A few years back, I matched with a guy on a dating app.
We chatted back and forth, and it was pleasant. Though, when it was time to schedule a date, it didn’t go quite smoothly. We both had to take rain checks due to different reasons. We ended up never meeting, and the communication fizzled out.
Sometime later, he contacted me out of the blue. We talked and he asked to meet me again. I was single, so I thought “Why not?” And it finally happened.
We met for a drink at a bar after work. At that time, I was still quite young and inexperienced, so I didn’t think much about what type of date I should accept. I went to meet him with a low expectation as, while he was polite, he didn’t seem that crazily keen.
However, I was surprised at how well-put-together he looked and how interested in me he was in person. He bought me fancy drinks and flirted with me throughout the date. The hours flew by. Before we got up, he suggested taking me out for dinner next time; I was pleased.
I wouldn’t say we were soulmates, but there was definitely chemistry. I was confident that we would have a second date and he would pursue me. To my surprise, the next day, he went radio silent. When I opened the dating app, he had unmatched me. Needless to say, I was gutted.
It dawned on me I had been ghosted. As a young, insecure woman, I couldn’t help but take the rejection personally. My anxiety went through the roof. I wondered if I had done something wrong or if I wasn’t good enough. I felt bad about it for a long while as I never had closure.
Anyway, life went on. I met other people and eventually found my fiance. During this time though, something rather amusing happened.
Guess who showed up in my suggested friends on Instagram?
That guy who ghosted me.
And guess what I found out.
He had a girlfriend. According to his public posts, they had been together for a number of years, which covered the time we went on that date.
Oh, shoot! It meant that either he was a cheater or he had been tangled with this lady and emotionally unavailable anyway.
As it turned out, his ghosting wasn’t about me; it was about him. I had dodged a bullet.
Even though I no longer cared about his ghosting, being able to make sense of it gave me a sense of relief. I finally found the answer to a question that I had to put aside in order to move forward but sometimes still bothered me regardless.
It was small, but a stone was lifted off my anxious chest.
The lessons I learned:
Disrespectful and cowardly behaviours such as ghosting are rarely about you. So don’t question yourself. Chances are that they have done you a favour.
Don’t jump to a conclusion too quickly. I actually have a tattoo that says “Wait and you’ll know” and I’ve been right on many occasions. Be patient. It’s okay to not have your questions answered immediately; the answers will come someday. Learn to live with the hypotheses.
When the other person doesn’t seem that keen in the beginning (for example, rescheduling a date, popping back out of the blue), it’s unlikely to lead to a successful outcome. You don’t want to be someone’s second thought.
All of this had happened before I went to therapy.
After therapy, my dating approach was very different. I was much less tolerant and wouldn’t waste my time with people reappearing in my life. Also, I stopped asking “why” and started asking “Now what?” I gave much less weight to closure. I had a goal and my focus was on meeting that goal.
Being ghosted felt like a big deal at the time, but now as I’m happily engaged, it’s just a funny story.
See, if you ever get ghosted, remember that 1) one day it will become a funny story (or an entertaining dating anecdote) and 2) it doesn’t change anything about you. Who knows why people do what they do, but you can control how you react to them. Don’t let them have any more power over you.
Keep marching forward.