Online dating has bred a whole new batch of bad dating behavior, the most common of these being ghosting.

There’s a certain level of anonymity to dating apps. Most of the time, you’re swiping, messaging, and meeting complete strangers. You likely don’t have common friends and run in very different circles.

This allows one to pull off a disappearing act quite easy. 

Did you know over half of today’s daters have first-hand experience with ghosting?

What is Ghosting?

Ghosting is the sudden, unexpected cease of all communication from one party within a relationship. Although the term is new, it wasn’t born through dating apps, and it isn’t a new concept.

I assume you have heard the cliché of a father who went out for cigarettes and never came back—that guy ghosted his whole family. It’s not specific to romantic relationships either, we all know a girl who ditches her friends whenever she gets a boyfriend.

The most common form of ghosting can be explained by the following scenario:

You matched with a guy on an app and shared a number of pleasant chats. He asks for your number and eventually, you meet in person. After a few dates and weeks of facetimes, he suddenly stops responding to your texts. He dodges your calls, and bails on your weekend plans. You assume he’s caught up with work and give it a week or so before you really start to worry. Your girlfriends help you craft the perfect text to reach out and learn what went wrong, but you get no response. You’re then left wondering if you did something wrong, he met someone else, or even if he died. 

This is an emotionally painful situation to find yourself in. It doesn’t mean there is something wrong with you. For one reason or another he just didn’t see a future with you. Unfortunately, he was unable to communicate that to you—so he ghosted. 

It’s really important to remember if someone ghosts you, that behavior says more about them than you. It’s about their discomfort.” -Dr. Jennice Vilhauer

Why do People Ghost?

I’m a firm believer that most negative behavior stems from a basis of fear. When humans are afraid, they respond with either fight, flight, or freeze. Ghosting is a combination of the latter two. The ghost freezes communication because he or she is afraid of the outcome if the relationship continues, and flees from the situation in order to avoid difficult conversations or unwanted outcomes.

Why do Men Ghost?

Maybe he’s busy with his career or his family. He could be going through a rough time mentally, physically, or emotionally. I think we can all agree COVID-19 threw everyone into a state of a crisis. Maybe he met someone unexpectedly or an ex came back into his life. 

Although it’s hard to stomach, there’s also the chance he’s just not that into you. But that’s okay. You can’t expect every guy you meet to be the love of your life.

There is also the fear of rejection. It’s sort of a get them before they get me first approach. People with this method of dating are not in the right mindset for a long-lasting, committed relationship anyway. Someone who has a pattern of leaving before they get left, will never stay long enough to work through the hard stuff that life tends to throw at us.

Why do Women Ghost?

One of the most common fears that cause women to ghost is the fear of retaliation. We have been socialized and trained to play nice and never offend a man’s ego. Because of that, some women were simply never taught a polite but effective way to turn down a man’s advances.

How many comedies play off of a woman’s inability to kindly reject a man who buys her a drink at a bar, when she’s clearly not interested in him? There is more truth in that than most of us would like to admit. 

Unfortunately, there is a darker side to this fear of retaliation. And that is the very real threat of violence and abuse women have historically experienced at the hands of men with a bruised pride.

If the woman who ghosted you has been a victim of or a witness to abuse in her lifetime, try not to take it personally. She probably has a level of fear that revolves around her interactions with men, and ghosting feels like a safer alternative.

Are Ghosts Too Busy or Just Lazy?

Honestly, does it matter? Whether she’s hustling in her career working 80-hour weeks, or has been on her couch in the same pair of sweatpants all weekend—the fact is she hasn’t made time for you in her life. She may be actively ignoring you, AKA ghosting, or she may just have a mile-long priority list that doesn’t include you.

Will one scenario stings less than the other? I doubt it. It hurts when someone you were developing feelings for doesn’t reciprocate, no matter what the circumstances are.

That being said, I’m a proponent of second chances. If someone who ghosted you reaches out with an apology and a valid explanation for being absent, why not give it one more date? That is if you still see potential in the relationship, of course.

How Do I Avoid Being Ghosted?

The use of dating apps has created a lot of lazy daters. We pick up our phones and sometimes getting a date is as easy as ordering a pizza. If we don’t catch the other person’s attention within a few messages, they get bored and move on to the next app. We have thousands of possible matches in our pocket. We may give it a few dates, and if that person doesn’t blow our mind, we start swiping again.

It’s all pretty indicative of where we are as a society in terms of instant gratification.

But there is good news! There are alternatives to the monotony of endless swiping, texting, and eventual ghosting

At The Setup, we combine age-old matchmaking principles with proven sociological technologies to match you with the partner you’ve always dreamed of. 

The main reason that ghosting is so prevalent in recent years, is because we’re meeting complete strangers at an unprecedented rate. Previous generations met their mates through mutual friends, family members, church, work, and school. They typically had at least one other person in common with their date.

Take the following situation for example:

Let’s say your Aunt set you up with a young woman from her church. If you were rude on your date, or you completely disappeared on the woman, it’s likely that she will complain to your Aunt about your behavior. Your Aunt would then hold you accountable and you would face consequences.

When you date strangers from the internet with no mutual connections, there is little to no accountability, and people feel free to behave in ways they probably wouldn’t if their Aunt was privy to the situation.

Ghosting is less likely to occur if there is an additional person both parties have to answer to, like a nosey aunt, or a specially-trained Matchmaker. 

Your personal Matchmaker will not only work to introduce you to your ideal partner, but will also follow up with you and your matches to provide expert coaching and advice. Our priority is helping you find genuine, lasting love. No ghosting allowed!