As Arvind learnt last week, being left in the lurch (in the middle of a hypothetical relationship) can be quite haunting. One minute Aarav was muttering sweet (and legal) nothings into his ear; the very next, he had disappeared into nothingness.
Poof. It was that simple. Just like that, he was gone — having retreated into the ones and zeros to haunt another corner of the digital universe (or according to Arvind’s worst fears, another boy).
It’s happened to the best of us. For the uninitiated and the ignorant, ghosting refers to the highly anecdotally pervasive act where someone ends a relationship by simply disappearing. The Ghost does not give any explanations, leaving the ghosted to wonder where he went wrong.
Which brings us to the single most important question (after you’ve asked yourself how many bottles of wine you’d need to get over that messy break-up).
Do you feel like something strange is happening in YOUR (romantic) neighborhood? Are you worried about facing these demons of douchebaggery all alone? Scared that someone will spirit your feelings away? Keep those phones back in your pockets (and I’ll keep the horror puns to myself); because you don’t need The Ghostbusters on speed dial just yet. What do you do then?
It’s easy. Just read through, and follow this five-step process to make sure you survive what I call the ‘Halloween Hijinks of Heartbreak’:
1. Recognise you can feel angry
Go break that glass. Tear out that book. Punch that bag. Write that scathing email (but don’t send it). Watch a romcom. Watch a dozen romcoms. Watch romcoms till you get sick of watching romcoms. Shatter that vase. Scream out loud. Go for a run. Cry. Get sad. Feel angry. You need to.
Repeat till you make peace with yourself and are whole-heartedly happy, because you deserve every bit of it.
2. Don’t blame yourself
Unless you killed his pet dog, had sex with the twin brother or set fire to his house, it’s not your fault (and it never will be), so don’t even go there.
Now write out a list of reasons why you hate him and learn it till you can recite it in your sleep. You dodged a bullet with this one, so go celebrate with some beer (and a few boys).
3. Call him out
Teachers, lawyers, policemen, landlords and mothers — everybody needs answers, and so do you. Remember that it’s better to reach out for answers than reaching out for that large bottle of wine (although if you want wine, just go ahead).
Make sure that you are okay, and if you can get yourself to, ask him for a reason(s). If he replies — hear him out and make peace with it, because that will only save you countless hours (and bills) at the therapist’s. But stop at that one time.
He doesn’t want to get back, and neither should you.
4. Cut him out completely
Delete those texts. Erase those pictures. Unfollow him on Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat and Unfriend him on Facebook. Remove every trace of him, (virtual and otherwise) so that the no bits or bytes of him survive — compete to make it full and final, so that you can never get back in touch with him.
Because sending him a sloppy text message (or forty) at a quarter past three in the morning does not earn you any prizes.
5. Know that there’s still some hope left in the world.
Will it happen again? Should you ever fall in love? Why don’t you just delete Grindr? Take Tinder off your phones maybe? How about going on a dating detox? Who needs the right guy when you have your right hand? Don’t think about it. Just because it happened to you once (or twice), doesn’t mean that it will happen every single time. Sure, the graphic designer with the soft, wavy hair and twinkling eyes might have seemed like the One, but there are too many fish in this sea (and too many graphic designers with soft, wavy hair and twinkling eyes).
Now go fish.
Just make sure you throw back the ones you don’t need.