Healing From Heartbreak |

Ghosting: What to Do When The One’ Vanishes into Thin Air

You thought this day would never come.

You’re weak at the knees. You’ve got butterflies. Your heart’s fluttering, a bird released from the cage’s confines into a vast and cloudless sky. You’ve kissed a lot of frogs in your time, but now…

You’ve met the most amazing person and you’re on top of the world!

You want to shout it from the highest rooftop, tell your neighbours, tell the postman, tell your nan’s dog: “I’ve met The One!”

Communication moves thick and fast. You banter over text, indulge in flirtatious twilight phone calls, exchange cute pictures of your respective breakfasts.

Things. Are. Happening.

You wonder how they’ll find it meeting your friends, maybe even your family…

Then comes a new day.

They’re the first thing on your mind when you wake up. Your head is full of them and you’re excited even to just text them…

You deliberate for no less than 30 seconds over whether or not to append a kiss emoji. No, you decide, a little too forward. Play the game.

10 minutes go by. Pretty unusual, you think. Communication has been going like the clappers of late. No problem. They’ll just be getting ready for work.

30 minutes. They’re obviously so crammed into the Tube they can’t get their hands free to text! They’re always saying how grim their commute is…

1 hour. Okay… Bit weird. You busy yourself at work and try to assuage your worries. Stop feeling needy! Don’t be desperate — that’s not attractive. You hover over the send button of a freshly written text:

You know you shouldn’t, but… Fuck it. Sent.

3 hours. I can’t let this distract me — I have work to do! But try as you might to put them out of your mind by putting your phone away, cranking out some excellent reports for your boss and really nailing a presentation for the trustees, you can’t help but give in to the first waves of self-doubt and anxiety. They lap at your conscience hour after hour, and still no text, no call.

You get home and pin fresh hope on the possibility that they left their phone at home and will be rushing back right now to apologise profusely.

No such luck. The radio silence continues.

But we went on dates! Brunch then cinema, dinner then… nightcap. You were so well matched. It makes absolutely no sense whatsoever.

What did I do? You begin scrolling back through your texts, checking for an inadvertent faux pas which could have caused retrospective offence or uncertainty on their part. Or maybe it was something you did on the date? Was it your face? Your scent? Your fundamental personality flaws? Perhaps the joke you cracked about your grandmother’s dentures? The fact you dropped scrambled egg on yourself and didn’t notice until you hugged goodbye and pressed it into their clothes?

You spend the evening alone, unable to concentrate or relax. A spiralling mentality of bewilderment and hurt begins to ebb perniciously into your psyche, and you can’t escape it.

This wasn’t a casual fling. You really felt a connection with this person. Even if they have (inexplicably) lost interest, they still seemed way too nice, too compassionate, to now just be disregarding your feelings like this… right?

CHAPTER 1

The conundrum of modern romance

Dating used to be a far simpler affair. You’d meet someone nice at a party, at work, at a bar. You’d get chatting, have some laughs. You might acquire their telephone number and, a few days later, make an exciting trip to your local phone box, pockets jangling with 10p coins, feeding the machine just one more to keep chatting a while longer… then one more… then another. Lonely hearts ads were a thing, sure, but they were more unusual and, up until as late as the dawn of the millennium, they were seen as a little odd, even desperate.

Dating apps make connecting with your fellow singletons extremely convenient, especially if you’re too busy to get out on the dating scene. They provide a seemingly infinite pool of potential romantic partners, and this makes any given individual on there seem more dispensable. However, if you want to get rid of a romantic interest from your life entirely, it’s also never been more convenient. If you met on a dating app, you’re only the press of Delete or Unmatch away from never hearing from a potential romantic interest again. It’s the convenience itself of dating apps that can ultimately prove to be your emotional downfall.

