It Turns Out We’re Really Good At ‘Ghosting’


Along with text message breakups (and the rest) getting “ghosted” is a legitimate worry for today’s young daters. The New York Times coined the term when they referred to the split of Charlize Theron and Sean Penn, claiming that it was Theron who had ended the relationship by imposing the ultimate silent treatment on her former partner – something she vigorously denies.

This form of cutting of ties in a relationship or friendship involves effectively ignoring someone until they get the hint – no painful final message, call or text required – and according to a new study, it’s something that the millennial generation are experiencing more than any other. A new survey released by dating site Plenty of Fish (POF) finds that almost 80% of single millennials have been “ghosted” at least once.

Of the 800 participants in the U.S. and Canada aged 18-33 who responded, 78% reported being dumped by someone who cut off all communication abruptly without any explanation. We’ll let that sad statistic sink in.

Ghosting is not an entirely new phenomenon and has been part of the dating lexicon at least since 2014, according to the New York Times. However, these new stats suggest that ghosting is much more prevalent than previously thought. In a prior study on ghosting that conducted back in 2014, only 27 percent of women admitted to being ghosted. So in just two years’ time, that percentage has increased by a whopping 51%.

“It’s the fear of missing out on the thing, or person, that is coming next. Because it’s so easy to swipe or like new people, whatever’s next could be better, and it’s easier to just dip out. It may be a little mean, but we’re dating; it’s not like we’re in a relationship,” one anonymous online dater in defense of ghosting told Mashable. Also in its defense, another said that some just aren’t good at endings and prefer to let the silence do the work – even if you’re new to the complexities of dating, few can be confused by the meaning of the unanswered text. It’s all so easy to hide behind a screen that it’s quite difficult to be surprised by the findings. “Yes, it’s a cop-out, and it’s cowardly but who likes sending the hurtful final message?”

And our ‘hookup’ culture isn’t entirely to blame considering 73% of POF users claim they’re dating online with the hope of finding a serious relationship, so it’s a rather perplexing scenario.

So, why do it? Fear of confrontation? Or a case of too much choice in the online dating world? Whatever the reason, this writer hopes this breakup technique does not continue to rise. Breaking up is always hard to do, but ghosting makes it even more unpleasant. Fair enough; it wasn’t meant to be. But take the high road. You’ll feel better for it.

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