Keywords: Ghosting, relationships, simmering, icing, social media, psychopaths, Nigeria.
Ghosting in Love Relationship in Nigeria. What is ghosting in a love relationship? Does ghosting occur among dating partners in Nigeria? Why do people engage in ghosting? Do perpetrators of ghosting have certain characteristics? What are the mental health implications in ghosting? Tips on the way forward for victims and perpetrators of ghosting.
When two people are dating, this is usually the time they take to get to know each other better. So if one partner finds behaviours that are not acceptable these should be communicated to the other partner for resolution. But if the aggrieved partner decides for a relationship breakup, this also should be communicated for a peaceful separation. Such resolutions do not occur in ghosting. This is the reason for the topic ghosting in love relationship in Nigeria.
What is ghosting in a love relationship?
Ghosting occurs when a friend or a partner in an amorous or love relationship suddenly disappears and remains incommunicado. That is, the partner suddenly disappears from contact without any explanation for weeks to months and even years. Ghosting is an immature, rude, manipulative and a cowardly act.
Also known as simmering or icing, ghosting can occur in any relationship, but it is more in romantic relationships. And people in relationships make use of ghosting to end all communications with their partners without any warning or justification.
The perpetrators of ghosting will also ignore all attempts made by their victims or partners to communicate with them.
You met someone and both of you have been dating and chatting each other up via social media. And you have been keeping each other company in so many ways, as well as being happy together.
Then he suddenly stops meeting with you, stops calling and answering your calls, as well as stops texting, becomes unreachable. And of course all these happen without any explanations from him. You have been ghosted.
Maybe it was a guy you met in a night club and both of you chatted each other up all night and exchanged numbers. Then the next morning you expect his call, but the whole day has passed, and he did not call. You tried calling him, but he didn’t answer and you tried texting, yet he didn’t reply. You have been ghosted.
People make use of many other methods to ghost their partners apart from switching off all communications. They can also stand them up on dates, ignore them in public and tell lies why the relationships cannot continue.
Does ghosting occur among dating partners in Nigeria?
Ghosting is suddenly becoming a common practice globally and Nigeria is not an exception. Yes, ghosting in love relationship in Nigeria does occur. And many young Nigerians from all walks of life, including university undergraduates, have been involved in ghosting. These Nigerians are either perpetrators or victims of ghosting in love relationship in Nigeria.
It is occurring more now due to the advent of social media and dating sites. Ghosting happens more when people meet online. This could be because when people meet online, there is less social accountability. And the people one meets on social media are more often than not, not a member of the person’s social circle.
The internet makes people more distant and online dating could make people believe that they are doing online human shopping. So it is quite easy to shop and change humans.
Why do people engage in ghosting?
Perpetrators of ghosting proffer so many reasons for practicing ghosting and these include Nigerians.
Work pressure and distance:
Some perpetrators of ghosting give the reasons for the act as emanating from work pressure. While some perpetrators believe that they acted in such a manner because of a distant relationship.
Some people claim that they opted out of a relationship because they were made fun of by their peers. Also some claim that they opted out suddenly because of hearing rumors or gossips about one’s partners.
The partner’s behaviour:
Perpetrators of ghosting claim that their partners behaviours which they could not accept, made them abscond from the relationship. Others claim that their partners were boring to be with.
To avoid hurt:
Many perpetrators of ghosting gave the excuse for their absconding as being for the victim’s good. It is to avoid hurting the victim. They also claim that they do not want confrontations with the victim.
Lack of communication skills:
A lot of ghosting perpetrators lack communication skills on how to relate the issue to the victim. They believe that ghosting gets the message across without their saying a word. So it is a nicer way to end a relationship.
To avoid sexual feelings:
Some say that they avoid their partner once they have made up their minds for the breakup. Discussing the issue face to face with their partners may arouse sexual affections. This may hinder the separation and deepen the relationship.
To leave a toxic relationship:
Some ghost to get themselves away from a toxic relationship which is full of abuse and constant quarrels. Ghosting is commonly done to avoid emotional discomfort in a relationship.
Fear of future rejection:
Few ghost perpetrators know that they may return to this relationship later in life. So they prefer to quietly disappear so that they can formulate any excuse later if they want to return to the relationship.
A one night stand:
Those who practice chronic ghosting prefer platonic relationships. They do not want deep involvement or emotional attachment to their partners. So they could also have chronic fear of intimacy.
Some of them are only with their partners for just a one night stand of sex and they disappear to another person.
A trending issue:
As ghosting becomes more common and accepted, more people see it as normal and practice it.
Some of the perpetrators of ghosting, especially chronic or serial perpetrators have personality disorder. These personality disorders portray self centeredness, like narcissistic and dissocial personality disorders. They are psychopaths.
And those with avoidant personality disorder may ghost out of fear of being rejected later.
