It starts, as it always does, with a perfect first date.
You go through the motions of laughing at each other's jokes and smiling at all the right moments. You flirt, or at least try to, if you're quite the shy and awkward type—and he flirts back. There's definitely a spark.
You talk for hours and discover that the things you have in common are endless, and you wonder how it's possible for such kindred spirits to have coexisted before this date, because there's no denying the fact that you two are complete soulmates. You're just sure of it. The connection between the two of you is so intense, you can almost touch it.
Then there's a second date, a third—until you have just enough to hold on to, just enough to make you think that these dates will keep on coming.
In between texting and patiently waiting for replies, you plan everything else out in your head—all the fun things you're going to do, all the cool new restaurants you're going to try, all the people you plan for him to meet. They're going to love him, you think, as you imagine him hanging out with your friends, being all funny and sweet and charming and kind.
But for some reason, your plans don't get a chance to push through. All of a sudden, even with that soulmate thing going on, even with all those thoughtful texts and occasional phone calls, he somehow manages to fall off the face of the earth and into a blackhole of no return. All of a sudden, the texting stops, the phone calls go unanswered, and you just flat out don't hear from him at all.
You're left hurt, confused, and with a bunch of plans that you have to unplan.
Goodbye, movie marathon on the couch. Adios, new burger joint in Katipunan. Sayonara, double date with Sarah and Mark. Farewell to everything; hello to all your crushed dreams.
Okay, so this isn't a unique story. And this type of disappearing act isn't really new practice. It's been done before. Countless times. By so many people. Even by you. In fact, it's become so common that people just had to come up with a name for it already.
Ghosting, as people on the Internet now call it, is the act of doing exactly what it says it does. When a person pulls this off, he or she successfully becomes a ghost—a mysterious and unreachable ghost who has no intention of letting you know why he or she has suddenly become disinterested in hanging out with you. It's terrible, and a lot of us have been there.
It doesn't matter if you were ghosted after one date, or after three glorious months of being in an almost-relationship. Being ghosted will always suck, and it will damage you in one way or another because there was so much wasted potential, there was so much more that you could've been.
Letting go of the fact that you've been ghosted is a different thing altogether. It's actually quite a tricky thing to move on from, because it isn't exactly the same as getting dumped. There were no fights, no faults, no hurtful words. In fact, there were no words at all. Just a bunch of your own made-up theories on WHY. HE. HASN'T. TALKED. TO. YOU. IN. WEEKS.
Was he stuck under a boulder somewhere in Colorado? Was he sick? Did he die???
Between a text that didn't come after a first date, and something as extreme as getting cut off from all contact on Facebook, Twitter, YM (nobody's on YM anymore, okay, but just in case), and everywhere else—being ghosted will always leave you wondering what you did wrong.
Did you come on too strong? Was it too early to say "I miss you"? Should you not have invited him to meet your friends?
You'll play it over and over in your head because you can't quite piece together what fell through the cracks. How did the cracks even get there in the first place? It doesn't make sense. You both laughed at each other's jokes, both smiled at all the right moments, both felt a connection. You weren't imagining it. It was real. You almost even kissed. You were so close. What could have possibly gone wrong?
Well, it's possible that you did come on too strong. It's possible that you weren't on the same page with the whole connection thing you thought existed between the two of you. It's possible, too, that he got stuck under a boulder somewhere in Colorado—in which case you have to forgive him if he does text back after a month.
But then, it's also possible that you did nothing wrong. Chances are, you were perfect just as you were. You were funny, sweet, charming, and kind. You said the right things, made the right moves, texted him just the right amount. You did nothing wrong. Whatever his reasons, there's a great chance that they have absolutely nothing to do with you. And if they do, then he wasn't the right one for you anyway.
Ghosts are just wispy shapes of damp air, or something. We're not really sure. But one thing's certain: Ghosts shouldn't bear so much weight. There are a lot of real people to meet and have fun with. There's no point in chasing after a lost nebulous gas creature.
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