So You've Been Ghosted

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You met someone online recently. Things were going great. Then, all of a sudden, no daily text messages, no newsy emails, no flirtatious evening phone calls. Nothing. No word from him in over a week. Perplexed? What went wrong? What should you do? You want closure. Guess what? You’ve just been ghosted.

A new term in dating and relationships, ghosting is when someone you’ve been romantically communicating with, your date, or your mate blocks you, unfriends you, doesn’t answer your communications … and basically drops off the face of the earth. If you didn’t know there was a name for it, now you do. A phenomenon that arose out of communicating digitally, ghosting is common in our world of smart phones and social media.

Should you give this person a second chance? You could figure that something happened that made it impossible for them to get back with you. They could have been called out on an emergency. Their phone, email, computer could have gotten hacked, lost, stolen.  They may have had to pick up and go on an unexpected overseas business trip. Maybe they were in a horrible auto accident? Maybe they took suddenly ill? All these possibilities and more run through your head – from the plausible to the absurd

 

How Should You Respond?

If you’ve been ghosted, how should you respond? Should you respond at all? You could always shoot the guy a quick text message. “Hey, is everything ok?” Sounds reasonable. It shows you’re concerned and interested and it doesn’t imply that you think he is ignoring you, ditching you, pranking you, or being deliberately malicious.

But wait. Before you hit the “send” button on your phone, give it a few days before you respond. It could be a turnoff to question the silent treatment too quickly – especially in a new or developing relationship.

 

How They Might Respond

What if he eventually makes contact, profusely apologizes, sends you loving texts or emails or a big bouquet of flowers. Should you readily accept his apologies for performing a disappearing act or should you ditch him like a contagious virus?

Maybe something in between is the best course of action. You could qualify your reentering communication by telling him that you were offended that he didn’t send you a quick note to explain. You could make it clear that you don’t like being strung along and that if he’s not interested, you would like to know in no uncertain terms. You could even give them the benefit of the doubt but tell him two strikes and he’s out.

What if he turns the tables and says he thinks YOU’RE the one playing games, that you’re playing hard to get, that you’re laying a guilt trip on him, or that you’re the one being inconsiderate? If you know in your heart of hearts that’s not true, a big huge red flag should be popping up.

 

 Was it Something I Said?

Could you have misread the entire situation? Maybe you thought things were moving along nicely but from his perspective, it was a “no go.” What you thought were feelings that were more or less reciprocal may have been one-sided.

With that said, he may have thought that since you’ve only talked a couple of times, no explanation was needed. He may feel he’s totally justified in not responding. “If I don’t call her back she’ll get the message. Why should I have to spell it out?” he may be thinking.

Maybe things were a little further along in the relationship and you inadvertently played a part in what happened? Maybe an itty bitty part? Come on, give it some thought. Rerun the conversations you’ve had with this person in your head. Did you come off with an attitude? Did you do or say something that might have led him to believe you were not interested? Do your specific likes and dislikes diverge greatly from his and could he have recognized that and decided it wasn’t a good match?

 “Maybe you focused so much on pleasing him and being accepted by him that he got scared or questioned why you’ve been bending over backward, fawning all over him like a rock star groupie. Maybe he thought, “I came along at a time when she needed someone … and that anyone happened to be me.”

Did you give off the scent of desperation? Was the relationship all about him? This reminds me of the movie All About Steve. Sandra Bullock plays a socially awkward young woman who is so infatuated with her blind date (played by Bradley Cooper) that she begins stalking him, ignoring his subtle rebuffs and eventually his direct protests to “back off.” Ok, you’re probably not exhibiting this level of obsession, but the movie is a good lesson in how relationships need to be based on mutual attraction and desire, give and take.

Accepting at least partial blame for how others treat you can be hard to accept. But there is a chance that you may have sent out signals that were turn-offs. He may have picked up on them and – human nature being what it is – the dude gave you back what you were subconsciously reflecting: inconsiderate behavior.

 

R-E-S-P-E-C-T

You have to take care of you first. Before you even think of what that promising mate might think of you, accept that you’re A#1. Respect yourself. You are not desperate to find a mate, right? And why would you want to be involved with someone who doesn’t show you the respect you want and deserve?

If you are being disrespected, if you accept being treated with no regard for your feelings, how do you think any future relationship with this person will fare? Doesn’t this early-on behavior give you a glimpse into where this dysfunctional and one-sided relationship is heading?

