ghosting

In 2015, after a hot and heavy public romance and engagement, Charlize Theron and Sean Penn split or more accurately, according to media outlets, Sean Penn got “ghosted”.

 

For those of you who are unfamiliar with this term, here is the Urban Dictionary Definition for Ghosting:

The act of suddenly ceasing all communication with someone the subject is dating, but no longer wishes to date. This is done in hopes that the ghostee will just “get the hint” and leave the subject alone, as opposed to the subject simply telling them he/she is no longer interested.

Have you ever been dating someone and they just stopped responding to your text messages? Have you ever made a plan with someone and when you try to follow up, you never hear from them again? If so, then you’ve been ghosted too.

What I am talking about in today’s video is this social/dating phenomenon of ghosting, which, as stated in the definition above, is when someone just disappears, like a ghost, out of your life. This isn’t a new phenomenon in life, there will always be people who are incapable of having an honest conversation about their desire to end a relationship. Over the last fifteen years, the depersonalization of being online or on apps has really made this phenomenon worse than it was because there’s much less accountability with this new dating paradigm.

In this week’s Real Love Revolution video, I will be covering:

  • The definition of ghosting
  • Why this phenomenon is recurring today
  • The signs that someone could be a potential ghoster
  • How to avoid being ghosted

 


 

In its simplest form, ghosting indicates emotional immaturity. Most of us don’t want to have the hard conversation of breaking up with someone but not having it is hurtful and childish. In today’s dating world, a text stating, “You’re lovely but I don’t think we’re a match. I wish you the best” is all it takes to properly end a relationship and the fact that so many people would rather run away and hide speaks to a greater shift in our social landscape. Back in the day, we met potential mates through family and friends in a very localized manner. The likelihood that you would see cousin Betty again after you broke up with her friend was pretty much guaranteed. This is obviously no longer the case. Whether it’s a lack of social pressure to adhere to behavioral norms or the anonymity of the online/app world, ghosting is something to be understood so you can avoid becoming a statistic.

There are some tell tale behavioral signs of someone who is about to ghost you or would possibly ghost you in the future. One is that you are always messaging first, always the one trying to coordinate, always the one coming up with date ideas. If someone wants to date you, they will put in the effort. If someone wants to date you, they will find the time in their schedule to do so. It’s really that easy. Another sign of someone who might ghost you is them finding a reason to cut the date short – this is a way to put distance between you, and keep you off balance. For more of these signs, download the full Checklist: Warning Signs of a Potential Ghoster now to be fully aware of what you should be mindful of when dating someone new.

The next part of this ghosting video series is how to get over being ghosted and understand your response to this phenomenon. I promise you that people are out there and are a little bit nuts, yes, but this is also about you. If this has happened to you multiple times, I’m not saying you’re causing it, but something about the way that you’re interacting with them, and your low expectation is adding to you being a target for someone disappearing. In next week’s video, I’ll also talk about if you are ghosting people – why you’re doing it and what will happen karmically if you don’t stop!

Drop me a comment here on the blog and let me know what resonated with you after watching!

Thanks for watching, reading, and sharing!
And as always, take care of YOU.

 

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  1. I was just recently ghosted by my best friend of 4 and a half years. I am female and he is male. We’ve lived in separate countries for a long while and have always maintained a great relationship and I have even visited him twice. The country I live in is not a great place for him to visit so that’s why I was the one visiting him.
    I was in love with him and I felt that he initially loved me when we were in the same country but he never acted on it as a) I was technically still married though my now ex-was cheating on me, and b) there is a huge age difference between us. During this long period he never really got a girlfriend and he always told me I was one of his best friends in his entire life, and I was the only woman. Finally he got a girlfriend but he always told me it wasn’t sitting right with him because she didn’t seem like ‘the one’ and he doesn’t believe in having temporary relationships yet he was doing it so it was an internal struggle for him. Eventually, he brought up the idea of moving back to my country. He began talking about it more and more until it was looking very likely. We would talk about all the great times we would have and the great times we had. He told me he wanted to spend all his time with me. I was finding it so weird as to why would he leave his girlfriend to come be with me. I finally asked him that question and he told me that he has already talked to her about it and the plan would be for her to come and visit. I didn’t even see that coming. It was confusing to me as to why would he leave her and want to come be with me. At another time I brought this up to him and asked him why would he do that, and I also told him that I wouldn’t be entirely comfortable with that. In retrospect I know that was wrong of me, but it all happened so fast and it wasn’t the first time I was the last to know about something that involved me, with him so I was more upset this time. He became upset with my feelings. He asked me why would I feel that way and told me it wasn’t fair. So in writing, I emailed the reason. I told him my feelings of love for him. I also told him I had perceived mutual feelings and behaviors towards me especially when he was in my country. After that boom! Ghosted! He is a very emotionally intelligent and insightful person. He used to understand me better than I understood myself. He also seemed to me to have a very strong character with very good values. This all made the ghosting more shocking and painful. With all that, he still has not removed me from his facebook, and recently liked a post about my daughter’s birthday. So he showed that he cares about my daughter, but won’t engage with anything about myself.

