'Instead of ghosting, my date did something I truly wasn’t expecting.'

A few weeks ago, I sat smugly on my high horse, arguing that ghosting was very poor form. Anyone who partook was shallow, cowardly, lazy. Who wouldn't prefer honest, sincere communication? Anyone who didn't worried me. 

But then I was unceremoniously 'dumped' a week later, and I am still reeling from the ego blow days later.

Watch: Relationship red flags. Post continues after video. 

Video via Mamamia.

Just to preface, I wasn't actually dumped dumped. We had been on two or three dates. 

'That went well,' I decided after our first date when he kissed me goodbye. He'd been kind, sweet, interesting. I had been going through a cycle of well-meaning men with whom there had been no spark and this one was different.

I felt a tiny flower of hope bloom inside of me. I had allowed myself, without ever really considering if I actually had true feelings for him, to imagine a future for us together. We'd make it official in an acceptable amount of time. I'd meet his pets and then he'd meet my mother and life would be good. Wonderful, even.

Never mind the fact he made it very clear that he wants kids one day and I definitely don't. I didn't consider that he was a little more reserved and probably found my incessant talking and desperation to fill the silence annoying. I thought he was not as funny as I was. I'm sure he felt the same.

Either way, it doesn't really matter because things didn't pan out the way I had envisioned. A few days after we had decided that we would see each other again, he sent me a text.


It read something along the lines of, "I met someone right after our date and while we had a nice time, I want to pursue a relationship with this person. I hope you understand! Let's remain friends, if you're comfortable."

I, of course, responded with something along the lines of, "Ah! I'm so happy for you! We don't have to keep in touch but I'm really appreciative of your honesty and I wish you the best."

After constructing and sending what I would consider a perfect and mature response, I crawled into bed and sobbed.

I compared myself to every woman I had seen on the street that day. I considered that my wardrobe didn't suit my body, and maybe that's why he didn't like me. My hair was frizzy, disgusting. My teeth were out of proportion to the rest of my face. My nose was huge. My eyes were beady and empty.

My laugh must have been grating. Maybe he had seen through the shiny exterior I liked to portray and had seen something ugly.

Nothing was right about me, I decided.

As a 25-year-old who has been in the dating world for more than five years (I started late — sue me!), I realised that I have never not been ghosted when a date or situation-ship hasn't panned out. Men have always just kind of... tapered off.

And while I pride myself on being brave enough to cut people off respectfully, the same kindness has never been extended to me. They've always either unfollowed me, slowly stopped replying to text messages or dropped off the face of the earth.

I wasn't ghosted. Instead, he did something much more surprising.


This guy had been honest (when it wasn't necessarily required). He'd been brave enough to construct an uncomfortable message despite knowing how it would make me feel. 

In the beginning, I judged those who ghosted others — because I hated the feeling of not knowing. Now that I have been 'broken up' with in a much more candid and honest way, I completely understand why people would prefer to ghost or be ghosted.

A few weeks ago, Phoebe Rogers, clinical psychologist and principal psychologist of At Home Psychology, told me that rejection is normal — and we can bounce back. "It's all part of the process," she said. "I like to put the lens of focus on what we can learn about ourselves in the process — what we're looking for, what we value, what we need, our capacity to connect and be vulnerable."

She added, "Dating is a process, and the best chance of finding love comes from knowing and loving yourself, and knowing what you deserve."

After a day of brooding, I felt fine, and eventually understood things like this rarely have much to do with the person being broken up with. 

Dating comes with an emotional tax, especially when expectations don't align. Sure, this didn't end how I'd imagined it would. And honestly, I feel a little grateful for that now that it's been a few weeks and the dust has settled.

Like Rogers said, every experience — whether positive or not — offers some opportunity for self-discovery. This time, I learned some things don't work out.

And that's okay.

For more from Shannen Findlay, follow her on Instagram @shannenfindlay.

Feature Image: Supplied.

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