Acceptance After Being Ghosted

The other day I posted about the other four stages of grief after being ghosted by someone in a close dating relationship. There were a few times I felt I had come to the acceptance stage, but I was alternating between all of the stages randomly. I would think to myself, I’m over it; he’s a jerk, and then something would toss me right back to a different stage. I’d be angry at the fact that he’s meeting other women and dating and having fun, but I was left standing alone without answers to my heartbreak and had a miserable dating life. (I was also angry when one of his family members suggested that I must not have ever had anyone break up with me before, since I had these feelings. I corrected them by reminding them I was ghosted without answers.) I have come to some other realizations about this person that have helped me to enter the stage of acceptance.

It’s always helpful to get over someone by dating another person, however, the options I had been presented were pretty grim. Prior to meeting OC, a close friend had unexpectedly passed away, and during my mourning period (which lasted about a year), I jumped into a two-month toxic relationship with someone 18 years younger. I met OC about three or four months after that relationship ended. I was looking to date, but only looking for friends and activity partners, so what I felt with him was completely unexpected. Looking back, I feel that I was probably still vulnerable to opening myself up to injured souls, because I was also one of them.

Taking accountability for myself, I probably ignored a lot of red flags – the first of which was that OC’s online dating profile stated he was single. However, he was still technically a married man (verified separated for two years at that point) and still living in the same house with his wife. I broke my own rule by continuing a relationship with him, because my rule is to date someone that has been single (not separated) for at least a year, preferably longer. When I initially met him, he’d told me about another woman he’d been on a few dates with and was texting him… but according to him, he was ignoring her. I’d informed him that I only date one person at a time, and I expect the same in a partner and that he needs to tell this woman that he’s seeing someone else, to not just ignore her. I don’t know what he did, but now I suspect he ghosted her as well. Or perhaps he ghosts women, then shows up randomly when he thinks it’s okay and allow him back into their lives again… the same way he did to me six months later when he unblocked me and liked my social media posts – and still continues to this day!

I specifically remember a couple of times him mentioning things to me that seemed off. For example, even though he still claimed to be getting divorced, he was adamant about staying in their home and was building a separate entrance for himself. I later learned that during the time they supposedly separated, they’d purchased the house together, which didn’t fit the divorce story he was giving me. He would spend the night at my house most nights and head home first thing in the morning; we never spent any mornings together – just afternoons and nights. I had suspected he’d been hiding something or bending the truth, but I never actually found out. He also had a tattoo of a ball and chain along with his wife’s name on the front of his hip. When I asked if he was planning to cover it up, he became flustered as if I’d asked him to chop off his balls. He replied,  “Why? No one will see it.” Seriously? I told him I see it, and if he dates other women, they’re going to see it as well. I suspect he never covered it up, and he probably never will. (I wonder what his new girlfriend thinks of his wife’s name when she’s giving him a blowjob?) He’d say random things that didn’t make sense to me at the time. For example, one time he told me he was selfish and immature, but I hadn’t seen that side of him, so I wasn’t sure what he was talking about. What he’d presented to me in his actions was opposite of what he said in so many ways.

Something wasn’t right, but I blamed it on my own insecurities. I developed a lot of anxiety when I didn’t hear from him, especially that last week prior to him ghosting me. Perhaps he was lying to me, perhaps it was something else, but I ignored my gut feelings. The problem I have with myself is I am determined to get to the bottom of things, to find out the truth, and when I can’t pinpoint what isn’t right, I continue with a relationship until I do find out. He claimed to be “so busy” with his work, but right after he ghosted me, he’d pass me at the beach every single day, so I felt he was using that as an excuse.

Knowing OC’s history of 30+ years being raised in and then leaving a cult religion whose manipulative members suddenly cut off their own children for not being followers, I am aware that this has been ingrained into his system since he was a child, so it is probably easy for him to act this way without any regard for my feelings. Not that it’s right by any means, but what else can I tell myself when I have no other explanation? I also realize, no matter how sweet he was to me while we were together, he is a very wounded and disturbed soul that may not feel anything at all. He lied to me and broke promises, especially when he knew I was recovering after a divorce and promised me he wouldn’t break my heart.  I tell myself he was fake and manipulated my feelings and trust for his own selfish purposes, and everything about the relationship was as fake as Dirty John, because genuine people do not develop close intense relationships only to treat others with such disdain. I wish I could have moved on when it all went down; I wanted nothing more than those awful feelings to go away. I look at him now and think I can do so much better than him.

