This article — Exes Explain Ghosting, the Ultimate Silent Treatment — is fascinating discussion of “ghosting,” which “refers to ending a romantic relationship by cutting off all contact and ignoring the former partner’s attempts to reach out.” Check out the follow-up too.
I’ve never had this happen in a romantic relationship, but my once-best-friend ghosted me a few years ago. We’d grown apart when she moved across the country, such that we were only talking every few months, but we were still on friendly terms. Then we reconnected in an intense in-person conversation when she happened to be in town, at a time when I was really, really struggling. We promised to talk again in a week… and she just disappeared. I called and emailed repeatedly but I never heard from her again.
The whole thing was very painful for me, and I wasn’t the only friend that she dropped in such a fashion. All of us knew her for years, and none of us expected that she’d ever do that to us. At least we saw clearly (after a while) that the problem resided squarely with her, not us. Still, I can feel the hurt in everyone that I’ve spoken to about it.
Truly, ghosting has got to be the most hurtful and destructive way to end a relationship with a friend or lover, hands down. Speaking personally, I’d much rather come home to find a lover in bed with someone else. That, at least, is comprehensible.
What I find so interesting is that the ghosters seem to think that what they’re doing is easy and clean and neat for everyone… and wow, are they ever full of shit. The only case discussed that I would regard as justified is the woman who ghosted the husband that she discovered was cheating on her left and right. Cases in which a person flees a relationship that is dangerous or abusive… well, that’s not “ghosting.” In those cases, the person ghosted knows damn well why the other person disappeared, even if he/she pretends otherwise.
Notably, some of those stories in the follow-up article are not “ghosting” — and I suspect that’s because the writer didn’t want to make the ghosters seem like the worse freaking people on the planet.
Basically, if you don’t have the psychological capacity to end a relationship in an honest or respectful way… if you can’t even say to the person, “Sorry, but I just can’t do this any more: it’s over,” then you have no business being in any kind of close friendship or romantic relationship.