The key to understanding ghosting? Stop trying to understand it…

In the world of dating and ‘courtship’, where we make ourselves so vulnerable and the stakes are so high, what excuse is there for not being kind? On a first date, what harm does it do to be courteous and stick to the commitment; a few hours getting to know one another – enough time to preserve the other person’s self-esteem? And after a date, or two, or whatever, what’s so hard about communicating? This small act is respectful and puts the other person fully in the picture.

Exploring a possible liaison with someone, then ignoring them (i.e. ghosting), is not nice. A little kindness goes a long way. If you are on the receiving end of this treatment, here’s what you need to know:

Why do they do it?

Sometimes, years, and experience, and finding a decent long-term partner will give you the perspective to see that people who ghosted you are not necessarily bad. Usually they are inward-looking people who simply don’t have much to give. This does not excuse callousness or cowardice but it’s worth remembering that even if you had, somehow, ended up in a relationships with them, they may not have made a good partner. They might have been a lot more trouble than they’re worth.

Though it’s hard to imagine, probably most of the time, people who ghost are suffering in some way. (Though feeling sorry for someone is obviously not a good basis for a relationship). They may be chronically indecisive or uncertain. They may have unrealistic or unattainable ideals about a partner/relationship. They might ghost because they can’t even begin to address their own feelings, let alone someone else’s. They may even have genuine problems with commitment because they don’t know how to get close to someone without losing control and feel needy, dependent, weak.

And remember: it can’t feel good to ghost someone, even if done cynically. What hope does such a person have of developing an supportive and trusting relationship?

Reading the behaviour, not the emotions

People go crazy trying to understand why they were rejected. But what’s really on your mind, what’s really plaguing you, is the fact that you liked them and had hope but the other person suddenly went AWOL.

And whatever was said or seemed promising, all you need to look at now is their behaviour. You must judge it objectively and ask yourself if it’s good enough for you. That is all. And this means having clear standards for yourself about what you expect from others in a relationship. That is your responsibility.

You must judge their behaviour objectively and ask yourself if it’s good enough for you.

Seeing the positives

Let yourself be sad and angry. But ultimately, you don’t need to feel confused or, necessarily, misled. It might be yet another disappointment in your journey but turn it around. Consider how you can better protect yourself from hurt in future. Though it might feel depressing, we have to be realistic and accept that not everyone is ready to offer you what you seek; let experience remind you that you need plenty of time before you really know who someone is.

And you also need to recognise your own worth. If you are someone who acts with sincerity and kindness, you are on a whole other scale to a person who ghosts. You have so much going for you; so much to offer. You have a much better chance of building a healthy and rewarding relationship with someone. That someone needs to be worthy of you.