“Ghosting: the practice of ending a personal relationship with someone by suddenly and without explanation withdrawing from all communication.”
Oxford English Dictionary
Ghosting has become a common way of ending a relationship, but why do people ghost, and what effect does it have on the person doing the ghosting and on the person on the receiving end?
Before we start, I need to say that this article is not about blaming or judging anyone, but to help both the ghoster and the ghostee understand each other’s actions and feelings.
Let’s start with the person doing the ghosting.
You’ve been seeing someone for a while (anything from a matter of days, weeks or even years) but you’ve decided it’s not working out, or you’ve met someone else, or whatever other reason, so you want to end the relationship.
But ending a relationship is difficult isn’t it. It means talking to your partner and telling them the reason why you don’t want to be with them anymore. It may hurt them, make them cry, cause them to be angry at you.
And who wants that?!
Far easier to just not contact them again and not have to face any of the unpleasant consequences.
Sometimes we want to avoid having those difficult conversations because we don’t want to see someone else’s pain or disappointment, but it can also be because we don’t want to be confronted with any shame we may feel. For example, if you’ve been unfaithful, you may already feel a certain amount of guilt about it already, but if you admit that unfaithfulness to someone else, you are then forced to confront it head on.
It may seem counter-intuitive, but facing uncomfortable conversations and feelings is highly therapeutic. By having the courage to acknowledge and voice our feelings instead of running away from them, we are being kinder to ourselves and others. It helps us to gain a greater understanding of ourselves and shows respect to ourselves and others, all of which can help us to move forward onto the next chapter, having put the past to bed.
Let’s now have a look at how it feels to be ghosted.
You’ve been seeing someone for a while (anything from a matter of days, weeks or even years) and you’re either enjoying the relationship, feeling comfortable in it, or even not sure about it, but however you’re feeling in it, you’re not at a point where you want it to end.
And then, all of a sudden, the texts, phone calls, and messages stop, and there is no reply when you to contact them.
You may feel worried about them at first… Has something happened to them? Are they ok? But then the focus turns to you… Have I done something to upset them? Am I not good enough for them? And you run through all previous encounters and conversations, hunting for clues as to what you may have said or done wrong.
But in this situation, it’s always a case of, ‘it’s not you, it’s them’ so, as hard as it may feel to be ignored and however much you may want answers and get closure, you have to be kind to yourself and accept that it just wasn’t the right relationship for you and try to move on.
Easier said than done (believe me, I know!), but by treating past relationships as lessons learned, it helps reframe them in a more positive light.
Until next time…