I’m sure many can relate to this at some point or another, but I always get a bit down on myself if I start talking to a girl with mutual chemistry or match on a dating app, and then suddenly, I get nothing from her. Everything seems to be going well, and out of nowhere, I get no response. I don’t want to seem needy at all, and reach out a second time either.
While I’m not overly phased by it since there are so many other options out there, I can’t help but feeling slightly disappointed as to why she would stop talking? Change of heart perhaps? Anyone else like to share their thoughts?
As much as the core of what I do is all about trying to show people who focusing on the things that matter to you, and being indifferent about things that are out of your control will make you happier, I’d be lying if I said getting ghosted doesn’t hurt, or that it’s easy to deal with. Yes, even me, the person who created the Tao of Indifference, has a hard time being indifferent about ghosting.
Here’s the primary reason why, for me at least, ghosting sucks: It kills hope. I can deal with disappointment very well, and I can deal with rejection well, but what’s hard for me, and probably a lot of people, is when ghosting kills the tiny bit of hope you had that dating isn’t the worst damn thing in the world. When one person gets your hopes up, the hopes that maybe you’ve met the one person out there who will either want to date you or at least give you the basic courtesy of rejecting you if they’re not interested, and both of those things don’t happen, you can feel a bit demoralized. It’s relatively easy to take a rejection, but getting ghosted feels so much worse not only because we often view rejection as a failure, but an abrupt, unexplained rejection is that much more of a failure. We all hope that we’re halfway decent at reading people, that if we like someone, even a little bit they have some redeeming qualities. We also hope that we can find the one, or at least someone we can connect with. When we neither get treated with the respect of a rejection, or are shown the romantic interest we crave, it’s feels like the insult of being ghosted is added to the injury of being rejected.
But, as I am fond of saying, why doesn’t matter, or at least doesn’t always matter. Why ghosting sucks, why people ghost, or why we even call it ghosting when ghosts are generally known for sticking around where they’re not wanted rather than, I dunno, Cheshire-ing, doesn’t really matter in the long run. Can we change the initial pain that comes with being ghosted? Probably not, at least not without hardening our hearts in the worst way. We can change how we view ghosting, and that helps. At least, it’s helped for me at least.
Before I get into my strategies, quick caveat here, they’re based on nothing but my own experience. It’s entirely possible that it’s a flawed way to do things, and it’s entirely possible that someone more experienced, or someone with a clinical background, could provide a better strategy, but this isn’t their blog, now is it? With that out of the way, here’s what I do when I get ghosted:
First strategy: I categorize the person who ghosted me as someone I’d never want to deal with again. If you ghost me, the door is closed, and even if you come back to tell me all the reasons why you ghosted, unless one of them is “I was shot by my evil twin, developed amnesia, and now that my memory has returned, I am back to resume our romantic dalliances” I’m pretty much done.
Second strategy: I never seek an answer. To be fair, it’s more like “I never seek an answer anymore“, because it’s not like I didn’t seek answers in the past. I know that our natural inclination is to seek out the reason why things happen, it’s what humans have been doing since basically forever, but I can promise you that whatever reason you get will leave you unsatisfied. What’s your best case scenario why someone doesn’t have the courage to tell you that they no longer wanted to see you. What’s the worst case scenario? You know what’s at the center of both of those reasons? Either fear, or a lack of regard for you as a person. “I got super busy” sounds plausible, but what it really means is that they had no regard for you.There are 24 hours in a day, and even if you sleep for 8 of those hours, and work for 12 of those hours, and commute for 2 of those hours every day of the week, you’ve still got at least a minute to spare to send a rejection text. There’s also the chance that they were afraid to tell you, in which case it’s probably for the best that you’re not dating them. I’m getting way too old to date people who are afraid to express their own feelings. You might think that’s letting ghosters off the hook, so I’ll ask you this: If a person doesn’t care enough about you to send a simple text saying that they’re not interested, how will they feel when you send them a text calling them out? I’m going to guess that if they didn’t care enough to reject you, they wont care at all when you tell them that they’re a shitty person.
Finally strategy: I accept that it’s probably going to happen again, and it will hurt again. Acceptance of the potential bad that can happen in life, especially the things that are out of your control, is a powerful thing. Would you like to know my secret to being emotionally resilient, not just in love, but in life in general? Accepting that life is, eventually, going to hurt. Life brings hurt just as much as it brings joy. Dating is going to hurt you, relationships are going to hurt you, and any connection you have with a person that brings you happiness also brings with it the potential to hurt you. Whether it’s a breakup, divorce, or losing someone you love, feeling ANYTHING positive about something means that there is the potential that it can cause you pain. It’s not always the case, not everything you love hurts you, but the potential is still there. Anything you love can be lost. Anything you like can turn into something you loathe. Knowing that, accepting that sometimes in life you get hurt, has helped me be able to process pain and loss in a way that makes me stronger, but not unfeeling. I’m not saying I stop myself from feeling pain, or that I dwell in pain, but I accept that sometimes pain is the price of living. Sometimes it’s the price of loving.
Okay, this got way deeper than I thought it would so let me just wrap this post up and answer your actual questions/address your comments. Don’t reach out a second time, the reason why being the first strategy. The reason why she ghosted is either cowardice, or just not really caring about your feelings. No point in seeking a confirmation, it really only is one or the other when you get right down to it. Finally, it’s okay to feel a bit disappointed when someone ghosts you, but remember that it’s bound to happen. The best you can do is learn to accept that you might feel this way again, but don’t let it deter you from seeking someone out in the future.
Good Luck Out There.