August 29, 2015

"I ghosted my fiancé when I had definitive proof he had been running around on me with multiple people for years. My youthful years!"

"I moved out when he went away on a study excursion for a week. I emotionally and financially supported him through four years of university and then some. He had no idea why I left and I have never told him that I had discovered his deceptive ways. I had nothing to say but wanted to mess with him. I was told by a mutual friend he was utterly perplexed by the situation. I wish I could have seen his face when the penny dropped. I regret nothing and would do the same if I were cheated on again in such a fashion."

From "Readers Respond to... 'Exes Explain Ghosting, the Ultimate Silent Treatment.'"

This fits with my old aphorism "Better than nothing is a high standard." Sometimes, especially when there are a lot of things you could say, the best thing to say is nothing. Ghosting is going big on nothing.

52 comments:

Gahrie said...

Wow..the ultimate passive-aggressive response. No wonder women love it.

Tank said...

Well, better than cutting his penis off while he sleeps.

SociallyExtinct said...

Bah. I prefer the dramatic, no-holds barred, 9-1-1, drunken cathartic quasi-murderous confrontation. Much funner, and makes the ensuiing emotional bout of tear-stained forgiveness and apology more satisfying.

That is who we roll in da barrio.

Ann Althouse said...

"Bah. I prefer..."

That's the reason to ghost. You know the other person gets satisfaction out of the interaction. It's a kind of relationship. You're denying them that.

SociallyExtinct said...

That's the reason to ghost.

Now that's the kind of accepted/romanticized collective female passivity that breeds shooting rampages and other bizarre forms of stunted male expression.

Mark said...

No doubt this happens when the man has done wrong. But no doubt is also happens, perhaps more frequently, when the guy is perfectly innocent of any wrongdoing and she simply no longer wants to be with him.

One day, she simply announces, "It's over. Go away." And he responds, "What? I thought things were fine. Can we talk about this?" "Look, let's just be friends." (At this point, maybe she also gives the "It's not you, it's me" response, which could be called a truthful lie -- she intends it to be a lie, she does think it is him, but it really is actually her.) "But . . . what?" "Go away you stalker!"

Instead of doing the decent thing and giving the guy a clue, she goes the CHB route.

Beldar said...

I don't think the only, or even the most likely, explanation for ghosting -- a new term I've been taught today by this post and the linked article -- is that the ghost is deliberately denying the ex the satisfaction the ex gets out of the interaction (even a negative interaction).

It's much simpler than that: The ghost finds the interaction painful. That's reason enough to terminate that interaction. It doesn't have to be motivated by a desire to deprive the ex of satisfaction, conscious or unconscious.

You don't pull your hand out of the fire because the melting fat will make a bigger fire. You pull your hand out of the fire because it's burning you.

Craig Landon said...

Many social interactions have ghosts. There's the ghost party departure, never returning to the corner grocery, long-time restaurant patrons, etc. Some folk just don't like saying/explaining good-bye.

sydney said...

Miss Manners approves. She often advises her readers to ghost. Have a friend who never reciprocates your invitations? Stop inviting them. Have a friend who repeatedly declines your invitations? Take the hint and stop interacting with them.

Anglelyne said...

SociallyExtinct: Now that's the kind of accepted/romanticized collective female passivity that breeds shooting rampages and other bizarre forms of stunted male expression.

There's nothing inherently "passive" about this. You can just as easily apply your silly comment to far more stereotypically female behavior - "crying and making a big drama queen scene and demanding endless talk talk talk when it's all over, words change nothing, and there's nothing more to be said".

Seems to me this is a dignified way to respond to the situation. What, a cheatin' scumbag deserves something better? If that happened to me, my first response would probably be a deep feeling of shame at my poor judgment and gullibility, followed by sucking it up, moving on, and never looking back. You know, the strong, silent, manly way.

"Passive-aggressive"? As if cheatin' scumbags don't know what's up, lol. If they really don't, they're sociopaths, and what kind of feeb wastes her time talking with sociopaths?

SociallyExtinct said...

Angelyne, I never said "passive-aggressive."
Ghosting is not passive-aggressive, it is horribly passive, however.

Ghosting is unilaterally controlling a situation (very cowardly).

I will give you this: ghosting in situations where physical danger is present is totally justifiable. It is not justifiable if the only hurt will be to your feelings.

