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.
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.