Texting all the time is wrong in a relationship

Ghosting: When the partner disappears like a ghost

It's an unwritten law: Anyone who ends a relationship owes their partner an explanation. That means you talk to each other or at least leave a farewell letter. This not only applies to love relationships, but also to friendships. However, not everyone obeys this social rule. In fact, there are people who shy away from breaking up, simply run away and then can no longer be reached - neither by phone nor by SMS.

Sociologists have given this phenomenon the name ghosting. Because whoever is abandoned has the feeling as if the other has vanished into thin air like a ghost. A survey by the polling institute You Gov from 2014 shows that ghosting is not a niche phenomenon. US researchers surveyed around 1,000 people. The result: a good 13 percent have already been "ghosted", eleven percent have already ghosted themselves. In a representative study of the partner exchange Elite Partner in 2018, every fourth to fifth respondent even admitted to having left someone without a word.

Avoid confrontations

But why does a person just run away from a relationship or friendship? How do the "victims" feel? And is there a way to protect yourself from ghosting? Ghosting usually takes place in relationships in which differences are not discussed, "explains psychotherapist David Wilchfort. This means that the more two friends or a couple avoid confrontations and disagreements, the greater the risk that one of them will become one who said goodbye to the relationship speechless.

Ghosting is therefore not just a sudden breakaway, but it shows that something was wrong in the relationship before. Namely: that there are two people here who fail to articulate their needs and deal with each other. What remains in the end is the guilty conscience: "In order not to feel bad about themselves, many ghosts put their own suffering in the foreground," says Wilchfort. For example, by emphasizing that they simply couldn't stand the relationship anymore or that they could never discuss anything with their partner.

To gloss over your own behavior may relieve the burden in the short term - but it does not help in the long run. Because if you always avoid conflicts, you will not only have difficulties in your next relationship, but mostly in your job too. Wilchfort therefore advises those affected to ask themselves why it is so difficult for them to resolve conflicts.

Damaged self-worth

For the abandoned, the situation is not nice either. "Being left out of the blue not only makes you angry," says Wilchfort, "it also damages self-esteem." Because if your partner or friend simply thins out, you naturally ask yourself what you did wrong yourself and why you didn't see the end coming. However, with all of these questions in mind, the affected person is left alone. "These unresolved questions make people insecure and can even put a strain on the next relationship," says Wilchfort - for example because the person who has been abandoned finds it difficult to trust the new partner. Because how do you know that he or she isn't going away too?

Wilchfort advises those who are hosted not to be discouraged by the experience. Rather, they should be happy to be rid of the ghost. How can ghosting be avoided? "Talk to each other and concentrate on the positive aspects of the relationship," says the expert. Of course, this doesn't mean ignoring the negative things. Only once two people have said what they value about each other, it is usually easier for them to say what bothers them. "If they manage to eliminate the disturbances together, nobody has to say goodbye to the relationship." (Stella Hombach, April 27, 2019)