Faye, you bring up a lot of really great points in your story.
- Lack of opportunity for closure is often the biggest problem. In my life, sometimes I haven’t been brave enough to ask for it. It’s true: we avoid a conflict we fear but it often leads us to try to make our own. That’s a lot harder to let go of.
- I’ve found in romantic relationships that men are actually more passive aggressive than women. Granted, it’s my personal experience dating men. Yet, I think because we don’t teach men to talk about their feelings and denigrate those who do, it becomes easier for them to just ghost or make up excuses than actually give any good reason. I’ve had multiple men prefer to ghost than actually be upfront. The only satisfactory closure I get is when I call them out on it. Perhaps I’m asking for a sense of control in the ending, but I think it also helps by naming the situation.
- Re: your friend, I wouldn’t consider that ghosting at all. You showed up and asked for an ending. To me, ghosting is more about using silence to avoid conflict and end a relationship all together. Instead, you brought up that you couldn’t be her friend anymore. You listened to her feelings, but you both got a chance to say your part. I have a feeling if she’d asked, you would have given her the honest reason that you couldn’t be her friend anymore.
- My distinction with ghosting: using silence to avoid conflict, just letting it end without any closure. It does feel too big to talk about, to scary to bring up. Yet, that’s when we need to talk about it the most. I agree, some conflicts will never be resolved. If I had spoken up in both high school and college, I doubt it would have preserved the friendships. Still, it would have given closure to those relationships. It would have named what was broken in the relationship for both sides. Then, the narrative, just as you said, is explained and solidified. Then, it’s a lot easier to accept/grasp and move on.
Long winded, but basically: love your response, it was very thoughtful. I hope my comment/reply back makes sense. I think in a lot of ways we’re on the same page. My original essay may just not have made that entirely clear.