Ghosting? I didn’t know what this meant but I was guilty of it and it being done to me.
What does ghosting someone mean? When someone stops being in contact with you, that’s ghosting. It happens all of a sudden, he/she is gone without warning and sometimes you’re left wondering what went wrong?
Recently, I had a ghosting experience and more accurately, a re-ghosting experience (a hot and cold pattern) with an acquaintance/friend. And with hindsight, I was able to take away some insight with regard to intimacy.
Ghosting will usually follow when there is a common pattern in intimacy. Often, the silent treatment to no contact ends a relationship because no emotional intimacy was established in the first place. There can be physical intimacy but when there’s a lack of true intimacy, often the ending is abrupt.
In my recent experience, I started interacting with a long-time acquaintance a lot more. We started having more chats about a subject we were both interested in and then it seemed we were moving from acquaintanceship to friendship.
We were making up for lost time, we started to have more meet ups, text conversations, etc. And it was intense compared to the sporadic acquaintanceship from before.
And then, it stopped, there was no contact. I reached out to her a few times but there was silence. And I thought, no problem, life happens.
But then, she took up contact with me again and we had a few more intense interactions (a lot of sharing) and then again, ghosted.
Looking back on my own ghosting behaviours and my history with intimacy, I could see that there was no emotional intimacy established not only in the relationship but also within myself.
And what I came to realise about ghosting (the cold pattern) is that it’s similar to intense interactions in a relationship (the hot pattern). And sometimes the intensity in a relationship can look and feel like vulnerability and intimacy.
But often, the extreme side of sharing and being vulnerable is masking an inability to establish emotional intimacy with another.
What I saw in my patterns was I never really knew the person. I knew a lot of things about them, their daily lives, opinions but never the really scary stuff. The stuff where you got a glimpse into what kind of suffering they’ve experienced in their life.
Ghosting and intensity are often a double edged sword. Both sides sting because the intensity can get “hot” where you get burned and then the no contact leaves you “cold” where you get frostbite. And well, both don’t feel good.