Dating apps generally work off GPS, so setting your preferred distance allows you to meet nearby singletons with whom you may be crossing paths but never actually bumping into. A lot of dating apps utilise information from your online social networks in order to find more matches. Matching with the friend of a friend discourages you from ignoring them. At some point, it’s going to get back to you and you’re going to have to explain yourself.

A lot of online dating matches, though, occur between strangers who share zero social circles. This is especially the case in large, affluent cities, to which people relocate from far and wide in order to seek the best job opportunities. The metropolis becomes a buzzing hive of online romantic activity — but people are fickle. They change their minds — then feel guilty and apprehensive of how they should continue.

Technology negates these problems. Just delete your match and cease all further communication. Simple!

…Except it’s not. Ghosting is a painful (and, for the nihilists amongst you, inevitable) consequence of the convenience of the modern dating scene.

CHAPTER 2

What is ghosting?

The abrupt, unexpected and total end to communication in a romantic relationship.

Ghosting can happen days, weeks or even months after the beginning of a promising, flirtatious, exciting romantic relationship. There’s no goodbye, no explanation, not even the clichéd It’s not you, it’s me text.

Technology means it’s extremely easy to remove from your life a person to whom you have no connection whatsoever. Electronic communication dominates and facilitates our lives to such an extent that the thought of having to let someone down gently, even just over text, becomes scary. Why would you put yourself through that when simply pretending they never existed produces the same result, minus all the anxiety? Press Delete or Unmatch and poof — they are gone from your own personal universe. They never existed.

CHAPTER 3

Let’s get statistical, statistical

In 2016, Plenty Of Fish found that a staggering 78% of millennials have been on the receiving end of ghosting. However, it would appear that the majority of people consider ghosting an unacceptable way of ending a relationship — at least in theory. There’s a lot of ambiguity in how individuals define a relationship, and it’s often the conclusion they come to about how serious the relationship is that influences their likelihood of subsequently ghosting someone.

In 2018, psychologist Gili Freedman and colleagues published a seminal piece of research on ghosting in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships. They found that 28% of people consider it acceptable to ghost someone after one date. 19.5% believe it’s okay to end a short-term relationship by ghosting, compared to only 4.7% who found it acceptable to end something long-term in this manner. Again, though, one person’s definition of short-term vs. long-term could vary dramatically from someone else’s.

Perhaps most tellingly of all, Freedman and her colleagues’ research found that 69% of people said that finding out that someone they knew had ghosted a romantic partner would lessen their opinion of them. This is fascinating. Ghosting would seem to be a case of Do as I say, not as I do. People seem aware on the whole that ghosting is just ‘wrong’ on some level — but, when it really comes down to it, many still do it in order to save themselves some grief, albeit at the expense of someone else’s emotions.

CHAPTER 4

First things first: have you definitely been ghosted?

Before we go any further, it’s absolutely crucial to make sure you have legitimately been ghosted. Whilst it might seem unlikely, there really are reasons that communication might have died. These reasons can be lumped into two categories.

  1. Technical issues. Have you changed your number and forgotten to tell them? Have you recently been experiencing communication issues over whatever medium you’ve been using? Technology is subject to all manner of malfunctions. If you’re not much of a tech whizz, a problem with your communication channel might have gone over your head. They might have even just dropped their phone down the loo (which by our estimations still counts as a ‘technical issue’ — sort of).
  2. Technical issues. Have you changed your number and forgotten to tell them? Have you recently been experiencing communication issues over whatever medium you’ve been using? Technology is subject to all manner of malfunctions. If you’re not much of a tech whizz, a problem with your communication channel might have gone over your head. They might have even just dropped their phone down the loo (which by our estimations still counts as a ‘technical issue’ — sort of).

It’s really difficult to judge where to draw the line: at what point do you stop thinking, This is just ridiculous now, and accept that they just don’t want to talk to you? It’s impossible to say; these things have to be taken on a case-by-case basis. All you can do is assess how the communication was going prior to their radio silence, consider whether anything clearly went wrong, and wait it out. If you retrospectively think that things actually weren’t going quite as swimmingly as they’d appeared then perhaps you are, indeed, on the receiving end of a ghosting.

