What is “ghosting?” This is a term that’s risen to popular usage in recent years to describe a phenomenon of when a potential partner suddenly stops speaking to you. No more texts, no more messages, no more calls – and they suddenly seem to always be busy when you’re trying to get them to hang out with you.
“Silent treatment is nothing unusual when it comes to long-term relationships – ‘ghosting’ can happen after just the first date or sometimes many dates,” says relationship counsellor and Gestalt therapist Clinton Power.
Some people are ghosted by their partners, which is a way for one person to try and end a relationship without doing any of the hard, emotional work. If you’re worried that your partner is starting to ghost you, have no fear. There are some telltale signs that your partner is ghosting you. Once you know the signs you’ll be able to confront them, or end the relationship on your own terms.
Here Are Five Telltale Signs Your Partner Is Ghosting You
“When you get ghosted, be happy they’re on a one-way ticket with no return address.” – Julie Spira
1. They cancel plans and don’t reschedule
A big sign that your partner is going ghost is when they suddenly start cancelling your plans to hang out together. It can be anything from planning to go to the movies together, to hanging out at your apartment. Whatever the plan, big or small, it seems like they always have a reason to cancel.
“Men who are checking out on you and on the verge of disappearing for good tend to be unable to simply tell the truth: ‘I’m just not that into you.’” But if you try to bring it up with them, they’ll probably give you excuses they think sound “good”: Work is so busy now. Traveling nonstop with work. Pressure from my family to come visit more often. Watch for these lame excuses. They usually are a harbinger of things to come,” says dating expert and author of Smoke Drink F*#k, Esme Oliver.
They’re always busy, or working, or have something else important that they need to be doing. And they never seem to be able to offer a definite reschedule date. In fact, sometimes they won’t even offer vague dates like “next week”. This leaves you left feeling like they don’t really want to hang out with you all that much.
2. They go silent on social media
Social media is a great way to stay connected with everyone in our lives, even our significant others. It’s also a good measure on whether or not you’re being ghosted by your partner. A major red flag to potential ghosting is when your partner stops interacting with you on social media altogether. Either they unfriend you or soft block you (blocking and then immediately unblocking so you no longer follow them), and you’re left wondering where they disappeared to. This is usually coupled with them still texting you and stringing you along in other ways. If their social media goes dark, this is probably a red flag that you’re about to be ghosted.
3. You don’t have any friends in common
Someone who plans on ghosting their significant other sometime in the future is probably not going to invest in introducing that person to their friends. If for whatever reason, you two don’t seem to have any friends in common whatsoever, it’s probably because they’re not that invested in your relationship. It also means that they’re probably preparing to ghost you so that you don’t have any contact with their friends to find out what happened. If they’re adamant that you don’t need to meet their friends, this is a red flag to someone who isn’t going to treat you the way you deserve.
4. They take forever to get back to you
In the beginning, things are great – you’re messaging all the time, seeing each other a lot, and enjoying being together. But now, it seems like the conversations lag and drag on.
“A good indicator of a classic ghost would be when someone is ALWAYS on their phone, yet when you’re not with them it seems like you’re rarely getting that text or phone call,” says Melissa Rogers, a professional matchmaker.
You can’t seem to get a quick text out of them, and they take forever to get back to you about plans, or just in general. People can get busy, but we usually make time for our significant others. Even on our busiest days, sending a message telling your partner you’re thinking of them only takes a minute. When it seems like they no longer want to take the time to get back to you, it’s probably a sign that they’re getting ready to disappear like a ghost.
“They don’t feel obligated to answer you until they ‘feel’ like it, which can be hours or days,” adds author and sex therapist Dr. Gloria Brame.
5. They don’t have anything to say
When you finally get ahold of them after days of not speaking, are they bursting to tell you everything that’s been happening? Or do they seem like they haven’t got anything new to tell you? Usually, when you’re being ghosted, your partner isn’t going to put that much effort into the conversation that you do have.
“He is no longer engaged in conversation or previously shared interests. And while his behavior is noticeably different, if he is confronted, he denies that anything is wrong,” says Teresa Solomita, a psychoanalyst and relationship Therapist.
This is a red flag that they’re not really all that invested in you anymore. Where you used talk for hours on end, it may now seem like getting them to talk is like pulling teeth.
Getting ghosted isn’t fun! Knowing the signs can prepare you for when it happens. Taking control of the end of a relationship can be a powerful thing. If your partner seems to be ghosting you, it might just be time to take control and end it before they disappear into smoke. You’ll be able to find someone who appreciates you when you’re not hung up waiting on them.