Ghosting – a senior dating term

September 14, 2018

Ghosting – a senior dating term

Every time I think I’ve heard it all about senior dating, something new comes up.

Rabecca, age 70, emailed: “Have you ever written about ‘ghosting?’”

I said, “What the heck is ghosting?”

Rabecca said, “It’s a term used in dating.”

She sent me links to a few articles on ghosting. While reading the material, I was surprised that in 24 years of writing, I had never heard the term. The Urban Dictionary defines ghosting as: “The practice of ending a personal relationship with someone by suddenly and without explanation withdrawing from all communication.”

Some articles suggested that ghosting is prevalent among Millennials, ages 24 to 38, and even some Generation Xers, ages 39 to 53. Rabecca said it happens to seniors as well.

Although I wasn’t familiar with the term, I had been “ghosted” before, there just wasn’t a term for it in 1993, when my wife of six years left with no notice or explanation and shut down all communication.

Millennials often get ghosted on dating sites like Tinder where conversations often end without explanation. When that happens, there’s no first date. They hit delete and move on to the next online dater.

Psychology Today published an article by Jennice Vilhauer, PhD, on November 27, 2015 on the effects of “ghosting” (see link at end of today’s eNewsletter).

Rabecca said, “It’s more prevalent in senior dating than you realize. Let’s say you have a first date with someone you met online or via a friend and there’s just no connection–chemistry if you will—with one or both people on the date.

If the man has no interest, what does he say at the end of the date? ‘I’ll call you,’ when he won’t? No.

More likely, he might say, ‘I had a nice time. Thank you.’ And leave it at that. And he never contacts you again. That’s an example of ghosting.”

I thought about the ghosting term. It’s usually done by men, since women usually don’t phone men for dates.

Let’s say the woman would like to go out again. But he goes silent. She thinks, maybe he’ll call. But he never does. How does that make her feel? Likely terrible. She wonders, why didn’t he like me? Why doesn’t he want another date? Am I not romance worthy?

Ghosting. Why did he go silent? Why didn’t he call me? 
(photo by Tom. Can you guess who and where?)

And she probably wonders, “Why couldn’t he just have been honest? And have told me he didn’t think we were a match. That would have been the honorable and courteous thing to do.”

Why didn’t he do that? It’s awkward, almost a bit presumptuous on his part–that she even cares. She might have been insulted had he said something. Instead, he disappeared, like a ghost. To him, it seemed the lesser of two evils.

Years ago, my nephew, Derek, a Generation Xer, in Dallas, coined a dating term: “Shun Mode.” Derek explained that you implement this strategy when you like a woman, but she’s indifferent to you. You just cease communication, hoping the silent treatment sends her a message that she doesn’t realize what she is missing. You hope it works and she’ll move you up on the priority list. Then, you start communicating again.

I guess you could classify “Shun Mode” as a subset of “Ghosting,” since it’s a lack of communication, albeit for the opposite purpose vs. ghosting: you want to be with the person you are shunning.

Dating website Plenty of Fish did a user survey that revealed that 78% of its users had been ghosted at least one time.

I’d like to hear what our Champs have to say about “ghosting.” Has it happened to you? How often? How does it make you feel? Is it wrong? Inconsiderate? Or, just the comfortable way out?

And for you “ghosters,” why did you do it? Why not simply say, “I’m sorry, we’re not a match.” Or even, “It’s not you, I’m just a dork and not worthy of you.”

If you’ve been ghosted, remind yourself that it was better to find out he wasn’t the kind of person you’d want to be with anyway—and you’re far better off in the long run for not investing time with him. And it has absolutely nothing to do with you or your love worthiness.

It’s just a method in these more self-centered times.

Psychology Today link to ghosting article: