No one likes to be ghosted. Being cut off from all communication without a single word by someone you considered a friend or, worse yet, a romantic partner, can be demoralizing and downright traumatizing. And while it is hard for those on the receiving end of being ghosted to deal with it, there is also another side to the story: the ghoster. What does it feel like to be a ghoster after they have actually ghosted someone? That’s a question seldom asked, but one that should be looked into more.

It’s easy to vilify ghosters, but could there be deeper reasons as to why an individual chooses to treat another human being in this manner? As always, things can be a bit more complicated than they appear on the surface. That’s why it’s important to dive in and take a look at this phenomenon … from the other side.

Here are some common motivations and emotions that a ghoster may experience in the moment and soon after.

What Motivates a Person To Ghost Someone?

Conflict Avoidance: Ghosting can be a result of a fear of confrontation. The person might feel temporarily relieved but could also feel discomfort or anxiety about avoiding the issue. This is probably the most common motivation for a ghoster, especially via online dating apps. A low chance of running into someone mixed with the brief amount of time that may have been spent getting to know them makes ghosting the easiest option for those who want to avoid any and all conflict. On the flip side, ghosting may be easier for someone they have talked to longer or run into often because they want to avoid any awkwardness. 

Justification: In certain cases, the person ghosting may justify their actions by convincing themselves that it was necessary to protect their own mental health or because the relationship wasn’t serious enough to warrant a formal breakup. This can be a pretty hurtful decision disguised as protecting one’s peace. While prioritizing mental health by ending the relationship is valid, the justification of doing this by ghosting someone can be selfish. Those motivated to ghost others through justification are likely to make excuses if confronted with hurting someone else’s feelings. 

Rationalization: They might try to rationalize their behavior by focusing on the reasons why they chose to ghost instead of confronting the issue directly. This could be a way to justify their actions and feel less responsible or guilty for any hurt caused. This motivation for ghosting someone is similar to justification, but here the ghoster is aware their actions were hurtful and selfish.

The Four Most Common Feelings a Ghoster Experiences After Ghosting Someone

Guilt or Regret: Ghosters might experience feelings of guilt or regret, especially if they care about the person they’ve ghosted. They might feel bad about the pain they’ve caused and wish they had handled the situation differently. Those motivated to ghost others through conflict avoidance or rationalization are also likely to be motivated by these feelings.

Relief: Some individuals feel a sense of relief or liberation after ghosting someone, especially if they were trying to avoid a difficult conversation or a relationship that wasn’t working for them. If a person ghosted you because they wanted to avoid confrontation, the relief likely comes from doing exactly that. If their motivation for ghosting you was justification, their relief is likely the result of removing that relationship from their life. As for those motivated to ghost you or others by rationalization, their relief probably comes from getting it done and not having to stress about it anymore. 

Empathy: Some ghosters genuinely empathize with the hurt they’ve caused. They might feel sorry for the other person’s feelings and wish they could make things right. You will probably find that those who ghosted you to avoid conflict or rationalize their decision are the ones who feel this way. However, their ultimate decision to ghost you means it is unlikely that they will attempt to make things right by explaining their actions. 

Mixed Emotions: It’s possible for a ghoster to experience a mix of emotions. They might feel a sense of freedom but also guilt or confusion about the choice they made. Again, there is no singular answer to “how does the ghoster feel after ghosting someone?” as human emotions are so complex. 

Ultimately, the aftermath of ghosting can provoke a range of emotions in the person who initiated it. The specific feelings depend on the individual’s personal values, the nature of the relationship, and their emotional connection to the person they ghosted. Many factors can influence how someone feels after ghosting, and these feelings might evolve over time as they reflect on their actions and the impact on the other person.

All this mystery surrounding being ghosted can only make you feel worse if you try to solve it. Unfortunately, you will never know exactly what went on in their mind. That is why it is so beneficial to learn to move on after processing your own emotions.