Ghosting is a dating trend that must end. I thought ghosting was a horrible dating habit reserved for casual Tinder flings. Apparently this awful, cowardice, emotionally vapid act also occurs in (allegedly) full-on, all-in, committed relationships. I had to allow time before I tackled this topic. In 2015, I was ghosted upon. It was cruel and in my case, totally undeserved. Now that time has passed and I moved from depression to hope, back to depression, back to hope and then anger, disbelief, anger again, more depression, then closure, then acceptance; I’m able to offer some practical advice for victims of ghosting. But first, a definition of ghosting for those new to the dating scene.
When I first wrote this blog it took about 12 seconds to get all fired up, angry at my ex boyfriend. However, my desire to help others outweighs my ego’s need to slam him so I slept on it and reworked the article. Clearly Ghosting hurts people. However, when you understand that your happiness is your responsibility and that the unfortunate decisions others choose to make, such as lying their way through a relationship to sooth their own pain is more about their inner conflict than whatever issue they may have with you. Ghosting is a sign of disrespect. Ghosting is a dating trend that must end.
I was at a place in my life where I clearly put way too much stock in the relationship working out and too little stock in myself. So when this act of ghosting occurred it triggered a deep depressive episode lasting a little under 3 months. The ghosting was exactly what I needed. It rattled me so profoundly that I sought therapy to understand why this breakup triggered such a deep depression.
I finally committed to loving myself taking kind actions for my own well-being. So I confronted my ex boyfriend via a self preserving, self respecting bold and very necessary act. Call it an emotional exorcism. I basically had to shed myself of the demonic possession of replaying every conversation, every show of affection, every laugh analyzing what was real, what was fake and every minute spent genuinely caring about someone who was lying to himself and to me the entire time.
I showed up at his office and while he declined a face to face conversation (not shocked) he did call me and we did speak. I’m now grateful for that conversation because of the clarity and most importantly the self respect it gave me.
As part of my healing process, I spoke with several people, men and women who have been ghosted upon and they all share similar wounds. They also shared that same kick in the gut feeling of worthlessness and being discarded, duped and scammed.
One guy said being ghosted after a 6 month relationship was like being scammed on a luxury vacation. “You book the resort, buy the flights, buy clothes, look forward to it for months, envision the great time it will be only to arrive and the resort is closed. You realize you were just robbed except money can be earned again, emotional wounds leave long lasting scars.”
He adds, “I absolutely have trust issues and am jaded now. When my current girlfriend told me she felt she could fall in love with me I told her I could fall in love with her too, and then quickly joked and said that she’s probably going to ghost on me.” There’s truth in jest. This poor guy is now thinking at any moment this woman who says she loves him can poof, disappear.
Logically, the more intimate and intense the relationship and the more that people thought that love was sincere; the more hurt people were when ghosting happened. I can speak for myself that when a guy ghosts after 4 dates I think, “ah well another dick-bag” and forward I move.
However, when a man dominates my time for months, looks me in my eyes, repeatedly tells me how he’s so in love with me, that I’m the one for him, with actions matching his words –attentiveness, texts and calls throughout the day, insists on taking me to my doctor, makes plans to meet my family in New York because he says wants to meet my father; brings up the subject of living together and then ghosts? Oh hell no. That’s the act of either a master emotional manipulator, a toxic soother, a sociopath, a coward or a combination of all of these traits along with a self-absorbed narcissist. Clearly the person is damaged. Which only makes you think… what the hell is wrong with me that I attracted this hot mess into my life. THAT was the question that sent me into a tailspin.
Dave, 41 said that after 6 months of a very intense relationship he considered his ex girlfriend a good friend. He confided in her as she did in him and he felt a strong bond. “She lost her job when we were together. She felt worthless and I lifted her up. Within a month she started a new job that I actually found for her. She told me no one else ever had her back that way and that she loved me. Two weeks later, she texts me saying she ‘just can’t do this anymore’ and that was the last communication. I was confused and hurt and after feeling emotionally stuck for 2 months I confronted her. My friend Mike saw that she joined his gym and knew how things ended. He texted me when she was at the gym and I showed up.”
Dave adds, “by then I didn’t want her back, I just had to stand up for myself. It was a matter of self-respect. I didn’t deserve to be cut off that way. After that conversation I was able to move on. Turns out she went back to the same ex she said was bad for her. That when it clicked. That guy was probably really good to her and she was the one with the problem.”
Emily, 38 actually laughs at her experience with being ghosted upon two years ago. “We were together 7 months. We went to his cousin’s wedding in Santa Monica. I met his entire family. He told me he loved me, paid for everything and extended our stay 3 more days. It was amazing! He said ‘next summer it would be our turn getting married.’ He even bought me a necklace so I’d ‘have something to remember this trip.’ He drove me home and kissed me goodnight. I texted him the next day as I did every day…no reply. Two hours later I called. Left him a message, ‘babe, are you okay, I’m worried about you, maybe you lost your phone?”
Emily adds, “I thought something happened to him. I even texted his brother. ‘Did you hear from your brother. I’m worried. He hasn’t replied to any texts or calls all day. Not like him.’ Brother didn’t respond either. Now I’m thinking they were together in a car accident. I called the mom. She answered. I told her I was worried about her son and she said she spoke with him that morning and he was seeking her advice. She told me he was conflicted about his ex of 2 years. That it was tough for him to bring me around the family. I said really because he seemed quite comfortable and extended our trip! She apologized on his behalf. I felt like I had the wind knocked out of me. He ghosted me. I gave him so much of myself for 7 months. I was being ghosted. Actually I was double ghosted,” she says laughing. “I can laugh at it now that I’m healed somewhat. That was two years ago and I’m still single because it hurt like hell and I’m afraid of going all in like that again only for the guy to suddenly disappear.”
Seems like these unfriendly ghosts share similar traits I hope this article brings comfort to anyone up at 3:30 am doing Google searches to get answers to settle their pain. Oh I was there. All I can say is to love yourself and get your truth. Then you’ll be able to have compassion for the ghosts. They are haunted by horrific demons and as they say, hurt people hurt people. Pity them, pray for them and more importantly, pray for the people in their path (even that ex they went back to). Pray for all of it and pray for your own healing first and foremost.
Trust your gut and do what you have to do to self preserve and heal. YOUR happiness comes first. If you feel the need to stand up for yourself do it. Ghosting after 3 dates is bad. Ghosting after “I love you’s” are exchanged and deep emotional connections are created is pathetic. It’s emotional rape and it speaks volumes about the emotional maturity and well-being of the ghost. It’s a cruel and selfish act.
Get your answers, get heard, and get your apology and then move on just the same as they did. Love yourself truly and when you do, you won’t attract anyone with the propensity to ghost in the first place.