Why do I keep getting ghosted? And how to move forward

Struggling with the sting of being ghosted? Unpack the why and navigate your way forward with practical tips and psychological insights. Learn to heal, build resilience, and take control of your dating life.

It's a jarring, often painful experience: you're connecting, everything seems to be going well, and suddenly, they disappear - no messages, no calls, no explanation. You're left wondering, "Why do I keep getting ghosted?" You're not alone in this. Ghosting has become an all-too-common phenomenon in modern dating, leaving many to grapple with its aftermath and the lingering questions it leaves behind. Let’s explore what might be happening, and more importantly, how you can move forward.

What to do after being ghosted

When you realise you’ve been ghosted, the initial shock and confusion can be overwhelming. Here’s a straightforward plan to handle the situation:

Acknowledge your feelings - it's normal to feel hurt, disappointed, or even angry. Allow yourself to feel these emotions without judgement.

Reach out (if it helps) - if you feel the need for closure, it's OK to send one message. Keep it simple and dignified. For example, "Hey, I haven't heard from you, and I assume you’re moving on. I wish you all the best." This can sometimes prompt a response, but more importantly, it allows you to regain some control over the situation.

Don't obsess over their social media - it’s tempting to check their social media for clues about what happened, but this is just going to make you feel worse without providing any real answers.

Talk about it - share your feelings with friends or family who understand. Sometimes, just talking about your experience can help you feel less isolated and more supported.

Move on - focus on activities and relationships that bring you joy and affirmation. Resist the urge to dwell on someone who isn’t willing to communicate openly with you.

Understanding why people ghost: a schema perspective

To truly understand why ghosting is so common in modern dating, it's helpful to consider the psychological frameworks - schemas - that shape our actions and decisions. Schemas are deeply ingrained patterns of thought and behaviour developed from past experiences, affecting how we interact in relationships today.

Abandonment Schema - if you've been ghosted, it might be because the other person has an abandonment schema. They fear being abandoned first, so they pull away abruptly to protect themselves from the pain of what they perceive as an inevitable parting. This schema makes them preemptively end relationships when they sense any hint of cooling interest or potential issues.

Defectiveness/Shame Schema - someone with this schema might ghost because they feel inherently flawed or unlovable. When the relationship starts to get serious, or they sense you might be seeing their 'real' selves, their fear of being exposed and rejected for these perceived defects can become overwhelming. Ghosting, in this case, is a defence mechanism to avoid facing what they believe will be inevitable rejection or judgement.

Emotional Deprivation Schema - this schema involves the belief that one's emotional needs will never be fully met by others. If someone has this schema, they might ghost when they feel that their emotional needs are not being satisfied, or if they believe they cannot meet your emotional needs. It’s a way of exiting before the perceived inadequacy in the relationship becomes too apparent.

Avoidance of conflict - this isn't a specific schema in itself, but it ties into several schemas like subjugation, where individuals avoid conflicts to appease others, or punitiveness, where there is a fear of punishment linked to disagreements. People who ghost to avoid conflict might do so because they find it extremely uncomfortable or anxiety-inducing to deal with disagreements. They may find it easier to vanish than to confront or resolve issues.

Simply put, ghosting is less about anything you’ve done and more about the other person’s unresolved issues and fears. It's not your responsibility to fix these issues, but recognising them can help you detach personally from the hurt and not carry the baggage with you into your dating life

How long does it take to get over being ghosted?

The time it takes to move past being ghosted varies for each person and depends on things like the length and intensity of the relationship. Generally, the healing process can take anywhere from a few days to weeks to months. Allow yourself time to grieve the loss of the connection, but if you find yourself stuck in negative feelings or unable to move on, it may be helpful to speak with a therapist.

During this period, be kind to yourself. Engage in self-care practices that nurture your body and soul, like exercise, reading, or pursuing a hobby you love. These activities not only distract you but will also help build up your self-esteem.

Embarrassed after being ghosted

Feeling embarrassed after being ghosted is common. You might question your judgement or wonder if you said or did something wrong. Remind yourself that ghosting says more about the ghoster's inability to handle difficult situations than it does about you. Here’s how to deal with these feelings:

Challenge self-critical thoughts - replace thoughts like “I must have done something wrong” with “I deserve someone who communicates with me openly.”

Recognise your worth - remind yourself of your qualities and strengths. Make a list if it helps!

Connect with others - sharing experiences can be really validating. When it comes to ghosting, you’ll find that you’re not alone!

Fear of being ghosted - how to stop anxiety interfering in your dating life

The fear of being ghosted again can be paralysing, especially if it has become part of a pattern. To combat this fear, try the following:

Understand your schemas - get a personalised Relationship Report to uncover any underlying beliefs that might be influencing your love life. For instance, if you often find yourself anxious about being left, you might discover that you're dealing with an “abandonment schema.”

Set healthy expectations - when starting a new relationship, communicate your expectations about communication and honesty. Setting these standards early can help you feel more secure.

Practice self-compassion - remember that it’s okay to be vulnerable and that not every relationship will end in ghosting. Each relationship is a chance to learn and grow.

Understanding why ghosting happens, and recognising that it's a reflection of the other person's limitations, can empower you to move forward. By building your self-awareness and fostering resilience, you can better navigate the uncertainties of relationships and keep your self-esteem intact. Remember, every experience, even the painful ones, is an opportunity to learn more about yourself and what you truly deserve in a relationship.

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