One minute they're there; the next, they're gone. You'd expect this behavior from a stranger you swiped right on. But what if the love of your life suddenly pulls a disappearing act? Worse yet, what if your ex ghosts you?
Things to know
- There are different types of ghosting, including pre-relationship ghosting, ghosting as a breakup method, and ghosting after a breakup.
- The reasons behind ghosting, include avoidance, self-defense, passive withdrawal, and insecure attachment.
- Ghosters come back for many reasons such as thinking they can, boredom, seeking an ego boost, and convenience. To move on from being ghosted, close the door on the ghoster, work on yourself and let go.
Whichever way you look at it, being ghosted sucks. Here's what this article will cover:
- Types Of Ghosting
- The Psychology Of A Ghoster
- Why Ghosters Always Come Back
- What Does It Mean When Your Ex Ghosts You?
- Why Does Being Ghosted By An Ex Hurt So Much?
- How Do I Respond To An Ex Who Ghosted Me?
- Should I Block My Ex Who Ghosted Me?
- Moving On After Being Ghosted
Types Of Ghosting
You read that right. Sadly, ghosting isn't limited to online dating anymore. Here’s a look at some of the common types of ghosting.
You meet on a dating app and immediately hit it off. They love bomb you and then disappear before you can even make things official. You’re left wondering what you did wrong and why they didn't have the decency to be upfront with you.
Did the prospect of a long-term relationship scare them off? Did they realize that they wanted different things out of a relationship? It sucks that you'll never know. But at least you dodged a bullet, right?
Ghosting as a breakup method
You might discover that your girlfriend or boyfriend has vanished from social media. You might come home to find your partner’s belongings gone and your joint bank account drained of funds.
There's no limit to the cruelty shown by someone using ghosting as a breakup method.
In recent times, ghosting has become a popular way to break up. As the ghosted person, you're left in limbo and with many unanswered questions. You're denied closure, and your healing is delayed.
Ghosting out of a relationship is never appropriate. The only exception is when someone is trying to escape an abusive relationship. In such cases, ghosting is one of the most commonly proposed measures for making a safe, clean break.
Ghosting after a breakup
Maybe you broke things off amicably and agreed to be friends, only for them to vanish without so much as a text message.
Perhaps they ended things and suggested being friends. You agreed to it, and now you’re left with egg on your face. It almost feels like they broke up with you again.
It could even be that you broke things off and gave them the option of being friends. Now, they’ve stopped talking to you.
We tend to associate ghosting with a potential romantic partner. But being ghosted by an ex can be just as upsetting. In fact, it's almost like breaking up all over again. The emotional trauma can leave you reeling, and the uncertainty can drive you mad.
The Psychology Of A Ghoster
What makes a person ghost? Are they selfish, uncaring, or immature? Is it a character flaw or a sign of mental health issues? The psychology of a ghoster can be narrowed down to:
People ghost because they lack the skills to be upfront about their feelings. Ghosting is their way of avoiding complicated relationship dynamics.
Ghosters would rather disappear than deal with confrontation. Instead of taking responsibility for their decisions, they vanish.
Ghosting is often perceived as cowardly. But it’s a ghosters way of dealing with their feelings and poor communication skills. By simply avoiding the situation, they are protecting themselves.
A ghoster won't face an issue head-on. They'll choose to withdraw from the situation passively.
They might believe that ghosting is the best way to handle things. Many ghosters rationalize their actions by convincing themselves that ghosting hurts less.
Attachment theory looks at how we bond in intimate relationships. The attention paid to us by our parents in our early years affects how comfortable we are with intimacy.
There are four main types of attachment: secure, anxious, avoidant, and disorganized. Secure attachment aside, all the others are considered insecure attachment styles.
Anxious individuals are deeply insecure about their relationships. Avoidant attachment styles are uncomfortable with intimacy and value their independence. Insecure attachment styles tend to use ghosting to deal with their emotions.
Why Ghosters Always Come Back
You're finally coming to terms with being ghosted. That's when the ghoster waltzes into your DM’s like they didn't ghost you a few months ago—no apology, no explanation, just a cheeky ‘hey.’
A ghoster might be plagued by guilt. The cowardice of their actions might haunt them. Rarely they might genuinely miss you. Here’s why ghosters come back:
They think they can
Ghosters often come back because they think they can. To them, vanishing without an explanation isn't a permanent resolution to a relationship. The practice is so common that netizens have coined it ‘zombieing.’
If images of The Walking Dead are flashing through your mind, that's right. Ghosters are like zombies who want nothing more than to eat your brain. They tend to come back for their own entertainment.
They're bored or seeking an ego boost. Either way, it spells serious emotional destruction for you.
Ghosting is an act of convenience. And ghosters come back when it's convenient for them. They might be lonely and craving companionship. For them, rekindling things with you might be easier than forming a connection with someone new.
Some ghosters are entirely oblivious to the fact that their behavior is unacceptable. They might see nothing wrong with ignoring you for weeks or months. Yet, most ghosters know exactly what they’re doing.
They know that ignoring you will drive you nuts, but they do it anyway. Then, they return and expect you to welcome them with open arms. The trauma they've caused you isn't a big deal to them. Their entitlement makes them think their feelings are more important than yours.
