The Dating Reality that is Ghosting and Blocking
Anyone who has dated recently, or who is actively dating now, probably knows the sting of being ghosted or blocked (or has done some ghosting or blocking themselves). Both are so common these days that it’s almost expected when things go south with someone. For those lucky enough to have never encountered this horrible practice, or who don’t know what I’m talking about, let me give you a bit of a run-down.
Ghosting is the act of either phasing someone out you’re dating, or very abruptly disappearing from a relationship. The slow phase-out is when someone responds to texts and calls less and less (over a period of time) until eventually this person is completely non-responsive. Abrupt ghosting is when someone disappears all of a sudden without a trace. One day they may be texting up a storm. The next day, silence and a disappearing act. Or maybe you go on your 5th date (or 100th) and never hear from them again. Without warning, the person no longer responds to any texts or calls and becomes a figurative “ghost.”
In my mind, ghosting can’t happen after the first, second and even possibly, the third date. If you don’t hear from someone after these dates, that’s just part of the dating game. You aren’t being ghosted, the person just isn’t interested. I believe the term ghosting should be reserved for situations were people have developed an emotional connection over a period of time and someone in the relationship disappears without letting the other person know the relationship is over.
A friend of mine was once the victim of the phase-out ghosting after a year together. You heard that right: a year. I’ll let that sit with you for a moment.
At about the year mark my friend’s boyfriend decided to take a solo trip. Prior to this, they were very much together. As the trip progressed a bit, the texts were less, with him saying things like, “I feel like I just need to move away. I need to figure out my life.” Then one day the texts stopped all together and she never heard from him again. As horrible as that sounds, I can only imagine how awful that felt: she never heard from him again after a year of dating! I’m not really sure how this guy justified it to himself that this was even remotely OK to do to someone, especially someone he had been dating for a year. He robbed her of what she deserved at minimum, which was a conversation.
Another friend of mine was abruptly ghosted after almost 3 years of a past with someone. They were never formally together, but had a history. They had hooked up numerous times, gone on dates, thousands of texts, developed a deep emotional-connection, and promises of a future together. Then one day, he just disappeared. By not allowing a well-deserved face-to-face conversation that would have led to closure, this ghost didn’t show an ounce of respect.
The phase-out ghosting and the abrupt ghosting are different, yet they yield the same end-result. The ghoster achieves their goal of ending the relationship; however, they do so in a very cowardly way. They negate any responsibility and respect they owe the person. They refuse to have a grown-up conversation and end the relationship decently. The ghosted is left wondering what went wrong because they were never given the explanation they deserve.
Blocking is when someone you are dating blocks your number, and typically all your social media accounts, as a method to end a relationship. Blocking not only abruptly ends a relationship but also effectively eliminates all communication and contact forever.
Both ghosting and blocking are horrible; but in my opinion, blocking might just be worse than ghosting. At least if you’re ghosted you can still get in some of your feelings through some final unanswered texts. You will never get a reply but at least you can still throw some shade and have the satisfaction of knowing the text arrived in the persons phone. You’re able to communicate your final thoughts and feelings to a ghost.
With blocking, you aren’t given this option. The blocker puts a figurative sock in the mouth of the blocked and disappears without any warning. The blocked person is completely silenced and completely shut-out.
Another friend of mine was blocked as a means to end the relationship, after 7 months of dating. One day they were texting and things seemed like they were going well. The next day, she found herself completely blocked with no warning. Her number was blocked and she was blocked on all social media. She couldn’t text, email, message on Facebook or reach out on Instagram. My friend was figuratively muzzled and wasn’t allowed even the possibility to communicate any feelings about the break-up.
With both ghosting and blocking, the break-up lingers far longer in the mind of the person who was left because they were not given the conversation they deserved. Eventually, closure and acceptance comes, but it’s after far too many nights going back and forth between thoughts of, “what’s wrong with me? Did I do something wrong? Am I not worth even a conversation? Did this person not value our relationship at all? Why did this break-up happen? Why did this break-up happen? Why did this break-up happen?”
Ghosting and blocking are both really cruel. You can stop dating someone at any time for any reason, but you at least owe them the respect of a face-to-face conversation. We all need to stop ghosting and stop blocking. Do society a favour and end both of these horrible dating practices. Let’s all do our part and make the dating game a little kinder, even when things don’t work out.