If you haven’t already heard, ‘ghosting’ or ‘being ghosted’ is a trend that’s become more apparent in the last couple of years. Here’s how it works: you meet someone, whether it’s on a night out or via a dating app, you message, you like them, you go on a date (or maybe even several) but then – out of the blue – they just disappear right out of your life. You were getting on well, you blatantly liked each other (they might have even already told you how much they like you) but then they just stop messaging you. All contact is ceased in the click of a finger.
You inevitably spend hours, days, maybe months, agonising over what you did wrong, what actually happened, and are they even alive? Here’s how to deal with being ghosted by someone you’re already seeing.
Let’s not get too hasty. If it’s only been a few days since their last text message, there’s a chance that they’re just busy, or they’ve forgotten to respond, and they’re planning to sometime soon. They could even have done what humans sometimes do and think that it’s actually your turn to respond. Just sit tight for a while and give them the opportunity to come back to you before you jump to conclusions.
However, if it gets to a point where it’s been a week, and you’re used to them replying every day, there’s a good chance you’ve been ghosted. Initially, let’s give them the benefit of the doubt. They could have had a family emergency or been swamped at work. The first, mature step is to send them a follow-up message. A simple text ‘Hey, how are you? Haven’t heard from you in a while so just wanted to check you’re okay x’ is casual, breezy and shows that you care, without coming across too strong.
Don’t sink to their level
So, the follow-up message didn’t work. You still have no response and you’re starting to tear your hair out. Thoughts are running around your head including, “we had such an amazing time; it doesn’t make sense” and “if they really liked me like they say they did, then why are they doing this?” You’re starting to drive yourself, and everybody around you, crazy.
It is so tempting at this point to text them again with an abundance of abuse. To tell them how unacceptable their behaviour is, how you’re going sick with worry, and how you don’t understand how they could be so cruel. But the best thing to do at this stage is to keep your cool.
Try not to take it personally
This is much easier said than done when you are hurting. It’s so natural to look within ourselves and try and find a fault, but the reality of the situation is that it’s them with the issue. What kind of person does that to someone else, when they know how much they like them? It’s not a nice way to treat somebody. In fact, it is plain selfish, unkind and cowardly. It doesn’t take two minutes of someone’s time just to politely text: “I’m sorry, I met someone else, but it was really nice getting to know you”.
Being ghosted says a lot more about them than it does about you.
Keep yourself busy
Being ghosted when you’re already seeing them is essentially a break-up with no closure, which is the worst kind! You’re going to need to keep your mind distracted. If you find yourself sat staring into space, thinking about them and your time together – tell yourself it’s not allowed and go do something else. Surround yourself with your friends and family and invest in some well-needed self-care time. Read the book that you keep meaning to get into, go to the cinema with friends, or even plan a weekend get-away.
Also, make sure you keep exercising; the feel-good endorphins will fight those blues away!
Explore other opportunities
Make sure you’re not waiting around in hope for them to realise what they’re doing and get back in touch out of nowhere. If it hasn’t happened by now, it’s unlikely to happen. You need to start moving on. Have you been putting off dating someone else while you’ve been mourning the loss of the ghost? Then it’s time to open your heart again. It’s only the most mean-spirited people in this world that ghost, or people without any courage who don’t want the responsibility of having to let someone down, and those people are few and far between.
Don’t let your experience of being ghosted put you off from dating again. It’s happened once, so what are the chances of it happening again? Put the bad experience behind you and try to remember that not all people are like that.
Cut them off
It’s now been weeks, maybe even months. They’re gone out of your life for good, you’ve moved on, and you’re so much better for it. It is at this point that you should be thanking your lucky stars that they ghosted you so early on in the dating game – can you imagine if they got into a relationship with you and then treated you like that? It could have been ten times worse and left you feeling even more hurt than you already did.
Now you’re ready to completely cut them off. Delete their number, remove them from Facebook and resist the urge to spy on their Instagram every now and again. They do not deserve to be part of your life, or the opportunity to potentially get in touch with you again (even though the probability of this happening is extremely low).
If they ever do find a way to contact you again, or you run into them on a night out, be firm. Remember how they treated you. Calmly explain to them how they made you feel and how that behaviour is not acceptable. If they’ve ghosted once, they might ghost again, so ensure you make them realise that the way they acted was cowardly and you would have just appreciated a quick message explaining what had happened. If you can stop them ever ghosting another person again, then that’s a mission accomplished!
Please don’t feel down-hearted throughout the whole process of being ghosted. It’s easier said than done but, soon enough, you will realise that you have had a lucky escape. Like Ella Henderson says in her hit song, er, “Ghost” – you need to “give up the ghost” and allow yourself to move on. They are not worth the pain and heartache. Onwards and upwards! You’ve got this.