While technology, dating apps, and the internet have certainly made some things about dating easier, it’s made many things more difficult, too. Constant access to everyone and everything can put a strain on communication, which probably has a lot to do with how ghosting became a full-blown dating epidemic.
Ghosting is when someone you’re seeing stops communication with you without formally ending things or explaining why. This can take many different shapes. Some ghosts will slowly start to give shorter and shorter responses until reaching out to them no longer feels worth it. And, some will just vanish into thin air—ceasing to respond or get in touch with you entirely.
What To Do When A Ghoster Returns
As if getting ghosted isn’t traumatic enough, ghosters are rarely gone forever. Just when you think you’ll never hear from the guy who ghosted you again, he always seems to pop back up—sometimes even years later. What do you do when the guy who ghosted you comes back to haunt you?
1. Remember How It Felt To Get Ghosted
Regardless of how you may feel about the person who ghosted you, it can be overwhelming to hear from them again. Think about how it felt when you first realized you were being ghosted. You may have been shocked because you felt things were going well. Maybe you felt heartbroken. Or, maybe you didn’t even care much about losing this person, but it hurt your self-esteem. Identify how you really felt when this happened, it will affect whether or not you want to engage with him again.
2. Identify What You Want
Once you’ve identified how you felt when you were ghosted, think about what you want moving forward. You might simply want closure. Maybe you want to put an end to this chapter. Or, maybe you want to hear your ghost out and potentially give them another chance. Figuring out what you want will make your next step clearer.
3. Embrace The Moment
One of the most difficult parts of getting ghosted is losing control over the situation. Relationships should have a healthy balance of power, and ghosting removes that. Losing control can cause anxiety, confusion, and even panic. When your ghost reaches out to you, they’re returning the control. Keep this in mind if you start feeling overwhelmed by what to do next or tempted to rush to respond. Take your time, and enjoy the fact that the next move is entirely up to you.
4. Give It Some Time
If you’ve decided that you want to have a conversation with your ghost, you may feel pressure to get back to him right away. There’s nothing wrong with giving it a few days and getting yourself to a place where you feel ready and confident in your decision. Plus, giving him time to enjoy a taste of his own medicine might help him realize that ghosting is not okay.
If you’ve decided that you don’t need anything from your ghost, you don’t have to respond. Responding in any way opens the door for further communication. If you’re over it, there’s no need to complicate things. Don’t give them the satisfaction of accomplishing what they set out to do: hear from you. Not only will they get the point, but it feels so good to imagine them waiting for a response.
6. Hit The Block Button
Not responding puts a halt to the potential conversation, but there’s always a chance of a double text, and it could leave you wondering what might happen next. Blocking him puts a definite end to the conversation and will get him out of sight and out of mind.
If you decide to exorcise your ghost once and for all, it’s a good idea to proceed by unfollowing him. Your ghost isn’t as important as he seems; he’s really just some guy. Constantly seeing him on your Twitter feed makes him seem like a bigger deal than he is. If you choose to end the relationship, getting him out of your social media feeds will make it much easier to move on. (And, yes. This means no checking his tagged Instagram photos, either). That’s the ultimate trick to ghost-busting.
8. Call Him Out
There are a few reasons why you may want to respond to your ghost. One reason to respond is to end things formally. He should’ve ended things by being clear and communicative. Now, you have the opportunity to do so. You can tell him it’s over while giving both of you closure.
Another reason to respond is to call him out: Ghosts shouldn’t be able to get away with what they did. Whether you intend to rekindle your romance or kick him to the curb, it’s helpful and cathartic to make him acknowledge what he did instead of treating it like the elephant in the room.
9. Give Him The Benefit Of The Doubt
Let’s face it: dating is hard as it is, but the events in the world over the past few years have made it even harder to connect with others. If you really missed your ghost and find yourself more excited than upset to hear from him, it could be worth hearing him out. Make it clear that his ghosting hurt, but give him a chance to explain his reasons and you may find that things work out for the best.
10. Take Care Of You!
In modern dating, society has made many of us feel that being clear about our needs for commitment or respect makes us needy or overbearing. It doesn’t. It’s normal to have needs. Don’t let anyone tell you you’re asking too much by expecting basic communication.