When it seems like everything is going perfectly in a relationship or even during the early stages of a blossoming romance, you can’t help but thank your lucky stars. But if you’re subjected to ghosting in a relationship, the feelings of bliss and joy you were experiencing can turn into despair and pain overnight.
And how can it not? Here you thought everything was going well and now you’re suddenly greeted with a single tick mark that won’t turn into two, so quite obviously your heart sinks to the floor faster than your self-esteem does.
Ghosting in a relationship is bound to bring with it pain and insecurities. Read on to find out what ghosting in a relationship really means and how I dealt with being ghosted.
What Does “Ghosting” Mean In A Relationship
Now, what exactly does ghosting mean in a relationship? Ghosting in a relationship means when the person you’ve been talking to suddenly decides to disappear into thin air without any closure. In other words, they decide to cut all contact with you without offering any explanation why.
Yes, it really is as bad as it sounds. When you’re being ghosted, all you’ll see is this person not replying to your texts, calls, emails, voice notes or any other form of communication you can use. When such an extreme form of disengagement is used, it’s clear to see how being ghosted brings a lot of pain with it.
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You may be ghosted in a relationship for many reasons, perhaps the partner just doesn’t like you anymore, or they’ve found someone else. But the fact remains, that ghosting someone, especially after communicating for a considerable amount of time is an extremely selfish thing to do. Surviving a betrayal such as this is not an easy thing to do, especially if you’re trying to navigate how to deal with ghosting. Below is the story of when I was ghosted in my relationship and what followed.
When I got ghosted in my relationship
Brought up in a family steeped in staunch scientific temper, it sounds odd when I say I believe in ghosts. As a kid, my idea of a ghost was that of Casper the friendly ghost. Then I graduated to reading about vampires and the undead; movies like The Exorcist gave me the creeps, but it was always a comfort to know that these were just a figment of man’s imagination.
Well, I encountered a ghost when looking for love. I dated him for a month. A very vigorous and robust one-month relationship, where we met almost every single evening after work and did all the fun things couples are supposed to do. Then he disappeared. Became a ghost. No trace left. That’s how I found out the hard way — what does ghosting mean in a relationship.
My friends had not met him yet. It was too early, or so I thought. He had seemed like the perfect boyfriend material. Good looking, gentle, intelligent, great compatibility and most importantly, he yearned to meet me regularly. Then one fine day he just stopped messaging, no reply to my queries about his whereabouts, no reply to my emails.
My friends asked me, “Was this perfect guy a figment of your imagination?” I wondered if I had dreamt the whole thing.
This ‘thing’ had been a living, breathing relationship and suddenly I was single again. I didn’t know the reasons for the alleged break-up. I didn’t even know it was over. I had to draw the inference myself, after wondering for the next agonizing two months if I was supposed to wait for him or move on. I needed closure. But I got none.
Welcome to the world of dating where you try to maneuver your way through this baffling maze, and you swim along with someone for a while who then just drifts away, without any warning, without any goodbye. These are real people of flesh and blood who part ways without having the courage to face you and tell you that they want to end it.
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How being ghosted affected me
What does ghosting mean in a relationship, you may ask? It means there’s a lack of respect. There’s a mismatch of signals and a clear lack of affection from someone’s side. The other person thought so little of you, that they couldn’t even be bothered to give you a parting message.
I was left wondering why things ended. You spend sleepless nights tossing and turning, speculating on the possible reasons for the breakup, or if you can get any closure. In fact, you are not sure if it is indeed a breakup or you are supposed to give the person the benefit of doubt and wait for him or her to show up.
Goodbyes are never fun but at least they mark the end. They give you a chance to try to make things work or walk away. When you don’t even know you are at the end of a journey, it can be an extremely disorienting experience. Being ghosted often does that, it leaves so much room for doubt that you’re not even really sure of what just happened.
Especially when there are no answers to be found from the person who ghosted you. It’s like they never existed, like they were never a part of your life in the first place.
The hurdles while moving on
After months of brainstorming with yourself and with your friends, you finally convince yourself to close the chapter and move on. I thought I had figured out how to deal with ghosting. But hold on, there is always that nasty twist to the spooky tale. The ghost shows up. Those terrifying pings pop up on your phone just when you’ve given him up for dead. The resurrection of the undead can only be harrowing.
Just when you’ve made peace with the abrupt disappearance, the ghost partner comes back to haunt you. For me, it was a chilling experience when the ghost pinged me on WhatsApp out of the blue after a silent three months and spoke as though nothing had been amiss. As if things could be picked up from where they had been left. As if the ghosting had never taken place. I was horrified at the cold, clinical way in which the ghost messaged me and tried to make small talk. I get these haunting pings from the ghost every few months.
Having been abandoned had made me pause in life and reflect. I had a choice, either I could go the clichéd way and go on a rampage, dating innumerable people mindlessly, in the hope of getting ‘over’ the previous partner, or I could try searching for a silver lining in such a traumatic experience.
Related Reading: Is Caspering Less Brutal Than Ghosting?
Ghosting helped draw my attention to my parents. I had always taken their unconditional love for granted. But when you get abandoned so ungraciously, you cherish the comfort of having people of your own, who never leave you – no matter what.
The perils of the dating world are such that you need to get your feet wet to find love and some of us encounter unpleasant experiences like ghosting. Yes, like Cole in The Sixth Sense, I do see dead people. These are people who ghosted me and are dead in my eyes. They haunt me by sending random emails and messages and want to hang out with me, but I’ve learned to look right through them and not take notice. And that is when I learned how to deal with ghosting.
If you’ve been ghosted in your relationship, the road to recovery is similar to what you’d do when trying to move on without closure. Accept that it happened, keep yourself busy, make it a point to never accept this person back into your life again. If someone was inconsiderate enough to ghost you whilst in a relationship, they can’t be trusted enough to be let into your life again.
To move on, seek the help of friends around you or try and tackle the problem head-on, by confronting the feelings you have inside you and by not running away from them.
No, ghosting is not good in a relationship. It will lead to a lot of insecurities, self-esteem issues, doubt and pain for the person who got ghosted, and moving on will be a slow, excruciating process. Ghosting in a relationship is an extremely selfish thing to do and must be avoided at all costs.
Accept that you have been ghosted and start the moving on process. Don’t be needy by texting the person who ghosted you incessantly, it’s not going to change their mind. Work on yourself and try to forget about the ghoster as soon as possible.