Other mental health issues:
Also those who suffer from depressive disorders, suicidality and substance addiction can ghost their partners. For those who suffer from depression, they prefer withdrawing to themselves. Even those having bipolar disorder could ghost during the depressive episodes.
Those with anxiety disorder may be chronically worried about the relationship, so they prefer to opt out. Even those with low self esteem may believe that they do not deserve their partner, so they quit the relationships.
Many of the perpetrators are emotionally immature and frustrated, so they find it difficult to confront their feelings. But they would rather run and hide due to self doubt.
And those having autism may lack the knowledge of how to disconnect with one’s partner. Thus they may just disappear or ghost.
Do perpetrators of ghosting have certain characteristics?
Red flags to identify perpetrators of ghosting in love relationship in Nigeria and globally.
Those who often practice ghosting are immature, lack communication skills and may have mental health issues.
They may have personality disorders and behavioural traits that are avoidant, self centered and manipulative. This means that their personality include avoidant, narcissistic and dissocial.
Such people will want to know so much about their partners than they will reveal of themselves to their partners. So they are secretive in nature and passive.
Those who are likely to ghost do not like confrontations and they lack empathy. They also want to be centre of activities. So they want their partners to be concerned about their wants, while not caring about their partners’ wants.
They may prefer phoning and texting more often than meeting with their partner face to face. So they always give their partner the excuse of their being too busy to meet them.
Mental health effects of ghosting.
Ghosting has mental health implications for both the perpetrator and the victim. And it weakens connections and leads to fragile unstable relationships. Ghosting prevents both the perpetrator and the victim the opportunity to grow and have a healthy relationship.
For the perpetrator –
The perpetrators of ghosting may or may not have any emotional attachment to the act. Because of this, some become serial ghosters.
To the perpetrator of ghosting, the act is a form of coping mechanism to protect him/her from the victim. This is because such people lack emotional intelligence. Many of those who practice ghosting have no knowledge of how their victims feel.
Some do have guilt, shame and remorse for what they have done, which can predispose them to depression and loneliness. And their self esteem could be negatively affected.
For the victim –
The negative impact.
Ghosting is a form of psychological abuse. And the emotional pain hurts more that physical pain.
When a person is ghosted, the immediate feeling is confusion. The victim will also feel overwhelmed and rejected, believing that she or he has been used and dumped.
This can lead to the victim having low self worth, low self esteem and self blame. These feelings are due to the fact that the victim doesn’t understand why the relationship came to an abrupt end. The victim may believe that she or he did something wrong.
Ghosting creates the feeling of exclusion and ostracism.
Such victims may become paranoid and develop mistrust in other people. They may become fearful to enter into another relationship. Some develop depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, etc., while some may die by suicide.
Some victims of ghosting will start to abuse substances such as alcohol, cannabis, cocaine, etc. They do this in an attempt to numb the emotional pain.
The positive impact.
Not everyone who has experienced ghosting gets the negative effects. For some victims it makes them stronger and more resilient.
Some victims use the opportunity presented by the ghosting to have self reflection. They may then realize some of their behavioural short comings and decide to change.
Also ghosting may be a good thing for some victims, because it enables them move away from a toxic relationship. So ghosting gives them a clean break.
What ghosting does to the brain.
Ghosting immediately activates the stress response in the brain. This causes reduction in blood flow to the frontal lobe of the brain. And this makes it impossible for the person to think properly.
At the amygdala part of the brain gets activated into the fear response. And anxiety sets in.
Tips on the way forward for victims of ghosting.
First thing that one has to realize is that ghosting is common and happens to many people.
In any relationship, it is important that one has good control of one’s emotions. Once one has good control of one’s emotions, even when ghosting occurs, the shock can easily wear off.
Then process the entire relationship. So be honest with yourself to find out why the ghosting occurred. Even if the victim did something wrong the perpetrator should be brave enough to talk it over.
The victim should never blame herself or himself. And go out and have fun so as to refocus the mind on something else.
Try calling the perpetrator. If he refuses to answer, send a text message. The aim is to get the reason for the sudden breakup. And if he refuses to answer, then stop communication.
Talk to a trusted friend or to get in touch with a clinical psychologist. Know that with the right support, the negative effects of ghosting can be easily overcome. There may be need to see a psychiatrist if one has mental illness or feeling suicidal.
How to stop ghosting behaviour.
The perpetrator of ghosting should process his/her thoughts to find out why he/she wants to ghost the partner. If it is due to the partner’s behaviour, there should be open communication with the partner.
Such perpetrators should find out if such feelings they have are due to their being rejected in their past relationships. There is need to address this concern.
So it is important to share the urge to ghost a partner with a trusted friend. And avoid being impulsive. Learn to be transparent, assertive and show respect to the partner.
It is even better to consult a therapist, like a clinical psychologist. To consult with a psychiatrist is very important also for the treatment of any mental illness.
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