‘Ghosting’ is one of the most commonly used modern dating terms. While ghosting isn’t a brand new relationship trend, it has become increasingly common since the onset of online dating culture.
Popular dating apps like Grindr, Tinder, Happn, Elite Singles, and Bumble made meeting new people and ghosting old ones relatively easy. But, what is ghosting, and what does it mean to get ghosted? How do you tell if someone is just busy or has ghosted you?
If you’re having a hard time figuring out if you’ve been ghosted, we’re here to help you figure it out. If you’ve been ghosted and are asking yourself what you can do about it, read on.
We’re going to talk about everything you need to know about this incredibly frustrating dating trend so that you can handle it like a pro.
What is ghosting? What does it mean to ghost someone? More importantly, why is it called ghosting? Well, what else would you call someone who vanishes into thin air? One day you’re planning a future together, and they disappear on you the next.
Ghosting means cutting off contacts with someone without giving any sort of warning or explanation. Instead of breaking up with someone, ghosters just leave without considering the other person’s feelings.
Not only do they cut someone off, but they also avoid responding to the ghosted person’s texts or calls for closure. While ghosting isn’t uncommon in different social and professional settings, it’s more commonly used in reference to romantic relationships.
If you’re a woman who’s reading this article, before you ask, ‘Why do guys ghost when they start to catch feelings?’ Know that ghosting isn’t gender-specific. Anyone can be a ghoster, and women are no less likely than men to ghost people.
What does it mean when someone is ghosting you?
When someone is ghosting you, it means they are not willing to continue dating you anymore. It would’ve been nice to hear it from the ghoster to know it for sure.
But, they don’t like to openly communicate and talk about ending the relationship. Instead, a ghoster would just disappear and leave you hanging. You won’t get closure and will keep wondering if they’re ever going to call you back or respond to your texts.
This kind of rejection just shows you that the ghoster wasn’t really feeling the sparks or wasn’t ready to commit. Some people don’t feel comfortable telling you to your face that they don’t want to continue dating you anymore.
Either they don’t know how to communicate their feelings or are too busy to think about the consequences of their actions. Either way, disappearance is their way of telling you that they aren’t interested in pursuing the relationship anymore.
Now that you know what is ghosting, it is essential to understand if you are facing the situation.
When someone doesn’t reply to your text or answer your calls for a few hours, should you automatically assume the worst? Not really. Sometimes people don’t respond to you because they’re probably:
just preoccupied with work,
going through a hard time,
facing personal issues they aren’t comfortable talking about,
hurt because of something you said or did
dealing with some sort of grief and loss.
It’d be great if they had just told you what’s happening and put your mind at ease. But, sometimes, people feel so overwhelmed with life that they can’t do what’s right.
If someone is just unavailable due to any of those reasons mentioned above and gets back to you as soon as they get a hold of themselves, they aren’t ghosting you.
On the other hand, some people would just start ignoring you when they lose interest. They want you to take the hint by ghosting you. Meanwhile, you keep wondering if they’re just too busy!
Because you can’t believe that they’d leave you high and dry like that, the last time you talked, there was no indication of this happening.
After being on a few dates, sleeping together, and having a good time, it’s heartbreaking to look out for ‘you’ve been ghosted’ signs. But, if that’s what is happening, you need to see it for what it is. So, if someone:
is online but doesn’t talk to you,
doesn’t reply to your text for days,
stops picking up your calls,
doesn’t call you back,
blocks you on social media,
then it looks like you’re being ghosted.
What to do If you’re ghosted?
Ghosting leaves you clueless, confused and hurt. You don’t even know how to respond to ghosting or how to get over being ghosted. I mean, what to say to someone who ghosted you for no good reason?
Fear, insecurities, and questions start to plague your mind. What if they’ve had an accident and are in a hospital right now? Maybe they’ve lost their phone. Did you do something to hurt them? Is it you who pushed them away?
Maybe they’re swamped with work and will call you back as soon as they can. You keep checking your phone and get restless. The worst thing about ghosting is you can’t get answers to any of your questions, and there’s no closure.
You need to process this, but the one person who could’ve helped you is ignoring your calls. It makes you feel helpless and broken. However, no matter how broken you feel, you need to deal with being ghosted and move on. Here’s how to get over your ghosting breakup.
Accept that even though you deserve an explanation and closure, the person you were with doesn’t have the courage or empathy to give you one. Remember that ghosting has nothing to do with the ghosted and everything to do with the ghoster.
One last text
You deserve an explanation so that you can get closure. But, since your ghoster won’t give you one, take your control back and end the relationship with one last text. Let them know that you’re done waiting for them to call you back and wish they were upfront about their feelings.
Then move on and be happy.
Stop texting them after that
They were unable to deal with the discomfort of talking about their feelings or dealing with yours. This was cruel and immature on their part. So, when you feel like texting them for the umpteenth time or wonder what to text after being ghosted, the answer is nothing.
