It’s highly likely, that if you have a smartphone, live in the 21st century, and are a human aged between 20-60 years old, you would have heard the term: ghosting.
This modern-day dating colloquialism isn’t a new thing. In fact, most people have experienced 'ghosting’: the practice of suddenly ending all contact with a person without explanation, especially in a romantic relationship.
It’s brutal and begs the question - Seriously, are we still doing this?
As if our hearts aren’t anxious and frayed enough in a new relationship, we are flinging ghosting protocols into the boiling pot at the end of one. Choosing to separate and divorce comes with a huge glossary of behavioural terms, so do we really need to be ghosted at a time where communication is needed more than ever?
For some, yes.
For some, revenge tactics take the number one position on the leaderboard. For some, inflicting emotional
pain by means of a disappearing act is the only way to ‘ironically’ communicate.
As they say, no message is a message. I say, “BS”.
So, when did ghosting become a divorce tactic to make everything… OK.
I get it.
We need time.
In fact, I encourage a period of ‘no contact’ to let the feelings land. The next part of any divorce and separation process is going to require mental, physical and financial investment, so being ‘strong’ and ‘at the ready’ is necessary.
So, in preparation, being quiet on your couch is OK. But a disappearing act isn’t.
Especially when children are involved.
Our actions cause permanent damage. I know that’s a pretty heavy (and an even obvious statement to make),
especially when we have zero control of our current outcome.
But to ghost, means to abandon.
Going back to the dating saga, sure, after one or two dates, it's not uncommon to slip out the date via
a digital backdoor. But your family is not a fling. Your family took years of dedication, love and loyalty to build.
So why treat it like some meaningless connection? I can only think of three things to remedy this modern
Silence is false bravery: You are not being courageous by deliberately going silent. It's not strong, it's
cruel. It's not bravery, it's cowardly. I know these are harsh words. But your behaviour won't just affect how your ex acts today, but your children (if you have them) will feel the impact of an absent parent at a time when they need reassurance the most.
I will hurt them, like they hurt me: Please, no revenge. Resentment and being spiteful is not the way this break-up will heal. All you are doing is pumping fuel into a bad situation. Hurting your ex isn’t going to mend the breakage. Of course, anger is a valid emotion, but anger is not an emotion that will make wise decisions. Hurting them is only going to hurt you. Be better, not bitter.
If I ignore it, it’ll go away: I am sorry, but ghosting a situation won't resolve (or erase) it. You are simply delaying the pain of the breakup. Take some timeout, and recover. Let the feelings land, but denial and divorce are toxic best mates. The sooner the conscious separation, the sooner the repair. While we can't rush the process, we can't stall the pain either. Fess up and face the process. I am here for you when you’re ready.
Ghosting is an unnecessary avoidance technique that has the ability to scar a person's heart and confidence for a long time.
Whether you are the 'ghoster' or the 'ghostee', please understand that neither of you deserve this.
To surrender doesn’t mean giving in. Pick up the phone, send that message, make that meeting and
respond to that email. Grief and ghosting rarely work together.
I’m here if you need me.
Be kind to yourself.