From The Other Side: How Much It Actually Hurts To Ghost Someone
A few months ago, I found myself dating a pretty nice guy.
Wait, he was more than a nice guy... he was a really, really nice guy and I can't stress that enough.
When we met, it was full of potential; he asked me out for drinks, then dinner, followed by more drinks and dinner and eventually it was a few months in and we were meeting up around once a week.
He seemed to be the perfect catch: good job, lots of ambition, chivalrous, romantic. He even ran marathons. He seemed too good to be true. There was just one thing missing.
He didn't give me butterflies.
Now stop, I can already see you rolling your eyes and hear your sighs of annoyance at me. No matter how nice he was, how sweet or thoughtful, how many dinners he bought or plans we made, I just couldn't force my stomach to do that annoying little dance it does whenever you're in the presence of someone you actually really like.
Of course, I enjoyed his company, found him attractive and knew he was overall a pretty great catch. I could have easily married him then and there, lived in a mansion in the countryside and raised our 2.5 kids and Labrador puppy. It would be a good life. But it wouldn't have been enough for me.
Once you've experienced the stomach-dropping, nerve-racking, giddy, constantly-laughing butterflies of falling for someone, you just can't fake it.
You can't pretend you like someone in that way; of course, you can settle, but it's going to be you who misses out. It doesn't matter who a person is, we can't choose who we fall for (although I definitely wish we could sometimes), life just works that way and it sucks.
So after a few months of dating the real life equivalent of a walking Ken doll (even his hair was perfect), I couldn't do it anymore. I couldn't avoid any more goodbye kisses or drastic conversation changes whenever he'd ask the dreaded question: "Where is this going?"
There was a time limit on our relationship and I could hear the countdown ticking away in my head. He'd finally had enough one night and messaged me asking what he was doing wrong. Simply, the truthful answer was nothing.
There was nothing he could do to make me fall for him. He was already perfect. I knew he was perfect. He knew he was perfect, but the chemistry just wasn't there and neither of us could change that.
It sucked because he would have been the world's most perfect boyfriend.
He seemed a little annoyed with me, but how do you politely tell someone he just doesn't make your heart skip a beat? He asked if I wanted to meet up that Thursday to talk out it. I agreed, feeling the best thing to do was to end it in person, but as Thursday rolled around, I got cold feet and did the one thing I promised myself I'd never do to anyone.
I ghosted the loveliest guy ever.
I didn't show up. I didn't text and explain my absence. I didn't even fake an apology or attempt to raincheck in order to keep up appearances. I just stopped all forms of contact and he definitely noticed.
What came was a quick sigh of relief. I no longer felt horrendously guilty for stringing such a nice guy along. I no longer cringed whenever he sent me a lovely message because I had no idea how in the hell I was supposed to reply. The expensive guilt-ridden dinners stopped along with all the presents and even the surprise cups of coffee became a distant memory.
For a short while, I enjoyed the freedom of not having to tip-toe around someone else's feelings. It was liberating, and I felt great.
Then after a few months, the guilt hit me again, this time stronger than ever. How could I have been so rude? Why was I such a coward?
I would have been devastated if someone had treated me that way.
This guy had been nothing but lovely and I treated him like an inconvenience. It wasn't nice and it wasn't fair. I didn't like what I had done and every time I thought about it I felt the need to call him, apologize and beg for his forgiveness.
No one deserves to be ghosted, regardless of your feelings. It's just rude to stop contact with no form of explanation even if it really was a case of, "It's not you, it's me."
Maybe one day I'll get a taste of my own medicine, but for now, I'm terribly sorry marathon guy that I just couldn't just get up the nerve to politely turn you down, you're a great, great guy and you will make some lucky girl incredibly happy some day.
Please forgive me!