Have You Been Ghosted?

Poof. They’re gone. Vanished. “Ghosting” is a relatively new term that describes the experience of having someone who you had regular contact with suddenly withdraw entirely from your life without explanation. The person who is doing the “ghosting” will not return phone calls or texts, and in the world of social media, he or she might even block you from viewing social network feeds like on Facebook or Instagram.

It’s a puzzling, jarring, and disturbing phenomenon that seems to be occurring more and more in an online world with less and less accountability. The person who has been ghosted inevitably asks, “What did I do or say wrong to cause this?” While it’s an understandable question to ask, the answer often lies in the limitations of the one doing the ghosting, or if you will, the ghost.

Of course, no two people are exactly alike, and differences inevitably arise in any relationship. But, what distinguishes a healthy adult relationship from a shallow or immature relationship is the capacity for individuals to talk about their feelings and differences. In the relationship that ends with ghosting, the ghost is saying, “I can’t handle talking about my feelings, bye!” Ghosting is basically a slang term for avoidance of something uncomfortable.

In many cases, the ghost doesn’t have the capacity to talk about his/her feelings. He or she might not even fully know why they can’t confront whatever is bothering them.

If you’ve been ghosted, you probably know that it is often best not to pursue the other person. The ghost, through their behavior, is communicating all you need to know; getting them to verbalize it is likely an exercise in futility and could even cause damage. You may not be able to start a dialogue about what caused the person to abruptly depart, but you can try to accept the sad reality that you may have overestimated the relationship to begin with. You may have had hope that your relationship with the ghost was deeper than it really was, but with time, the anger and confusion you’re feeling turns into feelings of disappointment and ultimately acceptance. After all, don’t you want to be a relationship with someone who can actually talk about their feelings?