What To Do If You've Been Ghosted In A Relationship
Kelsey Knight flew from Los Angeles to Miami to meet up with her boyfriend of three months. They'd met in LA, working on a shoot together, and the relationship moved fast. “He was definitely the driver of the relationship. I kept putting on the breaks,” she said. “And as time went on I thought, ‘I feel great in this. I’m happy. Why am I scared? Let’s do this.”
During the trip, the guy told Kelsey he needed to stay in Miami and needed to be long distance for six months. He said “I love you.” She returned to Los Angeles and everything seemed ok. “Then I was like, ‘Hey, can we talk about some stuff that happened in Miami?,” she recalled. She wanted some clarity around his ex-girlfriend and to talk through the idea of a long distance relationship. "It’s still so early," she texted.
They had planned to talk the next day but she never heard from him. After several attempts to reach out, she started to worry. “It was a combination of ‘Is this person OK physically? Did something happen with his family?’ and ‘Did I do something wrong?’ But mostly, at that time, it was more concern for him,” she said.
A vague text a few days later piqued her anxiety. He apologized for not being in touch and closed with “My mind is going in a thousand different directions.” No phone call. No plan to talk again. No response going forward.
A few days later, Kelsey texted one more time: “I don’t know what’s happening. I’m really hurt. I guess I’m going to let this go? If you can ever tell me what happened, I would really appreciate it,” she sent.
Then came the analyzing of texts and conversations, searching for answers in social media, and the grief. “I felt less angry. I was just more very confused and hurt. I felt like this is his issue. He was just so avoidant. I think a lot of the time it’s just them not wanting to hurt you. It’s the path of least resistance," she said.
What To Do After Being Ghosted
According to licensed psychotherapist and trauma specialist Susan Zinn, ghosting is pretty common in today’s dating culture. “Yet, ghosting is still a passive and unhealthy breakup strategy, no matter how familiar," she said.
Why do people ghost? “Some ghosters perceive disappearing as the easiest and best way to handle a breakup since having a conversation to end a relationship can be unpleasant, takes time and energy, and requires managing emotions,” said Zinn.
Trying to get over a ghosting situation? Here are seven ways to cope :
- Double Down On Self Care. Ghosting can leave you feeling rejected and angry, and it can affect your mental health. “It is vital to build up your resilience and provide yourself with the self-compassion and self-care needed to heal,” said Zinn. Prioritize sleep, healthy eating, working out, and reducing stress. “Walking in the first 30 minutes of waking up and getting direct sunlight can also be a great way to reduce feelings of stress and anxiety," she added.
- Do Things That Make You Feel Grounded. "You may want to participate in activities that make you feel grounded, like heart-focused meditations or hobbies that fill you up with self-love on your healing journey," said Zinn. For example, during a walk, listen to all of the sounds around you and try to clear your mind of the toxic thoughts that can creep up when you're grieving the loss of a relationship. Prioritize taking care of yourself and giving yourself the self-love needed to build yourself up again.
- Find Gratitude. While their disappearing act can feel incredibly painful, it’s also a clear message who this person really is. “It is essential to be kind to yourself and remember that if someone ghosts you, they lack the emotional skills to handle the vulnerability to break up with you,” said Zinn. “They didn't have the maturity to have a healthy relationship that included mutual respect, thoughtfulness, emotional skills, and good communication.” Clearly, they weren't the right person for you anyway. Good riddance!
- Realize Your Worth. Kelsey was right to think that the issue was his, not hers. "Wish them well and know that there is a real opportunity for you to remind yourself that your worth and value is only up to you and not to anyone else," said Zinn. Journaling can help at a time like this - reminding yourself all the qualities you possess that would bring value to the right relationship.
- Choose Joy. While feeling all your feelings after being ghosted is hard work, you can always choose joy too. "Finding joy in the small things of your life whether that is simply lying in the grass with sunlight on your face or walking in a park can be incredibly healing. The magical thing about joy is it compounds; the more you experience it, the better you feel. Heart-focus breathing can also be helpful if you are ruminating too much. Remember, the more you fill yourself with the care, love, and joy in your life, your confidence will build," said Zinn.
- Seek Help. Whether you surround yourself with friends or reach out to a mental health professional, find ways to talk through your feelings as a way to heal and find closure. "Ghosting can reignite old patterns of wounding where you might have been previously rejected or abandoned by someone during your formative years. Seeking professional support may be an opportunity for growth to heal earlier memories as well as having friends and family surrounding you can offer support," said Zinn.
- Get Excited For What's To Come. While you may not feel like getting back into the dating world at this time, know that there is a future where you will meet someone who is kind, mature, and emotionally healthy. Be patient with your healing, take care of yourself, and know that you *will* move on and good things will come of it.
- 7 Signs Your Partner Is Gaslighting You - Brit + Co ›
- How to Say Goodbye to a Relationship With Minimal Heartbreak ... ›
- “Benching” Is the New Ghosting and It May Be Even Worse - Brit + Co ›
- The Psychology Behind Ghosting + A Better Way to Break Up - Brit + ... ›
- What Losing My Mother Taught Me About Grief and Creativity - Brit + Co ›
- Here's What "Gaslighting" Actually Means - Brit + Co ›
- 13 Breakup Texts To Help You End A Messy Relationship - Brit + Co ›
Theresa Gonzalez is a content creator based in San Francisco and the author of Sunday Sews. She's a lover of all things design and spends most of her days momming her little one Matilda.