What Is Ghosting And How To Deal With It

You know when you’re “talking” to someone or pre-dating (I guess is what some people call it now) and the communication just starts to dwindle? And then that person just kind of disappears like a ghost? Well, my friends, that’s called ghosting. It’s very real, and it very much sucks.

The term ghosting might be new, but the action certainly isn’t. People have been ghosting forever! In fact, that’s how my first boyfriend decided to break up with me once. Instead of having a conversation with me that things weren’t working, he disappeared.

At first, he wouldn’t get back to me for a while. He ignored texts for days. Days became weeks. And poof! He ghosted. I didn’t hear from him for months until he reappeared and wanted to get back together, which is a whole other story.

Ghosting is so frustrating because if something is going to end with a person, it’s much easier to deal with when you have an explanation. If you don’t know what went wrong, how are you supposed to learn and apply your newly-acquired wisdom to future relationships? It’s super difficult to get closure when someone just evaporates from your life.

Honestly, ghosting is a cowardly move. If you don’t want to talk to someone anymore or see that person, then you should buck up and tell them. Yeah, it’s hard to do that. But you will make that person’s life so much easier if you give some kind of explanation.

So how exactly should you deal with ghosting?

It depends! If you just started noticing some space and distance that wasn’t there before, you can bring it up. Ask if everything is alright. Take the initiative to start the conversation that they might be afraid to. You might be able to get them to open up and talk about their feelings.

Do not under any circumstances bombard a ghost. If they’re not responding to texts or calls, don’t keep texting and calling because that will push a ghost further away. Instead, take some space of your own. If they start coming back around, then you can bring up that they’ve seemed really distant and ask what’s going on.

If your ghost is already gone, it’s best to let them stay that way. As difficult as it is to not know what happened, ghost translates to jerk. You’re dealing with someone who doesn’t respect you enough to give you a reason why they want to end it, and that’s not cool. It’s not worth your time or emotions to keep asking for answers that you’re not going to get.

Hold your head up and move on. You’re not the problem in a ghost situation, I promise!

Have you ever been ghosted? What did you do? Have you ever ghosted someone? Tell me in the comments!

These breakup tips might help post-ghost

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  • Amy Palatnick

    i’m a little in love with someone who ghosts regularly. i’m not sure exactly what is up with it, but i have decided that the next conversation we have has to be about this dynamic. i feel he is just extremely sensitive, and maybe there is some trauma in there. we love each other in a very strange way. i don’t think he ever has a bad thought or feeling about me; he just goes deep inside and has a hard time navigating back out. There is nothing “jerk” about him. he is lovely, except for this communication difficulty. i keep my heart open, and retreat when i need to, when i get hurt.

    i did have a boyfriend in high school who did this to me. i know i have a lesson to learn with it. the scary part is re-entry: when they come back, if i mention it, it scares them away. but ignoring it only perpetuates the cycle. that’s why i’m at this new place of feeling clear that i need to address it directly at this point…otherwise i feel i’m enabling it and perpetuating a dynamic that is upsetting to me. i’m a fine person to communicate with, completely open. he could say anything and it would be fine with me. i just want to know why.

  • deplorable

    i ghost a lot. why deal with emotions that run long and deep in a relationship. life is too short to deal with drama. so much to explore in such little time. i ghosted 2 woman at once.
    the issue i have is i dont want kids and i refuse to have my dna live in a single parent household. so if u get too close to producing kids, i ghost.
    at least the kids are not there to be hurt

  • Tetyana Nawrocki

    People with HONEST intentions never disappear without explanation or act weird. They have INTEGRITY which is at the core of any personality. Integrity activates consciousness and made us feel guilty doing anything outside of established structure of right or wrong. This model is personalized and gets adjusted every moment of this life journey, plus issues of right and wrong
    moved on rather sofisticated level. Yet, it all comes to simple…honesty.
    Not everyone who abused someone (ghosting is a type of abuse) did it consciously or on purpose. There are reckless, selfish, borderline sociopaths who are on a loose out there and would hurt anyone and everyone without a second thought. But those are few. As one very knowledgeable
    man said, most pain in this world didn’t come from desire
    to hurt another, but from desire to make one feel good.