The stage of acceptance is the beginning of my healing process, because I am ready to meet my next long-term relationship.

Working Through Grief After Being Ghosted

First, I want to say that I am tired (and I know my friends are, too) of talking about this person, and I want it out of my brain once and for all. I wish I could say this is my last time talking about it, but I’m not sure I can say everything in one sitting.

If anyone could flip a switch to turn off anxiety, depression, or symptoms of grief or trauma, you bet your ass they would! So when someone says to “get over it,” they are clueless as to what you’re going through. There have been times when I don’t even understand why I feel the way I do, so I don’t expect others to be helpful, but insensitive comments are not appreciated.

Grief is a peculiar thing, and the five stages don’t always go in order. I am just now discovering this about OC, the guy that ghosted me two and a half years ago. About six months ago, I became angry about the situation. I am not a hateful person, and I cannot remember the last time I felt hate towards anyone, so why would these feelings suddenly emerge?

In case you’re not a regular follower, here’s a recap: We met on a dating app, dated intensely for 3 months (together 4-5 nights a week and weekends), fell head over heels for him, met some of his family, led me to believe we’d be together in the future (he spoke of plans for months ahead), said things to me like “it would take a lot to leave you.” I went to visit my family for a week, I even invited him to come along, he said he missed me, then he became uncommunicative (around this time my gut cringed), then he sent me a confusing text three days later telling me he had to take care of some work and financial stuff and that he didn’t mean to hurt me. He never actually said he didn’t want to see me anymore; I thought at the very least we’d remain friends. Then he never spoke to me or texted me again and blocked me from social media. We ran into each other all of the time, but he refused to look at me or speak to me, and at times he’d either hide or leave the place we were at. However, six months later, he unblocked me from Instagram and started liking my posts. I sent him several messages (usually after drinking, oops!), asking him why he did what he did and that I deserved an explanation, then eventually I told him how much he’d hurt me. He would read all of my messages yet fail to answer. About three months after that (this would be nearly a year since I’d met him), he matched with me again on a dating site… but never said a word. One of his family members was also following me on Instagram and liking my posts but would not allow me to follow his private account but would speak to me in public, another family member told me OC said that I was a “cool chick.” Total mindfuck! So, you can see how this would drive anyone batshit crazy that was still going through the stages of grief from this horrible un-breakup. It would have been easier and more forgivable to deal with an actual death.

Viewing the stages of grief this morning, I think the first stage I experienced was denial. I thought something happened and he was just dealing with it in his own way and I’d hear from him eventually. I mean, no one that spends so much time together and appears to be so close and honest just ups and leaves, right? Wrong! Plus, we’re in our 40s and he was so sweet to me, so there’s no way a man this age would do that, right? Wrong! I remember hearing a truck down my street thinking it was him coming over to talk to me. Wrong! (It was my neighbor’s truck.)

First, I think I was in the bargaining stage. I asked myself what happened? What did I do wrong? I blamed myself for doing something that I wasn’t aware that I did. It took me a long time to realize I did nothing wrong at all. I had just dated a cowardly asshole that couldn’t face the truth.

Depression was the stage that hit me immediately and didn’t go away for nearly two years. (I had been depressed about other things, but specifically this situation was different.) Again, I blamed myself. I didn’t eat for four months. I didn’t lose weight, either, because I did plenty of drinking during that time. Every time I saw him, I felt anxious to the point of a near-panic attack, then depressed, almost obsessive about it. I wanted nothing more than for him to speak to me, because I felt horrible. It didn’t help that he was liking my shit on social media, which I did eventually block him at some point.

Then came the anger. I didn’t think it was possible for me to be as angry as I’ve been for as long as I’ve been. (Perhaps middle age has something to do with it?) When I get mad about something, I stay mad for a bit, and then I’m over it. Maybe after having dates with multiple douchebags triggered something? Or maybe it’s just the stage I need to be in so that I can continue to heal?

