Here’s a question for you,
What is Ghosting?
We’ve all had some experience with it in dating.
You have gone on a couple of dates with someone, and then radio silence.
If we’re being honest, most of us are guilty of doing it ourselves. Those couple of dates that you did go on with him were boring.
He chewed with his mouth open. He called his ex while you were waiting on the appetizers. (I may have had that happen to me once.) And for whatever reason, you just don’t see it going any further.
You cringe when he texts you,
You don’t want to have that dreaded conversation where you tell him,
“I just don’t see this being “a thing” or going anywhere.”
So, you ignore his texts and calls. You avoid running into him. And if you do you pretend you’ve never met.
You’re giving him the space to get over the traumatic loss of messing up an opportunity with someone as awesome as you. (I’m going to assume you’re pretty awesome.) The calls and texts to you double. Heck, they even triple until months down the road when he finally gives up, hopefully.
Now I’m sure you’re wondering why I’m talking to you about something that happens when you’re still in that “dating around” period.
Well, that’s just it.
Ghosting and “being ghosted” is not just reserved for single hopefuls that are going on a handful of dates a week.
This can even happen in relationships too!
Things are going seemingly fine. Over the time you’ve been together, things have gotten a little bit… routine. He finds himself noticing things other women have and do that you just don’t have or do anymore.
He stops spending as much time with you. He doesn’t put that effort in any more. Life can be busy so you haven’t even realized that you barely see him anymore and…
‘POOF!’ Suddenly he’s just gone!
He’s just gone.
And you find yourself blocked everywhere you turn.
Oh, how rude… I forgot to introduce myself,
Allow Me To Introduce Myself
Hi. My name is Ashley and, let’s face it, you have no idea who I am.
So, Let’s get acquainted!
This is me!
(Okay, so usually I’m more… colorful)
Heck, I’m even more colorful than that but that’s all the pictures you are getting of me today 😉 .
In college I studied Visual Arts and Marketing. (Yes I drew that lovely picture of myself there.) I love cycling, tennis, and studying Psychology. I am clumsy and always nursing a bruise or two; therefore I was given the well-earned nickname of…
Why am I telling you all of this?
Because I am the newest member of Chris’ “Ex Recovery Team.”
He hired me to help him create content for you and has dubbed me as “The Head of Content Development.” Pretty fancy nickname, right?
But enough about me.
Let’s talk about you.
Or more specifically, ghosting!
Welcome To “Ghost-ville!”
There’s a similar thing happening to ghosting these days that is equally as devastating,
It’s called benching.
It’s almost exactly like ghosting, except there’s an excuse that prefaces the ‘Poof!’ He tells you that you guys need to take a break and he needs space. For now, you can just remain friends.
If this has happened to you then you, my friend, have been benched.
So, what’s going on in the mind of a man who says something like this?
Basically he wants to be single and date around without feeling like he’s cheating, but he wants you to be an option should he ever have the inclination to date you again, or, more likely, to be able to call for a hookup when there isn’t another option.
But still that “blocked” status applies. He blocks your number, but only unblocks it when there’s something he wants. He blocks or limits what you can see via social media. Oh, and you won’t dare run into him just out and about. It’s ghosting, with a clause.
But who would do that?
I mean really?!
Only scum would do that!
Eh, not necessarily.
This mentality, “If I don’t see their pain, then there’s a chance it doesn’t actually happen” is rampant today.
Out of sight, out of mind, and not weighing on their conscience.
Most of my friends are guys and I find that a lot of them prefer not to have to tell someone that they just aren’t really “feeling it” any more. In lady terms, “the spark is gone.” (I should be a linguist speaking all these languages!) Some of my guys let me poll them occasionally for insight. And I found that most of them even like the fact that, in ghosting someone, they have the option to assume that, that person is pining away somewhere over losing someone as awesome as them.
**cue eye roll*
I mean honestly I can’t tell you that I’m not guilty of this very thing.
I know, I’m scum along with the rest of them.
WE ARE WORMS!
I’ll explain why doing crappy things is sometimes a necessary evil in the next few sections. So don’t hold it against me just yet. All in good time.