They miss you
Out of the blue, you receive an 'I miss you text.' The ghoster acknowledges that they did a terrible thing. They might even do the right thing and apologize to you. This is a rare occurrence.
Here's a word of advice: don’t get your hopes up. Even if they genuinely miss you, they might vanish into thin air the minute things get uncomfortable for them.
What Does It Mean When Your Ex Ghosts You?
While the exact reasons behind their shady behavior are only known to them, we can take a few guesses.
They’re not interested in maintaining contact anymore
Did they suddenly decide that you don’t deserve their friendship? Perhaps they met someone else. Letting all the possibilities send you into a game of shame and blame is easy. The reality is if your ex ghosted, it probably has very little to do with you.
They’re trying to avoid confrontation
The fear of confrontation can drive people to extremes. Instead of being honest that the whole 'friends' thing isn’t working, they disappear.
They want to move on
Remaining friends with an ex is complicated. It can slow down emotional recovery and affect future relationships.
Your ex might have ghosted you because they want to move on and make a clean break post-break-up. They might be in a serious relationship. Ghosting you could be a way to avoid possible problems with their new partner.
They’re trying to protect themselves
Staying in contact with you might be painful and triggering. Ghosting you could be their way of protecting themselves.
Sometimes it’s just not possible for exes to remain friends. Although they’ve gone about it the wrong way, you’ve got to respect their decision.
They have you figured out
Did you agree to be friends so you could find the right moment to pounce? Being ghosted could be a sign that they figured out your true intentions.
Another possibility is that you came on too strong and scared them off. Nothing makes an ex withdraw faster than being hounded about a past relationship.
Why Does Being Ghosted By An Ex Hurt So Much?
Much like the silent treatment, ghosting is a form of emotional cruelty. It’s not unusual to feel powerless and disregarded. You have a hard time making sense of everything. And you’re essentially robbed of the opportunity to express your feelings.
Combine this with the typical breakup drama, and it’s no wonder being ghosted by an ex is such a painful experience. Being ghosted by an ex is a clear sign that the relationship has failed. Trying to be friends tends to lull us into believing that things have merely shifted.
When you're faced with the reality that not even friendship is a possibility, it can be a significant blow.
How Do I Respond To An Ex Who Ghosted Me?
Don’t shoot them a snarky response at 3 am, and don't leave a bunch of 'I hate my ex' posts on your social media accounts. In fact, don’t dignify their behavior with a response at all.
You respond to an ex-boyfriend or an ex-girlfriend who ghosted you by summoning every bit of self-respect you have and walking away—for good.
While it's tempting to bombard them with texts and calls, avoid doing so. Your time is better spent working on yourself and outgrowing your ex. Take this as your cue to focus on your healing and personal growth.
If you're still holding on to the idea of getting back together with your ex, it's time to let go. Being ghosted is pretty much like being dumped all over again. Do you really want to put yourself through that a third or fourth time?
There’s nothing like the power of silence after a breakup to help you do some serious reflection. Is getting back together a good idea, or are you lonely?
If you're adamant that being ghosted is a setback, you might want to change your approach. An extended period of silence is still the way to go. Instead of obsessing over getting your ex back, why not focus on getting yourself back?
Should I Block My Ex Who Ghosted Me?
The answer is entirely up to you. Assess the damage that your ex caused by ghosting you. If you’d rather not go through the experience again, block them. This ensures that you never have to hear from them.
Their disappearing act robbed you of your power. Blocking them could be your way of taking back that power. By blocking your ex, you’re enforcing boundaries. You’re denying someone who would treat you in such a thoughtless manner access to you for good.
Moving On After Being Ghosted
Being ghosted sucks; here are a few ways to help you move on.
The lack of closure associated with ghosting can be challenging to get over. The rejection stings, even when you know that their behavior reflects their own issues.
The first step is not to blame yourself. Accept that you may never have the closure you need and work on moving on without it
To move on, you’ve got to detox from your ex and everything linked to your past failed relationship. Purge your life and social media of all reminders of them. Delete their number and block them.
Get rid of that engagement ring you’ve been holding on to. Toss all those vacation mementos in the trash. Remodel your living space if you have to. Don't entertain your mutual friend's attempts to bring your ex up.
Be kind to yourself
Your self-esteem has likely taken a nosedive. Just like your personal life, your professional life is in tatters.
You’re probably doubting yourself and picking every interaction with your ex apart. Were you too needy? Did you offend them in some way? The truth is, you were wronged.
Whenever you spiral into despair, counter those destructive thoughts with positive affirmations. You are worthy of love and happiness. You deserve to be treated with respect. Keep telling yourself this until you believe it.
The worst thing you can do is isolate yourself. Lean on the other meaningful relationships in your life. Reconnect with family or plan a trip with your best friend. Get out of your comfort zone and meet new people.
It might be the last thing on your mind, but try dating again. Get on a few dating apps and test the waters.
The idea of being vulnerable and allowing yourself to trust again might be scary. But, ease into it. Rediscover who you are and let your self-confidence grow. Instead of a ghost, you might just land yourself a real person.