One last incident: On New Year’s Eve, I went out with a friend to watch a band play. OC was there. The place wasn’t that crowded, and my friend and I both noticed him walking the long way around so that he passed by our table. Twice. He could have gone a shorter way away from us, but he didn’t. I’m so glad that my friend was there as a witness, because people think I make this shit up. She asked if he was trying to antagonize me. I replied, “I don’t know what he’s doing, but it’s weird!” Was he trying to get me to notice him? Fuck him. He doesn’t deserve it. The entire night I pretended I didn’t see him and kept a far distance, kept my back at him, even went to the opposite end of the bar to order drinks. And that’s when I realized I can do so much better than him.

Tomorrow I will write about the other stage of grief – acceptance.

Facebook Dating: Another Online Fail

Maybe my friends and frenemies are tired of seeing me without a significant other that makes me as unhappy as they are. Who knows, but someone talked me into trying Facebook dating, claiming it’s “better than the other sites,” and that I needed to be more open-minded. Whatever. I already know what dating sites are about, which is why I swore off of them a year ago. My synopsis is that most of the people on those sites are hiding who they really are, super desperate, super flawed, newly out of a relationship, trolls, and/or players. I want none of the above. So I tried Facebook dating and found it to be a complete waste of time, not to mention adding more to my life’s aggravation.

The first guy I matched with, “Joe”, was cool to talk to and responsive, looked normal in his photos (although I did give him shit about the bathroom mirror selfie). Responsive is something I appreciate, because if I’m going to take the time out to be on a stupid dating app, I don’t want to wait four days for a reply to “where are you from originally?” And another week for another reply. Joe isn’t from my area originally, which I prefer, but moved to Florida about a year ago. After chatting enough with Joe, I asked if he’d like to meet. That’s when he informed me he did not have transportation. Say what?! Yep, Joe’s story started to make a lot more sense after that bit of information. He’d left a long-term relationship and his children in another state a year prior, but doesn’t talk much about that. He’s “building a business” but working for someone else, relying on his boss to drive him around, left all of his crap (vehicle included) in the other state. I informed Joe that I wasn’t looking for a penpal, and what was he expecting by not having a vehicle? Seriously, dude, wtf??? Joe danced around his words and said he would figure it out. Sorry, Joe Schmoe, get your shit together if you’re over 40 want to date a decent woman! If I wanted to dodge bullets, I’d have stayed in the army! Delete.

Next guy that “liked me” is someone I met and went on a very brief one-time-only date about six years ago when I was newly separated. Six years ago, “Harry” was a firefighter and too touchy-feely for someone I had just met. He had a 5-o’clock-shadow as hard as boar bristle, and he tried sticking his tongue in my mouth, and just… eww. I was sooo not into him. He got offended when I told him to slow it down, that we’d just met. Then a few days later, he actually got mad at me for not being into him, as if I should fall in love before I even file for divorce. Dumbass. Anyway, when I saw that Harry liked me again, I sent him a message reminding him we’d already dated, and didn’t he remember me? He said he remembered that I liked his roommate better. I don’t recall that, maybe I thought the roommate would save me from boar-bristle, tongue-jabbing Harry. I wasn’t about to argue with Harry, so I deleted him.

I matched with a few other guys that were mostly unresponsive, and I’m not chasing after any man, especially if they show no interest. But then there was “Max,” claiming to be “an extremely bashful old soul.”

I really liked what Max had to say in his profile, has been single for nearly as long as I have (which is unheard of), and he was good looking. But I found it difficult to communicate with Max. He was also working a lot “building his business”. I asked him why he’s on a dating site if he’s too busy to date. I should have given up on him after this comment, but he said he’s hoping that he will find a woman that sticks around and understands he has to work a lot, and later she will reap the rewards. Say what?! What kind of fucking fantasy are these men living in? I told him that if he expects he’s going to find a woman to sit back and wait around for him, he’s certainly missing the point of dating, and what is he really expecting, because people have emotional needs? You can’t get to know someone that’s never around, and if he isn’t around, a woman will find someone that is. I was brutally honest with him, because of his claim of being single for so long. I mean, someone has to tell him, right?

