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Tania is currently the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of The Hudsucker and an Associate Editor at Womanista. With past writing credits as a freelance writer and journalist with Quietly, the International Women's Media Foundation (IWMF), and NBC News' Newsvine, she is currently a member of Indianapolis based, Society of Professional Journalists—one of the oldest organizations in the US that promotes and represents journalists. As a writer by vocation and entrepreneur by nature, Tania is a life long learner who enjoys traveling and meeting new people. She is an avid Indianapolis Colts, Elvis Presley, and baseball fan as well as a lover of pancakes and fine cheeses, film, and music. Tania is a Hoosier at heart with a passionate wanderlust for always traveling and road-tripping across the great United States. She is currently attending Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana and studying journalism. Follow Tania on Twitter: @westlifebunny.

How to Deal with Being Ghosted and Ease the Heartbreak

Though it may seem like a new phenomenon, “ghosting” is quite possibly the most earth-shattering way to break up with someone and has become a huge part of our growing culture. Regarded as a way of cutting off all communication with an individual without any valid explanation, ghosting is not only the most disrespectful and pusillanimous way to get out of a relationship, but sadly the worst and fastest way millennials break up in the 21st century.

{Image Credit: We Heart It}

With the integration of social media and the profiles we build online, ghosting is a behavior heavily driven by technology and convenience, making it harder for one to understand or come to terms with. It brings along anxiety, low self-esteem, and severe mental pain. In a study from the 1980s, it was discovered when one person ends a relationship through avoidance, it is likely to generate anger and hurt for the recipient. However, unexpectedly, it affects the ghost with long-term repercussions as the recipient often confronts the ghost, creating an awkward and uncontrollable situation.

For the ghost hoping to avoid conflict, confrontations not only feel humiliating, but also end up negatively affecting both parties than just originally communicating openly. The study explains the lasting cost of guilt a ghost feels, “even if the other party passively accepts the avoidance action, the terminator faces the lingering cost of knowing that he or she took the coward’s way out of the relationship.” While we know having the breakup conversation isn’t an easy one to have because no one wants to really hear about how the end of a relationship affects the other person, by ghosting someone you genuinely care about, the repercussions fall on the ghost and builds anxiety over time.

In a survey from ELLE magazine, it was discovered that 27% of women and 13% of men have both been ghosted. With social media growing each day and people looking for a lifestyle reflective of their touch-of-a-finger routine, it’s no doubt these numbers will increase over the years.

So whether it’s a boyfriend who never calls back or a platonic relationship with a friend who just vanishes out of thin air, there are ways to deal with being ghosted and find yourself at a place of inner peace.

You’re not at fault:

When you’ve been ghosted, it’s important to know (and realize) this is more about the “ghoster” than it is about you. You might have been the most caring person in the world, showering someone you considered a lover or friend with an immense amount of affection. When the act of ghosting occurs though, just know it’s not about you. It’s the ghost’s fault for not reciprocating and being civil. Of course, you can feel mad at this for even happening because you understand human decency and how language is one of the most effective tools to communicate. However, not everyone is created equal and not everyone is as receptive or communicative as you might be. Don’t beat yourself up for someone else’s shortcomings and don’t sit around wondering over conversations you could have had to make it a better situation. At the end of it all, you might never get an answer. Letting a ghost overrun your thoughts and emotions is burdensome, so keep them out and know you’re the bigger person.

{Image Credit: Getty Images/Photographer’s Choice}

 Accept that it’s over:

One of the worst things about ghosting is coming to terms with the realization that you have been faded out of someone’s life. You might be waiting for a response, emailing them constantly and start questioning if your messages have even been received. You start to rely on memory and make excuses for their behavior, but the fact of the matter is, it’s happened and there’s no turning back. Without sounding cold, as Taylor Swift best puts it, “Shake It Off,” and accept that it’s over. The coping process is never easy because it invokes false hope and excuses for the other person. But by accepting that it’s over, you will help yourself recover from the disappointment and heal in an appropriate manner from the heartbreak.

