THE CIRCULAR

Ghosting: Why It Hurts So Much And How To Overcome It

Photo by Pranavsinh Suratia for Pexels

In recent years, the term “ghosting” has become part of the common lexicon. However, what exactly is it and what are its impacts?

While this phenomenon is not new, it has taken off like wildfire today due to the influence of ‘digital life’ and is considered by psychologists to be one of the most dangerous dating trends that can harm a person’s emotional and physical wellbeing.  

Ghosting is defined as somebody leaving you without reason or explanation and without any warning.

In other words, the person vanishes into thin air, leaving no traces, shrouded in an invisibility cloak of indifference and silence.

Like a rabbit in a hat, the magician erases his presence, cancels himself out, and disappears, leaving the person abandoned and broken, wondering why all that happened. 

In other words, the person vanishes into thin air, leaving no traces, shrouded in an invisibility cloak of indifference and silence.

Popular dating apps have conducted surveys to analyze the ghosting phenomenon among their users, and the results are quite striking.

According to a study run by Hinge prior to the pandemic, 91 % of users say they were ghosted, and 63 % ghosted someone. In a survey conducted by PlentyOfFish a few years ago, 800 millennials aged 18 to 33 answered YES to being ghosted.

When we asked our users why do you ghost? 40% of you said you ghost because you don’t know how to explain why you don’t want to see someone again. Almost a third of you told us: “It felt uncomfortable rejecting them.” And some of you said, “It’s less hurtful to disappear than to straight-out reject someone.”

Logan Ury, Hinge’s Director of Relationship Science

Hiding behind a screen and becoming less connected to reality seems to ease the burden of abandoning a partner. Rather than trying to explain, why not just block the person on Whatsapp, delete them from Facebook and don’t pick up the phone?

There is a sort of numbness and inability to connect emotionally and as a result, it seems more natural (and certainly easier) to disappear into thin air and avoid not only confrontation with the person in question but also with oneself.

Ghosting is a very traumatic form of emotional abuse. Those who have been ghosted often feel a deep sense of loss, unease, rejection and disbelief, and believe they are not even worthy of an explanation. 

Dr. Loren Soeiro, Ph.D. ABPP describes ghosting as a form of emotional cruelty comparable to the silent treatment, that also robs a person of an opportunity to work through what has gone wrong.

When a relationship ends abruptly, without a traditional breakup, the results can be even more traumatic and studies have shown that social rejection triggers the same neural pathways as physical pain.

Often, emotions are mixed and confused and those who are abandoned are left hanging, waiting for an answer that never comes.

Those who watch their loved ones disappear into thin air often feel rejected, used, and disrespected. In addition, being erased by a loved one is experienced as a deep betrayal.

After exposing the damaging effects of ghosting, one question remains: how can we overcome it successfully and move forward?

Even though it may take some time, there are things we can do to feel better and move forward.

  • When recovering from abuse, it is essential to be surrounded with the support of loved ones, and not be ashamed to seek help from a therapist or physician.
  • We have to stop blaming ourselves! Although ghosting makes us feel as though it is about us, it’s not. It’s about them. It is now time to focus on ourselves and to take a break. We are not to blame for someone walking away without a word, and it is certainly not our fault that the other person wasn’t mature enough to tell us the truth.
  • When we are feeling down, self-compassion and self-care are essential. It is vital to participate in activities we find enjoyable and that make us happy and to spend time with family and friends who can support us.
  • We should allow ourselves time to grieve. Being dejected and heartbroken is completely understandable, and it’s natural to feel sad. 

Ghosting is truly a cruel and unnecessary act and I can relate to this because it happened to me as well. If you are experiencing the same right now and feel abandoned and hurt, remember that you’re precious and deserve to be loved, and this moment will pass.

Remember who you are. You are strong. You’ve got this.

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