So you’ve been talking to someone. “They’re amazing,” you think. This could be it- this could be something, something special. You go on dates, you hold hands. You even watch the sunset together-how romantic. You go on wild adventures together, late night rendezvous. You send them a cute text goodnight, fully expecting a reply the next morning.
They don’t reply. “That’s okay,” you think, “They could be busy.”
You wait for several hours. Perhaps they’re sleeping? Or maybe they lost their phone? Either way it’s always good to give them the benefit of the doubt before jumping into conclusions. You try to stop overthinking, even though your mind is going a hundred miles per hour.
A day passes. A week. Two weeks.
That’s when you know- you’ve been ghosted. And it sucks.
The thing about being ghosted is horrible, whichever angle you’re looking at it from. It’s the new dating craze- the uncomplicated way to avoid confrontation and hurting someone’s feelings- supposedly, but ghosting is often a lot more painful than people think, as it leaves a lot of unanswered questions.
Ghosting is unavoidable, and it is a painful part of dating that everyone goes through at least once in their lives. So what do you do when it happens to you? How do you stop yourself from spiralling down that self-demeaning rabbit hole?
First things first, you have to remember you’re not in the wrong- if there was something that wasn’t working, they should’ve told you about it and been honest. Remember too that just because something wasn’t right, doesn’t mean you did anything wrong; some people just don’t click. How many people have you met that although lovely and sweet, just weren’t for you?
Don’t feel stupid for being hurt. Ghosting is a horrible thing to go through, whether you’ve been on one date or many, so let yourself wallow. Obviously, this shouldn’t be prolonged wallowing- you don’t want to let it affect your mental health- but not processing your hurt can be just as harmful. Allow some time for reflection and then swiftly move on.
The next thing many people ask, is should they confront their ghoster? As someone who has been ghosted, I never have, but that’s not to say you shouldn’t. This can often clear the air and answer those nagging theories you may have created in your head (which let’s be honest, we’ve all done). Don’t be ashamed though, if confrontation isn’t your thing. In many ways, moving on can prove your strength just as much, showing that the ghoster hasn’t affected you and that you don’t need their validation to move on.
Talk it out with friends. Getting ghosted is common, so its more than likely that someone you know will have experienced it too. Hashing it out with friends and family can help you process the rejection, and maybe even let you see the funny side. It can be a great way to earn some perspective and remember that you’ve got others around you who appreciate how great you are. Don’t let embarrassment stop you from talking about it, as this can be a great healing tool.
Get back out there. It’s like that old saying, the best way to get over someone, is to get under someone- although you don’t have to take this literally. Just put yourself back out there- get back on the horse, don’t let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game etcetera, etcetera. The longer you wait, the harder it will be to move on, so even if it’s just chatting to someone new, get yourself back out there.
Don’t repeat the process. It’s so easy to not text back, to skip a call, or to miss a date, but the repercussions can be greater than you think. Just remember how you felt when you were ghosted, and think how you would’ve appreciated a message, even though it was letting you down. I know it can be hard to think of what to say, but in the long run it really is better- even if you use an old cliché, like ‘Can we just be friends?’.
Next time, or should I say, if you’re ghosted in the future, don’t let it get you down. It shows more about the ghoster than it does about you, and if they do ghost, perhaps you dodged a bullet! More often than not, it just shows they’re not quite ready for commitment and just don’t know how to handle that, so maybe it was a good thing after all.
Featured Image by Suzy Yang