It’s also important to show pride in yourself without giving off the scent that you’re so independent or self-centered that you really could care less whether you have a relationship or not. At the same time, it’s important not to be so needy that you’re willing to take anyone you can get. Stand up for yourself!

Granted, knowing if someone is romantically interested in you can be unclear, especially in very new relationships where there hasn’t been a lot of contact.

 

The Up Side

So you’ve put the relationship on playback and thought about what might have happened. You’ve accepted either that it was you or him or a combination of both of you who caused the relationship to fizzle out. Or maybe you’ll never know what happened – that’s ok too.

If you never hear from the guy again, chalk it up to a lesson learned. Dust off your hurt feelings, the hit to your self-pride. Think of the situation this way: You can be thankful that you are living in a digital world where you can quickly get cues about another person’s true colors and where you can more quickly identify when someone “just isn’t that into you” a lot sooner. The ghosting may have been just the hint you needed.

Why Do My Relationships Seem to Break Up So Easily?

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What happened to my relationship? It seems like yesterday that my sweetie and I were so happy just to be in one another’s presence. Every day was a new day of discovery, sharing, love. Then those days got fewer and fewer. I started noticing the flaws. He expressed his love less frequently. We had more arguments and nothing ever seemed to get resolved. We were like two zombies silently crossing paths. After six months, we are no longer together. How did our relationship deteriorate so quickly?

 

We Stopped Loving

Did you lose that loving feeling for your partner? Did they lose that feeling of love for you? Is it just that easy to tell yourself one day that you no longer love your mate? Are you convincing yourself that’s what was going on or do you feel certainty, validity about your terminating the relationship?

Have you looked introspectively at what might have led to this feeling? Is this feeling real? Do you think it might be temporary? Did you share your thoughts, your doubts, with your mate? Does this dwindling feeling of connection mean you two were not meant for each other? Was it a sign that it was time to break up, to stop “beating a dead horse?” Or, do you feel like you didn’t really know if it was love at all or that you have forgotten how to love?

 

 A Disposable World

Is love that easily found and just as easily discarded? We live in a disposable world. When things break, often our first inclination is to replace it. Were you inclined to dispose of your relationship because it felt broke? Instead of trying to fix it, were you taking the easy way out by ending a faulty partnership you didn’t know how to fix, as if your relationship were an appliance or a car that’s not working?

When conflict arose, instead of working to solve the problem, did you or your mate go with the urge to dash, determined to seek the next adventure? Then, when that next adventure didn’t satisfy you, will you hop on to the next? Were you staying in the relationship, waiting to see if someone “better” would come along?

 

Instant Gratification

Maybe nothing felt broke but you are hooked on instant gratification. Maybe you or your mate were love addicts; you focused only on the thrills, excitement, the adventure of new love and when that faded – like the effects of a powerful drug wearing off – you had the urge to get that next “fix.”

That may be kind of extreme to compare love to an addiction, but there may be some truth to it. Have you perhaps mistaken lust for love? Are you expecting to always feel that infatuated, giddy feeling like you did during the first days of the relationship? Are you being realistic about the stages that love goes through? Do you accept that there may be ebbs and flows, that there is a process taking place that leads to a deepening of that love? Have you considered there are different facets of love, like the different facets of a beautiful diamond, sparkling at different angles? Did you give love enough time to grow?

 

Serial Relationships

How sacred is your concept of a relationship? Do you consider a relationship a commitment, a sacred pact, a convenient partner? Or do you see it as a quest to experience new partners? Was your relationship doomed from the start because of some preset beliefs or personality flaws? Did you really want an exclusive relationship? Did they? Did you have extensive talks about these feelings before you decided to call it quits? Did you seek the help of a therapist to help you sort out your feelings?

Maybe you’re a bona fide serial relationship starter. Maybe you have the urge to overlap a new relationship with the fizzling out of the one you’re still in.  Maybe you harbor thoughts of the next “catch,” keeping an eye out for a backup relationship in case your current one doesn’t work out. Just something to think about …

 Fear of Intimacy

Do you or your ex have commitment phobia? Are you afraid to make a commitment to a long-term relationship because it will expose certain flaws in you that you would prefer hidden? Are you afraid of trusting your partner completely? Are you afraid of being vulnerable, of being hurt? Are you afraid of revealing your true self, who you really are?

