Ghosting in relationships has been among the essential topics of concern these days. It is a way of ending a relationship by stopping all communication with them without any prior information. Ghosting in a relationship refers to one-sided access to the person causing the dissolution of the relationship, either suddenly or gradually. Ghosting is commonly enacted through one or more technological means.
What it means:
Aman and Nisha met at a social gathering. They chatted for a while and found interesting to each other, which led to further meetings and connections on social media. There were no miscommunications, no arguments, and no complications, in their relationship. A few days later, they decided to meet at a family function at Nisha’s house. Aman, who has to come, has stopped responding to messages and calls. The other day, when Nisha tried to meet and talk, he postponed the conversation as he was busy and stopped seeing her then. There were no replies though the messages were seen. It dawned on her that he avoided her on the pretext of being busy. Everything stopped suddenly without any word, and she started questioning herself, “But why?”
It is because this is called ghosting. There need not be any reasons, while there could be hundreds that are unspoken of. Ghosting can be called avoiding or ignoring. The person you met a couple of weeks or months ago develops a relationship with you. Though everything is fine and smooth between you, he suddenly disappears from the radar, leaving no texts and answering no calls.
Don’t label everyone
Understandably, people who are already in a particular relationship do ghosting. But, if a guy or a girl doesn’t call or text back after the first date, it cannot be called ghosting as there is no relationship established so far. And, of course, if a person is running from a toxic and abusive relationship that threatens the person’s mental and physical health, then they are also not a “ghost” at all. They have every right to disappear without any explanation. Ghosting in relationships happens when the person who is OK with the relationship moves out of the relationship without any intimation.
How far is the technology responsible?
Our communication with the outside has gone virtual. Our relationships have also become virtual because the technique is practical and comfortable. However, the virtual world and fiction are the same. We cannot put ourselves in the place of others because, in many cases, it is possible that they disappear suddenly or, simply, the opportunity does not arise.
There are many ways to end a relationship. Ghosting is becoming common. Technology has also changed the way we connect. Dating apps foster experiments with emotions and relationships, resulting in risky behaviours like disclosure of personal information, bullying, cyber trolling, or sexual victimization.
There can be many reasons for ghosting. But, it is for sure that they are not going to say it. Ghosting is painful for both of them as it puts a strain on both of their self-esteem. The ghost also feels guilty but cannot confront it. Ghosting teaches the person to escape rather than to face or solve a problem.
Let’s have a look at the probable reasons.
Not my Soul-mate
Some people have a look for their soul mate. They especially prefer ghosting in their casual relationships because making the person understand or agree with them is more manageable. Such people wait for some special spark and believe they will immediately recognize their true soul mate. If these conditions do not meet, they consider the relationship doomed. It is necessary to end it with the most negligible consequences.
Some just want to stop and don’t feel like going ahead. But they don’t dare to confront the consequences. Such people usually do this through the internet. People who maintain virtual relationships online are unfortunately habituated to ghosting.
Anonymity allows people to troll and poison each other on the web. They write nasty things they would never dare say in person, violate agreements, or disappear from the radar. If you meet a person on the internet and you do not have mutual friends, a standard job or any connections, it will be pretty easy for him to disappear from your life. And they will not bear any responsibility for this.
Someone is not at all serious
Someone who is not at all having a serious and committed attitude towards relationships can also choose to ghost. The casual relationships that someone decides just to try and see that are mostly virtual are selected by these people. It can be observed in their approach towards commitment in relationships.
Psychological consequences of ghosting
Ghosting which is derived from the English word ghost, is ending an affective relationship by cutting off all contact with the person in question and without giving any explanation. Ghosting negatively affects the self-esteem of the person who receives it.
- Being ghosted could result in emotional immaturity and chronic fears of intimacy.
- Ghosting reduces emotional resilience, making relationships fragile and unstable.
- Being ghosted increases feelings of guilt and shame that lower self-esteem and increase symptoms of anxiety and depression.
Being a victim of ghosting is seen as a form of social rejection that activates the same pain pathways in our brain as a physical injury. When a friend or someone you like disappears without explanation, he leaves you in limbo, ridiculous, incomprehensible state and even humiliating. You don’t understand what happened, you can’t figure out the reasons, and you don’t know at all what to do. Because of this, it is easy to fall apart, lose self-confidence, and drown in anxiety and guilt.
Ghosting isn’t just hurtful. It leaves the partner clueless and angry, says couples therapist David Wilchfort. “If someone is suddenly abandoned, although they have no thoughts in this direction themselves, the first thing they will ask themselves is: ‘How did this happen? What did I miss?’ Then the anger would arise: “How could he do this to me? Can’t he at least write or call me?” But the anger is only noticeable to outsiders and is masking something much more substantial: hurt self-esteem.
“Imagine someone asking you to dance,” explains Wilchfort. “After the first dance, he disappears into the toilet – and when he returns, he sits in his place. You immediately feel insecure and ask yourself: Am I not good enough?”
While the person concerned agonizes over what he has done wrong, outsiders ask themselves one question: what must a person have done wrong to deserve such lousy treatment?
What needs to be done when shunned?
Even with ghosting after sex, those affected should not blame themselves. Although it is often difficult not to “run after” the other person, distance is the right strategy to get out of the matter “healthy” as a victim. When someone in a relationship shuns you down with ghosting, you need to do something to get back to normal.
Don’t blame anything
You need not feel guilty or blame anything for this. Being ghosted is unexpected. But it doesn’t mean that you did something which led to ghosting. Nothing is to be blamed for this.
Accept that it is over
Try to understand what has happened and accept that this relationship has ended. It takes time, depending upon the seriousness of our emotions invested in this relationship. But, in the end, it is essential to understand that the relationship which you have cherished all these days is not there anymore.
Burn your bridges
Whatever connects you with the past relationship has to be disconnected. The things that make you remember the person and those memories must be deleted or discarded. It is advised not to have anything that triggers those memories.
Things just come and go, and people visit us in life. But life has to move on. There is a life outside these relationships. Be cheerful and pursue what you need the most in life. Take the help of friends and do activities that distract you.
Experts agree that the first thing we should think about if someone ghosts us is that their attitude speaks more about the person in question than about us. The second thing is to allow ourselves to feel the pain, the disappointment, the shame or whatever it is that we are feeling at that moment. The third step would be to talk about it with someone you trust. Several studies have shown that putting words into thoughts can change our brain patterns and help us process painful experiences. Lastly, it is essential to emphasize self-care. Other research has shown that sticking to the basics, like eating well, getting enough sleep, and getting some exercise, are very important in managing pain, including that of ghostly disappointments. Practices such as yoga, meditation, and mindfulness reduce the production of stress hormones in the body and can even change some neural connections related to pain.