The feeling you get after someone you’ve been seeing disappears on you is indescribable, you’re left anxious, frustrated and unable to process what happened. Eventually, you get sick of the frustration, so you decide it’s best to put the whole incident behind you -except they’re back?! Out of nowhere, it seems. So, what do you do now?
Well, the first thing you should decide on is whether they’re even worth responding to or not -do consider whether you’ve ever been guilty of ghosting yourself or not and why you did it. Secondly, and most importantly, confront them head on and evaluate whether the reasons they give for disappearing are valid or not. Remember not to keep anything inside and tell them how their behavior made you feel. Lastly, treat them how you’d like being treated yourself: don’t give in to spite.
So, what are the proper steps that you need to take when a ghost resurfaces? Here are some guidelines:
Decide whether they’re worth responding to:
Your first thought after finally, finally receiving a message from your date may be to instantly respond. I mean, why not? This is something that you’ve been waiting for all this time, so why not just jump into it?
That is where you’re wrong. Sure, you’ve been waiting for a response for eons and this seems like a dream come true: you can find out just what happened and why. However, you can’t just blindly respond in the excitement of the moment. You have got to take your time and look over certain factors. Mainly:
Is it really worth responding?
If you seriously have interest in restarting things between yourself and the person concerned and their ghosting was not of enough severity to do you any real harm: Be our guest and give in.
However, if the ghosting did you one over and now that you’ve finally gotten over it’s impacts and are moving on, then this may not be such a good decision. You have to remember to think about yourself first. If your mental health and daily life was disturbed because of this person and you’ve finally drawn your line, let it be. You come first.
Another thing to remember is that if you’re not interested in the person anymore, responding for the sake of just asking them just why they ghosted you is not a good option. Things are bound to get complicated. So, it’s best to just ignore them and live your life.
Consider whether you’ve ghosted someone before:
You may have really liked this person before the ghosting debacle.
But, now your pride may be telling you to not give them the time of the day. “They don’t deserve any of your energy after all they did.”
This may be true in a sense, but you have to again, remember, to put yourself in the other person’s shoes and ask yourself: Have you ever done this to someone before? And if so, why?
Chances are, you have. You probably went on a date with someone and it all went really well. However, afterwards you got caught up in work or a family emergency and forgot to get back to them. When you realized, it was already too late.
Or maybe you hit it off with someone on a dating app, but then lost interest after a while. So, you stopped responding altogether instead of letting them down.
Whatever you did, even if it wasn’t as extreme as what this person did to you, take care of the fact that:
You aren’t judging someone else for something that you, yourself have been guilty of.
If you really believe there is potential here somewhere and that they deserve it, hear them out -regardless of whatever happened.
This one is the most important step in this whole article: Communication!
After all that has happened, it would be pretty foolish to just let this person slide back into your life -no questions or reasons asked. You have to confront them head on and ask for reasons as to their behavior.
This is because their answer will decide whether you’re still going to keep in touch or not. So, ask them: Why did you leave? Was it something I did?
However, if you really do want to carry things on with this person, you need to remember one thing. That is, not to throw the question in their face or show any unnecessary sarcasm or brashness.
They may give you a series of reasons, so give whatever they tell you serious consideration and thought. You need to assess whether it is really a valid excuse or not.
Maybe they had a family emergency or got caught up in work. Or maybe they had just gotten out of a bad relationship and weren’t ready for the commitment.
It may also be that they were just using you as a past time and weren’t that interested in the first place. And now, that they’re bored again, they’re back.
Listen to your gut:
Only you know what’s best for you. And now, it’s entirely up to you to decide whether whatever reasons this person has given for disappearing into thin air and reappearing out of nowhere, are really legitimate or not.
In such a situation, the perfect option is to listen to your intuition. What do your instincts say about this whole situation? Are they lying about their reasons or not? Are they really sincere or just bluffing? Was whatever they said enough for you to forgive them and move on?
If you have an underlying hunch that this person is kind of suspicious and trusting them again isn’t the best of options: act on it! Your sixth sense is right most of the time when it comes to situations like this.
Moreover, introspection will also help you decide whether you like this person enough to give them a second chance -regardless of their excuses (or lack thereof).
If you’re seriously over this person and you’ve put the relationship behind you or if it was just a temporary attachment: let it go. It wouldn’t be fair to either you or them, if you carry on things halfheartedly or forcefully.
