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Ghosting - When is it Ghosting, and when is it walking away?

Ghosting - When is it Ghosting, and when is it walking away? Is it ever NECESSARY?


It's never necessary. It's a disrespectful practice that only cowards do. That's all. It's selfish, cruel, distasteful, rude, and it hurts. It really, really hurts. So anyone that would treat another person that way, whether they've known them for two days, months, years, decades... it doesn't matter. It's a demonstration of a total lack of character.

But then, what is it? What is "Ghosting"?

If it's as atrocious as described (and it is) then we have to define what it is in order to know when it is acceptable to believe the worst of a person.

Is it Ghosting to not respond for a couple of days?

Is it Ghosting if you expressed your feelings and desires a number of times and they continuously get ignored?

When is it the dreadful "Ghosting", and when is it just walking away?

Read below.

First off, What is "Ghosting"? It is a newer term, in use MAYBE over the past ten years. It follows the timeline of the Dating Apps, where it is terribly easy to forget someone ever existing and vanish on them. One day you're chatting away in the app's chat room and the next, poof! Either you or the other person has disappeared, never to be heard from again. And that is, essentially, what "Ghosting" is - when someone who you were in regular contact with breaks the regularity of that contact by disappearing. But here where it gets tricky. Because if you've had a number of conversations demonstrating the lack of compatibility and each other's lack of interest in working on discussed issues, is it "Ghosting" when the contact finally ends?


If you've reached a point of either disinterest or detachment where your needs aren't being met, then it's not "Ghosting", it's walking away. Walking away is preceded by a number of discussions that attempt to make the situation better. But if the issues persist, and talking hasn't helped, then it's necessary to leave things where they are.

And just walk away.

This isn't "Ghosting" because the both of you, on some level, know why the communication ended. There are no big questions looming in the air. The air is, in fact, HEAVY with reasons for the disconnection and either the both of you just need a break so that the air clears a bit, or it's clear it's an atmosphere that disagrees with both or one of you and leaving is essentially survival. Survival of the heart, mind, or body - it doesn't really matter. All three of those are precious and up to us to keep healthy. Walking away from unhealthy situations is an obligation. Not a "Ghosting".

As for the Apps, they are best looked at as online bars. You're flipping through different people, some you smile at, some you stop and wave at, some you have a brief conversation with and it fades... is this "Ghosting"?

No. Not in my opinion. In fact, in my opinion, if the conversation never makes it off the app's chat room, it's not "Ghosting" at all. It's simply a casual conversation, even if it including varying degrees of flirtation, and it's part of the vetting process - "Do I want to invite this person deeper into my world?". Most of the time the answer is "No". An overwhelming amount of times the answer is "No". And that's not only okay... it's the way things are supposed to be. If you're going to a bar and inviting everyone back to your house then there is a serious imbalance you are struggling with, and it is most definitely not healthy for your happiness.

Now, back in this virtual bar, there are some people you exchange numbers with. Because you want to communicate with them outside of the bar.

And you'll text and maybe call these people a bit.

Is it "Ghosting" when this ends? No. Not really. Of course it depends on how long it's been happening and how much the two of you have shared, but overall, this is still a beginning phase of "vetting" someone, and it shouldn't be taken personally. Not everyone is meant to stay and it's not necessary to make an official statement of lack of interest. Just let them drop away, or do so yourself. That's just part of the process.

So when is it the horrible, terrible, and cruel behavior of "Ghosting"?

When you're connected and committed at least on some level, when you've been intimate, either physically, emotionally, or both, when you know each other's schedules, concerns, children's names, when you've had regular interaction for a sustained period of time ( a couple of weeks is enough) and things seemed to be going great....

Until the line went cold.

A rush of cold air, after all, is a tell-tale sign of a GHOST! That's when you know. You know?

No real reason, no real signs prior. Just a sudden death.


Being dumped is different - that's when some one breaks up with you by treating you like trash. They text you a couple of lines and never speak to you again. They make accusations about you they give you no opportunity to defend, they shit on your character and your heart. They treat you like TRASH. That's when you've been dumped.

Being broken up with is when someone lets you know things aren't working for them. It will be painful, but it should still be respectful. Afterwards, there should be absolutely no contact. Not of any kind. It will hurt you all over again if there is.

A separation is a break-up, but it's mutual. It's when the both of you decide things aren't working and you amicably split. And keep it amicable by not talking shit about each other. This is necessary. Just for dignity sake.

Other times, people just need some space, whether physical or emotional, and this should be clearly asked for. The person who needs the space should tell you they need the space so that you're not worried or wondering. If they take space without letting you know, that's a sign they either don't take your relationship seriously or they don't feel comfortable enough with you to ask. Both are signs of trouble. But even in the midst of this trouble, going no-contact for a couple of days, even a week, is NOT "Ghosting". Because IF you reach out to each other, there will be some sort of response. Some signs of life.

If you text someone, especially after a disagreement, and they don't immediately respond, this ISN'T Ghosting. It's them taking some much needed space. Let them have it. And know that your text meant something to them, they're just too drained to share anything back yet. Some people take longer than others to refill, but if you really care about them, even just as a fellow human, you will give them this grace period. It can go a long way to rebuild and heal your relationships with them.

But how do you know?

This is where faith comes in. Because it can be a long time before you hear from them again. And you should, during this time, feel free to live your life as you would WITHOUT them (married couples NOT included. This is more for the dating crowd that is just getting to know each-other. Married or otherwise committed couples should know each-other well enough to know when your partner needs space). Stay focused on yourself. This is a great time to remember that maintaining your sense of individuality is imperative for building a healthy relationship. When our happiness depends on whether or not a person has texted us back, or if we have plans for this weekend, we're going to make a mess of things, simply because WE ARE A MESS and we're bringing that into the situation. If they're taking space, don't worry about what they're doing. Don't search their social media or drive by their home. Leave them be. And be yourself. Enjoy you. Maybe this is when you'll realize that THEY weren't as special as you were making them out to be. These moments while a relationships is developing really are the make or break moments. Because when someone isn't around you to distract your senses with their touch, their smell, their laughter, their conversation, their sex... without the allure that those things create, what do you have? Do you have a person worth going back to?

Ultimately if someone needs space, give it to them. And feel free to take some for yourself. If the relationship is headed for a commitment, you'll need to be able to do this anyway.

These moments of space are either going to show you that you don't feel the way you thought you did, or make you realize you can't live without them. It all depends. And this too is all part of the process.

But is it "Ghosting"? No. It isn't. There will be contact again. And it will be within a respectable amount of time (what you consider respectful. Because you have to honor yourself and what you need. And that means accepting that some people just don't fill that need). Letting go is difficult. But if the person is yours, they will come back to you. I promise.

So, Ghosting, I hope it's more clear. And I hope dating is a bit more clear. I've been going over these things in my head lately and had to get them out. It's so hard to navigate. So let's support each other. Feel free to leave your comments below. Tell me what you think and share your experiences and opinions. Much love to you,


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1 Comment

Jun 12

Great read! Love your input and insights!

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