If nothing whatsoever seemed to have gone wrong — if, in fact, things were going amazingly well — maybe you can hold out hope a while longer. At the end of the day, only you can make that call.

CHAPTER 5

Why do people ghost?

Man, it can feel cruel.

You’ve invested so much emotion into the idea of this person. You’ve invested time in getting to know them, whether over text or in person. If you’ve been on dates, it can hurt even more. After all, getting to know one another organically leads to trust and a real, intimate connection — or so you thought.

Conflict avoidance

Being a ghoster doesn’t make someone a bad person. They’re probably not doing it to hurt you or to be malicious or vindictive. They simply want the issue of not being interested in you to go away so they can carry on with their life. People don’t want to endure the hassle, the emotional turmoil, of a breakup, and now, with modern technology, they don’t have to. Psychologists refer to this as conflict avoidance.

It’s easy to point the finger at a ghoster and call them out for being immature, and maybe there’s some debate to be had there. However, in a culture that nurtures quick fixes and simple, cut-and-dried solutions, it could just as feasibly be argued that ghosting is an inevitable consequence of online dating.

Avoiding conflict is seductively straightforward. A ghoster doesn’t have to witness the pain and confusion they’re causing the ghostee. Furthermore, by actually engaging in a breakup conversation, a person is forced to confront the idea that they’ve done ‘wrong’ on some level. Perhaps they feel they’ve led the other person on; maybe they’re worried they’re going to cause more emotional harm to the person than they would if they merely faded away. They might even be annoyed with themselves for realising too late that they don’t like the person as much as they thought they did.

Fundamentally, admitting that you’re wrong is painful. And for good reason.

Cognitive dissonance

In their 2007 book Mistakes Were Made (But Not by Me), social psychologists Carol Tavris and Elliot Aronson explain that our aversion to admitting we’re in the wrong stems from the psychological phenomenon of cognitive dissonance,

the state of tension when a person holds two cognitions [ideas or beliefs] that are psychologically inconsistent. [Emphasis added.]

Smokers know that smoking is bad for their health, but they might still be working their way through several packets a day. We might idolise a celebrity, only to find out their political stance varies considerably from our own, then experience confusion as to how we should feel about them. These are examples of cognitive dissonance.

When it comes to ghosting, the cognitive dissonance a ghoster might feel most likely stems from the fact that people generally think of themselves as good, yet here they are directly causing someone pain. We are wired to think that we’re in the right. When something happens that goes against this belief, denial and self-justification come into play in order to alleviate our discomfort. Engaging in a breakup dialogue might seem like it would only exacerbate the other person’s pain, thus increasing cognitive dissonance even more. Ghosting, therefore, might appear to be a (selfish) solution to this problem.

Personal issues

Much as a ghoster seems like the villain in the narrative of our life — and there’s no doubt that adopting this way of thinking can be a source of comfort — it’s also true to say that the vast majority of people will experience at least some pang of guilt or embarrassment or some knock to their own self-respect if they ghost someone. As well as conflict avoidance and cognitive dissonance, there is a myriad of reasons someone might have ghosted you. You don’t know what goes on behind closed doors, so to speak. You don’t really know what their intentions were, what their relationship history is, how their romantic experiences have shaped their behaviour today.

Fear of rejection

This is a psychological force to be reckoned with. Whilst it may seem unbelievable, it sometimes can be the case that the ghoster actually liked you to the point where they became terrified that you would ghost them. By ghosting you, they thereby negate the possibility of that happening and ending up alone and feeling rejected… and, in doing so, leave you feeling exactly that.

