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Indirect ghosting disengagement strategies.

Indirect ghosting disengagement strategies.

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The purpose of this study is to examine relational dissolution using the technique of ghosting. This qualitative study explores the emerging adults’ dissolution strategies leading up to and through enactment of disengagement through mediated contexts. Participants (N = 99) completed questionnaires about their ghosting familiarity and participation...

Contexts in source publication

Context 1
... concentrate on two new indirect dimensions that combine to form four ghosting disengagement strategy categories (see Figure 2). The new x-axis repre- sents permanency (short term to long term) indicating the degree or time period in which dissolution exists. ...
Context 2
... instance, noninitiators may perceive the communication progressing toward a relationship. Again Figure 2 begins to offer initial distinctions between the types of ghosting. From these distinctions, this figure could determine how the level of distress may vary for initiator and noninitiator. ...

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Citations

... Ghosting, as an indirect rejection strategy, has gained a great deal of attention recently (Freedman et al., 2019;Koessler, Kohut, & Campbell, 2019b, 2019aLeFebvre, 2017;LeFebvre et al., 2019;LeFebvre, Rasner, & Allen, 2020;LeFebvre & Fan, 2020;Manning, Denker, & Johnson, 2019;Navarro, Larrañaga, Yubero, & Víllora, 2020a, 2020bPancani et al., 2021;Powell, Freedman, Williams, Le, & Green, 2021;Thomas & Dubar, 2021;Timmermans, Hermans, & Opree, 2020). Ghosting can occur at any point in a romantic interaction (e.g., upon connecting on a dating app, after years of committed dating; Koessler et al., 2019a) but is a particularly common rejection strategy among individuals on dating apps (De Wiele & Campbell, 2019;Timmermans et al., 2020). ...
... Qualitative research has revealed a number of motives for the use of indirect romantic rejections, like ghosting, rather than direct romantic rejections. For example, individuals have shared that they either have ghosted or believe they were ghosted because the rejector did not know what to say, wanted to avoid hurt feelings, was no longer interested in the target, met someone new, perceived the relationship as not serious enough to warrant a direct rejection, were engaging in a retaliatory act, or to ensure their own safety (Koessler et al., 2019b(Koessler et al., , 2019aLeFebvre et al., 2019Manning et al., 2019;Timmermans et al., 2020). Three broad motives that are likely to contribute to would-be-rejectors' use of ghosting are ease of rejection, concerns about their reputation, and safety concerns. ...
... This series of studies sought to examine how specific motives may influence the dissolution strategy used when rejecting a romantic partner (i.e., ghosting versus a more direct strategy; Baxter, 1982;Collins & Gillath, 2012;Freedman et al., 2019;Sprecher et al., 2010), as well as whether gender of the rejection target may impact the dissolution strategy used. Prior qualitative research has identified multiple motives for why individuals use ghosting as a romantic relationship dissolution strategy rather than more direct strategies for relationship dissolution, including wanting to ensure would-be-rejectors own safety (Koessler et al., 2019b(Koessler et al., , 2019aLeFebvre et al., 2019Manning et al., 2019;Timmermans et al., 2020). The present studies are the first quantitative studies to manipulate the motives participants considered amid relationship dissolution situations. ...
Article
Considerable research has examined how people feel when interpersonally rejected. Less attention has been paid to the rejectors, especially on how they reject. Rejection methods can range from direct (i.e., informing the target) to indirect (i.e., ghosting), and the method and motives regarding rejection strategies are important because rejected targets often react negatively to rejection, sometimes even violently. It is imperative, therefore, to understand why people reject the way they do, especially when their rejections may yield unexpected negative consequences. A key factor that may influence rejection method decisions, particularly in the context of romantic rejections, is the gender of the target. Drawing on prior research indicating that men are perceived as more dangerous, in this registered report we hypothesized that bisexual individuals may be more likely to endorse ghosting if the target is a man, especially when safety concerns are made salient. A pilot study supported this hypothesis in a sample of mostly heterosexual individuals. The main study tested this hypothesis in a sample of bisexual individuals in order to manipulate target gender as a within-subjects variable and to better understand romantic rejection processes in an understudied sample. Overall, we found that safety concerns may make individuals more likely to engage in ghosting, but how that decision interacts with target gender was less clear.
