In the intricate dance of modern romance, the phenomenon of being “ghosted” has emerged as a haunting specter that can leave emotional scars long after the initial connection has faded. Ghosting, the abrupt and unexplained cessation of communication, has become a prevalent occurrence in the realm of dating, leaving many bewildered and emotionally wounded in its wake. What makes ghosting particularly perplexing is its ability to strike even in circumstances where there seemed to be no signs of trouble, no conflicts, and a generally positive trajectory in the budding relationship.
I’ve been ghosted a few times since I started seriously dating again two years ago, but this last time was particularly perplexing and the catalyst for this article.
We met online, our chats were fun and we determined we had a lot in common, the chats even got a little flirty so we decided to meet. When I entered the coffee shop I was a bit smitten; she was more beautiful in person than she was in her photos. It’s usually the opposite so this was a pleasant surprise.
Conversation flowed really well, and her French accent easily kept my attention. I even got a few compliments, which as a man is always surprising to receive. We stayed until closing and agreed to see each other again soon. I was excited as she was in so many ways ideal, smart, sexy French accent, empty nester, similar interests. I nicknamed her “the pilot” as she also had her pilot’s license, just a very intriguing woman.
I would not see her again.
The Rise of Ghosting Culture
With the proliferation of digital communication and dating apps, the dating landscape has undergone a significant transformation. While these platforms have undoubtedly expanded our access to potential partners, they have also created new avenues for communication breakdowns. Ghosting has become a phenomenon emblematic of the digital age, where individuals can simply disappear from each other’s lives without the courtesy of a formal ending.
The following morning “the pilot” and I exchanged text messages. Fun and very flirty messages and started making plans to see each other again. I did have a busy few days in front of me and so did she, so it looked like it would be mid-week when we would see each other again. All was good.
The Emotional Whiplash
What makes ghosting especially emotionally taxing is the suddenness and ambiguity of it all. In a world where people invest time, effort, and emotions into forging connections, the abrupt end of contact can leave individuals grappling with feelings of confusion, rejection, and self-doubt. The lack of closure and explanation amplifies these emotions, leaving the ghosted person to fill in the gaps with their own conjectures and insecurities.
I messaged her that evening and asked how her day was, but no response. I didn’t think much of it, busy days, we just met, maybe she will respond in the morning. Later the next day I sent another message, but again no response. I’ve been here before, ghosted, but I was not expecting it this time. Of course I started feel rejected, confused and trying to think of what went wrong. I was drawing a blank so decided to just think of other things and wait to see what happens.
The Absence of Warning Signs
One of the most disconcerting aspects of being ghosted is when it happens without any apparent warning signs. Conversations might have been flowing smoothly, dates may have been enjoyable, and the chemistry might have seemed undeniable. Everything might have pointed towards a promising future together. Yet, without any forewarning, the other person vanishes, leaving behind a sense of betrayal and disbelief.
I looked on the dating app and her profile was gone! It has now been 48 hours and no response to my messages, I’d been ghosted!! There were just way too many positive vibes between us for me to have even considered that I would not see her again.
The Psychological Toll
Being ghosted can have a profound impact on an individual’s mental and emotional well-being. The abrupt loss of a person who had occupied a significant space in their thoughts and heart can trigger feelings of abandonment, anxiety, and even depression. This emotional turmoil can be exacerbated by the lack of validation or acknowledgment, as the ghoster’s silence speaks volumes about their indifference.
We had only spent a few hours together but it was a fun time, we had made plans to see each other again. Man!!! Dating can suck sometimes!!
Internalizing the Blame
One of the most insidious effects of ghosting is the tendency for the person who was ghosted to internalize the blame. In the absence of explanation, it’s not uncommon for individuals to start questioning themselves: Did they say something wrong? Did they do something to drive the other person away? This self-doubt can erode self-esteem and make future attempts at dating more fraught with anxiety.
Time to reflect. Did I say anything that would have scared her away? I looked over the messages I had sent and thought of our in-person meeting and conversations. Nothing – no warning signs, no conflict, only fun and good vibes.
While being ghosted can be deeply hurtful, it’s essential to remember that the ghoster’s actions are a reflection of their character and circumstances, not of the person who was ghosted. Cultivating emotional resilience is crucial in navigating the often tumultuous waters of dating. Surrounding oneself with a supportive network of friends and engaging in activities that bring joy can aid in the healing process.
In the past two years I’ve been ghosted a few times, same pattern as “the pilot” so I’ve become stronger and able to deal with it better. This time sucked a little more because I was really into her.
Seeking Closure Within
Closure is a concept often sought after in the aftermath of ghosting, but it’s important to recognize that closure doesn’t always come from external sources. In some cases, closure must be self-generated by acknowledging that the ghoster’s actions are beyond one’s control and choosing to move forward without allowing the experience to define self-worth.
I’ve had to go back and re-read my past articles in this Legacy Magazine; “NEXT” and also remember that this “Happened FOR me and no TO me.” Still sucks, so I took a long walk and let it go.
Reimagining Dating Norms
As society grapples with the complexities of modern dating, there’s a growing movement to foster more respectful and open communication. While ghosting may seem like the easiest way to avoid confrontation, it ultimately perpetuates a cycle of emotional pain. By encouraging open dialogues and honest conversations, individuals can work together to minimize the impact of ghosting on mental and emotional well-being.
In the realm of modern dating, the chilling silence of being ghosted can be a bitter pill to swallow. But in the midst of the emotional turmoil, there lies an opportunity for growth and self-discovery. By recognizing that ghosting is a reflection of the other person’s choices rather than a reflection of one’s own worth, individuals can begin to heal and move forward with renewed hope for healthier, more authentic connections in the future.
I really do wish I could just receive a simple reply rather than being ghosted. I’m a big boy! How hard is it to type “it was nice meeting you but I did not feel a romantic connection – best of luck” or “nice meeting you but I have met someone who I feel I’m more compatible with” or “sorry but I’ve discovered that I’m just not ready to date.”
I’d expect being ghosted if I was in my 20’s as perhaps the emotional maturity may not be fully developed at that age. But I’m in my 50’s. The women who have ghosted me are in their late 40’s or early 50’s, and I would have expected more emotional maturity from them.
Note to self – adjust expectations.