If you have an active dating life, chances are you have been on the receiving end of being ghosted. I believe this to be one of the worse ways you can end a relationship; in friendship and in dating. It feels disrespectful in a huge way. I’m left with so many unanswered questions. I want to continue conversations that are now closed, without warning. I mourn what could have been. I doubt myself. I feel less trustful of people. I feel sad.
This is me trying to rationalize ghosting, making excuses for the person who ghosted me:
· They are scared.
· They are embarrassed.
· They have poor communication skills.
· They are not over their ex-girlfriend or boyfriend.
· They are confused.
· They have mental health issues.
But these are not answers! I will never know the real reasons why.
Friends and clients have echoed these same sentiments to me over the years. I’m curious why this method of leaving a person’s life is still in existence. Much like my confusion over smoking cigarettes. I don’t understand why teens and young people even start this habit anymore, with all we now know. These are outdated practices, in my opinion.
When people are direct and open with me in a written message about why they want to end “us,” I don’t have to wonder a million reasons why. It may not be the full truth but at least I know it’s over and I’m not waiting. I want truth and vulnerability and when I have this, I’m more likely to offer empathy to my partner in return.
Even though I am less bothered by ghosting these days, than previously, it still stings and confuses me. I think of all of the ways I wish the person would have handled the ending differently. I think there are perhaps one hundred better ways to end a relationship than ghosting.
Ultimately, I know that ghosting means the person is not ready to show up authentically for a relationship. This can sometimes give me peace. Now I know they are not capable or willing to put in the effort to sustain a relationship. At least not now AND not with me.
In my role as a Professional Matchmaker and Relationship Coach, I feel the pain and frustration of ghosting with my clients. Setting up dates for beautiful people that I have a professional working relationship with, means that I am sometimes ghosted, on their behalf. I set up appointments to screen candidates for my clients. I get to know them on video calls to determine if they appear to be a compatible match. If I approve them for a date, I share a few details with my single client and then I plan the date.
Sometimes both people have a wonderful date, they exchange numbers, and one person never calls or responds to messages. This can come after an amazing date that seemed to be full of connection. I am then in the role to comfort my client and support them through all of the feelings that come up for them.
These feelings range from:
· Feeling unworthy of a great relationship
· Frustration with the dating process
· Anger at their date
· Anger at their matchmaker
I had a wise woman client, last December, who sought out my services as a matchmaker. She was a widow with a past marriage of 40 years. She was incredibly sweet and open with me. She wanted to find her next person. I set her up with a lovely man, who dressed in holiday colors to take her to a Christmas musical performance after a dinner out. They had a wonderful time, sharing stories of their life as a single person after losing their partners 3 years ago. They exchanged numbers and I felt incredibly happy throughout my whole being, imagining the two of them sharing the rest of their lives together.
The happy story ended abruptly when my female client told me she was still feeling incredibly hurt from her last boyfriend of one year. Their relationship ended three months ago when he suddenly vanished, never returning her phone calls. She knew enough to know he was alive and well but it was no comfort as she struggled to understand why he left. Her pain and hurt from this ending left her broken and unable to let in this amazing man. She stayed in touch with me for months but ultimately didn’t feel ready to date again.
The lingering effects of being ghosted can last for years. There are other ways to end a relationship. Let’s explore them together.
How to end a relationship respectfully
(no matter how long the two of you were dating).
First get clear on your reasons to end the relationship.
· They will likely want to know and may ask you what your reasons are. It doesn’t mean you have to say what the reason is.
· If you are ending the relationship due to a trigger, investigate the trigger to give yourself time to discover why.
· If you want to breakup over an argument, consider discussing the argument first, without mentioning wanting to end the relationship. You may be able to see their perspective in a new way, now that you are both calm.
Consider asking for a couple of days without communication.
· This will allow you time to process and to get clear on your reasons.
Leave a voice clip or text.
· Breaking up by text or a voice message allows the breaker-upper to deliver their statement without interruptions. It allows the receiver to feel their emotions without censorship.
· Perhaps you fear their reaction and are uncomfortable with anger and tears. If you want to get your message out quickly, this is the way.
· You can have a conversation another time. Or avoid their calls and messages.
· I know people who prefer to be broken up in this way. They want time alone to feel their first reactions.
Call your partner on the phone.
· Similar to meeting in person, you will be able to have a joint conversation. You will be able to hear their reactions, validate their feelings, and provide empathy if you are able.
· Be prepared to answer the WHY questions. You don’t have to answer questions or tell the truth but if you do, it may help your partner to understand you more. They just might empathize with you, if you speak from the heart in an open and vulnerable way.
Meet them in person.
· This seems to be the most preferred and respectable way to have a breakup. Similar to a phone call, you are able to have a conversation around the breakup, allowing for clarity and closure for you both. It is not one-sided like a text, voicemail, or email.
· If the thought of this makes you nauseous and you don’t think you can handle it, practice the conversation with a friend first. Or write down the conversation you would like to have, as a way to practice.
If you are finding yourself hurt from being ghosted and are ready for a committed relationship, consider having a session with a Relationship or Dating Coach. Sharing your story can help you gain clarity. A Coach will listen and help you draw upon your experiences to move through them and learn from them. The most important thing I would like for you to know is that:
Being ghosted is not your fault!
Ghosting is due to the other person’s inability or unwillingness to communicate with you.
That is all.
Anastacia Elizabeth Walden
Writer, Editor, Author, and CEO @ Walden Writes For Women
Professional Matchmaker & Co-Owner @ Roots Matchmaking