It's a Guy Thing


Dating just isn’t what it used to be. You used to head out with friends, get introduced to someone or lock eyes with someone in a bar, and connect with them based on the fact that you were both physically attracted to one another and could talk, and obviously, you want to know about and see more of them. Nowadays, with the explosion of dating apps, you usually don’t get to see this human in the flesh until chatting has happened for some time, and you’ve both decided to take that leap and meet for a date. What this means is that this person whom you start to share yourself with often exists solely on a screen at the start of the relationship.

Ghosting is an increasingly worrying trend in dating. Imagine this – you match with someone on a dating app and start chatting. You share things with one another and flirt. You develop a level of intimacy with them based on conversation and connection, and then go on dates and perhaps even have sex… And then without reason, they disappear and disconnect from all contact – as if they never existed. This kind of experience can be emotionally crushing and be seriously rejecting. Although this kind of behavior isn’t a new phenomenon, it’s becoming more and more common in the world of dating at this time. According to Psychology Today, 50% of men and women have experienced this when dating online. It seems that behavior on dating apps is showing more and more people who want a partner to engage with them on their own terms, but then might move on when they feel like there’s potentially a better option out there.

For the person who is on the receiving end, and who has been ghosted, the effects can be traumatic and long-lasting. It is truly devastating for the person being ghosted as it most often leaves them with feelings of inadequacy, feelings of rejection and as if they are disposable. If someone ghosts us, we create a story of why? – filling in the blanks with our own take of the reasons behind it, which is often based on previous experiences and most often the core beliefs that we hold about ourselves. So if you have always held a view of yourself that you are not a great person, being ghosted is only going to activate and fuel this belief further. Ghosting leaves you questioning yourself and your actions: “Did I do something wrong? How could I not see it coming? Should I have said that? Maybe if I wasn’t so interested?” And all of these questions only contribute to one’s distress and deepen a lesser sense of self-worth. It’s hard to know what to do because you don’t know why this happened.

So if you’re ghosted, what should you do? Esther Perel, a globally celebrated NYC couple’s therapist, suggests that you ‘rally your loved ones and friends’ around you; it’s like an antidote she says. You need ‘community, not isolation.’ Ghosting says nothing about the person on the receiving end in terms of their worthiness for love and attraction. Ghosting says far more about the person ghosting’s personality.

Someone who ghosts is likely viewing the situation and their reason for ghosting as ‘the easy way out.’ There are fewer social consequences after all. However, this type of behavior shows a decrease in kindness and empathy to others and this type of behavior shows a complete and fundamental lack of responsibility. Ghosting someone leaves the person on the receiving end in a state of confusion, shame and with a decreased ability to trust others. You’re essentially doing some serious long-term damage. Ghosting someone may seem like it’s a great option and hoping the other person will just “get the hint,” but it’s ultimately far more damaging than if you were to say to this person that you’re no longer interested.

If you’re not keen on continuing a relationship or realize you’re just not that into someone, do the appropriate thing and show that person kindness in ending it. Focus on ending relationships, even casual ones, with dignity and respect. Think of the other person’s feelings and imagine what it would be like to be on the receiving end. Use statements such as “I’ve really enjoyed the time we’ve shared but having thought about the future, I don’t think this relationship is what I’m looking for.” Ultimately, don’t be “that person” – one who perpetuates a really awful and unfortunate trend. Be honest with yourself and with the person you’ve been seeing. Ending an established relationship or one that’s started to develop isn’t easy for anyone, but ending it in a way that doesn’t leave the receiver experiencing a range of deeper distressing emotions is crucial.