Ghosted, orbited, breadcrumbed? How to Maintain Your Sanity in the World of Digital Dating

Ghosted orbited breadcrumbed How to Maintain Your Sanity in the

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    If the digital presence has simplified meetings, it has also allowed many toxic profiles to reach more people… and increase disappointments. Have you been a victim of ghosting or breadcrumbing? Here’s how to better protect yourself in the future according to a psychologist.

    Thanks to dating apps, chats and SMS, it has become extremely easy to meet new people and create connections. The other side of the coin is that it is just as easy to disappear, to move on without even worrying about the shapes. But in a world where the majority of encounters now take place on screen, these quiet disappointments are not as trivial as that. On the contrary, being ghosted, like being followed, can have serious repercussions on mental health. A psychologist, Danielle Sukenik, looked into the subject to The Conversation.

    Ghosting or orbiting creates a strong feeling of rejection

    Ghosting or orbiting, here are two words that have recently appeared in our love lives. Ghosting is a sudden breakup in a relationship without any explanation, often leaving the other person with questions. Orbiting, on the contrary, is when the “ghost” person no longer gives news, but continues to follow the other person on social networks by watching their stories, their posts, or even giving an opinion or a like . Two behaviors that are sometimes difficult to live with.

    A 2022 study compared the psychological consequences of being ghosted, put “in orbit” or simply rejected by questioning 176 participants about breakups they had experienced.

    • Although feelings of rejection are present in all three cases (a story ending is never pleasant!), ghosting would be the most devastating, leading to stronger feelings of exclusion than outright rejection;
    • Being put “in orbit”, always watched from afar, seemed to partially protect victims from the emotional consequences of a breakup. Levels of exclusion would be higher than for people outright rejected, but lower than for victims of ghosting. According to the psychologist, perhaps sporadic attention alleviates the feeling of exclusion;
    • Either way, the rejected person may feel confused, sometimes with unhealed psychological wounds. Either because of the questions that arise, or because of the ambiguity created when the person keeps a digital link.

    Breadcrumbing keeps you in limbo

    As for breadcrumbing, it involves giving someone a few bites of attention to keep the person interested, without fully engaging and while avoiding discussions related to feelings.

    A pattern which reinforces the ego of the one who “leaves crumbs” but which proves harmful for the one who hopes for a lasting relationship. A 2020 study of 626 adults revealed that victims of breadcrumbing were significantly more likely to experience feelings of loneliness, helplessness and less life satisfaction than victims of ghosting. Because they are plunged into uncertainty for longer (sometimes months or years), they experience repeated feelings of exclusion and ostracism. The effects on mental health are therefore more lasting too.

    Given the ease with which digital technology makes it possible to make or break contact, the psychologist warns us: it is likely that we ourselves have one day used one of its tactics, without seeing the scope. “If so, I invite you to pay attention and reflect on how these models serve you and consider your impact on others.” But as a recipient or victim, it intends to deliver some strategies that will help you maintain a positive attitude towards these encounters which can hurt.

    Resist the urge to rewrite history (and stay clear-headed)

    Every time you have an experience, your mind races to create a narrative around what happened in order to give it meaning and create an illusion of control or safety. But if you’re not aware of the stories you’re telling yourself, you might find yourself incorrectly assigning blame or fault, which can lead to negative self-talk, anxiety, and depression.

    For example, rather than thinking: “I did something wrong for them to ghost me,” you might think, “Their decision to disengage from the relationship is more about them and their relationships with others than it is about me” she mentions.

    Being aware of your cognitive patterns and practicing changing your narratives can help you prevent online dating from wreaking havoc on your psyche.

    Stay focused on the values ​​that matter to you

    It’s also crucial to take inventory of what’s most important to you. Identifying your values ​​will not only allow you to better match with like-minded people, but it will also improve your relationship with yourself. “When your life aligns with what’s important to you, you increase its meaning, purpose, and overall well-being. By living this way, you may find that seeking a relationship has less urgency, which could help you better spot red flags or mismatches.”

    Vary dating situations

    Finally, the psychologist strongly recommends varying the way you connect with others and not relying entirely on digital. “A healthy mix of apps and meeting “in nature” will often yield the best results and allow for adventure meetings to remain exciting.

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