Spells of female hysterics are not "strength" either. There's this bizarre perception that women are strong because they speak everything on their mind. Speaking everything on your mind is an indicator of strength, but it is not strength.

Amexpat said...

Now, too much of nothing
Can make a man feel ill at ease
One man’s temper might rise
While another man’s temper might freeze

Mary Martha said...

I ghost because I am not good at emotional scenes. Also, once a decision is made I *really* don't want to have someone talk me out of it... only to later come to the same decision all over again.

As a woman it feels like a no win option. Either we are accused of manipulation with emotional scenes, or we are passive aggressive for avoiding those big scenes.

Sure, the adult rational discussion break up is possible. However, why take the chance that it won't be that... just ghost.

Anonymous said...

Supported him for four years? Lucky her.

A neighbor of ours, a nurse, supported her husband thru medical school and law school. A smart dude. They have a kindergartner, then she was pregnant, he left with a new squeeze.

One could really sympathize with Elisabeth Anne "Betty" Broderick. (Note: My neighbor is not Betty.)

If you supported the man, you became a door mat. Better to marry a man after he finished his schools, or let him marry some other loser.

KenK said...

Who would start a drama war with a bi-polar head case like Sean Penn? Breaking up with him face to face would likely result in chairs flying thru windows level rows which are good for attracting TMZ and the paps but not much else. Uncoupling from emotionally unstable Vodka swilling drama queens is probably much more bearable.

MayBee said...

I wouldn't ghost because forever he could honestly say to everyone, "I just came home one day and she'd packed her bags and was gone". And that would make me look like the bad guy.
At least leave a note. Send an email, a text, or write it on his Facebook page. But don't make yourself look like the bad guy.

Mac McConnell said...

I wish most women would break up like this. This dude was a player, I guarantee deep down he feels blessed.

Michael K said...

If the woman leaves, nobody will call the man the "good guy." Everyone will always think she had a good reason and probably was afraid of him.

Beldar said...

"Dammit, you owe me another fight!"

No.

Anglelyne said...

SociallyExtinct: Angelyne, I never said "passive-aggressive."

Yeah, that was Gahrie. Sorry.

Ghosting is not passive-aggressive, it is horribly passive, however.

You keep asserting that without argument or evidence. Upping sticks and saying "sayonara" to a dirtbag seems pretty active and decisive to me.

Ghosting is unilaterally controlling a situation (very cowardly).

Yeah, it's very cowardly not to share "control" of a situation with a dirtbag. Or a not-necessarily a dirt-bag, either. You're psycho-babbling here, SE. Social situations can be handled well or badly, but introducing the concept of "control" here is psycho-babble. Creepy psycho-babble. I don't get to "control" somebody who wants to break up with me or drop a friendship. If you think you do, well, that demonstrates at least one good reason why people choose to "ghost".

I will give you this: ghosting in situations where physical danger is present is totally justifiable. It is not justifiable if the only hurt will be to your feelings.

Why not? Says who? In a break-up, and analogous social situations, somebody's feelings are going to get hurt. Sometimes the socially rejected person is being rejected because he or she has been a real asshole, and they're hardly in a position to expect that their tender feelings be respected. Sometimes the socially rejected person is going to behave badly - won't accept the rejection, makes pest of themselves, etc. - and with them "clean cut" is the wiser course of action.

Yeah, sometimes the rejector is the heartless asshole in the script, and they "slip out the back, jack" because they're, well, heartless assholes, who've just been using you, are tired of you, and just want to dump your ass with the least inconvenience to their heartless asshole selves. I'd say that complaining about people like that not "sharing control" with you is pretty much crazy talk. (And the implication that this "slip out the back,jack" is some characteristically female form of assholery is laughable.)

Spells of female hysterics are not "strength" either.

Nobody said they were. I really don't know what you're babbling on about from here on out.

I've concluded you're kind of creepy. I'm going to unilaterally control this situation by "ghosting" you in the form of ignoring any further comments of yours, even though no physical danger is present.

MadisonMan said...

Someone who ghosts has bigger problems than ghosting. Why are you trapped in a relationship that requires you to ghost to get out of it?

dbp said...

If the break-up is justified, as it seems in this woman's case, ghosting is perfectly logical. OTOH, if it was a long term relationship and you just get tired of a guy or see the relationship as a dead-end, it seems massively unfair. If it was just a date or two, you really don't owe anybody an explanation.

Anonymous said...

