I got ghosted. Ghosted by a guy I liked but spent the eight weeks we were seeing each other knowing the end was inevitable. Ghosted by a guy that my gut told me “hasn’t decided on you yet, Emm.” Ghosted by a guy that I cried after seeing each time without fail, stricken by anxiety and sure I had fucked the whole thing up. Ghosted by a guy I asked, point blank, if he wanted to continue seeing me right before he disappeared, who claimed he did. Ghosted by the guy I gave an easy out, a clear chance to say, “Thanks but no thanks” sans hard feelings. Ghosted by a guy who wouldn’t take the bait.
I got ghosted, and at first I equated it to karma for my deep history of hiding and curving and ignoring. Karma for laughing to my friends about a guy who was blowing up my phone, all while hiding behind insecurity, anxiety, and loneliness. Karma for taking so many years away from therapy, not working through my since diagnosed attachment issues. Karma for not thinking I could handle the potential backlash that vulnerability can accompany. Karma for not always sending that text, even after just one date, saying, “You’re great but I don’t see another date for us,” when asked. Karma for not being clear. Karma for wasting people’s time. Karma for white lies that faltered on the line of bigger lies. Karma for the Old Emma, the “I think I’m broken” Emma, the “leave before left” Emma. The “fueled-by-his-desire’ Emma.
I think the cyclic loneliness I was left with served as the most epic karma, in and of itself.
Since I decided to take dating seriously roughly a year ago, I have focused on honesty, an aim to regain that good karma through clenched teeth and awkward conversations. I have sent the above mentioned “You’re so great but…” text after first-second-third dates, and even discussed it in person. I have been clear. I have not wasted people’s time. I have not gotten caught in a web of my own white lies. I am the New Emma. The Woke and Reformed Emma. The Open Book Emma.
But since I’m being so honest, there is at least one person I can think of whom I was not so upfront with. We can call him “E.” I’m sorry I wasn’t brave enough or sure enough in myself at the time to properly cut the cord. Because with him, I did see so many of the qualities I’d been searching for—he was kind and smart and fun. It was always easy with him. But I just couldn’t convince myself to buy in. So I hid behind busy schedules and “sry I missed that text” instead of telling him I just wasn’t that interested. Because I was afraid of cutting a pretty good thing loose, and because I had no real reason to, other than some greater feeling that I couldn’t seem to ignore.
I guess, ironically, I’m my ghost’s E, too. A pretty good thing. One he wasn’t quite sure he should leave behind, but also one he wasn’t quite sure he should keep. I could spend hours breaking down what words I said wrong or what didn’t do it for him. But who cares? I wasn’t his person, so by default, he wasn’t mine either.
But I know I will be someone’s really good thing. And they will be mine, too.
I remember realizing Taylor Swift songs I once blasted in my 14-year old bedroom were not quite right, when her words imparted fury on unrequited lovers and suggested she was the superior choice to the girl he was with. But it can be easy to forget: No one owes you (romantic) love. You don’t want someone to owe you love.
In my recent readings of Deepak Chopra, I have become certain of the fact that the more love and truth you give, the more you will receive in return. So here I solemnly swear to keep seeking, but not to make others victim to my pursuit. To set them free to keep searching too. Because we are all, after all, on the same endlessly evolving journey for a greater existence.