We’ve all been there, haven’t we? We meet someone new, things seem to be going really well, maybe we even make it past the back and forth messaging to actually meet in person. The date goes really well, there are even nods towards future plans, you exchange pleasantries once you get home safe and you go to sleep with a smile on your face that this time, you might be on to a winner. When you wale up in the morning however, you turn your phone off and back on again, convinced that the reason you haven’t heard from them is because there is a fault with the network.
Only the reality is worse, you’ve been ghosted.
A recent study found that 50% of us have been ghosted, and nearly the same are guilty of being the ghost. I will admit it so you don’t have to, I am guilty of ghosting people in my past. I have had moments of panic run through my body, followed by immense guilt. But it was easier than facing that conversation. I have also been ghosted, left feeling worthless with four hundred questions I know will never be answered.
When one person ghosts another, there is a split down the middle. The good guy, and the bad guy. The right and the wrong. The victim and the perpetrator. Call it what you want. It’s still terrible.
Lets break it down, shall we?
There are a million reasons why somebody feels it necessary to commit the unspeakable.
From my own personal vault of trauma, I present to you the ‘my past relationships have left me terrified of future relationships’. I have been speaking to a lovely man, who ticks all the right boxes and I have allowed myself to be submerged into the potential. Then one day, no specific day, just one day, I wake up and panic. I remember how my past relationship experiences have left me scarred. I will remember how hard done by I have been by exes, and also how, at times, I have been the one leaving my partner hard done by. It’s no secret that I am a mess when it comes to relationships, and I suspect many of you sit in the boat with me. But nevertheless, I will wake up one morning to a message from my interest and a realisation will hit me. Rather than brush it aside, or be upfront and honest, I will close the notification, promising to reply in an hour when I’ve calmed down. That hour will become three and before you know it, two weeks have passed and too much time has passed for the damage to be reversed.
Then there are the people we know as the Benchers. Personally, I am a one man man. When I see potential in someone, I stop looking. For me, it just saves a messy situation from forming where there are two or three potentials and I have to sit in an episode of Blind Date and choose my preferred match. But the Benchers are those who keep multiple people on the sidelines. They are the ghosts who will lead you down the path and then disappear when they find, what they believe, is something better, leaving you on the side bench wondering what went wrong. The Benchers are bad, bad people.
Next up we meet the Zombie (who knew there was so much terminology, dating is really complicated, right?!). The Zombie is the one you get to know, the one you start something with only to be temporarily ghosted for a few weeks until they slide back into your life with a ‘hey, how are you?’. In my opinion, the Zombie is the worst type of ghost because they disappear only to return again just as you were getting over the slump caused by their vanishing act.
Lastly, there are some people who ghost you just because they can. There is no reason, no motive, they just up and go one day, never to return. They are too scared to let you down gently with an honest conversation of ‘this isn’t for me’ and so they just vanish into thin air, only to pop up on your mutuals instastory two weeks later.
There are few things in the dating world more frustrating than being ghosted. When somebody is ghosted, it isn’t a simple case of taking a deep breath and moving on to the next. For a while, everything sort of pauses as you are stuck in limbo, waiting for a message that is so obviously never coming. A lot of the time, I can sense when I am about to be ghosted. Recently, I went on a really good date, it was fun and we had a great time, planning the next and generally building potential. In the days that followed date number one, the time between replies got longer and the conversation on the other end got more stale. I knew it was coming, and so I braced for impact, awaiting either a ‘this isn’t working’ or simple radio silence. Only there was nothing simple about the radio silence. It was eerie. For a few days I got really sad, and found myself checking my phone more than normal for something that I knew was never going to manifest. I then turned to my favourite human, Laura and began to ask her questions about where I was going wrong. And that’s the worst part of ghosting, right? The questions. The self assassination as you examine everything you did, trying to work out where you went wrong. Was I too keen? Was I not keen enough? Is it because I am ugly? Was I too fat? Did he notice how my eyes crease like an 80 year old when I laugh? Was I boring? Did he find something better? The questions kept on pouring in, and it left me feeling pretty vulnerable.
The questions are only the beginning though, The self doubt soon creeps in. The wondering if you’ll ever find someone, or whether you will find yourself forever on the receiving end of silence.
For me, the dating world is bloody complicated. Between swiping, tapping, woofing and sliding, there is sometimes too much going on for us to focus on what we really want. We have become a generation who don’t fight for anything because it’s easier to move on to something new. We see our friends being ghosted, we hear stories on Twitter of how others have done the ghosting. We have become so desensitised to it that we just sort of accept the knock and assure ourselves that we too, will move on.
Whether you are the ghoster or the ghosted (or even sitting on the bench, being zombied), I think we can all admit that ghosting is really shitty. It creates such self doubt. It builds guilt. It destroys confidence and it stops us from being able to close the book and move on to the sequel. Ghosting is terrible. Nothing good ever comes from it. I think we should all make a pact that we will never ghost again. Because we all know how it feels. We will make a vow to bite the bullet and have an honest conversation, admitting that for one reason or another, it simply wasn’t meant to be. Sure, it’s a difficult conversation, and nobody ever wants to look like the bad guy. But it’s so much healthier to have it then it is to simply ignore it and leave a person feeling worthless.
Say it with me, ghosting is not welcome in our lives. We will not ghost anybody, and we certainly won’t feel shit because somebody who lacked transparency decided we weren’t worthy of closure. It says more about them than it does about you. And if somebody is prepared to ghost then they are definitely not worth you.
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