Why Does Ghosting & Benching Even Happen?
I’m not going to lie to you, these are both horrible situations to be in.
Seriously, they just suck.
I mean, if this has happened to you, you probably feel like you got blindsided by a truck and then it backed up and did it again, just for good measure.
You deserve some sort of explanation, and you aren’t going to get it from him. So I’m going to do something very nice for you. (You’re grateful I’m sure.) I’m going to lay out a few of the various reasons for why he might have ghosted you.
However, consider yourself warned, some of these will be hard to hear. So, if you want to hold on to whatever nice, albeit false, reasoning you already concocted for why he would possibly treat you this way, don’t read any further.
Okay, well I’m glad you want to know the truth. I admire that about you.
Here are a few of the most common reasons ghosting happens:
Situation One – The Dreaded Drama
The Dreaded Drama – The modern man is a narcissist. They expect women to cause a scene. I can’t really blame them. It’s human nature to want to throw a tantrum when we don’t get what we want. It’s something that I think goes all the way back to our childhood.
Not to mention, that most modern women have been conditioned to cause a ruckus in order to be heard.
Our entire gender has been given a bad rap by what most of my guy friends would call “the crazies”, meaning women who automatically overreact or resort to drastic measures in order to feel like they are being heard.
One of the guys refers to it as “The Rage Tornado.” And let’s face it, this number is growing. Oh, and “The Rage Tornado” isn’t even specific to our gender.
But we aren’t going to get into that today.
No one likes confrontation and men will go out of their way to avoid it. They think you can’t handle losing them. Their ego is inflated by the assumption.
They’d rather imagine your devastation than actually see it, because in person there is one thing they can’t handle no matter how prepared they are… TEARS.
I know grown men who can handle pretty much any situation with finesse, but when presented with a crying woman, they panic and turn into a complete wreck. Think Sheldon from Big Bang Theory.
I once had a roommate that dealt with things like him. I was so sick one evening that he stood outside the bathroom patting my shoulder with a broom held out like I had the plague or something and just kept saying, “There, There.”
SO, WHAT’S THE COUNTER TO SITUATION ONE?
Stay calm and keep your emotions in check!
Don’t let him see how much it hurts even if it feels like there’s a knife in your chest that hurts every time you breathe since you haven’t heard from him.
Situation Two – The Respect Factor
The Respect Factor – This one can vary in meaning depending on how long the two of you have been together. If it was a short-lived relationship, it’s fairly possible that he never respected you in the first place.
In the world of dating apps, it has become easy to see each other as profiles rather than people.
An article in the Huffington Post put it well.
‘…matchmaking often happens by swiping right and left, making potential daters literally disposable. The ease of app and online dating has allowed ghosting to take new form. Chelsea, a 25-year-old Manhattanite who has been both a ghost and a ghostee says the fast-paced, onto-the-next mentality of online dating makes the need for an “it’s not me, it’s you,” conversation irrelevant. “Even after one or two dates they are still just a profile to you, not a person. I don’t feel the normal empathy I would for someone I met organically,” she said.’
If you’ve been together a while, it’s entirely possible that he has lost his respect for you.
Now, I know what you are thinking,
“But, Ashley, people don’t just lose respect for the people they love.”
It is so easy to undermine an entire relationship.
I once called off a relationship with a guy I truly liked and had been seeing for about half a year just because he said one simple, yet completely ignorant, statement that changed the way I saw him.
He went from being tall, dark, intelligent and handsome to being a sleazy guy who loved to talk about things he didn’t’ understand, making him entirely unattractive to me.
SO, WHAT’S THE COUNTER TO SITUATION TWO?
Chin up, and repeat after me.
“I cannot force someone to respect me by demanding it from them!”
You have to decide if they ever respected you in the first place. Ask your close friend who spent time with the two of you together, because this is something that is hard to see from the inside of a relationship.
If you come to the conclusion that he ever did respect you, then remind him of the person you were. However, you have to do this in conjunction with giving him new reasons to respect you.
“But Ash, I’m being ghosted! How do you show someone something when they aren’t around?”
I’ll get to that in a second.
