“Never cut what you can untie.” – Robert Frost
Even though I’ve had it done to me by one adult romantic partner and a few adult girlfriends and I’ve engaged in the practice also, I didn’t know it had a formal name until about a week ago when I saw an article in the New York Times.
The article, Exes Explain Ghosting, the Ultimate Silent Treatment, is about the happy a few months ago couple, Sean Penn and Charlize Theron, and her recent behavior of “ghosting” him. I was like, “What is that?”
It seems that Charlize has just stopped responding to Sean’s phone calls and messages – she has disappeared. And you have to wonder, what’s up with that? What did he do? Except for his fine acting, I’ve never been a fan of the personal life of Sean Penn, so I was ready to buy whatever gave her cause to ghost him, but I was even more intrigued that “ghosting” was a term and a behavior that is more common than I realized. So, it just wasn’t me that this has happened to.
Here’s what the article in the New York Times went on to say:
Ghost, a word more commonly associated with Casper, the boy who saw dead people and a 1990 movie starring Demi Moore and Patrick Swayze, has also come to be used as a verb that refers to ending a romantic relationship by cutting off all contact and ignoring the former partner’s attempts to reach out.
Who’s Doing It?
The term has already entered the polling lexicon: In October 2014, a YouGov/Huffington Post poll of 1,000 adults showed that 11 percent of Americans have “ghosted” someone. A more informal survey from Elle magazine that polled 185 people found that about 16.7 percent of men and 24.2 percent of women have been ghosts at some point in their lives.”
More stories are discussed from the viewpoint of the ghost and the victim, and the article comments are always interesting to read. If you have time, check them out.
Of course, it made me think about the times I’ve ghosted mostly with guys I was just not that into. At the time, I was in my twenties or thirties, and it seemed so much easier to just ignore them and hope they would go away which they eventually did. When I look back, I’m pretty appalled at that behavior. Why couldn’t I have just said I wasn’t interested in continuing the relationship? Wouldn’t that have been the kinder thing to do? Well, yes.
It also made me think about the time I was ghosted by who I thought would be the love of my life. I was in my late thirties and he was dashing – well traveled, well spoken, and with a big, important job. He was the kind of man who sent flower arrangements that looked like they belonged in a grand hotel lobby. He had a driver and being chauffeured around on dates or outings were something I felt I could get accustomed to. Taking off for a week in an amazing bungalow at Rancho Santa Fe or zipping over for Wimbledon and staying at Claridge’s or the Dorchester felt pretty good, too. We had amazing times.
And then, he was gone. Poof. Disappeared. Still very visible in the world but no phone calls to me and he wouldn’t take my calls or respond to a letter I wrote him (this was way before social media or even emailing.) I felt as if my guts were ripped out. The man that I thought was the love of my life and who had wooed me big time and treated me like royalty, was gone. A fricking ghost.
After the hurt, came the anger, and then, the “take that, a-hole” stage. I packed up everything he had ever given me including some beyond beautiful La Perla undergarments, any really juicy letters he had written, and other mementos of our times together. I sent that box to his office because I knew that his assistant opened all of his mail and sorted it for him. And even though the ghost never called again, I hoped his assistant had fun when she opened that box.
I know. Not the most mature way to handle things, but at the time it felt like closure for me.
When I read the article, I found myself hoping I would never ghost anyone again because I know how hurtful it can feel – and not just the not returning phone calls or emails – but just disappearing from someone’s life because it’s easier to handle it that way when you want to cut ties or you’re so “busy” with your own life that relationships just fade away. My intention – no ghosting.
What about you? Been the perp or the victim? Any thoughts after reading the NYT article/comments?
Five provocative questions answered by an inspiring and fabulous woman – a woman with something to say.
Meet Caren Glasser
Caren Glasser has dedicated her personal and professional life to communicating and connecting with people. In the early 90’s she was a children’s rock and roll singer, signed with Rhino Records. She traveled the country singing songs of self-esteem. That experience culminated with a concert at Carnegie hall. She has eight CD’s to her name including “Voice of Hope” which is a collection of spiritual songs to move you through the many experiences in life. She is the author of four books, and the host of The Passion Point and co-host of Connecting People Changing Lives, both WebTV shows. Today, as the co-founder of Spark It Network, she focuses on helping businesses create digital assets so that they can get found on the Internet.
People would be surprised to know that: I am a clergywoman, a cantor in the Jewish faith. I feel blessed to have participated in the life cycle events of hundreds of people. From weddings and funerals to everything in between I have shared happiness and sadness and times of hope.
The WTL 5:
What’s the conversation that changed your life?
Having always been a person that puts everyone first, ahead of my own well-being, I suffered the consequences. I have learned that if you don’t consider your own happiness it reflects on everything you do and feel. I now consider what’s best for me.
What are you most conscious of today?
I am most conscious today how so many people are searching for their passion, and how to make a living following it today. Life can be challenging, but when you are following your passion there will be gratitude in your life.
What part of you have you yet to give voice to?
My happy go lucky self. To be spontaneous and not so focused on work.
What’s the conversation women need to be having collectively?
How can we step into our power and not use excuses as to why we can or can’t do something. We can do ANYTHING we set our mind to. It is NOT a competition but rather a collaboration of great minds.
What needs to be said bigger, louder, stronger?
Know Your Worth. Believe in Your Value, Trust Your Instincts and Charge What You’re Worth
Thank you, Caren, for sharing your powerful voice
with WomanTalk Live