September 29th, 2012

Ghosting and demon lovers

There’s a new way to break up with a significant other. It’s called “ghosting,” and essentially it involves disappearing from the person’s life suddenly and without explanation.

Nice:

I said it was “a new way,” but it’s really not new at all. The only thing new about it is the number of electronic ways in which we connect these days, and therefore the number of electronic ways in which the “ghoster” manages to simultaneously shut off communication. And I’m not just talking about someone with whom a person’s had a date or two; we’re talking about an actual relationship here.

I think a person who’s breaking up with someone owes the other person an actual explanation, however short—preferably face-to-face, but on the phone or even by letter (or the lowest of the low, email, if all else fails) will do. It’s what used to be called common courtesy. Those who ghost can rationalize it all they want (and they will, they will), but they are selfish and/or cowards, and what they’re doing is more cruel than a more upfront severing of bonds.

But, as I said, it’s hardly new, and it’s always a nightmare for the one left behind without a word.

When I was quite young I read a collection of short stories by Shirley Jackson. You may remember her most famous story “The Lottery” (the title selection), but another one that made an even deeper impression on me was “The Daemon Lover.”

And presto!—here we have it. It still sends a shiver down my spine—several shivers, actually. Note that in the story it remains unclear what really happened, and what was in her mind.

8 Responses to “Ghosting and demon lovers”

  1. Ed Bonderenka Says:

    Then there’s that sub commander who had his friends e-mail his mistress that he had died on a secret mission. Something he neglected to tell his wife.

  2. daisy Says:

    This isn’t new. I’ve gone ghost before back in the 90s.

  3. Mike Says:

    Even though the story is fiction- One feels sorry for the young girl. Like Neo said, nothing is really said in print about what the girl thinks or why she is going back day after day. But as someone told me once a long time ago- He who loves least in a relationship, controls the relationship.
    And yet in a mature relationship, one should always seek to free the other and not control the other.
    I know I’m blathering on here about a fictional character, but I wonder- Did she hear what she wanted to hear? Was it a game for Jamie? But too much thought, I will say it is a good short story. But I wonder, did Jamie ever exist outside her imagination? And why didn’t someone answer the door? But again, it is just fiction, back to reality. Or at best my view of reality. Here is a pdf link for her other short story- The lottery.

    http://www.d.umn.edu/~csigler/PDF%20files/jackson_lottery.pdf

    Not to clutter up the blog with personal items.
    But the short story about The Fifty-first Dragon, has always stuck with me since I read it 30 yrs ago.
    One should be careful when trying to get a knight to slay a dragon. And doubly careful when pulling back the curtain to expose the reality of the wizard. Reality can have sad unintended consequences for the simple people :-)
    Enjoy
    http://www.bartleby.com/237/33.html

  4. Tonawanda Says:

    Hey, it is tough. But what about the child whose parent has left the family without explanation, severs all ties, and silently lives somewhere else far away? There are degrees of hurt and degrees of ability to get over it.

  5. LS Says:

    Common courtesy is one thing, but some people just deserve the Cut Direct.

  6. MissJean Says:

    Tonawanda, that’s the worst kind of cold. I have friends with that experience and it still affects them. The only one that I know who got any sort of closure was a young man who became quite successful, made his estranged father aware of the fact, and then used initial contact to get enough information to locate and sue him for unpaid child support, plus interest. The heartless SOB tried to argue that his “new” sons needed the money for college, but the judgment went against him.

    Honestly, the only proper reason to “ghost” is if there’s an abusive or possessive relationship. But based on my own and other friends’ experiences, it seems as if most “ghosts” used their paramours or are too immature to face a break-up.

  7. Raincityjazz Says:

    Someone I thought was a friend, a person who had been honest and kind and sweet, tossed me out of their life during a phone call. While I was on a short break at work.

    Years of practice brave-facing the world let me smile my way through the rest of the workday; and the magic of passing time lets me remember the good times and forgive the rest.

    Still, I wish there had been even the shortest face-to-face goodbye. It felt unjust and unworthy of both of us, and still does.

  8. Raincityjazz Says:

    On a completely separate Shirley Jackson related topic, she had a witty and perceptive side that she indulged with the writing of two books about raising her children. Under-appreciated, timelessly funny and probably out of print, they are well worth finding:

    Raising Demons
    Life Among the Savages

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