This study explores 328 mobile daters’ (63% females; 86% heterosexuals) experiences with ghosting, using both open- and close-ended questions. First, we used thematic analysis to explore mobile dating app users’ motivations to ghost, the reported consequences of experiencing ghosting and reported strategies to cope with having been ghosted. Next, quantitative analyses were carried out to predict the likelihood of ghosting other users and which factors contribute to experiencing ghosting as more painful. As both our qualitative and quantitative analyses suggest, experiencing ghosting on a dating app can be quite painful and has an impact on users’ self-esteem and mental well-being. However, our findings on ghosters’ motives also stress a nuanced perspective on ghosting behavior, given that it is not necessarily done with harmful or conscious intent. As such, our findings also hold practical implications given that insights into mechanisms to cope with ghosting can help dating app users to rationalize their ghosting experience and thus limit its impact.

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Journal of Social and Personal Relationships
Department of Media and Communication

Timmermans, E., Hermans, A.M.M., & Opree, S.J. (2020). Gone with the wind: Exploring mobile daters’ ghosting experiences. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships. doi:10.1177/0265407520970287