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Professionals giving advice about ghosting, and how to bounce back

From the experience of people, ghosting is when someone just disappears without giving a reason for a relationship coming to an end, says Che Burnett, a counsellor with Counselling Alberta.

In facing the sadness that follows when someone has invested a lot and has been left hanging, Burnett says to recognize that it’s not necessarily about you and that there could be some things about yourself to learn. However, he says to look at the external factors.

“The other person doesn’t have the maturity necessary to work through something or have difficult conversations. I think, knowing that whatever feelings – because it hurts when someone just separates and leaves; know that this too shall pass and give yourself that wider perspective.”

Burnett encourages conversations with friends, recalling who you were before the relationship, building new connections, starting new hobbies and learning from the experience to see things that were red flags.

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When it comes to the type of relationship, whether it was just building or had become intimate, Burnett sees the level of hurt as still affecting things like self esteem and confidence.

“It would depend on how the person felt sexual relationships were – whether they were used to more hookups or not, but I think both can hurt equally. If you’re opening your heart and being really close with someone – whether there are different kinds of intimacy involved, it still can hurt.”

Burnett, who has been with Counselling Alberta over the past couple of years, sees the importance of people having virtual meeting access to mental health supports whether they are out in the field or at home.

He says to recognize that you will have thoughts and feelings about being ghosted even at night when you don’t want to think about it.

“I find it’s similar to a grieving process. In a grieving process you give time, because something was important and the pain you feel shows that it’s something important. But you also help yourself to move in new directions.”

He says to give yourself time limits to stop yourself from going down the rabbit hole of “what if, what if what if.”

Burnett says you may struggle with the uncertainty of not knowing what happened to the other person and it’s okay to give yourself some distractions.

“When you’re working through something, sometimes it’s healthy to have some distractions. You process as much as you can. I think it’s a good time to connect with people that do care for you. Maybe it’s rekindling old friendships or joining new groups.”

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Burnett concludes by saying that if you have been ghosted and the feelings persist to the point that it triggers old traumas and feelings of being abandoned then you should seek some professional help.

“When a ghosting circumstance immobilizes somebody, it’s because it’s cumulative. There have been a whole bunch of prior experiences,” says Burnett.

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