Seven months into a relationship - yes seven months – I was ghosted.
For those of you that are new to this phenonium, it is when one partner cuts all contact suddenly with no explanation. It is, unfortunately, fairly common early on in relationships as we live in an ever-increasing digital world, but thankfully rarer when you’re past the six-month mark and have fallen hook, line and sinker for your other half.
But it happened to me.
I thought everything was great, well other than the fact that I had a legal hearing coming up that I was dreading, and my partner had sworn faithfully that he would support me with. Five days before this event, I made a joke on the phone. Nothing serious, just a throwaway comment in the way that we had joked with one another literally hundreds of times before, and he suddenly became angry, hung up the phone and that was it.
We spoke every day prior to this, without fail, and suddenly I was in a tailspin. As somebody who was suffering with anxiety at the time – a fact of which he was well aware – I was left with no answers and not knowing whether or not our relationship had ended.
I texted, emailed, rang, spoke to mutual friends to see if they could shed light on it and nothing – I got a wall of silence.
I broke down. I spent hours on the phone to helplines asking them why. I ended up on anti-depressants. I even contemplated ending my own life. I felt worthless and disposable. Those first three weeks seemed to last forever and were nothing short of absolute hell.
Then something pulled me round. A mixture of friends, family and a newfound faith in God And after a month I was like a different person, determined to put it behind me and move on.I felt alive again. That I could be strong in myself and certain that I had done nothing wrong. I knew that if I could get through this, I could get through anything. The pain doesn’t last forever, and in some strange way not having any contact made it easier –the rawness had ebbed away.
And then I made the biggest mistake of my life. Yep, I took him back.
He convinced me that his cut off was nothing to do with my joke but was for my own good, to help me get stronger as a person and beat my anxiety once and for all. Very magnanimous of him. And it was so good, such an emotional reunion that I felt that it must have happened for a higher reason, that somehow I was being tested and he really did care for me and had done it to get me to where I was. I was a better person and it was all thanks to him – what a hero!
It was weeks later during a conversation that he finally admitted that the joke itself had offended him so much that he had felt obliged to cut me off: he mistakenly thought that I had said something bad to one of his friends and was so concerned about his image that I had to go.
But by now I was fully entrenched back in the arms of this man and totally smitten. In fact, everything was perfect for around four months until I was faced with the anniversary of the death of a parent, and he refused to come around and support me despite my pleading texts and emails as I was alone with nothing but a bottle of wine for company.
And one bottle became two and then a world of pain unfortunately came out in a volley of emails asking where he was and why he couldn’t have put me first for once with a few expletives thrown in for good measure.
I’m not proud of it. If I could take it back I would – but I’ve read those messages and they were nothing but a cry for help.
So did my hero come rushing to my rescue.
Did he hell as like. Yep, you’ve got it - ghosted again!
Is it easier the second time around? Absolutely not. It’s a whole lot worse, not only because you’ve now been with this man for almost a year and are so crazy about him that you can’t imagine a life without him, but also because, well, you took him back and how dumb are you?
So, here’s what I learnt about being ghosted
1. Ghosts are cowards. They are not mature or brave enough to have a conversation with you to resolve any conflict or end a relationship. They would rather run away and pretend it never happened. This says far more about them than you, and trust me, you’re better off with someone grown up enough to have an adult conversation with you when things aren’t right. Otherwise how will you ever progress. You can’t be in a relationship without conflict – people argue, it’s human – so if he can’t handle it, it’s not going anywhere.
2. Ghosts are charming. His friends think he’s wonderful. I haven’t met one who hasn’t told me what a lovely,wonderful, loving and genuine human being he is. In fact, he’s one of a kind. No-one can touch him for sheer generosity and spirit and how lucky are you to have met him! It’s their charm you fall for after all, but no-one’s that perfect and if everyone thinks they are – they’re probably hiding something quite sinister inside.
3. No one is worth losing your respect over. I did the first-time round. Second time, I blocked back. Begging, pleading and constantly messaging won’t make an iota of difference – you can’t reason with a brick wall. Men who ghost are cold. Fact. And they won’t care however much passion or emotion you put into your communication. They’ve moved on. So should you.
4. You’ll never get closure, so don’t even try looking for it. There are no answers when you’ve been ghosted so don’t spend endless hours asking what if because even the ghost probably doesn’t know why the relationship ended. Ghosts simply decide that they have had enough and move on. Anyway, even if you did know, would it make the pain of the breakup any more bearable? Probably not.
5. You will learn about yourself. And you will grow. For one, I know that I have a heart of gold. It wasn’t right for me to have got angry, but I felt remorse and I said sorry (of course never got a reply) and I gave so much of myself to the relationship. And that’s ok. Because I know that in the future I have a whole lot to give someone else.I’ve also learnt that I have an incredible amount of strength and an abundance of support in times of crisis. Even friends I hadn’t spoken to in years sent me messages of support on social media and some came to stay with me so that I wasn’t alone.
6. There are warning signs. Listen carefully. This man had cut friends off for up to a year at a time, cut his own family members off and no doubt countless girlfriends in the past. Ghosts are true to form. If they cut people out of their lives easily, it could happen to you.
7. This is never about you. It’s about them. It is not a reflection on who you are or what you are worth. You would never treat another human being as disposable and this speaks volumes. Be assured that you did nothing to warrant being ghosted, however heated an argument got or however upset you became – any decent human being would have a conversation with you if they wanted to end the relationship.
8. You will find it difficult to trust again. That’s only natural. But don’t assume that every man out there will do the same to you, because there are many, many decent people on this planet. He just isn’t one of them.
9. When one chapter close another opens. This has spurred me on to focus on my website isfinished.com again and help others who have experienced similar pain. I hope that anyone reading this who has been ghosted will know that they are not alone and there is life after being ghosted. I’m determined not to let this beat me and it’s his loss. I’m great – and anyone who chooses to cut me out of their life loses out. Simple.
10. If they did it once, they will do it again. Trust me. My friends and family begged me not take him back. Even one of our mutual friends who had known him for years before knowing me begged me not to go back and I didn’t listen. Because I genuinely believed that he had ghosted me in my best interests to make me a stronger person and that somehow this was different. But he did do it again and you know what, if I hadn’t taken him back I would be have been a whole lot happier four months later when he did it again.
So, if you find yourself ghosted you will feel hurt, pain, numb, even fearful for the future for a while. But you’re only human and you do have emotions. That’s what makes you so amazing and worth so much more. Don’t let a ghost get the better of you.