How to Deal with Getting Ghosted in a Serious Relationship

Getting ghosted might be a newer way of saying it. But someone suddenly “disappearing” in a relationship is nothing new. And, no matter what you want to call it, it can be very painful for the person who was ghosted. Unfortunately, we know how tough these situations can be for people. Whether it’s in our relationship counseling the individual work we do with clients in trauma therapy, we often hear these stories of ghosting and see the pain first hand that people go through when it happens.

Being ghosted essentially means someone leaves or stands you up without warning. No phone calls, no text messages, and no explanations.

It’s more common in first dates or early on in relationships, but it does happen sometimes after a relationship has lasted for a significant period of time. Sometimes it’s because the person was looking for another relationship or was having an affair.

It’s also very common in our online dating world. This type of dating  However, it’s also common to get ghosted in a long-term, serious relationship. Unfortunately, that often makes the experience even more painful.

Dealing with getting ghosted in a serious relationship is difficult. While you can’t ignore the feelings completely, there are things you can do to make the process of getting through it easier.

Give Yourself Time to Get Over It

Any kind of breakup or separation in a long-term relationship is difficult. Especially when the breakup blindsides you. After all, experiencing the pain of your partner simply “vanishing” is dreadful.

One of the biggest mistakes people make is acting as though it doesn’t bother them or trying to move on right away.

While moving on eventually is important, it’s equally important to give yourself time to grieve the relationship. Let your emotions out and find someone who will listen to how you feel.

It can help to have a support system in place. Friends, family, or even a therapist can help you deal with the things you might be feeling.

There needs to be a mourning period when something like this happens in a relationship.

Keep in mind that it won’t last forever. In fact, you can give yourself a “cut off” period. But, before that time, don’t be afraid to really set your emotions free and do what you need to grieve.

We also recommend mindfulness work, because this can help people find more contentment in the present. Mindfulness can be described as practicing present awareness of feelings, while also recognizing that they’ll pass. It’s hard to remember that in the moment, but it’s true that no emotion can last forever or at an extremely intense level.

Don’t Over-Analyze

It’s tempting to think about what could have possibly gone wrong in your relationship for your partner to just leave. But, that often leads to over-analyzing, and it can set you up for a lot of extra pain. You might even fall into the trap of blaming yourself for what has happened. Being ghosted can kick up all kinds of fears and insecurities. Just remember that these insecurities have always been in your life in some way or another and just like before, you’ll learn new ways to deal with them.

Also, it’s important to remember you may never fully know why they chose to leave. It could be something you did that they didn’t like, or it could be something going on in their own head. The possible reasons why they left are endless. The truth is that your partner didn’t take the time to tell you what was happening, which didn’t allow you the opportunity to work on the relationship. And that part is never your fault.

Trying to figure it all out will only cause you more pain. Plus, it won’t allow you the freedom to fully move on.

Sometimes, relationships that end in ghosting don’t have closure. Again, this can be difficult to handle. Yet, trying to keep in contact with your partner or figuring it out on your own will keep you “trapped” in the confines of the breakup for far too long.

You have to find closure within yourself in order to fully move on.

Think About What You’ve Learned

In psychotherapy, we often focus on the lessons that people have learned in their lives. Whether a relationship is good or bad, we always learn something from it. Once you’ve gone through a period of mourning and you’re ready to move on in your life, it’s a good idea to think about what you experienced from your relationship.

Then, consider how you can use that to move forward in life.

Relationships help us to grow. You may never really understand why your partner left. Actually, that’s not even the most important thing. What you should focus on instead is how the entire experience can help you in your next relationship. Or, even with friendships or your personal growth.

Therapy May Be an Option

Talking to someone may be needed if you find yourself overwhelmed or stuck in the emotions or pain that was caused by ghosting. Remember, relationship trauma is common in these situations. Find a therapist in your area who you can open up to about your emotions. This will help you identify your fears, but it can also help you heal wounds.

Although the pain of being ghosted will likely subside, you may be needing to find someone to talk to. Good Therapy and Psychology Today maintain good directories of therapists in your area. And if you’re in Dallas area, you can learn more about the Vantage Point Counseling Therapists or Contact Us to see how we can help with relationships, self-acceptance, and trauma.

