How to deal with being ghosted

By Emen8, updated 4 days ago in Sex and dating / Dating and relationships

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Ghosting — it’s like a magician’s disappearing act, only without the fun magic part.

In the gay dating scene — especially in Australia’s ‘low effort’ culture — ghosting has become all too common. With social media and dating apps allowing us to communicate easily, it can be extremely hurtful when a simple message to say ‘I’m not interested’ is too hard for someone to send.

Keep in mind that being ghosted isn’t a reflection of you; it is about them. Learning to focus on your reaction and accepting that ghosting is a part of dating can help you move on with most of your dignity intact.

The Halloween Ghost uses a mobile phone to surf the Internet,

What is ghosting?

Ghosting is when someone suddenly stops communicating with you without any explanation and seemingly falls off the face of the earth. Maybe you met in person, and when you followed up to organise the next date, you never heard from them again. Or perhaps you were chatting on a dating app, and suddenly, you were blocked without explanation! Either way, it’s common to feel confused, hurt, angry, hopeless, and wonder what went wrong.

Why do gay men experience ghosting?

Even though ghosting is never okay, there are many reasons why people do it. Here are a few your ghost may have had:

They’re not interested

For many people, the situation is that simple. They’re just not interested. But instead of rejecting you respectfully, they just disappear. For many, it’s avoiding the uncomfortable feeling of confrontation or not wanting to hurt your feelings. The unfortunate irony is that your feelings can be hurt more by being ghosted.

They have low self-awareness

Some people don’t understand their actions can have an impact on other people. They likely have low self-awareness and are just thinking of themselves. You might have dodged a bullet in this case!

Young white man isolated on blue background rejecting someone showing a gesture of disgust.

They self-sabotage

On the opposite end of the spectrum, you will have people who feel like they don’t deserve to have you. So, instead of seeing where the connection can take them, they intentionally destroy it with behaviours like ghosting.

They can’t communicate well

Your ghost could have their own issues that prevent them from communicating effectively or maintaining healthy relationships.

They forgot

A person may unintentionally ghost by forgetting to respond to you.

Regardless of the reason, remember that being ghosted isn’t a reflection of you. Leaving their situationship hanging with a no-explanation Houdini manoeuvre has everything to do with them, not you.

What are the impacts of ghosting on gay men?

Ghosting can have a big impact on your wellbeing and lead to things like rejection sensitivity, negative self-talk, anxiety, and depression. If you experience any of this, remember that you’re not alone, and there are ways to get through this. If you need to talk to someone check out LGBTQ support services near you.

For a lot of gay men, being ghosted can trigger a feeling of abandonment and make it harder to trust others in the future. You may be less likely to entertain future relationships out of fear of being ghosted again.

young white man wearing make up, chatting on his smartphone annoyed.

Socially, it can make you feel isolated and disconnected from the community, leading to questions about self-worth and attractiveness. And lastly, it can impact your self-esteem and confidence and cause trauma if you’re in a situation where your understanding of reality feels seriously questioned.

One thing to remember is people who ghost may have been ghosted in previous relationships. Again, this points to the fact that ghosting isn’t a reflection of you. This can serve as a helpful dating red flag if you’re getting to know somebody and they mention ghosting previous hook-ups or partners.

How can you handle being ghosted?

It’s no fun being ghosted. Try to avoid getting down by it so you can protect your heart and move on. While it may hurt for a while, you are resilient and will get through this. Here are our top tips to handle being ghosted with grace:

  1. Gather the gays: Seek support from friends and let them help you process the experience. You’ll likely have a bestie who’s been ghosted before, so you can cry, laugh, or do whatever you need to do to move on.
  2. Get out into the community: There are so many great events and support groups in the community that it will help you find and make some new connections, and remind yourself that you’re a great catch.
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  1. Nurture your inner self: Take a step back and reflect on past relationships. Are there patterns you’ve noticed? Think about new ways to meet people and set realistic expectations.
  2. Grow and thrive after being ghosted: Focus on personal growth, build your confidence and resilience, and develop a stronger sense of self-worth. This might look like taking a break from dating apps, starting a new exercise routine, or even just taking more time for yourself in your day-to-day. Think channelling Beyoncé’s “I Am… Sasha Fierce” era.

If you’re really struggling with feeling emotionally burnt out after a ghosting experience, check out this article to reboot your mental health.

Moving forward after being ghosted

Have a think about whether you’re ready to date or hook up again. If you’re feeling okay, try to take things slow but remain open to new connections.

Learn to recognise red flags and don’t ignore them. If someone seems too good to be true, maybe they are. Be curious and ask questions, read up on catfishing and don’t be afraid to move on.

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Ghosting sucks, but it doesn’t have to define you. Remember, you’re fabulous and worthy of love and respect, regardless of what anyone else thinks.

If you’ve been affected by any of the issues raised in this article or need support, contact QLife on 1800 184 527 or access their live webchat.

Check out this article for state-specific organisations and support services.