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10 Early Warning Signs of Ghosting (And How to Deal With It)

In this article, we will talk about some early signs of ghosting.

You’ve been dating someone you really like for a few months, spent a lot of time together, and shared beautiful moments with them.

Then out of the blue, they stop texting you or answering your messages.

You can feel it. They’re ghosting you.

What does ghosting look like?

As explained in Psychology Today, ghosting is when someone abruptly ends communication with you without any explanation. 

It has become a buzzword, especially after the rise of online dating apps.

Dating has become more of a trend today, just like making reels, without even acknowledging how it genuinely feels. Consequently, starting a romantic relationship is now possible at your fingertips without an investment of emotions, love, and care.

However, as effortlessly as relationships are forming today, the chances of fading such a superficial bond are also very high. 

People don’t feel comfortable confronting their partners once the romance fades away or they are no longer interested.

So, they prefer avoiding their partner abruptly using a relationship dissolution strategy, known as ghosting

Let me guess: you are reading this article, so you either observed some weird changes in your partner’s behavior or are feeling ignored.

So, let’s find out if you are being ghosted by your date (or are about to be ghosted) and what you can do about it. 

What You Should Know About Ghosting

Ghosting is not limited to any gender and may occur in any kind of relationship, whether romantic or platonic.

A 2021 study by researchers from Erasmus University, Rotterdam, designed to understand the prevalence of ghosting in online dating, concluded that 2 out of every 10 people have experienced or practiced ghosting in some form.

Several psychological and consequential reasons have been observed behind ghosting in a recent study by scientists at University of Castilla-La Mancha.

And here are a few motivations that drive a person to halt all kinds of communications to their existing partner, both online or offline.

  • Fear of getting rejected themselves;
  • To avoid conflict or hurting the romantic partner while breaking up;
  • Lack of attachment or interest;
  • Availability of plenty of potential partners on the dating apps;
  • Wanting to keep their options open;
  • To protect oneself from a toxic relationship.

The drives behind ghosting are many, but the worst part about it is the ends remain loose, declares lifestyle Editor, Maya Ogolini.

Here are a few signs to confirm if that is the case for you or not.

Also, if your partner has ghosted you, or is about to ghost you, I have listed some practical ways for you to deal with it.

So, keep reading for some valuable pointers.

Early Signs of Ghosting

In all the ghosting stories, a few warning signs remain common.

If you are also experiencing them, then chances are that you may be about to be ghosted.

1. Bailing on plans has become their second nature

Are you noticing that your date has suddenly started bailing on every plan you set out for the two of you? Do their excuses often involve work, deadlines, family, friends, etc.?

If you are nodding to these questions, it could be one of the early signs that you’re being ghosted, says relationship and dating expert, Justine M. Fulama.

No one remains off the grid all the time, especially if they are emotionally involved in a relationship.

So, if you are always the one excited and available to meet up, but getting bailed on without a legit reason, then you must watch out.

Recommended read: 9 Relationship Red Flags You Should Never Ignore

2. Avoids sharing personal details

Scientists agree that if someone is interested in you, they spontaneously want to make you a part of their everyday life. They share some intimate details of their life with you, their likes and dislikes, and in general they try to make it easier for you to open up to them. 

But, if after months you two are dating they refuse to exchange details about themselves, then something may be fishy. 

Do you sense your partner’s hesitation while sharing details about their personal life? If yes, maybe it’s a good idea to reconsider the relationship (and walk away before feeling the pain of ghosting).

3. They seem to have commitment phobia (aka gamophobia)

The absence of commitment in a romantic relationship is often a sign you may be ghosted at any time.

And if you’re dating someone who has already declared that they would never be able to commit, then you need to be careful and shield yourself from future heartbreak.

Researchers at The University of Western Ontario conducted a study on exploring “ghosting” in 2017 and found out that people who ghosted their partners were less committed in their relationships.

It’s natural to seek commitment in a relationship if your intentions are long-lasting. But if your partner does not give a damn about it or ignores to commit at all, chances of getting ghosted are pretty high.

4. Their words never match their actions

You might not be admitting it, but there’s a huge gap between what your partner says and does. This is the classic case of ghosting, as determined by researchers at the University of Alabama.

Your partner is not at all the person you imagined on phone calls, texts, or during the initial meet-ups.

This is not at all about their physical appearances, but their actions. What they say never aligns with what they do. And when you confront them about their changed behavior, they refuse to accept it. 

This is a clear sign that this person is not interested in the relationship anymore. And most likely, due to their lack of expressing skills, they may prefer ghosting you sooner or later.

5. They show no interest in future plans

Future planning might differ from person-to-person. You might want to meet their parents and get married, while all that’s on their agenda is planning a date for the coming weekend.

Having different goals is okay, but a lack of interest in any form of future plans is a clear red flag. The point is to analyze your partner’s reaction whenever you mention a future event involving both of you.

If they go silent or refuse to respond, it’s a clear warning that they might not be that into you.

If you’re already observing such an unenthusiastic reaction, you must regard it as a ghosting red flag.

Recommended read: 4 Examples of Gaslighting — and How to Respond According to Experts

6. They keep your relationship secret

Ghosters often stop making efforts at some point.

When a relationship hits the 3-month-mark, the physical attraction and the euphoric feeling of being in love start to fade away.

