Single Life

Getting Ghosted Sucks — Here's What To Do About It

Suffering in silence isn't your only option.

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To say that getting ghosted is a bummer is not exactly a hot take. But to me, the worst part of the whole thing isn't the rejection — it's feeling powerless and like I've lost control. When someone disappears from your life without warning or explanation, you’re typically left with a lot of unanswered questions. Some of my personal favorites include: What went wrong? What changed between us? And, lastly, should I text a guy who ghosted me? There are no clear-cut rules for what to text after being ghosted (or if you should at all), but if you’re in the same boat — questioning whether or not you should reach out to a Tinder match or Bumble girl who unceremoniously disappeared — there are a few things to keep in mind. While there are definitely advantages to letting the situation be, if questions about your breakup still ~haunt~ you, there are some cases when reaching out is OK. Séance, anyone?

I’ve been where you are now, wavering between the instinct to block the ghost in question and the urge to send them an accusatory, “Are you kidding me?” While the second option is probably not the best idea (unless you know you’ll never see them again, then by all means), there are more mature ways to text someone who left you on read. No one said the high road was fun.

Deciding you do, in fact, want to reach out is the first step. Choosing what to say is the slightly more complicated part. If you were the ghostee, you’re probably not sure where you stand with the ghoster. Etiquette is on your side, but you may not know the full picture. Imagine this: You send them an angry text, telling them off for disappearing. They respond with a heartfelt apology and explain that a serious family emergency came up. And even though they should have communicated that to you earlier, you’re left feeling super guilty. The alternative: You send them an overly nice text, giving them the benefit of the doubt if anything came up that made them more distant. They respond that they just weren’t that interested. Or, worse still, they double-ghost you. Unfortunately, there’s no guarantee that the person who ghosted you will reply to your follow-up text.

In any scenario, assuming too much about the person who ghosted you puts you in an awkward position. But even if you did manage to craft the perfect, neutral message, is it ever worth it to hit send? To clear things up, I reached out to the experts for their advice on texting after being ghosted. Here's what they had to say.

Should You Text Someone After They’ve Ghosted You?
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When someone just up and disappears, it can be really tempting to reach out. Closure is tempting. But for the most part, the experts agree: You shouldn’t bother texting a ghost. “They have sent a message by not having the decency to let you know they were not interested. There is no need to text them. What would you be texting them about, to confirm they are not interested in you? I think ghosting you in the first place sent that message,” Patti Sabla, a licensed clinical social worker, tells Elite Daily. “We teach people how to treat us.” By accepting this behavior, we let that person think it’s OK, she adds. So if they ghost again, it shouldn’t exactly come as a surprise.

The cost of reaching out to someone who has ghosted you almost always outweighs the benefits, according to Amy North, online dating coach and resident women’s dating expert at LoveLearnings.com. “If someone ghosts you, you almost never gain anything by texting them,” she tells Elite Daily. “It won’t make you feel better. It won’t make them change their mind. People ghost because they’re afraid to have a real conversation about their feelings, and that’s not someone you want to be with anyway.”

Texting Your Ghost Makes Sense In These Circumstances.

While the experts generally don’t advise texting someone who has pulled a disappearing act, there are some exceptions to the rule. “There are three situations where you should reach out to someone after they ghost you,” says North. “If things were going well and it comes out of nowhere, if you’d been out more than four times and suddenly they disappear into thin air without explanation, or if they stand you up on a date.”

In those situations, North suggests a calm message letting them know how you feel. "Remember that your goal isn’t to win them back, or punish them for ghosting you. So, don’t swear at them or try to convince them to give you another chance,” North advises. Instead, calmly explain how it made you feel, and “that you wish they would have been upfront about why they broke contact. If you can keep your cool then you’ll make them rethink their actions and maybe even apologize.” Though holding out for an apology may be a waste of time, being the bigger person in these moments is always a good idea.

Plus, even if it doesn’t change anything between the two of you (it probably won’t), texting the person who ghosted you could help “stop this ghostly cycle.” “Do it for the next person they date,” North adds. “Or even just to make sure they aren’t stuck in a well somewhere.”

Sometimes, You’re Better Off Ignoring Your Ghost.
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If your particular situation does not meet this texting criteria, what should you do instead? According to experts, instead of worrying about someone who has decided to disappear from your life without explanation, you should just focus on moving on and putting that energy back into taking care of yourself. It’s easier said than done, but try not to take their actions to heart.

“Don’t take it personally,” Laurel House, celebrity dating coach and host of the Man Whisperer podcast, tells Elite Daily. “It’s also unnecessary to hold onto anger toward them because that’s allowing them to be in control of your emotions. Don’t give them that.” If they did not have the courtesy to explain how they felt, they do not deserve to take up any more space in your brain.

If the ghoster was someone fairly new in your life, Poppy Spencer, licensed clinical professional counselor and certified relational expert, suggests you do two things. “Delete or block the phone number [and] hop back on Tinder or Bumble — and if the ghoster pops up, definitely swipe left,” she tells Elite Daily.

That might be the perfect fix for a casual fling gone wrong, but a more serious relationship that ends via ghosting is going to be more difficult to move past. North recommends giving yourself plenty of time to heal in those situations. “There’s this empty space in your life with no explanation,” she says. “If you can’t get them to respond, take solace in the fact that they’re unable to be honest and do the work that’s necessary to make a relationship work, so you’re definitely better off without them.”

No matter how you practice self-care, prioritize being kind to yourself in the wake of a ghosting. “If you need time to emotionally heal, take the time. Do something that makes you feel happy, fulfilled, emotionally safe. Be selfish,” House says. “Then get back out there and move on!”

In the end, giving up on a ghost and letting that bad energy go is the first step toward something better. Kevon Owen, relationship counselor and licensed clinical psychotherapist, tells Elite Daily, “Embrace the ghost. Ghost them back and return to the relationships that value you more than to leave you.” If the point of ghosting was to avoid a clash, then “say goodbye to the cowards,” Owen says. “If it’s because ghosting you was easier, say goodbye to the disrespectful. If it’s coming from a place of trying to protect your heart, take the gift. There are people who want to love and value you. Give your energy to them.”

While the mystery of why someone disappeared out of your life can be compelling and tempting, the experts are clear: Don’t text a ghost. Put down that phone. Better yet, pick it up and start looking for someone new — and better.

Experts:

Patti Sabla, LCSW

Amy North, online dating coach and resident women’s dating expert at LoveLearnings.com

Laurel House, celebrity dating coach and host of the Man Whisperer podcast

Poppy Spencer, licensed clinical professional counselor and certified relational expert

Kevon Owen, relationship counselor and licensed clinical psychotherapist