If you have done any sort of on-line dating, or used a dating app, there is a great likelihood that you have been “ghosted.”
What exactly does that term mean?
Wikipedia defines “Ghosting” as: Ghosting (relationships) Ghosting is breaking off a relationship (often an intimate relationship) by ceasing all communication and contact with the former partner without any apparent warning or justification, as well as ignoring the former partner’s attempts to reach out or communicate.
Let’s paint the picture.
You meet someone and start dating. You click on many levels-at least the ones you need and want to satisfy your love languages. You seem to have everything going for you, and the future looks and “feels” bright. But one day, behavior shifts 180 degrees. The man or woman who you’ve been texting, or calling (or calling you) suddenly disappears. The prior days were normal, in fact, even great. And then, this person does what I call…..”evaporates.” Like a vapor, or dust, they simply disappear, or become a ghost-a memory.
At first, you are worried about their welfare. Then, a day goes by (when the normal behavior was to text or call daily) and you don’t hear from that person. You worry more. You start to feel fear, anger, self-doubt and start reliving what was said, what was done, and perhaps what WASN’T said or done. You start making yourself crazy-and feeling abandoned and wondering what the heck happened? Do I call, do I text—what do I do now? It’s a whirlwind of emotional craziness!
The magazine, Psychology Today has cited that 50% of people dating online have been ghosted. They describe it as the “feelings of being disrespected, used and disposable.” We feel betrayed. We feel we’ve been played, that this was just a game or a dare, and that the feelings were never REAL. It makes us doubt ourselves, lowers our self-esteem and makes us distrust people as a whole in the dating scene. The worst part is-you are giving this person complete power over you-both mentally and emotionally. You ask yourself if you are worthy of any sort of respect? The self-doubt can be overwhelming!
I experienced this type of behavior in the very worst way. I had recently gone through a very painful divorce which involved mental and physical abuse and my ex-husband had lied and cheated on me. I finally had healed enough to start dating again, and met a (seemingly) wonderful man. It was all there. I hadn’t felt this way in 13+ years. I was vulnerable-excited-Hopeful. It was fast and furious. We had three weeks of fun, flirty and great dates…and then nothing. Three weeks went by, and then I got a text from him. My eyes nearly popped out of my eye sockets. You see, in the three weeks where I hadn’t heard from him, I basically went nutty. I relived everything said, done and communicated. I beat myself up. I listened to the Smiths “How Soon is Now” ad nauseum and thought suicidal things. I cried for days on end. I felt exposed; unsafe in a very different way. When I asked him what happened, he said “what do you mean? I’ve been busy. And what is ghosting?”
We saw each other for a couple of months, but after the ghosting episode, it was ruined. I told him of my pain and he begged me for another chance. I was killer tough on him, but I wish I had let it go after the ghosting. Leopards don’t change their spots. And shame on me for allowing someone so much power to hurt me so deeply, but worse yet-I was silly enough to give him another chance.
Why does it feel so bad?
Psychology Today says:
“One of the most insidious aspects of ghosting is that it doesn’t just cause you to question the validity of the relationship you had, it causes you to question yourself. Why didn’t I see this coming? How could I have been such a poor judge of character? What did I do to cause this? How do I protect myself from this ever happening again? This self-questioning is the result of basic psychological systems that are in place to monitor one’s social standing and relay that information back to the person via feelings of self-worth and self-esteem. When a rejection occurs your self-esteem can drop, which social psychologists propose is meant to be a signal that your social belonging is low. If you have been through multiple ghostings or if your self-esteem is already low, you are likely to experience the rejection as even more painful, and it may take you longer to get over it as people with lower-self-esteem have less natural opioid (pain-killer) released into the brain after a rejection when compared with those whose self-esteem is higher.
Ghosting is the ultimate use of the silent treatment, a tactic that has often been viewed by mental health professionals as a form of emotional cruelty. It essentially renders you powerless and leaves you with no opportunity to ask questions or be provided with information that would help you emotionally process the experience. It silences you and prevents you from expressing your emotions and being heard, which is important for maintaining your self-esteem.”
How do you move on?
The way I have moved on from this (it happened another time, too, but I never met the guy) is to realize that it’s all about the person who did it and nothing about you. This person lacks courage, and doesn’t respect others to politely say goodbye and wish that person good luck. It’s the coward’s way out. Ask yourself if this is the kind of person who you want to invest in, and if thats your ideal match? I don’t believe so.
I understand you may be shaken to the core, but the universe is doing you a favor. I’ve been there. With these types, to see their faults, it’s better sooner than later no matter how hard this is to grasp. Who wants to be involved with someone like this anyway-a person who lacks character and compassion? This person wasn’t in your lane and was never meant to be. They don’t show respect nor value of your time-nor you. You are worthy of far more than this, and it will come. Go out and enjoy what you’ve always wanted to do…..and make yourself happy first and foremost.
Lori Mendelsohn is a matchmaker in the Milwaukee area. Her business is www.smartfunnysingle and she has over a dozen marriages under her belt. She uses her intuition and knowledge of the human condition to match singles.