At this point, the ghoster might start evaluating how exactly they (the brain and heart) feel about the partner. And since breaking up is hard to do, they might just end up treating their partner as a stranger.

In your relationship, is it always you who initiates conversations or waits for them to show up?

Do you think your relationship will die if you stop making efforts?

If that’s the case, chances are you’re just pretending to be in a relationship.

If your partner seems unbothered to all your efforts, you should accept and face the fact that you’re probably being ghosted.

7. They avoid revealing about “you two” in public

If your partner prefers to keep you as a secret lover for a long time – like more than five or six months – you could not get a clearer sign that they aren’t too much into you.

A ghoster often refuses to mention the relationship even to their closer connections. If your date avoids revealing the relationship officially, you must understand their true intentions.

8. Unenthusiastic responses are all you receive

Your partner is always busy on their phone whenever you two meet, but when it comes to texting you back, they seem to go MIA.

In this case, understanding they’re not invested in the relationship as you are – and moving on – is your best option.

If you get a vibe that you’re only a means to pass time for them, you should stop right there. Responding late occasionally due to legit reasons is normal.

But if this has become a pattern in your relationship (or situationship), then this might be their first move towards eventually ghosting you.

9. Ghosting is not something new for them

Humans are interesting creatures, especially when they’re in love.

In romantic relationships, people find it hard not to fall into the vicious circle of breaking up and getting back together. The same is true between the ghoster and ghostee as well.

When you ask your date about their past relationships, and it seems they aren’t in contact with a single ex – and they blame all their exes for ruining their past relationships – it could be a red flag.

In a 2021 study, a team of researchers explored various stages of romantic relationships on people with Dark Triad traits (i.e., psychopathy, Machiavellianism, and narcissism). 

The results pointed out that people who have already ghosted their partner in the past assume it is acceptable to stop talking to people without any explanation when you no longer want them in your life.

10. Your instincts are warning you

Besides everything, if your gut is telling you that you aren’t being treated as nicely as you deserve, you should trust that feeling. Every person responds differently in the same situation.

Your partner might not be displaying the above signs, but you can sense it if your relationship is going off-track.

What To Do When Ghosted by Someone?

If you feel you’re being ghosted, understand that you’re not alone.

A 2018 study by a team of researchers from Dartmouth College, USA concluded that 25.3% of the people had been left ghosted, while 21.7% of them had ghosted someone in the past.

Even if it’s not a justified breakup strategy, ghosting has become a common phenomenon – unfortunately.

You can’t stop a ghoster from leaving you. And let’s be real: if they decide to leave without giving you any explanation, you’re better off without them! You don’t want someone like that in your life.

However, when someone ghosts you, the pain is real. I know it.

So, let’s see together what you can do to deal with ghosting. 

1. Try to communicate openly

If you are lucky enough to identify the early warning signs of ghosting, you must confront your date or partner.

Ask them openly if they have changed their mind about the relationship – at the end of the day, it can happen. 

Make them feel comfortable to openly talk about their choice and opinion. Let them know that they can express their feelings about you and the relationship.

2. Stop blaming yourself

The worst thing to do after being ghosted is to blame yourself. It does no good. Instead, it only helps develop self-doubt and eventually lower your self-esteem. 

It’s natural to feel disheartened in this type of situation. However, you must acknowledge your feelings. Make sure though you stop feeling guilty about it because the problem here is clearly the ghoster and not you. 

Sara Makin, a professional counselor also agrees, “It’s not about you, it’s all about their lack of capacity for close, intimate relationships.” 

3. Opt for closure

If any of your loved ones leave, you start craving their presence. These feelings are normal and there’s nothing wrong with feeling that way.

But when a date or partner is not responding, their silence is itself a bold statement. Deep down, you know that no matter how bad you want to spend time with them again, that won’t happen.

In this case, closure is the best thing you can do for yourself, as suggested by a Times of India columnist.

Understand that this person isn’t coming back, no matter what. And know that a high-quality potential partner is out there looking for someone like you.

Protect your mental and emotional health, and move on.

4. Practice self-care and seek help

Being ghosted leaves you in immense pain because of your emotional, mental, and physical involvement in the relationship. 

So try to talk with your loved ones about what happened.

Take good care of your physical and mental health and trust that no matter how harsh your reality feels right now, things won’t remain the same forever.

You will eventually heal and life will go back to normal.

Recommended read: How to Become the Best, Most Attractive Version of Yourself: 5 Strategies

Early Signs of Ghosting: Final Thoughts

To summarize, here are some signs someone may be about to ghost you:

  • Bailing on plans has become their second nature,
  • They avoid sharing personal details,
  • They don’t commit,
  • Their words never match their actions,
  • They show no interest in future plans,
  • Conversations and efforts are not the same anymore,
  • They keep your relationship secret,
  • Unenthusiastic responses are all you receive,
  • Ghosting is not something new for them,
  • You can feel it (trust that feeling!)

Ghosting is a selfish way of escaping a relationship. If you’ve ever been on the receiving end, know that you’re not responsible for it.

You need to protect yourself from such a painful experience by keeping the pointers mentioned in this story in mind.

Take care of yourself and allow yourself the space to grieve. Give yourself time to heal from this nerve-racking experience of being ghosted. 

Let it go and embrace the reality to come back with resilience because only you can do it.

Recommended read: How to Really Get Your Ex Back, According to a Former Therapist

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early warning signs of ghosting

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