You Got Ghosted: Here's How to Come Back from [What Feels Like] the Dead
Ghosting is no admirable way to end a relationship, but it’s one that’s somewhat common for avoidant daters in this digital day and age. One who ghosts suddenly and inexplicably ceases all communication and vanishes so effectively that you wonder if he or she were ever real in the first place. And you know what? It totally stings.
Here’s something interesting to remember: You’re equal parts in control and wildly out of control when dating. When embarking on the uncharted waters of getting to know someone new, you also get to learn how you participate, respond, and make choices. Even the lows of dating — like getting ghosted — are opportunities for growth and can help you become a responsible, resilient person in the end.
So if you’ve recently found yourself on the receiving end of a ghosting, it’s time to double down on self care and develop some new tactics that will help you recuperate, get back to feeling yourself, and become brave enough to get out there again — only once you’re ready. No pressure.
Feel the feelings
When fresh off a ghosting, the best thing you can do for yourself is to allow yourself to feel all the things. Don’t fight the disappointment, confusion, and sadness. There’s no reason to judge yourself for having these emotions. In fact, if you acknowledge them and let them naturally move through your thought patterns (try journaling as a tool), it’s more likely you’ll process the bummer of an experience fully and more quickly.
Don’t try to figure it out
Honestly, you’ll never know what happened. Maybe she did lose her phone in a dumpster and is still in line at the store for a replacement. Rest easy that if that’s the case; she’ll get back to you. What not to do? Torture yourself by replaying everything you said that may have resulted in a ghosting. May we say this loud and clear: You didn’t do anything to cause this. You are not responsible for anyone else’s actions — just your own. So go on and do the damn thing!
Phone a friend
Okay, maybe you’re having a hard time “doing” the aforementioned “damn thing.” Don’t hesitate to rely on your friends. We especially encourage this in those critical moments when you’re about to perform a social media deep-dive. You do not want to end up knowing this person’s new casual partner better than you ever knew the person themselves. Set up an arrangement with your best non-judgemental pal to give him or her a call when you feel yourself tempted to go hard and fast down the rabbit hole. They’ll help you get back to a balanced place.
Walk it off
We don't mean to sound like your annoying childhood softball coach. You do it every day, but you may not have known just how healing walking can be. When you take a walk and think about whatever emotion you’re feeling, you’re engaging in what’s called bilateral brain work. This means both sides of your brain are activated, which stimulates your nervous system and is proven to be extremely therapeutic when done with purpose. Over time, the uncomfortable emotional edges associated with painful memories will begin to fade.
Love a good bath? Would you rather stay in on Friday and watch a movie than go out? Is there a coffee shop that serves $9 pour overs that are your guilty pleasure? A book you’ve been meaning to read? Whatever feels good and nurtures you deep down, do it without hesitation. This time will pass, but if you need a little something to lean on — overpriced pick-me-ups included — go for it.
Notice any patterns
Ready for some real talk? If this is something that’s happened to you multiple times, it might be wise to talk to a friend, mentor, or therapist to examine any potential role you play in choosing people who are capable of ghosting. Again, you’re not responsible for anyone else’s behavior but you may identify ways to better protect yourself from it. You deserve better. And you can absolutely get it.
Caitlin M. Ryan for The BeeHive