How to deal with ghosting

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It’s the stuff romantic comedies are NOT made of: Man and Woman meet, have a few wonderful dates and wind up in bed together. Everything is peachy. Cut to a week later and her phone has a conspicuous lack of activity. Two weeks go by and… tumbleweeds. Like the Kingston’s in the Arnott’s Family Assorted packet, he has disappeared and he will never be seen again.

Welcome to the 21st century woman’s dating conundrum: ghosting.

You would think ‘ghosting’, where a man gives no explanation for his disappearance to the woman he is dating, is the disrespectful type of behaviour we would have graduated on from after our uni days, but unfortunately not.

“The fact that he didn’t get back in touch after putting in the beginnings of effort is a red flag,” says relationship expert and author of The Problem With Women is… Men, Charles J Orlando. “After all, it just takes a moment to communicate if something has changed for him.”

Unfortunately it’s not clear what would have changed that would lead him to ghost.

First dates offer you a glimpse of who the person is, but you don’t really know them – there’s no telling what was going on behind the scenes for him,” says Charles. “If they can leave so easily that early, they either have their own stuff going on (from their past, which you can’t solve), or they weren’t really into you in the first place.”

The most frustrating part of being ghosted is that you’re never likely to get any answers. Sarah, 28, from Sydney knows this firsthand. “It’s happened to me a few times. Look, I can understand that a man might not be into me and not want to see me anymore, but at least tell me that! Be a man about it.”

The good news is that there is a way to prevent being ghosted – sort of. “In today’s technology-centric world, many people think they ‘know’ someone just because they have had a few conversations (and Googled them!),” says Charles. “But the truth is: getting to really know someone takes time, as people reveal who they are over the course of dating. The best way to ‘prevent’ ghosting is to manage your own expectations. Recognise that you are both getting to know each other… and some people – while nice at the beginning – aren’t worthy of a full investment.”

Sarah agrees. “I put in maximum effort when I’m on the date, but I try not to think about it or fantasise about the future afterwards. This way, I always have a great time, but I don’t wind up disappointed if he doesn’t get in contact. I reserve actual feelings for someone who shows me they feel the same way.”

And that is perhaps key to surviving a ghosting – keep doing your own thing. “If they vanish, it isn’t a reflection on you or your own worthiness of love,” says Charles. “They could have called and/or wrapped things up in a respectful manner. Maybe they had an emergency, maybe they didn’t feel the connection… maybe a million things, but that is all about them. YOU are still worthy… and sometimes the Universe takes away what you think you want to make room for what you actually deserve.”

Have you experienced a ghosting? How did you handle it? Let us know in the comments below or join the conversation @eHarmony_AU or on Facebook.com/eHarmonyaustralia.


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