Rejection and breakups are hard enough, but being ghosted can be traumatic. It can leave you with unanswered questions that make it hard to move on. Although ghosting also occurs in friendships, it’s usually associated with dating. More devastating, but less common, is when a spouse disappears after years of marriage. It’s like a sudden death of the person and the marriage. But even the unexplained, unexpected end to a brief romantic relationship can feel like a betrayal and can shatter your trust in yourself, in love, and in other people.
It’s a shock to the heart whenever you care about someone who suddenly cuts you off without any explanation. If you insist on one and get a response like, “I just don’t feel it anymore,” it isn’t satisfying. You still want to know “WHY?” We are information-seeking animals. Our brains are wired to wonder and search for solutions. Once we pose a question, the brain looks for answers. This is compounded by the fact that we’re also wired to attach and to experience rejection as painful. We try to reconnect – why babies cry fiercely when they need their mother. Rejection can cause obsessive thinking and compulsive behavior, like stalking your ex’s social media, which fuels more pain and more questions.
Ghosting a Romance
In a romantic relationship, breakups are always harder during the early stage when ghosting usually occurs. You don’t know your partner that well and are still in a blissful haze of idealization. Your hopes for the future may be abruptly and inexplicably dashed. Normally, after a relationship progresses from the romantic “ideal” stage into the “ordeal” phase, couples struggle with ambivalence and conflicts. If that ends the relationship, at least you have an understanding of why it didn’t work and perhaps agree.