Ghosting is the act of completely cutting off contact with your partner while you are in a relationship. It is very common these days. A lot of teenagers and young adults are acquainted with this term. It almost become synonymous with online dating. Before you hop on the bandwagon, take a moment to understand what ghosting says about you: that you are not ready to end the relationship or you shy away from confrontation.
Contrary to popular perception, it is definitely not ‘cool’ to ghost someone. It shows immaturity on part of the person who’s doing the ghosting. So if you are wondering, “Is ghosting a sign of immaturity?”, the answer is yes, it absolutely is. Let’s take the example of Keith; he was dating a girl for 5 months and then suddenly broke all contact one day. He did not give her the chance to gain closure.
Ghosting someone gives you the illusion of power. It might seem like the easiest way to end a relationship but frankly, there are better ways of saying you’re not interested anymore. E.g., “I’m sorry but I’m not interested anymore. You are an amazing person to hang out with. Let’s part amicably as friends!”
Sometimes the ghoster (aka you) might even feel a sense of pride (the au-da-ci-ty!) at having rejected someone so slyly. But we ought to remember what ghosting says about you is quite contrary to this perception. While some are just plain sadists, there are also people who resort to this technique of ending a relationship owing to their own psychological issues and emotional baggage. To understand this better, we reached out to psychologist Juhi Pandey (M.A, psychology) who specializes in dating, premarital, and breakup counseling.
What Is The Psychological Reason For Ghosting?
Many psychologists have analyzed how the ghoster feels after ghosting someone. They are usually in denial. Usually, they keep telling themselves that they did the right thing and carry on with their life. Ghosters make it their mission to avoid feeling guilty (because they would have to admit they actually did something wrong). They avoid the topic as much as ghosts avoid daylight (lame…?).
What ghosting says about you is that you’re generally afraid of confrontation. You would rather communicate with your actions than with words. Your attitude might come across as a little passive-aggressive, meaning you would rather lose an arm and a leg than have an emotional conversation. While pointing out the psychological reasons for ghosting someone you love, Juhi touches upon a behavioral pattern that says more about the ghoster than the ghostee. Some of the reasons that Juhi identifies are:
- Dodging confrontation: The ghoster is trying to dodge a confrontation. Ghosting is their defense mechanism to guard themselves against being questioned. There is a thin line that demarcates running away from shielding, and when you ghost someone, you cross that line
- Lack of confidence: The ghoster is not confident enough to face the other person and is hence retreating into their shell to avoid an interaction
- Insecurity: While you may have the urge of calling out someone who ghosted you, it might actually be the ghoster who feels insecure and unsafe when interacting with you
- Fading interest: One might deduce that ghosting someone is disrespectful. But the psychological reason for ghosting can simply be a love interest that gradually faded away
Psychologists Thomas, Jhanelle Oneika, and Royette Tavernier Dubar in their study of psychological consequences of ghosting have noticed that ghosting is usually very negative for the ghostee but it also affects the ghoster and says a lot about their personality and characteristics in a relationship.
They have described ghosting to be emotionally traumatic as it is very similar to receiving silent treatment. It can cause the person at the receiving end serious mental pain, leaving them wondering how to respond to ghosting and not let it take a toll on their self-esteem. There is a pattern to most ghosters. They usually leave after getting what they want (which is usually sex.) Clinical psychologist Carla Marie Manly (Ph.D.) says, “The more time people have spent with each other — and the more emotionally intimate the connection — the more likely it is that ghosting will be mentally and emotionally harmful to the ghosted person.”
Commitment issues are one of the main reasons why people ghost their intimate partners; if you want me to put it in a millennial manner, they basically have ‘daddy issues’. What ghosting says about you is that you might be insecure. People who prefer ghosting to formally breaking up are threatened by the prospect of something long-term and permanent. And that is why many psychologists believe that ghosting a ghoster can be very easy.
9 Things Ghosting Says About You More Than The Person You Ghosted
What ghosting says about you solely depends on your character and behavior patterns. It is assumed that if you’ve ghosted once, you are likely to do it again. This might also negatively impact your future relationships. When you ghost someone, you give the message that you are unable to confront them and perhaps suffer from a fear of commitment.