Love is an exercise in trust and commitment, supporting your partner, revealing our deepest thoughts, fears, hopes, dreams. Can you close your eyes, lean back and feel safe that your partner will be there to catch you? Are you confident they will accept you for who you are – flaws and all? Can you do the same for them?

 

Broken Trust

Did you or your partner have a secret affair outside of the relationship? Did you or they commit some other betrayal? Do either of you automatically assume the relationship has to end because of it? Is the trust you might have had for your partner broken permanently? Can you honestly say you have stopped loving them because of it and can never love them again? Is it impossible to consider that you could get over the betrayal and work on ways to rebuild the trust between you?

 

Not Worth the Effort

How much do you value your relationship? Is it worth putting the time and effort into growing it? Are you unwilling to accept the sacrifices and compromises required in a relationship? Are you expecting your relationship to be perfect, with no hitches?

Were you so immersed in your life that you didn’t leave enough room for a relationship? Do you expect relationships to be easy, with no rough patches? Are you “all in” a relationship or is it one of convenience?

Were you open, expressing yourself, your likes, dislikes, concern over an issue you encountered? Do you assume relationship problems will go away if you ignore them? Were you able to talk things over rather than have arguments? Does one or two big challenges bring you to your knees?

As a relationship progresses, sometimes it changes. If that was the case, why were you unable to face those changes? Sometimes one partner has made a shift in what they want out of life, their career, the manner in which they live their life. Could you and your partner have accepted those changes in one another? Were they small changes couples go through all the time or were they what you would call insurmountable?

 

Searching for Answers

Answering these questions should uncover some relationship habits you may not have considered. How successful you are at holding a long-term relationship historically? How soon do you “throw in the towel?” Taking a good hard look at these thoughts going through your head may uncover why your relationships seem to break apart so easily.

Take heart. You’re not in the minority. Many others have issues like yours. It does explain why we see so many failed relationships happening all around us. Next time, you will be wiser.

How Illness in the Family Can Affect Your Relationship

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How can you stay in a loving relationship when you’re upset by a serious health condition of someone in the family? Maybe your time and energy are being redirected by helping your family member get through their illness. At first, there’s the initial shock and possibly grief – almost like you just got news of a death. How can you support one another, keep the love flowing, and do what needs to be done to help those you love who need you now desperately? Tension is building. You’re in uncharted waters

If an illness in the family isn’t going on in your life now, it probably will some time down the road. It happens to just about everyone. Don’t be blind-sided. Be prepared.

 

Helping Out

So here are a few scenarios. Maybe his mother is elderly, close to end of life and needs ongoing care. Maybe you just discovered your best friend has stage 4 lung cancer and needs help getting chemo therapy. Or maybe your single brother had a mental breakdown and you’re concerned about his ability to cope with daily activity?

When you’re in a relationship and someone in the family or a close friend is ill, you’re emotionally entangled – both with them and with your mate. How can you give proper attention and support to both?

 

 Coping Strategies

·         It’s important to stay positive and upbeat and not let fear, anger, or anxiety ruin your life or the life of your relationship.

·         Can you take sick leave off of work? Can you rearrange your schedule so you can fit in more time to help your relative or friend and still have time for your mate?

·         It’s also important to stay healthy. You can’t help anyone or be a good partner if you’re sick too. Keep your immune system functioning and energy level up by eating healthy food, getting enough restful sleep, and keeping a positive attitude.

·         Be honest and open with your partner. Talk to him/her about your worries, fears, and anxieties.

·         Discuss how your family member’s illness might affect your relationship with one another.

·         Decide how you can provide comfort and care without neglecting each others’ needs and desires.

·         Be understanding if the ill person is your partner’s relative or friend.

·         Try not to add stress to the situation by making demands on your mate, by being self-centered, being argumentative, throwing temper tantrums.

·         Quality time goes a long way. If you can’t spend the amount of time you normally do with your mate, make the shorter time more meaningful. Plan activities, intensive talk sessions, or just find ways that will make you both feel more at peace.

·         Be mindful that accusations and resentment are poisonous. Whether it’s anger at your brother for not helping out with a sick mother or finger-pointing at another relative or friend whose behavior you find upsetting. Spill-overs can occur into your own relationship.

·         Are you acting impulsively? Work out in your head or on paper how certain thoughts are non-productive and even destructive. Negative feelings can also lead to negative actions. Stop and think about the results of reacting emotionally. Think carefully before you act.