Ghosting is the new “calling” to break up with someone. Isn’t it funny that calling to break up was once considered bad form? If a guy did that in this day and age, he would be awarded some gentleman certificate or something. That sort of thing doesn’t really happen, and if it does, it’s an exception, not the rule.
My favorite ghosting story happened with a guy named Kurt. We dated for a few months, and all seemed to be going well, but then he totally vanished. But then he resurfaced a few weeks later! However he resurfaced by mistake. You see, he accidentally called me thinking he was calling the new girl he had started dating! He immediately hung up when he realized his mistake and was never to be heard from again.
Now for long-term relationships, you should expect an actual breakup conversation. Although I’ve seen plenty of those end with the guy just deciding to vanish one day. A friend of mine was dating this great guy for about six months, and things seemed to be getting serious. When he disappeared, she was legitimately concerned about his wellbeing. But her concerns were abated when he butt dialed her accidentally one day, confirming that he was alive and well … he just has no desire ever to see or speak to her again.
Whenever I discuss this topic, I get a strong emotional reaction from my readers. And I fully understand it. It seems immature, it seems childish, and it’s just so disrespectful. And how can you not take it personally? He didn’t even care about you enough to tell you he no longer wants to see you? So was the whole relationship just a lie, did he never care to begin with?
You feel like a fool; you feel hurt, you feel embarrassed, you feel angry, you have all the bad kinds of feelings, and it’s awful.
So let’s talk about how to make the experience slightly less awful. I’ll try to give you some perspective on why guys “ghost” and how you can move on without feeling bitter and jaded.
Why Guys Ghost
Before I tell you how to get over being ghosted, I’m going to share the real reasons guys ghost, not the reasons you’ve convinced yourself of that usually put the blame on you, or on the fact that all men are evil scumbags.
I want to preface this by saying I’m not justifying or excusing the behavior. I’m not saying it’s the right thing to do or a nice thing to do. I’m just telling you the plain facts.
1. He doesn’t want to have the uncomfortable breakup conversation.
Does anyone ever really want to have this conversation? It’s the worst. Let’s flip things for a minute and see it from a guy’s side through a woman’s eyes if that makes sense.
So I went on a few dates with a guy we’ll call Dan, and I just wasn’t feeling it at all. And of course, whenever that happens, it means the guy is totally feeling it. I knew he would call or text at any moment to ask me out again and my stomach was in knots. I was desperately hoping he would ghost on me so that I wouldn’t have to have this conversation.
I didn’t want to hurt him. I knew he’d been hurt badly in the past and now I would just be another reason for him to not trust women and to keep himself guarded. I actually got excited when a day past without me hearing from him. Maybe he lost interest!! Yes!!! But I wasn’t off the hook, and of course, he called instead to texting to ask me out again so now I’d have to hear his pain on the other end, ugh!
He excitedly asked if I wanted to go apple picking that weekend and I think the last thing in the world he expected was for me to end things. So I told him I just didn’t think this was going to work out and he sounded absolutely crushed, and I felt awful.
The reason I’m sharing this is no one wants to have this conversation, not guys and not girls. And girls kind of don’t have a choice because guys are usually the ones to initiate dates, so we can’t just disappear. Some girls do their own version of ghosting by just never replying to a guy when he reaches out again and believe me when I say guys get hurt by this in the same way we get hurt by their disappearances. And in all honesty, I’ve been that shady girl many a time!
The point is, he just doesn’t want to hurt you. He doesn’t want to hurt you because he cares about you. Now you might want to counter with: “But that’s so immature! He needs to man up!”
So here’s the thing, most guys don’t decide to ghost. It just kind of happens. He thinks to himself, “Well I don’t want to do it today because she has that big project at work, maybe tomorrow.” And then tomorrow comes and he has another excuse. Then he thinks it’s best to just wait until next week when your emotions have simmered a little bit and you’ll maybe be less likely to have a strong emotional reaction.
Then next week comes around and he thinks, “Well it’s been so long already, she probably moved on and forgot all about me. It would just be rude of me to call now, she’ll probably think I’m a weirdo. I’ll just leave this alone…” And so he does.
2. He thinks your on the same page
The next main reason a guy will ghost is he just assumes you’re on the same page as him. He assumes, or maybe he convinces himself, that you know the relationship isn’t working. That you also feel the strain or tension. That you also realize that your values are different or that your personalities are totally different or whatever the case may be.
He thinks that you probably already know it’s not working out, so why does he really need to call and tell you? That will just be weird and awkward, so best to just leave it alone.
