The 5 Stages of Recovery After Being Ghosted


Let’s talk about ghosts. Not the friendly kind and not the Manhattan club owner turned drug dealer kind either. The kind of guys who reel you in then smash your heart and hopes to pieces. Up until now I’ve only spoken about the cringeworthy guys you come across on these dating apps but what happens when you, against all odds, find a good guy? I’ll tell you what. You fall for them, and you fall hard. Because it’s a breath of fresh air. It’s like your whole (dating) life has been black and white and now you see in colour. Suddenly those 90s R&B songs make sense: except instead of Boys II Men, I get boys, no men. Falling for a guy in 7 days will have you feeling like you’re in a Craig David music video. But then just as quickly as they entered your life, they disappear. Guys out here with their disappearing acts got me thinking their last name is Houdini. Kate Hudson’s got nothing on me: she did it in 10 days, but I’ll show you How To Lose A Guy in 24 Hours. And then I’ll run you through the 5 stages of recovery after being ghosted.

So, this is a story all about how my life got flipped, turned upside down, and I’d like to take a minute, just sit right there, I’ll tell you how I became a guest at Heartbreak hotel. Grab some tissues, habibis, because this one is tragic.

I matched with a guy recently who seemed decent, interesting, able to hold a conversation without turning it to absolute smut. Turns out he just wanted to get me on his pyramid scheme. I mean I applaud the creativity. We’re out here in 2020 but this guy is living in the year 3000. No Khalid, I don’t want to be an Avon lady and I don’t want to hear your SoundCloud cover of Gangster’s Paradise either. 

Next guy steps up and seems like a decent candidate, so much so that I decide to meet up with him. Up until now the only dates I’d had were Medjool. So, when the opportunity presented itself, I figured it was time to take the plunge and finally meet a stranger off the internet. As I made my way to meet him, I couldn’t help but think how this felt like the beginning of a horror movie scene where the POC dies first. I really hoped I wasn’t going to end up as a cautionary tale on the back of a milk carton, or in a chain Whatsapp message. If I got myself murdered by a stranger, mama would kill me. We meet and we get on so well, like zeit and zaatar. Long story short: girl falls for boy, girl thinks boy falls for girl, boy ghosts girl. 

I suppose this is my karmic retribution for doing my own ghosting (although is it ghosting if you tell a guy who’s coming on too strong to give you some space and then just not reply when he doesn’t listen?). Let me tell you, this is brutal and to any guy out there who I’ve ever ghosted I genuinely am so sorry because this sucks. There’s no sense of closure so you’re always inevitably going to be a little hung up on the ‘what ifs’ and the ‘what could have beens’. Like mourning any relationship (or situationship?), there are five stages of recovery after being ghosted. 

  1. Denial: 
    At first you don’t even realize you’re being ghosted. You’re the kind of girl who needs her space and definitely doesn’t need constant attention from their partner. So, you think it’s just a quiet day. Then a week passes, and you’ve reached out a couple times with no response. You start to make excuses; no, he couldn’t possibly be ghosting me he’s probably just busy or he’s been hit by a bus, or worse still, he’s found someone else. But no, certainly not, not my guy, he was ‘different’…Maybe my phone is not receiving messages? Classic defence mechanism your brain is using to numb the situation and give yourself a chance to absorb what’s going on.

  2. Anger: 
    It’s now become painfully clear you’ve been forgotten like yesterday’s leftover Bamieh. Dashed to the side like your mama’s shib shib when she comes home and you’ve forgotten to defrost the chicken. But why? You did everything right and the signals you were getting affirmed that. How dare he ignore you?! Does he know who you are? He’ll regret this. The anger is just masking your true feelings of hurt, embarrassment and disappointment.

  3. Bargaining: 
    This is arguably the most tragic of the five stages. Both helpless and hopeless, you swear you’ll stop talking to other guys if only he’d pick up the phone. If only you had done this or that differently. You even use your maghrib prayer to ask Allah to help guide this brother back to you. A sad sight indeed. 

  4. Depression: 
    It’s been 7 hours and 15 days, since he took his love away. No sign of Amir Charming making his way back. Every time you hear a love song, you’re a nervous wreck. Embrace your sadness and sing your little heart out to those 80s heartbreak ballads. Now you know how Fadl Shaker felt when he sang Ya Ghayeb. This stage is particularly hard on the ego; by now you’re a self-deprecating mess whose self-worth has taken a sharper drop than one of those uncles enthusiastically doing the dabkeh at your cousin’s wedding.

  5. Acceptance: 
    You can see clearly now the tears have gone. You start to see there were red flags early on and several reasons this wouldn’t have worked out. Learn from your mistakes (or in fact his) and carry that with you to the next relationship, which you can now see there is a possibility of.

So there you have it: the 5 stages of recovery after being ghosted. Sure, this guy was great and it’s sad to see it end, but damn it’s so much sadder to know you’ve got to get back out there. Come at me cheesy pick-up lines like “I’m just looking for a Khadija in a world full of Kardashians” and “I’m allowed to marry four but that’s not necessary because you’re a ten”.

So anyway, our search continues. If you know a decent brother who seems emotionally stable, hook a sister up. Just make sure he’s funnier than me.

by Susan Al-Safadi

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