How do you deal with being ghosted after a breakup?
How do you deal with being ghosted after a breakup? The first time it happened to me, I genuinely thought something bad had happened to my EX. The previous conversation was great; everything seemed to be going well. Then, all of a sudden…POOF! He did a magic trick and disappeared.
And when I say disappeared, I mean he didn’t answer any phone calls, text messages or smoke signals.
He vanished into thin air. Worst still, we were long-distance. So I couldn’t drop by to make sure everything was okay…and thinking back that could have been for the best.
And this went on for months and months.
In my opinion, one of the most cowardly ways to breakup with someone is by ghosting them.
If you haven’t caught on to what it is by now, ghosting is totally disappearing, out of nowhere and assuming the other person will just get the hint and move on.
Psychology Today explains it as “The experience of having someone remove themselves from your life, ending all contact or communication with you without any explanation”
Right, I told you it was cowardly.
It’s hard enough to get over a breakup, but how do you manage it when you’ve been ghosted and the relationship ends without you having a say or getting to ask questions or having a bit of closure?
If nothing else, it makes you feel powerless. And honestly, that’s kind of the point. The person who ghosts you wants to control the situation, doesn’t want to be accountable or answer any questions and wants to maintain all of the power in the situation.
But, you’re not alone.
According to The Cut website, “In a 2016 poll by market research firm YouGov, 11 percent of people admitted to having ghosted someone; in a survey from the same year from dating site Plenty of Fish, 80 percent of respondents between the ages of 18-33 said they’ve been on the receiving end. More recently, a study published earlier this year in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships put those numbers at 25 percent for ghostees and 20 percent for ghosters (out of around 1,300 participants).”
So we know it happens, we know it’s cowardly and we know it’s designed to steal your power, but what can you do about it? How can you take your power back?
I’m going to give you seven steps on how you can dust yourself off and put yourself back together after you’ve been ghosted.
1. Realise what’s happening
Initially, this will be the hardest step for you. Because you weren’t given closure, you may find it hard to come to terms with your new normal.
It’s said when grieving the loss of someone, you experience 5 stages of grief. The first stage is denial.
The urge to deny what has just happened will be even stronger because in your mind, it may not have happened. Often we want very clear and explicit words telling us what’s happening but in this case you can draw the conclusion that your EX has walked away from the relationship.
One way you can deal with this is by writing it down. Make a list of all the signs you can see that support this conclusion. Have loving family and friends give you their take on what’s happening. They don’t want to see you get hurt so they’ll be realistic about whether or not they think the relationship is truly over.
And then, believe it. It will take time for it to sink in so be patient with yourself as you come to terms with your new normal.
2. Press pause
After getting ghosted you have to change your perspective on the relationship. You will need to press pause on your emotions. This doesn’t mean your heart is as easy to control as your TV, but you can learn how to press pause on how you express your emotions to your EX.
If you’ve truly been ghosted, you’ll find that your calls will be ignored, your texts won’t be answered, you will be left hanging. The biggest shock is you may even get blocked. (The nerve!)
And unfortunately, the more you keep reaching out the more you’ll send your EX into his shell, so try to press pause on your communication for your sanity as well as his.
Give yourself time to grieve the relationship. As we mentioned above, there are 5 stages to the grief process
This breakup is going to feel like the death of someone and you’ll need to give yourself permission to grieve the loss. Allow yourself the space and time to go through the grief process. Don’t beat yourself up if you feel like you’re not getting over it fast enough.
And remember you may find yourself going backwards before you go forward. It’s not always a straight forward process with each stage taking a specific amount of time. You could skip some steps or linger on others.
Be patient as your heart and mind process what’s happening.
4. Take your power back
Breakups can leave you feeling powerless. This is multiplied when you’ve been ghosted. So it’s even more important that you find ways to empower yourself so you’re not left at the whim of your ex who can decide to sweep in one day and reignite the flames of passion and sweep out again the next day and decide to stop taking your calls.
It’s important that you find ways to take your power back and maintain it in situations like this.
While I outline the steps in more detail in my article, 5 Ways to Be Empowered after a Breakup, the general idea is to focus on those things that you can control and remove yourself from situations where the outcome is out of your control.
5. Create your own closure
If you’re like most women, you’ll need to create your own closure because it’s unlikely you’re receive it from your EX.
So ask yourself, what can I do to create my own closure?
Why not create a closure ceremony? You can try things like
- Writing a goodbye letter and burning it
- Getting rid of pictures and mementos that remind you of your EX. If this feels too final right now, at least pack them away in a box and put them in storage or give them to a friend to hang on to until you’re ready to get rid of them for good
- Moving out of a shared space or out of a neighbourhood riddled with reminders of your EX can give your mind a fresh start
- Buying a new outfit and giving away some of your clothes can signal to your brain that something new or different is happening and help you emotionally let go as you physically let go
- Holding a House Party with your close friends where you celebrate your new single status
- Taking up a new volunteer position will help reposition your thinking on the world as you add a bit more kindness to it
Whatever you decide to do, remember closure will come with a decision in your heart.
Getting ghosted can make you feel powerless. When you create your own closure, you are taking your power back.
As Colleen George says in her article Sometimes You Have to Create Your Own Closure, “You have to learn how to make your own peace out of a broken and heartbreaking ending.”
6. Develop healthy practices
As you feel a flood of emotions, you need to have a plan in place to deal with them otherwise, you might feel yourself slipping into some really unhealthy pattern. You will need to put some practices in place to deal with the feelings of grief you’re experiencing. How will you deal with it?
Here are some ideas of some healthy practices you may want to adopt:
- Exercise will release happy hormones naturally in your body to boost your mood. The act of pounding the floor with your feet or hitting a punching bag will get some of your frustration out as well.
- Volunteer and you’ll take the focus off of yourself and your situation and refocus on someone else.
- Venture outside of your comfort zone and try new things that will cheer you up (If you need some suggestions you can download my 50 Ways to Cheer Up after a Breakup guide for some fun ideas)
- Get counselling (If you’re looking for some more information about counseling, check out my article about the benefits of counseling after a breakup.))
7. Become a more fabulous you
It may be difficult to think about it right now, but you have the chance to reinvent yourself and become your best self. What have you always wanted to do or accomplish? Where have you always wanted to travel? Now is the best time to become a more fabulous version of you. What can you do during this time to become a more fabulous version of yourself?
If you’re still looking for more ideas on how you can cut through the chaos of hurt, anger and confusion, download the guide on how to be empowered in the days and weeks ahead.
I’m cheering you on and I can’t wait to see who it is you are becoming!