It’s not easy to be single and dating in general, let alone in a pandemic. I’ve been meeting with a lot of women-identified clients who are doing their best to continue to safely put themselves out there- via socially distanced walks, outdoor coffee meet-ups, and even virtual first dates over video. I have to say, props to all of you who aren’t letting a little virus get in your way of finding love. I am cheering you on from the sidelines!
But today I’m writing to you about one issue we can’t blame on the pandemic: ghosting.
Yes, that all-too prolific dating behavior that any swiper has experienced at least once. Though lately, it really seems to be an epidemic.
Now, I may be biased, but the single women I see for therapy are amazing. Funny, smart, beautiful. I genuinely enjoy the hour I get to spend with them every week. Yet, the consistent theme I’m hearing is: “I went out with this guy a couple of times, we hit it off, he said he liked me and wanted to see me again. We had a third date scheduled for last Saturday and when I texted to check in about timing, I never heard back from him!” The nerve.
Though I’m now a married middle-aged mom, I too was in the dating pool for quite awhile back in the day. Remember when Match.com was the only dating site? I was on there in Chicago in 2005, giving it my best. Then there was OkCupid, Tinder, Bumble, Hinge – I tried them all. And though it took me many years to meet my honey, I did not experience the epic level of ghosting that occurs today.
I’m curious – what do you think has changed?
Has hook-up culture truly run rampant and tainted the minds of hearts of all the kind, honest folks out there? Also, is this the case in the non-hetero dating pool? Or is this primarily a cis-woman/cis-man issue?
My clients and I have often worked together to try to crack the code to not getting ghosted. Questions that often come up are: Am I sleeping with these guys too early? Am I not sleeping with them quickly enough? Is there something wrong with me? Have I made myself too available? Do I seem like I’m not interested enough? While sometimes there are behaviors that can be worked on in relation to attachment styles (blog post on this to come), the answers are usually: No, no, no, no, no.
Let’s remember, there are so many reasons that things don’t work out.
Do not allow these daters’ bad behavior to affect your self-worth.
Anyone worth your time will at least say “Hey, I can’t make it today. Take care.” Really, at the very least!
So next time this happens to you, remember that you are in good company. The person you’re meant to be with may be a needle in a haystack, but they’ll be easier to spot amongst all those cowardly ghosts.
Dr. Martine Jones (formerly Martine Luntz) is a clinical psychologist who serves clients in North Carolina, Florida, and internationally by providing support for relationship concerns, stress and anxiety, infertility, prenatal and postpartum distress, and life and role changes.