If you’re looking for a quick and dirty exit to a romantic entanglement with someone you’re not too likely to run into again, ghosting can seem like a tempting, blissfully simple option. (Especially when social venues are closed, and online dating makes for countless relationship options that are easy to enter, and easier to exit.) But then, one day, you find yourself on the opposite end of the ghosting equation, lovelorn and wondering why people can’t just treat each other like goddamn human beings for once!
Point being, we could all probably stand to conduct our love lives with a little more empathy. In the third video in her series on modern love and infidelity, relationship and sex expert (and State of Affairs author) Esther Perel looks at “ghosting” and other new dating concepts that have cropped up to describe the hyper-connected-but-totally-disconnected way a lot of us go about dating these days.
“We’ve always rejected people but the intensity of communication that can precede the intensity of no communication has taken on a whole new proportion,” Perel explains. “What we have today is a state of unclear relationships in which I give just enough not to feel alone, but I don’t have to do any of the things that make me responsible and accountable to you.”
This state of affairs has created what Perel calls “interim states” where we keep each other at arm’s length in states of stable ambiguity, through methods like ghosting, as well as…