What is Ghosting? And What to Do if it Happens to You

Editor’s Note: Ghosting is considered a cowardly breakup behavior. It plays havoc on its victims. What is ghosting? And what should you  do if it happens to you? Leah Marshall explains…

What is ghosting? Put simply: it’s when someone you’ve been dating simply cuts off communication without any explanation. And it happened to me.
It was that lump-in-your-throat moment. I’d been having the best time dating this guy. The connection was electric. Our conversations were a delicious blend of playful, flirty banter mixed with deeper moments of honesty and openness. The attraction was wildly distracting and took me to a place I’d been longing to feel for a while. And then he just disappeared.
I’d forgotten how much it hurt— all of it.  Missing his touch, the way his funny texts put the biggest smile on my face, the lovely anticipation of our incredible dates, knowing how much I turned him on and the intoxicating feeling of being turned on too.
In that moment and in the days that followed, I felt a horrible mix of embarrassment, sadness, and loss. It’s easy to blame yourself and beat yourself up when someone you’re intimately connected to rejects you, especially when it happens without a conversation or closure.

But Recovery is Possible…

After a few days of escaping into cheesy Hallmark movies and cookie dough ice cream, I did what I always do when I don’t know what to do— I turned to my mentors.  Over the following weeks, I got my hands on every dating, attraction, and relationship podcast and YouTube video that I could find.
Suddenly, something weird happened. I began to feel grateful. Grateful for the magical moments that we shared and the intense emotions that he brought out in me, that I hadn’t felt in ages. And maybe even more importantly, grateful for the opportunity to discover more about myself, about men, and about relationships that I hadn’t until now.
Below are some of my favorite lessons and links to the videos that got me there. If you’re currently dealing with a breakup, I hope this helps you to appreciate everything the relationship gave you and extract all the valuable lessons that resulted from it ending.

Lesson 1: F*ck Closure

Your time is the treasure of your life— the most valuable thing you’ll ever have.  Don’t waste it on seeking closure from a person who, by his actions, has shown you he’s not worthy of it.  Instead…

Lesson 2: Reflect, Learn, & Grow

Don’t blame yourself or beat yourself up. Instead, consider what you could do differently or better with your next guy. Do you have negative behaviors that are a pattern in your relationships? Responding by improving and growing is always the answer, even in situations where it isn’t your fault.
Here were some of the mistakes I discovered:

  1. I fell for his potential, an idealized version of him, rather than the real man in front of me and sold myself on him far too soon, before he had a chance to prove himself to me.
  2. I believed his words, not his actions. Someone’s words show you who they aspire to be— their actions tell you who they are. People are always showing you who they are.  If their actions don’t match their words, judge their actions first.
  3. I invested in him and the idea of us based on the incredible connection I felt.  You should never invest in a man or a relationship based on the attraction you feel.  Instead, invest based on how much he invests in you.

Lesson 3: Change Your Story

All events are neutral—  it’s the meaning we ascribe to them that makes us feel a certain way. You can reframe any experience. In the case of a breakup, that can mean shifting from believing, “I got rejected” or “I’m not good enough” to, “I just learned an incredible lesson that will make me better in my future relationships.”

Lesson 4: Get Grateful

Gratitude is one of the most powerful emotions and life hacks out there. What did this relationship or breakup teach you that you can be grateful for? Maybe it’s the memories of incredible moments together.
Perhaps it’s the fact that it happened now (instead of a year from now) so that you’re free to move on and be with someone better. Maybe it’s the lessons you learned about yourself and the opposite sex. Whatever it is, gratitude has a unique power to move you from a negative state (self-pity, anger, or sadness) and prepare you to…

Lesson 5: Make New Moments

When you’re ready to move on, don’t focus on finding love — it’s too big, too overwhelming. Instead, simply seek out amazing moments. Open yourself up to an unexpected conversation with a stranger. You can flirt with an attractive guy. Compliment a random person on the street. Or do an unexpected favor for someone.
If you found this helpful, I’d love for you to share it with someone who might benefit.
Remember that relationships are about potential — don’t give up on yours because your all wasn’t good enough for the wrong guy. The right person is always the person who chooses you.
Most important, if you’re dealing with heartache take time to reflect on how you can bring an even better version of yourself to your next relationship, reframe the experience into a positive event, shift into gratitude, and move on to having spectacular new moments.  There truly are amazing people out there waiting to meet you right now.

Read More on the ManTalks Blog

How to Get Over Someone (The Modern Day Guide)
What to Do When She Doesn’t Want Sex Anymore
What it’s Like To Be The Guy She Fucks, But Never Loves
Nice Guy Syndrome… And How to Beat it

Leah Marshall leads strategic partnerships and new business development for a Chicago-based marketing company.

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