Dating is fun, but I think we can all admit that sometimes it can be hard. So much effort has to go into this whole idea right? Think about it from the beginning. Someone has to like someone, get the courage to ask them out to do something outside of what they usually do, the other person has to like them back and say yes to doing something, then you both have to have a good time, maybe one of you will be courageous and go in for the first kiss, and maybe someone will even be daring enough to have ask for a second date, but maybe not. So many things can go wrong when you are dating. You can be hurt, lied to, or cheated on. You can even be ghosted. A phenomenon that my generation is too familiar with.
I think most of us can honestly say that it feels good to have someone cheering for you on the sidelines. It is fun to have someone to go on adventures with. It can be exciting to get to know a new person. Starting the day off with a text saying “Good morning” or falling asleep after hearing “good night” is a great feeling. And let’s not forget the triumphant feeling you get when your family members don’t have to ask you why you are still single! So what happens when that all disappears after days of talking, weeks of dating, or months of a relationship without warning or explanation?
Any of my friends can tell you that I am the girl who gets way too attached to someone that I talk to. I am the gullible person who believes all their sweet messages and only sees the best in someone and cares way too much way too fast. So when they disappear I get confused, hurt and angry. Why wasn’t I good enough to capture (and keep) this person’s attention? What’s wrong with me?
I’ve taken some time recently to think about my most recent experience with being ghosted.
Unlike some women my age, I am relatively new to dating. In high school and most of college, I was never really interested. Sure, I wanted a boyfriend to take to things and so my family would stop asking why I'm single, but I was never interested in actually having the relationship. I was more concerned with school and where I wanted to be in five or ten years when it comes to my career. When I pictured my life in that time-frame, sure I saw myself getting married and having kids, but I didn't want to start that until I had the rest of my life figured out. I went on a couple dates here and there, but I coasted my way through college without being in a serious relationship until the second semester of my senior year.
In March of my final year in college, I met Tim*. He was sweet, caring, funny, and he loved baseball. We immediately connected, we never ran out of things to talk about and we couldn’t get enough of each other. At the end of our first date, Tim told me that he felt so comfortable and at ease with me that it felt like we had been dating for years before and I completely agreed.
We spent 6 months of going to baseball games, trying new restaurants and goofing around together until one day, he disappeared. The first week went by and I was hopeful that he would text me and say that his phone was lost or something tragic had happened that would explain his absence. But after that week hope turned into hurt. I was hurt that he didn’t respect me enough to even text me and tell me he was done.
One day about three weeks later, he finally texted me saying I could meet him to “exchange our belongings”. I went over there expecting some sort of an explanation and all he could say is that he hates endings.
While I was upset for obvious reasons, it was never really that I was going to miss talking to someone 24/7 (to be honest, that’s a lot of energy and time that I could spend doing more productive things). It was never really that I was so hurt by him disappearing without an explanation. It wasn’t really that I wouldn’t wake up to the “good morning” text or fall asleep after hearing “goodnight, sweet dreams babe” on the other end of the phone. It felt as if my life was less full because he had left.
But what dating and being ghosted taught me is that my life is no more valuable because a man is witnessing it. My life is valuable because it is my beautiful, adventure filled, and somewhat chaotic life.
The truth is that I am going places. How many 22 year olds do you know that have a college degree, who are pursuing a master’s degree, AND who are working full-time in their field of choice? I know who I am and I have a good head on my shoulders. My heart was broken when he suddenly decided that I wasn’t important enough to give an explanation to, but as Emily Dickinson once said “The wounded deer leaps the highest” and so will I.
I’ll find someone someday who will share in my adventures and enrich my everyday life. But I’ll always remember: having someone there witnessing my life is a perk of my adventures, but it does not determine the value of my adventure.*Name has been changed for confidentiality