You met a great person. You’ve dated a few times and you’ve been texting regularly. You seem to be into each other and suddenly, for no apparent reason, he/she disappears. Total silence. You’ve been ghosted! It seems to be part of the landscape of modern dating.
It’s frustrating and downright rude. Most people need to know why it happened. You call up your friends and together you try to analyse what went wrong. You send endless texts asking if he is alright or asking for an explanation.
Both men and women do it and it comes down to a lack of proper communication skills. It’s also the mark of a selfish person who doesn’t really care about the impact of their actions on another.
Unfortunately, ghosting is becoming more common and we need to learn how to deal with it. Firstly, stop trying to analyse why someone ghosted you and stop making excuses for them. Maybe they are really busy at work. Maybe they are not well. Maybe they got hit by a bus. It’s really not your job to figure it out. As much as we want to understand; it’s wasted energy to try to control someone else’s behaviour. Your time and energy is better spent healing from the situation and moving on.
Firstly, neutralise the situation by not giving in to the emotions of anger, sadness or worse still, plotting your revenge. The conversations in your head about what you will say when you see them again are not serving you. Neither are the thoughts that maybe there’s something wrong with you. “Why do I always attract people who vanish?” “Are there any good men out there?” “Maybe I’m meant to be alone.” These thoughts create a negative field around you and you end up attracting more ghosters.
If you want to change the pattern; there’s nothing better than self reflection. If we go through life blaming others 100% for what happens in our lives; we don’t take responsibility for ourselves and therefore we don’t grow into our potential. Now I’m not saying it’s your fault you were ghosted; I’m saying that self development is key to you living your best life.
Allow yourself to feel the emotions but give it a time limit. One hour or one day. You don’t want to spend weeks or months moping over someone who is not worthy of you. Then make a decision to move on but with more clarity about what you have to offer in a relationship and what you are looking for in a partner. Get excited about moving on and finding true love.
Get rid of the emotional charge. Be radical – you’re lucky that he showed you early on that he’s not worthy of your time and energy. Be grateful that he has given you greater clarity about what you are looking for in a partner. Say thank you that you now have greater emotional resilience and you are a better version of yourself. Now you are better prepared for the right partner. You will be able to state early in a new relationship that you prefer open communication.
When we are direct and assertive in our communication, we command respect. If the ghoster comes back weeks later with a text that says “Hey, hw u doin?”; you get to decide if you want to respond or not. If you do, make sure you’re upbeat and focused on yourself. If he asks you out again, ask him to call you as there’s something you’d like to clear up. If he does, make sure to be polite but very direct. “I really thought we were having a great time and I liked you; but I cannot respect a person vanishing without any explanation. If you say you’ll call and you don’t, that shows a lack of integrity and my time is valuable.” This gives him the opportunity to step up. If he genuinely apologises and takes responsibility for his behaviour; it’s up to you whether you believe him and want to give him another chance. However, if he gets defensive; acts like it’s no big deal and makes it seem like you’re over-reacting; you know for sure this relationship is bad news. The way he handles this situation is the way he will handle any situation of conflict.
Remember, ghosting doesn’t mean there’s something wrong with you; it means that this is not the person for you. When we make the internal shift, we start attracting a different type of person. Move on and have fun in the process of finding your ideal partner. Everyone deserves happiness and healthy relationships are possible when you learn how to create them.
Kas Naidoo – Relationship Coach and Matchmaker