These days, most people know what ghosting is. Even the less trendy and fad-savvy among us have most likely heard of this very common dating trend where someone deserts their significant other and leaves no trace of themselves.
Particularly in the Catholic dating world where we’re trying to be charitable and grow in holiness, we might hear the term “ghosting” and morally cringe. We naturally think that the act of deserting someone and leaving no trace of ourselves is very hurtful and just plain wrong.
In a lot of circumstances, that would be a pretty accurate summary of ghosting.
But there are certain nuances to the morality of ghosting that we should be aware of, especially in regard to online dating.
Sometimes, ghosting is wrong and hurtful
Imagine two people are dating. One of them is beginning to get attached, and the other one suddenly stops talking (or calling, or texting, or any other form of communicating) with them.
Ghosting someone like this is hurtful and inconsiderate. But it is possible that there may be extenuating circumstances in someone’s life that make them ghost someone. We should try to be slow to judge others.
They’re probably not secretly working in espionage or something, but you never really know.
Barring any reasonable excuse, though, it is wrong to treat someone with such little consideration and just disappear from their lives.
It’s also a pretty cowardly move to end things in a way like this. There’s no reason to ghost someone when you could simply tell the other person that you want to break up.
Yes, you’ll hurt them by telling them that you want to break up.
But it’s a much deeper level of hurt to just leave the picture all together with no explanation.
Most of us can probably agree that in a situation like this, where there is an established relationship between two people, ghosting is wrong.
But there are other situations where things aren’t as clear cut.
Ghosting in the online world
Some people use the term “ghosting” a bit more broadly. This can lead to a lot of confusion and possibly some misplaced guilt at times.
Say two people have been messaging back and forth on an online dating platform. One of them suddenly goes cold and stops responding. Is this “ghosting” necessarily the same as ghosting someone you’ve been dating in person?
Generally speaking, we could say that ghosting in a casual online message-based relationship is not as blatantly wrong as ghosting someone you’ve been dating in person.
If the two people have been messaging up a storm for months and even talked on the phone a lot, then we’re back to the hurtful and cowardly territory. That situation is similar to if you ghosted someone you’ve been dating in person.
But if the conversation is new and casual, the type of thing that couldn’t even be called a relationship, it might be a different story.
Is it a good idea to just stop responding to messages, if you decide that you don’t want to pursue the possibility of a relationship with someone you met online?
But you do have to weigh whether it would be kinder to tell them honestly that you’re not interested or to just stop responding.
In most cases, an explanation is usually the kinder way to go.
But especially in cases where only a couple of messages have been exchanged or the other person seems rather uninterested themselves, there’s no need to feel guilty over stopping the conversation without an explanation.
Ghosting someone you’ve been casually interacting with online doesn’t put you in the same jerk category as someone who disappears from a months-long in-person relationship.
When ghosting is actually necessary
A lot of people, especially those of us who have been burned by a ghoster in the past, might say that there’s never a good reason to ghost someone.
But that’s not quite true.
There are some instances where ghosting is not only an okay or neutral choice but is actually the prudent thing to do.
In the online world, say you’ve exchanged several messages with someone. You think you like them. But suddenly you start to notice some weird things about their messages.
You start to wonder whether you’ve actually been messaging with a creep or even a scammer without realizing it until now.
Maybe you’re not even totally positive whether this person is of ill intent.
Is it wrong for you to ghost them?
If you suspect that something is off with this person, it’s wise to follow your gut and to protect yourself.
The same could be said of dating someone in person. Sure, it’s more common to encounter a creep or a scammer in online dating than in a person you’ve met physically. But it’s still possible for a similar scenario to play out in person.
Most of us wouldn’t hesitate to ghost a person we’ve met in person if we discover them to be a threat to us. Even if we’re not one hundred per cent certain that they’re a threat, it’s still prudent to protect yourself before it’s too late.
Ghosting has come to mean a rude and hurtful desertion of someone we’re dating. But there are circumstances where the matter is less straightforward or even where ghosting can be necessary.
If you find yourself wondering whether it would be wrong to ghost someone or not, try to look at the matter from a neutral standpoint and consider what the kindest but most prudent course of action might be.
Want to try an online dating app that values your dignity and sees you as a person, not a profile picture? Download the new Catholic Singles online dating app today!