What I Learned After Being Ghosted

If you’re anything like me, it’s pretty hard to come across someone you genuinely click with. You tell more dad jokes than the average father and your sarcasm includes life aspirations like personifying the sassy girl emoji and meeting Doug the Pug. People either get hip or deem you a weirdo.

But what happens when you thought you finally met someone who did get it? Someone who rolled with the punches instead of rolling their eyes at you? What happens when you take the plunge, finally put yourself out there, and go on a first date… only to never hear from them again?

Last October, I admitted to you how I’ve ghosted people before. I wrote how, “If the equation were reversed and I was one of these guys who were getting ghosted by me, I’d be pretty pissed too. I know I’m in the wrong here.”

Well now the tables have turned, and I’ve found myself ghosted— which is something that takes everything for me to admit. Just the fact that the title of this piece spells out this predicament word-for-word gives me anxiety.

When I said I’d be “pretty pissed” if I was one of the guys who was ghosted by me, I was 110% right. In fact, after I was ghosted, I became livid. But I’m finally accepting why that’s unfair to everyone involved. After all that was and wasn’t said and done, I can finally tell you why I need to drop Houdini’s disappearance act once and for all.

I learned that I’m someone who is bad at letting go. I hold onto the things I don’t understand, the things I don’t have answers to, the people who left me with uncertainties about myself, and the closure I’ll never get. Was I not good enough? Was I not pretty enough? What’s wrong with me?

Yet the answer is simple: it’s not me. But it’s not my date’s fault either.

Sometimes we just don’t see eye-to-eye with someone, despite feeling certain you were on the same page as them. It doesn’t matter that the first date ended with a sappy goodbye kiss in the rain followed by a “We should do this again.” Actions speak louder than words, and after that kiss, nothing else was said. Days passed, days turned into weeks, weeks turned into months.

Silence never sounded so loud, and I found myself having to face a very obvious conclusion that I wasn’t ready to accept. I had been ghosted, and it had me going up-the-walls insane.

Ghosting is almost funny because it’s a part of dating we don’t typically discuss. Yet, the fact that it is something that goes unsaid is exactly what it is to its truest form. Ghosting is ending things by not ending them at all. It’s using silence as a way to communicate something very loud.

Because of the control freak that I am, I needed to know why. I was convinced there was a reason, and you know what? There is one, but my date isn’t going to say it. And I need to learn why that’s OK.

I wanted to hold a grudge against him for that. I wanted to be mad at him for doing this to me and I wanted to feel rationalized in feeling this way, but deep down I knew it wasn’t fair.

It’s not his fault that he didn’t see this going anywhere, but I also need to stop beating myself up and feeling embarrassed that I did.

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While ghosting is a form of silence, in a way dating is a form of self-expression. We put our best selves on the table and onto these dinner dates, and when feelings don’t get reciprocated, it’s hard not to feel hurt and humiliated. Because then, you can’t help but question all those supposedly good qualities about yourself and wonder if all that self-confidence you’ve worked so long and hard to fight for and see in yourself is worth reconsidering.

When feelings aren’t reciprocated, when your date doesn’t go as planned, when you get ghosted, holding onto what went wrong will never change the fact that it just did. And you can either hold onto these ghosts and speculate what went wrong or you can stop being so hard on yourself.

A date should never leave you questioning what’s wrong with you. If anything, dating should be a constant reminder of what is right. It should be easy, fun, and exciting! Dating never had to be so draining and terrifying, until we took all those negative experiences and summed them up to define our dating lives as nothing more than what went wrong.

Instead, your date should only reiterate all the things you love about yourself. Your date should eat up the fact that you relate to a pug more than a majority of people (paging Doug), and find your dad jokes ah-mah-zing, because girl—you’re adorable.

Your date should see that and so much more.

If you find yourself ghosted, just know that it’s not you. It was never you. But, it’s not on him either. It just wasn’t the right fit. And one day, something and someone will finally give you the validation, the reassurance, and the answer to why it needed to be wrong to lead you to what was right all along.

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