... -Participant describing engaging in ghosting Nearly everyone experiences relationship dissolution (Eastwick et al., 2008), often causing distress for both recipients and initiators (Eastwick et al., 2008;Sprecher, 1994;Sprecher et al., 1998). Although there are multiple methods for dissolving relationships (Baxter, 1982;Collins & Gillath, 2012), one relatively prominent method of relationship termination is "ghosting," or ending a romantic relationship by unilaterally severing all contact (Freedman et al., 2019;Koessler et al., 2019b;LeFebvre, 2017;LeFebvre et al., 2019). Past research has focused mostly on characteristics of ghosters (Freedman et al., 2019;Powell et al., 2021), motivations behind ghosting (Koessler et al., 2019b;LeFebvre et al., 2019Manning et al., 2019), and consequences of being ghosted (Koessler et al., 2019a;LeFebvre & Fan, 2020;Navarro et al., 2020). ...
... Although there are multiple methods for dissolving relationships (Baxter, 1982;Collins & Gillath, 2012), one relatively prominent method of relationship termination is "ghosting," or ending a romantic relationship by unilaterally severing all contact (Freedman et al., 2019;Koessler et al., 2019b;LeFebvre, 2017;LeFebvre et al., 2019). Past research has focused mostly on characteristics of ghosters (Freedman et al., 2019;Powell et al., 2021), motivations behind ghosting (Koessler et al., 2019b;LeFebvre et al., 2019Manning et al., 2019), and consequences of being ghosted (Koessler et al., 2019a;LeFebvre & Fan, 2020;Navarro et al., 2020). However, beyond documenting the uncertainty and distress experienced by those who have been ghosted (Koessler et al., 2019a;LeFebvre & Fan, 2020), less attention has been paid to the specific emotional experiences resulting from ghosting. ...
... Ghosting has been the topic of an abundance of media attention (Borgueta, 2016;Roth, 2018;Safronova, 2015;Steinmetz, 2016;Tannen, 2017) and the focus of a growing number of studies (e.g., Freedman et al., 2019;Koessler et al., 2019bKoessler et al., , 2019aLeFebvre, 2017;LeFebvre et al., 2019;Manning et al., 2019;Navarro et al., 2020;Pancani et al., 2021;Powell et al., 2021;Timmermans et al., 2020). Previous research indicates that 20-25% of adults surveyed have engaged in ghosting or were themselves ghosted (Freedman et al., 2019) and is the method of rejection more than one-third of the time on dating apps (Halversen et al., 2021;De Wiele & Campbell, 2019). ...
Article
Although ghosting (i.e., unilaterally ending a relationship by ceasing communication) has only recently entered the lexicon, it is a regularly used form of relationship dissolution. However, little research has examined the emotional experiences of ghosting, particularly the experiences of those on both sides of the ghosting process. In a multi-method study, participants who had both ghosted and been ghosted in previous romantic relationships (N = 80) provided narratives of their experiences and completed questionnaires. The narrative responses were analyzed by coders and by using LIWC. Ghosters and ghostees used similar overall levels of positively and negatively valenced words to describe their experiences, but ghosters were more likely to express guilt and relief, whereas ghostees were more likely to express sadness and hurt feelings. Ghostees also experienced more of a threat to their fundamental needs - control, self-esteem, belongingness, meaningful existence - than ghosters.
... Narrative probability -the story arc about how love is supposed to happen -and narrative fidelity-whether their catching feelings story rings true with other love stories they know -underscore the tensions participants have when trying to explain their new way of talking about relationships. Before, EAs may have used traditional language and felt that language did not capture their experiences; catching feelings, as an example of a new emergent relationship lexicon (Banker et al., 2010;LeFebvre et al., 2019), breaks those boundaries, giving them new vocabulary to voice their experiences. The limited experience of emerging adulthood as evidenced through their relationship history squarely positions why catching feelings may emerge as a unique lexicon for individuals only beginning to explore their romantic and sexual feelings. ...
