So You've Been Ghosted. Now What?
Most people would be hard-pressed to find an experience more disheartening than being ghosted. There is nothing more painful than putting your heart and soul into a potential relationship, only to get left standing in the (metaphorical) rain.
Unfortunately, ghosting is happening more and more frequently, and you need to know what to do when it happens to you.
Here are three tips for keeping your sanity after being ghosted.
Use your “wise mind"
Psychologist and therapy developer, Dr. Marsha Linehan, coined the term "Wise Mind" to refer to the part of your brain that helps you act in the direction of your values. A wise mind is a blend between emotions and logic — the part of your brain that has your back.
A wise mind helps you avoid black-and-white thinking (i.e., "people love me or hate me") or catastrophic thinking (i.e., "because someone doesn’t message me back that means they hate me and never want to see me again"). A wise mind helps you remember that there are a lot of reasons why someone might ghost (including family or health issues, competing priorities, lack of interest, etc.) and that ghosting may or may not have anything to do with you.
When in doubt, ask the wise part of you.
Be kind to yourself
Remember that criticizing yourself doesn’t help the situation. It won't make the person come back or respond to your text.
Any kind of dating is challenging, but online dating is particularly difficult. Give yourself some credit. Talk to yourself like you would talk to a dear friend. Remember that you are brave just by putting yourself out there. Remember that being ghosted is painful no matter who you are or how many times it happens. And take care to speak kindly to yourself.
Self-compassion allows us to recognize that suffering is a shared human characteristic, and ghosting is a shared human experience. We’ve all been ghosted before, and it’s painful. You aren’t alone in your struggle.
Accept the facts — but nothing more
When something happens that can’t be changed, it is crucial to practice acceptance. Fighting reality not only doesn’t change the situation, it increases our emotional suffering. We use acceptance to reduce suffering and ground us in what is.
But acceptance means accepting the facts only. It doesn’t mean accepting feared outcomes.
When we get ghosted, we often fall into the trap of thinking that we not only have to accept that we were ghosted, but that we will never be in a relationship, never have a family, and never be loved. Which is simply not the facts of the situation.
All you need to accept is that someone you care about stopped contacting you. You don’t "accept" that you won’t find someone, that you’re unlovable, that you’re broken — because those are fears, not facts.
Control what you can, but when something is not controllable, accept what is to reduce your suffering.
Ghosting sucks. But don’t fret — you have options to cope with it.
Remember to use your wise self. Get in tune with your values and shut down any thinking that is too extreme or unhelpful. Be kind to yourself by remembering that ghosting is a shared human experience and that it’s not your fault. Accept the facts of the situation, but be careful not to accept the fears.
Now you can spend less time worried about ghosting and more time on yourself.