By Stacey Freeman
If you’re single, then you’ve likely heard the term “ghosting” before, maybe even been a victim of it. For those of you who haven’t, the word has nothing to do with Halloween and is instead a poor social practice where the person you’re talking to, dating, or having some otherwise romantic interaction with goes poof without warning and effectively vanishes into thin air.
You reach out. However, when you do, your calls, texts, emails, and smoke signals to the sky suddenly go unanswered. After some time, you may begin wondering if they’re dead or were maimed in some unfortunate industrial accident (sounds reasonable), only to find out they’ve recently added to their Snapchat story or changed their profile picture on Facebook. The worst part is, they’re looking good. You shake your head in confusion. Why couldn’t they give you so much as a “Bye, Felicia” and allow you to move on in peace?
Self-doubt sets in next. You begin wondering whether you got ghosted at all. Ghosts, you tell yourself, aren’t real. Maybe you’re overthinking this. After all, are you even owed an explanation for someone else’s decision to halt contact or, at a minimum, warn you that your time together is over? If so, at what point? Is it after one date, three dates, a month, two-years?
Seems complicated but as is usually the case, the best answer is often the simplest: no one owes you anything. That is, except for one person. You.
No matter how much you think you know someone, you never can get inside their head. Understand the experiences that cause them to see the world as they do. Appreciate the factors in their life that influence how they react to situations, specifically the one you just shared together. Try to, and you will find yourself in an endless pursuit of answers which don’t exist, likely not even for them. Too often, people waste precious time creating fictions of why a romantic interest said this, why they did that, and so forth. Or worse still, pursuing them for clarification. You internalize, telling yourself it’s got to be about you. And it may be. But not always. And not completely.
When someone ghosts, the reasons are more complicated than you will ever know. Regardless, one truth remains: that person doesn’t want to be with you. It’s the only truth you can believe, and the only one that will ever enable you to move forward with your life. Anything else falls under the category of the lies you tell yourself and the lies your friends come up with to make you feel better.
Ghosting has become an unfortunate reality of modern-day dating. Chances are it will happen to you if it hasn’t already. So how should you handle it?
Disappear from their life, too.
About the Author
Stacey Freeman is a New York City-based writer, lifestyle editor at Worthy.com, and the founder and managing director of Write On Track, LLC, a full-service consultancy dedicated to providing high-quality content to individuals and businesses. A respected voice for career reinvention and parenting issues affecting both women and men, Stacey has been published or syndicated in The Washington Post, Entrepreneur, Good Housekeeping, Cosmopolitan, Woman’s Day, Town & Country, Yahoo!, HuffPost, Popsugar, YourTango, xoJane, Scary Mommy, Maria Shriver, The Good Men Project and other well-known platforms worldwide. Stacey is frequently called upon for her expertise and insights and has been quoted in The New York Times, HuffPost, and SheKnows, to name a few. Stacey holds her B.A. in English, summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa, from the University at Albany and her J.D. from Boston University School of Law. Email Stacey today at Stacey.Freeman@WriteOnTrackLLC.com or call 800-203-1946 for a free consultation and proposal. For more information, visit www.WriteOnTrackLLC.com.