How to respond to ghosting!
With our ever-changing dating culture continuously inventing new terms and toxic behaviors that make it harder to forge a genuine relationship, ghosting might seem like old news to you.
However, it has turned out to be one of the modern dating behaviors people like to use the most to get out of an uncomfortable situation and is just getting crueler.
While I have never ghosted someone, I have experienced it with a few men that were as quick to lose interest as they had gained it.
And after a while, you start to get used to it and almost expect it from your male counterparts if your last message goes unanswered for more than 2 days.
It sucks, it hurts, it has become the norm.
When it happens to you, you might think that you are about to lose your mind, but hold on girl, because I am giving you the deeds on how to respond to ghosting.
What is ghosting in dating
There is no rule for how long two people have to be dating before it is deemed ghosting.
However, when a person suddenly cuts off all communication without explanation and oftentimes without responding to text messages or phone calls it means you have been ghosted. And it becomes hard to know how to respond to ghosting when it happens.
This controversial tactic has only been around for a little more than a decade when the first-ever definition for ghosting appeared in the Urban Dictionary in 2007.
When a person cuts off all communication with the person they’re dating, without an explanation or notice beforehand.
Unfortunately, the term and the practice did not disappear but have become more common practice since 2013 when Tinder and other online dating apps further disrupted the dating landscape.
Because of the sheer amount of dating options nowadays, a lot of men and women use this tactic to get out of a situation that seems less than ideal. Rather than formally ending the relationship by admitting their non-interest they avoid, ignore or block the other person hoping that he or she will get the hint. Rude!
But how do you know if you have been ghosted?
Signs you are being ghosted
1. His interest dropped drastically
The very first sign that someone is about to ghost you is if there is a very sudden drop in his interest to talk to you, see you or get to know you.
He might either have met someone else and does not want to pursue you any longer or he might have realized that the two of you are not his idea of a good match and is trying to get rid of you.
2. You initiate all conversation
Once he has reached that point and made his decision that he wants to go MIA, you will slowly notice that he is not initiating conversations and getting more distant in his texts. He might drop one-word answers or fail to return questions about how you are doing etc.
3. He is suddenly very busy
Another one of the signs that you’ve been ghosted is that he bails on plans you agreed to before.
If he mentioned taking you out on a hike or to a college football game at your first date and now suddenly has several excuses whenever you follow up, it means that he is getting ready to exit stage left. Because someone that is truly interested will make time for you.
4. He ignores your texts/ phone calls
This one is the most obvious, and that is that he goes MIA for days or weeks.
He doesn’t answer your last text messages, even if you follow up with a question mark (the audacity). Or he rejects your phone calls saying he will call you back later, but never does.
5. He drops in and out of your life
Last but certainly not least, is the serial-ghoster. He drops in and out of your life acting as if nothing happened.
And every time he comes back he has a plausible explanation, such as he was busy, he was stressed or my favorite one, he needed time to think. All these might be good excuses for your middle school crush but not for a grown man. Because adults talk.
These are obvious signs that you are being ghosted and they suck. But once you notice this behavior it’s your next move and how you respond to a guy that ghosted you that will decide who goes out as a winner.
How to respond to ghosting
First, let me preface that how you deal with ghosting largely depends on how much time you spent with the other person before they suddenly went MIA.
Some people might be ghosted before the first date and therefore find it much easier to cut their losses and move on. Other people, might be involved with someone for as long as 1 year and more (yes, I have heard it all) and therefore be affected much more.
However, the best way how to handle being ghosted is by following these steps:
1. Acknowledge you are hurt
No matter the duration of your situationship or relationship, ghosting hurts and it’s ok to admit it. For days, weeks, or months you thought that there is a real chance of a romantic connection. And now you painfully find out that the other person does not even respect or value you enough to break up properly.
So admit that you are shaken up and confused. Find a way to release your frustration that does NOT involve the other person, such as praying, journaling or venting to a friend.
2. Reject rejection
Once you got the frustration off your chest, question your thoughts. If you are pissed because the other person’s lack of etiquette caught you off-guard, it’s fine. But if you find yourself depressed and hopeless because of the idea that he rejected you, then stop right now.
Understand that ghosting says nothing about you and everything about the other person. It only reveals how he deals with confrontation. It does not say that you are not beautiful enough, are not funny enough or are not good enough.
It only says that he is a coward and did not have the courage to tell you that he is not that into you.
3. Don’t go looking for closure
When a guy ghosts you, you must keep your dignity. So the last thing you should do is ask him for closure or an explanation of why he is a douchebag. Instead, accept his foul behavior as closure and file it under ‘thank you, next’. Because a man that can’t even tell a woman that he is not interested is not ready to be in an emotionally mature relationship.
