When I dated back in the day, one of my struggles, aside from not being interested in emotionally available men (cough), was ending relationships. Looking back, I wish I’d had a couple of handy break-up scripts.
As someone who balked at conflict and criticism thanks to my people-pleasing habit, ‘rejecting’ people terrified me. Aside from fearing confrontation and looking ‘mean’, I also worried about whether they’d spontaneously combust into a prince as soon as I cut them loose. The result? Staying in situations long past their sell-by-date or avoiding the guy. Or hoping that they’d take the hint from my awkward behaviour.
I’m not alone in my [old] habit, and a particularly challenging area of breakups is ending relationships that aren’t, well, relationships. Think dates and brief interactions, or quite simply letting them know that you don’t reciprocate their interest.
Calling or even messaging them can almost seem like an overreaction when all you’ve done is go on a date or few.
It can feel as if you’re giving the involvement more credence than it deserves or that you’re going to look ‘needy’ or ‘desperate’, making it oh-so-tempting to, well, disappear aka ghost.
Here’s the thing: Outside of those extreme circumstances where we need to disappear for our safety, there’s no need for disappearing/ghosting. It doesn’t help us grow, and it creates more problems than it alleviates.