In this age of online dating and social media, "ghosting" has become a common occurrence. Ghosting is defined as the act of stopping all contact with a romantic partner or potential romantic partner without explanation.
It is a cruel form of rejection which often leaves the person who is ghosted feeling insecure, uncertain and deeply hurt. If you are ever on the receiving end of this social phenomenon, I want you to know the following to help overcome the negative mental health impacts of ghosting:
It's about them, not you.
What the "ghostee" is doing often says more about them - their shortcomings and inadequacies - than it does about you. They are intentionally inflicting pain by refusing to communicate their feelings. Since communication is the cornerstone of a healthy relationship, consider this an important indication that you're likely better off without them in the long run.
Behavioural Activation can help overcome self-esteem issues In an effort to counteract the negative reinforcement of being ghosted, behavioural activation, or activity scheduling, is highly recommended. This treatment seeks to shift your focus away from thoughts (ideas around how you perceive what happened) and towards engaging in activities that make you feel good emotionally and/or physically (such as going for a bike ride outdoors, catching up with a good friend over coffee or knocking some things off your "to-do" list). Since when we feel low we lack the motivation to do things that invoke positive emotions, with behavioural activation, we create a plan to hold ourselves accountable.
Unlike avoidance, behavioraul activation is a healthy way to distract yourself. By doing it regularly, you can increase your resilience so that when difficulties arise down the line, you are better equipped to cope.
Focus on your core beliefs and mental reframing Having healthy, positive core beliefs (such as "I can do this, I am worthy of love, I can make tomorrow better") can lessen the sting of being ghosted. Someone who possesses an unhealthy core belief such as "I am unworthy of love" might think "I was ghosted because I'm not good enough," which will make them feel even worse about what happened and stop dating. Whereas a person who fundamentally believes that they are valuable might think "being ghosted is terrible, but I am not going to dwell on it because I deserve better." They are less likely to feel hopeless, and more likely begin dating again shortly thereafter.
If you're ready to seek therapy for relationship or dating struggles, reach out to your EFAP for support. We're here to help.