Oh, the joys of modern-day dating. Searching for your soulmate should be a time of excitement, wonder, joy, and pleasure. Who doesn’t want to find that Allie and Noah Notebook love story after all? Unfortunately, we all live in a world where people are a lot more ballsy, and social media adds an unfavorable icing on top at times. Things like ghosting and gaslighting are becoming more commonplace than anyone would like.
If you have made it through dating without experiencing the G & G, congratulations! No, really! If you are familiar with these terms, you are most certainly not alone.
Ghosting is the grown-up version of the silent treatment. Maybe you’ve done it. Maybe you’ve been on the receiving end. Or even both. A person you had a connection with just up and disappeared without warning. It can trigger a strong feeling of rejection and often comes without any closure or explanation. It may not be a big deal for whoever is doing the ghosting. But to the person being ghosted, it could feel like a very personal attack.
Know Your Truths
Being ghosted should not give you cause to think it is a reflection of who you are as a person. It is ok to feel hurt afterward. Scientifically speaking, being ghosted triggers a similar emotional pain as a physical injury would. One important thing to remember is that being ghosted means that a person may not have the capacity or skill set to express what is happening on their end. They may not be able to meet you where you’re at.
Depending on their background, that person may have learned silence over open communication. It can be very difficult for people to open up and be vulnerable. Regardless of a person’s background or capacity to process emotions, being ghosted has no reflection on you. It is the responsibility of the ghost-er to do their own emotional work rather than leave people in their wake.
Gaslighting is a manipulation tactic to make someone question reality or their sanity. Frankly put, it is emotional abuse. If you know something to be accurate or that an event conspired a different way, a gaslighter will work to convince you that your memory is faulty, that you misunderstood, or are simply confused.
What It Looks Like
Technically speaking, gaslighting is abuse. There are a lot of ways this can present itself within your relationship.
If your partner denies something that you have factual proof of, it’s a red flag. Maybe your partner is accusing you of something that they do themselves. Another flag. If they call you crazy or make you feel crazy, be wary!
Do you feel like you need to defend yourself constantly with your date? Do you walk on eggshells because you don’t know what kind of mood they are in? Is your support system being turned around against you? Are you made to feel bad for feeling bad? Or are you having self-doubt in important matters with your partner? Any of these things can be signs of gaslighting occurring.
Tips For Navigating The Dating Scene
If you’re being ghosted, the best thing to do is accept it and move on. If someone is willing to do that to you, it isn’t worth chasing after them. It will still hurt but focus on finding healthy, communicative people.
Toxic relationships exist. Putting an end to that before it becomes more harmful is healthy and empowering. Don’t be afraid to cut out someone who is making you feel insecure or is casting negative light onto you. Feel your feelings in these situations. Lean on your support people to help you over the rough patch.
There are no rules when it comes to dating and how people behave in relationships. If you’re having difficulty making sense of or struggling to dip your toes into the dating pool again, contact me about relationship counseling and let’s talk it through!