I'd imagine if I were cheating and getting side action, I'd love to be ghosted. What a wonderful gift from the woman to the man, who doesn't deserve it.

But putting myself in his shoes, if I could cheat on my girlfriends, get sex from more than one woman at a time, and keep having my women leave me quietly and without fuss as I move from one to the next?

Seems like a dream come true for a player.

Anonymous said...

Also, as to "utterly perplexed" I would be too.

When asked by friends or family, I'd say, "Yeah, she just left. Said nothing. No explanation. I'm utterly perplexed."

Instead of saying, "Well, I cheated on her and I deserved it."

I think men who are players like this guy should start telling people, "Please, please, please don't ghost us. It's the worst possible thing you could do! We hate being ghosted. Please don't do it." Sorta like brer rabbit and the briar patch.

dbp said...

This seems apt.

Coupe said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
RecChief said...

Passive aggressive. no wonder he looked elsewhere

cubanbob said...

eric said...
I'd imagine if I were cheating and getting side action, I'd love to be ghosted. What a wonderful gift from the woman to the man, who doesn't deserve it.

But putting myself in his shoes, if I could cheat on my girlfriends, get sex from more than one woman at a time, and keep having my women leave me quietly and without fuss as I move from one to the next?

Seems like a dream come true for a player.

8/29/15, 2:15 PM"

Yes indeed. Its good for assholes.

Eric the Fruit Bat said...

I have no idea what this post is about or what you people are talking about and I'm okay with that.

The Cracker Emcee said...

"I wish most women would break up like this. This dude was a player, I guarantee deep down he feels blessed."

This. I'm not a player but the best break-up I ever had was when I put an emotional vampire on a plane to London and had no further contact with her. Free at Last! Last I heard she was a dole-sucking hausfrau in Milton Keynes. Bullet, dodged.

fivewheels said...

Another reason this could be a bad move depends on what your definition of "definitive" is. How much do you trust this woman that she knows what her boyfriend was up to? Does he deserve a chance to explain that maybe she's just overly suspicious of normal interactions between people not having affairs?

Of course, ghosting in that case might have been quite a favor for that guy.

fivewheels said...

But we all know the woman's side of the story is always 100 percent right and unquestionable, and there's no reason to even hear from the guy. As most of the commenters are assuming. That's the society we live in.

sydney said...

Found this in the comments on the original NYT story on ghosting - Miss Manners and the Kafka Romance Dissolver. (Scroll down past the social calling essay to the first reader Q&A). Miss Manner explicitly approves!

Michael K said...

I was in an affair for 25 years that I would have given a lot to be "ghosted."

She is a nice person but never wanted to get married, as best I could figure out. She would move out for five years at a time.

Once I came back to my house to find smoke coming out of the chimney when I had been gone almost a week. She had moved back in. My son told me to change the locks but I never could bring myself to do it.

It was like having another child. I finally had to sell my house and move away.

Anonymous said...

RecChief said...
Passive aggressive. no wonder he looked elsewhere

**************

Let's suppose some Jews in an unnamed country discovered suddenly that their friendly landlord was actually working in cahoots with a certain fascist regime planning to scoop them up, put them on trains and send them to certain death in a labor camp.

The Jews slip away quietly.

Would you call that "passive -aggressive"?

Paco Wové said...

Wow. Godwin when you least expect him.

PBandJ_LeDouanier said...

So, this dude had the gal pay for everything while he was in school, and he was cheating on her. Then, after the bills were paid, she got out of his way.

She thinks she got the last laugh?

Yikes!

PBandJ_LeDouanier said...

How nervous is Meade after Althouse posted and commented on this?

Dude, don't believe her if she says putting the house on the market is so you can both retire somewhere else!!!!

JCC said...

I was ghosted by my first wife, but it was about child custody. She went to another state and didn't want to deal with the courts about leaving, property division and the like. So her family came to our state, rented a truck and waited for me to go to work, and took everything but the wallpaper. When I got home that day, my clothes were in a pile in the center of the now-empty living room. I think there was a brief note, something like "I've gone back to NY. F#@* You." We were having troubles with the marriage, but I guess I was in denial about the degree.

I missed my son, the bitch and the furniture, not so much. But I always thought it was a nasty trick.

Anonymous said...

Paco Wové said...
Wow. Godwin when you least expect him
'
&&&&&&&&

Yes, of course: among weak minds, certain aspects of history are not to be invoked, however obliquely, lest such dullards ignore the point and instead automatically invoke some "law".