Underdeveloped interpersonal skills

Letting someone down gently takes some level of empathy and compassion. If someone doesn’t have the emotional intelligence to do this, but is nevertheless aware that they don’t have this capacity, then ghosting might seem a reasonable option to them. By ghosting you, they don’t fuck things up further by making you feel you did something wrong, when in actual fact it might just be that they didn’t feel the chemistry, that spark of attraction.

Emotional issues

A lot of people grow up in environments in which they don’t have strong role models to base their relationships on. This might lead someone to develop a narcissistic personality as they grow into adulthood. Alternatively, perhaps they come from a really sad background and consider themselves fundamentally unlovable or undeserving of affection. This mindset can lead people to self-sabotaging behaviours. You can’t ever know for sure what was going through someone’s head.

CHAPTER 6

Advice for potential ghosters

Let’s flip this around for a moment.

As we’ve already seen, whilst many people find ghosting to be far below the social standard we’d all theoretically like to see upheld, it often seems the easiest option.

If you’re in a position where you’ve lost interest in someone whom you have been seeing romantically, you have several paths to consider. You might choose to ghost them. And hey, you know what? No judgement here. Most people have been there. You’re not a bad person — but it does mean you’re not affording them, as a human being with feelings, the modicum of respect that they deserve.

Obviously, this does not apply if the person is creepy or generally just a bit of a dick. This is, once again, a judgement call. It’s hard to know where to draw the line between someone whose oddness is down to them being misunderstood and where it’s simply down to them being a weird or nasty person. If you feel genuinely threatened or discomforted by this person, it’s absolutely fine and entirely understandable to immediately cease all communications with them.

A lot of the time, of course, things are nowhere near that extreme. It may just be you don’t fancy them, don’t find them interesting, don’t consider the two of you compatible, don’t like their views, their attitudes, their way of treating others when you’re out together. Putting together a well-thought-out, empathetic but nevertheless to-the-point breakup message (or even calling them and telling them, if you think you can face it) will generally pay you dividends in the long run.

By being honest, you can move on from the episode with a clean conscience, knowing that you did your utmost to let them down gently and do the right thing. Hey, they might not react well to it, but that’s their prerogative. At least you’ll be satisfied knowing that you tried — and, if they’re a reasonable person, they should, ultimately, respect you for being honest and not leaving them hanging.

CHAPTER 7

How to deal with being ghosted

There’s no playbook, no go-to guide on how to deal with this very modern emotional trauma (until now — you’re welcome).

The pain and confusion of being ghosted can leave you in a tempest of conflicting emotions. What exactly are you to do? Examine your faults and what precisely you did wrong? Figure out exactly what was wrong with them? Even just… try to move on?

Understand why it hurts so much

Even if you genuinely felt an intense connection with this person, it’s often not the loss of the relationship or the person that you are so sad about per se. It’s the major and unexpected disruption to your contentment. It’s the breaking down of fantastical hopes and wild, runaway dreams of long-term happiness. It’s the huge deflation of your self-esteem and valuation of your attractiveness and worth as a romantic partner. Where are you meant to go from here?

The initial reaction to happiness feeling being suddenly and inexplicably interrupted is shame. Add to that a deep sense of embarrassment — especially if you’ve been waxing lyrical to family and friends about having met the most amazing person ever — and you’ve got yourself a cocktail for deep emotional distress and — yep — cognitive dissonance. The dissonance in this case? Aligning your perception of both them and yourself as good people and desirable partners with the fact that this wasn’t actually the case after all. It’s no wonder you can’t sleep, can’t eat, can’t concentrate. Your brain is in overdrive.

Telling yourself that they must actually be a terrible person, untruthful, unkind and unattractive, is one way of attempting to patch up your self-esteem. No matter how hard you try, though, you know these things to not be true. Of course they’re not, because why else would you have liked them so much, and why would they now be dominating your thoughts?

Do not contact them

This is really, really hard. That’s okay. It was never going to be easy. But you know what? Do this and your own self-discipline will skyrocket. In the long run, you’ll be so much better off — and you could well enhance your self-respect, too. After all, remaining steadfast and standing strong, not needing anyone, being independent, remaining your own person… that all really counts for something.

