Turns out, ghosting is till a thing. It hasn’t vanished, and is occurring in much the same ways as when the term gained popularity.
Recently, I led a discussion with the Good Men Project’s Sex, Love, Etc. convo-cast on breakups and ghosting. Callers were divided when one member wondered why his ex-girlfriend continued to call, make plans, check-in via text and send him memes despite their break-up over six months ago. He was befuddled and admitted that he’d like to get her back. Well, this caused a ruckus! A few people advised him to cut and run, whereas he continues to have loving, strong feelings for her. Someone else said he’s being kept as a last resort… He stated that he’s confused about her actions but
her words say something different.
So, what would you do?
a) Meet her in person to ask her back officially?
b) Meet her in person to break it off?
c) Slip away (ghost)?
d) Call or text to inquire about her intentions and yours?
I know there are slim details, but here’s what else I know. They dated for six months. They’ve been apart for six months, but talk nearly every day. Each of them makes plans with the other, but there’s no longer physical contact or emotional intimacy. Like I mentioned, the caller wouldn’t mind getting back together. He believes she’s dating other people, but they don’t talk about this. He’s not seeing anyone else, and hasn’t. Some women on the call were angry! They felt like this gentleman was being taken advantage of. They suggested he stop talking to her immediately without explanation. I asked if he knew why she kept him around. Unsure, he said they had become good friends, but he still wanted more. So, did he need to meet with her in person? Would she get back together with him?
During the call, he changed his mind and realized he was ready to end this iteration of their relationship. He wanted something more OR nothing at all. How would he express this? He revealed feeling nervous about having a second break-up. Eek!
He decided to call and ask her for a date, and if she said no, he would end things.
Some callers thought he’d need to tell her in person. I disagreed. Why? They’ve already had their break-up talk. They’re not together now. He’s not getting what he wants (a relationship). So, the next time he hears from her, he could say he’s not interested in this type of relationship. Would I advise ghosting? No.
Why do people ghost?
Have you ever done it? What’s considered ghosting? Is it ghosting if you’ve had one or two dates? A few people shared horrendous examples of being ghosted after year+ relationships where they were looking at engagement rings! If that’s not brutal… Feeling sensitive about this, these individuals were very confused as to why this happened to them. They could not understand why their partners vanished and disappeared, going from a close relationship to never hearing from them again. The ghosted survivors revealed that they gave a few days and then sent messages or called. Nothing. After a few weeks of wondering and high anxiety, they realized they had been ghosted. They each expressed feeling so embarrassed, shocked, sad and confused. They thought they had close, intimate relationships. Little did they know, their partners didn’t feel that way and didn’t have the courage to express themselves or their doubts. So: instead, their partners dissolved the relationships without telling them.
Have you been ghosted? What can you learn from it? They wondered if they did something to elicit this type of behavior from their significant others? Equally concerning to them was the worry that this would happen again in future relationships.
So, how do you proceed if you’ve been ghosted?
I’d say to trust the process. When someone ghosts you, it’s clear that he or she is not the best person for you. If you need a thorough communicator and your partner ghosts, maybe this is a sign it’s not the right relationship. Obviously, it feels crappy, disconcerting and you lose faith in humanity, but keep trusting that NOT EVERYONE GHOSTS! There are decent, communicative people who want to talk!
We have to think about ghosters. Perhaps these are individuals who feel fear when thinking about talking. This is often an indicator that they don’t have a strong ability to handle honest encounters. Typically, they ghost because their own ego strength is not well-developed. Likely, you haven’t done anything to warrant this type of meta communication. Instead, realize you saved yourself from prolonging a difficult relationship and you’ve ultimately been given a gift.
If you’d have continued with this person, other issues would come up. If you’ve been ghosted, you can thank this person for helping you open your eyes to someone with whom you’re really not compatible.