Ghosting has become quite the epidemic in modern dating, with many women in particular, afflicted. In the age of online dating and disposable relationships, it is easy to meet potential partners and just as easy to move on to something new, when it doesn’t work out.
When a person who we feel a connection with disappears… the term ‘ghosting’ comes into play. It’s crazy that this is a thing now, but unfortunately it is very common. A ghost is an apparition, appearing one minute and disappearing the next. Hence why the name is so appropriate to this phenomenon.
Being ghosted, may be as simple as having a conversation online, only to find out that our potential date, has withdrawn communication and no longer responds. Perhaps they have ‘unmatched’ on a dating app, with no explanation, after initially expressing interest.
Ghosting (unlike breadcrumbing) also occurs when we are dating or in a relationship with someone. It may happen after a first date, or after weeks or months of dating. One minute we are in conversation, spending time, sharing experiences, and all of a sudden they are gone… nothing.
It is normal to think that perhaps something has ‘happened’ to them. Maybe they have had a car accident, are stressed with work issues, perhaps their kids needed them… there are many reasons we can invent, that could explain why they have suddenly disappeared, but most of the time we will never know.
It can be very easy to drive ourselves insane, overthinking about where we went wrong, what could we have done better, what we possibly shouldn’t have said. Most of the time, it isn’t even about us.
Sometimes the person ghosting does so, because they are too cowardly to have a conversation to say that they are not, or no longer interested. We may think it would be less painful, if they could just correspond with an honest explanation, yet the person ghosting doesn’t often see it that way.
Hurting others intentionally, can often trigger feelings of guilt and in order to avoid those unpleasant feelings, ghosting is an easy way out. Occasionally they may sense that we are jumping ahead in the relationship, and if they are not as emotionally invested, ghosting is a viable option.
How to deal with ghosting
Don’t continue to send messages
If texts have gone unanswered for 24 hours, stop sending them. Constantly checking in to see if they are ok, or trying to make the ghost feel guilt, doesn’t work. Your upset messages, can have you labelled as another ‘crazy stalker’ which in their mind, justifies their behaviour.
Don’t waste your time seeking closure
As much as you would like closure, 9 times out of 10 it doesn’t happen. On the rare occasion that you hear from them – do not respond. Giving validation to someone that it is OK to treat you this way, is not the answer. You are worth so much more, than accepting less than desired behaviour. Anyone that cannot have a rational conversation to communicate they are not interested, is not worth chasing after or wanting a relationship with.
Feel your feelings
The first thing to do when ghosting happens to you, is to feel your feelings. It is ok to acknowledge that you feel hurt – even if it’s only been a few weeks or a few conversations. It is natural to feel hurt, embarrassed, sad, rejected and not enough, when ghosted. Ghosting is painful. We immediately think it is about us, something we have done and we find that we blame ourselves.
Ramp up your acts of self care, indulge in the things that make you feel good. Take the time to surround yourself with family and friends, get out and socialise. Dive into exercise and let the endorphins kick in.
Unfollow them on social media, on every platform. Haunting them, is not helpful for you, all it will do is hurt you more to watch their whereabouts.
Turn it around
Ask yourself how can I feel gratitude for this experience? Perhaps you are grateful, that you didn’t invest more time, with a person whose character is questionable.
Learn from this experience
What has it taught you? Reflect on what you can do differently in the next encounter or relationship. Has your awareness increased?
You may not think so now, but this ghosting experience is an opportunity for you to learn and grow. It will make you stronger, more aware, and more mindful of other’s behaviour and actions.
You will look back at this time and be thankful that was not the relationship for you after all, and you were simply being redirected. Something bigger and better is on its way to you.