You truly have to mean it when you cease your attempts at getting in touch with them. Don’t trick yourself into thinking you’re letting go, whilst all you’re actually doing is holding out hope that they’ll wonder why you stopped sending them a flurry of texts and get back in touch with you. You’ve got to mean it.

The impulse to find out what happened is painfully real. The tough reality, though, is that the very nature of ghosting means you probably won’t ever find out, especially if they’re a person with whom you have no mutual friends who could relay back to you.

If you send one text, it can be devilishly easy to slip into a cycle of sending another, then another. The worst thing to do in this situation, on top of what you’re already going through, is to then harass someone. Not only is that wrong on many levels, it’s also not good for your own wellbeing. Texting them that they’re an awful person, that they’re missing out, that you’re actually better off without them so thanks for saving you the trouble of having to break up with them… This is not the way to go about moving on. You need to vent, to rant, sure — but direct that frustration at the listening ear of a compassionate friend.

Ultimately, people owe you nothing. It’s harsh, but that’s how it is. It’s shitty etiquette, sure; they’ve caused you hurt. But at the end of the day, they don’t have to explain themselves to you. Every individual is their own person and how they choose to conduct themselves is their prerogative. It’s then up to others to decide how to judge their actions. You don’t have the right to lecture them, to educate them on why they’ve done you wrong.

Take the high road. Don’t become the dickhead. Be the bigger person.

If you send one text, it can be devilishly easy to slip into a cycle of sending another, then another. The worst thing to do in this situation, on top of what you’re already going through, is to then harass someone. Not only is that wrong on many levels, it’s also not good for your own wellbeing. Texting them that they’re an awful person, that they’re missing out, that you’re actually better off without them so thanks for saving you the trouble of having to break up with them… This is not the way to go about moving on. You need to vent, to rant, sure — but direct that frustration at the listening ear of a compassionate friend.

Ultimately, people owe you nothing. It’s harsh, but that’s how it is. It’s shitty etiquette, sure; they’ve caused you hurt. But at the end of the day, they don’t have to explain themselves to you. Every individual is their own person and how they choose to conduct themselves is their prerogative. It’s then up to others to decide how to judge their actions. You don’t have the right to lecture them, to educate them on why they’ve done you wrong.

Take the high road. Don’t become the dickhead. Be the bigger person.

Be honest with yourself

By definition, ghosting comes out of nowhere. But it’s equally true that humans have a tendency to blind themselves to others’ faults when they really like someone — or when they really want to like someone. In retrospect, you may come to see that you were overlooking some red flags in that person, and only now do you understand them in the light of the fact that they’ve ghosted you.

Furthermore, if someone doesn’t have the decency to tell you they’re not interested and instead thinks the best course of action is to vanish into thin air, surely you’re better off without them? Is that kind of behaviour really indicative of the personality of someone whom you desire, or can even envisage, a long-term and meaningful relationship with?

And you know what else? Even if this person hadn’t ghosted you, you should consider the possibility that an endless stream of lame excuses pathetically petering out over a prolonged period of time might have made you feel just as bad as you are now, if not worse.

Acknowledge your pain

It’s one thing to know you’re hurting, quite another to accept it as a fact of life.

What does your hurt say about you? It means you’re a caring person. Why? Because you wanted this to be something. You have love to give. You deemed this person to be an individual worthy of your love. When it feels like this has all been thrown back in your face, it can really fucking hurt.

Open up to a friend. Explain to them in no uncertain detail exactly what you’re going through. We all need to be heard from time to time, especially in times of emotional distress. Get a fresh pair of eyes on the situation, so to speak. A more objective voice could be just what you need in order to shape your thoughts, rationalise what you’re experiencing and consolidate a stronger approach to how you’re going to deal with it. A guiding hand might stop you making a rash decision that you’ll later regret deeply.

