How To Survive Being Ghosted (And Prevent It In The Future!)
Ghosting seems to be a sudden and ongoing phenomenon within the online and app dating community. If you’ve been ghosted, you may feel helpless, confused, hurt and rejected – even more so if you have allowed yourself to be intimate with this individual. Being ghosted feels like the worst form of rejection on the surface, but if you take a long hard look, it’s only rejection if you begin feeling less about yourself for it. Thankfully, this is entirely within your control. While we can’t control what others do, we can control what we do, how we react to it, and how much we allow it to affect us as we navigate the world of dating.
Instead of obsessing over being ghosted or feeling “used”, think of being ghosted as a positive – after all, this experience got you one step closer to finding what you do want. It is a common cliché to look at the silver lining but in this case, it is a necessity. Any individual or man who behaves like this is not a dateable individual and they have a long road of emotional and intimate growing ahead of them. In reality, they did do you a favor – you want someone who is ready to commit and that is not that guy.
Want to avoid being ghosted again? Use the “no contact rule”!
Fact: ghosting can only occur if we continue to text message, call or contact someone after we haven’t heard from them in over 48 hours. If you have a 48 hour “no contact rule” set in place, ghosting shouldn’t affect your self esteem at such a devastating level because you become the one who chooses for it to be over. Make sure you stick to it! Remember – if they aren’t mature enough to communicate now, they won’t be later.
But what if he comes back?
If they come back days or weeks later, be sure to stick to your rule. You can hear them out and then you politely state you are no longer interested. Respect is earned and must be established from the start. Explain to them that you understand life gets busy, emergencies happen, and priorities change and that is fine, but that you know your worth, communication is important to you, and therefore you consider them to be an inadequate match for you.
It’s easy to make excuses for someone, but remember: these days there are numerous methods of communication available and unless they are stranded in the Sahara desert or had a valid emergency, there should be no reason why they aren’t able to send a quick message. If their feelings have changed, it takes but two seconds to send a message stating “I had a great time with you, but I’m not interested” or “I met someone else” or “I’m not ready to date”. It is a simple, quick, and respectful thing to do the second their feelings change and you should make it clear from the start that you expect that.
Now here is the catch ladies: people don’t just suddenly become this way overnight. If we are being ghosted and this is something that continues, this tells me that our reactions are a large part of the problem as well. Men tend to have a general fear of our reactions and for most men, it’s easier to not deal with it because let’s face it – there are a few of us who do go a bit crazy when hurt. If you’re someone who tends to have strong emotional outbursts or word vomit when you feel hurt, it’s a good idea to build emotional coping skills. Until you work on your self-esteem and self worth, you aren’t ready to date either!
What should you do if he’s dumped you after several weeks of dating?
If a man takes the time to actually communicate with you about not being interested, it is imperative that you respond in a mature fashion. For example, the best way to respond is something along the lines of the following:
“Thank you for being honest. I wish you the best in your search!”
Yes, that is it. Unless you’ve established an ongoing relationship, you do not need to ask, “what happened?”, “Is it something I did?”, or “What can I do better?”. What does it matter? Chances are you’ve only been dating for several weeks, and this person couldn’t possibly know you well enough to give you constructive feedback about who you are to the degree where you should alter, change, or do anything different with or about yourself. Understand that it really is them, because they failed to see how amazing you are. They are really the problem – not you, so why waste your time stressing out over it?
The reality is that rejection doesn’t feel good, and in most cases, there aren’t any justifiable reasons as to why it happens! If you’re feeling frustrated, call a friend and vent your guts out, but do not take it out the person ending the relationship. The fact is, they can’t help if their feelings have changed. Appreciate their honestly, respect the choice they’ve made, and above all, don’t leave your dignity with him. If you feel as if you have to convince someone to like you, then it’s not meant to be.
If you were together with this person for more than several months, then it’s completely understandable that you’d like to know why you’ve been dumped. If someone has the nerve to ghost you after that length of time, you should consider having a celebration because that is the type of person you just simply do not need in your life whatsoever and you dodged a bullet!
How to bounce back from being ghosted
Ultimately, if we begin to accept that ghosting says less about us and more about the person doing it, the “it’s not you, it’s me” response becomes quite adequate. However, it’s a good idea to question if what you felt was genuine to start with or simply based off of idealization, which is something all people are guilty of from time-to-time. However, if you continue to run after men who aren’t interested or mildly interested, you are accepting the fact that you aren’t worth more, and therein lay the problem. People will treat you in the same manner in which you see yourself.
Write out a recipe of the things you want, deserve, and would like in a relationship and from a companion. Get specific, because one of the most common problems is that we aren’t clear about what we want or what we deserve, so we tend to settle for things that we aren’t actually okay with or happy with. This list should help you better figure out your priorities, and what you’re willing to compromise on.
If you struggle with ongoing feelings on rejection and low self esteem, then you aren’t ready for a serious relationship. You should consider doing some self-reflection, consider getting some therapy to help build yourself up, read some self-help books and rebuild any damage that was done in your past.
Remember: every day is a new day! You have an opportunity to have exactly what you want and deserve, but it truly all starts with how you feel and perceive yourself.
Have you ever been ghosted? If so, how did you cope?
About the Author
Dr. Yvonka De Ridder is a sex therapist, clinical sexologist, and relationship expert based out of Tampa, Florida. Dr. De Ridder has a M.S. in Marriage and Family Therapy/Counseling from Capella University, and a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Tampa. She’s also the CEO of Love, Live, Therapy, LLC, a practice she began to help prospective patients in the field of marriage counseling and sex therapy, as well as the resident ‘sexpert’ on Tampa Bay’s top FM radio station, 102.5 The Bone. De Ridder has recently come aboard the Jasmin.com/JasminTV ‘sexpert’ team to lend her knowledge. Say hi to Dr. Ridder on Twitter: @dryvonka.