Coping with Being Ghosted after a One-Night Stand

Daniella Cressman
Farzad Sedhagat

Human beings can be fragile creatures. Being ghosted after an intimate experience is often devastating, so how can you get through it without losing control or being too hard on yourself?

1. Remember that This Is Not a Reflection on You

When someone ghosts you, especially after you’ve had sex with them, it’s easy to start blaming yourself for all manner of things that went wrong.

Stop it. Their actions are not a reflection on you.

2. Be Kind to Yourself

It’s so easy to feel ashamed of our bodies and personalities when someone we thought we might care about has ghosted us after we’ve engaged in such a deeply intimate act. However, it’s not helpful to go into a spiral of insecurity. In fact, it’s rather counterproductive.

Be careful about how you talk to yourself. For instance, you might start thinking about the reality of dating these days, and how so many people don’t think twice about casually having sex and promptly moving on: They may have not meant any harm, even though it probably still hurts a lot, and you’re lovable no matter what because you’re human — that fact makes you inherently worthy.

Let yourself know that this is not your fault, that you’re still desirable, and that almost everyone experiences unfavorable outcomes sometimes. It may have absolutely nothing to do with you: A lot of people are terrified of getting to know someone they’ve slept with, or they have major abandonment issues and end up leaving so that they’re not the ones being left. It’s all very complicated, and it may be reassuring to realize that someone else’s hurtful behavior really isn’t a reflection of anything you said or did.

“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”
— Eleanor Roosevelt

You’ll want to keep that quote on your mind as you’re navigating through the challenging emotions that will likely come up for you.

3. Heal Any Abandonment Issues You May Have

This is more easily said than done, of course, but rejection takes many forms, and this person leaving could have brought up old scars: Maybe one of your parents left your family at a young age, or perhaps you felt as though you were abandoned by adults multiple times as a child.

Whatever the case may be, this could be a good time to revisit past wounds and work towards healing them, so that the sting of rejection is not so all-consuming in the future.

4. Take Care of Yourself

Now more than ever, you’ll need to give yourself some tenderness, love, and care: Maybe it’s time to cook yourself your favorite dinner or soak for a long time in a hot Epsom salts bath.

If you have the budget for it, a massage might be nice. If you don’t, exercising can sometimes get you out of your funk: It’s probably the last thing you want to do if you’re mourning being ghosted, but it will almost always help you feel happier, more balanced, more lighthearted, and more confident!

Self-care practices such as eating well, meditating, and making sure you’re getting enough sleep will are essential during this trying time.

5. Protect Your Heart

Being ghosted after sleeping with someone is probably one of the most painful moments a person can experience, and it can bring up all sorts of feelings of worry and self-doubt: You do will not want to have to go through this again if you can help it!

Unfortunately, some people enjoy playing the role of puppeteer and torturing their “victims,” so, if you receive communication from the offending party in a few weeks or even a few months, don’t answer them: They are almost always being sadistic whether they mean to or not, garnering a sick brand of pleasure from stringing you along.

6. Have Realistic Expectations in the Future

If you do want to have sex with someone right away in the future, it’s important to note that it could be solely physical for that person, and you may never see them again.

You’ll only want to have intercourse if that is truly okay with you. Otherwise, you may be setting yourself up for heartbreak: Don’t be afraid to wait it out next time and see if there’s something there.

While the romantics among us would like to think that things might just be different, that’s unfortunately not always the case.

7. Accept Your Emotions

It’s okay if you need to weep on the kitchen floor for a little while: Almost all of us have experienced the all-consuming devastation of heartbreak, and your feelings are valid. It’s okay if you want to punch something or yell at the top of your lungs: As long you’re not hurting anyone, it’s healthier to simply let your feelings out in the long run than it is to bottle everything up until you explode at someone who doesn’t deserve it.

Dating can be tricky, and people can be cruel. When you are just meeting someone for the first time, it might seem like the sparks are flying, but they often only want to get in your pants.

You’ll want to be real with yourself before you commit to having sex: Will you actually be okay with it if you never see this person again, or would that be too emotionally taxing for you?

If the answer is no, don’t be afraid to set a boundary immediately: This will actually give you a good idea of whether the other person respects you — if they’re cool with waiting, they do; if they’re not cool with waiting, they don’t. Their response can give you a sneak peek into their psyche before things get too serious so that you know exactly what you’re getting into!

No matter what happens with your relationships, you’ll want to remember that you’re inherently valuable, regardless of how other people see you. Remember to always speak to yourself in your best friend voice, because it’s important to be gentle with yourself while navigating life’s many challenges.

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