“Ghosting” is the term used to describe the actions of one partner when they just disappear from a relationship with no warning.
The whole topic of “ghosting” has been popular for a while now.
Things may be moving along quite swimmingly until all of a sudden they are gone. They run—leaving you haunted and confused for sometimes days, weeks, or even much longer.
There are times when I know that this can occur due to valid reasons. After all, we have our free will and sometimes a relationship is so toxic that it can be a not bad option to just cut the cord.
I have had to do this, and to this day feel that due to those circumstances I was justified by the need for my own emotional and perhaps even physical safety that this was the right action for me to take at this time.
But, sadly, this typically is not the case.
People who enter into relationships can act in ways that are not responsible or mature in their means of communicating that something about the dynamic is not right for them.
While these characteristics of potential “ghosts” can be useful to notice, we need to be mindful to not enter into a state of paranoia or judgement toward our partner at any point. Rather, we can choose to see—with a healthy state of awareness, and proceed appropriately.
We can never see the future with certainty, but we do all have intuition at our disposal. While there may be myriad reasons for this behavior to take place, I believe that there are certain red flags that are there which show us that this could happen in the not so distant future.
1) We can see somewhat clearly that our partner has avoidance issues.
They may have obvious signs such as even the mild abuse of alcohol, drugs, or other vices, or it may just be as subtle as not opening their mail. These are subtle signs that can indicate to us that they have a hard time dealing with things. They run from things that are difficult, and intimacy at times can be a challenge.
2) They have not demonstrated that they are capable of adult communication.
Sure, they can talk about heavy subjects such as war or poverty, but when it comes to talking about and communicating their own feelings—or maybe even showing that they are aware of their own feelings, to put this nicely, there may be a lot of opportunity for growth for this individual.
3) They try to force the relationship and try to push for it to move along too quickly.
This might be someone who is extremely codependent, or it could be a narcissist or a sociopath. To them, the relationship is either just a means to try to fill some hole that they feel they have in their life—maybe even as a temporary “fix,” or it is just a game. It is a power play.
They flatter you and speak frequently of your future together, romanticize things, and are as charming as they could possibly be. You are swept off of your feet. But, deep down you may or may not know that this is not real. Real intimacy and a true healthy relationship does not form in a couple of days or even weeks, and as they always say, if it feels too good to be true—try to be honest with yourself.
Remember that with real love, there is no urgency.
I have seen people who have all three of these characteristics. They want the relationship so badly, they treat you like they are mesmerized by you—and sadly, they find a way to enchant you with their spell, which much too frequently we willingly enter into.
But, when things get tough, they cannot communicate what they are feeling and they get spooked—leaving you haunted and spun out of your center, practically at a point where you are wiling to just beg for some understanding over what happened.
If this happens to you though—I urge you, despite shedding some light on these characteristics, to not judge yourself or feel shame for not seeing it sooner, but rather try to approach this with as much curiosity as you can.
We also need to be accountable for any role that we may have played in this. Despite any actions that we may have contributed to the way that things ended, “ghosting” is typically not a respectful way to end a relationship, but it is important to be fair and to not be putting all of the blame on the other when likely it was not 100 percent them.
After all, we did allow this. We were active participants and likely chose on some level to ignore certain pieces of information in order to see what we wanted to see.
A couple of years ago I was in a cave far underground where there was a lake. It was extremely dark down there, and we followed our guide with lanterns. The guide stopped at the lake and told the story of how decades earlier there was a group of explorers who were preparing to to a deep dive down to the bottom of the lake to see where it went.
The divers were prepared with whatever appropriate gear they had back in that time but when they jumped into what was a decent sized lake for being in a cave, they discovered that the entire body of water was only inches deep—even at it’s center, but they could not tell this due to its dark surface.
We sometimes can mistake darkness in people for depth. It is not that they are not capable of going deep, but they might be afraid and lack the capacity at this time of their lives to go there within themselves—when they cannot enter into themselves, neither can we so when we try to dive into the darkness we just get hurt.
They either push us away by enabling their protective barrier near their surface, or they run out of fear of their need to delve further down.
Again, none of this is meant to be fear-inducing, but rather to generate awareness—and many times awareness brings understanding.
It is this understanding, and seeing our other for who they are, as much as well can all along—for their capacities and perhaps lack thereof, which can allow us to eventually have grace for them and forgive.
After all, they likely were just doing their best, given what they know at this point in time and what they can handle—even though this can be hurtful, we have the option to see this for what it is and to not take this personally.
It takes strength and grit to get through some of these situations and to heal from something that feels at the time that it lacked closure or was torn from our lives. We can give ourselves the closure that we need—we do not need them to do this even though it may seem at the time that we do.
We do not have to fear the memories that can haunt us, but rather we can be thankful for the good times that we had, and despite how difficult this can be, we can leave it at that. Carrying with us any anger, frustration or distrust out of this experience and perhaps into our next relationship will do nothing but taint our energy and our future dynamics.
The option is there though to forgive and to love ourselves enough to let go and to move forward with people who choose to be a viable presence in our lives.
Author: Katie Vessel
Editor: Renée Picard
Image: Manny Valdes at Flickr