Getting Ghosted: Practical Ways to Respond and Move On

Man getting ghosted

With the current dating scene happening almost entirely online, it seems that getting ghosted has become the new infamous "it's not you, it's me" conversation. Yet, there's something about having someone entirely disappear seemingly out of nowhere that feels more intensely personal than any long break-up text or shouting match ever can. Take a look at you how ghosting can affect people and see if any of these ways to cope with being ghosted seem like a good for you to try.

What Is Getting Ghosted?

If you haven't had the pleasure and frustration of dating on the internet or using dating apps, you might not know what exactly ghosting means. Essentially, ghosting refers to when a person suddenly stops talking to you without any explanation as to why or any hints that they're wanting to leave the relationship. Wendy Walsh, a psychology professor, explains that the most severe type of ghosting is the "third wave" when "you've entered a sexual relationship and you leave, blindsiding the other [person]." Ghosting is perhaps the number one hurdle of modern dating to get over because, most often, there isn't any closure for the person who's been ghosted and so any attempts at healing can be quite arduous.

Man Walking Forward

Why Do People Ghost?

There are truly innumerable reasons that people decide to ghost; but, as author Rosie Walsh discusses, "swiping culture reduces humanity to something quite basic. When you're rejecting 200 people a night, it dehumanizes the dating pool in which you stand." In short, Walsh is touching on what has become a cultural practice of accepted dehumanization. It's much easier for people to just leave someone if they forget that that person has emotions and can be hurt by their actions. Due to this, ghosting is much less personal than the ghostee takes it as. Some of the reasons which might prompt a person to engage in ghosting behavior include:

  • They don't want to hurt anyone's feelings.
  • They don't know how to break it off with someone.
  • They didn't think they were in a relationship of some kind.
  • Their life's gotten busy, and they feel it's too late to reconnect.

How to Cope With Being Ghosted

Being ghosted by someone can be a very painful experience, and you're absolutely allowed to feel upset about it. Yet, that hurt can't last forever, and here are a few different coping mechanisms to heal that pain quickly and safely.

Don't Blame Yourself

You might find that being ghosted makes you start to second guess your own behavior and worth. Did I do something wrong? Did I miss a sign that they were going to leave? Was it something I said? This line of negative thinking isn't productive and only lets the person who disappeared hurt you even more. The reality of the situation is that when someone ghosts you, they're incapable of being honest with how they're feeling to your face, and that doesn't reflect on you or your worth in the slightest.

Lean in to the Love Around You

Your friends and family can be incredible sources of support while you deal with the emotional effects of being ghosted. Don't be afraid to reach out to those who're close to you for guidance and advice. Whether it's having brunch with your mom or inviting your best friend over for a good old-fashioned sleepover, making sure to let your family and friends help you with your heartbreak, rather than pushing them away, will help speed your recovery along.

group of friends standing together

Don't Keep Reaching out to Them

While it might feel like if you keep reaching out to the person who's ghosted you, they'll eventually respond, more than likely they won't, and you'll just be extending your own heartbreak. Once someone indicates that they've ghosted you - like not responding to your calls or texts for a few days with no explanation - then accept that they'll reach out to you whenever they feel ready, if they ever do. Continuing to try and get an explanation from them will only prolong your suffering, so put the phone down and walk away from the person who walked away first.

Turn to Healthy Hobbies and Activities

There's something to be said about the healing powers of taking the mind off of a stress situation, and actively choosing to distract yourself with healthy coping mechanisms is a smart way to do so. According to Psychology Today, "mind-body practices like yoga, mindfulness, and meditation, can lower the body's production of stress hormones, reduce physical and emotional strain, and even alter some of the neural pathways that cause emotional pain." Therefore, there's no time like today to stretch your muscles, get some sunshine, and work on that new pottery project you've been dying to start as a way to help your body heal your mind.

Woman doing yoga exercise at home

Healing Takes Time

Ultimately, healing from any type of breakup, be it caused by ghosting or an "its not you, its me" conversation, can take a lot of time. The rollercoaster that is recovery isn't known for being a walk in the park, but as you go on its journey, make sure that you treat yourself with kindness and your body will be kind to you in return.

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Getting Ghosted: Practical Ways to Respond and Move On