Why People Are Moving On From 'Ghosting' Romantic Misfires To 'Caspering' Them
Just because a potential match failed doesn't mean your communication has to.
By Jourdan Travers, LCSW | November 3, 2023
Caspering, the latest addition to urban dating lexicon, is the polite cousin of ghosting. Named after Casper, the friendly pop-culture ghost, caspering refers to a gradual weaning of communication with a potential romantic interest, instead of an abrupt disappearing act, to minimize emotional damage.
In a culture of fleeting connections and casual encounters, caspering might offer respite from the harshness of ghosting. It emphasizes the importance of acknowledging the powerful emotions involved in dating and seeks to maintain the dignity and self-respect of both parties.
Caspering is an attempt to leave both parties feeling respected, understood and capable of moving on from an unrealized romance with their emotional well-being intact. Here are three reasons why caspering could contribute to a more respectful modern dating culture.
1. Communication Versus Silence
One of the most significant distinctions between caspering and ghosting lies in communicating one's intentions.
Ghosting involves a sudden and complete cut-off of contact, leaving the other person in the dark. This can be emotionally distressing, leading to feelings of confusion, rejection and humiliation. Furthermore, research published in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships suggests that ghosting threatens individuals' core psychological needs, including one's sense of belonging, self-esteem and control.
In contrast, caspering is characterized by a gradual reduction in contact. This approach values the importance of closure, enabling both parties to openly communicate their feelings and intentions. A commitment to communication can reintroduce empathy in the dating process, recognizing that all individuals involved have emotions and deserve to be treated with kindness and consideration.
Not only does communication benefit the person being dumped, it also equips the "dumper" with the courage and vocabulary to have difficult conversations at their pace. Most people resort to ghosting in an attempt to avoid "the talk." Caspering allows for a window of time where one can express their desire to part ways in a measured and phased manner.
2. Death With Dignity
Closure is a critical component of any dating experience. Research indicates that individuals with a strong need for closure—a desire to avoid ambiguity and a need to understand why a relationship ended—may experience pronounced emotional distress in the aftermath of ghosting. Their need for closure significantly influences how they navigate the post-ghosting experience.
Caspering recognizes the conclusion of a romantic connection in a manner that upholds self-respect and dignity. By choosing caspering, individuals convey the essential message: "I respect you enough to conclude our relationship thoughtfully."
Caspering permits an honest conversation about the reasons why the relationship didn't work, providing an opportunity for personal growth and self-improvement. This open dialogue often results in an amicable separation, potentially leaving room for future connections or friendships.
In the world of modern dating, ethical considerations often yield to convenience and speed. Nevertheless, opting for caspering instead of ghosting provides a straightforward yet impactful means to infuse empathy into your dating etiquette. It underscores that each individual in the dating equation merits kindness, respect and the dignity of closure, even when a romantic connection doesn't endure.