At the beginning of this year, I decided to start dating again. So I started exploring my options. And as I “put myself back out there” and got a feel for who seemed nice and others who weren’t worth my time, I eventually found one guy who seemed chill.
We spent time together, stayed up late nights on the phone, and often texted each other throughout the day. He said the right things and had my interest. This went on for about five months.
Throughout that time, I started to notice periods when I wouldn’t hear from him, sometimes for days or weeks. And whenever I asked for clarity about what we were doing and where I stood in his life, sometimes I’d get a response, and sometimes I didn’t.
Eventually, when I didn’t hear from him anymore, I realized I was getting ghosted.
I’ve had guys do this to me before, so I decided to be proactive and tell him we shouldn’t talk anymore. He seemed upset, and I was upset too. I honestly felt stupid for letting months go by before speaking up. Still, I knew what had happened was an important teaching moment for me. Mainly being that getting ghosted is not the end of the world. Sometimes people stay, and sometimes they go without a warning, closure, or explanation. It happens.
While it can be frustrating, disappointing, and embarrassing, lately, I’ve been telling myself, “learn something from this.” After recently experiencing more ghostings like the one above, I’ve learned a lot.
1. Don’t catch feelings during the talking stage.
In the modern dating world, the “talking stage” is an early (and ideally a brief) moment in dating when two people are getting to know each other. You’re not exclusive but dating someone, hopefully, multiple people. There’s typically a mutual interest where you’re both figuring out what you want and who you have the strongest connection with. At this stage, I believe honest communication is essential. That way, no one gets led on or hurt.
With that in mind, it’s better if you don’t let yourself fall too deep until a conversation is had about where you both stand. It’s never safe to assume the other person wants what you want, just wants to date you and no one else, or is looking for anything serious.
It’s okay to take things slow until you both are on the same page. And it’s also okay to walk away if the other person isn’t who or what you’re looking for.
2. Be careful with your heart
The heart is such a precious thing. And it’s important to guard what’s precious with care. While it’s great to be open to dating and give potential partners a chance, protecting your heart is very important.
This doesn’t mean you have to block people out and never let anyone get close. But don’t get carried away with compliments, promises (that may not be upheld), or fantasies about who you want or what you want someone/something to be.
For example, don’t go on a first date thinking someone is “the one.” I guess it could happen and has happened for some, but realistically, is someone you’re meeting for the first time going to be someone you spend the rest of your life with? Not likely.
Go on a date and enjoy it without planning an imaginary wedding in your head. I’ve met guys who talked about wanting marriage, kids, and a life with me, who mostly just did a lot of talking. And when they said all the things I wanted to hear, my heart would open and be filled with hope, only to be shattered by unmet expectations when they ghosted me.
3. Know who you are and what you bring to the table.
Honestly, getting ghosted can hurt. Especially when you meet someone you click with and can see a future with someday. However, through your disappointment, always know who you are and what you bring to the table.
One time after a guy I met didn’t hit me up anymore, I told myself, “I’ll be the girl he regrets not choosing.” I literally looked at myself in the mirror, took in all the things I love about my inner and outer self, did a twirl, and kept things moving.
When you know who you are and what you bring to the table, it won’t matter who stays or who goes because you’ll always have yourself. And whether you believe it or not, you are someone worth loving.
I’ve been ghosted by guys I thought really liked me and wanted a future with me but didn’t.
I’ve been ghosted by girls I wanted acceptance and approval from. But despite my best efforts to fit in with them, they wanted nothing to do with me.
I’ve been ghosted by employers I wanted opportunities with who decided I wasn’t good enough to work for them.
And I’ve been that girl who struggled to process her feelings after being ghosted. But now I get that it’s not the end of the world. Sometimes how you choose to look at a situation makes all the difference. Look for the lesson.