When you are in a relationship, understandably, it might get overwhelming sometimes. But that doesn’t give you the right to ghost someone. Not only is it immoral but it also paints you in a negative light. Here are 9 things ghosting says about you:
Related Reading: 7 Things You Can Do When A Guy Acts Interested, Then Backs Off
1. Ghosting is synonymous with cowardice
Let me put it straight – ghosters are cowards. Ghosters get into relationships (mostly due to physical attraction) and look for an escape at the first sign of something long-term. You have the gall to leave but don’t have the spine to tell your partner that. You don’t give your significant other an explanation (much less closure) and run as fast as you can from the situation.
If that is not cowardly, I don’t know what is! Ghosters refuse to acknowledge the gravity of the situation and seem to think that ghosting someone is the appropriate response. What ghosting says about you is that you are unable to face the music and are scared.
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2. What ghosting says about you is that you’re fickle-minded
Sometimes, people also ghost when they have too many options. You are generally looking for something casual and may not be ready for a committed relationship. You get physically attracted to other men/women while you are dating someone. And instead of cheating or breaking up, you just ghost the person you date.
But in my opinion, these habits are cut from the same cloth. Ghosting is just as bad as cheating on someone because you are mentally torturing your (ex) partner in both these situations. You need to realize that what ghosting someone says about you is that you don’t care about people’s feelings at all. You are easily influenced and can’t make up your mind.
3. Questionable morality
Ghosting in a relationship means actively causing the other person pain. And no matter how much you tell yourself that it is for the best, it isn’t. It not only has a negative impact on the person you ghost but you as well. Negating the effects of ghosting someone is living in denial. What ghosting says about you is that you might have a weak conscience.
It lets the world know that you would rather pretend someone doesn’t exist than have a mature and civil conversation with them. It is morally wrong to leave without explaining. And it is morally wrong to not understand the repercussions it holds for both you and your partner. Apparently, ghosting a ghoster (aka you) only requires someone to give you a taste of your own medicine.
4. Abandonment issues and immaturity
What ghosting says about you is that you might have abandonment issues. Usually, when you are eager to leave, it is because you are afraid your partner might leave you one day. Ghosting for attention is your way of dealing with this fear of rejection. You are not comfortable with the thought that they could ever leave and so you never commit. You leave before they can.
Is ghosting a sign of immaturity? Hell, yes! If you are willing to ghost someone, it means you are highly immature. Only children shy away from confrontation; scratch that even my 2-year-old cousin knows how to communicate what’s on her mind. You need to process that this immaturity will prevent you from ever having a serious relationship. It will drive everyone you love away from you because what goes around comes around.
Ghosting someone is disrespectful, and even you will eventually lose their respect. Someday Keiths like you are going to fall for a girl (realize she is way out of your league) and be unable to have a relationship with her because you don’t know how to communicate.
Related Reading: How Do You Tell Someone You Are Not Interested In Dating?
5. You might have abandonment issues
This is a vicious and toxic pattern because you are unconsciously hurting yourself as well. Ghosting scars your heart and prevents you from ever being vulnerable to someone. But unless you accept that ghosting someone isn’t the answer to all your problems, you would keep hurting yourself. If you feel a deep fear that someone might leave you, try therapy instead of ghosting your partner.
6. It shows you are insecure
Insecurity is at the core of ghosting. You don’t think you are good enough for your partner, or you lack a few qualities; to deal with this insecurity, you try to put yourself in a position of power by ghosting the person you’re dating. The underlying causes of your insecurities notwithstanding, they manifest into something ugly like ghosting and before you know, you can’t stop.
If you are ashamed of who you are, another shameful act isn’t going to solve your self-image issues. Listen up, ghosters! When you ghost someone, it is a sign of weakness and not strength. It shows you are not comfortable in your own skin; you feel as if you don’t deserve your partner and this compels you to ghost them.
7. You might have commitment issues
When you can’t have a loyal relationship and your dating history is a string of short, casual flings, it signifies that you are scared of commitment. So if you are wondering if ghosters are cowards, it is partially true because they are commitment phobic. You have a fixed notion that relationships don’t last or that they are not worth it and you find excuses to leave.
What ghosting says about you is that you can’t deal with complex emotions. Instead of having a ‘messy’ conversation with your partner, you are choosing to leave (even if you like them). But you can only do that with so many relationships. In doing so, you’re sending out the message that you can’t be bold enough to be vulnerable.
8. You have superficial interests
Think about it, would someone ghost their partner if they are emotionally invested in them? They wouldn’t! Hence what ghosting says about you is that you only entered the relationship because you are physically attracted to them or you want something from them.
