of an hour each evening for a few weeks due to work commitments before we could meet up again.  Had a lovely lunch date one weekend and arranged to do it again. Then he got ill (actually I think the entire country was ill this January!) so had to reschedule.  We go out, both said we’d had a lovely time and arranged another date.  And then stony silence, not a word or reply to what was an ongoing conversation.

Exhibit B – same pattern, chat on the site, move to direct messaging and arrange to meet up. Lovely first date so arrange to go out for something to eat the following week. Again, a lovely evening and we’re planning our next date.  Then again, the reduced messaging and replies ending with zero.

My issue is not the rejection, we date, we try people on for size and sometimes it doesn’t work out – that’s life. But I find the ghosting cowardly and cruel.  For starters how do we know that you’re not hurt somewhere? Then, once you get past the ‘oh they’re alive, just not talking to me’ phase you start to question what you did.  But the reality is you probably did or didn’t do anything ‘wrong’ as such, they just don’t have the emotional language to be honest with themselves or you.  The other thing is sometimes they are keeping their options open, again not an absolute deal breaker.  When I’ve been on dating sites I will often be talking to multiple people so I understand you may have other dates lined up.

I found this on a psychology website:

Ghosting is the ultimate use of the silent treatment, a tactic that has often been viewed by mental health professionals as a form of emotional cruelty.15 It essentially renders you powerless and leaves you with no opportunity to ask questions or be provided with information that would help you emotionally process the experience. It silences you and prevents you from expressing your emotions and being heard, which is important for maintaining your self-esteem.  Regardless of the ghoster’s intent, ghosting is a passive-aggressive interpersonal tactic that can leave psychological bruises and scars.

And I think that really is the cruncher, it leaves you with lots of questions and no ability to get an answer. But I also think it says far more about how the ghoster views people, themselves and how they interact emotionally and socially. If I ended up getting hurt it’s because I had started to invest in them which I think is perfectly healthy.  I went into it hoping that something long term might come of it, and if I didn’t get a little hurt then I clearly had no feelings for them either. I do also understand that if you’ve only met once, exchanged few messages then sometimes it might be appropriate but I don’t feel it appropriate once you are clearly dating someone.

I understand we each have a desire to avoid confrontation or upset people, but just disappearing DOES upset people! Maybe you’ve had awful times when either you or someone broke up with you in the past so you take the attitude of ‘I’ll just cut my losses as this isn’t going to work out’ well again, if you’ve shared a reasonable amount of time with someone it seems fair to be honest with them.  This is why I keep going back to ghosting being cowardly. Yes the ghoster avoids hassle, confrontation or worse an emotional scene they don’t want to have but even a simple text message is better than just disappearing.  Also, don’t send lots of compliments and make promises you have no intention of keeping when you know you are unsure you want to keep seeing someone.  Do the decent thing and say ‘I’m not sure’.

So am I a worthless person because I was ghosted? No, I’m not.  Did I get hurt? Yes I did.  Can I protect myself in the future? Probably not. Do I want to go another round, don’t know! Maybe I should look in the graveyards for real ghosts!

Quirky x


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