Ahh the wonderful world of online dating.
I am SO freaking pissed off. And confused. And hurt. And I will let all those emotions be the fuel for this post. Because I need to chanel these emotions into something positive.
Here is to hoping this article resonates with some of you, can offer you comfort if you ever go through this or can soften you if you are someone who has a tendency to do this to others.
According to Urban Dictionary, Ghosting is “when a person cuts off all communication with their friends or the person they’re dating, with zero warning or notice before hand”. What they fail to mention is how much it hurts to get ghosted. Or why people do it.
It fucking hurts. It sucks. To be totally blind-sided and ignored by someone you thought you were building a connection with. It’s confusing, and leaves so many questions unanswered.
And when there are blanks to fill in, boy is our mind ever so creative at filling those blanks in with all sorts of nonsense!!
There is a lot that is out of our control when we are putting ourselves out there, whether it be in the dating world or in other areas of our lives. It’s hard to work through feelings when we get rejected. But there is one thing we CAN control: the stories we tell ourselves.
As I sit here, waiting for my friend to pick me up, working through the feelings of being stood up for a third date with someone I was hopeful about, I am having to make conscious efforts to fill in the blanks with rational and compassionate thoughts.
At first, my mind tells me it’s my fault – I let my guard down too soon, I shouldn’t have been so vulnerable; I put out too quickly; I put in too much effort; I was so naive; what is wrong with me?
Ah but I catch myself in those irrational, negative thought patterns. And bring myself back to the facts.
The fact that this person totally ghosted me has NOTHING to do with me. This is his shit, not mine.
For all I know, something horrible could have happened to him, or someone he loves. He could have a legit, valid reason for standing me up. Who knows.
But what I do know is that I shouldn’t feel ashamed of how I have acted, how much I got my hopes up, or how much effort I put into planning and preparing for this third date, just because some guy couldn’t see the value of what I was offering, and didn’t have the decency to cancel the plans when he couldn’t (or didn’t want to) follow through with them.
Through therapy, I am getting to know my own shit. And I own it. I am not perfect, my god far from it. What this does though, is it allows me to recognize situations where things are on me. Where my shit is responsible for friction or issues.
But this, this isn’t on me. This isn’t my shit.
Knowing that this isn’t my fault doesn’t protect me from the hurt of being ghosted. But it lets me feel the emotions without getting overly fixated about them.
There’s a quote that perfectly illustrates the practice of rationally observing what happened here today:
“When you learn that a person’s behavior has more to do with their own internal struggle than it ever did with you, you learn grace”.
You stood me up, and it fucking hurt me.
You stood me up, but it’s not my fault.
You stood me up, and that’s on you.
You stood me up, but I forgive you.
Addendum (the next day): So it turns out that something horrible did happen, which explains why this person didn’t show up as we had planned. I’ll be honest that I feel a little embarrassed about this blog post now, because I feel like I may have jumped the gun a bit. Despite my strong desire to take this post down, I will leave it here because I think there is still a valuable lesson in recognizing our worth, giving people the benefit of the doubt, and also having grace for ourselves (even when we may overreact 😅).