Ask Ciiku: How do I heal after being ghosted?

Dear Ciiku,

As most of us in this age, I spend quite a bit of my time online. I have found wonderful resources that have helped me grow as a person, met some of my closest friends there, yaani, it’s just a place to laugh and learn. Some time last year I started talking to someone whom I interacted with online. We had a lot in common and would spend hours chatting over about every topic imaginable apart from our personal lives. With time the relationship grew closer and we talked about the things going on in our lives and it became apparent that we were compatible in so many ways. I got comfortable. A few weeks ago, without any warning, my friend just vanished. Work had been hectic recently so I thought they were swamped and left a message of checking in and it went unread for a couple of days. I was concerned and tried to reach out but I got no response. I’d been ghosted. And it hurt like fuck. I have a close circle of friends who I consider to be a good support structure but this feels like a betrayal. Did I do anything to deserve this? What about the courtesy to say I don’t want to be your friend? I feel insignificant, like I didn’t put any time and energy into being friends. How do I heal?

Lab

Dear Lab,

I am sorry this happened to you and for the hurt that you are going through.

Last year I had a friend I spoke to daily, we had an easy camaraderie, a good friendship (I thought) and then I was ghosted. I was hurt most especially because I had sworn to myself not to make any new friends and I opened myself and my heart to this person who I felt, ended up throwing something that I deemed important in the trash.

I can’t say I know how you feel, I have however been in a similar situation. And therefore I empathise with you Lab.

To answer the questions you pose, I want you to think about the one thing you can control in this situation, which is you. There is nothing you can do about this person, including getting a reason as to why they ghosted. I know your mind will probably try to find rhyme and reason why this happened. People will leave situations and some times it is messed up when they don’t say why. But in all this, remember that the only thing you have control over is you. I am quite curious why you feel the situation left you feeling insignificant. Why is that?

Are you the type of person who needs to have the last word? Do you feel like you’ll never have peace until you say something to this person? What would happen if this person was to reach out and tell you they were going through something and couldn’t talk? Most importantly, are you ready to move on and heal? I absolutely root for this option.

The most important of questions you asked – on healing, the first thing I would like to tell you is that you should not fight yourself – if this person comes to mind, allow the thoughts to come and they will go. Before you know it, they will not be coming to mind. At the same time, remind yourself of the good friends you have – surround yourself with them and if possible discuss with them this issue so that they know how ghosting affects you. You deserve good friends who will have conversations with you when there are issues but sometimes you find that people are unable to have those conversations and it isn’t anything to do with you per se.

All the best,

Ciiku

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