Ghosting: Ending The Relationship Without Explaining Or Responding To Messages


Let’s put ourselves in a situation: you have been dating someone for a few months. The interaction is good and fluid, speaking every day through WhatsApp and meeting from time to time. But one day, you send a message and there is no response. Days go by and this continues. You send another one, and another one, but even though you know that the other person has seen them, they don’t answer. What’s more, two days later you realize that she has blocked you, and you don’t hear from her again.

What happened? Basically the person has intentionally cut off all contact with you. This is a case of ghosting an increasingly widespread phenomenon that can have significant psychological repercussions.

What is ghosting?

At a social level (since there is another phenomenon with the same name linked to the superposition of images) ghosting is understood as that situation in which a person, suddenly, voluntarily ceases contact with another person with whom they had some prior communication, such as way to end said relationship. In other words, it is about completely disappearing from another person’s life without telling them anything or notifying them of the end of the interactions.

Ghosting is a practice that has become popular with the arrival of social networks, especially with the emergence of networks like WhatsApp and Telegram or social networks like Facebook. But although the term has become popular now, it is not something as new as it may seem: what is now done on social networks was previously done by telephone, for example by not answering calls.

It is a phenomenon especially common in applications to flirt or meet people, one party getting tired of the interaction and ignoring the other’s attempts to communicate. However, it does not only occur in these types of applications, but can also occur between people who have known each other for a long time. For ghosting to occur, there must be real prior communication (it would not be considered as such if he had never responded to us or if there was no fluid communication, even if one of the parties had tried to contact us).

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The slow fade

There is another similar way of acting, called 鈥渟low fade鈥, in which the people who practice it also cease contact with the other but in a much more gradual way. Small oversights and difficulties seeing or speaking attributable to things like work or having things to do are feigned with increasing frequency until communication ceases.

It is a type of disappearance that makes those who practice it think that they have not abandoned the relationship, avoiding to a certain extent the feeling of guilt that could cause them to end the relationship directly. Now, this does not mean that everyone who reduces their level of communication with us is trying to disappear from our lives: it may be that due to various circumstances they really cannot pay attention or prioritize other things.

Causes of this phenomenon

Once ghosting is defined, one may wonder why this attitude exists. The truth is that the reasons that each person may have for carrying it out can be very different. One of the main causes is social: we have become accustomed to maintaining superficial relationships and to have a rather individualistic stance. We value relationships less and we don’t tend to delve too deeply into them.

Furthermore, new technologies offer us the possibility of not offering an answer as an answer, something to which people have become accustomed. Many of the people who practice it even see it as normal, being accustomed to this type of behavior. However, with some exceptions, it usually indicates a lack of education or an attempt to escape from a relationship. It is also related to the increasing difficulty for empathy in individualistic societies. Below are some possible causes of ghosting.

1. Fear/Flee

One of the parties involved may have done or said something that has hurt, offended or frightened the other, wanting to immediately cease communication Likewise, it is a possible valid response in cases of harassment or to end toxic relationships. Sometimes it can also be used on people who remind us of those experiences or of people or situations that have hurt us.

2. Lack of interest

Another option, much more common, is that the person who stops contact has simply lost all interest, or that his interest has never been too high and I don’t really value contact with the other Also that there was another person whom he prioritized, or even that he did not want to make clear the end of the relationship in case at some point the opportunity appeared again. This is common when the contact with the other person is recent and there is no true connection between the two, as occurs in dating applications.

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3. Conflict avoidance

Another option, which occurs especially when ghosting occurs to end a more or less established relationship or with people, is based on the fear of hurting or confronting and see how communicating the termination of the relationship generates discomfort in the other person having difficulty determining to make the other person see that you want to end the relationship.

Not knowing how to deal with what the other may say, or avoiding the discomfort of seeing how the other suffers, are usually reasons why ghosting can appear. So it can also be a way to avoid the discomfort of seeing the other person having a hard time. There may also be the belief that this procedure generates less pain and feelings of rejection in the other.

4. Punishment

It can also be understood as a somewhat immature form of punishment: disappearing from someone’s life without saying why can be seen as a way to hurt the other person and forget about them, as happens in some cases of infidelity.

Effects of ghosting

Ghosting is a practice that can have a series of repercussions on those who suffer from it. Although in the case of someone little known or a superficial contact it does not go beyond a slight annoyance and anger, it can be very painful if we are talking about someone we have really valued for a long time. An example of this is found in the sudden cessation of communication between couples more or less consolidated or highly valued friendships. And the fact that someone suddenly stops contact can cause great distress.

The person who is waiting for contact can feel great pain when being ignored, feeling like someone despised In addition, they must face the uncertainty of what has happened, something that in many cases is unknown, and the absence of a response and a reason for the situation seems unfair and disproportionate. In cases of long relationships, the subject may go through a phase of mourning.

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Ghosting leaves the subject uncertain about what happened and whether or not the relationship has ended, leaving you insecure and causing longer-lasting pain. It also makes it difficult for me to trust later in subsequent relationships: if they have abandoned me suddenly and without me expecting it, it can easily happen again. In addition to this, people who suffer from depression, anxiety or previous self-esteem problems may see their fears and negative thoughts exacerbated and confirmed by feeling abandoned.

Who stops contact may have regrets, or you may incorporate ghosting into your behavioral repertoire (if you didn’t already have it) and do it more frequently to end unwanted relationships. On the other hand, those people who carry it out out of fear and avoidance of conflict do not face said fear, prolonging it and even worsening it by being able to establish this behavior as a habitual pattern.

What to do when faced with someone who ignores us?

Ghosting is, today, a common reality that many people are going to face sooner or later. This is something that can be difficult to react to. It is advisable that in the first place we do not jump to hasty conclusions, since in the end something may have happened that makes them unable or unwilling to respond without really wanting to disappear from the other’s life. You can try sending a message after some time asking if he is okay.

However, if time passes and the person still does not answer, it is time to start accepting that maybe i have lost interest It’s about recognizing it, and (although it may be more difficult than it seems) after that, stop trying to contact.

We must try to think and work to realize that this ending is neither our fault nor our decision. If it occurs in a relationship that was fluid, it is easy for us to need an explanation, but we have to try to stop looking for one: the other person has none. intention to offer it to us and we have to continue with our lives. It is also important that we do not identify that behavior as something normal, and that we ensure that this fact does not hinder future relationships: not everyone is going to do the same to us. And although initially we may feel very bad, it is advisable not to stop doing activities or lock ourselves away, but to continue pursuing our goals and trying to enjoy our leisure.