We have to face facts — dating in today’s tech-prominent culture means that we are held less accountable for our actions. That’s why trolls wreak havoc on unsuspecting YouTuber’s videos comments, petty Twitter wars are unleashed, and someone you went on a date with can disappear from your life completely.
Ghosting — cutting off communication with someone abruptly without explanation, akin to passing over to the next life- has become so ingrained in our culture that people have to wonder if a three-hour delay in response means the person is busy or if you’ll never hear from them again.
I’ve only been a ghostee once in my life, and it sucked a lot.
Forming a connection with a person is intimate. Learning about someone’s life story is a time investment; getting to know them on a deeper level is an emotional investment. And god forbid you got to the point where you’re exclusive and cut off ties to the dating world- then you also committed to a complete asshole.
But I’ve also been that asshole; I am not proud to say it, but I have ghosted. I write this article having experience on both sides; shedding light from both angles and the hopes that these words can somewhat salvage this kind of hurt.
Not every date is likely to be a home run. A couple of dates I went on were, without a doubt, strikeouts. Well, maybe not without a doubt. Perhaps it would be one of those scenes where the umpire and pitcher get into a yelling match, trying to decide if the call was fair. Because these guys were persistent in trying to go on more dates; I’m sure they would’ve argued that our first date was some kind of baseball term that’s not as bad as a strike.
Either way, I thought that texting less and less until I, or they, finally just didn’t text back was the answer. That may have worked in the past, but these guys were not ready to let our could-be relationship die. They kept at it; “how have you been?” texts, phone calls, and subsequent voice mails, and even a voice text — one of those recorded messages that send as a text — were bombarding me throughout the day.
I could’ve been more responsible and told them I just didn’t feel the connection. Alas, I chose the cowards way out. And yes, I see ghosting as cowardly.
But I learned a lot from being a ghoster and a ghostee. And when you’re a hopeless romantic, the sting of someone vanishing quickly from your life is hard to bare. It’s not fair, let’s start with that. But there are ways to move through this and move through it you must because you deserve happiness.
It’s rarely your fault
Dating in Los Angeles has opened my eyes to people’s insecurities. We all want attention but, with so many fish in the sea, it’s hard to keep our eyes on one potential. Instant gratification is not conducive to meaningful relationships.
So when a person ghosts you, it probably doesn’t have to do with you in particular. Maybe they don’t want a serious relationship, or they are too committed to their work. Maybe they’re having mysterious family issues that conveniently keeps them from ever being able to see you again (classic ghosting line).
Or, to quote one of my favorite early 2000’s movies, maybe they’re just not that into you. But let me tell you right now: that’s perfectly fine. You are not the issue; your compatibility is. You’re not going to be right for everyone. Could you see yourself dating Donald Trump? Exactly. I’m sure you’d happily ghost him (or maybe punch him in the face).
Either way, it’s important to consider other reasons for the person’s ghosting actions and not to take what happened personally. You have a slew of redeeming qualities, and there are plenty of people out there that will admire your quirks. Just because a random date didn’t admire them doesn’t mean you’re any less of a person.
Try not to keep taking a hit of your addiction
One time I was listening to a Ted Talk on breakups. The speaker used the analogy that stalking a person on social media causes us pain but is weirdly addicting, like taking another hit of coke -we keep wanting more self-induced pain.
There’s no point in beating yourself up for lightly peaking at their social platforms for a week or two after the ghosting incident. Curiosity is a natural human desire.
But if it’s still months after the person decided to remove you from their life and you’re checking their profiles every day, consider that you’re causing yourself a lot of unnecessary harm.
Your Feelings are Valid
What you feel is real, period. Don’t let people negate your feelings by telling you the person was an asshole and you should move on. It’s perfectly fine to be upset. You’re only human.
Consider giving yourself a limit, though. Ruminating thoughts aren’t going to help you move on. While it’s great to feel your feelings, you deserve happiness. Letting yourself have a weekend to really sulk, release your pent up pain, and consider what the future will be like from here on is a great way to work through your emotions.
Make Your Own Closure
Closure seems to be an essential aspect of moving on for people nowadays. But with technology being our primary source of communication, we can’t always guarantee that we’ll receive it. More often than not, we won’t. And we need to learn how to cope with that.
So fuck their reasons — make your own closure. Write down a list of all the reasons you didn’t like the person. All the reasons you couldn’t see a future together. All the times they made you feel uncomfortable or said something slightly racist/sexist/down-right mean/etc. List them out on a piece of paper, or your phone, and read it over every time you’re missing them.
I’ll even help you begin the list with the reason that should be at the very top; they chose to not be in your life. Someone that willingly removes themselves from your narrative doesn’t deserve your time; that includes time thinking about them.
Don’t Become Jaded
Experiences are all we know — it’s easy to assume that one outcome is how things will always turn out. That’s not the case though. I can say, from experience, there are still good people out there that make up for the careless jerks that exist in this world.
Our hearts are precious and, as the kind of people who want a fairy-tale kind of love, we are most susceptible to a deep heartache. The important thing here is not to let that impact how you continue dating. Feelings are fragile and sometimes, we let the wrong people affect them; they won’t always be met with ill intent.
So I leave you with one last thought; dare to keep putting your feelings on the line. Dating culture nowadays is almost like a battlefield; you have to risk a few scars and bruises. But when you get out on the other side and meet another that’s willing to risk it all, you’ll look back and realize it was all worth it.