35 Comments
  1. My relationship of 4 months feels like it’s being ghosted. We’ve been together for awhile obviously so I never felt like this would’ve happened. He’s coming off distant lately with the cover up of how he’s stress over getting a new job. He’s been avoiding me for a couple of days and he’s response was “Hey what’s up I’m at home, won’t be able to hang out for a little while want to get resume and new job“. He expected me to not say anything else about it and I guess just let him talk to me whenever he felt like it. Being in a committed relationship like we had all this time I didn’t think it was acceptable and he should be reaching out to me if not no one else. I feel my time has been wasted of 4 months dating and he’s trying to throw it away over stress, and get a new job and a new life with someone else. This is not what I expected from my first ever relationship and boyfriend.

    • From my personal experience and what I’ve observed, you do not want to be the one twisting in the wind. He may be preoccupied and stressed. Okay, give him some space by being busy and unavailable. You don’t have to give specifics, but redirect yourself. Waiting for someone is a losing game. There’s no more effective way to get a guy off the fence. If he becomes insecure, opens up to you, be direct, be truthful, and be deliberate on deciding your own course. If he doesn’t, my dear, you never had him and there are too many worthwhile men out there.

  2. My boyfriend for 4 years ghosted me. he went for vacation and just as the plane landed in his hometown he blocked me, facebook, WhatsApp, viber, Instagram. and you know what hurts more? I found out he was engaged after a month. I never saw it coming because we were planning for our future together almost everyday we are together and never I would have felt that he is up to something.

  3. You have my deepest sympathy. This must be devastating. I hope things are better for you by now. Stay away from this rat because he will likely be back. Change your phone number, address, and work place if you can. He’s toxic. Enjoy your new life without him.

  4. I was recently ghosted after 2 years by my boyfriend who I am employed with at the same company. No one at work knows and now with quarantine and furloughs,we do not have to see eachother until the end of May. His 65″ television and xbox along with all of his summer clothes are still at my house. 2 months of unanswered texts and calls. The betrayal suffocates me and my anger is blinding. I am numb from the pain and disbelief. I can not imagine trusting someone ever again. Who does this to a person? How? Why? I will never understand. My heart is broken, not because i lost the greatest guy, but because who i thought was my best friend played me as badly as he did.

    • The first thing to remember is there is a high probability that he is seeing or has connected with someone else. Think. A closure meeting would require that you ask him questions and he would either have to squirm , lie, or risk a highlyvemotional soon to be ex. In time if you are honest with yourself, you will have had clues that his feelings for you were not the same. In fact you were probably taking a lot if emotional hits to your self esteem, as you felt him pull away. Time, give it time. Delete his possible entry back into your life. Allow him to feel your absence from his life. It is onlyvwithbtime and healing that you will realise the magnitude of his disrespect to you at the end. Dont allow his bad behaviour to rob you of loving and trusting someone else. Evaluate, be honest, (particularly your own part e.g not communicating your own needs) take things slowly, and believe that there are thousands of genuine, nice men in the world.

    • Your story is as if I wrote it myself. I’m completely devastated- 2 year relationship and same situation

    • Same. I think The pandemic has something to do with it as well. I felt him pulling away last couple of months. He disappeared for a few days, then came back online. I asked him about it and said this is his default state to just disappear for a few days which is completely confusing as he’s never done that before. So now it’s been nearly a week and my last message has gone completely unread. Very disrespectful. I’m sorry this happened to you too.

  5. Fiona,

    Great advice, so happy I read this. I just had the same thing that happened to me, blindsided. I was barely hearing from him, and he would never respond to my text until a day later, excuses why he didn’t call. It went from three years of him not getting enough on the phone, being upset when I was busy to silence. I sent him a text yesterday, telling him that I know he purposely pushed me away so that I would do the breaking up. I haven’t heard from him and nor do I feel I will.

  6. My boyfriend and I have been together 6months and it was blissful. So blissful we decided to quarantine together. We ended up bickering a lot and in the middle of an argument he shouted out “we should just break up.” I was shocked but to alleviate the pressure building I started packing up my things and told him I would leave the next day, since it was late in the evening. The next day I confronted him on the way he broke up with me and he said he didn’t mean it but he still thinks we need space and I should go home. I agreed.

