It’s happened to most of us. You go on a date, everything seems to be going better than you could have mapped it… He plans a trip to a music festival together in 3 months, says he’s excited to introduce you to his childhood friends. He likes your dog, he turns you onto a marathon of Netflix shows that you watch together and even though you don’t want to get ahead of yourself, you secretly start imagining how your face swap Snaps will look at your family holiday party. This. Is. It.
And thennnn, well, It isn’t “It” at all. You send a cute emoji at noon, and 12 hours to a week later, you go from “Did he lose his phone??” to “He’s playing it cool?” to “FAHHHCKKKK….. I’ve been ghosted.”
First lets talk about the Ghostee. Ghoster, we will get to you later.
Ghostee: The tendency we have to take responsibility for why someone vanishes without a trace is not our problem. If you’re at a point that you’ve had marathon hangouts, talks about future, and connection between you two, chances are YOU ARE NOT CRAZY. (If you are having trouble even getting to that point- that’s a different article.)
You spend the next couple of months obsessing over each minute of each date – if you mentioned your ex too much (or at all) , if you gave off a tinge of desperation, if you smelled weird. Every aspect of the dates are picked apart to tiny little pieces of wet tissue and by the time you’re done, all that’s left is the wet ball of sadness in front of you.
This is often driven by our instinctual need to avoid danger (aka anxiety). We do not want to get hurt again and so we let our basic instinct of survival kick in and say “If I can just change me, this will not happen again”. The problem with that sentiment is that the more you divide your You-Ness into little palatable pieces, the less you have to really offer.
Lets try to reframe and refocus our response to something more aligned with:
Accepting the loss.
There was hope there. And that hope has been squashed (temporarily). And with that lost hope of this relationship comes pain. Be good to yourself. Accept that it’s not stupid or pathetic to care. It is human and natural.
Remind yourself what you do want.
Surely you are saying “what I want is this particular person that ghosted on me as it had so much potential and she is exaaactly the one person I have been waiting for”. However, chances are you are not looking for someone who lacks the communication skills and maturity to have a real conversation with you about what in the actual fuck is going on. You might try to start being critical of how she/he fits into YOUR life, not the other way around. Did she never really show interest in your family? Did he actually not pay attention to you in the same way you did to him, could he not really explain what you do for work or remember your best friends name?
Why WOULDN’T someone want you?
This is a step we not only forget, but we actually go AGAINST. The more we use a thought pattern, the more we default to it. So if you’re constantly thinking “I hate my body and I am not interesting enough”, that becomes your go-to thought. When something goes wrong- you default to that setting “well of course she ghosted- she saw my body and ran” Or “he likes more interesting people than me.” This is NOT helpful. Not only does it make you feel like garbage but it actually creates issues where none existed. Challenge yourself to think about what YOU like about yourself. If you can’t think of anything, imagine you are one of your close friends- what would they say about you that is loveable and great (and maybe try therapy because this is a skill you will always need in your wheelhouse when dealing with life’s inevitable Fuck You’s). Are you tenacious AF when it comes to work? Are you the life of the party? A good listener? A complete babe? An amazing cook? A fireball that murders at ping pong and knows a lot about prison rodeos? The things that are cool about you are boundless. Use those thoughts to make them your default setting, which is coincidentally very attractive to you, potential partners, friends and work opportunities.
Onto you, Ghoster.
Often times, you are in a place that you think you are doing the right thing. You may think that you’re saving the other person from undue rejection and therefore the kindest way to move forward is to ghost. Replace kindest with easiest and you will see that your need to protect others is often a way to avoid having to use those maturity muscles to do something unpleasant. Other times, it really is misplaced care. You see that she really likes you, and you think “If I stop responding, she will get it and I wont have to embarrass her and she will move on.” I implore you Ghoster, to listen to me when I tell you that it almost never works like this. There will be much time spent on suffering and misguided attempts to salvage what could be instead of kindly allowing her to move on. Giving her a conversation will not only help her but also deepen your default communication and maturity settings. If she isn’t the one you want to binge watch simpsons episodes with until you die, you will still need this skill for the one you do feel that way about.
Now godspeed! Get practicing ! And lastly, please don’t ever respond with an eggplant emoji.