Breakups are never easy, and some can be especially painful and traumatic for both parties. What about when a partner disappears without a word of explanation and stops responding to messages?
Just when we think that there is nothing worse and more cruel than breaking up with someone via text message, it turns out that ghosting sets the bar even higher – here you will not see any message, no word of explanation, not even the standard “it’s not you, it’s me” or “let’s be friends”. Overnight, the other person ceases to exist for us, and we wonder what we did wrong.
What is ghosting?
The term itself is not new, although it was previously used in online poker to describe a situation in which a more experienced player tells a less experienced player during a game, which of course is cheating
Now ghosting has taken on a new, but no less negative meaning and refers to when a person stops contacting their partner, friends, family or even their employer without warning and for a clear reason. At the same time, it is apparent that he or she continues to lead an active life on social media and is clearly healthy and happy.
According to experts, this behavior is especially popular among millenials, who have undoubtedly contributed to the spread of this phenomenon in society. The popularity of ghosting is also inextricably linked to dating apps and friendships maintained primarily online or by phone.
Why do people disappear like ghosts?
While the solution may seem extreme, it’s not at all uncommon. If you think about it more deeply, we’ve probably experienced it ourselves at least once in our lives or taken advantage of it ourselves. Why? After all, you can call, talk and explain that it’s the end of the acquaintance, instead of disappearing like a ghost and leaving someone with confusion in their head.
The reason seems to be prosaic. It’s just easier that way. “Ghost” doesn’t have to justify himself, explain anything, give the other person hope. He simply disappears without unnecessary drama or scandal. Unfortunately, it is easier only for him, because for the victim himself this form of separation is neither less painful nor less traumatic.
On the other hand, the “ghost” may argue that he was motivated by concern for the welfare of the other person. He wanted to spare her suffering, so he decided to disappear. In reality, he cares only for his own comfort and peace, and his behavior shows a total lack of respect for the feelings of others.
It is also worth noting that in the age of social media and instant messaging, the very etiquette of communication is changing. Not replying is often considered a sufficient and comprehensive response to any unwanted message, and it is much easier to get away with a conversation online than in real life. Yes, a “ghost” may be surprised that his victim didn’t understand a simple message and resents it.
How to respond to ghosting?
When a person doesn’t know what happened or why, they start looking for reasons within themselves, blaming themselves. This can greatly shake someone’s self-esteem, but also become an obstacle to trusting someone in the future. A person lives with an unclosed chapter of his or her life, and it is often difficult to move forward in such a situation.
The advice here can be only one, even if it is quite trivial and difficult to put into practice. The most important thing is not to blame yourself for what has happened. Do not look for explanations and do not endlessly revisit the situation, do not analyze and do not try to understand. You must simply accept the fact that you are dealing with ghosting. Don’t assume that something is wrong with you and don’t build theories about what major obstacles have prevented the “ghost” from finding a way to contact you.
“Ghost” has a problem with himself, so it’s not worth waiting for his answer. Such people tend to be narcissists incapable of building healthy relationships or afraid to engage themselves, and the “ghost” way is a constant play in their repertoire.
Try to recover quickly from an unpleasant incident and focus on those who show genuine interest in you and for whom you are not just another phone number on a contact list.
When can ghosting be a solution?
While we definitely don’t recommend doing unto another what we don’t like, ghosting may be the only effective solution when dealing with extremely toxic or even dangerous people. It is not uncommon for attempts to talk to such people and part ways in a normal manner to fail, so ghosting may be the only way to end an unpleasant relationship. Remember, however, that it should be a last resort.