What is Ghosting & Why Does It Happen?
This week’s Relationships Q&A comes from Rosemary in the Sanity & Self Community and is about being ghosted.
Am I overreacting? Met a guy online … Everything was hot from the beginning, but a month later things got cold. Frequent phone calls to just texts to texts once in a while … 1st date night great connection. Should I leave this alone or just give him some space. (FYI, I didn’t give up the cookie) He asked what I was looking for in a man and respected what I’m looking for…Why did I get ghosted?”
You are NOT overreacting. You had a great time and chemistry with a guy that you allowed yourself to be vulnerable with and open up to. That requires trust, time and energy. You have EVERY RIGHT to feel this way. Your feelings are valid and you can’t help how you feel. Unfortunately, dating these days has created a lot of self-doubt in women.
The thing is, Ghosting has become an actual thing that people have come to lean on fairly regularly. It’s become the easy way out for both men and women and is essentially an avoidance strategy. Rather than having uncomfortable conversations or being honest about how one feels, so many people have learned to hide behind their phones in order to avoid things that might be awkward or create conflict. Dating apps and online dating has also made it that much easier for people to avoid all levels of accountability. Back in “the good ole days” a lot of people met through friends, work or their communities, so it was a lot more difficult to be a jerk for blow someone you were dating because you would have to face your mutual friends and people (people that you care about and don’t want to disappoint–at least to a certain extent). So, long story short, so many people are avoiding confrontation or difficult conversations making dating that much more confusing and anxiety provoking.
As far as whether or not you should “leave him alone” or just “give him space,” I strongly encourage you to take some time to think about what this relationship (and yes, it is a relationship of some kind, even if it is not exclusive or serious) offers you and how it has made you feel. It sounds like that initially it was fun and exciting, but now you are feeling upset and blindsided. I am hearing that this relationship is making you question yourself and feel insecure. So those aren’t great things. No person or relationship (including friendships) should ever make your feel bad about yourself or be one-sided.
You deserve to date and be with someone who is committed and follows through. You also deserve to be treated with respect and be informed if there is a change of heart or interest. So, with all that being said, does he deserve your time and energy? Do you want to invest more time and energy into this guy that isn’t being consistent or investing the time and energy into pursuing a relationship with you (when you know fully well that he is capable of these things)? You deserve someone who isn’t likely to just ghost you and disappear.
As a therapist, I would encourage my client to reflect on a few things. Like…What’s important to you in a relationship? How do you want to feel with your significant other or person you are dating? Will pursuing this further make you feel better or worse? And then go from there. You know yourself more than anyone. What would be GOOD for you and in your best interest?
Now, if I were talking to a close friend, I would tell her that he sounds disinterested and is blowing her off. I would tell her to not waste her time on this guy and that (whatever the reason may be) it is his sh*t and NOT a reflection of her. And I would tell her that she deserves better and should put the time and energy into someone that values her and knows just how great of a person she is.
So, yes you can give him space and wait for him to come around, but what will that really do for you? You also have other options. 1) You could be direct and call it out—because at this point, what is there to lose? Or 2) You could just move on, and know what there are plenty other guys out there and this guy just wasn’t your guy—which will feel bad and suck for a little, but I know you will be okay.
The thing is with dating…you have to date (and sometimes date and date and date) to find the right person for you. And there are going to be a lot of people out there that you might have a really good time with or are attracted to or feels right at the time. But you have to remember, that the “RIGHT” person won’t make you question yourself. The “right” person will make you feel secure and loved and wanted. They won’t play games or require you to chase them. It doesn’t mean that this person and the relationship will be perfect, but you won’t be feeling so unsure or confused. Its so important for you to remind yourself of this as you date, as well as what you want and deserve in a relationship.
Be Wary of Red Flags
Here is a quick, red flag cheat sheet for you. I would reference this as you date and are exploring new relationships. If you answer “yes” to any of the questions below, remember to remind yourself of what you want and are entitled to in a healthy relationship and consider moving on to the next.
- Do I feel bad about myself when I am with this person?
- Do I feel like I have to defend myself when I am with this person?
- Do I constantly feel on edge or anxious when I am with person?
- Do I get mixed signals or messages from this person?
- Do I work harder and invest more energy in this person than they do?
- Do I feel uncomfortable expressing my feelings and needs openly?
- Do I tend to have a hard time knowing where I stand with this person?
- Do I feel like I have to be “on” around this person?
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About the Author
Leah Aguirre is a licensed clinical social worker & psychotherapist in San Diego, CA. Leah prioritizes mental health issues because she’s experienced issues with anxiety herself and believes every woman will face their own struggles with mental health at some point in their life. She specializes in helping individuals who experience challenges with relationships, dating, and self-esteem through both individual and group sessions. Visit Leah online at https://leahaguirrelcsw.com/