The "no contact" thing in today's American culture

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Mona Pereth
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21 Nov 2018, 12:29 pm

Here, in the thread She’s trying to get over me:

superaliengirl wrote:
It's best to break all contact with an ex anyway especially if you ever wanna meet someone new and get serious with them. If she's trying to get over you she might still have feelings in which case it's a really good idea for her to break contact with you and you should respect her wanting to do so if you really care for her.

There are layers and layers of cultural assumptions here. In today's mainstream modern Western culture, it seems like almost everyone is going "no contact" with somebody or other these days, for the most trivial of reasons.

IMO we can and need to build a better culture (the hopefully forthcoming autistic-friendly subculture).

The disposability of friendships in mainstream American culture these days is absolutely disgusting to me. IMO the only reasonable justification for going permanently "no contact" with someone would be if the person has been outright abusive, e.g. physically violent. If it's just a matter of getting over romantic feelings, then perhaps a mutual agreement not to talk to each other for some agreed-upon limited amount of time (say, 3 months) might be reasonable, but not a permanent severing of the friendship. I would refuse to get involved with anyone who has a history of going no-contact with ex-partners.

In the lesbian community, at least back in the 1980's and 1990's (I'm not sure what it's like now), breaking off contact with an ex-lover was almost unheard of. On the contrary, ex-lovers typically remained not only close friends, but a valued part of each other's alternative extended family. And it was vitally important for lesbians to build alternative extended families, because they were so often rejected by their biological families.

Somewhat similarly, because autistic and autistic-like people have difficulty making friends, it seems to me that we need to place a high value on the friends we do manage to make. Not all of them can be close friends, and we may need to draw strict boundaries with some of them, and/or we may need to allow some friendships to diminish in closeness, perhaps even gradually fade out almost completely. But outright severing friendships? To me, that is something not to be done except in the most extreme cases.

The very idea of regarding one's friends as disposable just boggles my mind. And, it seems to me, the cultural assumptions behind this attitude can only have arisen from the experience of ultra-extroverted NT's who make friends so easily that they can safely regard their friends as being a dime a dozen.


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Last edited by Mona Pereth on 21 Nov 2018, 3:11 pm, edited 2 times in total.

Tim_Tex
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21 Nov 2018, 12:34 pm

I agree 100%.


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VegetableMan
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21 Nov 2018, 12:55 pm

I've made some bad choices in relationships, unfortunately. As much as I wanted them to continue at the time, the other party did not. I am probably fortunate that they dissolved, to be honest.

I do agree with what you're saying, though. As I've gotten older, I've gotten more comfortable with solitude. But I do value the handful of dear friends that I have. Whether or not I enter into another romantic relationship remains to be seen. I choose my friends carefully, and will never begin a relationship simply because I'm lonely. If the relationship is truly valuable, I will make every effort to maintain it. But if the other person doesn't value it as much as I do, I will gladly kick the door wide open and say, "So long."


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Jake6238
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21 Nov 2018, 12:58 pm

Part of the issue is that nowadays we have a very skewed view of what a friend is due to Facebook, Twitter and general shifts in society. We have hundreds of "Friends" on Facebook but how many are actually friends? A friend is someone who cares for your well being, is there for you and enjoys your company. At the moment, I can't think of any one of my FB "Friends" that fit that criteria. It's much easier to sever ties with someone who is a friend in name only.

In the case of romantic relationships, I think you should always aim to be friends but if that doesn't work why force yourself to be friends? I don't think you should be so cavalier in saying physical abuse is the only reason to cut off contact because really it's just whatever works for the parties involved. My ex cheated on me in a long distance relationship a few years ago and I haven't spoken to her since, would you expect me to still be friends with her? I think we should just accept that different people deal with friendships/relationships differently.


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that1weirdgrrrl
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21 Nov 2018, 1:13 pm

i tend to harbor secret crushes, so if the other party isn't into me in that way, it's best for me to break contact, just so i can move on.



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21 Nov 2018, 1:24 pm

Unfortunately, in today's litigious environment, trying to maintain contact with an ex can get you targeted for a visit from her relatives, a restraining order, or even an arrest for stalking.

