HOUSTON, TX - Being ghosted can be incredibly painful and heart-wrenching. The sudden disappearance only adds confusion and insecurity. Everything seems to be going fine, and you’re texting, planning dates, and staying up late talking. Then, suddenly, they stop responding and you cannot reach them. Your brain does what normal brains do – it ruminates, wondering if something horrible happened to them or if you made a mistake that lead to their disappearance.
The most psychologically damaging part of being ghosted is the lack of closure. Experts warn us that when a relationship does not end with closure, emotional healing and the ability to move forward into another healthy relationship is complicated. The suggestions I have listed below will not make it all better, but they will empower you with a change in perspective. You’ll be able to see the relationship for what it was and move on without unnecessary guilt or shame.
- If you’re unsure whether or not you’ve been ghosted, send the person who disappeared one more text asking them what happened. Their response will tell you much needed information to help with moving on. They may have been genuinely caught up in something and respond with an apology. If they appear vague or offer no comment, you’ll know this person was not going to meet your needs for honestly or emotional maturity. This is your first step in establishing a sense of closure.
- Feel the anger and sadness in order to move forward. Talk to a friend, journal, cry about it, and/or give yourself permission to be angry. When you stop denying it, you’ll be able to get clearer and begin listing things you learned from the experience. Examples of lessons learned include:
- Not everyone is ready or emotionally mature enough for a relationship.
- Ghosting has been going on forever, and you’re not the first or only person ever ghosted.
- Not everyone comes from healthy places where they learn to confront real issues in a relationship.
- Remind yourself it’s not about you…it’s about them. When someone ghosts someone in a relationship, it’s because they aren’t prepared to face or talk about issues they need to share. You may have been involved with the person, but you aren’t the reason they ghosted you. Personal fears are the main issue underlying someone who disappears.
- Choose happiness by reminding yourself you were a whole person before you met your ghoster, and you’re a whole person after they disappear. When you find someone you really like, you begin giving them some of your personal power. Reminding yourself that this person was not capable of honestly and transparent communication can help you understand this may have been a poignant way to end a relationship that would never have been able to withstand the sacrifices emotional maturity require.
- Let go of having to know the full story. Continuing to overanalyze what went wrong or why you didn’t see it coming are futile actions. They end up wasting energy you could reinvest in engaging activities that interest you. Everyone has baggage, and everyone has a story. Let your ghoster’s story remain with them since it was never about you anyway. Take the lessons learned and date people who are genuine, honest and are strong enough to realize they don’t have to be perfect to be worthy of love and a relationship.
Ghosters sometimes come back around to haunt you when you’ve finally moved on. Don’t get manipulated into feeling sorry for them no matter what their story is. Be upfront and be direct. As much as possible, be a mentor of emotional maturity by telling them you’ve moved on and you wish them well. –Mary Jo Rapini