Ghosting: The act of suddenly ceasing all communication with someone the subject is dating, but no longer wishes to date. This is done in hopes that the ghostee will just ‘get the hint’ and leave the subject alone, as opposed to the subject simply telling them he/she is no longer interested. (Urban Dictionary)

Ghosting, a phenomenon I somewhat naïvely didn’t expect to experience in the world of Christian dating and yet here I am one week into my new life as a ghostee. I’ve come to realize that the slightly irrational experience of a ghostee has some very similar steps to the five stages of loss:

1. Denial and isolation

This wonderful stage is where the creative juices really get flowing as every possible reason for the lack of communication is not just thought of, but also genuinely believed. This is normally paired with a mixture of friends reactions, those giving the benefit of the doubt and those calling a taxi to ship you immediately out of the land of denial for a short stop at a pity party before moving on from this “dirt bag you’re too good for anyway”.

Accompanying Playlist: What went wrong – JP Cooper

2. Anger

Arguably my favorite stage, requiring all close friends and family to be prepared for sudden out bursts of rage at the horrors of the modern dating world and how someone could be such a… I’ll let you finish that sentence. It’s at this stage when there is the realisation that the ghost is either a wimp or a meanie – less tame words can also be used here. Do note that these feelings are borderline irrational so an opinion-less listening ear is the best remedy for this stage.

Accompanying Playlist: How would you like it? – Lauren Aquilina

3. Bargaining

Here we find ghostees such as myself retracing every step of their history with the ghost in order to pin point exactly what went wrong. There is a thin line between romanticising it all and suddenly seeing every flaw. This line can be crossed multiple times daily leading to onlookers becoming very confused about how the ghostee actually feels about the ghost. This stage also has it’s own catch phrase ‘if only’ these two words become the start of many a thought as us ghostees write our own alternative ending to this un-fairytale.

Accompanying Playlist: Boy – Anne-Marie

4. Sadness

Prepare the wine and Ben & Jerry’s, here comes the toughest yet most vital stage, that carry’s us ghostees through to the long awaited acceptance stage. As with all these stages it differs for each person. For me this requires the prohibiting of all chick flicks, some mild retail therapy and a long drive singing sad songs at the top on my lungs. It can be helpful at this point to give your phone to a friend, in the knowledge that follow up or check in messages to the ghost could result in plummeting back to stage one, which this should be avoided at all costs. No one has the time to do all this again.

Accompanying Playlist: Sour Inside – Stephen Day

5. Acceptance

Ah the sweet, sweet land of acceptance. Re-activate that online dating account and upload a cracking new photo, realise that the world is your oyster once more and most importantly look yourself in the mirror again and think: “Yes! You mighty warrior, brush of the dust and get back on that hideous horse that is the dating world.”

Accompanying Playlist: Perfect World – Allen Stone

Ghostees, take hope. Things will get better. You are wonderful, and I’m not just saying that, I believe in a God that makes wonderful things, so it’s a given! Find a mantra and let it carry you through, mid-sadness during a mindless Pintrest scroll these words became mind – never mind how cheesy they are, we have space for cheesy right now! “Don’t put the keys to your happiness in someone else’s pocket.” So pick up your keys you wonderful beings and unlock whatever door you fancy – not literally, of course, breaking and entering should still be avoided, partially if you know where your Ghost lives, seriously they’re not worth jail time, have you seen prison break?!

Ghosts, oh come on!?! Let us remember that we are to treat others how we would like to be treated (Luke 6:31). I know it’s hard pal, and I feel your pain but please just buck up and send a simple message. Yes they may be disappointed, however I hate to break it to you but they will get over it/you! Do them a favor and make it easier for them by helping them skip the denial and anger stages, they are human being who deserve to know they’re worth a message. So let’s all just be kinder, then my genuine hope is that we will be people who consistently add value, not baggage.

Written by Charis Duckworth // Follow Charis on  Twitter

Born and raised in the South West, Charis has slowly migrated to the East finding herself in both London and Essex. She is a huge fan of people, grace and creativity, which is convenient for her work as a chaplain and youth worker. She's a proper keen bean for anything involving the sea, treacle tart or a cracking film.

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