Sometimes, exes will try to contact someone to hit them up for money or to obtain dirt on them for social shaming oe blackmail.

I have no contact at all with my ex-wife. She was too much trouble while we were married, and I certainly don't need any of that trouble now.



The_Face_of_Boo
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21 Nov 2018, 3:00 pm

Mona, you can’t compare the homosexual world to the heterosexual world, they are entirely two different worlds with entirely different sets of unspoken rules, I bet the latter is the more complicated world.



Mona Pereth
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21 Nov 2018, 3:53 pm

VegetableMan wrote:
I've made some bad choices in relationships, unfortunately. As much as I wanted them to continue at the time, the other party did not. I am probably fortunate that they dissolved, to be honest.

Dissolving a relationship is not the same thing as going "no contact." One can dissolve a relationship and still be on speaking terms.

VegetableMan wrote:
I choose my friends carefully, and will never begin a relationship simply because I'm lonely.

Indeed it's good and necessary to be careful.

VegetableMan wrote:
If the relationship is truly valuable, I will make every effort to maintain it. But if the other person doesn't value it as much as I do, I will gladly kick the door wide open and say, "So long."

To me, if a friend simply does not value a friendship as much as I do, that's a good reason for me to spend less time with the friend, and/or to do fewer favors for the friend, and/or to draw some boundaries, or to do whatever is necessary to scale down my side of the friendship to make it more equal, perhaps even to start regarding the person as a mere acquaintance again, rather than a real friend.

But to kick the person out of my life altogether? Why? That seems to me like an extreme action, not to be taken unless the person is actively doing something seriously harmful.

Besides, like it or not, it is highly likely that I will be running into the same person again anyway, if we have mutual friends or go to the same places, whether in person or online. The only people likely to become my friends, in the first place, are people who routinely go to the same places I do, or who I otherwise routinely run into often. Ditto for my lovers/partners. So, if at all possible, it's much better to remain on speaking terms, rather than icily avoid each other.


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Last edited by Mona Pereth on 21 Nov 2018, 4:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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21 Nov 2018, 4:04 pm

Hmm, I didn't exactly say I would "kick them out of my life." I said I would gladly "kick the door open" if they appear willing to leave. In other words, I will not expend that much energy to keep someone in my life if they are having doubts about remaining in my life. There's a difference. I'm more than happy to leave the door open, but I will not beg somebody to stay in my life. Maybe I've had too many bad experiences with people who used me, then threw me aside.


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21 Nov 2018, 4:12 pm

VegetableMan wrote:
Hmm, I didn't exactly say I would "kick them out of my life." I said I would gladly "kick the door open" if they appear willing to leave. In other words ....
... don't let the doorknob hit them where the Good Lord split them!

:lol:



Mona Pereth
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21 Nov 2018, 4:13 pm

VegetableMan wrote:
Hmm, I didn't exactly say I would "kick them out of my life." I said I would gladly "kick the door open" if they appear willing to leave. In other words, I will not expend that much energy to keep someone in my life if they are having doubts about remaining in my life. There's a difference. I'm more than happy to leave the door open, but I will not beg somebody to stay in my life. Maybe I've had too many bad experiences with people who used me, then threw me aside.

Sorry for the misunderstanding. Your approach, as described just now, makes perfect sense to me now.

But the topic of this thread is the "no contact" thing -- the sudden, permanent refusal to talk to someone at all ever again. This strikes me as gratuitous cruelty -- and it seems to be a fad these days, as far as I can tell.


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Last edited by Mona Pereth on 21 Nov 2018, 4:17 pm, edited 2 times in total.

Fnord
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21 Nov 2018, 4:17 pm

Mona Pereth wrote:
... the topic of this thread is the "no contact" thing -- the sudden, permanent refusal to talk to someone at all ever again. This strikes me as gratuitous cruelty -- and it seems to be a fad these days, as far as I can tell.
Hardly. Have you never heard of "The Cold Shoulder" or "The Silent Treatment"? People have been "Ghosting" other people for centuries. Even Benjamin Franklin did this to his (illegitimate) son William because Ben was a Patriot, and Bill was a Loyalist.



