You’ve been ghosted and it feels like someone just turned off the switch to your relationship; without reason and without direct cause, you have been assigned to the “ignore” folder. Why does this happen? How could someone who appeared so interested at one time, just cut off all contact and seemingly move on with no remorse for your crushed ego? Well to be quite brutally honest, they did this very easily and I will explain the why and how—in hopes that you will learn, accept and move on from their toxic behavior.
You might be asking yourself, “well, how do you know the ins and outs of being the ghoster in a relationship, Meg?” Well, and I’m sure you were expecting this by now, I am—or was—a repeat offender of ghosting. In my previous dating life, I would lose interest in someone and simply pull back on answering their calls. I would reply to text messages hours, even days, after they were received and before the other person knew it, I stopped replying to all forms of contact altogether. At the time, I told myself I was letting them off easy by not rejecting them to their face (or via phone) and all would be well—they would be over it soon. What I lacked in insight, I made up for in silence. I thought, the less I responded, the less the other person would feel “led on”. Oh how wrong and how cowardly I was.
The truth is, people fundamentally ghost others to escape confrontation. When someone looses interest in another person, the last thing they want is the third degree—why did you lose interest, what did I do wrong, is there someone else? You know, just your average inquiring after being cut-off by someone you were interested in. With the internet and social media, people have become more calloused and indifferent to the traditional “talk” that was once a common occurrence between two (former) lovers. What was seemingly an efficient and easy platform for people to communicate on, has created a void in healthy social communication. Now, why would a device that provides instant access to any and all people you wish to communicate with cause a disruption in healthy social communication? This is because, as we use these devices (phones, computers, tablets, etc) to communicate with whom we want—whenever we want—the same devices make it just as easy to block whom we don’t wish to talk to anymore. The “talk” and the inevitable “confrontation” goes unnoticed and directly into the ignore folder.
Why wouldn’t someone simply write out an explanation and send it to the other person so that they do not dwell and torture themselves over all possible reasons? Well, because they simply don’t have to. Morally, you could argue this approach is apathetic and rude, however, there are simply no rules of engagement when it comes to dating—and ending a relationship. Many people are not equipped with the right way to approach ending a relationship with someone they are no longer interested in. Especially in this day and age where conversations can start and end with the opening and closing of a smart phone. We get so accustomed to controlling a conversation by planning out our replies and portraying a person we believe is interesting, or desirable by meticulously directing the subjects.
Without getting too specific, there are a number of reasons as to why someone would lose interest in a relationship. Whether that be due to: stresses at work, former relationship trauma, another relationship prospect, or simply, the other person did not feel a connection. Now, on the rare occasion, someone may truly be going through a rough time and despite their interest in you, they are not able to communicate their struggles to you—out of fear of judgment, or lack of understanding. This fear forces them to become a recluse and pull away without allowing you to understand; all the same, it really is them and not you.
This is exactly where I want you to understand, being ghosted does not always mean you turned into a pariah overnight and that you are undeserving of an explanation—know that, some people are just not able to reject others because they know rejection hurts and in their misapprehension they believe ignoring someone allows the rejected to “move on” easier; they are going through extenuating circumstances and unable, or unwilling to communicate said circumstances; or this person has been so detached from empathy via instant gratification (social media/dating apps), that ghosting has become a normal and “accepted” concept when no longer interested. These types of people would rather cut-off contact than tell you straight up, they are simply not interested in you anymore.
Now, imagine you are in the same room with this person who has ghosted you, what would you say to them? What would they say to you? In this particular situation, the other person maybe forced into providing an explanation (unless they run away). In this situation, one we do not frequently find ourselves in, the two parties are able to communicate and possibly get closure—but that is not promised either.
One thing is clear, when someone has decided to “ghost” you, you must take that as the gift that it is and run for the hills. Imagine you were dating someone and then you lost interest… now picture you didn’t feel like giving them an explanation, you just wished they would move on, so you could move on. Now I think most people can picture a time, or a place in their life where they were dating, or “talking” to someone they lost interest in. Not always was this person thought of as “undesirable”, or “unattractive”, we simply lost interest because that is the fickle mind for you. If you can imagine ghosting someone because you simply lost interest, for whatever reason, then it will be easier for you to accept that someone else would ghost you for similar reasons.
I am not naive enough to suggest that ghosting doesn’t hurt like hell, lets call it what it is: REJECTION. Having said that, the insight I intend on giving is: ghosting has everything to do with the ghoster and nothing to do with the ghosted. Even in cases where someone “did something wrong”, or if someone wanted to argue, “I ghosted them because of this, that and the third”; the same concept applies—I would tell them: telling the person you are no longer interested in them and explaining why, is healthy FOR YOU. Yes, there are cases where a person does not deserve an explanation, but even in those cases, this person must be told—because when the shoe is on the other foot, being ghosted just sucks.
What to do if you have been ghosted… Return the favor and ghost them right back. Believe me when I say, nothing you write, post, or comment is ever going to entice this person to reach out to you. The ONLY sure way to get someone’s attention is to move on and show—inconspicuously—that you are loving your life without them. Not that this person deserves another minute of your time but if you want them to ever speak to you again remember this—abstinence makes the heart grow fonder.
What not to do if you have obviously been ghosted: NEVER SPEAK TO THEM AGAIN.