My First “Ghosting” Experience and Why It Hurt So Bad

So, you meet this guy. You have a class together, but you’ve known each other for awhile. You match on Tinder and that’s when you really start talking because modern day romance means having an app do the hard work for you, right? You go on a couple dates, and it’s going really, really well. He buys you dinner, you buy him lunch, you sleep together (in both senses of the word), and then—all of the sudden—silence. Nothing, nada, not a word for a day, days, or even a week. You’re friends tell you he’s ghosting you. So, you look the word up on urban dictionary and it tells you that ghosting is when a person cuts off all communication with friends or the person they're dating, with zero warning or notice. Sounds right, you think.  

All right, I’m not talking about you, I’m talking about me and a very real situation I went through recently. As mentioned before, I started seeing this guy and things were going super well. We went on a couple artsy fun dates (aka trips to museums and record stores), had sleepovers, the whole shebang. Then, without much warning or explanation, he kind of just disappeared. He stopped showing up to class and stopped responding to my texts, and I mean like no responses whatsoever not even an emoji here or there.

The one day he finally showed up for class, he gave vague answers to my subtle barrage of questioning and alluded to high levels of mounting stress from midterms and claimed that he was just “not doing well.” In my head, I thought, “what does that even mean?” But, of course, I was sympathetic and told him I was there if he wanted to talk. When class finally ended, he ran off so fast it was hard not to feel brushed off. I was left wondering if I had done something wrong or if it really wasn’t about me like he seemed to claim.

The weekend went by with the now regular silence looming between us. I still reached out a few times because I couldn’t help it. I liked him— I really did—  but he always left me hanging. It got to the point where I was tired of pulling my hair out and embarrassing myself, wondering if this was it; if the last time we talked truly was the last time and if I’d ever hear from him again. Was this his way of telling me he was no longer interested? Or was he really just that preoccupied? I had to ask myself, “When do you stop making excuses for someone and take a good hard look at what their actions are telling you?”

His actions were telling me to let it go. His actions were really telling me I should have let it go at the first sign of him pulling away. But it was so hard. It was hard not only because I liked him, but because of the way he decided to end it. All I could think was, “Why can’t he just say, ‘Sorry I just can’t do this right now. I’m not in a good place mentally.’ Or, ‘You’re really great and you deserve more than what I can give you right now.’” Really, it seemed like anything would have been better than nothing. Nothing felt as cold and disrespectful. I think what hurt the most was that it seemed like he didn’t even have enough respect for me to have an adult conversation about why he was “ghosting.”

Okay, so maybe, not everybody is like me. Maybe not everybody needs a conversation to know why. Maybe some people are relieved when they just get ghosted because if people just ghost then you don’t have to have an awkward confrontation about it. But, if you are like me and something unknown like that eats you alive, then in my mind you have two choices: 1) You can accept the fact that not everyone is going to give you a reason why they end things. Sometimes, you just won’t know why. And you have to learn how to live with that and not let it hurt your self-esteem. 2) You can go in search of answers yourself, no matter how crazy you think it might make you look. In the end, I did get the chance to ask him why. I was kind of lucky in that way, I guess. He couldn’t skip class forever, and when he did eventually have to face me, it turned out he was as guilty about the situation as I wanted him to be. It wasn’t about me, he told me. It never was. It was always about him and what he was going through.

So, if you take anything away from this experience, please take this: If you’re getting ghosted, odds are it’s really not about you. If the vibe was there and you can’t put your finger on anything specific that might’ve gone wrong, then there’s probably more going on behind the curtains. Don’t let it phase you. Even when you feel like you have no control, honey, you always have your power.