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21 Nov 2018, 4:19 pm

Fnord wrote:
Hardly. Have you never heard of "The Cold Shoulder" or "The Silent Treatment"? People have been "Ghosting" other people for centuries. Even Benjamin Franklin did this to his (illegitimate) son William because Ben was a Patriot, and Bill was a Loyalist.

I agree that it's not new, but it seems to be more common now. Or at least I seem to hear about it more now.

EDIT: The expressions "the cold shoulder" and "the silent treatment" do not refer just to ghosting, but also to passive-aggressive behavior within a still-ongoing relationship.


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Fnord
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21 Nov 2018, 4:26 pm

Mona Pereth wrote:
Fnord wrote:
Hardly. Have you never heard of "The Cold Shoulder" or "The Silent Treatment"? People have been "Ghosting" other people for centuries. Even Benjamin Franklin did this to his (illegitimate) son William because Ben was a Patriot, and Bill was a Loyalist.
I agree that it's not new, but it seems to be more common now. Or at least I seem to hear about it more now. EDIT: The expressions "the cold shoulder" and "the silent treatment" do not refer just to ghosting, but also to passive-aggressive behavior within a still-ongoing relationship.
As does "Ghosting". You can't be accused of "Ghosting" someone if there was not at least half of a relationship still going on.

I can't think of a more passive-aggressive act than behaving as if the person who desperately wants your attention simply no longer exists.



superaliengirl
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21 Nov 2018, 4:46 pm

It's quite normal to wanna let go of your ex wether the relationship was bad or not. I would never invest any time in a man who was still friends with his ex - could be because I had a bad experience of a guy who cheated on me several times with his ex-girlfriend and that way broke up 2 relationships at once... But I still think it's unnecessary.

I tried being friends with my most recent ex, it was his idea to remain friends though and I only said ok because i'm lonley so I didn't see why not. It didn't work very well other than the first couple months of friendship though. Too complicated, things got pretty awful. Plus an ex is an ex for a reason, a relationship is deeper than a friendship and therefore when it's over it should be left behind. You can be on good terms with an ex though but that's different.

I rarely break contact with someone myself. Most of the friendships i've had which has ended didn't end with one of us saying we didn't want anymore contact it just sort of died out. People have their reasons though for wanting to leave someone behind and I don't see a problem in that, it's their decision and they might be doing it for their emotional wellbeing and if you care about the person you let them go. If you can't let go of an ex that badly that you're bitter if they want no more contact then that's bad.

People come and go in our lives all the time, it's wrong and unhealthy to expect someone to stay forever - instead we should see it as a privilege when someone chooses to do so, human beings after all are free with our own free will and feelings that can change at any given moment. It's good some people dare to say they want no contact at all, ghosting is so common and i've done it myself.



Mona Pereth
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21 Nov 2018, 4:51 pm

Fnord wrote:
Mona Pereth wrote:
I agree that it's not new, but it seems to be more common now. Or at least I seem to hear about it more now. EDIT: The expressions "the cold shoulder" and "the silent treatment" do not refer just to ghosting, but also to passive-aggressive behavior within a still-ongoing relationship.

As does "Ghosting". You can't be accused of "Ghosting" someone if there was not at least half of a relationship still going on.

I can't think of a more passive-aggressive act than behaving as if the person who desperately wants your attention simply no longer exists.


I agree that "ghosting" is the ultimate passive-aggressive behavior.

But, to me, "ghosting" has the connotation of a permanent refusal to acknowledge someone's presence, whereas "the cold shoulder" and "the silent treatment" can be temporary. The latter are behaviors that, for example, quarreling spouses sometimes do to each other without yet being at the point of even contemplating a break-up.

Anyhow, the topic of this thread was the "no contact" thing, which may or may not take the form of "ghosting." It might also take the form of explicitly saying that one does not want to talk to the person ever again (or, in the case referred to in the first message of this thread, having one's therapist relay that message).


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