Ghosting, a term you’re probably all too familiar with particularly if you’re actively dating. It’s when someone just stops contacting you, typically out the blue with no warning signs, often in the context of a romantic relationship.

With the rise of social media this can occur through several different means whether it’s through text, unfollowing someone on Instagram or unmatching someone on a dating app after constant communication. Whether it’s happened to you or a friend, ghosting is becoming something that’s almost an accepted part of modern dating with 25% of men and women reporting having been ghosted, and 22% admitting to ghosting someone else. It can happen at any stage of a relationship – and whilst it typically occurs in the early stages, in some cases it does also happen partway through, or even when a relationship is further down the line and heading towards being a committed relationship.

Ghosting really stings and the effects can be lasting

Being ghosted can be frustrating – there’s no doubt about it. It can cause feelings of rejection, betrayal and like you’re being ignored, and can have such a destabilising impact particularly if there’s been a lot of constant communication and contact. Above all feelings, perhaps the most difficult to get your head around is the not knowing; what’s caused someone to cut all contact seemingly out of nowhere? This can cause confusion and can lead to feeling of low self-worth and self-esteem.

Why does ghosting happen and is the modern dating landscape to blame?

Online dating definitely plays a huge role. With dating apps, people have access to so many single people and connections that there’s often the thought that someone else is out there, another potential date is around the corner, a swipe or message away. For some individuals, ghosting can be used as a way of dealing with dating fatigue. Perhaps they’ve been engaging in conversations with simply too many individuals and it all got to be too much. They just can’t keep up.

It’s easy to forget that real people are behind dating profiles

Another potential explanation comes down to the gamification of relationships. Within today’s dating world, there’s less sensitivity to the fact that there’s an actual person at the end of social interactions, not just a 2D dating profile. With this in mind people are less likely to stop and think about how their actions may impact the other individual involved. Further studies do support these thoughts with research finding that relationships that ended via ghosting were more short-term, and often linked to use of online sites and apps, and how much time was being spent on them.

When people think walking away is kinder than saying why it won’t work

It’s often said that ghosting is usually more to do with ghoster than the ghostee. By cutting off communication it avoids the confrontation that can sometimes occur when telling the truth, and sharing your thoughts about where a relationship is going. It almost takes the responsibility away, but for some individuals they may actually see ghosting as being considerate. If it’s the early stages of dating someone, some ghosters may believe that it’s kinder to ghost someone than lead them on and waste their time. This seems almost counter intuitive as it often leaves individuals craving that closure.

Ghosters often look for people to fit a particular mould

Not only does ghosting have an impact on that specific relationship, but it also impacts future relationships for both parties. Interestingly, studies suggest ghosters are more likely to be individuals who view dating as a search for an ideal partner. Individuals who are trying to find someone to fit the mould, and who are less likely to believe that it’s possible for relationships to grow and change. Individuals who view dating in this way are more likely to ghost if they don’t feel someone is 100% a fit for them. This in itself is something that will be present in future relationships and can definitely be a hinderance. Whilst it’s important to find someone compatible, the best relationships often grow and change over time.

Ghosting can also have long lasting impacts on the ghostee; it can cause feelings of mistrust which can be projected on to future relationships, however, studies also found that people who have been ghosted often have increased reflection and resilience afterwards – both which are great qualities to take to future relationships.

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Ghosting, like many aspects of dating, can be a difficult situation to navigate. We’re here to help you navigate all stages of the dating journey; from finding the right person, first dates, dating, getting you into a relationship to coaching and supporting any bumps that do occur in the road ahead. If you’re interested in finding out how we can help, get in touch with our team today!