'Why do men keep ghosting me?'

‘My last relationship ended four years ago.

‘Now I only meet men who don’t commit.

The pattern is the same: I see them for a few months and it fizzles out.

I’ve been seeing someone and met his friends early on but only once. I had feelings for him and believed he felt the same.

He took longer to reply to my messages and I haven’t heard from him for two weeks, although he said he was getting busy at work. I messaged him last week but no reply.

I’ve cried a lot.

Ending a relationship this way is cruel and cowardly, so allow yourself the time necessary to feel all your feelings.

‘Being cast aside is an erosive experience that can dent self-esteem but you may have had a lucky escape,’ says Dr Angharad Rudkin. ‘New research shows that those who use ghosting to end a relationship lack empathy and are more likely to have stronger traits from the “dark triad”, which include psychopathy, narcissism and Machiavellianism.’

You are aware of the pattern and on the path towards liberation. Explore your beliefs about commitment and make adjustments that will move you towards open and available men.

‘When we are unsure about what we want from a relationship, we are more likely to seek out partners who share our ambivalence and who won’t put us in a position of needing to commit,’ says Rudkin. ‘They treat us with the flippancy we subconsciously desire.’

Perhaps your last long-term relationship left you fearful about opening your heart.

‘You may feel safer choosing men who are incompatible so that the relationship is doomed from the outset,’ says Rupert Smith. ‘Or it may be that you are also pulling away or shutting down as soon as the relationship starts to look real.’

Perhaps this fear was felt earlier, Smith adds.

‘When we experience frequent disappointment in our early life we can create a habit of pulling out of situations rather than face disappointment,’ he says. ‘Was one of your parents emotionally distant, unreliable and hard to trust too?’

Finding the source of patterns and understanding how they repeat is key to building self-respect.

‘When we respect ourselves we are more able to receive respect from those we date,’ Rudkin adds.

See dating as sampling, says James McConnachie.

‘Experience, enjoy and experiment with dates and relationships, both shorter- and longer-term,’ he says. ‘Write off men who are clearly not right for you. A man who isn’t into you isn’t right for you. You deserve someone who is. You will find him and he will find you.’

The experts

Rupert Smith is an author and counsellor

James McConnachie is the author of Sex (Rough Guides)

Dr Angharad Rudkin is a clinical psychologist

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