After a painful streak of disaster dates, I was surprised to find myself sitting across from someone that I didn’t want to run away from. It was a Wednesday night in Boston, cold enough to want to stay home and indoors. But instead I put myself together, styled an outfit, and made my way outdoors.
I walked into the restaurant, and the moment I found him sitting at a high-top table, I felt warm enough to forget about the weather. Our conversation wasn’t just easy, it was stimulating, and I grew intrigued each passing moment. It was hard not to smile throughout as our conversation isolated us from everyone else in the restaurant. A few hours later, we noticed the crowded tables had emptied, and it was just us and the employees that were closing the place down.
We took the hint and concluded our first date with my mind stuck on seeing him again. When we’d text, I’d jump with excitement each time my phone sounded and his name appeared. The problem: it quickly became clear that he was a busy guy and hard to make plans with. But we did see each other again, and it was great until we didn’t see each other again. I never thought the last time would be the last, but now it’s clear that he did know.
Eventually, he ghosted me, but it wasn’t that black and white. He physically ghosted me, yes, yet he continued to reach out via text with small talk that never kept the momentum to move us forward. I was crushed, and I was frustrated. It hurt me, and as in most ghosting cases, there was a wide range of unknowns. I wanted to know the exact reason why our fire was so abruptly extinguished, and I wanted him to explain it to me so that I could feel a little less bad about it.
But instead, I removed his number from my phone because I realized that I no longer had a use for it. I accepted that this thing that seemed so great unfortunately wasn’t going anywhere. If he wanted to be with me, I’d know it, because right now I know that he doesn’t. Even if I had managed to get the answers, it wouldn’t change the outcome. There’s never a simple explanation but several small reasons that are out of your control and likely have nothing to do with you.
Even if it’s indirect, it’s still a rejection, and it can be quite painful—but don’t forget, you learned something. It may feel like all you have are unanswered questions, but whether you asked the questions or not, you have the answers.
And you learned at the beginning rather than being strung along.
You learned that he wasn’t the right person for you; you learned that he wasn’t ready to love you.
I broke down walls, and I practiced vulnerability for the first time in a while because he seemed worth it. And it’s okay that I got hurt, but what’s most important now is that I don’t turn bitter, I turn better. Our meeting wasn’t for nothing, I learned something about him, and I learned something about myself. I grew with knowledge and experience, and although rejection hurts, I know the pain stops.
Maybe he had a reason, and maybe he didn’t, but the reason doesn’t change the reality of what happened. If you’re rationalizing someone else’s behavior only to block out your pain, you’re only prolonging your healing process. The pain is temporary, but you have to feel it first before it can pass. You will heal, and you will find someone to fall mutually invested in.
There’s hope for everyone that wants it.