However, if you genuinely had serious feelings for this person and those feelings have resurfaced because of their sudden appearance -you should probably give whatever you two have a chance, before coming to any radical decisions.
Tell them how the ghosting made you feel:
It must seem really very easy to just let things go and restart your relationship on a fresh foot. Surely, what’s the point of repeating the past? Let bygones be bygones.
Yes, but actually: no. We’ve already covered that communication is the most crucial response in this whole situation. So you have to communicate whatever you felt when the ghosting happened.
It’s in human nature to ignore problems and stay in denial. Taking the easy way out. However, this route doesn’t exactly make the problems go away. It just allows them to grow bigger or get repeated in the future.
Therefore, it is very important for you to address the really large, ghost-sized hole in your relationship by telling your partner just how it came to be.
Because, contrary to popular belief (yours and theirs’) the other person does care about being ghosted or not. It is not the better way to end things or discontinue them. These are the statements they probably told themselves in order to justify or minimize the consequences of their behaviour.
You have to make them realize the impact their disappearing act had on you, however small or big. That is the only way they’ll actually see how much of a problem it was.
In such cases, pride (ah, pride) again, may come in your away and tell you it’s better to save face by acting all standoffish about the situation. Let’s not let them see they hurt you. They don’t deserve it.
Well, they may not. But you do. This is for you own good. It’s hopefully going to smooth things out and act as a deterrent from future hurt by the same person.
Don’t act out of spite:
Now that we have the guidelines concerning your initial responses out of the way, let’s look at a very common problem down the road:
Spite or vindictiveness. These are, again, in human nature. One wants to make the other person feel what they, themselves felt.
You may actually respond and resume talking but, naturally -due to some remaining bitterness- decide to lash out on them or ghost them, yourself. As a revenge of sorts.
That’s really not the way to go. Seriously.
In order for the relationship to work, or -even leaving the relationship aside- you to be mentally at peace, you need to be the bigger person. They acted like an idiot? People make mistakes. Keep your eyes open for more to come, but try being mature.
Moreover, life is -at the end of the day- all about give and take. You need to treat people well, yourself, in order for the favour to be returned on their part.
So, take note: No matter how much you want to, please be respectful and empathetic. Don’t do anything to them, you wouldn’t want them doing to you.
What you sow, you shall reap. And in time, you’ll see the favour being returned when all your maturity is repaid by the relationship being a healthy and stable one.
Remember: the most important factor in a relationship is respect and kindness. It cannot thrive without them, as they form the base of a relationship.
Can you really forgive a ghoster?
So, we’re finally done with what your initial and short term responses to your ghosting partner may be.
However, a very important anxiety in the long term may be: can a ghoster really change their ways and hence, enable one to have a stable future with them?
Once a ghoster, always a ghoster?
Let’s see how you can make sure of that and how you can prevent it from happening again. (Spoiler, the answer lies in -you guessed it!- communication).
We already hinted it above that telling your partner how their actions made you feel is very important. We also hinted it at being a deterrent. How exactly is that?
This is because when you tell them that their ghosting was really a problem and impacted you in negative ways, it’ll automatically induce feelings of guilt in them. It will help them realize the consequences of their actions.
Therefore, in the future, whenever they have the urge to repeat their actions (because of the same or different reasons), they will think it through a lot of times before taking any steps. They will be hesitant because now they can’t lie to themselves about this being the better option and they’re aware of the impact it will have on you.
Chances are, they won’t do it and instead choose to confront you about whatever issues they have. You won’t have to suffer through the excruciating ordeal again.
- Set boundaries:
This is very important as both of you will be well aware of what you can and can’t do. It will also help giving the relationship a status. Is it a fling? A summer thing? Or a serious relationship?
This helps solidify what you both mean to each other and what another repeated instance of the ghosting will mean for the future of your relationship.
- Give them a time limit:
This is also a good way to give the other person their space, but to ensure they don’t repeat what they did again.
In this way, they will be well aware on how much time they can take off and if they trespass on it -their will be no more chances they can avail to resume the relationship.
- Be comfortable:
Make a pact to talk to each other about things. The other person may be struggling with issues which may be the reason for their ghosting.
If you don’t want to be left in the dark again, ask them to confide in you. So even if they do disappear again, at least you know why they did it and that they’ll be back.
To sum up
So, to conclude: Ghosting is a pain and the proper response to a ghost coming back to life is to act rational and mature.
Also, communication is the solution to (almost) every problem in a relationship, a piece of information the couples on T.V would do well to remember!