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"It's not you, it's me."

I decided to get back into the dating scene recently. It was mostly fueled by a sudden desire to be in a relationship, thanks to someone who paid a hell lot of unexpected attention on me, leading to a craving for something I didn't miss before until now. (Let's just say, we all didn't think we needed the internet until the internet was presented to us kinda situation.) Anyway, this person disappeared unexpectedly just as how he had appeared.

Yeap, I was ghosted for the first time.

It came down hard on me and it was an emotional roller-coaster I haven't felt for a very long time - in fact, it had never occurred to me that at 48, I could still allow someone insignificant to affect me that much.

Let me sum up all the phases of emotion I went through for at least a good three days:

Concern - Is he alright? Did something happen to him?

Rationalisation - It's probably nothing. He'll respond soon.

Self-doubt - Did I do or say something wrong?

Confusion - He was so into me and we had an amazing chemistry. Why?!

Desperation - When is he going to fucking text me? Surely, he's gonna. He has to, dammit!

Obsession - Played every single scene of our last date in my mind and read every single line of his texts repeatedly to decipher his action

Incredulity - and still couldn't believe why he ghosted me.

Redirection - Deleted his texts and phone number to erase him from my life.

Hopeful - He's going to give me a plausible reason for his silence when I least expect it.

Anger - What kind of a person does this?! I am a human being, asshole!

Self-victimisation - I am a good person. Why is this happening to me? I don't deserve this.

Self-loath - What kind of an idiot am I to allow myself to feel this way?!

Hurt - Why would someone do this to me?

Distrust - How can I trust anyone again?

Believe me, it was the longest three days I had ever felt. I was fucking exhausted by the end of this emotional repertoire (if you've watched Inside Out 2, you'll know exactly what that looked like in animation and it certainly doesn't happen only to pubescent teenagers!).

Once I managed to purge him out of my system, I was left with a sense of emptiness I thought could be refilled by someone else. That was when I signed up to an online dating app.

Soon enough, I was on an amazing first date with someone I matched. Again, the chemistry was off the chart and we made plans for a second date. Guess what?

I was ghosted a second time.

By now, many of you might think it was me - I was the problem. You're absolutely right. I could be the problem and believe me, I have thought about that a million times and was almost convinced by it. But for the sake of argument, let's say it was me. Does it ever justify the ghosting?

Did I go through all the phases I mentioned earlier? You bet I did but this time, it lasted for two days and I wanted to understand why people ghost and if my emotions were normal. I started reading articles after articles by psychologists on this behaviour and they all pointed to the same conclusion that it is a form of emotional cruelty which then makes my emotions perfectly normal (here's one article with explanations of why).

I had since then deactivated my account on the app as I could not put myself through this again. I am slowly regaining my old self where I didn't think I needed a relationship to stay happy and feel good about myself. I am a good person and I deserve better.

Here's also what I learned:

I am extremely blessed and lucky as the Universe is kind to me. It has saved me from a lot more hurt and emotional harm by letting these two men reveal their true colours very quickly before I had a chance of falling madly in love with them. I know I could never be happy and would have suffered being with someone who is capable of inflicting emotional cruelty on another person.

So damn right it's you, and not me.

Note: The emotional trauma of ghosting suffered by someone with low self-esteem can be devastating. Firstly, it's important to acknowledge that your emotions are completely valid and you are not over-reacting, even for someone who is mature and "should have known better". Secondly, know that ghosting is never justified, even though it is not a crime, but arguably morally wrong. No one deserves it even if they may have done something to cause the ghoster to lose interest in them. Lastly, the behaviour is really not about you, it's about them.

I've talked to a couple of people and majority of them have experienced ghosting, one even said, "It's normal. Happens to me all the time", and it does not happen to women only.


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