You excitedly swiped right on someone who seemed to have naturally captured their personality through five perfectly chosen pictures.
It’s a match!
You play it cool for a couple of minutes, not wanting to seem too eager. Your new match messages you!
Things seem to easily unfold between the two of you. You’re having great text chats and decide to meet up. When you meet, there’s not only great conversation but some serious physical attraction. It continues like this for a few weeks.
At first, you don’t panic. Maybe this person is just busy. After a couple of days, you get restless and send a casual follow-up message. Silence.
You’re hurt, confused, and angry about the disappearance. Upon some anxious Google searching, you discover that it seems you’ve been ghosted. After discovering the term, you frantically type “ghosting definition dating” into every search engine you can think of.
Unfortunately, you didn’t get your confirmation.
That was before you got to this page. All the answers await you here.
So, what does the dreaded ghosting term mean exactly in the world of dating?
What is ghosting?
Ghosting is a popular term used to define a relatively normal tactic early on in the dating process.
Ghosting is when you cut communication with someone completely, without giving any explanation or goodbye. If you are truly being ghosted, this person will not reply to any form of communication you attempt: messages, calls, pigeon carrier… nothing.
Sounds spooky, right? Well, it is. But, unfortunately, it is a fairly common thing that most people have experienced.
Why is it so popular?
For so long, the word “ghost” made you immediately think of Casper. Maybe you’d even get nostalgic about your childhood Halloweens: watching scary movies or going out trick or treating.
However, any mention of the “g-word” and you probably cringe while thinking of someone who did this oh-so-dirty dating act to you. Let’s face it, the majority of us have been ghosted and probably a great number of us have done some ghosting.
So, why is it so popular in modern dating?
The reality is that ghosting, as in disappearing without any explanation, has always happened. We’ve all heard the stories of someone going to the “store” never to be heard of or return again.
What’s the difference now? Why are we seemingly all getting ghosted or doing the ghosting?
Technology seems to have played a big role in this new uptick in the experience. Most singles are on at least one dating app where things happen quickly. In less than a second, we decide if we’re interested in someone or not.
This way of starting relationships is less personable and we feel less of a sense of real connection to our new matches.
Another reason for the spike in ghosting is that romantic relationships are rapidly evolving. Long gone are the days of finding your forever someone. Most people don’t want to label their relationships and are open to many different versions of a partnership.
Unfortunately, when this “free love” type of dating is done disrespectfully, you’re going to have some ghosting casualties.
Why does getting ghosted hurt so badly?
Now that we’ve defined the term and ventured into some theories as to its possible spike in popularity, let’s get into its effects.
Ghosting is a traumatic experience. The victim of ghosting is left without any closure. There are questions left unanswered, and it can be a hard thing to get over depending on what the relationship was like at the time of the ghosting.
We’ve all experienced this, and I think we can agree that it doesn’t feel great. Unfortunately, dating is often filled with rejection, which can spark feelings of insecurity and loneliness.
When we become vulnerable with someone, which is what dating is once we get to a certain point with someone, we run the risk of rejection.
There’s a difference between a couple of messages exchanged on a dating app and then nothing, and seeing someone for a month and then nothing. You’ve probably opened up much more with that person you’ve been regularly seeing. You let yourself be vulnerable and then they disappear completely.
The feelings of rejection immediately come up, and we naturally start thinking about what we could have done differently. What was it that I did that made them ghost me?
It’s—entirely—the ghost’s fault. Mature adults communicate, even when it’s hard. So, even though feelings of rejection can spark that kind of thinking, try not to spiral too deeply into it.
Ghosting is the fault of the ghost. Period.
When you start dating someone, you obviously get to know one another. Maybe you’ve shared some of your most pivotal childhood memories or your darkest fears. Whatever it is, you’ve opened up and shared your authentic self.
You were assuming that this person was doing the same—being authentic and sharing that authenticity with you.
When they then decide to ghost you, everything gets questioned and you no longer believe you had any idea who they actually were. You greatly question their authenticity, and it feels as though you’ve been conned.
What we’re all really looking for in this world are genuine connections—in our dating lives and elsewhere. When someone ghosts us, it feels as though they were lying the whole time.
After all, how could they have connected with you so wonderfully and then just disappeared in one of the cruelest ways?
Ghosting reeks of inauthenticity, and that makes us feel terrible.
Sense of grief or loss
The feeling you’re left with after falling victim to ghosting is similar to that of grief. Obviously, it’s not the same as truly losing a loved one, but the abrupt loss does spark related feelings.
There is no clear ending to ghosting. One moment you’re truly enjoying the company of another, and the next they’ve decided you’re no longer worth even a text back.
That sudden and confusing sense of loss can cause trauma. It will often spark feelings of loneliness and hopelessness.
It can be hard to recover from that.
Just know, again, that ghosting is the fault of the ghost. It shows a true lack of emotional maturity. It doesn’t have to do with you.
How to get over being ghosted?
If you’re single and out in the dating world, it’s likely that you will deal with ghosting at least once. So, how to get over the dreaded incident?
While it is not an easy thing to get over, it can be helpful to remember these three tips if you find yourself ghosted.
Know it’s not about you
I’ve said it multiple times now, but this is the most important thing to remember.
It truly isn’t you, it’s them. I know that’s probably the same thing your mom tells you when you cry to her about your latest heartbreak, but in these cases, she’s right!
Ghosting is about the ghost. This person lacks the emotional maturity to confront what is likely to be an uncomfortable situation. They may also have a fear of commitment or problems with vulnerability, and it is these problems that make them disappear into thin air.
Whatever the reason that your crush decided to turn spooky, know that it’s on them, not you.
Make your own closure
A ghost isn’t going to give you closure on the relationship. That is often one of the hardest parts of being ghosted; you’re left with what seems like unfinished business and probably many unanswered questions.
Try not to obsess over getting those answers. Most likely, our ghost isn’t going to come back from the afterlife and give them to you.
Focus on getting closure for yourself by processing your emotions and then letting the experience go. Write it out, ponder over a long run, or paint a new portrait.
Whatever it is that you like to do, do it and try to get your closure through that action.
I know it’s not an easy thing to do, but the less you obsess over the why’s of it all, the quicker you’ll be able to let go and move on, leaving the whole haunted experience behind you.
Give your energy wisely
Keep this in mind for future dating escapades. Don’t throw your energy out to anyone and everyone. Give it wisely and intentionally. After all, some people just don’t deserve it.
I don’t mean that you should be a cold dating machine. I just mean that you should be careful with who you get vulnerable with.
Feel out the situation. Get a real feel for the person. Try to look past an instant chemical connection before diving all in.
Heartbreak often happens because of all the ideas we have imagined about someone. If we look at the reality of the situation from the start, it’s easier to not get lovestruck by every new face.
Your energy is precious. Be careful how you decide to use it and to whom you give it.
Now that we’ve taken the mystery out of the ghosting definition, be on the lookout for that chill in the air that means you may have a ghost on your hands.
Ghosting is not likely to go away anytime soon. If you’re single and dating, you run the risk of being ghosted. Try not to let it take away from your dating fun.
Just remember our three tips to get over ghosting and try not to let one ghost ruin your future dating experiences. Rejection sucks. But so does never connecting with anyone ever.
So, get out there, get vulnerable, and if you happen to meet a ghost along the way, just keep moving!