Why Do People Ghost? 5 Reasons We Disappear From Relationships
Breakups seriously suck — that's something we can all agree on. But you know what else sucks? When you're ghosted by someone you were seeing. While ghosting, the technique of disappearing from a relationship, usually digitally, through text or online without explanation, typically happens early on in a relationship, it still leaves you unsettled and totally frustrated.
"A relationship that was pretty insignificant to a person can take weeks to get over only because of the method of termination, not because the relationship itself was so fantastic and not even because the other person was very appealing," Dr. Alice Sohn, Clinical Psychologist tells Bustle. "But just because people can’t tolerate being left without explanation."
Yet, as awful as it can feel to be blown off by someone early on, the truth is, a lot of us disappear from early relationships these days. A recent study from dating site Plenty of Fish found that 78 percent of millennials have been ghosted and 11 percent admit to being ghosters.
But why do we ditch people via unreturned text? Has it always been around and now we just have a catchy name for it? Or is technology and dating app culture responsible for this popular breakup method? In the third episode of Love, Factually — Bustle's new video series exploring the real facts behind how we experience love, dating, and relationships — we talk to talk to Sexologist and Relationship expert Dr. Logan Levkoff, Clincial Psychologist Dr. Alice Sohn, and Relationships Writer Justine Bylo to take a closer look at the real reasons people ghost.
Check out the video and see some of the reasons why we ghost below:
1. It's An Easy Way Out
"You don’t have to sit across from that person and break up with them and listen to them cry and do the whole breakup thing, when instead you can just simply disappear. It’s the easy way out of a relationship," says Justine Bylo, Relationships Writer.
2. Dating Apps Remind Us There's Someone A Swipe Away
"One of the things that dating apps do is that you see these pools and the pools seem huge and endless, and you always wonder ‘Well maybe there’s something better out there,'" says Dr. Logan Levkoff, Sexologist and Relationship expert.
3. We've Always Been Doing It (And We Do It Outside Of Dating Too)
"People who are more mature probably don’t need to ghost as much because we become accustomed to having to deal with awkward interpersonal situations, and we become more desensitized to it and more confident that we and other people can survive those moments. And that doesn’t just happen in relationships; you have to tolerate moments like that on the job and socially and those things are sort of developmental milestones," says Sohn.
4. One Person Had No Major Intentions
"In a new relationship or an early relationship, there can be a very broad range of attachments. But after a string of text messages or one or two dates, one person may feel fully invested but the other person may be thinking ‘I’ll ride this one out, but I have no major intentions here,’" says Sohn.
5. It Helps Us Dehumanize Breakups
"What it comes down to is that we have made it incredibly easy to hide behind our phones or computer screens, and we can dehumanize the breakup," says Bylo.