... Some studies have documented negative effects involved with dating: 45% of past-year online daters endorsed frustration with their dating experiences (Pew Research Center, 2020); dating rejection increased hostility among men (Andrighetto et al., 2019); strong beliefs in soulmates (i.e., predestined compatibility between partners) were associated with more "ghosting" behavior (e.g., ambiguous rejection without explanation; Freedman et al., 2019); and uncertainty about partner motivations and playing "hard-to-get" were related to lower perceived attractiveness of potential dating partners (Birnbaum et al., 2018(Birnbaum et al., , 2020Birnbaum & Reis, 2012;Jonason & Li, 2013). Some qualitative studies have also explored how daters may deal with conflict through avoidant communication (James-Kangal & Whitton, 2019), how narratives about early stages of relationships are often marked by confusion and uncertainty (Banker et al., 2010), and how ghosting can be a problematic relationship dissolution strategy (LeFebvre et al., 2019;LeFebvre & Fan, 2020). Taken together, these studies suggest a need to characterize events that could be construed as dating stressors and to determine if they are meaningfully related to outcomes such as mental health. ...
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There is limited research on dating stress, or stressful experiences related to the dating process (e.g., inconsistent communication, sudden lack of response, and rude behavior). Little attention has been given to classifying stressors involved with the pursuit of potential partners from initial contact to relationship formation. In the current study, we developed a novel measure for such experiences, the Inventory of Dating Stress (IDS). We investigated the factor structure and preliminary construct validity for the IDS in an online sample of adults ( n = 478). Results revealed a reliable four-factor structure (Mixed Signals, Mismatch, Ambiguous Rejection, and Harassment) across 18 items and the IDS demonstrated initial construct validity. Overall, the current study offers evidence of preliminary psychometric support for the IDS as a measure of dating stress.
... The technological boom of the 21st century has introduced new ways of relationship termination and ghosting is one of these new break-up strategies. Ghosting first came about in 2006 on Urban Dictionary and since has entered dating vernacular, especially that of young adults (LeFebvre, et al., 2019). Ghosting is defined as "a relatively common and an indirect form of relationship termination where one person simply stops communicating with the other and often 'unfriends' and 'unmatches' them on social media" (Jonason, et al., 2021, p. 2). ...
... With the advent of complex social technology has come an entirely new way to communicate and meet, and therefore new ways to form and terminate romantic relationships (LeFebvre, et al., 2019). At the forefront of this are dating apps and dating websites, as well as social media. ...
... Digital environments are associated with less depth in connections, less life satisfaction, and more loneliness, which only worsen with the experience of something like ghosting (Navarro, et al., 2020). Several participants of a study done by LeFebvre, et al. (2019) even tell stories of finding out they were ghosted by seeing a former partner's relationship status on social media change. This is perhaps because behaviors considered rude or unacceptable in a face-to-face context can be enabled by the anonymity and ease provided by electronically mediated communication, especially in online dating (Timmermans, et al., 2020). ...
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Utilizing the Narrative Paradigm (Fisher, 1984) and thematic analysis (Braun & Clarke, 2006), the present study seeks to explore and analyze stories of being ghosted from the perspective of young adults and to identify the themes that may animate these experiences. Recorded qualitative interviews with 21 young adults who had previously been ghosted resulted in 4 emergent themes: a) justifications b) confusion over responsibility c) avoiding future vulnerability and d) contribution of technology. Findings are consistent with previous research concerning ghosting and attachment theory, destiny beliefs, implicit theories of relationships, the role of technology, and more. Directions for future research and limitations of the present study are discussed.
... Passivedestructive responses are possibly more apparent, unnerving, and threatening to premarital or dating couples because partners showing disregard and disinterest may make them feel that their partners are not committed. This relates to a relatively frequent phenomenon in modern dating and a new term called "ghosting, " which shares an overlap with the Passive-destructive response as if an individual "ghosts" another person, they withdraw and avoid the partner entirely (LeFebvre et al., 2019). In other words, when one partner ghosts the other, the immediate consequence is simply an indirect and ambiguous lack of communication (LeFebvre, 2017). ...
