How to deal with ghosting when dating

Dating coach Sabrina Zohar is here to help you navigate the tough world of dating.

Video Transcript

SABRINA ZOHAR: Let's talk about ghosting, shall we? My name is Sabrina Zohar, and I'm a dating coach and the host "Do The Work" podcast. And I help folks all the time navigate this crazy world we know of as dating.

Now, I get this all the time-- what is ghosting? So let's clearly articulate what it is to get ghosted or to be ghosted, versus what it's not. So if you have gone out on one or two dates with somebody and they just don't call you back, that is not ghosting.

That is just simply that person wasn't picking up what you're putting down. That person isn't interested in the same things that you are. They didn't feel the connection. They didn't feel like their nonnegotiables or boundaries were met. Whatever the reasoning is, that person was not reciprocating with you how you felt.

In dating and in life, people don't owe you anything. So while it would be really lovely for somebody to let you know, hey, wasn't feeling it, not feeling the connection, I wish you all the best. It was great to meet you. They don't owe that.

So if you text them and they either don't respond, that's not them ghosting, they just weren't interested in seeing again. Or if it's the mutual "fizzle," neither one of you text each other, great, then neither one of you are interested in pursuing this or it wasn't a connection enough that really, really prompted you to connect further.

Versus actually ghosting is when you have been dating somebody for a month, two months, three months, it could be even up to a few years, and everything is fine. You guys have no issues. Everything seems to be OK. Maybe you have plans, or you're about to do something, or you just saw them, and then you literally never [BLEEP] hear from this person again.

They don't answer your phone calls. They don't answer your texts. They have disappeared off the face of this earth. And you are sitting here wondering, what is going on? What did I do? Why would this person do this to me? Not really understanding why somebody can't just be honest and upfront with you.

Now, as a dating coach, I have heard pretty much every variation of this. And something that I hear often, especially from a lot of men, is that people don't handle rejection very well. And so I think more so in the early stages of dating when somebody doesn't really know you that well or you guys have had three, or four, or five dates, and you just start to feel eh, people feel bad. They don't want to hurt somebody else. So oftentimes they'll think, listen, if I just don't respond or if I just don't say anything, the person won't "get it."

Or they've had really, really negative experiences. And I've seen this way more often than I should. But if you have been dating somebody for a while and they just straight up ghost you, the first thing I want you to understand and to really realize is that this has nothing to do with you. Listen, somebody cannot want to date you. That is fine. That is totally OK.

But their decision to not articulate that with you shows so much about their emotional maturity, their emotional unavailability, and the bandwidth that they are dealing with versus anything it has to do with you. Because let's break this down, if somebody is scared of conflict, somebody can't handle confrontation, and they decide to stop with you or they decide to just not tell you, how does that have any direct reflection with you?

And if the thoughts and the narrative that starts to play is, well, if I were better, I'm not good enough. I'm not worthy. That narrative is your core beliefs that you are not good enough. And this is now reaffirming that. That is where you can start to explore within yourself, well, where did I learn that? Where did I learn that I'm not good enough and I'm not worthy? That is your own inner work that you can do.

But when somebody ghosts you, that is showing that they can't handle confrontation. They don't even have the bandwidth to sit in their own emotions to try to understand what's going on. So instead, they bolt because they're dysregulated, they're nervous system is feeling really uncomfortable, and instead of just being able to articulate that clearly with their partner, they choose to run away.

How can ghosting be a personal thing against you? Now, listen, if this is a perpetual behavior, that every single time you date somebody, you're dating them for a while and they all ghost you, then that might be some introspection. Some reflection on yourself to say, am I not handling rejection well? Am I not a safe space where people can be honest and open with me that all of these people feel like they need to bolt instead of converse with me?

Or what are the signs that I am missing about this person's communication and emotional availability along the way that I keep allowing these people into my life that are showing this really poor behavior and I am overlooking it to the point where I am now getting ghosted by them?

But more often than not, why do people ghost? It's typically because they can't handle confrontation, maybe they met somebody else, or they freaked out, or for whatever the reason is they were not wanting to continue in pursuing this relationship, which is fine. How they chose to handle it is not a direct reflection of you, but more about them and the bandwidth that they are dealing with.

Consider it a [BLEEP] blessing in disguise. Rejection is redirection. And if somebody is going to let themselves out by not saying anything to you, that is OK, baby. Allow me to close the door behind you because we don't want anybody standing in the way that's gonna [BLEEP] up the right person from entering your life.

And remember, if somebody who ghosted you decides to come back, because sometimes it will happen. that person has no shame or they think no big deal, I just exited stage left and I'm gonna come right back on stage right. You can do one of two things. You can either ignore them because you have moved on and have established, "I don't want a partner that handles adversity, or times of toughness, or even just basic communication by bolting. That is not something I want to seek in a partner." So if you don't want to engage with them, you owe them nothing.

The alternative is you can let them know, "I don't appreciate what you did. Ghosting was incredibly cowardice and very hurtful. I want nothing to do with you. All the best." You can reciprocate with kindness. Hurt people hurt people. So if you're going to enter it with a lot of negativity, it just shows that really, really affected you and that person has won because they have now dictated your mood and emotions.

Instead, indifference, babe. That is way, way harsher than anger. Plus, you are setting a boundary. You are letting that person know that their inaction had a reaction. So just because somebody "comes back to you," doesn't mean that you need to allow it.

So guys, I hope that was helpful. I hope that answered some of your questions. And I hope that you guys can navigate this dating world a little bit more effectively. Good luck out there.