Online Dating: What is “Ghosting”?

If you’ve searched for love online recently, you will have probably come across the term, “Ghosting”. This term means that you suddenly don’t hear from a person again and quite often, it comes out of the blue. The person you’ve been chatting to disappears forever like a ghost and they’ll cut off communication completely. You can end up driving yourself crazy wondering what you did wrong and questioning why you didn’t hear from them again.

When dating online in the past, I have ghosted myself, but I have also been ghosted too. In the majority of cases, ghosting is not very nice, but there are times when ghosting is necessary and can be justified. After you’ve been on a date, even if you got on well with that person, a common outcome is that you both say goodbye and you never message each other again. This is normally because there is no romantic connection and it’s an easy and straightforward outcome for both people.

Of course, ghosting can occur at any time, whether it’s before you’ve actually met someone face to face, after a first date, or after you’ve been on several dates with someone – or even longer.

Reasons why it can be hurtful to ghost someone:

Getting over a break-up can be really tough, regardless of whether it was a long-term or short-term relationship and anyone who’s been ghosted knows how painful it can be. It leaves no way for the person ghosted (the person being ignored) to make sense of what happened. There will be many unanswered questions: “What did I do wrong?”; “Did he/she ever really care about me?”; “What is wrong with me?”; and even, “Did something happen to him/her?” There are often lasting effects on the ghostee’s self-esteem, particularly if they already suffer from issues around self-confidence. It may be helpful if you can understand the possible reasons for being ghosted, although sometimes, this could actually be more hurtful.

Reasons that lead to people ghosting:

1. Avoidance of confrontation – they might not like the person they’ve just been on a date with so they don’t want to take things further. Worried the other person may have a bad reaction to this, they take the easy option of ghosting so as to avoid any bad reaction and confrontation. This person would rather walk away or change the subject than get into an argument.

2. Fear of emotional intimacy – they might fear the prospect of being in a relationship and fear getting close to someone. They get cold feet and think that ghosting is the best thing to do. They may have been hurt in the past. Fear of intimacy is a long-term problem and is not easily overcome. Usually it requires awareness followed by effort, in order to overcome this fear.

3. Narcissistic personality style – a narcissist is unlikely to be empathic about the emotional pain of the person they are dating. Lack of empathy is a hallmark sign of narcissistic personality and is likely the reason for at least some instances of ghosting.

4. Fear of a violent reaction: the person who suddenly disappears is afraid of an aggressive reaction to a breakup statement. This might not necessarily be classed as ghosting, but rather a self-protective measure. There are times when sudden disappearance is the only safe way out.

When is it OK to “Ghost” someone?

Situations do arise when it’s OK to ghost someone without any explanation whatsoever. There are plenty of situations where ghosting is not only OK, but actually your best option. If you’ve spent any time in the world of online dating, you’ll know that people don’t always behave correctly, so there might be times when you have to cut off communication with certain people instantly.

Ghosting is one technique that works and you might even need to block that person too. Situations where ghosting can be justified could be the following:

1) When someone doesn’t respect your boundaries

2) When someone won’t take “no” for an answer

3) When someone is emotionally manipulative

4) When someone makes you feel uneasy or unsafe

How many people have been ghosted?

The dating app, Plenty of Fish, conducted a survey in which they polled 800 daters from ages 18 to 33. Eighty percent of respondents reported being ghosted. This proves that ghosting has become a common way of behaving when dating online.

How many people have both ghosted and been ghosted?

According to an Elle.com survey of 120 women and 65 men, 25.83 percent of women have “both ghosted and been ghosted” and 33.33 percent of men have “both ghosted and been ghosted.” These statistics also prove that dating behaviour is changing and leads me to believe that people are becoming more impatient and clinical but also more wary as well.

To read more about modern dating terminology, you can purchase my new book, “Love At First Swipe”, from Amazon. The link to Amazon is:

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Author: Gareth Fosberry

Author of "Love At First Swipe", Writer, Dating Blogger, Relocation Expert, Golfer, Football Coach, Music Lover

4 thoughts on “Online Dating: What is “Ghosting”?”

  1. This is such an interesting topic. Your explanation relates to some conversations I had with some friends about this “ghosting.” They were seriously thinking and blaming themselves whether they did something wrong and that brought down their self-confidence. I prefer the old way of dating 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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