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Image / Editorial

So you’ve been ghosted: what now?


By Louise Bruton
17th Sep 2019
So you’ve been ghosted: what now?

Photo: Cristina Gotttardi via Unsplash

The realisation that you’ve been ghosted always comes much later after the fact. By the time you figure out that the person you’ve been courting has ceased all contact, they’re already in Mexico, hypothetically speaking, drinking cocktails and laughing at your expense. So, what now?


There’s something in the phrase that suggests that ghosting is a gradual demise between to lust-lorn adults, but the truth is that for one party, it comes as a sudden shock.

Ghosting can only exist if one person is in the dark about the status of the relationship/hook up/whatever it is that you’re calling this arrangement and it removes you from the decision making entirely, making you feel voiceless and invisible.

Some might argue that you, in fact,  become the ghost. The act of ghosting would make a bit more sense if that’s what it actually meant.

Alas, the ghost is the vanishing party and you are the one who’s getting haunted.

Emotions aren’t a sign of weakness

Being ghosted is the ultimate display of rudeness, so at least you have morals on your side. That’s one win for you. The second win comes in the shape of actually feeling something for someone else. This may not feel like an achievement right now but in this age of transactional sex and hookups and the endless portrayal of Cool Girls in TV shows and movies, who can bang their way from Monday to Sunday without getting mildly attached, it’s a coup.

You cry púca when you feel something and you only feel something if you allow someone in. And you did that! You developed emotions!

Emotions aren’t a sign of weakness but in wanting to establish a connection with someone else, risking your heart, your pride and, let’s be real, some STIs, you put yourself out there and that’s a stone-cold win. Please, take a bow. 

“The ghost is the vanishing party and you are the one who’s getting haunted.” 

There are many downfalls to being ghosted – the sudden halt of regular sex, the immediate withdrawal of affection, the assassination of butterflies at the very thought of them – but there’s another casualty in all of this; actual ghosts.

As many of us first experienced a sexual awakening when we watched Casper the ghost transform into Devon Sawa the boy in the final scene of the 1995  movie Casper, we developed an unusual attachment to ghosts so this term acts as a double blow.

It’s the message of rejection wrapped up in the body of a human we fancy and it’s the message of rejection wrapped up in a fictional, fanciable ghost. Any cutesie associations with ghosts are thwarted and are replaced with scenes out of The Exorcism, and, coincidentally, any fond memories of being in bed with this person are also replaced with scenes out of The Exorcism.

Accidental ghosting

It all hurts and you tell yourself you’d never do that to another human but – and  I don’t mean to be the bearer of bad news – you probably have. Looking back on your dating history, you can potentially pinpoint an occasion where you thought that the winding down period was a mutual act. Meet-ups were postponed and the flow of texts died out but in thinking that it was an equal erasure of each other, there’s every possibility that it wasn’t. So, there’s another comfort in the realisation that you’ve carried out an accidental ghosting in your time.  

Knowing that you can too be so indifferent to someone else, you can place yourself in the shoes of the ghost and go “Ah, indifference! I’m familiar”.

Ghosting is rude and it’s hurtful. It feels like it comes from nowhere when you thought you were getting somewhere. It can knock you back a few steps but you don’t have to let this ghost hang around forever.


Enforce a three-text strike policy

You should never chase a ghost. If you suspect a ghosting, there’s a three-text strike policy you should enforce, commencing from the last time you communicated.

If text one is ignored, maybe they’re busy and that’s alright. We all have our separate lives to attend to. 

“To banish a ghost, you must remember that a ghost is just a bad-mannered person who can’t summon the decency to end things.”

If text two is ignored, yeah… that’s not great but leave some time for text two to breathe. If text two has been well and truly smothered, you can take that as a clear sign.  Or… you can use text three as the final nail in this coffin of love. 

Use text three with caution because if it goes unanswered, it’s this relationship’s funeral toll and you’re the one wildly swinging around in the bell tower. Alone. 

To banish a ghost, you must remember that a ghost is just a bad-mannered person who can’t summon the decency to end things.

All you need is a text that reads “Hey, you’re really sound but I just don’t feel like we’re a right fit. All the best” in response to your suggestion to “hang out or something this weekend”, knowing full well what that something really means.

A ghost is someone on the hunt for something else and, sadly, you weren’t that something.

And once you realise that, that’s when you can move on and give up the aul ghost for good. 


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