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The Very Real Issue Of Ghosting

A woman on a dating app who's been ghosting trying to text a guy who's not responding.

One of the benefits, and also the potential pitfalls, of the always connected, always in-touch lifestyle people lead today is the ability to connect with people very easily and literally 24/7/365. A new friend or a potential partner could be just one social media post away, or you may meet someone on a trip to the local coffee shop or even one accidental meeting at a community event.

The downside to this constant interaction with people we don’t know and who aren’t part of our existing social network is how easy it is for people to simply disappear or go silent. This phenomenon of  vanishing from a relationship or interaction of any type is known as ghosting.

Ghosting is not just a behavior used by people that hardly know each other or perhaps have only met through social media and had no personal interaction. In a 2015 article in The New York Times, reporter Valeriya Safronova details how celebrity exes ghost each other, including Charlize Theron ghosting Sean Penn.

In a poll completed by the Huffington Post in 2014, of the 1000 people responding to the question of if they had ever ghosted someone, 11 percent self-reported they had simply disappeared from someone else’s life. Elle magazine also did a similar survey and found out of just under 200 respondents that almost 25% of the women responding reported using the behavior and just over 16% of men had done the same.

Why Ghost?
Researchers believe that the behavior of ghosting is based, in large part, on the inability of the person engaging in the behavior to set boundaries, a symptom of codependency, or to tell the other person they aren’t interested in pursuing the relationship. This can be a romantic relationship or just a friendship, but it’s all about the inability of the individual to feel comfortable saying no to the other person.

Another perspective is that ghosters don’t have to admit to doing anything wrong. By simply disappearing, they don’t have to hear how their behavior has hurt the other person. They are able to internally justify this behavior as something that everyone does. In online dating situations, people who ghost often don’t see the other person as real, instead they are a just a profile and there is no connection, therefore no empathy for any feelings the other person may have about the relationship. This allows them to simply stop communicating.

What To Do When You’re Ghosted
Today, it is more a question of when you will be ghosted and not if you will be ghosted. If you find someone suddenly stops interacting with you, consider the following tips:

Recognize the normal reaction.
It’s normal to feel angry, hurt, ashamed, or embarrassed in a ghosting situation. Allowing yourself to accept these feelings and to process them through talking with others can be very helpful.

Do something you love.
By focusing on positive aspects of your life and doing something you enjoy, you can refocus your mind from the potential relationship lost to the positive and real things in your life to enjoy.

Let go.
Stop blaming yourself, it was the choice of the other person to end the relationship is this way. Practice forgiveness and mindfulness in moving forward with the positive relationship in your life, letting go of any negativity created by the experience.

Sherry Gaba, LCSW is a Certified Transformation and Recovery Coach and the leading Psychotherapist on VH1’s Celebrity Rehab and Sex Addiction. She helps singles navigate the dating process to find the love of their lives. Take her quiz to find out if you’re a love addict, sign up for a 30-minute strategy session, or learn more about how to get over a break up. Sherry maintains a private practice in Westlake Village, and is a sought after online dating and relationship coach. For more information visit of sign up today for Sherry’s online group coaching program for $19/month https:// member-co/.

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