    1. I am sorry to hear about your painful situation, Kerry. It seems the only thing you can do -if you haven’t – is write a simple email saying you would like to talk it out and him not responding seems unlike the person you had gotten to know and see if he would agree to connect about it – if you feel like you need closure in that way. If you don’t- then move on with your own life, mama. Thanks for sharing here with us xo

  2. I am in the process of being ghosted. My boyfriend of two years left my house almost two weeks ago on a Monday morning, kissed me twice told me he loved me twice and he would see me tonight and I haven’t seen him or heard from him since. All his clothing and personal items are here, and some things that really mean a lot to him. He is still going to work and is at his apartment but refuses to answer all texts phone calls and any other form of communication. We were not fighting or anything. I feel sick over this, confused, and so hurt. We live in a small town and have known each other for 30 years and have the same circle of friends. It’s getting so awkward to know what to say when people are asking us to do things with them, etc. We are not kids, we are both 52, and this is not an internet dating situation. I feel lost.

    1. Wendy,
      I am so sorry to hear of your painful situation. There may be more than ghosting going on here. His behavior seems very erratic. If people ask you what is going on you can say they will need to ask him as the truth is you don’t know. You have nothing to be ashamed of as you have done nothing wrong so please don’t let that shame stick to you, my dear. You deserve a face to face conversation and If you have already requested that then there is not much else you can do. If he really never reaches back to you at some point you will have to pack up his stuff and get it out of your space. I wish you the best of luck -hang in there mama xo

  3. 2 years ago my emotionally immature fiance ( at age 42 I was his 1st date and 1st girlfriend) ghosted me by changing the locks on our home we lived in with my 11 year old daughter . I had been in the hospital weeks earlier and he hung up on me twice . Then we spoke daily and he promised to pick me up. He then called the doctor to say he was not coming and he was breaking up with me. He didn’t tell dr. He changed the locks. My friend told me. My ex husband picked me up. I was able to get my car, laptop and a few clothes he left in the garage. In fact he packed up and boxed alot of my things. My ex told me to get a hotel room. I was unemployed at the time because of health problems. I couldn’t get a rental without a job. But I had an already scheduled interview for the following week. I texted and called him about needing professional clothes. Heh did not respond. Instead he filed a false police report and got a TRO to try to end all contact. The story goes on…. But he has admitted he ghosted me! We were 6 months from the wedding . My daughter and I never heard from his family again and we were all very close. My daughter called his parents grandma and grandpa. Big family who she felt were her cousins, aunts and uncles etc. I’ve been upset that they never contact Ted my daughter. She was one of the family! Birthdays, holidays, vacations, etc. I have reached out many times. Wrong my in anger at times but also to say the truth. They know I’m a psychologist, LLC start up , book and articles in progress and website. I have been honest and above board telling them the story and the story that will be public. I get no response. Can you explain that to me?

    1. Tracy,
      I am so sorry to hear this. I cannot explain it because there is no good reason for someone to be so cruel, especially to your daughter. There is an emotional disconnect that seems almost anti-social in his behavior. I def say let it go completely. I would not reach out to any of them. You don’t need anyone’s permission to write about your story. Do your best to heal and get your daughter some professional help so she can process this loss as well. Sending you so much strength. xo

  4. Hi Terri-

    I have been ghosted by a woman I thought was one of my best friends, see we were neighbors in the cul-de-sac we lived directly across from each other. We were both having a rough time with our marriages and we helped each other through our respective separations from our spouses, her son helped her to move to Pennsylvania and I moved to Texas but soon after we celebrated over the phone our freedom suddenly our communication stopped, at first I thought she lost her phone again ( she really was notorious for doing that- her son started buying her “burner phones”) but then after the Christmas card she mailed to me in Texas nothing. I wrote her three letters with no reply, no thank you note for the B-day card and certainly no phone calls. When I told my ex- husband about this he told me that I had been “ghosted” and I finally understood what that term meant because I had heard it a lot especially about celebrities but I had no idea it would happen to ordinary people. I am in complete agreement with you about this behavior being simply immature, childish and I might add cowardly! Thank you for your videos on the subject, they were very informative.

    -Valerie

    1. Valerie,
      Thank you so much for sharing your story here. Even as a therapist, I STILL don’t get exactly why people like your former neighbor would behave in this way. Moving on… 😉

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