You, sirrah, are a candidate for trepanning.

Stephen A. Meigs said...

Puppyish girls can be better than kittenish ones in not being or promoting copy cats. The spirits of death play dice only once and they don't want me to understand that. I like to understand what I am doing, though., so the ghosts now become ghosts. Why didn't I say “writing” rather than “doing”? I don't know, and I could go on and on almost forever. Examining this until something else comes up to be examined and blah blah blah everything gets somehwhat more sacred right now and so I can licitly say I spent two hours writing this though I didn't keep track, and almost everything sensical didn't seem sacred to say. And shortly I must fix supper so I'll just post this as it is: merely sufficiently worthy to be posted.

You know, I almost just wrote the first sentence. But that would be a mysteriousness worthy of ghosting, perhaps? And it took me two hours to write somethng slightly better. As for the second sentence? The spirits of death not diposed by the state of what is to be now in the state of living really didn't want me to understand it. So I am not going to explain it. I knew a little about its meaning before I wrote it, though. Thereupon I detected inaccuracy. But then the spirits as they were told me to change it slightly. I did. Thereupon it sounds right. Ordinarily I'd check to see whether it makes sense, but the spirits of death forementioned are in agreement this would be bad, so I have no inkling from myself hardly of whether it is actually more true than it otherwise would be, or even whether it is actually more true than it would need to be to be up to my standards of honesty. But what can I do? Go on forever?

I don't really know what I mean by “sounds right” above. To whom? No matter.

Just in case, it really wouldn't do for people to be concerned with my sanity. I'm actually very used to being weird. I see that all spelling errors must remain uncorrected. Not really, just the post looks better with there being some--unusual for me. I can't explain more, or maaaaybeee I could, but I'd have to go on and on because. . .

Oh, Google word limit anyway.

chickelit said...

I think that bissage ghosted Althouse.

sydney said...

Got a wife and kid in Baltimore, Jack;
I went out for a ride, and I never went back

ken in tx said...

This used to be called Irish Leave, but I guess we can't say things like that anymore. Does anybody use the term 'grass widow' anymore? There is nothing new under the sun, really.

Humperdink said...

From another article: "The Northern Irish goodbye ......You announce your intention to ghost long in advance, as a warning, so there will be no collateral damage".

http://www.slate.com/articles/life/a_fine_whine/2013/07/ghosting_the_irish_goodbye_the_french_leave_stop_saying_goodbye_at_parties.html

Be said...

Particularly love the Numbers about the 'women's passive aggressive nature' being the reason for men actually shooting guns. Keep Rocking On, as well as you can.

kcom said...

There was a Taylor Swift song on the radio today when I was in my car that had the word "ghost" in it. I think it might have been referring to the same concept because it was about a guy who done her wrong (I think, hey, it's Taylor Swift). I only heard part of the song so I'm not sure. Someone out there probably knows.

Janette Kok said...

You just slip out the back, Jack.
Make a new plan, Stan.
You don't need to be coy, Roy,
Just get yourself free.
Hop on the bus, Gus;
You don't need to discuss much.
Just drop off the key, Lee,
And get yourself free.

Roughcoat said...

Back in the day I became a skilled practitioner of ghosting. This happened after a couple of bad breakups with women who done me wrong [sic]. After that I learned sort of on my own to ghost out of breakups--but only with the crazy ones. If they behaved badly or treated me badly I simply disappeared. And what did I learn from that? Just this: almost all of the women I ghosted away from suddenly became intensely and occasionally obsessed with me. Very surprising. Years later after I had been married for a long time and this whole issue of breaking up and ghosting was no longer relevant to me, I came across the writings of Roissy and Chateau Heartiste. I realized that I had become a practitioner of Game before I knew what Game was or even well before the concept was first articulated. I developed ghosting techniques to spare myself pain but I soon came to realize it was the best for of revenge as well.

Roughcoat said...

correction: "form" of revenge

Roughcoat said...

Ghosting is immensely satisfying. You simply walk away from disaster. It's like you wake up one morning and wonder, what am doing here?, and you just leave. BANG, gone. You feel instantly totally free. You've let go of the past and put it behind you and it immediately feels like it's a long way behind you. You're gone, jim, you're in the wind and that person who caused you pain ain't nothing no more. It is to laugh.

Freeman Hunt said...

The woman's response seems appropriate to the scenario.