As if life isn’t dull enough amidst quarantine, rampant ghosting on dating apps reminds us that the banes of emotional distance pale in comparison to those of physical distance. It sucked then, and it sucks now. And, considering that stay-at-home protocols mean your ghoster probably knows you won’t see them any time soon, it will continue to suck in the future.
Yes, ghosting will become even a more prevalent phenomenon the longer this pandemic lasts. While we don’t have the number to back this projection (which suspect would ever admit to their crime anyway?), we base this solely on how this pandemic has so far redefined the stakes in budding relationships.
You may or may not already know these things. Regardless, these rationalizations attempt to answer one crucial question: should you have to endure all these ghosting encounters?
We need social connections and we need it now
That dating apps reported that the rate of increase in users during the first half of 2020 soared by 15% compared to the first half of 2019 speaks volumes about our want to build social bonds.
But it’s more than just a trivial desire to be happy or to dispel boredom. During these difficult times, it’s a dire need for our sanities to stay afloat, and company, even virtual ones, is just what we need to overcome intense emotional distress.
It’s how we go about fulfilling this that’s contentious, as it can lead us down either of two paths.
We might swipe right too fast for way too many people. Then, we develop a steely mindset to move on from a failed attempt and jump right into the next one ASAP just to chase that high.
It’s that, or we wind up on the receiving end of this: due to our neediness, we make a conscientious activity out of swiping, then end up taking it personally when our match stops chatting until the end of the world.
Not everyone may have the emotional endurance
So who takes the blame in these situations? Just like victims of ghosting themselves, that’s a discussion that’s been left up in the air, especially as most of us continue to reel from the effects of this pandemic.
Amidst this global crisis, pointing fingers to make sense of ghosting seem insignificant, especially when we’re all just trying to show up to things — to work, to our family, and even for ourselves. But this is exactly what makes ghosting an even more questionable act during quarantine: how do we even know these things?
How do we know if they’re struggling with being laid off from work, or if they’re just laying on their bed, binging Lucifer on Netflix, and deliberately leaving us on read the entire time? Besides, we encounter worse news every day during the pandemic, so what’s one more, right?
To assume that what you get from these virtual encounters is the best that the other person can do (even if “doing their best” exposes their scumbag etiquette) is always a tall task, no matter how jaded your expectations are.
This pandemic is a paradigm shift, but that’s no excuse
The reason for this feeling of helplessness is simple: we’re all stuck in this rut of a pandemic together.
Our routines barely resemble the ones we had when we were so optimistic towards life, and so it makes sense if our expectations towards dating have adjusted as well.
If yours still haven’t, that’s fine. Just remember that your Bumble match disappearing in the middle of building a connection means that they haven’t discovered your true worth. And that despite these moments, you are still allowed to feel furious even if you were ghosted way too early, and you’re still allowed to enjoy the good moments even if you get ghosted down the line.
And no, being stuck in a global catastrophe still isn’t an excuse to leave someone hanging.
Even as we grapple with life in the new normal, remember that real romantic moments still exist, even if you have to swipe through a hundred douchebags just to get there.