    As I said above, very few “ghosts” abuse another human out of some dysfunctional idea. Most simply don’t care and pursue own agenda. Abandoned in frustration, never was anything more than an object for a “ghost”. Object for an evening, for a month, or for a couple of years. Men and women both are guilty of this crime. The bottom line is: if someone “ghost” you, they never had any relationship with you in the first place. It was an enterprise to take advantage of you in some form. There were lies in between or all of it. If it simply didn’t work out (as happens a lot) they would tell you and not once! Because they would be invested in you and mostly important care for you! But because
    they never were, they disappear in the same manner as thief disappears with
    your money. What kind of explanation do you want?!
    It’s not a few dollars they take away from you. They destroy your sense of internal balance. Murder in the first or manslaughter it’s only matters to perpetrator. To victim it’s always a major loss. On the positive note, it’s a harsh lesson, but valuable one. Their behavior will bring them severe consequences if it becomes a pattern, but you just have been given a gift of experience.

    • Crystal

      I loved your post.I was ghosted by a man I was with for over a year and this just happen a few days back.Reading post like yours made me feel alittle better:)

    • deplorable

      see this is why i ghost. all the negative drama that comes at the end. u wrote 5 paragraphs of negative s. too much drama.

      • Bea

        Deplorable…I was just ghosted by a man who described himself as deplorable in his dating profile…tongue in cheek I thought…also claims to be an introvert. I’m new at online dating so I took my time before rushing to meet him..emails, texts and phone calls. I’m shocked now at how hard I fell. He had me with hello…our only meeting seemed to go well, nerves aside. Gave me the sweetest kiss..and then he was gone. Reached out to him after over a day of no contact, now days ago and nothing. Heartbroken and confused. A simple this won’t work for me would have Ben fine. This ghosting thing is not. It is abusive and I’m not having that. So lesson learned. I will protect my own heart and open it only to someone who has the courage to be let in.

  • WellNowDear

    Two of my children have ghosted me. The thing is I don’t even know why. The victim of ghosting never knows why, do they? The cowardly jerks never tell why because it is really them not, you.

    Many parents are real demanding and expect their children to send gifts or cards at every occasion. They demand their children call them every couple of days and generally pester them. I never did any of those things. When I would call them, they had nothing to say to me. We didn’t have a fight or anything like that. Wonder if it could be because I’ve never been a real mushy sort of person? Could they want that sort of thing? Maybe they want me to be something I can’t be and are too much of a coward to say anything. They know they are at fault.

    Once when I really got concerned about it, I asked my oldest child why the two were ghosting me. The answer was, “They don’t think they have any need of a mother.” If they do, at some time in the future have a change of heart, I will not be there for them. They are complete strangers to me now.

    • deplorable

      thats sad. when mom passed. i buried her ashes. honor mom

  • Song Corbett

    No one should ever take this personally. If it’s not meant to be, or if its just not right, then it’s just not right. It doesn’t mean you’re less of a person. Let them go and move on. There could be a million reasons going through their head, for why ghosting is the best way to cope w the situation.
    Especially for women who may feel a need to protect themselves from vindictive retaliation, just for breaking it off w someone.
    Instead of asking yourself what you did wrong (if you really don’t know) focus on bettering yourself, loving yourself and trusting in you being lovable.

