You never know when the moment is going to come, but deep in your subconscious you know that it is on its way and that you are dreading its arrival more than Monday morning after a weekend of drinking.
Maybe it is after the third text that goes unanswered, or the fourth Snapchat message that goes unopened; maybe it is after realizing your witty banter has turned to radio silence, or maybe it is finally acknowledging what you have now known for days or even weeks: You’ve been ghosted.
Much like the five stages of grief, you are about to enter the five stages of ghosting that you probably weren’t even aware of but are nearly a foregone certainty.
First comes confusion: “Did they really ghost me?” There will be times when you see it coming, like when you have a date that could have gone better or when something happened the last time you spoke that caused a riff in your relationship. And then there will be times when you don’t know what the hell happened.
One moment everything is fine and you two are (what felt like) mutually happy with one another. There was no fight to drive a wedge between you, and there were no words said that someone wished they could take back. Everything seemed normal until the moment it wasn’t.
Next comes denial: “No, they didn’t ghost me. They’re probably just busy.” It’s more than possible they could have gotten swamped with work or been hit with a family emergency, but if they weren’t too busy to go out with their friends last night or continue posting on Instagram, odds are they had time and they just didn’t want to make any for you.
Desperation soon follows. You think that by trying to be cool and casual and ignoring what it obviously going on that they will come to have a change of heart, but that’s not going to be the case. You think that by liking a number
of their pictures will be a subtle way of reminding them, “Hey, I’m here,” when they won’t think twice about it. Maybe you reach your breaking point and decide to address the matter head-on in one of two ways: Asking them out, directly, or asking them if they don’t want to see you again.
There comes a point where you just want to escape from the plethora of scenarios running through your head and hear a fucking answer — any answer — from them. Then you realize that answer is never going to come.
Enter, anger: “Screw this. I don’t need that (insert your choice of expletive here).” How dare they?! The nerve they have to disregard basic human decency and answer you is baffling. It has little to do with the rejection, and everything to do with their method of rejecting you.
They couldn’t just send a, “Hey, I don’t think this is working out,” text? They couldn’t cushion the blow with a, “I think you’re a great person, but…” line? They couldn’t even apologize for attempting to ghost you and assure you that you’re not bad-shit crazy? The anger is going to mess with your head.
You might swear off dating. You might hate everyone and everything around you for the next couple of days (or weeks) until you cool off. You might consider unleashing your rage at this person in the form of a novella-esque text or drunken (possibly incoherent) voicemail, and then you realize that this person isn’t worth any of it.
Finally, you accept what happened and move on. Sure, things got ugly there for a second, but when the dating world is a jungle, you can’t expect to survive on pleasantries and logic. The heartbreaking truth about getting over someone who ghosted you is that you will more than likely find yourself asking questions you will never hear the answers to. You just have to whether your storm of emotions and keep the faith that better things lie ahead.
There will come a point in time when it dawns on you that anyone who is unwilling to put forth any effort towards you should not be rewarded with even a second of your time or an ounce of your care. There will come a point in time when it dawns on you that you deserve more than an unanswered text or an unreturned phone call. There will come a point in time when it dawns on you that you deserve better.