Romantic Partners Suddenly Disappear From Your Life? These ‘Ghosters’ Explain Why They Do It
Their reasons can be quite complicated.
Do you remember a time when of the words harana and pasaguli were used to refer to courtship and dating? Our parents would tell us stories about how they would write letters to each other and would wait months just to get a response. Despite the lack of convenience, wooing someone in the old days all seemed so pure and simple.
Fast forward to today, and you would think that with the presence of technology, enabling human connections would be easier. However, on the contrary, dating has become much more complicated. Add in the extraordinary situation that is the pandemic, and you got yourself a formula for dating disaster. So many phenomena have surfaced in this new age, including “ghosting,” which you may have heard of.
What is “ghosting”?
The Merriam-Webster Dictionary, describes “ghosting” as “the act or practice of abruptly cutting off all contact with someone (such as a possible romantic partner) by no longer accepting or responding to phone calls, instant messages, etc.”
Picture this: You’re talking to a potential partner via messaging applications, and have been for weeks, months, even years. You feel like things are going well, you’re getting to know each other, and you enjoy their company. Maybe it could even bloom into something more.
It starts with just one text left unanswered. Two. Three. And then, without even realizing it, he had already blocked you on all social media platforms. He disappears, without so much as an explanation, like a ghost.
If you have experienced this before, then you, my friend, have been ghosted.
Why do people ghost?
It wasn’t until the 21st century when this relationship phenomenon started being a frequent occurrence. In fact, a 2016 survey reveals that almost 80% of single millennials have been ghosted at least once.
Ima, 28, believes that she won the ghosting lottery. “If being ghosted is considered a talent, aba napaka-talented ko!” Ima says with a laugh. “I’ve been ghosted over ten times, I’ve forgotten to keep track.”
When she was in college, Ima used to meet new people all the time.
“S’yempre kapag teenager to early twenties ka, talagang may energy ka pa to go to parties, meet new people, I mean, you’re young,” she says. “My friends would often reto [match] some guys to me. I would talk to them, get to know them. And when I start to think that things are going well, they stop talking to me.”
It was difficult for Ima to comprehend why people felt the need to ghost, because of course, it’s a pretty messy way to “break up” with someone. However, their reasons for doing it can be quite complicated. Here are some:
Dating is not their priority anymore.
Josh, 24, is a self-proclaimed “ghoster.” He doesn’t do it for fun, but he admits that he’s ghosted more than once.
“There are instances that I would go back out there to meet people, but eventually life happens,” he says. “May times na magiging busy ako sa work. At sa totoo lang, mare-realize ko na hindi ganun ka-valuable ‘yung relationship to prioritize.”
To reference the aptly named 2009 film, he’s just not that into you.
They don’t see the relationship working out.
Aside from dating not being a priority, Josh says that there are dealbreakers that can happen during the early talking stage of a relationship.
“Kapag magkaiba kami ng political beliefs, or may mga sinabi siya na offensive para sa akin, du’n usually nagsisimula,” he shares. “I know that I have faults on my part, siguro dapat ine-explain ko din ‘yung side ko kung bakit siya offensive. But having different political beliefs is a dealbreaker.”
It may sound surprising, but the idea of destiny or fate may play a role as well.
In a 2018 study analyzing people’s belief in destiny and its connection to dating, it was revealed that people who strongly believed in fate were 60% more likely to see ghosting as an “acceptable” way to end a relationship.
Those who genuinely believe in finding “the one” are more inclined to abruptly end their relationship if they feel like their current significant other isn’t their “soul mate.”
They are already with someone else.
During the early getting-to-know stage, you aren’t really sure if you’re the only one they’re talking to. In 23-year-old Ara’s case, she was in an open relationship when she ghosted her Bumble match.
“Being in an open relationship is really tricky,” shares Ara. “You’re together, but you’re allowed to entertain other people.”
When she was talking to her Bumble match, she knew that she didn’t feel as strongly for him. “I loved the person I was in an open relationship with, it was just very complicated,” she says. “So when we talked and decided that we both wanted to be in an [exclusive relationship], I stopped talking to my Bumble match.”
Is it so hard to just say goodbye, though?
We can all agree that there are better ways to end a budding relationship, especially those that won’t involve a person questioning their worth.
“It makes you scared to go back out there,” explains Ima, after getting ghosted for the first time. “Being ghosted makes you question if you did something wrong, if you aren’t interesting enough, o baka naman na-offend mo siya.”
No matter our attachment styles, a relationship deserves to have “the talk”. It is basic respect, it is common courtesy, and it won’t make anyone play the guessing game.
We are all mature adults here, aren’t we?