Snapchat took over our phones by storm a few years ago and has had an unprecedented affect on the dating norms of our generation. Ghosting has become a ubiquitous conversation topic during Sunday brunch; nearly all of my girlfriends and many of my clients (I'm a professional matchmaker) have experienced this phenomenon.
For the lucky few who have yet to experience it, ghosting happens when a couple goes out on several dates, text daily and then one day — seemingly out of nowhere — that potential boyfriend abruptly stops texting, calling and making any contact via social media. All contact ceases. The woman is left perplexed and seeks my guidance to discuss what to do, what went wrong and how to ensure that kind of cruel and unusual punishment will never happen again. Here is a step-by-step guide to help you deal with being ghosted:
1. Get closure.
It is important to give this dud one last shot to explain. Maybe he was sent on a special trip for his job for the past week that banned any kind of phone usage. Or maybe, his grandmother passed away. Or, his brother's friend's uncle's cousin needed a kidney transplant.
In times of a ghosting situation, it is best to give this guy the benefit of the doubt without jumping to conclusions. When we surveyed our eligible bachelors on how they would like a woman to react when they suspect that they have been ghosted, the majority of men suggested texting him a quick non-judgmental, “Hey! Is everything OK?”
2. Allow him to repent.
Allow him two days to get himself together and realize that his behavior was distasteful and relationship ending. If he wants to continue developing a relationship with you, make it clear that you have standards of treatment. This, however, does not mean instructing the guy to text you five times a day with two phone calls a week and three Skype calls a month.
If he has dated in the past century, he knows basic etiquette for courting communication, and if he doesn't, run because he is either seriously socially challenged or not ready for a mature relationship. If he truly was bonked down with some major family, work, friend issue, you can give him a pass with the right kind of repentance. This is where the big gesture comes into play.
The big gesture depends on you. What does he need to do for you to feel comfortable continuing to date him? Must he come to your apartment window with a boom box on his shoulder begging for you to go back to him? Must he send you flowers to make up for his disappearing act? Does a simple, “I'm sorry” text do the job?
Does he need to pull a Beiber and write a song about missing more than just your body? You be the judge of it darling. He can only have you if you want him back. But remember: If you accept crumbs, you'll end up in a crumby relationship. Why would you accept crumbs when you can have a whole, luscious cupcake?
3. Be honest with yourself.
Although being ghosted seemingly comes out of nowhere, women tend to put their blinders on when they meet a new man who they think has an iota of potential. Many women — especially during the holiday season — yearn for a Christmas tree boyfriend and are willing to subconsciously overlook a variety of red flags. He may have brought you out on several dates, but did you really feel like he was your soulmate?
You must come to terms with the reality of the majority of ghosting situations. This man's way of dealing with an issue was dropping off the face of the universe and halting contact with you. Is this really the kind of man you want to be the father of your children? Do you want to be married to a man who bolts when things get tough or uncertain? I'm going to go out on a whim and say no way.
Communication is the foundation of any relationship, especially a romantic relationship. If you didn't feel comfortable reaching out to this man during the ghosting period — or if you did and got no response — your discomfort in the matter speaks volumes. Let it be your guide.
Although I encourage the woman to allow the man to generally be the initiator of conversation via text, after a certain amount of time spent with the man, the woman should also feel free to initiate without the fear of seeming desperate or needy. Healthy communication is vital to the longevity of a relationship. There is a fine line between playing hard to get and being a douchebag.
4. Mourn his death.
Although this may seem a bit extreme, I am a firm believer that women should simply have the mindset that he was just not that into you. Although this may sound a bit delusional, the latter way of thinking (highly publicized from the blockbuster book and movie) puts a negative spin on things.
You are fabulous honey, of course he's into you. It is important to understand that ghosting is not a testament to how gorgeous, witty and lovely you are. Instead, this guy is simply not right for the fierce woman you are. In other words, he just died. I encourage a full-blown funeral for this man, complete with a cremation ceremony for the vintage bracelet he gave you on your fourth date (your fireplace will do) to allow his spirit to rest in peace.
Of course, we do not actually want to wish this guy any harm, but it is vital to also ghost him out of your life. Delete his number, unfollow him on Instagram, unfriend him on Facebook and stop including him in your group Snapchats. May he and his entire social media persona rest in peace.
5. Build a bridge, and get over it.
You deserve better. Every woman deserves a man who is excited to contact her no matter how busy work or life gets. You deserve a man who will treasure his interactions with you and will look forward to your texts as much as you look forward to his. You deserve a man who incorporates you into his daily life with no prompting or plotting on your part. Own the fact that you are a fabulous vixen who has the ability to bring any man to his knees.
Mope, then cope. Be the star of your own life, go out with your girlfriends and find a man who would rather cuddle by the fireplace then disappear in six seconds.
This article was originally published on Matchmakers In The City.