    I picked up my computer and noticed his email was logged in and I when I went to log off I noticed he had signed up for Tinder. I confronted him on this and he said he assumed we were going to break up weeks ago because of all our bickering so he just was preparing himself. He didn’t want to talk about it he wanted me to leave and he said he would call me in a few days. It’s been a week and I haven’t heard from him. Should I confront him on al he’s done or move on?

    • I have been in a relationship with a man I met on line for yr and a half, he lives 3 hrs away, and everything was going smooth. He took me to Hawaii and on a cruise to Ensenada, birthday in Monterrey.. Sent me flowers things for my yard, he told me he loved me wanted to take care of me.. He was never a big texter, but the last couple months 3 to five owrds a day I would ask him why h e never really said anything but reassured me he loved me Hadn’t seen him since feb my birthday as covid hit..He used to say good morning etc, then it was just me doing it.. I text him said we need to make a plan to meet you come see me or I’ll go down there, I miss you I need to see you , need more then a couple emojis. Nothing been two weeks daughter said I’d been ghosted didn’t even know what that was. I’m 65 so is he. He treated me like a princess.. My heart is completely broken I cry all the time. We made plans for the future.

  7. Was ghosted after a 5 month “exclusive” “relationship” (we knew each other from working together while we were in hs) we both were supposedly only seeing each other, only live about 45 minutes apart and managed to only see each other about 2 times during that period. I would always invite her over, but something always came up, the final straw, was she was supposed to come hang out, the day comes, I text her in the am to confirm plans. And nothing. Text in the afternoon, still nothing. Just disappeared. I know she is okay because she has been active on social media. I just don’t understand how you can confirm plans the night Before and then flake out with no word of why. And it’s the first day we hadn’t spoken since initial contact 5 months ago. I really cared for this girl and just don’t know what went wrong! It just hurts losing someone you care about (who SAID) they care about you knowing that they are totally fine just walking away so easily.

  8. I lived with my ex, everything seemed perfect, we were planning to get married and our future together. Suddenly, I was at work and he sent me a message saying to get my things out of his house, no explanation, nothing. When I went to get my things, he didn’t even look at me, he was furious and refused to speak to me. Six months have passed and I still don’t know what happened, he blocked me from everything and didn’t answer any of my messages…

  9. I am completely blindsided by someone who ran after me, moved to be with me. Got me and then When I open up to him he now has seemed to have one foot out the door. He does things that hurt my feelings. When I say I am hurt, he gets mad at me and stops talking to me. He literally ignores my texts, me and my emails. I don’t get it. We have talked endlessly about how this hurts me. Yet, every time, he does it. It’s like he just writes me off. I have to turn myself inside-out to get him to talk to me and it’s like pulling teeth. I feel very hurt. Why won’t he just be honest and say he doesn’t want me anymore instead of being hot and cold. I feel so rejected and confused. I don’t son’t seem to know how to break the cycle and take my strength back.

  10. bullshit!

  11. Two weeks ago, my boyfriend of one year ghosted me. The whole situation was difficult from the start because while we both unexpectedly developed very strong feelings I was moving out of state at the end of the summer (2019). The entire summer we spent every second together, though, I didn’t think I would talk to him after the summer ended. Much to my surprised we confessed our love for each other the day before I left. At that point I knew I wasn’t going to be able to end it. We decided to continue as an open, long distance relationship. Without him, I was distracted and terribly sad but we messaged constantly and talked on the phone as much as possible. I felt really good about things. Since my move to the time of our breakup, we had only been physically in the same place for 36 hours. But our emotional connection had deepened so much I wasn’t worried about us working out. During quarantine everyone left a strain on their relationships. But I was so confident because me and mine had been doing it for months and were experiencing nothing new. April was littered with several heated arguments regarding differences in opinion on social issues. But we were never the type to shy away from controversial conversations so I didn’t think anything was out of the ordinary. In late April and May his communication was minimal and I felt ignored. We got in an argument about this and that was the last thing we spoke about. I didn’t think it would lead to a split because we’d overcome much worse fights before. But he blocked me on all social media and wouldn’t return my phone calls. Now I am such a mess. The pain I am experiencing is all consuming. Luckily I don’t really have much on my plate but that’s also kind of a bad think because I have nothing to distract me. I’m a very sensitive person with abandonment issues. No one deserves this but given my history, I feel like the pain runs a little deeper. I’m still in denial. I keep hoping this is just a bad dream and I’ll wake up any minute to my loving boyfriend. Or he’ll call any day now with a damn good excuse and a grand apology. Or that I’ll get word he’s died in a freak accident. Or that he’ll at least call me up give me a proper break up. I was so madly in love with him. We hadn’t been together long and most of that was spent across the country from one another but I was intent on marrying him (we’d discussed it many times). The level of devastation I am experiencing is unlike anything I’ve ever felt.

