The other day, my best friend called me in tears. She had been seeing a guy and things were going great – they had an amazing connection, some fantastic dates, and a few ecstatic orgasms. But suddenly, he disappeared. She told me that he had asked her in the morning if she slept well and thanked her for the wonderful night they had spent together. She replied in kind, suggesting they meet again soon. But he never responded again. Despite her attempts to reach out and check if he was okay, he ignored all of her messages. It was clear from his social media activity that he was still alive and well, but he was kicking her in the heart by ignoring her.
Unfortunately, my friend became a victim of ghosting. What followed were days and weeks of anger, self-doubt and lack of courage to give someone else a chance for the fear of getting hurt again.
Ghosting is a sudden break in contact with someone, whether it be in an acquaintance, friendship, or relationship. It’s a phenomenon that has become more prevalent in today’s world, especially in the context of online dating. When you suddenly stop receiving messages from someone, you’re left feeling ditched and confused. But ghosting is not always a sign of indifference, as it usually stems from deeper, psychological causes. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the reasons behind ghosting, its signs, and offer tips on how to deal with it.
The term “ghosting” comes from the USA: In 2015 it was included in the most important English-language dictionary. Ghosting is when someone disappears from your life without any explanation or goodbye. It can happen after a few dates, after the first sex, in a friendship, or even in a relationship. Those affected by ghosting often feel used or search for mistakes they may have made, making it difficult to process such an unclear separation. The cause of ghosting is usually not in the person affected, but in the psychology of the person who is ghosting.
Who is Affected
The term ghosting is now used for many things – even in professional life – if a company does not get in touch after a job interview.
While women are more commonly affected by ghosting, especially in unspoken relationship situations, it can happen to anyone who has an interpersonal relationship with someone else.
There are still no valid scientific studies on the phenomenon. However, psychologists are beginning to delve deeper into this, as therapy practices fill up with sufferers. What we do know for sure is that ghosting should not be mistaken for indifference, as it often has deep-rooted causes.
Both sides suffer from ghosting
The German author Tina Soliman has written a book on this subject called “Ghosting – About the Traceless Disappearance of Man in the Digital Age”. She says: “Ghosting has become an epidemic. For many people it is the easiest tool to pull yourself out of relationships, which they can no longer advance.” But this tool only seems to be easy, because there is a lot of shame and fear hidden in the background. The Ghoster often feels guilty instead of feeling free and cheerful about the cowardly behavior.
“Ghosting is painful for both of them, it puts a strain on both people’s self-esteem,” says David Wilchfort, a specialist in psychosomatic medicine and psychotherapy in Munich.
Reasons Behind Ghosting
Contrary to popular belief, ghosting often stems from care and concern, rather than indifference. The five most common causes of ghosting are shame, low self-esteem, excessive demands and fear of expectations, self-protection, and fear of hurting the other person.
The ghoster may be afraid of your reaction when they tell you things aren’t working out and choose to disappear instead. They may feel that their explanations are inadequate or that they cannot put their concerns into words, which is often due to a lack of ability to deal with shame and self-doubt.
- Low Self-Esteem:
A lack of self-confidence can prevent trust building and mix with the fear of disappointment, leading the ghoster to believe that the relationship will not end well. The fear of loss can inhibit the development of the relationship, making it easier to pull the ripcord. People who ghost often see the reason for their behavior as simply not being enough – for a relationship or a friendship. Or that they missed the time to say something. The ghosting moment is often just an increase in avoidance behavior in the previous everyday relationship.
- Excessive Demands and Fear of Expectations:
The ghoster may be overwhelmed with the situation and afraid to explain their concerns or put into words the pressure they’re feeling, which is usually due to a lack of self-confidence. Such behavior often goes hand in hand with fear of future expectations that they must meet.
Some people ghost to protect themselves from expectations they cannot meet or from getting hurt. There is a lot of fear involved, fear of closeness, fear of commitment, and also fear of making the wrong decision.
- Fear of Hurting the Other Person:
The ghoster may care about you but avoid texting you to prevent hurting you. They may have feelings but fear rejection or may not have the courage to tell you honestly what’s going on.
Tips for Dealing with Ghosting
If you’re the victim of ghosting, it can be difficult to process and move on. Here are some tips to help you deal with it:
- Allow yourself to feel your emotions:
It’s okay to feel hurt and confused. Allow yourself to process your emotions and don’t dismiss them as irrelevant.
- Don’t try to find fault with yourself:
The cause of ghosting is usually not in the person affected, but in the psychology of the ghoster. Don’t try to find fault with yourself and avoid searching for mistakes you may have made.
- Focus on self-care:
Take care of yourself and focus on things that make you happy and relaxed. A hot bath, a spa-day, dancing, meeting friends, watching a good movie, walks in nature, talking on the phone, a short trip to your favorite place – anything goes.
- Don’t lose hope:
There are good people out there – both men and women – waiting to meet you and treat you with care and respect, the way you deserve it. The guy who chose to ghost you was a loser, because he lost any positive feelings you initially had for him.
- Never run after them:
Although it is often difficult not to “run after” the other person, distance is exactly the right strategy to get out of the matter “healthy” as a victim. Choose distance and distraction: by meeting friends, doing things that are fun, going out there and trying to get that person out of your head as quickly as possible.
Anyone wondering how to behave properly after a ghosting case should take the following rules to heart: stay true to yourself and don’t dwell on the other person. Leave the past in the past. So easy to say, so hard to do.
In conclusion, ghosting can be a difficult and confusing experience, but it is important to remember that the reason for the behavior often lies within the ghoster and not in the person being ghosted. By understanding the common causes of ghosting, such as shame, low self-esteem, fear of expectations, and self-protection, we can better understand why it happens and learn to cope with it. While it may take time to heal, it is important to move forward and focus on the positive aspects of life and relationships. By embracing self-confidence and self-love, we can create a brighter future for ourselves and attract healthier, more fulfilling connections.
Text by Anna Koliber,
author of “Faceless Lover” – erotic novel, available on Amazon