How’s this for relatable? One day, you’re rocking the most amazing relationship you’ve ever been in. It’s like they understand you on the deepest level and appreciate all your random quirks, even the ones you can do without. You wake up every day to a “Good morning, beautiful” text and find yourself waking up early in anticipation of your phone buzzing. You’re on top of the world and feel more alive than you have in a long time, maybe ever. Your social media is a collage of the places you’ve been, the things you’ve done and the times you’ve shared together throughout the years. Your friends comment on how perfect the two of you are for each other. Even that one friend who’s always had a huge crush on you has stopped flirting and is accepting that they’ve been friend zoned.
You find yourself daydreaming at work about how awesome last weekend was and how you can’t wait until Friday night gets here so you can spend another weekend in their arms. You find yourself setting money aside for that honeymoon in Italy the two of you have been talking about. And, your life finally feels…complete.
Even your dad who disapproved of your last three relationships is giving his nod of approval with this one.
And then, the next day…. poof. Gone. Your partner just vanished like a fart in the wind. Your head is spinning. Your heart just sank to the pit of your stomach. Everything is now in slow motion and you’re in total shock. You thought things were perfect. What the hell just happened?
Three words: You. Were. Ghosted.
The shock isn’t the worst part. That’s just the icing. When the shock starts to settle, grief starts to rear its ugly head with a fiery pain that starts in your gut, and moves to your chest. Your head feels like it’s under water, your heart feels like it’s going to cave in. You can’t breathe. You can’t speak. You may feel traumatized, depressed, or even hopeless. And, if your partner was unusually cruel, they’ve likely already replaced you adding insult to injury.
If you were ghosted by the one person you thought was least likely to hurt you, then please take a moment and allow Betrayal to introduce itself.
And what makes this situation even harder to process is that while you’re trying to cope with having been ghosted without closure, you’re also juggling the reality of having been betrayed by someone you loved.
And sorry, “Get over it” is not closure.
Closure in Healthy Relationships
Closure is something that is given in healthy relationships. If things aren’t working out, then you cut your losses, you wish each other the best, and you take a few months off to figure out what you want in your next relationship. And, what you don’t want. You use this time to grow, to mature, and to develop yourself. You may use the time to understand who you are and what you could have done differently so you don’t repeat it. Or, you may use the time alone to appreciate what the relationship taught you. When it’s a healthy and mutual parting of ways, there’s no trauma, no heartbreak, no ghosting, no betrayal, and no mindfucks.
If the relationship started as toxic, then it’s going to end as toxic, too. There’s no sugarcoating it.
If one, or both partners are emotionally immature or have other unresolved issues, then the relationship won’t be given the respect or closure it deserves if it comes to an end.
Simply put, the odds of you getting ghosted just went up.
How to Give Yourself What They Didn’t
Social psychologists argue the importance of getting closure to minimize the confusion and pain surrounding a relationship ending. One of the reasons closure is so important is because it helps you work through painful experiences and the feelings that are attached to them. If your partner gave you the boot and didn’t bother giving you closure, this can leave you hanging and slow your healing process.
Here’s four ways to help you get the closure you’re worth:
1. Focus on You
You can’t have them pony up and be accountable for their actions, which includes getting closure for having ghosted you. So, this leaves you with the challenge of being accountable for yourself. You aren’t responsible for their part in the relationship ending. But you should allow yourself as much time as you need to cry, to get angry, and to reflect on what went sideways in the relationship, including your part in it.
Research supports journaling as a method of helping you look at things through a different lens. If you were ghosted and happened to be emotionally invested in that person, then journaling can be especially important for you in moving past the betrayal. You may even write a letter to them with all the things you would have said, had you been given closure (but don’t waste the stamp or your time sending it to them).
3. Dig Deeper
Repeat after me: Healthy relationships don’t ghost their partners. That said, if you were ghosted, then you were in a toxic relationship. Now comes the grunt work of figuring out why you welcomed that situation into your life in the first place. Chances are, the pattern didn’t start with that relationship. But if you take the time to figure things out, you can make sure the pattern ended with that relationship.
Elisabeth Kübler-Ross discusses five stages of the grieving process which include: denial, sadness/depression, anger, bargaining, and acceptance. When you’re in the throes of grief from having been betrayed by someone you loved, it’s common to bounce between the stages many times until acceptance is reached. Only then can healing begin. Some tips on reaching acceptance:
a. Don’t compare your situation to anyone else’s. What you’ve experienced may be different from other people’s experiences. And that’s OK.
b. Take your time. If you got ghosted, abandoned, discarded, or whatever label you want to attach to it, remember that there’s many factors that will influence how long it may take to process your situation including: how long your relationship was, how intimate you were, whether you have kids, shared property, pets, etc.
c. Turn to your friends, family and a professional, if needed. There’s no shame in asking for help. But it’s a damn shame being stuck in a place you don’t belong.