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The study of processes that enrich positive relationships has been an under-researched area within positive psychology practice. The way an individual responds during couple conflicts (accommodation response) and toward the disclosure of good news of a partner (capitalization response) has been linked to relationship quality. Although the accommodation and capitalization communication processes are part and parcel of our everyday lives, the two processes have been examined separately and dominated by the Western perspectives in past research. Prior work has suggested that Western and Asian cultures differ in expressing and perceiving beneficial communication behaviors. Yet, it is still unclear which accommodation and capitalization responses matter the most from an Asian lens. To date, there is no research examining these interconnected variables simultaneously in Asia, specifically in Malaysia. In this study, two forms of communication processes, namely, (1) accommodation and (2) capitalization, were explored concurrently to disentangle the unique associations and influence on relationship satisfaction. This study also sought to understand the moderating effects of culture in terms of interdependent self-construal on the link between these two communication processes and relationship satisfaction. Responses of 139 Malaysians in dating relationships between the age of 18 and 30 years ( M age = 23.15) were collected through online surveys. An active and constructive reaction was captured as the most favorable response through both the capitalization and accommodation processes. Prominently, an active-constructive capitalization response bore the strongest influence on relationship satisfaction above and beyond other responses. A passive and constructive response was revealed only fruitful for disclosures of positive news and not during conflicts. Conversely, in the destructive paradigm, passive-destructive responses were the most detrimental factor in relationships compared to other destructive responses. The results also uncovered that interdependent self-construal did not moderate the two forms of communication processes. However, the findings discovered unexpected individual and cultural variations. This pioneering study is a noteworthy addition to the positive psychology literature from an Asian standpoint. It highlights the significance of not only protecting relationships through better conflict management but also enriching relationships by capitalizing on the positive aspects across the lives of the couple, ultimately providing a greater holistic insight into cultivating flourishing lives.
... This research will assess the degree to which communication facilitated solely through Bumble reflects arguments of the hyperpersonal model. Further, while previous research indicates that people make intentional decisions about how to reject a partner (LeFebvre et al., 2019;Tong & Walther, 2010), little is known about what factors impact this decision-making process on dating apps. Therefore, the present research investigates the roles of selfdisclosure, perceived partner disclosure, and pre-rejection stress in facilitating specific rejection strategies. ...
... As research on ghosting has increased, there has been a lack of consensus in defining "ghosting." To address this issue, Koessler et al. (2019b) conducted a thematic analysis of responses to questions about ghosting and compared these results to themes identified by LeFebvre et al. (2019) in a separate qualitative study. Based on the evidence of these two teams, Koessler et al. (2019b) presented the following definition of ghosting: "Ghosting is a strategy used to end a relationship with a partner with whom romantic interest once existed whereby the disengager unilaterally ceases technologically mediated communication with the recipient (suddenly or gradually) in lieu of providing a verbal explanation of disinterest." ...
... Previous literature has suggested that individuals make intentional decisions about how to reject partners. LeFebvre et al. (2019), for example, found that people chose ghosting as a rejection technique for specific reasons, including convenience, lack of attraction, negative interactions, changes in relationship status, and safety concerns. The strength and context of a relationship can also influence the way someone rejects a potential partner. ...
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Dating apps are an increasingly common element of modern dating, yet little research describes users’ experiences rejecting potential partners through these apps. This study examines how female Bumble users reject potential partners online in relation to self-disclosure, perceived partner disclosure, pre-rejection stress, and app usage. To investigate these issues, we conducted an online survey of 419 female Bumble users who had recently rejected someone through the app. Results revealed that women on Bumble employ ghosting strategies far more often than confrontational rejection and suggest that the degree to which women self-disclose, perceive a partner’s self-disclosure, and experience pre-rejection stress may impact their rejection strategies. This study informs the hyperpersonal model by demonstrating that reciprocal disclosure may characterize online dating interactions—even in relationships that fail to reach the face-to-face stage. However, results also broach the possibility of communication burnout in online dating, in which some users may lessen self-disclosure after extensive app usage.
... Finally, the participants in the 18-25-year-old age group reported higher scores on breadcrumbing than the participants aged 26-40 years. Despite former studies have demonstrated that the use of online dating apps/sites is more usual among young adults (25)(26)(27)(28)(29)(30)(31)(32)(33)(34) year olds) than among emerging adults (18-24 years old), being more exposed to breadcrumbing in emerging adulthood could be related with the fact that this age group is more familiar and use more those apps with which breadcrumbing could take place e.g. Instragram, WhatsApp or Snapchat (IabSpain, 2019; Waterloo, Baumgartner, Peter & Valkenburg., 2018). ...
