My torrid love affair with Alex began after a fateful right swipe. After exchanging a few messages, Alex and I agreed to meet for cocktails. From the moment I met him, I was instantly captivated by his charm, his intelligence, his wit, and his beautiful blue eyes. Our connection was intense and passionate. After a night of amazing sex, I was hooked. Everything about him screamed at me that he was dangerous, but I only wanted more. After weeks of seeing each other, Alex's communication with me grew increasingly sparse. We made plans that he canceled last minute, but I assured myself that he surely was busy. Then abruptly, he stopped replying. After being in denial, I came to the stark realization that I had been ghosted.
"There’s a social disconnect in relationships that didn’t exist before technology became so instrumental in dating," New York based relationship expert and author April Masini tells Bustle. "People met in person and dated in person and when they broke up, they ran into each other and each other’s families and friends. Today, because of the dating trifecta of distance, technology, and relationships, [it's possible] to not ever run into an ex. This robs us all of the opportunity to develop and practice communication skills necessary for awkward situations."
Being ghosted made me feel devastated, rejected and so very powerless. For weeks, I checked my phone habitually with the slightest hope that Alex had texted me. With each passing day that I did not hear from him, I became a little more crestfallen.
"Alex's ghosting behavior was cruel and disrespectful. It was not a reflection of my own flaws, but rather a reflection of his cowardice and lack of emotional maturity."
I should have trusted my intuition and been truly honest with myself. I should have taken off my blinders instead of ignoring all of the glaring red flags of Alex's behavior and all of his ambiguous actions. I wish I understood that a truly healthy relationship is one wherein I am loved and cherished unconditionally. A truly healthy relationship should nourish me and foster my personal, spiritual, and intellectual growth. It should never diminish me or my sense of self-worth.
Also, I should have recognized my own needs. When he ghosted me, I should have asserted myself and sent Alex a clear and concise text asking him "Is everything OK between us?" Such a gesture would have honored my need for some form of closure, and held him responsible for his behavior.
"A relationship that was pretty insignificant to a person can take weeks to get over only because of the method of termination, not because the relationship itself was so fantastic and not even because the other person was very appealing," Dr. Alice Sohn, Clinical Psychologist, tells Bustle. "But just because people can’t tolerate being left without explanation."
Above all, I wish I understood that it was not my fault. I wish I had the insight to understand that dealing with Alex's ghosting behavior, and its aftermath, shouldn't impact my dignity. Alex's ghosting behavior was cruel and disrespectful. It was not a reflection of my own flaws, but rather a reflection of his cowardice and lack of emotional maturity. I reacted to his ghosting by internalizing and mourning it as a loss, however I should have viewed it as a sign of his lack of potential as a romantic partner. He was not worthy of me or any of my energy. I do not want, and I should never chase after, someone who disappears at the first glimpse of emotional commitment or hardship.
Being ghosted is undoubtedly a painful experience but by treating myself with self-care and love, I could come out of it as a stronger individual with insight that I can bring into my next, healthy, fulfilling relationship.