At this point, we all kind of expect whoever we’re dating to end things by disappearing without explanation. This can also be referred to as “technically not ending things at all.” Do you even remember the last time that someone properly and legitimately broke up with you? I don’t think that even happens anymore. Hell, I’m technically STILL in a relationship from 2012 because we never once had a conversation confirming that it was over. Ghosting is the new normal- definitively dumping someone is as archaic as giving a girlfriend your varsity pin.
Now, I realize that I’m not telling anyone anything new here. We’re all aware that modern dating is completely broken, and we’ve gotten used to it. We’ve accepted it. The status quo is…fine, I guess? Not great, not terrible. 3.6 Roentgen. That’s dating.
But the thing that really fucks me off is that our cultural acceptance of ghosting has gradually encroached upon the way we do everything else.
I used to get an email after a job interview letting me know that they hired someone else. Shows used to go off the air with a finale that wrapped up the remaining storylines. Wars used to end on a specific date that we’d then celebrate or commemorate accordingly every year afterwards. But nothing ever ends anymore. Things just drag on because of this insane adversity we’ve developed toward putting a period at the end of them.
Maybe it’s not fair to say that ghosting in relationships was the cause of this phenomenon, instead of just another symptom.
A lot of things could be the real culprit here. For all I know, the root cause of this cultural zeitgeist is the collective trauma from being yanked out of the Good Ol’ Nineties by September 11th. I think we all would’ve preferred the slow fade on that one, right? Or maybe it’s that we all heard The Song That Never Ends one too many times and accidentally left the top spinning in the recesses of our brains. (If you’re too unfamiliar with the works of Shari Lewis and/or Christopher Nolan to understand that reference, I cannot help you.) Maybe we all sense that the apocalypse is coming and think we can stave it off by refusing to acknowledge changes, transitions, or endings. I’m not a sociologist or an anthropologist or even a statistician, I’m just a girl with a blog and a general disapproval of the fact that The Simpsons is still running. Your guess is as good as mine as to why we can’t just end things anymore.
And just like it’s difficult to pinpoint the source of the problem, it’s also pretty difficult to think of a good starting point for the solution. Stop ghosting people, I guess? Start making more declarative statements about your intentions instead of letting everyone wonder if this is the beginning of your exit strategy. Shit, just have an exit strategy. Recognize when it’s time to walk away from something, be it a television show or a relationship or a war in the Middle East, and take ownership of your decision to call it a day. Because otherwise all we’re doing is letting situations drag on and on without resolution, never moving on and never acknowledging it.
Is that really preferable to getting dumped via text message?