4. Do the inner work to raise your energy
When you are being ghosted in a relationship, it can oftentimes lower your self-esteem and make you wonder what is wrong with you or what you did wrong to trigger that behavior. As mentioned before, reject these thoughts, but also do the necessary work to build yourself up again.
Create a set of self-love affirmations you tell yourself every time a limiting belief creeps up on you. Treat yourself to feel-good experiences such as a bubble bath, a good meal or family time and do things that remind you that you are a great catch. Because he is the one that missed out, not you.
5. Celebrate! You dodged a bullet
In the end, the silver lining in all this is that the other person was not right for you. And whenever that is the case you should be happy when you find out. Especially if it is early on in the dating phase.
Because identifying one more frog on your way to the relationship you desire and deserve means you are closer to your prince.
As you can see the best way to answer the question ‘how to respond to ghosting?’ is by not responding at all to him.
No matter if you have been a victim before or not, you most likely know someone that has been ghosted before. So, you might have asked yourself “why do people ghost?”. And I’m sad to report that the psychology behind ghosting is very strange and in my opinion a sign of immaturity.
Here are a few.
It’s not ‘THAT’ serious
Unfortunately, with all so many options in dating nowadays, and a culture in which we don’t require commitment anymore for physical and emotional intimacy, people increasingly have a harder time identifying the lines. When is a relationship serious? When is a relationship exclusive? When is a relationship official?
What you might consider serious, he might consider casual and therefore does not see the need for a formal break-up.
Having to confront someone is uncomfortable for some people. They dread the scene the other person will make or having to justify their decision. To avoid all that, they slowly vanish from your life, which is meant to give you a hint that they are not interested any longer.
Does not want to hurt you
As crazy as this might sound many men believe that ghosting is actually better for the other person because they aren’t hurting their feelings by telling them they don’t want to date anymore.
Therefore, instead of breaking your heart by being upfront they decide to break your heart by being sneaky.
Fear of being the ‘bad guy’
The ultimate ’WTH’ belief behind ghosting to me is this one. Men who do not want to be seen as the bad guy. Instead of being the one to admit that they aren’t feeling you and prefer someone else, they want you to be upset with them. So they display unacceptable behavior, thus urging you to dump them eventually.
The worst thing with this guy is that he is the most likely to come back after a while. But more on that below.
All these thought patterns are a sign of cowardice. People who think like that convince themselves that their behavior is fine and much better than being truthful with the other person.
Why ghosting hurts so much
According to psychologists, ghosting can have a pretty serious effect on someone’s mental health.
Our brains perceive the emotional pain experienced through social rejection as the same kind as physical pain. However, because the emotional distress caused by ghosting is much harder to cure than physical pain it oftentimes leads to a more distraught impact.
Women who experience ghosting in a relationship experience greater anxiety because the sudden radio silence without explanation gives you no clue how to react because you don’t know what is going on.
On days 1 and 2 you might think the other person is simply busy, on days 3 and 4 you might get worried about his well-being and after a week you might have moved on from worry to anger.
This whirlwind of emotions is triggered by the absence of social cues that would have allowed you to find the appropriate reaction.
And the worst thing about ghosting is that it leaves you powerless. The fact that you did not get an explanation, makes you question your sanity, your behavior and if you are good enough.
Because ghosting is a form of silent treatment it is considered a form of emotional cruelty and therefore no wonder it leaves emotional scars.
What to do when a guy who ghosted you comes back
Now that you understand the psychology behind ghosting, you can see that most of these points show that a man that ghosts you is immature when it comes to dating.
However, that doesn’t mean he can’t learn. And quite frankly, as always men will only do this with women they are not really interested in.
So how to reply to a guy who ghosted you?
When a guy who ghosted you comes back and now wants another chance at dating you, you have to take the following into account:
He did not care ‘enough’ about you the first time.
Truth is, he disappeared without any explanation, making you wonder what went wrong and if you were at fault. In dating, I always insist that your priority is you. Therefore, if someone hurts you, you have to put your own well-being first and avoid them at all costs.
So, if his first disappearing act caused you a lot of stress and anxiety, then you need to confront him to find out if he is apologetic about his behavior and what his reason was.
If he doesn’t feel remorse or has no plausible explanation other than ‘I was busy’, then he clearly does not deserve a second chance.
Because he doesn’t see his fault and is most likely going to repeat the same pattern over and over again.
But if he regrets his action and honestly shares his thinking behind it, then that’s a good start and you now have to decide if the relationship is worth it.
What was the relationship like when you were dating? How do you feel about him now? Can you forgive him for ghosting you?
Whatever you decide, make sure you look at the whole picture and don’t romanticize that he came back. Take note of the past and act accordingly in the future.