Wikipedia defines “ghosting” as follows: “Ghosting is breaking off a relationship (often an intimate relationship) by stopping all communication and contact with the partner without any apparent warning or justification, as well as ignoring the partner’s attempts to reach out or communicate. The term originated in the mid-2000s. In that following decade, media reported a rise in ghosting, which has been attributed to the increasing use of social media and online dating apps.” In other words, with the rise of technology—texting, email, social media, etc., ghosting has become the easier, quicker, no fuss, no hassle way of ending a relationship. No hard, hurtful, or awkward conversations. Just, silence, distance, and moving forward. A sudden, abrupt end of all communication is quick, easy, simple, effective--at least for the person doing the ghosting, that is. Being on the receiving end of a ghosting is very painful and another matter altogether.
An Elle.com survey found that you've also likely been the ghost yourself at some point. The survey shows that 26 percent of women and 33 percent of men have both ghosted and been ghosted, while 24 percent of women and 17 percent of men admit to ghosting (but not being ghosted on). (Source: https://www.huffpost.com/entry/the-psychology-of-ghostin_b_7999858). So, both men and women “ghost”, with women doing somewhat more of the ghosting.
So, what about the person being ghosted? I have seen and heard a number of common reactions to being ghosted, with the reactions usually being pretty negative. Common reactions include feelings of hurt, betrayal, confusion, anger, embarrassment, humiliation, and so on. Typical statements include: “why couldn’t s/he have just told me?” Or “I thought things were going so well! I can’t believe this happened!”. Subsequent name calling often includes words like “coward”, “not a man”, “wimp”, “asshole”, and other words I won’t repeat here. In other words, being ghosting hurts and the reactions usually illustrate that hurt.
There are many possible psychological reasons why someone ghosts. However, the main reason ghosting occurs is simple avoidance from a fear of conflict. Which means, at its heart, ghosting is about wanting to avoid confrontation, avoid difficult conversations, avoid hurting someone's feelings. In other words, avoiding the hard, painful, awkward moment that may involve yelling, tears, name calling, etc. With the rise in technology, ghosting has become as easy as…stopping the technological communication.
Ideas to Handle Being Ghosted:
*Preventative Maintenance. Demonstrate to the other during your relationship that you can handle other challenging conversations with tact, calm, composure, and consideration. Because conversely, if you have already shown a tendency to explode with anger or burst into tears, your chances of being ghosted grow tremendously. Also, in conversation, tactfully learn how his or her previous breakup(s) occurred if the opportunity presents itself. If he or she ghosted their ex, there is a good chance they will do so again to you. If that is the case, you might want to then even come out and say something like, “well, if by chance we ever broke up, I would at least request that you please…and in return I will…” (show respect, sensitivity, and consideration).
*Positive Self-Talk: after being ghosted, start by taking a reasonable look at yourself and what you could have done better or differently so this is a useful learning experience—all without beating yourself up. Then, positive self-talk after that if will be helpful to soothe your pain. Remind yourself of the positive things you brought to the relationship, and remember and acknowledge some of the limitations the other person brought to the relationship to realistically balance the blame. Perhaps you can make a list of the assets and positives you provided in the relationship (and that you possess in general) as well.
*Boost Your Relationship Skills and Knowledge: Help avoid another relationship possibly ending in a similar way in the future by equipping yourself with knowledge, skills, and confidence. Spend some time learning to pick a better future dating companion, as well as learn how to be a better companion yourself. Here are a few suggested resources:
Why Marriages Succeed of Fail by John Gottman
Men Are from Mars, Women are from Venus by John Gray
How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie
Also, consider taking the useful “Ready” questionnaire from BYU. It will give you direction for areas to address and work on to prepare yourself for your next relationship. You can find it at www.relateinstitute.com. You may also wish to learn more about your personality as well by taking the Myers Briggs Type indicator, which you can find at: https://www.mbtionline.com.
If you are ghosted, please apply the ideas and suggestions above. Unfortunately, ghosting is break up tactic that is here to stay. However, you can approach this reality in a stronger, proactive manner. You can remember that you and the other person probably weren’t good for each other anyway, and the poor ending confirmed that. Upward, onward. You will eventually have relationship success. Just learn, grow, adjust, adapt, and succeed. And remember that “…neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord.”—1 Corinthians 11:11
P.S. If you can questions, comments, or a future article request for me, feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
|2019-08-11||Randy Gilchrist||Dating, Healthy relationships, Communication, Conflict resolution|
About the author
Hello, my name is Dr. Randy Gilchrist (aka "Dr. G"). I am a licensed clinical psychologist, a licensed marriage & family therapist, and a certified hypnotherapist in private practice in Roseville, CA (www.dr-rg.com), practicing since 1997. Also, I am happily married in the temple (Manti) since 1996 and have 4 sons. I am a volunteer writer and contributor to LDS Dimension. I use my training, education, and experience to share insights with LDS Dimension on all things of interest to the LDS dating community. Please read my articles and columns on this site to assist you in your online dating journey. Also, to be considered for an answer in a future Q and A column, please email me your dating/relationship oriented questions to email@example.com. Finally, I also offer a powerful, effective worldwide custom hypnosis recording service just for LDS Dimension members for weight loss, pornography, and many other issues of concern to those in the LDS dating community (please learn more now at www.dr-rg.com/lds; email me questions to firstname.lastname@example.org).