Ghosting is a term that has entered the modern dating lexicon in the past few years. What does it mean and entail exactly It is breaking off a relationship (often an intimate relationship) by stopping all communication and contact with the partner without any apparent warning or justification, as well as ignoring the partner’s attempts to reach out or communicate.
I asked some ladies and gentlemen whether they had gone through a ghosting experience?
Libby has been ghosted twice. A man she knew decided to leave her with his phone and she never heard from him again. She said that was one of the most painful experiences still lacks closure.
Winfred said she had never been ghosted but does it a lot. She said that she does it as a way to avoid breaking people’s hearts. She also said that she ghosted the men because they were not her type or they had no chemistry.
Kevin said that the only reason he ghosted was he did it depended on the type of woman that he was dealing with at the time.
Hellen said that she had ghosted a man once and it was because the man had refused to take the hint that she wasn’t interested in him.
Another man called Wafula explained that he had also ghosted women before. His reason was that he did it to avoid the drama of emotional exes. He also said that he did it when the woman he was seeing was a short-term fling, who didn’t have the emotional wherewithal to be being dumped.
What does the research say
The term originated in the mid-2000s. In that following decade, media reported a rise in ghosting, which has been attributed to the increasing use of social media and online dating apps.
The “ending a relationship” sense of ghosting is relatively new to English, but how new? On November 23, 2007, an Urban Dictionary entry appeared:
“To ghost: Cutting all ties with a girl. I’m totally ghosting Ania as of right now.” Before 2007, a few similar senses of ghosting and ghost pop up in Urban Dictionary, however, they aren’t in this specific context of breaking up without actually breaking up.
But there are other forms of ghosting that happen without people actually getting intimate. In them, a potential romantic partner either stops responding to messages or either ignores them after an initial flurry of interaction.
Ghosting is not limited to only intimate relationship contexts. It can also happen between friends or even family members, and be practiced by employers with prospective candidates.
The theory behind ghosting is that the person who is being ignored will just ‘get the hint’ and realise their partner is not interested in dating anymore so the subject should be left.
One lady I spoke to called Kambua confirmed this and said that often she might be talking to someone but will ghost if a red flag pops up. She said that she had done it to several men and did it because she didn’t want to hurt them. But wasn’t she hurting them by ghosting? She didn’t have an answer for that and said it was just easier to ghost than tell the person concerned.
Many who I interviewed believed that ghosting was actually better for the person they were ignoring because they weren’t hurting their feelings by telling them they didn’t want to date them anymore.
However, this argument does not account for the inherent ambiguity in ghosting – the person being ghosted does not know whether they’re being rejected for something they or somebody else did, whether the person doing it is ashamed or does not know how to break up (or is scared of hurting other’s feelings), the person may have started dating someone else or is just extremely busy, or if they are keeping you as a reserve option in case a relationship does not work out with another date.
How do you know you have been ghosted
You are a victim of ghosting;
-You receive zero communication from their end.
-You were deleted from any and all social media
-They don’t show up to the plans you make.
-They use the excuse of always being “busy.
-They end conversations abruptly
What do psychologists say?
Ghosting can actually have quite a serious impact on a person’s mental health, claims PsychologyToday.com.
The social rejection apparently can activate the same pain in the brain as physical pain, fortunately, this pain can be treated with medication but the psychological distress can be more difficult to heal.
Ghosting may be especially hurtful for those on the receiving end, causing feelings of ostracism and rejection. Some mental health professionals consider ghosting to be a passive-aggressive form of emotional abuse, a type of silent treatment or stonewalling behaviour, and emotional cruelty.
Mental health professionals argue that the silent treatment is a form of emotional cruelty as it leaves you powerless to the situation and you’re unable to find out any answers.
What do you think? Have you been ghosted before and what do you think of this terrible habit?