The Real Reason People Ghost In Dating

by Natalia Lusinski

By now, you’ve probably heard of ghosting in the dating world, when someone goes MIA without a trace. You were texting non-stop one moment, and nothing — zilch! — the next. Or maybe you’d gone out a few times and thought things were going well… until you didn’t hear from the person again. You may wonder why people ghost, and the dating app Sapio — where you get to know someone by answering suggested questions — was wondering, too. They asked approximately 2,100 Americans about what made their date disappear, as well as where it’s most prevalent and who does it more — males or females.

Perhaps you’ve been on the receiving end of ghosting, or perhaps you’ve done it to someone. After all, as messed up and frustrating as it is, ghosting continues to be popular. According to Sapio’s study, almost 87 percent of women and 79 percent of men have had between one and three potential prospects vanish on them. That’s a lot of people pulling the disappearing act, right? What happened to the good old-fashioned, “I’m not interested”? I know — saying that to someone is tough. After all, how will they respond? Will they get it and move on? (After all, maybe they weren’t feeling it either.) Or will they get defensive and have a text fight with you? In essence, ghosting seems like the easy way out.

Luckily, after happening a few times, the prevalence of ghosting went down. Only 10 percent of women and 13 percent of men experienced ghosting between four to six times, the study found. Phew. But I think the above stats are still high. Too high.

Here are more findings that Sapio’s study discovered. Because even if you’re not a fan of ghosting, you can still try to understand it, as well as where and why people ghost.

1. Why Do People Ghost?

When people were asked why they ghost, the top 10 answers varied from bad sex to poor grammar (as a writer, I def hear that!). The top three reasons included someone talking about their ex too much, not looking like their profile picture, and clinginess. Further down on the list, someone living too far away and political differences made the top 10, too.

2. Many People Have Been Ghosted At Least Once

As far as percentages are concerned, approximately 48 percent of participants surveyed have been ghosted at least once. In case you’re curious, here’s a regional breakdown of ghosting.

3. Many People Have Ghosted On Someone, Too

As you can see in the chart below, ghosting is a universal phenomenon across the U.S. Here’s a regional breakdown of people who have ghosted someone at least once. It makes you wonder, right, if people ghost because they’ve been ghosted on? (But I thought “two wrongs don’t make a right”?)

4. Who Ghosts More? Males Or Females?

You may be wondering who ghosts more, males or females? Well, it turns out that the numbers are about even, with at least 75 percent (!) of each gender ghosting and being ghosted on. If you ask me, that’s far too many. In addition, the study found that women are ghosted eight percent more than men. In-teresting.

5. Why Do Some People Hate The Ghosting Phenomenon So Much?

As you know, ghosting provides daters with one big thing: No answers. All they’re left with is asking themselves, “Why why why?” What happened? Why couldn’t the person just say something? Obviously, the person who ghosted wasn’t into you (or me) enough — fine — but then why does it bother us so much?

“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.” Yup. Exactly. It’s the principle of the thing.

So now what? Until all daters get the #dontghost memo, it’s a phenomenon we’ll likely still have to deal with, like it or not. What can we do about ghosting? Not do it — so what comes around does not go around. I’m in.

Images: Fotolia; Sapio