How it feels to be serially ghosted

Have you ever disappeared from someone's life without giving reasons? For the person being ghosted, it's a sad and frustrating experience

woman standing alone on beach

When I read this blog on ghosting, it reminded me of the countless times that I have had the same thing happen to me. And every time it happened, I thought this was last time but history kept repeating itself, and no, you never get used to it.

Have you ever been ghosted? No I’m not referring to entities from the other world but real human beings who just disappear from your life without a warning. They block you on social media, refuse to answer your calls and totally cut you off from their life without giving any reason. If you have, you know how distressing that feeling is. I’ve been ghosted so many times that I’ve lost count. Initially I didn’t even know there was a name for it, I just lived with this feeling of deep hurt and betrayal that I held on to in secret. I thought I was alone in this experience but as I grew older and the world of social media opened up, I realised there were thousands like me.

I have a few questions for the many men and one woman who have ghosted me

  • Why do you do it? Talk to me for days, encourage me to make you a part of my life. And then, just disappear?
  • Why do you do it? Tell me that no matter how I look, we will definitely still be friends—because our chats are so much fun, “almost electric”. And then, just disappear?
  • Why do you do it? Tell me that I’m beautiful and funny and cute and you can’t wait to spend more time together. And then, just disappear?
  • Why did you do it? I consider you my best friend, I share all my innermost thoughts with you and then, all of a sudden, you take my friendship and disappear?
  • Is it really that hard to tell me that you’d rather not stay friends with me or continue to be in touch?
  • Do you choose to disappear because you are scared of a confrontation? Or is it because you think I’ll make a scene?

Why it hurts so much

Everyone has dreams. Agreed, parts of them may come together in your head with the help of unrealistic TV shows and movies. These dreams are full of grand romances and blissful friendships, full of spontaneous travel and unquestioned loyalty. But then you get torn away from these dreams and brought down to cold realistic earth where your partner-in-crime is long gone. I wish I knew when someone was going to ghost me so I could tell them how much it hurts. It hurts that you think I’d beg you to stay if you didn’t want to. It hurts that you never really cared at all. It hurts that you never really knew me at all.

It’s a special kind of hurt that betrayal brings with it. And most of us react in one of two ways; we either shut down and handle every future interaction with a double dose of cynicism, or hold on tenuously to hope by living in denial. I have somehow found a Golden Mean between the two extremes—my terrible memory issues helps me block out the names of these people [though the memories of the feelings remain] and my rising cynicism ensures that I no longer trust anyone easily anymore. For example, I still remember how this chat friend drove past me when I was waiting to meet him for the first time and then switched off his phone. I also still remember the gentleman who blocked me on WhatsApp after a few meetings because I was “too much of a prude”.

Is it really so hard to be honest about something not working out and concluding it in a decent manner? Be honest and remove yourself in a dignified manner. If the other person is being problematic and you have to them block him/her, everybody would understand. But at least respect them enough to simply be honest with them.

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