dating

'After 3 amazing dates, I was told his grandfather was sick. I never heard from him again.'

It took me months to accept and admit I had been ghosted.

I spent weeks justifying and creating scenarios to my friends just to save face – his face or my face?

I really have no idea but once I admitted to myself – I. HAD. BEEN. GHOSTED. Well.. it felt kinda better, and I felt almost bonded by a shared experience that many, many of my internet peers had been through too.

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I met Tom in a pub in the small town I grew up in. It might have been the mixture of vino I had consumed or of having spent an evening with friends that were in extremely long-term relationships that when I met Tom – I thought all my Christmases had come at once.

He had deep blue eyes, he was tall with an English accent, and me? I was positively giddy by the time we snuck a kiss and exchanged numbers after a night talking at the bar.

I checked my phone right before I fell into a drunken slumber, there was a message from Tom sent at 12:14 am – ‘I can’t wait to kiss your pretty face again’ – stick a fork in me because I was done.

The next time I saw Tom, he cooked me dinner. I felt relaxed around him because he was funny in a self-deprecating way and his presence put me at ease.

After we ate dessert, I said goodbye and we shared a lingering kiss in the doorway. He asked me if I was really going to go and I said yes.

And let’s just pause for a quick sec – the reason I said yes was because I was trying this new thing called ‘don’t sleep with someone just because you’re jacked up on endorphins and inspired by every rom-com you’ve ever seen’.

I was trying to bide my time and get to know someone first. I’d been feeling like my self-esteem was taking a hit from letting my guard down too quickly – this time I wanted to do it by the book. Little did I know my self-esteem was about to get inherently worse.

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The third time I saw Tom, I went to his place with a bottle of red wine and he kissed me as soon as he saw me. We spent the next few hours talking and snuggled up on the couch. I slept at his place that night.

The next morning, he told me he wouldn’t be able to message or call me until Thursday (something about phone credit or phone breaking – I don’t remember! All I heard was ‘call you Thursday’).

Okay, I said. Talk to you Thursday .

And off I went full of optimism and a grin on my face.

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That was four sleeps away. Yes, I did that thing you’d do as a kid when you were waiting for Santa to come down the chimney. Four sleeps. I can’t wait to talk to this person again.

I was vocal about it to my friends. I felt confident in our connection and I felt happy about this little love story that seemed to be unfolding before my eyes.

So when Thursday came around, of course, I did the typical thing of obsessively checking my phone. Of course, when Thursday came and went I gave him a few days of leeway. And, of course, when my friends asked me about it I laughed nervously and said ‘not yet!’.

But, time did its thing and days turned into weeks and weeks turned into… Blah, blah you get it.

Six months later, a girl in the small pub where it all started would tell me that his grandfather had got sick and he had to rush back to Manchester. I thought that was a justifiable reason to go MIA. I extended an olive branch in the way of a Facebook message, I said I was sorry to hear about his grandfather, I ended the message with a ‘xo’.

He got it, he saw it, it was marked as read and he never replied. I had been ghosted.

I had read a lot about ghosting, it was a modern dating buzz word for a while. My naivety to ghosting made the fall from grace hit a little bit harder, the thud a little louder.

When you’ve been ghosted, you’re just left with the niggling feeling you did something wrong, that you weren’t as great as you’d cracked up to be. The indifference hurts the most. Oh and feeling like an idiot – that too.

While it didn’t scare me completely off finding love or navigating my way through the tropes of modern dating – it did make my skin a little bit thicker, my radar a little bit clearer and much more empathetic to those who had been ghosted before.

Feature Image: Getty.

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