You’ve been dating a guy for a few short months and all of a sudden, you guys have gone from seeing each other 2-3 times a week to once every 3 weeks. When you ask him if something is ‘wrong’ he is quick to dismiss any issues and says everything is fine and yet you can’t help this anxious feeling from creeping up. Your thoughts run wild: “Is he losing interest? “Is he seeing someone else?” “What I am doing to wrong?”. Shortly after, he tells you he’s just not ready for a relationship and you’re left wondering ‘What the hell happen?”. If you find yourself in this situation often, the following may help you understand why men and women ghost.
Understanding why men ghost
1. It’s the polite thing to do
If you have nothing to say, don’t say anything at all. The guy you’re seeing may have found a better match with someone else or perhaps the initial chemistry you felt just faded. Instead of saying he’s lost interest in you, some men feel that it’s better to make themselves undesirable and have women make the decision that they’re not a good match for each other.
Daniel on the last time he ghosted someone:
“To be honest, I liked her at the beginning and things were going well but then I went away for work and just didn’t feel lit anymore. I hate confrontation so instead, I acted like a dick so she would break up with me”.
Just as most people do, men hate confrontation like this when it comes to dating. No one wants to be the bad guy who tells a women he no longer feels that ‘spark’ with her.
2. She seemed more into it than he did
Men and women have different relationship timelines. If you’ve read my mini guide to Men and Commitment, you would know women have a tendency to fall straight into a relationship first to determine if the guy is ‘the guy’. Men on the other hand, take a bit longer. They may not necessarily be afraid of commitment but they’re afraid of committing to the wrong woman. When a woman shows more interest in a guy than he does and she invests in the relationship more than he does, he may pull away if he think he can’t match her level of interest.
Mark on women being more interested than him:
“I can’t say I love the chase or anything like that but when you start dating a woman and right away she acts like your girlfriend…it makes you wonder if she really likes you for you or if she just wants a boyfriend badly…”.
The insight from Mark is a reflection of many men I speak to, especially men in their mid to late 30s who tell me how hard it is to date 30 something women because their top priority is to find a husband. Women assume that men would prefer to date younger women but this is further from the truth. They value the emotional maturity of a something 30 women and generally praise that they tend to be more confident about their careers and body image. It’s only when fear of the biological clock and social pressures come in that causes relationships to fizzle out.
3. The infatuation has faded
The beginning of a relationship is fuelled by attraction, infatuation and dopamine and while this is great, these three things are the equal to eating McDonalds. It may seem like a good idea at the time, it may even taste great (especially at 3am) but soon after you’re left feeling less than 100%. The novelty wears off quickly and if the relationship doesn’t have much else to stand on, it will fizzle. I always find that if a couple can make it past the first 3-6 months of a relationship, it will likely be the start of something more serious – dating probation I call it.
What you can do the next time you think you’re about to get ghosted
1. Prevention is key. Watch your level of investment
Maybe it wasn’t you. Maybe he just wasn’t ready for a relationship. Regardless of what you do, if a guy isn’t ready for the same level of commitment you are, he’s likely to show you in the way he treats you. If he isn’t consistently finding ways to keep in touch with you, if he’s not expressing his interest in you, if he’s not investing in time and effort to woo you, he may have other intentions other than a committed relationship. You should always match your level of investment in a relationship with his. Often women feel a guy is pulling away and puts in more time and effort to over compensate for his lack of effort. From what I’ve experienced, this drives men further, especially if he feels the pressure to match your level of investment when he’s far from ready to.
2. Give him a safe space to be honest
One of the reasons why men ghost is due to their fear of a woman’s response. I once worked with a woman who was very aggressive whenever she engaged in the ‘what are we’ talk. Often she gave men ultimatums or led the conversations emotionally charged. She would cry, beg, lead with sex, use emotional manipulation. I could just imagine what it was like for men to deal with it. Sometimes the alternative (quietly leaving the relationship) is a better option.
If you want a guy to be honest with you, make it known that you will genuinely be fine and accept however he feels about your relationship. In order for him to be fully vulnerable, you have to create space for it. If you feel a guy is pulling away, there are a few ways to approach the subject:
Say something a long the lines of…
“I’ve had a really good time with you but I get that the feeling that you may have other priorities right now, which is fine too. I’ll leave it up to you to decide what happens next”. =)
It’s an honest approach but one that also leaves the ball in his court.
If you’re not at a point where you’re frustrated by relationship limbo, you can simply text him something like…
“Miss our weekly redez-vous =)”.
It should be enough of a prompt for him to get in touch and give him a window to explain why he’s been MIA.
For more tips on texting men, check out my Ultimate Guide to Texting Men.
3. Reclaim your power
Relationships take two to work and when you’re relying on another person to come to the relationship table, it can feel like that some things are out of your control. But you have control over what you will and won’t tolerate. Reclaim your power and set standards for yourself. Many women I coach often settle for a guy who treats them mildly right because ‘there’s no one else better’. The men who are currently in your life aren’t a reflection of the kind of men you deserve, nor the kind of men you’ll attract in the future. Know your own worth.
When it comes to commitment, men and women are wired differently. If you want to learn more about the things that make a man commit or how to talk to your man about commitment, check out this guide on Understanding Men and Commitment.