If you grew up in a household like mine, anything that had to do with ghost, ghouls, or goblins were immediately rebuked. My mom didn’t believe in ghosts per se, but she did believe in bad spirits and protecting her children from them. I only wish that my mom knew then that when I got older, I would face a different type of “ghosting” so she could have helped prepare me.
To give you a greater perspective, think of the longest crush you’ve ever had; no, longer than that. Mine was exactly seven years long. I can remember logging into my Facebook account on Mother’s Day weekend 2018, and there it was, the long-awaited direct message one could only hope for. The guy that I had admired from afar sent me a message to see if I was dating anyone and available to go out sometime. Immediately butterflies flooded my stomach uncontrollably. I called my best friend in disbelief and asked her what to do. Naturally, after how long she had to hear about this crush, she eagerly encouraged me to go out with him. I mean, he had everything I was praying for: God-fearing? Check. Incredibly handsome? Check. Financially stable and seemingly good-hearted? Check, check. I was thrilled.
After our first date, I could hardly even sleep… wondering if he was interested in a second. And he was, so we continued down our journey. By month four, I knew things were about to really take off. That was until the unthinkable happened. After one of our many Saturday post-workout breakfast dates, I text him later that night to schedule our middle of the week movie date. To my surprise, he didn’t respond. Knowing this was unlike his behavior, I called him the next day. No response. I called one more time later that night. Nope, no answer. Immediately, I went into panic mode (read: non-girlfriend who wishes she was the girlfriend state of worry). “Should I call again? Is he okay? Am I being ghosted?! Surely I’m not being ghosted…” The next day, I logged onto Facebook to find the biggest relief from my panic and also my greatest point of confusion all rolled into one: the little green dot next to his profile picture. I screamed, “Oh my goodness, he is alive, and I am being ghosted!”
If you’ve never experienced relationship “ghosting,” it’s the act in which a person ends a relationship by ceasing all communication and contact with their partner without any apparent warning or justification. Women are increasingly facing more relationship woes over this new habitual way to “breaking things off,” and, in fact, many will tell you that this act of avoidance has led to greater levels of anxiety, disappointment, and feelings of rejection in working through future relationships.
So, if you’re wondering if you’re being ghosted… I think I know your next question: now what? I’ve come up with five tips to help ease the pains of the ghosting and how you can respond graciously:
1. Stop attempting to reach out.
This is going to be the hardest one, but once you’ve gotten past this, it gets easier. If you’ve reached out a few times and heard nothing back, you’re probably being ghosted. It sucks. But the worse thing you can do is to continually reach out. And for your own good, if you are making up stories in your head about what is happening, (i.e. “he’s probably just lost his phone, or maybe he went on a random trip out of the country, etc.”), just stop. He sees your texts and calls and is not interested in responding.
2. Guard your heart.
Proverbs 4:23 states, “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” This could not be truer. God honors your heart because it is the vessel that helps connect you to him. You must take this time and recognize that your thoughts, words, and actions are formed from the issues of the heart. Surrender your heart to God; he is the ultimate protector, and he will always take care of it.
3. Practice forgiveness.
The trickiest part about being ghosted is that you may or may not ever see the person again. It’s best to recognize that you will need to accept an apology you may never receive. This is the perfect opportunity to practice forgiveness. But why should you forgive someone who’s wronged you? Well, forgiveness is not really for the other person as much as it is for you. If you continue to hold onto feelings of unforgiveness, it allows for the continuum of any bad thoughts you may begin to have about the other person and opens the door for the enemy to create havoc in your mind. If God can forgive us of the things we’ve done, we can forgive others (Matthew 6:14-15).
4. Stop faulting yourself.
As women, we have excellent memories and can often recall events that occurred months or even years ago. This skill can be used greatly in many ways. However, if you’re being ghosted, it may cause you to recall every date, phone call, or time spent together to see what you may have done wrong. Take this time to recognize this is not only about you. There is a level of accountability to be had from your former partner that may never be discussed. Recognize that the person that God truly has for you will honor you enough to communicate clearly with you, pray with you, and not cause you to spend endless nights worrying about your relationship. God has greater for you.
5. Remember, God’s plans are perfect.
I know, you just knew this relationship would end in a wonderful marriage fully committed to God with well-behaved children and well-trained animals. But it didn’t. Take time to appreciate these moments. You are still alive and able to serve a sovereign God. This is not the end of your life and the fact that you are still breathing means that God has another plan. A divine, well-orchestrated plan. And the great news is: God’s plans don’t fail.
You deserve the very best person that God has for you. When you receive God’s very best for your life, there is no confusion or drama. Take these moments to spend time in the Word and recall the wonderful things God says about you. And, what if you run into your former partner? I hope you can respond to them with the grace and the love of God.
For more articles on love and dating, start here:
Ask Dr. Zoe – How Do I Learn From My Role in a Breakup?
He Brings Me Flowers, but Is That Enough?
3 Things That the Movies Got Wrong About Love
Ask Dr. Zoe – I Take the Blame in My Relationship
Dear Friend, He Doesn’t See Your Worth But I Do
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