Most of us will get ghosted by a match (or two, or three) at some point or another. But this situation doesn’t have to be painful — and even if it is, it can be a learning experience. Usually, the ghosting isn’t personal, so the lesson has to do with improving your self-esteem and bouncing back from rejection. Other times, it is, in fact, personal, and you have something to learn about how you behave toward your matches. Ahead, the most common reasons your matches keep disappearing on you.
1. You come on too strong.
Did you mention sex in your opening message? Talk about having kids on your first date? It may work for some people, but for most, there are certain topics of conversation you need to ease into — and bringing them up right off the bat could scare someone away.
“Ghosting can happen when one party comes on too strong too soon,” says sex and relationship coach and therapist Cyndi Darnell. “Often, a push for a phone number or a meeting after only a few exchanges can come off as creepy or desperate. Instead, allow a little frisson to build over a few days.”
2. You’re not looking for the same thing.
This is one situation where it’s really not personal. If you clearly want a relationship, a match who wants something more casual might ghost you, and vice versa.
“Ghosting can happen when parties are at cross purposes,” says Darnell. “One seeks a hookup, the other something more substantial. Through a few exchanges, it becomes clear that mutuality isn’t the trajectory. One or both bump you off.”
3. You’ve waited too long.
Dating experts usually recommend that you make a plan soon after you hit it off with someone online. That way, you’ve still got their attention before someone else has the chance to grab it from you.
“It’s hard to know when it’s the right time to meet, but a good rule of thumb is [to meet up] if there is a spark, incentive, and an interest, and you are feeling ‘into it’ enough to make an initial connection at a minimum,” says Darnell. “But if this drags on for more than a week or two, your buddy may get restless and lose interest.”
4. They’re busy.
Sometimes, life gets in the way of fun but not entirely essential things like dating. It’s possible your match had a family emergency, got overwhelmed with work, or experienced something else that’s preventing them from replying to you, says Darnell. If that’s the case, they’ll likely get back in touch if there comes a time when they have more room for you in their life.
5. They have commitment issues.
“Imagine that you really like someone but are not sure if they like you,” says psychologist Elisa Robyn, Ph.D. “Perhaps you are a bit intimidated by their life and are afraid that they might stop dating you. You might ghost them to protect yourself from the fear of future pain and loss.”
6. There’s someone else.
Given how many people are on dating apps, it’s easy for someone else to catch your eye even as you’re talking to someone interesting. “The hunt for a soulmate is at the root of so many sudden endings,” says Robyn.
7. They have unrealistic expectations.
“We might also blame romance books and movies,” Robyn explains. “We are seeking love at first sight, or at least by the second date, without a sense that relationships take some work.”
In other words, your match may be looking for somebody who literally doesn’t exist. It’s not your fault that you can’t have the body of a supermodel, be able to read their mind, and fulfill all their wildest fantasies.
8. They’re just not that into you.
It’s possible the other person ghosted you because they didn’t feel like the chemistry was there. That sucks, but it also happens to everyone.
“If you have met once or twice and they ghost you after, there’s usually one crucial reason: they weren’t that into you,” says Darnell. “Try not to take it personally; it may have nothing to actually do with you.“
Regardless of why someone has ghosted you, it’s poor form to push them for an answer, so if they’re not responding, gracefully take the hint. “If someone is into you, they make themselves available,” says Darnell. “Sad but true. Cut your losses and move on.”