Article
Full-text available
The present study is part of a large study analyzing the prevalence of ghosting and breadcrumbing in sample of Spanish adults aged between 18 and 40 years. The study was split into different papers to better organize and understand the data obtained. The present paper investigated the prevalence of ghosting and breadcrumbing and associations between ghosting and breadcrumbing behavior and online dating practices. The results showed that half the participants were unfamiliar with the terms ghosting and breadcrumbing. However, approximately two in every 10 participants reported having experienced and initiated ghosting, and slightly more than three in every 10 participants had experienced or initiated breadcrumbing in the last 12 months. Regression analyses showed that the use of online dating sites/apps, more short-term relationships, and practicing online surveillance increase the likelihood of experiencing, as well as initiating, ghosting and breadcrumbing.
... Ghosting is often perceived as an unacceptable relationship termination strategy, but a large proportion of individuals have experienced ghosting in a romantic context (Freedman et al., 2019;Koessler et al., 2019b;LeFebvre et al., 2019;Timmermans et al., 2020). Yet less is known about individual differences in ghosting experiences. ...
... Individuals perceive a variety of motives for ghosting (Koessler et al., 2019a(Koessler et al., , 2019bLeFebvre et al., 2019Manning et al., 2019;Timmermans et al., 2020). Ghosting may be a favorable dissolution strategy for some: ghosters experience less distress than individuals who engage in more direct dissolution strategies (Koessler et al., 2019a). ...
... et al. (2019), but lower than the rates reported by LeFebvre et al. (2019) in their sampling of college students purposely selected because of their awareness of the term and by Koessler et al. (2019b) in their sample of MTurk workers, in which participants were aware that ghosting was the focus of their survey. Moreover, differences in attachment were found for ghosting experiences with romantic partners. ...
Article
Ghosting is a dissolution strategy where the initiator ends all communication with the other person, ignoring attempts to reestablish the interaction. We examined the associations between attachment (i.e., anxiety/avoidance) and ghosting, and replicated previous work on implicit theories of relationships (i.e., growth/destiny) and ghosting. Study 1 ( N = 165) was an exploratory analysis of attachment and ghosting experiences, with those previously ghosted by a romantic partner reporting higher anxiety than those not previously ghosted by a romantic partner. Those who had ghosted a partner reported more avoidance than those who had not previously ghosted a partner. Study 2 ( N = 247) was a pre-registered replication of Study 1 and replication of ghosting and implicit theories. Study 3 was pre-registered and replicated the findings from Studies 1 and 2 with a substantially larger sample ( N = 863). Specifically, individuals who had been ghosted or had both ghosted and been ghosted reported significantly higher anxiety than those who had ghosted or had no prior ghosting experience. Individuals who had ghosted or had both ghosted and been ghosted reported significantly higher avoidance than those with no prior ghosting experience. Similarly, individuals who had ghosted or had both ghosted and been ghosted reported significantly higher destiny beliefs than those who had been ghosted or had no prior experience with ghosting. Finally, a meta-analysis across the three studies examined the strength of the associations between ghosting experiences and attachment. Taken together, these studies consistently demonstrate an association between attachment anxiety and being ghosted, as well as destiny beliefs and ghosting a romantic partner.
... In regards to how friendships ended, simply avoiding the other person until they got the message that the friendship was over (or "ghosting") was the strategy most commonly utilized by both the former friend and the focal adolescent. "Ghosting" refers to disappearing on friends and romantic partners by not showing up to plans or responding to any electronic communications (LeFebvre, Allen, Rasner, Garstad, Wilms, & Parrish, 2019). LeFebvre and colleagues (2019) suggest that this dissolution strategy became a popular way of ending romantic relationships around the time of the current study, and our findings indicate it also is a common strategy for ending friendships. ...
Article
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The current study examined the experience of friendship dissolution among early adolescents, including the number of friendship dissolutions, the reasons for the dissolution, and the ways in which friendships ended. Participants were 354 middle school students (𝑋⎯⎯⎯age = 11.89 years, SD = .86). Results indicate that dissolutions are quite common, reported by 86% of the sample. Conflict/betrayal was the most common reason for friendship dissolution, and avoidance was the most common method used to end a friendship. The current study also investigated associations between dissolution experiences and emotional reactions following the dissolution and current depressive symptoms. Adolescents felt a nuanced mix of emotions including both sadness and happiness/relief following dissolution experiences. Emotional reactions differed based on why the friendship ended, how it ended, and who did the “breaking up.” The current findings provide a critical first step in understanding the experience of friendship dissolution and its implications for adolescents’ emotional well-being.