The “going MIA” approach to ending a relationship has stopped being the exception to the rule and instead seems to have become the norm. It’s gotten to the point where I’m actually thoroughly impressed when someone takes the time to break up with me in the good old-fashioned way – by, you know, actually breaking up with me. When someone ghosts you, it can be totally demoralizing, but here’s how to get over it.
- Remind yourself that it’s not about you. When someone rejects you, even in a totally passive way like when they ghost – often our first impulse is to play the blame game. Ghosting usually incites reactions like, “What’s wrong with me?! Did I do something? No, really. What did I do wrong?” Here’s the simple answer: nothing. If someone decides to ghost you, it’s not your fault. In fact, rejection often has more to do with the one doing the rejecting than the person on the receiving end. If someone chooses to ghost on you, that’s on them. Think about it: when you’ve ghosted on someone (come on, we’ve all done it), most of the time it isn’t because they’re this big, scary horrible person. It’s usually because we’re just not that into them and don’t really know what to say. So as much as ghosting sucks, it’s a waste of time to take it personally.
- Understand that it’s all about fear. Ghosting is all about fear. Sharing your feelings can be really, really scary – especially if it means you might hurt someone else’s in the process. People ghost on each other because they’re afraid of those moments of confrontation. No one wants to be the bad guy, so it’s easier to ghost than have an awkward conversation. Ghosting is about fear and avoidance. Theirs, not yours. Remember that.
- Take the high road. It’s natural to be pissed off when that person you were getting naked with last week has suddenly gone completely AWOL. You also might be tempted to send a passive-aggressive text or 12 (“HEY JERK. THANKS FOR LETTING ME KNOW WE’RE BREAKING UP.”) While your anger is totally justified and you should stand up for yourself, engaging with the other person this way isn’t going to make you feel any better. I promise. Choose acceptance over creating drama. Remember: This is on them.
- Spend time with your friends. The best thing you can do for yourself right now is to get out of your own head. Text your girls, make some plans, and go out! Get dressed, leave the house, and laugh with the people who know you best and who always know how to cheer you up when you’re feeling down. You’d be amazed at how easy they make it to forget the jerk who ghosted you.
- Practice self-care. This sounds corny and new agey but it’s so important, especially when you’re feeling emotionally fragile. When someone ghosts you, you’re left without an explanation or closure and that can leave you feeling out of sorts. Restore your equilibrium by really spending time with yourself. Meditate, take a long bath, go for a run, whatever it is that makes your soul feel nurtured.
- Resist the urge to thirst trap. I know it would be so easy and feel so good to put on your sexiest outfit, take some bomb selfies, and plaster your Instagram with those pics on the off chance he sees them and suddenly realizes what he’s missing, but don’t. First of all, this is petty and you’re above that. Second of all, it will only send you further into your depression style if he doesn’t see them/react to them, and you’ll be left feeling worse than you did before you posted. If you’re going to post hot selfies, make sure it’s for you and no one else.
- Don’t stalk him online either. When someone ghosts you, you have no idea what they’re up to in life or what they’re thinking, where they’re going, who they’re spending time with. You could easily find out, of course, by hitting up their social media accounts and scrolling through their feed for hours on end, but again, don’t do it to yourself. This will not make you feel any better. In fact, you’ll feel worse, especially because you’ll be feeding the beast of what will turn into an ongoing obsession and keep you from truly moving on.
- Be the bigger person. If you must say something, keep it short, sweet, and mature. A simple, “Judging by the radio silence, it seems as though you’re not interested in dating anymore. That’s OK, however, I would have appreciated you just being honest with me” text will go a lot further than unleashing your rage. Save that for a vent fest with your favorite lady friends that also includes bottomless mimosas. Trust me.
- Take a dating break, at least for a little while. I’m not saying you shouldn’t go out with anyone for the next year, but it doesn’t hurt to take a step back from dating when someone ghosts you. It allows you to reevaluate your priorities and also to think about your relationship with this person and whether or not there were red flags you missed/ignored along the way. When you’re ready to jump back into the deep end dating-wise, you’ll be in a much better place.
- Let that stuff go. Seriously. You’ll feel so much better if you take a cue from that toddler singing along to Frozen and just let. It. Go. What’s done is done. Dwelling on what happened will just hold you back, and you have too much to offer the world to let that happen. Recognize that it was their loss and while they didn’t appreciate you, there’s someone out there who will.
Why you got ghosted in the first place
- They weren’t feeling it/you. This is the most obvious and common reason someone ghosts you. Should they have the balls (figurative, of course) to tell you straight-up how they feel instead of stringing you along and then disappearing without a trace? Obviously yet, but many people don’t.
- They met someone else they liked better. If you were in the early stages of dating, it’s likely that they were talking to other people while talking to you. If that’s the case, it’s also possible that the more time passed and the more they got to know you and the other people on their roster, they developed a stronger connection with one of them. There was no use pursuing things with you anymore since their energy was being invested elsewhere.
- They thought things were getting too serious too quickly. If you were super into them and you made no secret of it, it’s possible that they got freaked out and went MIA because they couldn’t handle it. It’s not that they didn’t like you too, but if they have a fear of commitment, your willingness to devote yourself to only them would have been enough to make them ghost you. Coward!
- They just wanted to get laid. If you slept together just before you got ghosted, it stands to reason that they disappeared because they got what they wanted. They were trying to get you into bed and once they did, the thrill of the chase was over and they were on to the next one. It’s sad that so many people can be so callous and cruel in this way, but it happens more often than you’d think.
- They’re boring. This is true even if one or more of the other reasons is too. When someone ghosts you, they’re showing that they have no respect for you or your time and they’re outing themself as a crappy person that you’re better off without (even if it doesn’t feel like it just yet).