  12. I was ghosted after an 18 month relationship where I was showered with love and affection. We even talked of marriage. It felt mutual all the way. We had a blissful weekend together and then 48 hours later I was ghosted. She says she couldn’t think of another way to do it. I’m struggling to come to terms with the change in her almost over night. She’s autistic and I think this contributed to how she can do this. But I feel it’s not an excuse. I’m desperately heartbroken and struggling to get past it. How can someone who loved me so much do this? When we messaged about exchanging belongings she says she’s fine. She isn’t missing me. It happened two weeks ago. Feeling lost.

  13. Ghosted after 5+ years together.
    I get that He’s depressed, but to go from Talking everyday to not hearing from him for over a week, and not seeing him for almost a month…what’s that even about?
    I’m hurt and feel betrayed.If you want to end things-fine! Be a grown up and say so.

    I’ve tried reaching out, I’m ignored.

    I know he is still alive and not in jail or hospital. My friend lives near him and has seen him leave for work 2 days ago. I’d confront him, but it’s not worth my time.

  14. I was ghosted by my boyfriend of 3 years. We had a fight yesterday about how communication was bad in our relationship the past year because he never expressed his feeling or needs and that he didn’t show me love like I did. He had nothing to say to my rant so I just left him and went home. He hasn’t contacted me since. We were also best friends so I lost a best friend too.

  15. My boyfriend ghosted me it’s been 2weeks since we spoke. He told me he loved me then he dissapeared during the July 4th holiday.I stopped by his place he wasn’t home. I’m so confused and hurt. Should I go back to his house? I want to know why. We’ve been together for almost 2 years.I know he is cheating.

  16. I’m going through the same thing. My boyfriend of almost three years has recently started to pull away from me. We went from talking all day everyday, spending as much time as possible together to me not even being able to see him for 10 minutes. Everything and everyone else is more of a priority to him than I am. It really hurts because he said he loved me and wanted forever with me but now it’s like I don’t matter. Did I do something wrong? He says it’s not me it’s him but he’ll go days without saying anything to me. He’ll make “plans” to spend time with me, only to flake out at the last minute. He’s been working nonstop throughout this whole COVID thing and I know he’s tired but he has time to do what he feels is important to him. He’s even told me that he can tell that I’m not happy with him, but that not true. Maybe I’m overreacting. I just feel like he’s trying to get me to break up with him so he can seem like the good guy.

    • This sounds just like my situation. We had a normal conversation, and I got a good night text. The next day I got a text saying he was staying in that night and I was free to do what I wanted. I told him I was going by his house to bring him something I had bought him and he said don’t come, I am not home. I was already there by that point and he was home. I have not heard anything in a week. I don’t know what to do we talked about every night, texted everyday. i am so lost and broken right now.

  17. I ghosted my boyfriend of five months, not because he was at fault for anything but because I think im selfish in the relationship and he doesn’t really get me all the time. Im trying to give him space so he can decide if he still wants me or not. Is this going to work out?

