Whether you’re swiping left and right on a mobile app or meeting IRL through friends or co-workers, when it’s time to call it quits, couples are changing their relationship statuses by disappearing entirely.
It’s the coward’s way of breaking up, but technology that connects us can disconnect us in a digital split second. One day you’re talking about the future lying naked in bed, the next day you’re blocked on social media. Your texts are getting ignored, your phone is blocking their calls and it appears like they’ve moved to another country.
As technology affects all aspects of relationships, I have found myself becoming a ghosting or ghosted expert with the barrage of emails from heartbroken singles wondering what they did wrong to push someone away without really breaking up or getting the closure they so desperately need.
With over 80% of millennials admitting to have been ghosted, or being the ghoster, the trend is rising daily among all demographics. Here are reasons why singles are ghosting big time and what to do instead.
1. You’re a Coward. Gone are the days of post-it breakups and even email breakups. You know it’s uncool to play Casper on non-Halloween, but you don’t have the guts to tell him or her it’s over. Pull up your big boy or big girl pants and do the deed in person if geography allows. You might get a slap on the face or a confrontation you’d prefer not to have, but have the convo. You might even be able to salvage your relationship through healthy communication.
2. You’ve Met Someone Else. If your relationship has been on a downhill slide, you’re probably open to meeting someone else. Often you’re double-dipping and there’s an overlap that your new squeeze and old squeeze don’t know about. Rather than coming clean (which means yes, did you sleep with someone else?), you ease into a new relationship and ease out of the one you were in by going MIA. If you think your relationship is over, don’t stay in it for the sex. Make a clean break in person, via phone, anything except disappearing into the arms of another, as your soon-to-be ex will see new photos on Instagram and Facebook and expect some nasty texts to appear on your smartphone.
3. You’re not Feeling It. You’ve gone through the motions, have met each other’s friends, talked about being exclusive, and then commit to monogamous sex. Maybe he or she was a great kisser and your texts bordered on sexting, but once you had sex together, it was plain bad. There’s more to the relationship than sex only, but if you can’t imagine seeing them again after oh so boring sex, you ghost. Not nice. People get nervous the first time they have sex. Don’t make it about bad sex when the next time it could be better.
4. You want to Play the Field. Beginnings are exciting. The first text, the first kiss, the first weekend away, yes, butterflies still exist and everyone is on good behavior. You’re having so much fun with your steady squeeze until you realize that you’re attached when you really prefer to be single. Your significant other didn’t do anything wrong. You truly like them, but the shiny new feeling wore off and there’s another cute smile flirting with you right now. What do you do? You get out of the digital handcuffs, disappear and don’t explain that you aren’t interested in spending the holidays with his or her family.
What should you do if your significant other ghosts you?
1. Don’t Send Repeated Texts that Get Ignored. If the person you were involved with doesn’t have the balls to end a relationship with a conversation, don’t stalk them online or offline to get closure. It will push them away and they will confirm their feelings that you were crazy after all. Go no contact ASAP and text a friend or me instead of your lost lover.
2. Give the Ghoster Space. Sometimes a person just needs a break. When someone tells you they want a break, the initial reaction is that it’s a breakup. After all, break is the first part of the word, right? Sometimes a person needs a few days to sort out their feelings, have some space to think about life without you and they return. They don’t even consider it ghosting, but it hurts. The best thing you can do for yourself is stay busy with your friends while your ghosting lover is thinking it over.
3. Let him/her Go. People who ghost know it’s not the right thing to do, but everyone else is doing it and it’s so easy. If someone you were involved with finds you to be that disposable, give them a one-way ticket out of your life. Ghosters have a habit of not ending it formally, because if their other options don’t work out, they want to have the opportunity to return. It’s not a love hiatus when it’s not mutual and it’s fine to call a ghoster out on their behavior. If he/she ghosts you once, you’ll get ghosted again.
4. Don’t Take it Out on The Next Person. Just because you’ve been ghosted, doesn’t mean it’s acceptable and you should ghost the next person you meet. Treat others the way you want to be treated and let’s stop all of this ghosting once and for all.
Have you been ghosted before? How did it make you feel?
Your comments are welcome.
Julie Spira is America’s Top Online Dating Expert and is the CEO and founder of Cyber-Dating Expert. Julie was an early adopter of the Internet and has been coaching singles on finding love online and on their mobile phones for over two decades. She’s the author of the bestseller, The Perils of Cyber-Dating: Confessions of a Hopeful Romantic Looking for Love Online. Sign up for the Free Weekly Flirt newsletter for dating advice and follow @JulieSpira on Twittera, Instagram, and Facebook.