couple no longer together

10 Reasons Why People Ghost, And How You Can Move Past It

Do you cringe when you hear the word “ghosting?” How can you not, right? Ghosting is the absolute worst way to end a relationship, and yet it continues to happen all the time. Why is that?

First, let’s take a look at what ghosting actually is. Basically, it’s a disappearing act. A person will abruptly cut off all contact with someone (like a romantic partner) by no longer accepting or responding to phone calls, texts, etc. The term ghosting is incredibly accurate, since one day you could be texting constantly with someone and the next they vanish into thin air, like a really inconsiderate ghost. (Seriously, it’s so rude.)

The dating website Plenty of Fish conducted a survey that found 78 percent of single people on their site between the ages of 18 and 33 have been ghosted at least once. Even more shocking? They also found that 23 percent of men and 16 percent of women have used a planned vacation to ghost someone they’ve been seeing at home. (Ouch.)

It’s obviously not hard to tell if you’re being ghosted, but did you know there are some warning signs you might be able to spot before it happens? Here are some signs someone is about to go full Casper:

  • Their texts become less enthusiastic and less frequent
  • They have unfollowed you on social media or removed you as a match on a dating app
  • They don’t talk about hanging out more
  • They seem distant when you’re around them
  • They start to make you feel like you’re “bothering” them

So, now that you know the definition and warning signs of ghosting, let’s dive into why people do it. While there’s never a good excuse for ghosting, there are definitely some common reasons people resort to it.

Here are 10 reasons why people ghost and how you can move past it:

1. Dating Stopped Being a Priority For Them

Sometimes, life gets in the way of dating so it gets put on the back burner. It happens! Maybe they thought they were ready to date, but work got crazy or family issues popped up. If there is anything significant going on to distract them from dating, they may just ghost you.

2. Timing

If a person hasn’t been dating someone very long, they might think they don’t owe them an explanation for ending the relationship. Unfortunately, this usually results in ghosting.

Along these lines, if two people sort of step back and don’t talk as much for a while, it might be easier for one person to simply stop communicating altogether. If enough time goes by, they might think it’s better to ghost rather than pick up the communication again for the sole purpose of ending the relationship.

3. Technology Makes It Easy

Dating apps are both a blessing and a curse. It’s so convenient to meet someone online, but unfortunately, it’s also convenient to ghost them online. Think about it: all you have to do is simply stop messaging someone. Block them on social media and boom — problem solved. While technology makes it easy to ghost someone, it doesn’t make it right.

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4. It’s Ingrained in Their Attachment Style

There are four types of attachment styles in adults: secure, anxious, avoidant, and disorganized. Secure attachment aside, the rest are considered insecure attachment styles.

When it comes to ghosting, those with an anxious or avoidant attachment style are more likely to do it. Why? Those who are anxious tend to feel insecure about their relationships, while those who are avoidant are uncomfortable with closeness and value their independence more than anything. Combine one of those attachment styles with the desire to end a relationship and you have the perfect storm for ghosting.

5. They’re Just Not That Into You

You’ve probably heard it a million times, but if someone is into you, they will talk to you — plain and simple. A 2019 Buzzfeed poll backs this up, with a whopping 81 percent of people saying the reason they ghosted someone was because they just weren’t that into them.

Sure, there are much better ways to end a relationship. Unfortunately, if someone just isn’t into you, they may not feel the need to give you an explanation as to why they’re ending things.

6. Too Many Options

In the world of dating apps, it’s easy to get overwhelmed with matches and messages. If someone is talking to multiple people at a time, it’s common for someone they’re not into to slip through the cracks.

Maybe they were narrowing down their options and you weren’t a top contender, so they cut off communication. Or maybe the two of you didn’t talk much at all, and they didn’t intentionally ghost you, they just picked up communication with matches they were more interested in.

7. They Want to Avoid Confrontation

Instead of having a tough conversation, they take the easy route. Sure, it’s the cowardly way out, but some people would rather cease all communication instead of dealing with someone else’s hurt feelings. In their mind, they figure they’ll just stop talking to you and hope you get the hint. (And obviously there’s no way you could miss such an aggressive “hint.”)

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8. They Do It To Protect Themselves

Sometimes, a person will ghost someone in an attempt to save themselves from getting hurt. Maybe they were unexpectedly dumped in a past relationship, so they decide they’re going to be the one to end things this time. Unfortunately, that usually results in ghosting.

9. They Didn’t Feel Safe

Ghosting isn’t always the result of someone who doesn’t care about another person. There are times when a person might not feel safe in the relationship, whether it’s due to abuse or other toxic behaviors. In this case, someone might ghost them, but they’re doing it out of necessity.

10. They Didn’t See It Working Out

In an interesting study by psychologist Gili Freedman, Ph.D., it was discovered that people who had a strong belief in “soul mates” and “the one” were 60 percent more likely to ghost someone. If someone doesn’t believe the two of you are “meant to be,” they might feel more justified in abruptly ending the relationship.

How to Deal with Ghosting

Being ghosted can cause a lot of emotions. You might feel insecure and start questioning yourself and what you did “wrong,” rather than question the person who ghosted. It can also lead to sadness and symptoms of depression. It can be incredibly difficult to deal with ghosting, since you’re left without answers or closure.

If you’ve been ghosted, here are a few tips for moving past it:

Don’t Blame Yourself

This is so important! If you’ve been ghosted, the last person you should blame is yourself. It’s not about you, it’s about your ghost’s inability to properly navigate romantic relationships. Basically, things get tough, and they dip out instead of talking to you about it. That’s not exactly someone you want as a partner, right?

Don’t Chase Them

If you’ve been ghosted, there are pretty good odds they aren’t coming back. Don’t make excuses for them! They weren’t busy or simply “forgot” to respond. If they are interested, they will contact you.

So, hide the phone, block them on social media, and do whatever it takes to stop yourself from reaching out. Remember, they didn’t feel like you were deserving of an explanation for the breakup, so leave that ghost where it belongs — in the past.

It’s Okay to Feel Hurt

Ghosting is really hurtful! You’re allowed to feel completely bummed out about it. Ghosting can make you feel confused, angry, sad, and helpless. How can someone just stop talking to you so easily? How can you do that and not offer an explanation?

Ghosting causes a flood of mixed emotions after it happens. It’s a form of the silent treatment, which mental health professionals have described as emotional cruelty. Essentially, you feel powerless. You don't know how to make sense of anything and are hurt that you don’t have an opportunity to express your feelings to the person.

Bottom line? Let yourself feel whatever you need to feel before trying to move past it.

Indulge in a Lot of Self-Care

The period following a ghosting is the perfect time to practice some (much-needed) self-care. Start a new exercise routine, journal your feelings, spend time with people you love, or pick up a new hobby. Do things that make you happy! The more you invest in self-care, the more your ghost becomes a distant memory.

At the end of the day, the ghoster is the one to blame — it’s not your fault. Being ghosted is in no way a reflection of your worthiness or value as a person or partner. Your ghoster didn’t treat you with the dignity and respect you deserve! In all reality, you completely dodged a bullet. If someone is able to disappear without saying a word, a healthy relationship probably wasn’t in the cards anyway.

Hold your head high, remind yourself that they are the problem, and tell yourself you’re better off without them. The perfect person is out there, and when you find them, the last thing they’ll want to do is disappear.

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