Words by Persia Lawson
August 17th, 2017
Let’s face it – dating’s always been hard enough at the very best of times. Back in ye olde days (as in, pre-social media and Tinder), my friends and I would often find ourselves jumping up from the sofa every time the landline rang (remember those?!), desperately willing it to be our paramour inviting us out for another night of fun-fuelled passion.
Disappointing as it was when that call never came, at least we didn’t have the option of stalking them online to find out exactly where they were, who they were with, and what they ate for breakfast that morning (in the vain hope that we could decipher some secret hidden
clue as to how they really felt about us).
Nowadays, we’re not so fortunate. Not only has being online 24/7 meant that the temptation to obsess over and stalk the object of our affections is always just a click away, it’s arguably resulted in our dating lives becoming so much more fickle, superficial and transactional than in previous decades. If you’ve ever been on a dating app, you’ll know what I mean.
Because they provide us with the opportunity to literally connect with thousands of people at any one time, it’s become much easier and more tempting to continuously ‘play the field,’ and much harder and less desirable to attract and maintain a steady, long-term relationship. Which makes it really tricky when you find yourself ready and desiring of a genuine, intimate and soulful connection with someone you could hopefully one day build a future with.
The most notable behaviours associated with modern dating life are without a doubt ‘ghosting’ and ‘haunting’.
Ghosting is when the person you’re dating suddenly disappears from your life, text or dating app exchanges for no obvious reason, leaving you wondering what on earth you did wrong.
Haunting is equally bewildering: you can see your ex still watches all your Instagram stories, but they make no other attempt to connect with you beyond that; voyeurism at its most infuriating.
Over the last year, an increasing number of people (mainly women) have approached me struggling with being the victim of these two behaviours – and unfortunately, with ¼ of Britons now using dating apps (even people in relationships…), this behaviour is unlikely to disappear from the dating landscape anytime soon.
However, I promise you, it can disappear from your romantic interactions – here’s how:
Do not allow yourself to be available for this bulls**t.
Sounds simple, right? It’s simple, but it’s certainly not easy. The thing is, most of the women who come to me hurt and confused about being either ghosted or haunted make the grave mistake of taking this behaviour extremely personally.
They think it means they’re not good enough for the person rejecting them, when in reality it would be far more accurate to say that the ghoster/haunter isn’t good enough for them (or, at the very least, isn’t mature or respectful enough to treat them as a decent human being).
Not only that, a lot of the time my clients have actually attracted this dynamic because it incites them to work harder at ‘winning’ the ghoster/haunter over – they post sexier shots or Instagram stories (which often give off a soft-porny type vibe… The definition of desperate, in my humble opinion.)
They send drunken texts/ calls, even though their date hasn’t responded to the last four messages. They spend hours stalking their ex online or scouring through streams of old messages between them to try and understand what went wrong.
The truth is, we all love a challenge, don’t we? In our minds, all this effort will make victory all the more sweet when we (hopefully) one day triumph. Unfortunately, however, victory tends to be highly unlikely because in working so hard to gain the attention and affection of someone who’s made it quite clear they’re just not that into us, we hand over every last iota of our self-worth and dignity to a person who can’t even be bothered to reply to a simple text.
Listen to me: if they’re being this fickle and flakey now, how on earth do you expect them to behave if you were in an actual relationship with them?!
I know it’s painful to hear, but sweetheart, you deserve so much more than this person is able to give you right now, and while you’re wasting all your precious time and energy on what’s essentially a dead-end situation, you’re going to miss out on the many others out there who’d jump at the chance to reply/call/take you out – and make it crystal clear how very into you they are.
Just remember: what you focus on expands. Therefore, if you’re spending your time focusing on unavailable people, that’s all that you’ll see, and that’s all that you’ll attract. So, if I can leave you with one piece of advice it’s this: Take all that time and energy you put into stressing over being ghosted or haunted, and redirect it towards something that will actually benefit and enhance your life. Take up a new hobby. Book a holiday with your girlfriends. Volunteer for a charity.
It really doesn’t matter what it is, just start committing to the growth and progression of your own life, and soon enough you’ll start attracting lovers who’ll want to commit to you, too.
Persia Lawson is an author, speaker and “one of the UK’s most successful love coaches” – according to The Saturday Times magazine. As maven46’s new love and life columnist, we caught up with Persia for our ‘maven46 meets’ series which you can read here. Catch up on last month’s column, How to Know If You’re a Sex and Love Addict.
Want YOUR relationship or dating dilemma answered by Persia Lawson?
Head to persialawson.com and get in touch via the Contact tab – can’t wait to hear from you!
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