Ghosting has become a part of modern-day dating, especially when you’re going online to hopefully meet your match. It’s a scenario that most people have faced while trying to find The One for themselves. It always sucks. You meet someone, you click, you chat, you make plans…and then nothing. No matter who you are, the unique sting of being ignored that way will still hurt.
For the most part, people all agree there’s a certain window of time where ghosting is considered to be still socially acceptable. Most of the time, around the three month mark, people will start to say that ghosting is a bit extreme. By six months, it’s generally seen as a jerk thing to do. By a year? Well, most people will be appalled by the action.
After a year together, ghosting becomes an extremely rare thing to do that is generally seen as a serious faux pas. But, what happens if someone ghosts you after you marry them? Though it’s exceedingly rare, it can and does occur.
If you take a look online, you can find authors who discuss their experiences being ghosted by their husband. As one can imagine, these authors describe how betrayed, confused, and lost they feel. It’s fair, too. No one expects someone who vowed to create a future with them to suddenly bail.
What really is shocking about being ghosted this late in the relationship is the sheer amount of effort a person has to go through in order to make it happen. Ghosting a spouse means that you have to find a way to move out without telling them, separate finances, explain things to your family, and also split from friends.
So, what happens to the people who are abandoned by spouses? Aside from telling others, “Hey, my husband ghosted me,” there are a couple of things you should do if you suspect that your spouse left you high and dry. Here are some of the biggest things you should do when you’ve noticed that your spouse pulled a vanishing act.
Before you jump to conclusions, check their phone, reach out to relatives, and file a missing persons report with the police.
This sounds obvious, but it’s still worth saying.
There are a lot of cases where emergencies pop up, or where someone gets seriously injured. In the event that your husband had a life-threatening injury or illness, there is a small (but viable) chance that his phone could be off and that he can’t actually reach you.
If you both have cellphones that involve a “Find My Phone” function, check to see where his phone is—and if it’s moving or on. If it is, you may have a ghost on your hands. If it’s not, there may be a bigger reason to worry.
Next, you may need to start calling up others who may know where your husband’s whereabouts are. This can be painful, but it’s also a good way to confirm your suspicions or determine what’s really going on.
When reaching out to others, you need to watch the reactions that others in his circle give you when you ask where he is. If his family members refuse to speak to you, or if his work refuses to tell you if he’s there, you are probably ghosted. If they don’t know where he is, you should file a police report. He may be in serious danger.
If you confirmed that he ghosted you, get your hands on all financial accounts ASAP.
Most people who ghost a spouse will make an effort to ensure that they take as much cash as they can along with you. If your husband was the primary earner in your family, this can mean serious trouble for you. After all, you still will have bills to pay, even if he doesn’t contribute.
It’s crucial that you access every financial account you have as a married couple as soon as possible. Call your banks and credit cards, and ask them to freeze your assets. Most will be very understanding.
Call a lawyer and get the divorce process started.
Believe it or not, you’re not one of the first people to have a spouse bail like this. History is full of examples of men who suddenly skipped town while being married. That’s why most states have lawyers that specialize in “spousal abandonment.”
Spousal abandonment is the legal term for husbands and wives who ghost their significant others. It’s a specific type of divorce that often requires extra paperwork, especially if the significant other in question refuses to engage with regular divorce paperwork.
It’s worth pointing out that reaching out to a ghosting spouse via process server won’t always work. They may refuse to sign. That’s why you might need a specialty divorce lawyer here. In some cases, you may even be able to find a way to clear the divorce without even being able to reach him.
Be open about what happened to those around you.
Whether it’s during the dating period or the marriage period, people who ghost do so because they are afraid confrontation. They are terrified of being called out for their bad behavior, and are scared of getting a bad reputation. It’s their way of taking away your voice by giving you the ultimate silent treatment.
Well, there’s some good news here. The moment that they decided to ghost, they forfeited the chance to look like the bigger person. This means that you have full carte blanche to tell the world what he did, in gruesome detail. At the very least, this means that people will understand why you may need support from them in your hard time.
Avoid talking to “his people” after he ghosted.
Here’s a terrible truth you might not want to hear: most husbands who ghost are not honest about their actions with the people around them. In other words, he may have trashed you to his loved ones. Because of this, they might not react well to you reaching out to them…so don’t.
Consider getting professional therapy.
I’m going to be honest, here. Getting ghosted by your husband is probably going to permanently change the way you see men and relationships. It’s traumatic and can lead to serious problems in your day to day life.
It’s okay to grieve. It’s okay to be on edge, feel wronged, and even feel a little misandristic when it happens. What’s not okay is feeling like you can’t get help for the way you feel. If you’re seriously struggling with what happened, book a session with a therapist. It helps more than you’d imagine.
When you do start divorce proceedings, be realistic about outcome and be prepared to fight.
Abandonment divorces are not like other divorces. It’s worth pointing out that the courts aren’t really kind to husbands who go so far as to ghost their wives. As long as you take the high road with everything, people will generally work in your favor.
That being said, it may still be difficult to get the courts to enforce things like alimony payments. So, you may want to expect a little struggle when it comes to actually getting what’s rightfully yours.
Recognize that you didn’t deserve what happened to you.
It doesn’t matter who you are or what you did. No one deserves to be ghosted by a spouse without any explanation for what happened. You deserve love, respect, and the honest breakup that involves a face-to-face conversation. Though it may take years to realize it, the fact is that you dodged a bullet.