As a teenager, dating was simple, there wasn’t much to really complicate things. I’d meet a boy, give him my number and he’d eventually call. We would date for a while, have some fun until one of us decided it was over and then we’d breakup. In my twenties the only difference was that sex became part of my relationships. Therefore, the breakups became more complicated but still there was always the dreaded talk that left someone crying. Fast forward to present day, my late thirties, and I’m sitting here dumbfounded. Besides the way I meet someone, which is now via internet and social media, not much has really changed. That is except for one thing, how things typically end. What use to be a dreaded talk is now a cold silence. People, these days, refer to this as ghosting. Atleast that’s what all the cool adults tell me. In my four years of being single I have encountered more ghost than the damn Ghostbusters and any supernatural show out there combined. What happened to the days when telling someone you aren’t interested anymore was the right thing to do? You know, the days of a man growing a pair and having a little respect for woman, or at least enough for himself, to be honest.
The Whisper Ghost
Over the years I’ve discovered that ghosting is very much the norm, especially in Internet dating. I would spend weeks messaging back and forth, simply getting to know someone before exchanging phone numbers. If someone ghosted in those first few weeks it would be a “no harm, no foul” type scenario. Once phone numbers were exchanged it became more personal. Text and phone calls would become a daily event with my new found love intrest. Yet, still, there were some that would simply disappear with zero warning. Seeing that I’ve spent weeks investing my time it was like having my hand slapped for sticking it in their stupid cookie jar. I mean, seriously, why waste so much time trying to get my cookies when you’re going to be selfish with yours?! As this became a reoccurring event I realised that texting and phone conversations were truly no different than messages on an actual dating site. However, they did seem to be way more time consuming and even more frustrating. Especially seeing I couldn’t understand what the point in all the conversations were if there is no intention of meeting someone. These men, to me, are merely whisper ghost. Nothing but a bunch of static noise, an occasional soft voice on the other end of the phone, then simply nothing.
The POO Ghost
Every once in awhile I would come across a man who would actually pursue a date with me. I couldn’t help but feel excited when a man, acted like a man, and would ask me out for a date without me having to mention I would like to meet him. Every single one of these men would talk for days about our plans, down to the smallest details. I would think to myself, “Finally! There are still decent men out here!” Boy, was I ever wrong. It never failed, come the day of the infamous date and there was nothing but crickets. There was no, “I am sorry but I have to cancel” or “somethings come up”. Nope! Nothing but silence. POO Ghost, better know as Party Of One Ghost, are every woman’s nightmare. We spend numerous hours preparing for a date. Searching for the perfect outfit that highlights our best features. Shaving our legs, as if we are making yoga in the shower our bitch. Followed by, fixing our hair to perfection and wearing makeup to make us appear natural yet flawless. It takes HOURS, I tell you! To be stood up is one of the most infuriating things known to womankind. I mean, let’s be real, who the f*** disappears merely hours before a date?! The POO Ghost, that’s who. They are not only a party of one but a piece of shit coward ghost in my book.
The One Hit Wonder Ghost
First dates are always nerve wrecking for anyone. For me, after being stood up repeatedly, my nerves would get the best of me until he was within my sights. I decided, after many disappointments, I would not allow myself to become excited until after I had an actual date. I thought if I could get through a good first date things would progress and the ghost I had encountered would be a thing of the past. I’ve never been more wrong about something in my life. I would have, what I thought to be, great first dates. We would have wonderful conversations. We would laugh and talk about a wide variety of things. At the end of each these I was told the most wonderful things. From how amazing I was to how I was a breath of fresh air. Some even made plans for a second date but, yet again, the silence began. I’d wait a few days then reach out to them. I figured it wasn’t that big of deal to take the initiative and start a conversation after a great first date. Again, nothing but crickets. It baffled me that men could say such sweet enduring things after a date and then…POOF…disappear. Over time, these one hit wonders ghost made me start to wonder if it was me. It was like I had become one of those pop artist that have that one hit wonder and then I was forgotten. My self esteem started to take a hit. It had to be me seeing this was becoming a pattern in my dating life. After some serious soul searching I realised it wasn’t my character that was flawed but theirs. They were the One Hit Wonder, not me.
