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How to Handle Being “Ghosted”

What To Do When You've Been Ghosted

Recently, a client confided, "I thought it was going so well. We worked in similar fields, had interests in common and our conversation flowed easily. We've been dating for sometime and everything was going great. One day we had a date from brunch and when I reached out to her, silence. I’ve followed up a few times and nothing. Not a no, leave me alone or anything. Should I just give up? Did I do something wrong?"

She is definitely not alone. According to Fortune, dating app Plenty of Fish found that nearly 80% of its users have experienced some form of being ghosted. While that statistic does nothing to relieve my clients' feelings of hurt, confusion and betrayal, it tells me that this terrible activity is here to stay and that concerns me.

With so many people experiencing ghosting, I wanted to take a deeper dive to offer hope and resources.

Definition: Ghosting

According to the Huffington Post, "Ghosting" is when someone you're dating ends the relationship by cutting off all communication, without any explanation. No explanation, no return texts/calls, nothing. And not just silence after an awkward first date, but the complete silent treatment after several dates and even a committed relationship.

In my professional opinion, Ghosting someone is the ultimate expression of a complete disregard of another person as human. Giving the silent treatment to anyone is cruel. That being said, Ghosting in dating isn't new. What IS new is how prevalent it is.

Why do people ghost? Every person is different, but some reasons include (but not limited to):

  • Fear of missing out on other possible partners
  • Fear of committing to someone too quickly
  • Being afraid that the other person is growing too attached to them
  • Not being mature enough to have a difficult conversation with someone
  • Avoidance of feeling vulnerable
  • Not having the communication skills to navigate one's own feelings

Obviously, the reasons are numerous on how a person would Ghost another person. The ghosted person still feels very hurt, confused and will likely carry some feelings of PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) with her/him in the future. This is not something to take lightly. Life and love are worth pursuing and getting hurt along the way is part of the journey. That is not condoning Ghosting, it is a statement that while you may have been victim to Ghosting, you do not need to allow it to define your future romantic relationships.

What To Do When You Get Ghosted

Repeat After Me: "It Was Not My Fault, I Did Not Cause This."

The reason you were ghosted had NOTHING to do with you. You didn't deserve it, you didn't do anything to warrant it and you most certainly do NOT need to take any responsibility for it. The Ghost-ER is obviously unable to express him/herself in a proper way and that has nothing to do with you. While you might want a reason, truly, there is NO reason that explains how a person could Ghost another person.

Resist the Urge to Reach Out or Stalk Your Ghoster

It's super easy to troll his/her Insta and stalk them. You want answers and you're hurting, so you'll do anything to get them. Scrolling through their pictures and monitoring where you think they might be is only going to hurt your heart. Resist it. Do anything you can to resist that urge. Reach out to friends, go to the gym, ask to be put on a really intense project that won't give you any downtime. Do whatever you can do stay off their profiles.

Take Care of Yourself. Make Yourself Your TOP Priority

You do not need to talk to this person (even though you really feel like just one more conversation would make everything ok). You need to focus only on how you're feeling and what you need. If you're feeling sad, feel sad. Cry, Lay in bed. Eat ice cream. You will not die from this sadness and it will pass. Heartbreak is real and the only way you're going to get through it, is to GO THROUGH IT.

Drink more water than normal, go to sleep earlier, have more lunches with friends. If you truly can not do anything except focus on this person, get professional help. There are thousands of professional therapists/counselors in the world who are trained to help you navigate this moment. Use them.

[I wrote a great piece on how to recover from a breakup in 30 days and another piece on How to Uncouple. You might find them useful].

Don’t Get Discouraged

While you might be feeling lost and confused, just remember: Finding your special someone takes time, and the person that Ghosted you is definitely NOT The One. Do not let this experience make you guarded or walled up or ever-so blocked against feeling vulnerable. The only true way to love is to feel vulnerable and the sooner you lean into to that, the sooner you're living the best version of yourself. Ghosting can freeze you in your tracks and that's ok. Life is like that. Shit happens. Do not allow it to close your heart. Everyday, I hear from women who are searching for quality mates and I KNOW you will survive this and find the righteous love that you deserve. If you truly can't get over it. go back to "take care of yourself." Reach out to professionals and do not let this one situation define you.

When You're Ready, Get Yourself Back Out There

Right now, you're feeling raw, and that's ok. Allow yourself to grieve/morn and regroup. This could take a month, or it could take a year. The important part is to actively do it. Allow yourself to process what happened and when you're ready, get back out there. I've written a TON of posts on how to get back in the dating pool, how to beef up your confidence, how to use online dating more effectively and as well as me and my team host events all over the country for women just like you: Women who want to meet real women and have real conversations. Tell your friends you're ready to date, create an online profile (only if you want to) and/or join MeetUps in your area. It's all about meeting more people and making new friends.

Above all, I'm sorry this happened to you and there's no reason it needed to. Remember, you are loved, you deserve happiness and anyone who mistreats you isn't worth your time.

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