You’ve Been Ghosted: What You Need to Do Now
It’s a frustrating question you may need to ask someday if you try online dating: Why do people ghost?
Ghosting involves suddenly and without explanation cutting off communication with a potential romantic partner. It can happen in relationships where two people already know each other well, but it’s often more common among people who matched via an online dating platform, chatted for a while, and perhaps went on a few early dates.
Hopefully, you’ll never be ghosted. This experience is painful because it feels like a rejection. But, if you ever are ghosted, it can be much easier to cope with your pain if you know-how.
Tips to keep in mind when you’re ghosted include:
Confirm You’ve Been Ghosted
First things first: It’s not always immediately clear if you’ve genuinely been ghosted. You need to know the key signs to determine if your current circumstances qualify. They include the following:
1. Short Messages Prior to Ghosting:
Ghosting involves not replying to someone’s messages at all. However, before ghosting someone completely, a person might indicate their lack of interest by replying to their messages curtly.
2. Reliance on Emojis
Using emojis can be a fun way to communicate for some people! The fact that a match uses a lot of emojis doesn’t mean they plan on ghosting you. That said, if they started relying on emojis far more than usual before they stopped replying altogether, it may mean they weren’t interested enough to have a real conversation any longer.
3. Behavior or Attitude Changes
Ghosting may not be justified, but if you genuinely want to determine if you’ve been ghosted, you should also consider how something you did may have made your ghoster decide to stop communicating.
For example, maybe you’d been chatting with a match for a few weeks. Things seemed to be going well. Then you revealed the kind of personal info you would only reveal to a close partner, or you started talking about the future in a manner that suggests you think you’re already in a committed relationship with this person.
After that, perhaps they were less enthusiastic during your conversations. This could be a sign that you were on different wavelengths in regards to where this budding relationship was going, and they wanted to back away before you got the wrong impression.
Of course, you can always (calmly and politely!) send follow-up messages to see if someone is ghosting you. If they don’t get back after a few days, you should probably move on.
(Keep in mind, there are also instances when someone might not respond to your messages, but they aren’t technically ghosting you. This blog will describe some of those potential scenarios later.)
Know You’re Not Alone
Being ghosted feels personal. You may assume this experience is a sign that you’re not interesting to most people you’ll meet through online dating platforms.
You don’t need to feel this way. Quite simply, ghosting is relatively common. For instance, one survey reveals that 80% of millennials feel they’ve been ghosted by online dating matches. Odds are good the rates among other age groups are close to that percentage.
That doesn’t mean being ghosted won’t sting. However, it’s important to realize that you’re by no means the only person who’s been through this.
Consider Reasonable Excuses
Another assumption people tend to jump to when they’re ghosted is the belief that the person who ghosted them did so because they weren’t interested and didn’t feel comfortable with honestly saying so.
True, sometimes ghosting happens for this very reason. That said, there are other explanations for why someone might not get back in touch with you after a few online interactions or dates. These explanations still may not be completely satisfying when you’re coping with the experience, but they can offer some perspective.
3 Reasons Why People Ghost
1. Different Approaches to Online Dating
Some people are committed to finding a match through online dating platforms and apps. They use them regularly, and when they first get in touch with a match (or vice versa) with whom they get along, they stay in touch.
However, not everyone uses dating sites and apps this way. Some people use them casually, only logging in a few times a month.
Matching with someone who approaches online dating in this manner can result in an experience that feels very much like being ghosted, even if it technically doesn’t qualify. For example, maybe you match with someone via Zoosk, where, as is the case with most online dating platforms, contacting matches requires using the platform’s own messaging feature until you and a match are comfortable exchanging phone numbers and/or email addresses.
If you were messaging with someone who uses the platform casually, and you hadn’t reached the stage where you exchanged contact information yet, they may seem to be ghosting you by not responding to your messages, when in fact, they might simply not use the platform nearly as often as you. They’re not ignoring your messages. They just haven’t seen them.
2. Personal Issues
Staying in touch and letting someone know you’re unavailable for any legitimate reason is essential in a committed relationship. However, when personal issues arise, many people don’t feel an obligation to explain the situation to online dating matches if they’ve only been chatting back and forth for a few days or weeks.
Illness, unexpected disruptions at work, and a wide range of other factors can distract someone from responding to messages on dating sites and apps. It’s possible a match isn’t getting back to you because they’re too busy addressing other life circumstances.
3. Other Matches
Until you reach a stage where you and an online match know one another well and clearly state the intention to exclusively message or date one another to see if a relationship develops, it’s unfair to assume you’re the only person a match is in contact with.
For instance, surveys indicate that many users who appreciate the way online dating platforms help them easily meet new people still admit they sometimes receive more messages than they can reasonably respond to quickly. A match might not respond to you in a timely manner because they’re responding to others first.
Don’t Get Angry
Again, you should consider reaching out to someone who you believe is ghosting you to confirm that’s what’s happening. Maybe they haven’t gotten back to you lately due to one of the legitimate reasons described above, but otherwise are still interested. Or, maybe they thought they’d responded to a message, but due to a technical issue, their response didn’t get sent. It’s okay (and arguably smart) to check in on a potential ghoster.
Reacting in anger isn’t okay, though. While it can be tempting to lash out at someone who’s made you feel rejected, there’s nothing to be gained by doing so. If there was a chance of them giving you another shot, there certainly won’t be if you make them feel attacked.
Vent to friends and family if you’re angry about being ghosted. It’s fine to let your emotions out in a healthy way. It’s not fine to make an already unpleasant experience even worse by ranting at a ghoster.
Despite there being a range of potential explanations for why someone might ghost you, sometimes the answer to the question “Why do people ghost?” is the answer you suspect: they didn’t know how to tell you they were no longer interested.
Ghosting someone isn’t the ideal way to handle those feelings. It’s far more respectful to be upfront. You’re at least somewhat justified in feeling upset with someone who couldn’t be honest about their lack of interest.
Just keep in mind that ghosting someone says more about them than it does about you. While statistics indicate many people have been ghosted online, they also indicate that many of those same people have gone on to find partners through dating apps and platforms. The fact that you’ve been ghosted doesn’t at all mean you’re unable to do the same.
After all, you want to be with someone who’s right for you. A person who resorts to ghosting instead of honestly explaining their feelings isn’t a person you likely want to be in a relationship with. Although coping with ghosting is often a struggle, do not let it stop you from continuing to use online dating sites.
It’s also worth noting that you might benefit by trying a new platform. For example, maybe you’re a Christian who initially tried to find a match via a general dating site. Perhaps someone ghosted you when they found out you have different religious values. You might thus have more luck on a site like Christian Mingle. You just need to keep trying!