That’s how I felt with Dan. I was almost shocked that he seemed so blindsided because didn’t he realize how incompatible we were?
Usually only one person gets the clarity. Sometimes you see that it’s not a match, sometimes he sees it. And sometimes you get lucky and you both see it and can part amicably.
3. The relationship wasn’t what you thought
Sometimes, we end up in one sided relationships. Sometimes we care significantly more than the other person does (this is often true when dating a damage case), and we blind ourselves from the reality of the situation because we want him to like us back so badly.
In your mind there is a lot of potential here, in your mind this could really be something special. But in his mind, you’re a girl he was somewhat interested in, you had a very casual relationship and it wasn’t really going anywhere and he didn’t think it warranted an official “breakup conversation.”
He may have liked you, but he didn’t like you enough to want a relationship with you. Even if he did come right out and say it to your face, would that really have hurt any less?
Sometimes it just isn’t a match. That’s just the reality of dating and compatibility.
This is usually the case for very short-lived relationships, like a few dates max, where he didn’t have the time to really develop strong feelings.
Now let’s talk about how to recover with your self-esteem intact
1. Realize it’s not because you were insignificant
The biggest mistake women make is assuming a guy ghosted because she meant nothing to him … because he never really cared about her … because she wasn’t even worth a breakup text or call.
This isn’t reality, these are your deepest fears talking. See most of us have deeply rooted fears of being unlovable or unworthy. It’s sad and unfortunate and way too common. The unconscious mind is always looking for ways to prove itself right so when something like this happens, it shouts: “See?? I told you that you were unworthy!” But there is no relief that comes from this confirmation.
Feelings aren’t facts. Just because you feel like this has to be the case doesn’t mean it is. If you adopt the idea that he ghosted because you were meaningless and easily forgettable, you’re only dooming yourself and blocking yourself from getting the love you want.
Most men are good at compartmentalizing. They can just put their feelings in a box and shove that box deep into the recesses of their mind. It may seem like they never cared on the outside, but really they did, they just don’t dwell on the care. They can reason that it didn’t work out, it wasn’t going to work out, so what’s left to think about?
2. Don’t reach out to him
He already left, don’t let him take your dignity with him. When these things happen, a woman will often convince herself she needs to reach out because she “needs” closure.
The closure never ever comes from reaching out to him. You know what usually does come? More silence. You send him a well thought out text that you wrote and re wrote a hundred times. You hit all the right notes. You make sure you sound mature, composed, cool and confident. You explain that you just want an explanation and feel he owes you one after the time you spent together. But he doesn’t feel the same it seems … and he ignores you.
Why does he do that? Men have a strong aversion to getting into emotionally heavy conversations. If men had their way the only emotions they would ever experience are calm and contentedness. When a man senses an emotional maelstrom brewing, he won’t go anywhere near it. Does that make it right? No, but just look at me as your tour guide through male brain world and not as a lawyer making a case for why this is acceptable behavior.
Sometimes you need to make your own closure. He won’t give it to you. And let’s say he does reply to your beautifully worded, well thought out text. Do you think he’s actually doing to tell you the real reason he doesn’t want to see you anymore? He won’t. He’s going to say something else. He’s too busy, he’s stressed, he’s not ready for a relationship right now. He’s not going to say the real answer, which is he just doesn’t like you enough to put in the effort for a relationship.
On that note…
3. Not everyone is a match and that’s OK
It feels personal but it’s not. It doesn’t mean you’re fundamentally flawed, it just means you’re not the right person for him. Maybe you disagree, but it takes two people to be in a relationship, and if one of those people doesn’t want it, then you have nothing.
Rather than dwelling on all the things that must be wrong with you to make you such a man-repeller, focus on the fact that he just wasn’t the right guy for you because the right guy for you wants to be with you.
Guys can lose interest for all sorts of reasons. And if a guy loses interest over something small, he was never really all that interested in the first place. A guy who really likes you, really likes you. He is in it and he’s not going anywhere.
4. Stay busy
As they say, idle hands are the devil’s plaything. If you stay home and sulk and feel sorry for yourself you’ll allow your mind to steer you to all sorts of dark places and this is highly counterproductive. This will just crush your self-esteem and make you more guarded and jaded which will make it even harder to form a genuine connection when a decent guy comes along.
Try to stay busy and positive. Do things you enjoy that make you feel really good. Surround yourself with people who love you and see the best in you. Make time for your passions and for things that make you feel alive, charged, and revitalized.
Remember. Eventually, you will find that right guy and when you do, all of this will make sense, and you’ll be tempted to write all the ghosts from your past thank you notes for not wasting anymore of your time than they did!