Embrace your feelings:

When any relationship ends, it leaves a hole in your heart and gaps in your schedule. As American author and journalist, Joan Didion shares, “A single person is missing for you and the whole world is empty.” From time-to-time, you might find yourself grieving such an emptiness, but the important part is to embrace it. If you cry, cry. If you want to sit all day in your pajamas, do it. Only you know how it feels, so take your time and focus on you. That said, don’t be afraid to fill your life with positive activities like a new type of workout or a class that’s always interested you. Anything that is self-supportive and caters to your own success is helpful in the healing process. However you choose to feel better, nurture your existence by eating well, getting out and focusing on your own needs. You are important.

Spend time with friends:

Your real friends are always going to be there for you without ever pulling a cruel ghosting act. Surround yourself with not just positive people, but positive and true friends. Be as social as you can be when nursing this wound and call up your BFFs, hang out with them and do various activities, or just share your feelings over comfort food and drinks. They will understand you and reassure you that though these things happen, you never have to fret about losing them.

Stay off social media:

{Image Credit: Shutterstock}

If the ghost is on your social media accounts, it’s essential to cut them off like gangrene. Nothing puts salt in the wound like knowing they’re around but not really around. When someone is as non-responsive as a ghost, it speaks volumes about their interests and this will only make you feel worse about yourself. Though it might be tempting to obsessively follow that individual on various accounts in an effort to feel closer to them and find clues as to why they bailed on you, you will end up feeling lonelier and prolong the necessary mourning period the relationship so rightfully deserves.

Forgive them:

Let’s be honest. This is an essential step, but isn’t one everyone is able to do. Forgiveness is good for the one doing the forgiving because it contributes to your own healing and the damage done by the ghost. It is also an effective form of closure. Even if you never get a chance to tell the forgiver that you forgive them, keep it in your mind that you do. Feelings of anger, bitterness and resentment can fester up if you don’t set yourself free from those emotions. Forgiving someone gives you power and is ultimately a gift we give ourselves. It’s not that you’re doing them a favor by letting go of the resentment, but it’s that you’re caring for yourself mentally and emotionally, and presenting yourself with high value. By forgiving someone you once cared for who ghosted you, you’re giving yourself peace of mind and letting go of any grudges you might have against them. We all have a choice in life to be happy or unhappy, and this is one of the first steps to help you live your life on your own terms, in the most complete way.

Have you ever been ghosted or been the ghost? Share with us how you coped in the comments below.

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6 Comments on “How to Deal with Being Ghosted and Ease the Heartbreak”

  1. caniputitonmyface November 9, 2015 at 10:29 pm #

    I didn’t cope. I deleted all his contact information and cried like a small child.

    • Lana Daisy March 20, 2016 at 10:16 am #

      It hurts a lot. In my case it was a friend, but a wonderful friend I would have trusted my life with. Or so I thought. I’m still not over it, but this article is really helpful. ::sigh:: I think it just takes time.

      • caniputitonmyface March 20, 2016 at 10:44 pm #

        I would still do anything for the person. And the deleted contact info? Well it’s burned into my memory forever anyway.

  2. jennm01 November 10, 2015 at 4:14 pm #

    This is beautifully written. Your post was exactly what I had to read to reassure myself that I need to move on. Thank you

  3. CV March 27, 2016 at 12:45 pm #

    Ghosted after 3 years. I was supposedly the love of his life, but now I know it was more like infatuation. And we aren’t young kids; both of us are middle aged adults with much life experience. But he apparently didn’t learn the proper way to face unpleasant convo’s. Definitely took the coward’s way out. I’m still sad, but I know that relationship over the long haul would have been doomed anyway. I need a real man who has a pair and can own up to life’s challenges and not bury himself in avoidance. I’m going to be ok and hope to meet a true man when the time is right-but if I don’t, I’ll still be ok with just being me.

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