Give up the ghost

As I find myself slowly retreating back towards dating apps I am reminded of how shit it can be to put yourself out there. Dating has never been so easy with apps closing the gaps between distances, effectively a good match is one swipe away. Tinder boasts 57 million worldwide users and 20 billion matches since its inception. Swiping has become an Olympic sport and we rush through profiles barely spending more than 10 seconds generating an opinion on someone. Admittedly, I’m as guilty as the next for ruling someone out based on small things. If I see one more Snapchat filter photo or a photo of someone’s body (never their face) normally abs or worse still a picture of their lower half undoubtedly in Next boxers- then I will scream.

The rise in online dating I think has created a ‘disposable culture’, a culture that means we are now more conditioned to let go of people we’re dating more easily. It’s not to say that I swoon over the dating rituals of the past, far from it but the characteristics that dating apps encourage allow us to not hold as much accountability or responsibility for our actions. For anyone that has luckily escaped the perils and minor trauma of ghosting, the term essentially refers to when someone you’re in a relationship with or dating suddenly cuts off communication for no reason… and it sucks. 

Nobody likes conflict and as a Taurus (you’ll undoubtedly hear me use my star sign to justify my behaviour), I feel like I try and avoid conflict at all costs. It’s fine to lose interest and though it can feel personal to have someone end things with you it’s normally a much easier feeling to deal with when the person has given (if at all possible) clear reasoning. It’s not a crime to lose interest. If anything, when you lose interest in someone chances are this may be a mutual feeling. My issue with ghosting is never the loss in interest my issue is with the lack of communication. I would sincerely hope that we all reach an age where we can agree that clear communication in any relationship (not just romantic) is essential. Beyond it being essential it’s also just polite, ignorance is never bliss and it especially isn’t when someone else’s feelings are linked to it. 

Ghosting is just rude and though I know it shows more about the ghoster than the ghostee (these are definitely made-up words)- it can still knock confidence. I don’t think it’s ever too much to demand communication and whilst I totally appreciate the difficulty that ending something can bring- it is necessary. Of course, it is an important caveat to add that ghosting isn’t just a romantic phenomenon though it is often associated with it. Sometimes friendships can end rather unexpectedly, maybe it’s a case of growth and two people naturally moving apart or maybe it’s a case of someone not wanting to continue the friendship for whatever other reason. All kinds of relationships require a certain level of vulnerability. Being vulnerable helps us to truly understand people on a deeper level but with this exposure, we can experience a fear of being potentially hurt. Ghosting only perpetuates this fear because it is unexpected.

I was dating someone and I can objectively say that we had been on some super nice dates including a trip to a safari park which brought with it an element of nostalgia and my desire to still look in gift stores whilst fully knowing I was not going to buy a stuffed toy or holographic bookmark. Though I appreciated we were different I didn’t think that would be a stumbling block. Around that time we went back into lockdown and I thought “nightmare” because obviously now we wouldn’t be able to go out… texting and Netflix party it was. So far so good but then he suddenly stopped communications.  I remember feeling confused and immediately seeing it as a sort of personal problem to do with me. I left it for a while before messaging again. Ever the one to want an answer I had said that I appreciated the difficulties with lockdown but if he wanted to end things he could have said. His response was that he didn’t want anything serious. I remember thinking how hard can it be to just explain that? Yes, it’s always an uncomfortable conversation but sometimes you just have to be the one to rip off the metaphorical bandaid. The lack of closure that ghosting brings can feel shitty and leave you wanting an answer. From these experiences, my challenge to myself is to now take more responsibility for my feelings and ultimately treat someone how I would also want to be treated. 

If you want to end something then do it, as long as you’re respectful and don’t act like a total dick then I don’t think there’s a problem. Problems don’t just disappear because you decide to not pay attention and I know from personal experience that it’s better to have those unpleasant conversations than to wrestle with worries over why someone suddenly went awol.

Give up the ghost!

*DISCLAIMER: There are exceptions to this in terms of if you’re in danger obviously this post isn’t created in order to harangue people who need to defend themselves or cut contact in order to remain safe. 

Featured image designed and created by Jaimee Andrews her art account can be accessed via Instagram at @jaimee.andrews 

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