While it might not be wrong to get into a relationship only because you just have superficial interests, it is definitely wrong to ghost someone solely because you aren’t interested anymore. And instead of realizing your mistake, you start looking for someone else to ghost. But when you continue with this, you tend to lose far more than you gain.
Related Reading: 15 Signs A Commitment-Phobe Loves You
9. You’re not interested in building a family
When you are a serial ghoster, you don’t have a lot of serious relationships. You are not around long enough to build a beautiful future with your partner. When you ghost continuously, it might insinuate that you are not interested in getting married or having children or settling down in a house with white picket fences.
Ghosters only focus on the present. They don’t factor in the long-term side effects ghosting might have. Not only does it cause their partner great distress but it also might prevent them from ever having a serious relationship.
Things You Can Say Instead Of Ghosting
Ghosting is a vicious cycle that not only affects your partner but might also affect you. Instead of ghosting, it is advisable to have a mature and civil discussion. You need to allow your partner to get closure so that both of you can move on in your respective lives.
Juhi advises, “It is always better to be upfront and honest rather than ghosting someone you love or have been romantically involved with. You can simply communicate what you are going through and make things easier and better for both the partners.” We can’t agree more. That’s the reason we have come up with 6 responses and texts to send instead of ghosting someone you love.
- “I am caught up with too many things of late. There are issues that need my attention on a priority basis, making it difficult for me to carry forward with you.” Let your partner know that you are busy with other commitments. Communicate to your partner if you are finding it difficult to maintain a stable work-life balance lest they are compelled to think that you are ghosting for attention
- “I don’t feel that deep soul connection between us. I see no point in dragging a relationship that compromises on compatibility or love. It will be better for both of us to part ways.” Ghosting someone is disrespectful. Disregarding your partner can be hurtful for both of you. It is always better to acknowledge this and call it quits rather than pulling out a disappearing act
- “Hey, you’ve been a great partner in this relationship and I have had a really good time with you. Thanks for giving me memories for a lifetime. I appreciate the person that you are but somehow I am not in a position to take things forward.” A little appreciation goes a long way. Expressing your gratitude for your partner with a little ‘thank you’ before you say ‘goodbye’ will surely lessen the pain for them
- “I am in a phase of life where I wish to settle down. I am already seeing someone more seriously and this casual dating is not working for me anymore.” This is one of the perfect texts to send instead of ghosting – it tells the other person that you are mindful of your relationship. Your priorities have changed and you have someone else in your life
- “I’ve had a great time with you but due to some personal stuff, I am unable to take it any further. Please respect my decision as I need time to work through a few matters.” The ill effects of ghosting someone can be telling. It can strip you of your mental peace. A simple text to send instead of ghosting can take the burden off your chest
- “I know we make a great couple but I don’t see myself committing yet. I thought I was ready to be in a serious relationship but as it turns out, I am not.” Admit that you are not prepared for the relationship. Be honest in your approach and communicate your feelings
Related Reading: 23 Best Ghosting Responses That They Will Always Remember
- Ghosting says more about the personality of the ghoster rather than the ghostee
- Ghosting is a behavioral pattern triggered by reasons like commitment phobia, cowardice, immaturity, insecurities, and lack of empathy
- A ghoster should try to open up and talk it out instead of walking out on a relationship without saying ‘goodbye’
- Effective and honest communication and expression of feelings is significant
If you’ve ever been ghosted, then this article is a reminder that it was them, not you. More often than not, it is the fault of the person who does the ghosting. It shows that they have weak communication sense and a lack of basic decency. You might wonder, “How does the ghoster feel after ghosting someone?” While we may never know for sure, most ghosters do feel bad in the long run. So, rest easy and stay away from ghosters.
Juhi identifies a ghoster as a person who is self-centered, and underconfident. Is ghosting a sign of immaturity? Well, maybe. Ghosters lack empathy as they do not consider what the effects of ghosting someone can be.
Guilt for ghosting depends on the reason behind ghosting. If it is because of someone’s lack of communication skills or if it stems from someone’s reckless and devil-may-care attitude, then there might be no guilt. On the contrary, if it is a case of ghosting for attention or ghosting to avoid confrontation, then they might be ashamed and guilty of their wrongdoing.
Juhi points out ghosting can be a personality disorder in people who are very impulsive or impetuous. They might be experiencing emotions with greater intensity, making them capricious. But, it is not always a personality disorder. Ghosting can also be a behavioral pattern for some.