Sarah Irby, Editor in Chief~

There’s a haunting dating trend on the rise, and it’s called “Ghosting.” For those of you who don’t know, this is when someone you think you have a connection with or who cares about you just disappears from your life, without any trace of communication or explanation.

This disappearing act isn’t new, but it is becoming more mainstream with the rise of social media and online dating, which in turn lessens the social repercussions for the perpetrator. It’s a behavior that is, unfortunately, becoming normalized.

People ghost for various reasons, including being afraid of commitment or not understanding their feelings, because they just saw the relationship as a quick fling or because he or she doesn’t see it as a big deal. It’s a passive-aggressive technique that we have adopted in our increasingly toxic dating culture.

While the people doing the ghosting may not see it as a big deal, the unfortunate souls on the receiving end do. Being a victim of ghosting can make us feel used, betrayed and confused, among other things. It can make us wonder why we aren’t good enough, or what we could have done wrong to make someone reject us completely. Not to mention, your self-esteem can take a serious hit.

Illustration by Genevieve Griffin

Even medical professionals liken ghosting to the level of emotional cruelty as giving someone the silent treatment. In fact, the same pathways in your brain are activated when you experience social rejection as when you feel physical pain.

Personally, I think the hardest part is not knowing how to react. You’re used to talking to someone consistently throughout the day, every day. And then, out of nowhere, they stop communicating with you completely. Are you supposed to be worried; could something have happened to them? Or maybe you’re just being ridiculous – they could be busy doing something important at the moment. But you don’t know, because you’re confused and haven’t been told otherwise.

If you’re anything like me, this leaves you with a sick and nervous feeling in your gut. You start to question yourself and the relationship you thought you had, and you start to feel physically sick with worry and upset because you have no idea what went wrong. If only they would tell you.

Now, maybe I haven’t faced complete ghosting, but I have experienced it somewhat. I’ve dealt with it twice from the same boy, during the same time of two separate years. I like to think we’re pretty close (I mean, our snap streak is pretty high up there. Haha). We get along well, we hang out often and have generally good conversations and experiences. For a very long time, we sent snap after snap. Every. Single. Day. But then, he starts only sending one or two throughout the whole day (and I’m pretty sure he’s only sending those to keep the streak alive).

So what happened? We’re not in a relationship, nor do we want to be, but we still care about each other. What’s the problem? The whole situation is mentally taxing. You spend time thinking about what might be going on in the other person’s life to make them ignore you. You want to be able to justify what’s going on by giving them the benefit of the doubt, instead of just assuming they’re being sh**ty. Not to mention you want to stop questioning whether you’re being paranoid and overreacting. Let’s be honest, it doesn’t seem like you are.

I often get the urge to blow up someone’s phone when they do something like this, and then I immediately regret it. Because it makes me seem obsessed and crazy. Really, I’m just trying to figure out what’s going on.

Unfortunately, the outcome isn’t usually good when it comes to getting ghosted. In all likelihood, that person may never talk to you again. Oh well, their loss, right? It’s stressful and disheartening, but sometimes we just have to move on. Chin up, buttercup; the situation says nothing about your personal character and everything about theirs.

Bon Jovi knew what he was talking about when he said they “give love a bad name.”

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