Ghosting (relationships)

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Ghosting is breaking off a relationship (often an intimate relationship) by ceasing all communication and contact with the former partner without any apparent warning or justification, as well as avoiding or ignoring and refusing to respond to the former partner’s attempts to reach out or communicate.

Origin of term[edit]

The term is attested since at least 2011, in the context of online exchanges,[1] and became popular by 2015 through numerous articles on high-profile celebrity relationship dissolutions,[2][3] and went on to be widely used. It has been the subject of numerous articles[4] and discussions[5] on dating and relationships in various media. It was included in the Collins English Dictionary in 2015.[6]

In personal relationships[edit]

Ghosting may be especially traumatic for those on the receiving end, causing feelings of ostracism and rejection[7]. Some mental health professionals consider ghosting to be a passive-aggressive form of emotional abuse, a type of silent treatment or stonewalling behaviour, and emotional cruelty.[7]

In Alexander Abad-Sabos' article "In Defense of Ghosting", he states that "the thing that undermines these diatribes against ghosting is that...[we] know what happened with their ghost. It just didn't work out and sometimes we just can't accept it." [8] Abad-Sabos states that "[a]t the heart of it, ghosting is as clear as any other form of rejection. The reason we complain about it is because we wanted a different outcome ... which is totally understandable."[9]

In Emily Kellogg's article "Why Ghosting Is a Form of Self-Protection for Women", she states that after she tried to break up in person with a man, he kept sending her invites, which she kept declining; eventually she "just didn’t text him back"; she states "...it can feel like the safer option for women dealing with men who won’t take “no” for an answer" who make "...us feel unsafe by crossing our boundaries or refusing to accept our rejection". [10] Kellogg states that "...until women can safely exercise their autonomy and communicate with men without fear of violent retaliation, we’ll have to keep doing whatever we can to keep ourselves and others safe—and yes, sometimes that means ghosting."[11]

In popular culture[edit]

Ghosting appears to be becoming more common.[12] Various explanations have been suggested, but social media is often blamed,[13] as are dating apps and the relative anonymity and isolation in modern-day dating and hookup culture, which make it easier to behave poorly with few social repercussions.[14] In addition, the more commonplace the behaviour becomes, the more individuals can become desensitised to it.[7] Others have suggested that it is due to the decline of empathy in society, along with the promotion of a more selfish, narcissistic culture.[15]

Ghosting is not limited to only intimate relationship contexts, but can also happen between friends or even family members.[16] The term "ghostbusting" is "when you force them to reply"; Marleying is "when an ex gets in touch with you at Christmas out of nowhere"; and “Caspering” is a "friendly alternative to ghosting. Instead of ignoring someone, you’re honest about how you feel, and let them down gently before disappearing from their lives." [17]

In the media[edit]

  • Esther Perel Stable Ambiguity and the Rise of Ghosting, Icing and Simmering (2015)

See also[edit]


References[edit]

  1. ^ Andrea Bartz, Brenna Ehrlich, "Don't be offended by online-dating rejection", "Netiquette" column, CNN April 14, 2011
  2. ^ Edwards, Stassa. "Charlize Theron Broke Up With Sean Penn By Ghosting Him". Jezebel. Retrieved 2016-02-03. 
  3. ^ "Charlize Theron Gets a Black Belt in Ghosting". The Cut. Retrieved 2016-02-03. 
  4. ^ "The Common 21st-Century Dating Problem No One Knows How To Deal With". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 2016-02-03. 
  5. ^ Safronova, Valeriya (2015-06-26). "Exes Explain Ghosting, the Ultimate Silent Treatment". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2016-02-03. 
  6. ^ ""Ghosting" is now in the dictionary - so is dating etiquette dead?". The Independent. Retrieved 2016-02-03. 
  7. ^ a b c "Why Ghosting Hurts So Much". Psychology Today. Retrieved 2016-02-03. 
  8. ^ Abad-Sabos, Alexander (24 March 2014). "In Defense of Ghosting". www.theatlantic.com. The Atlantic. Retrieved 9 June 2018. 
  9. ^ Abad-Sabos, Alexander (24 March 2014). "In Defense of Ghosting". www.theatlantic.com. The Atlantic. Retrieved 9 June 2018. 
  10. ^ Kellogg, Emily (30 May 2018). "Why Ghosting Is a Form of Self-Protection for Women With the rise of the incel movement, saying "no" can be more dangerous than saying nothing at all". www.flare.com. Flare. Retrieved 9 June 2018. We all know about “ghosting,” a popular (and controversial) breakup tactic where one party suddenly ceases communication with the other. There’s no question that this can be a hurtful way to end a relationship. But something that’s been missed in the cultural conversation about ghosting is that it can feel like the safer option for women dealing with men who won’t take “no” for an answer. Sometimes, we have to trust our instincts: if someone has made us feel unsafe by crossing our boundaries or refusing to accept our rejections, ghosting is our only choice. 
  11. ^ Kellogg, Emily (30 May 2018). "Why Ghosting Is a Form of Self-Protection for Women With the rise of the incel movement, saying "no" can be more dangerous than saying nothing at all". www.flare.com. Flare. Retrieved 9 June 2018. We all know about “ghosting,” a popular (and controversial) breakup tactic where one party suddenly ceases communication with the other. There’s no question that this can be a hurtful way to end a relationship. But something that’s been missed in the cultural conversation about ghosting is that it can feel like the safer option for women dealing with men who won’t take “no” for an answer. Sometimes, we have to trust our instincts: if someone has made us feel unsafe by crossing our boundaries or refusing to accept our rejections, ghosting is our only choice. 
  12. ^ "I Asked Men Why They Ghosted Me | VICE | United States". VICE. Retrieved 2016-02-03. 
  13. ^ "PsycNET - DOI Landing page". doi.org. Retrieved 2016-02-03. 
  14. ^ "And Then I Never Heard From Him Again: The Awful Rise of Ghosting". The Date Report (archived through The Internet Archive). Retrieved 2016-02-03. 
  15. ^ "It's time to bring back relationship accountability". Be Lucky In Love. Retrieved 2016-02-03. 
  16. ^ "I Was Ghosted by One of My Closest Friends". Cosmopolitan. 2015-08-27. Retrieved 2016-02-03. 
  17. ^ Benwell, Max (1 March 2018). "Ghosting, Caspering and six new dating terms you've never heard of". www.theguardian.com. The Guardian. Retrieved 9 June 2018.