Dating is hard. Most people will kiss a lot of frogs along their journey to find true love. But nothing hurts quite like being ghosted by someone you’ve invested a lot of your time & attention in. Ghosting is a sign of emotional immaturity, emotional unavailability as well as low emotional intelligence. Today, I’m going to share what to do instead of ghosting.
What is Ghosting?
Ghosting is the act of ending an interpersonal relationship by suddenly & without explanation, withdrawing from all forms communication. Most individuals choose to ghost someone out of fear. In fact, it’s a cowardly act usually justified because they don’t want to hurt the other party or close the door on the relationship completely. In reality, it unfairly gives the dumpee a false sense of hope for reconciliation, while the dumper moves on.
I’m proud to say that I haven’t ghosted any of my exes. After being ghosted more times than I’d like to admit in my years of dating, I promised myself in my early twenties to always do the right thing & fully give closure to every single person that I’ve entered into a romantic relationship with. That said, here’s how I end romantic relationships:
Break Up In Person
Ending a relationship in person can be terrifying, but it’s the only respectful way to end a relationship. I will shamefully admit that I broke up with my 1st boyfriend via email. I tried to do it a few days prior. But I selfishly couldn’t bear to see his face as I ripped out his heart, days before I left for college. He was the only & last person I did this to.
If I could go back in time & make sure to break up with every single one of my exes face to face to get & give them closure, I would. Being able to talk through how your feelings have changed, & that you want them to be with someone who can give them everything that you’re not capable of, is the adult thing to do. Do your best to demonstrate that you’re not breaking up with them out of hatred or spite. Your actions are actually out of love & respect for them as a person, because they deserve better.
Be Honest & Apologize
When relationships no longer have trust, they’re doomed to fail. When it’s already over, know that there’s no point in continuing to lie any further. Tell your partner exactly why you want to break up.
Healthy relationships need two emotionally mature individuals who choose each other & want to continue to choose each other, working through anything wrong within the connection every single day. It’s okay to admit that your feelings have changed. Maybe you want to be single, or maybe things have been off for a while so you want to date other people. Lying to protect your ex’s feelings will cause nothing but trouble down the road if you keep in touch & they discover the truth. Apologize for any conflict, hurt, & pain you’ve caused them. Take ownership of your shortcomings within the relationship. Explain how both of you need to still be invested, & that putting the breakup off any longer would be cruel & unfair.
Set Your Boundaries
Make it clear that you no longer want to be romantically involved with your former partner. And whatever you now want or do not want out of this relationship, say it.
I am cordial, but I am not friends with any of my exes. I do not have any of their contact information or follow any of them on social media. Do you want to have a clean break? Do you want to remain friends? Whatever your preference, set your boundaries & stick to them. There’s nothing worse than having wishy washy boundaries & hurting someone who only agrees to the boundaries you’ve set because they have hope for rekindling the relationship.
When I break up with someone, I weight the pros & cons for a while, so my mind is made up. And that’s why once I’ve set my boundaries & promised to not bother or reach out again under any circumstances, I keep my word.
Cut Off Contact As Your Last Resort
If your ex cannot respect the boundaries you’ve set, it’s ok to go no contact, but express why as an alternative to completely ghosting. Exes can stalk your every move, show up at places you frequent, beg, cry, & plead with you to work on the relationship & stay together, despite the boundaries you’ve already set.
So when the other options above aren’t enough, simply apologize, honestly explain why you do not want any further contact, ask that they respect your decision, & move forward for your own mental health.
Again, breakups are never fun, but they’re necessary. Make room in your life for the person that you’re meant to spend the rest of your life with. I promise you that while it may be terrifying & hurt more than ghosting, being upfront, honest, & respectful with your exes is the only way to generate good karma for yourself as well as attract a new partner who will treat you with the same good intentions & take care of your heart.