  18. I have been dating this wonderful guy for a year, we were best friends for months before this. He proposed to me 3 months ago, I was very surprised, so we started planning to close the gap in August and finally move in together since we live in different states and only seeing each other a couple times a month is really rough. Then at the beginning of July he started acting a little Dustin and I asked him what’s going on, he said he’s just busy, he’s always honest with me, and it is the busy time of year at his job so I let it slide. Then it was three weeks of completely no answers on texts or calls, then she answered one call talked for 5 minutes and then hung up in the middle of a sentence. another two weeks later and no contact since. I just don’t understand. I don’t know what happened that my best friend has completely shut me out, that my fiance won’t talk to me. He won’t even answer just to say if the relationship is actually over so I’m sitting here in this exhausting heart-wrenching cycle of not knowing if this is temporary or if the love of my life has really left me

  19. That part about retaliation strikes home to me. My wife of 22 years disappeared one morning and never came home again. The whole thing boggled my mind because it seemed that we had a good relationship going on. We talked and very rarely argued, and then it would last just for minutes not hours or days.
    When a woman gives me the eye something in me shuts my brain down and I reject her. I’m in a recovery group and meet a lot of women and have rejected all who seemed interested. Then one girl and I were to meet the next morning and she didn’t show. Think that didn’t hurt? I think I’m way to aggressive towards women now even though I’d sort of like to meet a woman whom I could agree with. I simply reject them all. My brain goes “Stop! Danger, get away she’s going to disappear like they all do, it’s happened twice before. I have psych care through the VA, but Covid hysteria prevents me from seeing my private therapist. I guess I’m a bit crazy but I’m working on it. Thanks

  20. I am sorry to read all of these entries. My heart breaks for each one of you. I too have been ghosted, in a way. My boyfriend of nearly 12 years hasn’t talked or texted me since June 30th. I too am confused and hurt. We (or rather I) had a fight with him in late May via text―I had an anxiety attack, which rarely occur (usually about work), but alas, I focused it on us and said a lot of things that were in the heat of the moment, which, at my age, I knew better, and now I’m dealing with the aftermath of that. Those texts caused him to reassess our last two years together. (I urge you, if you are reading this, do not text when you are having an anxiety attack!). Without getting into too much detail, I fear now that he thinks that I want something that I don’t actually want―I was breaking down after the stay at home orders had taken their toll on my mental state. We saw each other a couple times in June, but it wasn’t the same as it had been prior to the stay at home orders (we both take COVID seriously, especially now that he was back at work), and what was always a very psychically loving relationship, didn’t seem the same since we couldn’t hold hands or touch. On June 15th, I texted him that I was willing to give him time alone (he didn’t request it, I offered it), because I thought maybe that I was adding to his stress. On June 24th, I asked if his silence had to do with us, and he replied that it did. The last I heard from him was on June 30th, and that we could get together to talk about us “next week,” because he had his 14-year-old son with him the entire week. He was right, that sort of conversation shouldn’t happen around a kid. But, that talk should have happened the week of July 5th. I was patient that week, I didn’t call or text, I waited for him to reach out; I waited for him to contact me. He didn’t. I know he doesn’t do well under stress and that he gets really focused on what is affecting him in the moment. I texted him the next week, that it was OK, that I would give him more time if he needed it. I still haven’t heard from him, despite a couple of “testing the waters” reach outs, in addition to the “I’ll give you more time if you need it” statements. I know he has a tendency to withdraw from everything and focus on what is most stressful (11+ years together, the longest relationship for both of us). You may be asking why we don’t live together? He asked me to live with him last year, and if COVID hadn’t happened, we would be living together now. He works in a restaurant, as a bartender. I work from home now. He has a 14-year-old son who has asthma, and of whom he has almost every day now, except Wednesdays and Thursdays. I know this may sound like I’m giving him an excuse, but he really does have more stress factors than I do right now. I guess the thing is, no matter how well we know someone, or for how long, we never know what it truly in his or her mind. I hope my situation works out, because 11+ years of loving someone is not something you throw away, or want to throw away. But, for all of you, I hope it works out too… be patient with others right now (you do not know what they are going through), live your life, and be true to yourself.

  21. So I have been doing ldr due to corona but we have been together since 2018. Everything seemed fine even though he cancelled a visit, something I put down to the globAl pandemic. My best friend apparently grew suspicious and did some serious Internet digging and found out that he is living with someone since April… I asked him about it and can see that he read it but no response at all. I never actually knew that heartaches could be physically felt before+ I’m pissed as hell. I did my own digging and found the other girl. Atm I am pretty sure that she doesn’t know I exists, should I contact her??

