NO LONGER YOUR “BOO”
By: Paula Dezzutti
As we drift into October, it’s the perfect time to discuss a topic for which I have grave personal experience: a phenomenon called ghosting. Now, you might think this is a clever Halloween prank played by tricksters in attempt to get chocolate treats or satisfy their mischievous ways. But Dictionary.com defines ghosting as “the practice of suddenly ending all contact with a person without explanation, especially in a romantic relationship.” They’re not talking about not getting a text back from somebody you just met on Tinder or had coffee with recently in a casual acquaintanceship. It’s also important to note that this discussion is not about people who are trying to escape an abusive relationship; safety is your priority if that is the case. Rather, we are talking about people who, one day, are in communicative, committed relationships and the next have no correspondence with their significant other.
In a recent survey by Elle.com, 26.67 percent of women reported being ghosted, compared to 13.64 percent of men. Although we can’t categorize ghosts as bad people with no respect for the people they’ve been in committed relationships with, the higher number of women reporting may stem from the fact that it’s likely a technique for avoiding emotionally difficult conversations that most men admit to finding challenging. Furthermore, ghosting seems to have become more pervasive in the last decade, because of the technology allowing people to interact remotely instead of in each other’s company. In a world where information can be communicated through technology, face-to-face human communication is often substituted with meaningless casual conversation.
“The practice of suddenly ending all contact with a person without explanation, especially in a romantic relationship.”
Studies show that ghosting is costly for both parties. I can say from personal experience that after trusting, loving and committing my life for more than a decade to my ex, ghosting me was the worst way to end our relationship. A study on preferred relationship ending strategies conducted in the 1970s, published on eric.ed.gov, showed that when one person ends a relationship through avoidance, it’s likely to trigger anger, hurt, frustration and emotional shut-down for the one being left—none of which should come from the person you love. Although it may be challenging to face uncomfortable communication during a breakup, the lingering effects of this methodology are devastating for the recipient, and the terminator, sooner or later, will bear the cost of knowing that he or she took the coward’s way out. It makes one hope there is karma!
Expert Remy Chausse says: “We’re all entitled to our own opinion… the difference is that I work with people who have suffered a spiritual injury or some kind of trauma, so I see firsthand the damage it can do. Yes, we all have the inherent right to not communicate with someone. That’s our choice. But if our choice is to stop communication cold with no explanation at all, then it walks that fine line of becoming immature and cowardly, without considering the fact that we are creating a spiritual injury to the other person, a trauma—and that emotional rejection activates the same pain pathways in the brain as a physical injury.”
For anybody who has experienced this ghostly situation, it’s important to find somebody you can trust and talk to about your feelings. Through open communication, your friends or a therapist can help you understand your ghost probably had challenges in dealing with conflict throughout their lifetime, and that this cowardly move is symptomatic of deeper issues this person must overcome. In order to have a healthy relationship, you must have a partner who cares about you as much as themselves. You must have a partner who is reflective, honest, accountable and committed to growth. Life is challenging enough, and you must remember that someone disappearing is not a reflection of your self-worth, but simply of the other person’s fear of being seen for who they truly are. And although it feels like your heart and soul crave closure and the need for explanation, there is no point in getting an explanation of someone’s absence when they failed to appreciate your presence in the first place! Please feel free to reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org and share your thoughts. If we have enough discussion on this topic, we will follow up with a skirt. night out support group.