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On becoming a ghost

Three years ago I was ghosted by Mama Professor. Our relationship had ended years before, back in 2011, but due to the Professor we still saw quite a lot of one another, and there was some financial dependancy. At times it felt like being in a relationship.

It was the money that triggered it. She’d been going through a hard time during her mother’s terminal illness and then after her death and I’d been seeing a lot more of her and lending her a lot, on top of the maintenance I was already paying. It was when I said I couldn’t afford to lend her any more that she said she didn’t want to speak to me any more.

She contacted social services and made accusations of abuse against me, though the type of abuse I was being accused of was quite vague. Nothing physical, but rather an ongoing emotional abuse. That’s a type of abuse I’ve heard about in relationships, but we’d not been together as a couple for several years and the time we spent together was purely voluntary, and was almost always initiated by her. I was trying to cut down on the contact as I found it draining, both emotionally and financially. Whatever we did together involved me footing the bill, and there were often arguments (though not always – sometimes we got on OK).

Being accused of abuse is not nice, and when there’s no specific allegation being made and no charges being pressed, just vague generalised suggestions being spread around, it’s hard to know how to respond. Should you just ignore it? Treat it as a case of “that person doesn’t like me” and move on?

This has left me wondering whether I was being used as a cash cow. She said she wanted family time, for the benefit of the Professor, but that family time generally included a visit to a restaurant or cafe and often it involved me driving them somewhere (she doesn’t drive), so it always cost money. She never really wanted me there, she just wanted someone to pay the bill, and I think there was some resentment over that. She hated the fact that she had to rely on me for something, but she likes her food and she liked eating out at nice restaurants and going to places that would otherwise be inaccessible, plus a child is so much easier to deal with when there are two of you.

Perhaps cutting me off was the only way she felt she could break that cycle. Since we had been together as a couple, being together not as a couple was bound to be difficult and it may have prevented both of us moving on and forming new relationships.

It makes life particularly difficult for the Professor. He is often put in the position of having to relay messages between us. He’s gone through a lot.

We’re now about to face one another in court, though due to social distancing it might only be a virtual hearing. Previously, when we have met face to face, I have been completely blanked. If I say something, she’ll look around as if she hasn’t heard, with an expression on her face like there’s a bad smell in the room. If she does respond to what I’ve said, she’ll speak to someone else, always referring to me in the third person, never speaking to me, never acknowledging I’m there. It does feel a bit like being a ghost, like Casey Affleck with a sheet over his head in the film A Ghost Story, trying to communicate with his ex.

I wonder if there is an element of wishing the person you’re ghosting were actually dead. If there’s someone you never want to see again, never want to hear from nor have anything to do with, that’s exactly what you’d get if that person were dead.