Ghosting is what a coward does.
For a long time, I convinced myself of that narrative. I decided men who never gave me a solid reason were cowards. They’re always in the wrong. Didn’t deserve me. Were selfish or immature. I was better off. My heart was too pure and loving for people who dropped of the face of the earth.
It’s easy to condemn ghosting when you are the one being ghosted. Of course, it’s easy to cast venom towards the person, the person you were hopeful about, who never took the time to respond. It’s easy to cover up your hurt and embarrassment by blaming someone else and making them the villain. The bad guy.
Ghosting is not new. It’s not a millennial invention. Every dating trend is just an updated, more technologically advanced version of something that existed in the past.
The phone calls stopped. The letter writing ceased. One day you saw someone you fancied out on a date with someone new. No words exchanged, but a clear message nonetheless.
So no, this isn’t a new phenomenon. It’s simply easier to know when it’s happening.
In an ideal world, we all communicate effortlessly. We are honest without being cruel. We verbalize exactly what we want and never just fade into the background.
But it’s not an ideal world. There’s no utopia. There’s no perfect place. Things are misconstrued. Egos show up instead of the people attached to them. Fear takes control. We do things we think are right. We do things we think will cause less pain. We’re selfish, and generous, sometimes all at once. I don’t think this is something to be sad about. This is being realistic. This is understanding how complicated people are and that searching for a blueprint to explain it all is futile. Who wants that anyway? Sounds like a real snore.
Ghosting does not feel good. It doesn’t feel good to do it or be on the receiving end of it. Goodbyes are never fun. There’s always an awkwardness, an expectation, a feeling of disappointment. No one looks forward to them.
When you’re ghosted, it’s not even all about the heartbreak. Often, there isn’t heartbreak. Instead, it’s a sudden indignation. It’s anger. It’s a how dare THEY ghost ME? It’s ego, ego, ego. It sends us spinning, looking for clues or reasons. We become archeologists, digging away at ourselves trying to figure out what we did that was so utterly unlovable.
But see, this is not the fault of the person who ghosted. This is something you already contained. This is insecurity bubbling up. This is what we all have. Being ghosted just brings it front and center.
Be hurt. Be disappointed. Be honest. But don’t condemn someone for all these feelings. They didn’t cause them. These feelings existed inside you already. Ghosting was just the match. The fire had been building up for years.
I’ve ghosted people and I’m not proud. I’ve done it for different reasons. Some, pure laziness. Some, not wanting to have difficult conversations that would end in more hurt. Some, because I was depressed and struggling to even get out of bed.
I am the ghost and the ghosted. I cannot claim one is better than the other. I cannot claim an exit strategy fundamentally makes someone a bad person. And while I do try to be upfront with people, I’m not capable of promising I’ll never, ever ghost again.
If we’re being truthful, we all contain a little apparition.
Let’s stop demonizing it.