Be kind to yourself

There’s no shame in saying that you’ve been hurt. Emotional trauma can take its toll, so it’s important that you fill your life with things that make you happy during this time of pain. Wallowing is the worst thing you could do right now. It will only make you feel worse and it achieves nothing in moving you forward.

The value of your friends really comes into play here. Phone someone up, go for coffee, lunch, whatever. Talk about what’s happened and why you’re hurting. Your friend will shed insight on the situation, perhaps espouse a little wisdom that you really needed to hear and that has the power of changing your perspective.
The strength of the research showing the benefits to mental health of exercise and mindfulness is staggering and incontrovertible. Go for a run, burn off some frustration at the gym, make a healthy, hearty meal. Get some quality sleep, meditate, practice yoga. All of these work towards reducing your body’s production of cortisol, the primary stress hormone, which in turn reduces physical pain and emotional strain.

Moreover, as hard as it sounds, try not to blame yourself. This is easier said than done, but, at the end of the day, you just don’t know why they’ve ghosted you. Unless you accidentally set fire to the tablecloth 20 minutes into your first date, you can’t be sure that it’s even anything to do with you. They might have just got cold feet, or have had bad relationship experiences in the past, or just weren’t ready for something serious. Sure, the way they’ve gone about cutting things off leaves a lot to be desired, but, ultimately, shit happens. It’s not all about you.

And you know what? You deserve better than someone who’s willing to be a ghoster. Remember that.

The strength of the research showing the benefits to mental health of exercise and mindfulness is staggering and incontrovertible. Go for a run, burn off some frustration at the gym, make a healthy, hearty meal. Get some quality sleep, meditate, practice yoga. All of these work towards reducing your body’s production of cortisol, the primary stress hormone, which in turn reduces physical pain and emotional strain.

Moreover, as hard as it sounds, try not to blame yourself. This is easier said than done, but, at the end of the day, you just don’t know why they’ve ghosted you. Unless you accidentally set fire to the tablecloth 20 minutes into your first date, you can’t be sure that it’s even anything to do with you. They might have just got cold feet, or have had bad relationship experiences in the past, or just weren’t ready for something serious. Sure, the way they’ve gone about cutting things off leaves a lot to be desired, but, ultimately, shit happens. It’s not all about you.

And you know what? You deserve better than someone who’s willing to be a ghoster. Remember that.

Try to understand

Whilst it’s tempting to view the ghoster as the antagonist in the story of your life, it’s entirely possible that they truly believed that ghosting you was the best course of action.

It’s hard, but take a moment to consider their perspective. They can see how much you like them, but let’s suppose they don’t have the words to engage in a compassionate breakup dialogue. Heck, maybe they don’t have the courage either — but it doesn’t necessarily follow that they’re a bad person.

As much as it hurts, just remember that there’s no easy solution to this situation. Even though they’ve conducted themselves in a way that leaves much to be desired, perhaps they just thought they were choosing the lesser of two evils: engage in a long-winded, lame-sounding dialogue about how It’s not you, it’s me, or just cut you out altogether.

Alternatively — and you might not want to hear this — maybe it was you. Think back. Were you rude at any point? Standoffish? Seemingly disinterested in what they had to say? Perhaps you came across a little intense, or desperate, or weird. Remember cognitive dissonance: whilst it’s hard to accept when we ourselves have done something wrong, maybe you need to allow for the possibility that you did. Again, this isn’t to say that you’re a bad person, but it could mean that the two of you just weren’t well suited.

Think about it: they don’t know you, and first impressions are everything. If all they have to go off is the fact that you didn’t come across too well, it would follow that they wouldn’t want to see you again. And maybe it’s not even that you did something wrong; perhaps you simply challenged them in a way they weren’t expecting, or they held a significantly different belief to your own. In that case, would you really have been that compatible anyway?

Try to understand

You know the single most important thing you need to hear right now?