At the risk of sounding like a broken record, let me repeat: Don’t send them a long text or a voicemail, especially when you’re drunk. It might feel good at the moment but will leave you to feel resentful.
Because you’ll still be left without an explanation even after looking that needy.
Sure, you’d love to know what exactly went wrong. But they won’t give you an answer. So, refrain from drunk-texting or drunk-dialing and just accept that you’ve been ghosted and try to move on.
Don’t let your heart close off
Be open to meeting new people and being vulnerable. Don’t let the bad experience stop you from trusting others again. The right person is just around the corner. Someday you’ll meet someone who’s mature enough to deal with your emotions and build a healthy relationship.
Till then, focus on yourself and do what makes you happy.
Check out this video to know how vulnerability can play a role in keeping your dating game strong:
Let go of the ghost
Don’t stalk them on social media. Block the ghoster on your phone and social media. Don’t bring them up when you’re with somebody new. Let the ghosts fade away and hope that they don’t come back to haunt you.
What to do when a ghost returns to haunt you?
Well, ghosts don’t always disappear for good. How often do ghosters come back, you ask? Well, more often than you’d imagine. Maybe you’ve moved on, and you look happy. Meanwhile, they’ve probably dated somebody else and ghosted them too.
Or maybe somebody else has ghosted them, and they’ve had a taste of their own medicine. Sometimes they come back when they’re bored, lonely, feel guilty for ghosting you, or genuinely want to be with you again.
How do you know if a ghost is haunting you? They might just send a text saying ‘hi’ or show up unannounced at your door. They might come up with a really good explanation for their behavior or act like what they’ve done is totally normal.
Whatever their reason was, how do you respond to the ghost when he ghosts you and comes back? Well, instead of bottling up your feelings and acting like you haven’t been hurt by their actions, open up. They owe you an explanation.
A simple ‘sorry’ isn’t going to cut it. Excuses like a personal emergency are fairly common and popular among ghosters. What you’ll do about it is your choice. Do you still have feelings for the ghost? Do they seem genuinely remorseful?
Or are they there just because they’ve been dumped and checking if you’d take them back while they look for somebody new? It’s acceptable and understandable if you decide to give the ghost a second chance(provided they acknowledge what they’ve done and promise not to do it again).
However, be careful and see if they show any early signs of ghosting you again. This time do they text you back and explain if they were unavailable for some reason or make too many excuses? Are you the one who’s always texting first?
Do they bail on you a little too often? Does their behavior look a little too similar to the last time they disappeared? Talk to them about how you feel. If they try to dismiss you or avoid talking about it, they might do it again.
And for repeat offenders, there are no more chances left. They can’t just come in and get out of your life whenever they want.
Alternatives to ghosting someone
While ghosting someone indeed seems like the easy choice, it doesn’t make it the right one. So,
how to ghost someone without breaking their heart?
Instead of leaving someone wondering what they’ve done wrong to push you away or if you’re ever going to return their calls, be bold and try out these options.
If you were seeing someone for quite some time and were in a relationship, no matter how tempted you’re to avoid the confrontation, break up with them in person. Tell them you don’t think you’re a good match and wish them luck.
Don’t want to look at their face when you break up with someone? Do the ghosting in texting. What is ghosting in texting? Telling someone in a text that you aren’t comfortable being around them anymore. It’s not an ideal option, but ‘It was nice meeting you, but it’s over between us’ is far better than leaving someone hanging.
Try going out with that person one more time and see if you feel any connection whatsoever. If you don’t and still want to stop seeing that person, tell them.
Your friends can tell them for you if you’re uncomfortable.
Send them an email and write about how you feel.
After you understand what is ghosting, you might have reflected on the times you might have done that to someone.
While ghosting might not seem to be a big deal for ghosters, it can have long-lasting effects on the person who’s being ghosted. So, if you’re thinking of ghosting someone, do them a favor and let them know that your heart isn’t in the relationship anymore.
If you’re the one who’s being ghosted, you must feel powerless, and your self-esteem might have taken a hit. Again, let me remind you that ghosting says a lot about the ghoster’s communication skills and empathy but nothing about you.
But is ghosting all bad? Is there a situation where ghosting might be the ideal option? Well, if someone’s stuck in an abusive and controlling relationship, removing themself from the situation and cutting off all sorts of communication with the abuser might be their only way out.
The same holds true for all similar situations where your physical or mental safety and wellbeing are at stake. In that case, ghosting someone is not only okay, it’s also a healthy way to protect yourself.
If you feel disconnected or frustrated about the state of your marriage but want to avoid separation and/or divorce, the marriage.com course meant for married couples is an excellent resource to help you overcome the most challenging aspects of being married.
Rachael Pace is a noted relationship writer associated with Marriage.com. She provides inspiration, support, and empowerment in the form of motivational articles and essays. Rachael enjoys studying the evolution of loving partnerships and is passionate about writing on them. She believes that everyone should make room for love in their lives and encourages couples to work on overcoming their challenges together.