Ghosting’s a term we tend to associate with online dating. You’re talking to somebody on Bumble or Coffee Meets Bagel, getting to know each other and then contact abruptly ends. You’re left feeling confused. You thought you were building up a good rapport. In some cases, you may meet up in person, exchange a few texts the next day and then silence.
Ghosting isn’t a new phenomenon ushered in by the Internet. I know a woman whose father disappeared on his wife and children in the 1980s. When I was growing up in Ireland the Catholic Church held immense power. There was no provision for divorce. To escape a failing marriage this man faked his death and slipped away on a boat to England. Time passed with his family believing he was dead. Then one day a relative spotted him in England and compelled him to return to his family in Ireland.
In the pre-divorce era, many people found themselves trapped inside marriages that were destroying them. It was a case of staying put and leading what Henry David Thoreau described as “lives of quiet desperation”. Divorce is now permitted in Ireland.
About 50% of people who’ve used online dating apps say they’ve experienced ghosting – on the receiving or giving end of it. This raises the question: Is ghosting a gentle way of giving somebody the hint that you’re no longer interested in them? Does it ‘save their feelings’? Or is it damaging?
Psychological research suggests that ghosting is destructive. This is especially so if the person on the receiving end of it already has fragile self-esteem. It creates confusion – what did I do or say that caused them to break off contact? It also leaves a person feeling disrespected and used.
The crucial thing to remember is that ghosting reveals a lack of emotional maturity on the part of the person who cut off contact. It points to their lack of courage and says nothing about your worthiness. Let them go and be thankful you didn’t get in deeper with them. And try not to let the experience harden your heart.
#ghosting #breakups #self-esteem
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