Getting ghosted sucks. It's like riding a rollercoaster and coming upon some tracks missing up ahead, or hiking a mountain to find there's nothing but cliff on the other side. You're simply left hanging. And yet, even though a part of you may be angry at the situation or hurt by the person who ghosted you, another part of you may still want to pursue a sexual or romantic relationship with them... especially if they've suddenly come crawling back. They're annoying you right now, but they're still hot, after all. So, you may be wondering: Should you give someone a second chance after they ghost?
"Ghosting can have many effects on the ghostee, depending on the person and the significance of the relationship. It can lead to traits of anxiety including overthinking, excessive or irrational worrying — sadness, depression, self-deprecation, hyper-vigilance, acute stress, shame, symptoms of grief, and aggression," Akua Genfi, co-host of the sex and dating podcast Inner Hoe Uprising and a licensed mental health counselor, tells Elite Daily. "It can plunge someone’s self-esteem or sense of worth, and cause great emotional distress and trauma."
So, you probably should keep these kinds of pesky phantoms at arms' length, right?
For the most part, yes. As Genfi points out, ghosts tend to breeze back into people's lives with nary an apology in sight, as if nothing happened. "The last text message from them will be 'LOL, yeah,'" Genfi says. "And after a string of texts, calls, or emails from you, they send you, 'Hey, what're you up to?'" If your ghostly date or FWB hits you with a text that seems a little too a blasé for your taste, feel free to ask for an explanation.
"Do not try to be easy-breezy or brush their behavior under rug in attempt to not scare them away, or seem 'pressed,'" Genfi advises. "Because there is a strong probability they will ghost you again."
But on the other hand, Genfi says, you can make the very personal decision to grant this poltergeist a second dick appointment or date number two — with a few caveats. Your decision should factor in how long you two have been talking or dating, as well as your own feelings after getting ghosted.
"If there is no history of ghosting in the past, an expression of a genuine heartfelt apology, and an explanation of the behavior, I may consider it," she says.
For example, some, like dating coach Meredith Golden, say family drama or medical emergencies are totally understandable reasons to go ghost. But "I've been busy" or "things have been hectic lately," though? Not so much. "We are all busy, and have you seen the state of the world right now?" Genfi says. "It’s hectic for us all."
Bonus points if this apparition comes back with a proper apology. "Make sure it includes acknowledgement and accountability of their behavior, and expressed remorse," she says. "And restitution, or ways they plan to change this behavior and make amends."
Even if your date or f*ck buddy seems to check out, just be wary of breadcrumbing, Genfi says. If you're not familiar with term, "breadcrumbing," by Urban Dictonary definition, is "the act of sending out flirtatious, but non-committal text messages, i.e. 'breadcrumbs.'" While a case can be made in favor of breadcrumbing, especially when the chemistry is so-so, there's a big chance the breadcrumbee will feel like they're being lead on.
The way relationship expert April Masini described the practice to Elite Daily is that you're being kept in your date or hookup's "sphere," but they're still "not into you enough to date you regularly." Breadcrumbing is equal parts loneliness and the desire to get the relationship experience "without investing in a real relationship,” Masini says.
So, if a ghost glides back into your DMs or iMessage, approach with caution. Pay close attention to their apology — if they offer one — and consider carefully whether you should pour time and energy into this shadowy figure.
April Masini, relationship expert