  • Steve

    This has frequently happened to me with one girl. We first met online about 8 years ago. We talked for awhile, and then we fizzled out. Take a year or two, she would message me again. We were almost always facebook friends during these times, so I would see she was generally living, but refusing to contact me. She first started flat out ignoring me when she got a boyfriend in her hometown. It was still that weird situation on facebook when I could tell there was obviously something going on, but she pretended I didn’t exist anymore. A few years passed again, and she started to talk to me again. I still didn’t fully trust her at this point, so I wasn’t looking to get back into anything serious. She apologized for what she did before, and that was really the only reason I decided to talk to her again. I was in active addiction throughout much of this, and I can’t lie that I was a little bit of an asshole. She started talking to me again when I got clean. I was ready to forgive her fully for the pain I went through with her before and start to trust again. I fully confessed my feelings for her, and she reciprocated them. Everything was going great, then her messages started to become abrupt. There were some other red flags, such as the whole incident with the first boyfriend she seemingly “forgot.” Then, she started to flat out ignore me again. My self-esteem completely plummeted. I just wanted to know what was happening and why she would do this again when she fully knew it hurt the first time. She was still active on facebook, sharing random things and often posting about going to work. The depression was overwhelming. I gave her the opportunity to be honest with me and set the boundary that if she couldn’t tell me anything, I would have to remove her from my life completely, even as friends. She didn’t say a word, so I deleted her off my facebook and her number from my phone. I told her I still loved her and would pray for her happiness, because it was true. I do not try to resent people, so I can only hope she can find a new way of life out of her sad and sorry life. I try to pray for her whenever I can. The only thing I fear is what if she finds me again, because she’s very good at that. I have a new facebook now, but history has her finding me again. I felt so foolish for trusting her the last time. Will I do it again? I really need strength to deal with it if it happens again. If she does change (because I believe people can), will I be able to tell? I try to focus on the people who have a positive impact on my life, but she will forever be part of my history, and I can never forget.

  • Matchstick

    Just to play devils advocate, it is disingenuous to say that ghosting is unfair because it doesn’t give you the information you would need to know what went wrong. You will not change to please someone who left you, nor should you. In many cases, people who disappear rather than talking to you are people who find it difficult to talk to you. Whose fault that is, is irrelevant, if it happens, it was because the relationship was not working. Everyone wants love, but no one is owed it.

  • chris garza

    To make a long story short, I met Amber at Starbucks. I left the store but accidentally left my watch on the table. She brought it out to me and that’s how I met her in November. I asked her out to dinner and she accepted. She offered to take my watch to a store to shorten the length of the wristband. We began to see each maybe once a week or two, either for lunch, dinner, and coffee. We would talk a lot about our personal issues, fears, passions in life. I just got out of a relationship around this time and her divorce has been finalized at this time. She was married for 7 years and decided to end the marriage when she said they became more like “roommates” than being in a marriage.

    I started to cook dinner for her at my place. I would buy her small gifts such as a pepper spray that she said she needed, brought her homemade dinner, and pay for all meals on dates. We became intimate, still seeing each other only once or every other week. She would send me random good morning text messages and during holidays. She would give me compliments. I told her that I began to have strong feelings for her and she said she really likes me as well. I wanted to keep my guards up, but in the end, I chose to be direct and honest with her. Overtime, she became flaky, such as showing up late or not returning calls or text messages for 4-5 days. According to Amber, her ex-husband has been trying to rekindle their relationship but she always say that she lost feelings for him and do not want to become “roommates” again.

    She became distant overtime the last few months, so I backed off a bit. We met up in early March, had dinner and sex, but she did not act the same way. She would tell me about her family problems and being stressed out. Her moods went from hot and cold. A week later, she said she is going through rough times financially because she has been sick and family from native country in South America. She asked me to borrow money, I gave it to her, and she paid me back but I did not accept it. She texted me during St. Patrick’s day and suggest we meet up, but I was busy. We continued texting each other and she agreed to come over for dinner days later. She offered the days for her to come over for dinner, I agreed, then she texted, “Ok sweetie , I will see you on Friday at 6p”. This gave us the opportunity to see each other before she leaves for vacation to visit family in another country for 10 days (I think). She was a no-call no-show for the date, I waited for her all night at my place. I called twice, left 1 voice message, texted her, no reply. I have not heard from her for a month and I tried calling again and shot her an email (I know, I am acting desperate). We went out maybe a total of 13-15 times in 4 months. I just wonder what I can do now. Did I do something to upset her? If she did not want to see me anymore, how can she just walk away without saying a word?

    Thank you for your time. Any advice or suggestions will be much appreciated

  • Michelle

    I had a ghost relationship with someone I met online. Every morning there were texts telling me how loved I was and how he woke up thinking of me, every evening more texts about how great our life was going to be. After 4 weeks I trusted him enough to give my personal information (I know, stupid). He put money in my account that he wanted me to send overseas for him. I figured it was his money, so what’s the risk? I found out when my bank told me the checks he deposited were fraudulent. When I told him this, he stopped all communication. Now I’m stupidly feeling heartbroken because he was really good at convincing me that he cared for me. Now I have to pay the bank back and deal with the emptiness of not having someone in my life. Even though I know it wasn’t real, it still hurts.