Situation Three – Doing You a Favor
Doing You a Favor – Spanning the latter part of the time you were together, there were most likely things that you did or characteristics that you had that bothered him. These culminated into a mass of things that worked like a kite string. Each one lengthened the distance a little bit more letting him drift further away.
At this point he could explain your faults and allow you the option to adjust. But if the men in your life are anything like the men in my life, you know that they like to let things build up.
I mean, women do this too, but we’re just talking about men today.
For example, it bothers my dad that my mom puts things back when he’s using them, like the remote, or a spice he’s using out by the grill. Now, she’s not trying to inconvenience him. She just likes a clean house.
He knows this so he doesn’t say anything, but it annoys him none-the-less.
There are tons of little things that she does that annoy the heck out of him. But one day, she does something that is just the icing on the cake. (Something that drives me crazy too.) She is telling him something and walks out of the room while she’s talking leaving us both trying to guess at what she’s saying.
It can be quite frustrating. When she comes back into the room, suddenly he says, “I hate it when you do that!” then proceeds to list every tiny little thing she does that drives him nuts.
Then that’s it.
He feels better since he’s not holding it all in anymore. She’s left standing there shell-shocked wondering why he hadn’t said something at the moment she was doing each little thing so she could fix them right then.
It’s not uncommon.
They’re married though. He can’t just ghost my mom. (I mean he could, but he hasn’t so far, so I’m going to give him the benefit of the doubt and say he won’t. But you never know)
In dating it’s a little different.
For our purposes today we’re going to assume that he just decides that laying all of that on you is just too much for you to handle. That and he doesn’t want to wait around for you to fix all of the issues. But it’s clearly bothering him, and he chooses to walk away without an explanation and save you both the trouble of hurting your feelings.
SO, WHAT’S THE COUNTER TO SITUATION THREE?
Read Chris’ article on The Ungettable Girl. (I’ve including the link towards the end of this article for those of you who want to continue reading this article.)
Do everything you can to be the best version of yourself.
Situation Four – Profile Overload
Profile Overload – We’re going to play off of something we talked about in Situation two, the fact that we live in a profile rich environment these days. It’s highly possible that, in culminating all of the reasons we’ve talked about, the little things that bother him, the growing distance, it’s possible that someone else caught his eye and he’s, yet again, saving you both the trouble of hurting your feelings.
In a Tinder and Plenty of Fish kind of world, it is quite possible you’ve been thrown back to sea, lost and confused.
There are plenty of us confused fish out there.
SO, WHAT’S THE COUNTER TO SITUATION FOUR?
This counter is the same as before.
Build yourself up to be incomparable.
AKA: Become the Ungettable Girl
Does The Fact That He Turned Into Casper Make Him A Bad Person?
The fact is that ghosting leaves you devastated and him convinced that he’s done both you and himself a favor.
He’s saved himself the pain and anguish of having a difficult conversation, not to mention the possibility of having to deal with tears and drama. And he’s saved you the pain having to actually hear that he doesn’t want to be with you, for whatever reason.
And that’s it for them.
They go on thinking they’ve done you a service and move on with life. This means it hurts less right?
Now you’re in forever limbo wondering what happened, a confused fish lost at sea.
(Yup, I totally used the fish picture again 😉 .)
Is it fair? Not at all, but as my mother reminds me incessantly, life is rarely fair.
So no, it doesn’t make him a bad person. It just means he’s a coward and accentuates the fact that he has a serious lack of respect for you, which you should definitely take into account since we’re on this quest to get him back together.
Usually the decision to ghost someone is made on a whim, sometimes without any actual thought at all.
So it’s highly unlikely he planned on hurting you this way. However there are men who actually plan the ghosting ahead of time.
They know, going into the relationship that this is how it will inevitably end. These men aren’t worth your time and if you realize this is a regular thing for him, I don’t suggest going any further in trying to revive the relationship.
Let it die. You’re life will be better for it.
Feel free to continue reading, this article though. Here at Ex Boyfriend Recovery, we talk about becoming a better version of yourself quite a bit. I believe the poet George Herbert once said
“Living well is the best revenge.”
And we definitely encourage that here.
How to Deal With Ghosting
You have a few choices on how to deal with being ghosted.