The Heart Snatching Ghost
Feelings are a funny thing. They tend to happen when you least expect them to. In four years there have been a lot of men that I have liked but nothing deep or profound. There were a couple in the mix that, if the man I thought they were existed, I would have been completely smitten and in love with them. There was one that if things had continued the way they were I would’ve been head over heels for. In 23yrs of dating, I had never encountered a man like this one. He wasn’t my typical type. I generally went after the pretty boy or athletic types. He was far from these. He was artistic, ruggedly handsome, complete gentleman and a sexual goddess. What more could a woman ask for, right?! We had met briefly once and started talking on a friends only level. Sure, we both expressed a little intrest but we neither of us really pursued it. Then, one day, he invites me to spend 4 days with him out of state. I was shocked, seeing I didn’t realize that he actually liked me as more than a friend and wanted to pursue something with me. The weeks leading up to our getaway I started opening up more about myself, as did he. I had never been more nervous in my life than I was the day I stepped off a plane to meet him. I remember telling myself that this would never be more than a fun weekend with a really nice guy. I almost had myself convinced, then I saw him flash his boyish smile and the world fell away. Those four days were hands down the best days I had ever spent with a man. I had never been treated so well in my entire life. He was not only a complete gentleman but sweet and caring. Something changed in me and it terrified me. For years I had thought I was incapable of genuine feelings for someone. I started to believe that I was broken since my marriage. This man proved me wrong. I fell hard and fast for him. It scared me to no end to feel so deeply for someone but I felt he was worth risk. I didn’t want a commitment from him, I merely wanted to know him on every level. I wanted the possibility that one day I could call him mine. The weeks following our trip were the most heartwrenching weeks I’ve endured in years. We went from hot and heavy, to a semi friend zone, back to hot and heavy, to nothing. I was crushed. The last little bit of hope I had that good men exist was destroyed in his deafening silence. I tried to reach out with simple sporadic text, but after the 3rd went unanswered I found myself at a complete loss. Who does this to someone? What kind of man toys with someone’s emotions like this? How does a man who prides himself on being honest and direct simply disappear on a woman without some sort of explanation? I still, to this day, can not wrap my head around the Heart Snatching Ghost. I gave this man every chance to stand up and be honest with me. I could respect that. I can not respect someone who apparently isn’t who they claim to be. For weeks, I pondered what could have happened. Did I over step? Could it be he’s scared of his own feelings? Maybe he’s got something going on he hasn’t told me about? What if it’s me and he simply doesn’t feel the same? Wait…that would mean he lied… that can’t be it. Maybe he met someone and he doesn’t know how to tell me. My list went on and on, to a point it was maddening. I found myself becoming unraveled in the chaos of my thoughts. It became unbearable and I needed closure for my own sanity. I finally caved and sent the dreaded novel text. I loathe novel text but I figured one novel text and I can get my closure. I thought that it would give me an answer, with or without a response, and my days of heartache with this man would be over. I couldn’t have been more wrong. Instead, as I sat there in his deafening silence, I felt pain in my heart like never before. I had not felt this way since my divorce. Sure, I had heartaches here and there, but this one was different. I began to grow numb and felt empty. How could I have been so wrong about someone? I felt like such a fool it was unbearable. I was embarrassed by it all, so I vowed to leave the pieces of my heart there and never look back. The Heart Snatching Ghost is by far the worst to encounter. They snatch what they can of your heart only to later toss it aside as if it’s nothing. They are the most haunting of them all. They linger in the shadows of your mind, torturing you with the memories of what once was good.
In today’s dating world there are various ghost amongst us. It’s the sad hard truth that our society has become so self absorbed that we have little to no respect for others. The days where men were gentlemen and women were ladies have come to pass. I decided long ago to not allow these dating horrors change the way I treat people. I will still continue to treat people the way I want to be treated. I just have to start accepting that I am rarity these days and push through this cruel dating world. I have encountered many ghost and lived to tell the tale. I can only pray for a day where ghost say, “Boo!”, so I could prepare myself for whats to come. We all know, that will never happen. For that fact, I would simply settle for a day when they actually say goodbye.