  • David Kitzmann

    As a guy who’s experienced this many times, I thought this was just standard practice in modern online dating. A way of cutting you loose without having to have an awkward conversation that might hurt your feelings. When I did online dating I put more credence into my interest’s response times and availability than I did to what they actually said to my face. As soon as I saw the missed text, delayed/no response or lack of availability, I took it as they were choosing to take an alternate course from the journey we might be heading and prepared my heart for yet another rejection. I didn’t take it personal, just like a no response (or read/deleted) to my communications to those I was interested in. I took it as a way of communicating “I’m not really interested” without actually having to say that. I’ve also heard from women friends I’ve discussed this with that if they do respond with a reason, it can open the door to hurt, anger, retaliation etc.. Not pretty. I’ve since given up on online dating… Pay $30 /month to get rejected?! Who needs it? Just my humble opinion…

    • Song Corbett

      Ghosting may not be fair but, you nailed it regarding your female friends advice.
      In my experience men can be extremely vindictive and plain crazy. If I try to help them, to tell them why, that somehow turns on me w rage. Men also become extremely possessive and unbalanced, the more you try to pull back a bit. They’ve become extremely threatening w the knowledge they can physically hurt a women if they so choose.
      I’m at the point where I don’t tell a man anything personal, where I live, work, email or even cell #. And if they argue about this, or threaten me, I ghost. 🙁

  • Tracy Miller

    I was ghosted by a guy who gave every indication of being truly interested in me. We even slept together. The last night I saw him, he slept touching me all night and held me in the morning. After I figured out that he ghosted me, I set up a fake dating profile. When he responded, I agreed to meet him for a date. After I kept him waiting there a bit, I sent him a message telling him it was me, and that he was an asshole, among other things. It didn’t take away my hurt, but it sure did help.

  • KD

    Ghosting is a topic i’ve been interested in for a month now for obvious reasons; i just had it done to me. Dated a girl i met on tinder for 6 weeks and slowly but surely she dissapeared. Here is the thing. After a date or 5, and there has never been intimate moments…just hanging out casually, then im all for ghosting as you both have invested nothing. But if you’ve dated someone for weeks/months and got intimate, then ghosting is a sucker move to pull. The reasons people ghost are endless so please don’t even bother or try to figure it out. They claim to not want to hurt your feelings by slowly fading but in reality, the guilt they feel is that they’ve made future plans or even promises with no intention of fulfilling them; so they feel the best way is to cop out. Here is what ive learnt; once you start developing feelings after a few dates and perhaps intimacy, make it clear that for whatever reason you both stop feeling it… make it known to eachother( however you both agree to do it) texts/call etc. What that does is keep the other person on their toes, cos now you’ve thrown a curve ball…he/she is now thinking things could also come to an end on your part. Although some have genuine reasons for ghosting, but how hard is it to text someone you care about and fill them in on your situation….. pretty simple…isnt that the whole point of a relationship/ dating?

  • Ali

    I’ve been ghosted before. My very first time actually. About 6 months ago I was friends with a guy. Let’s just call him Sam. Anyway Sam and I’ve been friends for 4 years. I had a crush on him for a while since the begining of hs. One day we were playing around after school and he kissed me ( or I kissed him, but that doesn’t matter.) So after the kiss never spoke to me again. Never apologized for up and leaving me. Never a call or text. Later I found out from my friend that he had a gf. It sucked to find out. And I’ve been trying to forget alot. I thought that Sam was my friend up until that point. Still never heard from him even though I’ve tried reaching out. Wow it sucks. Any advise??

  • Christie

    Stupid ghosts. Good riddance. People these days have no character. And it should not be blamed on social media. They didn’t have any character in the first place, no empathy for another, you just get to see it unfold. I think all the people who have ghosted others need to go on their own dating website. And then that would be hilarious. I’m cracking up already.