What are the consequences of being ghosted and how do mobile daters cope with being ghosted? (RQ2)

What are the consequences of being ghosted and how do mobile daters cope with being ghosted? (RQ2)

A total of 41 respondents (29%) referred to the affordances of the app to explain why they ghosted others. Some referred to the ease of ghosting (n = 32). They described it as being easier than directly rejecting another person given the anonymity provided by the app and the fact that there was no shared social network. Others mentioned they deleted the app and thus deleted all their conversations and contacts (n = 9). Finally, some respondents also mentioned that the overload of potential partners afforded by the dating app’s access to a large dating pool led them to ghost others they were less interested in (n = 5).

No obligation to communicate (n = 31; 22%)

A larger group of respondents (n = 29) declared they did not owe the other person anything and that ghosting is part of mobile dating app use, which is related to the idea of mobile dating ideologies as earlier explained. As Melanie (27, heterosexual) explains: “I don’t owe the other person an explanation given that I did not meet this person face-to-face.” Additionally, two respondents struggled with the fact that their reasons for rejecting the other person were not clear. It thus seemed easier for them to ghost rather than to use a direct breakup strategy as this would require giving the other person a reason.

Concern for the other

Directly rejecting others is not easy and some ghosters (n = 23; 16%) did not want to hurt the other person by verbally rejecting them. In total, 21 respondents perceived it as being more painful to explain to the other person why they rejected them (e.g., not attractive/interesting enough) rather than to simply ghost the other person. Additionally, three respondents mentioned they ghosted because they did not want to deceive the other person by leading them on and faking interest.

To complement the qualitative findings on why respondents ghost, we conducted a logistic regression (see Table 1) to examine H1 and to explore which demographic and situational variables explain who ghosts.Continue reading