You cannot control other people.

You have no power whatsoever over what people think of you, just as no-one has jurisdiction over your mind. One way or the other, you will have to move on.

You might feel like throwing the next person who says to you “There are plenty more fish in the sea” out of the nearest window — but the thing about clichés is that they become clichés because they are grounded in truth. Moping around will not solve anything, and there truly are so, so many individuals out there with whom you could feel a strong romantic connection.

Oftentimes after having been ghosted, a person will engage in a string of casual, meaningless relationships. If this is what you need in order to get through, fair enough, but always be mindful that the excitement of an attractive stranger can quickly stale and metamorphose into regret. Sex doesn’t equal romance, and if you go into a fling hoping that you can convince yourself otherwise then you might only end up causing yourself more pain.

Try to work through your hurt methodically. See it as an obstacle that has been placed in your life with the sole purpose of building you up as a person, fortifying your resilience to misfortune and sadness. Spend time doing what truly makes you happy, be it spending time with friends and family, engaging in a hobby, listening to music, exercising, cooking, running, reading. Don’t hold back. Now more than ever, you need to be bathed in those things in your life that truly make you feel alive and happy.

Furthermore — and this is perhaps the most difficult step of all — resist any urge to look at what they’re up to. Delete their texts, their photos. Delete their number. Block them on social media. Analysing what they’re up to now serves no purpose whatsoever and will make you feel shit. You won’t find any information that will make you feel better or satisfied, and you only set yourself up for a prolonged bout of misery.

Let’s say that your clamouring for attention actually works. Let’s say they tell you the truth. I don’t find you attractive; or, I just found someone I liked better. Is hearing that really going to help you in any way whatsoever? As Harris O’Malley, host of advice podcast Paging Dr. Nerdlove, says,

In reality, the answers you get for why you were ghosted are almost always going to be even more gutting, and almost always will make things worse.

Don’t put yourself through that. Deep down, you know there’s no need.

Furthermore, don’t start behaving in a way that someone might reasonably refer to as ‘stalking’. Don’t walk past their workplace or a bar you know they frequent in the hope of a ‘coincidental’ rendezvous. You will seriously freak them out and that’s not okay. Stuff like that gets people in a lot of trouble with the law. Even regardless of the wrongness of stalking in itself, any kind of stalking behaviour is also really bad for you. It’s detrimental to your emotional recovery because it entails extensive periods of intensive thinking about the very person whom you are trying to move on from.

The harsh reality is that they just weren’t into you. That sucks, and ghosting is poor etiquette whatever way you look at it. However, you’re not going to end up with this person. True love should never require an effort to make someone like you.

It’s time to move on.

 

CHAPTER 8

You’ll be alright

Technology moves far quicker than do our social norms. Societal etiquette lags far behind the heady, wondrous advances of modern science. But just because it’s now easier than ever before to delete a human being from your own personal universe in order that you can move on painlessly with your life, it doesn’t mean you should. Your smartphone doesn’t exempt you from the social contract of respecting your fellow human that we all agree to when we go out in the world.

If you’re the one who has been ghosted, and you don’t feel that you’ve been afforded the respect of a straightforward breakup dialogue, maybe you’re just far better off without them. Why allow someone’s actions — or lack thereof — to cripple your self-respect with self-doubt, tar your self-worth and self-love with self-analysis?

Truly acknowledge the fact that everyone is different, that things didn’t work out and that it clearly just was not meant to be. Pointing the finger and indulging in bitterness won’t help you in the slightest. You can be better, stronger, than that. They decided to not face up to their fears and just engage in a breakup dialogue, but it doesn’t mean you have to do the same.

Face your fears. Accept that it really fucking hurts, then buckle up, do whatever you need to do to feel better about yourself and the world around you, then move on. You’ll become a much stronger, wiser, stabler person because of it.

Don’t lose faith in love. It’s out there for all of us.

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