If there was ever a toxic dating trend, it has to be ghostlighting. Dating is already a complicated affair, and all the dating trends are proof of that. Nobody wants the added stress of feeling silenced or emotionally dismissed when things go south, but that’s what this trend is about. Ghostlighting, affecting both romantic, emotional and mental capabilities, is ruining the dating scene. Here’s everything you need to know about the trend and how it is impacting the dating scene.
What is Ghostlighting?
Ghostlighting is a dating trend that blends gaslighting and ghosting. Ghosting is described as the process of completely disappearing after building a romantic connection with someone without explanation. It is an abrupt end without any closure. It happens in all sorts of dating situations; however, it is happening a lot to women on online dating apps.
Gaslighting is a form of emotional abuse. It is understood as a type of manipulation. The act of gaslighting is when someone distorts what someone thinks and feels to make them feel delusional. Paige Sweet, an assistant professor of sociology at the University of Michigan, said in an interview with Forbes Health described it as “making someone seem or feel unstable, irrational and not credible, making them feel like what they’re seeing or experiencing isn’t real, that they’re making it up, that no one else will believe them.”
Ghostlighting combines these two toxic traits in the worst possible way. It is about disappearing without healthily breaking it off, and then denying it. The denial makes the entire situation seem fictional. A classic example of a ghostlighter would be the person becoming completely unavailable and ignoring all communication with someone they were once romantically interested in. When they are confronted, the ghostlighter makes the partner feel, as if they’re making it all up and deny the fact that they ever ghosted.
Typical Things to Expect
There are a few things to look out for when being ghostlit. Here are a few examples of what you can expect to hear from someone who is ghostlighting you.
- “I never ghosted you. That’s a lie, and you’re twisting things to make yourself feel better about losing interest”
- “Did I stop talking to you, or did you stop talking to me?”
- “Maybe this is why we’re not talking. Look at how you blow things out of proportion”
- “I noticed from the start that you always think this way. You’re convinced that people ignore you”
In these different situations, it is obvious that the ghostlighter isn’t going to have an open conversation about their avoidant approach to breaking things off. Ghostlighting is all about inflating the truth and using psychological tactics to encourage self-doubt.
How Do You Spot Ghostlighting?
Ghostlighting behavior may not always be the easiest to spot. Here are a few classic things to look out for.
- They refuse to accept any responsibility and will readily place guilt or shame on you. They may also refuse to take accountability for their actions.
- A well-seasoned ghostlighter will probably avoid all vulnerability and will flip any form of invitation to explain themselves as an accusation. If you are dealing with a ghostlighter, you should expect unnecessary amounts of lies, denial and manipulation. Remember that putting up with abuse in any form is not your job. Give yourself permission to cut off communication entirely if you feel unsafe in any way.
- Standing firmly in self-advocacy is going to be a surefire way to frustrate a ghostlighter. While a ghostlighter may resist your efforts to advocate for yourself, their actions will confirm what you maybe already know. Once you see how they respond to you, then speaking up for yourself will make it clear that they don’t respect you or your perspective.