    • Hello Anna. No, I wouldn’t contact her. In the end, it was his decision to be dishonest to you. Furthermore, he’ll be contacting you. Relationships built on deceit and dishonesty will not last. And, when he contacts you…GHOST him. Sometimes, people such as he needs a taste of his own medicine. In the meantime, DO YOU GIRL… Take care of yourself and maintain a healthy life. There’s no point in giving any further energy to that situation.

  22. My boyfriend of 3 years simply disappeared from my life. We haven’t argued about anything, nothing happened for him to simply vanish…It happened approx 2 weeks ago, he’s been barely texting me, now he hasn’t texted me in 3 days…I feel so lost, I don’t know why this is happening, I am not being given a reason, we’ve been talking every single day for 3 years now, I am also losing my best friend, I miss him and he won’t even break up with me properly, for me to get some closure??? What have I done wrong???

  23. I’ve been in a 5 year, long-distance relationship. We made plans on him moving closer and getting married. He’s been having hard times in the city he’s living in due to COVID and closing his current life there. Three weeks ago he received a phone call that he wasn’t all too enthused to receive. I haven’t heard from him since. I’ve contacted his daughter and sister. Both of them are saying that he’s fine and they don’t want to get involved. I have no idea of what could be the problem. We were laughing before he received the phone call and in a good place. Sure he’s had some hard times, but I’ve remained supportive. I’ve sent text messages, made calls, and left messages… Still, no word. I’m not blocked because the phone just rings continuously until it goes to voicemail. Earlier, I was numb with disbelief. I’m not angry, but the pain and frustration of it all is overwhelming. I’m praying constantly for the removal of this pain and frustration.

  24. I am in the same situation after 6 years on – off -on again relationship. When somebody disappears that means that this person wants out. Doesn’t it? There should be no confusion. Just deal with that and move on. Also the infamous statement It’s not you it’s me always means the opposite. I am not a candy for everyone to love and I deserve that. Why not? Being humble is the way out of it. Don’t you think so?

  25. I was in a relationship with this man for 4 years. Since the very being we had issues, he lied about a few thing however I took him back. I always felt as if we could work out all our problems. Unfortunately about a week ago he said he need time for himself went on a fishing trip and haven’t heard from him ever since. I am so hurt because he actually had me thinking that we were about to buy our house we were going to get married and be a family. Obviously none of that will happen now I just dnt understand how he could be this way. A simple I dnt want you or it’s over would have been nice.

  26. I was in a long distance relationship for 5 years; he’s 9 years older than me (I’m mid-50s). We spoke 10 times a day, managed to meet up every 4-6 weeks and had plans on moving in together. I was looking for a job nearer to him, and he had my initials tattooed on his arm several. We are both divorced; he met my kids (he doesn’t have any). Three months ago today, we had a minor disagreement on the phone. I suggested we cool off and talk later that day. Well… I called him, but no answer. I called again the next day to apologize, I texted him, I emailed him and I called again to ask him to please call me back. NOTHING. During our relationship he had done this before for weeks at a time; and my girlfriends had warned me to get out. I didn’t listen, and we would get back on track but it was me re-instigating it each time. The conversations and times we had together were amazing – shared many of the same interests and goals. He told me daily how much he loved me. Now it’s the pandemic – he knew my Dad was end-of-life, he knows I live very close to the wildfires in Oregon – but nothing. No call to see how I”m doing; and certainly no message returned. I heard a song yesterday that reminded me of him, and that was about music and guitar playing (one of his interests/talents) and I sent him a nice email about it, telling him I hoped he was doing well. Still nothing. I need closure so badly; I am in therapy for this as it mirrors the end of my marriage (my ex just left the kids and I one day – ended up he was cheating, and refused any marriage counselling etc). I don’t know if I should call his mother and ask if he is dead? I’m beside myself in pain mostly because I can’t believe how cruel he turned out to be; it just makes me feel so worthless and invisible. I think he knows this – he is a veteran (24 years) and has lots of scars and trauma; and I think (sadly) this behavior goes with his punitive, black-and-white personality – it’s just so cold-hearted and beyond understanding. The irony is that I still love him, though heaven knows why. But I want to move on; I know a relationship with him would NEVER work out. I want to heal and move forward, find wonderful, loving man whom I deserve; I’m working hard on that and facing my traumas. Thanks for listening.

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