So, here is what I am going to do for you guys. I am going to divide this section up into two parts.
- The Stuff I DON’T Suggest
- The Stuff I DO Suggest
Sound like a plan?
I DON’T SUGGEST: (Seriously Don’t Do These Things)
Texting, Calling, Emailing – Don’t go “bumping into him” or sending a Carrier Pigeon repeatedly and obsessively,
“Hey.” “Hey I was wondering…”
“You want to go grab coffee?”
“Me and some friends… want to join?” etc.
(This is how you get labeled as “that crazy girl he dated that one time.”)
The Rage Tornado – hurl insults at him through every type of communication you have access to
(This is also how you get labeled as “that crazy girl he dated that one time.”) It’s a BIG NO NO!
Don’t do it!
I DO SUGGEST (Do The Following Things:)
A Longer No Contact Rule
45 days to be exact!
The reason for the extension is, because if you stick with a short bit of time, you’re just agreeing to the terms he’s already set in motion, which leaves him in control. Keep the No Contact up as long as it takes for him to realize it doesn’t bother you.
Eventually he’ll come around to see why you haven’t come begging for him back like he expects you to do.
Take the time to work on becoming the best version of you that you can.
Check out this article for tips on becoming an Ungettable Girl.
Also, you should try and guess at what issues he may have had with you and address them. I cannot stress this next part, only address these issues he has if they are also beneficial to your journey to becoming a better you.
Don’t go changing things you like about yourself just to appease him.
Also, DO NOT use this as an excuse to contact him to ask what issues he had!!
You’re a smart lady… I’m sure you can get pretty close to an idea of what bothered him in the relationship just by reflecting on your time together.
Place yourself in his peripheral.
If you don’t know what I mean, try this.
Sit up straight and look at the wall ahead of you.
Without turning your head or shifting your gaze, think about the things happening around you. You still have a pretty good idea of it without even seeing it, right?
You can even tell what color the people around you are wearing. This is what I’m talking about. Even though he can’t see you, he’ll still be able to see what you’ve been doing. Make sure he sees what you want him to see.
Assuming you were together for a while, you have the same friends you share acquaintances. Let other people see how well you’re doing. Adjust your social media to reflect the improvements you are making in your life. Don’t put it on blast that you’re having a tough time, even if you are.
Stay Strong During Your No Contact.
However, if you run into him, keep it short sweet and to the point. Here’s a great article on the No Contact explaining all of it’s complicated rules.
Consistency, Consistency, And More Consistency!
Once you achieve your goal and get him back, remember to keep your wits about you, it is so easy to fall back into patterns. Trust me, there is this one guy I went out with about ten or twelve times.
I was a sucker for him, because I couldn’t’ quite figure him out. He’d be a jerk and dump me and we’d go for months without any interaction whatsoever. Then we’d wind up in the same room and suddenly I was jumping through hoops like one of those froo froo show dogs trying to keep his attention and he’d string me along because no one else had his attention at the time.
It’s just so simple to forget yourself. It’s our nature to try and maintain a sense of continuity. We automatically try to be the person we were to keep from having attention directed at us. I know that if you put me in the same room with any of the people I went to school with, I may as well have braces and have frizzy hair again. By reverting to who you were, you’re missing out on having that moment when they look at you and say, “Wow! Look at this incredible person she’s become without me!” You have to stay conscious of the time and effort you’ve invested into improving your life so you don’t let it float away at the first indication that your prey may be falling into your trap. Maintain the better you! Your life will be better for it whether you get the guy or go on to find someone better.
You don’t even need to aim your efforts directly at him. You want to turn heads. Fight that urge to keep the attention off of you. Have all the eyes on you and all minds filled with one thought; “She doesn’t NEED anybody! We just simply exist to her.” I guarantee that if the people around you are thinking it, this notion will permeate his mind to and soon he’ll be grateful to be a part of your life rather than you feeling like you have to fight tooth and nail to be in his.
However I can’t stress enough how important it is to continue becoming better, despite him being back in your life. If you allow yourself to fall into old patterns, being the girl he obviously doesn’t respect you’ll end up right back in Ghost-ville.