All the DMs in this post are real messages I either sent or received back in 2020.
This is maybe the most personal blog post you'll ever read from me. I've shared a few DMs in the "Tales from my DMs" series but nothing to this extent. This is actually going to be quite exposing but also at the end of the day - we are all sending messages like this. I don't think any of this is outside the realm of the mundane it will just be weird because if you're reading this, then you have probably never seen me talk like this before... so maybe prepare to cringe.
And like with every story in this series, I'm sorry to say, there's no happy ending. In fact there's not even really an ending. But outside the scope of this story I do want to have a wider discussion around the idea of "ghosting". Ever since the online dating renaissance there seems to be a lot of opinions surrounding this phenomenon.
But to give the discussion some context. Let me take you back to the summer of 2020. The pandemic was raging and everyone was literally going out of their minds. Everyone was scouring the dating apps trying to find some form of human connection - including me. And ME being the IDIOT I am, thought I found it. But actually the story of the "textuationship" isn't actually that interesting. I'll let the screen shots do the talking. But just know things were amazing, I was in a place emotionally that I had never been before. Thinking about the same person constantly, getting excited by every text they sent and just wanting to be a better person because of them. Yeah, weird right? Phone calls and FaceTimes were in abundance and once all the pandemic stuff was over and the connection became physical then it was surely a wrap for me and my calamitous dating life.
Well, that's how the happy story goes. Things ended with a family emergency on her end followed by a very lengthy text from me with no reply. And literally that's how the story ends. A month or so went by with no word, I sent the text and still to this day I am waiting to hear back. Let me just say though, everyone has their own stuff going on. People have reasons for doing what they do, I get that. But we are living in a time where people pride themselves on not owing anyone anything. It's something I've written about before. I don't want to speculate about this situation. I will trust that she had her reasons but it doesn't stop the act from hurting any less.
And actually we do owe people in some cases. Let's not get it twisted. You've been chatting to someone for a few days, not really feeling it? Fine, feel free to disappear into the shadows without a word. I don't really see an issue with that. But the longer you speak to someone, the more emotionally invested they become then ghosting is disrespectful in my opinion - for multiple reasons. Everyone wants someone who is emotionally open when it benefits them, but when it's time to do something that's maybe a little hard or uncomfortable then suddenly being emotionally available is the least of your worries. Becoming emotionally invested with someone allows you to have those open conversations where you can say how much you love each other but this also comes with the burden of having those difficult conversations when they need to happen. And they are difficult, which is why people avoid them. But dare I say you owe it to that person to communicate with them.
Otherwise what has all that time been for? You've invested, weeks, months, maybe money into someone and now you just want to leave or "distance yourself" without a word. Also this isn't me talking exclusively outwardly. I am no saint when it comes to this thing either. Although I don't believe I have ever ghosted someone under these circumstances I have 100% avoided hard conversations when I fully knew they should've happened. And having said all this, there's a darkness to ghosting which I think people often overlook. It's not just as simple as cutting ties with someone. There's a whole process the ghostee has to go through to process what the heck has just happened. And the questions don't end. "Did I do something wrong?", "Did they meet someone else?", "Has something happened to them?". And when you can't get answers to these constant questions you start to spiral. It's impossible to process something you don't understand.
A simple conversation is all it needs really, both parties say what they need to say then at least there is a sense of closure. You can close the door and hopefully open a new one. And yes the conversation is simple but that doesn't mean it's not hard. And if a conversation seems hard to have then that is your sign that it probably needs to happen. You can run from it sure, but that is a SHADY ASS move from you - and you know it. It's okay for things to end, and things don't actually end until you have those conversations. You don't want someone following you wanting answers that you've failed to give them. Put everything out there and move on, because neither of you can truly move on with that emotional baggage. Or maybe you can and I'm just a little bit sensitive.
I won't lie, I am a talker and I would always rather talk things through with someone. I've realised now that I am definitely someone who needs to just let go of all those thoughts and feelings and the only way I can effectively do that is by talking to the person in question. This particular situation hurts more than any other simply because of how deep I was in it. And you think, oh well its happened before so if it happens again I'll be fine. But it really doesn't work like that. Because when someone new comes along and you start having these conversations that seem like they are going to last forever you start to believe that it can't possibly happen again. It does, and it will... if you're feeling something, say it! Just say it, do whatever you need to do to get it out. The more you're able to be open and honest with someone the easier these conversations are to have. Stop wasting people's time, don't leave them wondering. Give them an ending - no matter how devastating it might be.
I think a lot of the reasoning behind ghosting can most of the time be 1 of 2 things. It's an act of self preservation - it's easier to ghost someone than be ghosted. Or there's a miscommunication in terms of intentions and expectations - well that person isn't interested in me so I will just leave. I guess I can understand both reasons but it doesn't mean that they're not irrational. Come on, we're all adults now, you've built up a relationship with someone so you're able to talk honestly with them. I swear I'm starting to think that I just don't understand people anymore, is it I who is the odd one out? I can admit when I am the one in the minority in a lot of scenarios but maybe there are more than I thought.
I think I've had the misconception that dating is plain sailing when you are seeing someone you really like. But that's a fallacy, all relationships take work, no matter how much you get on. When you neglect to put that hard work in you start to take people for granted. No one intends to be in your life temporarily - actually wait no, some people do. But if you're dating seriously then I guess you don't but also the majority of people you date it won't work out with. And that is fine, as long as you just remember that you are dealing with people with real feelings and they deserve a certain level of respect and communication when you decide to become emotionally involved with them. We all need to practise just talking about our emotions in a more casual sense. Not everything has to be a full blown heart to heart. Keeping each other aware and up to date with where you both are emotionally will do you wonders in the long run... probably... I mean I would imagine. Maybe I am wrong about all of this and I just need thicker skin.
One thing I know about me is that I find it hard to let go. Once I let you in it is very difficult for me to get you out! But that is because if I let you in, I know I don't want you to leave. But sometimes, I know, it's for the best... so maybe all the people that have ghosted me have actually done me a favour.