Anyone who’s been an active participant in the dating scene at some point or another has experienced being ghosted. So, what is ghosting?
According to dictionary.com, ghosting is defined as “the practice of suddenly ending all contact with a person without explanation, especially in a romantic relationship.” Harsh.
But seriously – you and I both know what it means. Or maybe I should reiterate, we both know how it feels.
You and your new lover are going well. The sun is shining, the birds are chirping, and you’ve just told all your friends about how wonderful this new person is. Then bam. Gone.
You might even consider throwing a funeral for the person who once was, and although there’s no body, you instead decide to bury your pillowcase, permanently stained with their scent, along with the book they left behind (which you never got around to reading anyway).
Okay, enough with the dramatics. If you’re like me, you’ll want to know the why. Why wasn’t I good enough for a proper goodbye? You were. Why did they change their relationship status back to single? They’re a jerk. Why would someone choose to do this? Yep, that’s the one I was waiting for. Follow me.
There are many psychological reasons behind why people ghost, but they all link back to one singular theme: a fear of conflict.
Now, I’m sure you’re thinking, why would the cool, calm and collected person of my dreams be afraid of conflict? They were confident, self-assured and *insert all their painfully missed attributes here*.
Anxiety can manifest a variety of different scenarios in our heads, including the thought of causing someone pain, which can end up paralysing us into inaction. And ironically, studies prove that avoidance is the biggest contributor to such pain.
So, they chose avoidance because they were scared of hurting you. And as a result, they ended up hurting you even more. Why?
Multiple psychologists have studied how our childhood experiences influence our adult lives, and attachment theory is an excellent example of this. To keep it short, your ex-lover may have had an avoidant attachment, meaning they grew up in an environment that discouraged the formation of healthy emotional bonds.
I’ll talk more about this in future posts, but for now, take solace in knowing you are loved beyond belief, and your worth can never be defined by those who didn’t get that memo.