Max finally started messaging me a little more consistently. After two weeks of this, I said, “Hey, I don’t want a penpal, and I want to delete this app soon. Do you want to meet?” He mentioned on Wednesday something about getting sushi on Saturday night. It wasn’t a set date, but a suggestion… and it appeased me for the moment.

And then I didn’t hear from Max.

Saturday rolled around, still no messages from Max. However, Max had enough time to post new photos and update his profile. Really… I said, “I see you updated your photos,” and I reminded him I was about to delete my profile in case he still wanted to meet. He replied that he was “bored at work” adding more pics and info, but never replied to my other message about meeting. Why I bothered to give him a chance after that, I don’t know, but I said, “I see you didn’t reply to my other message. I get it, but if you’re not interested in meeting, why would you match with me? Good luck with your search.” I gave him ample time to reply with something, anything… even a “good luck” back. Crickets.

No reply = fuck you, Max! Fuck you for wasting my time and giving me a glimmer of hope for conversation and sushi on a Saturday night. Game-playing asshole!

I gladly deleted my profile the next morning. I prefer to meet people organically so that I can pick up on their vibes and bullshit immediately before wasting time messaging those who are “too busy” for anything. Facebook dating is a fail, just like all of the others!

Living Without a Purpose

It’s days like today I wish I’d been an abortion and wonder why in the hell I’m even on this planet. It’s also days like today that remind me of why I refuse to own a gun or glad I don’t have a gas oven. Oftentimes, it’s the people that you love the most that remind you that your purpose in life is unclear and nothing you do is important or good enough, no matter how good your intentions are, especially when already deeply depressed.

I realize that it’s been a long time since I felt I had a sense of purpose. How long? I cannot even remember, but maybe ten years or more. That was a time when I was married and had my home business. I would get up every morning and write or do other work, take care of household chores and pets, and deal with a teenager. I suppose having a relationship (that helped with financial stability) and a child at home helped me to feel a sense of purpose as well, made me feel like I mattered to someone, even if it was only for cooking and cleaning and being there when someone needed me. Plus, I was happy with the work I was doing. It was the time when I wrote my first book, wrote screenplays, and had articles and photography published in various places. I often feel like that was the shining moment in my life, and I won’t get it back or see it again. Although I would love for it to happen again, I also feel that I would be chasing unicorn dreams instead of facing reality.

Another time I felt a sense of purpose was about 19 years ago. Since I was a child, I wanted to be just like the teachers that I looked up to, so I became a teacher. I started out truly enjoying what I did, even though it was stressful. I quickly realized I was not going to make the cut of one of those “great teachers,” because I had too many personal responsibilities that wouldn’t allow me to focus solely on my career. Then things changed dramatically in our flawed American public education system, and teaching was no longer rewarding. I went to work every day feeling dread, came home feeling unappreciated and overworked. Health issues started when I was at my last teaching job; the amount of stress put me in the hospital, which of course caused more financial stress. I realized that I had to move on to another field if I wanted to keep my sanity and health.

Shortly after my divorce, I found a job working for a new company that seemed promising, so I thought maybe this is where I’m needed in life, and just maybe I could build from there. The starting pay was terrible, however, the hours were what I wanted, and I was told things would change financially within a few months. The only thing that changed was financially worse and discovering I was working for people running a scam, and their business (not surprisingly) went under.

A couple of years ago, even though the pay was pathetic and nearly minimum wage, I became a home health aide, thinking that maybe it would be rewarding, because I’d be helping someone in need. Anyone that has worked in this field quickly finds out that family members of the people you take care of and spend hours and hours with don’t always appreciate the work you do, even when you do extra things not required. In fact, they start expecting more, and no matter what, you don’t get paid more. The only thing it did was make me more depressed than I already was, because not only did clients pass away, I was sitting around in someone else’s house all day and/or cleaning it and taking care of the family’s large, annoying dogs that were another job in itself.

There are many days I wake up eager for night to fall again just so that I can go back to sleep. I don’t want to look at or speak to anyone or leave the house. When I’m not feeling well physically, like I have been lately, it exacerbates the depression. I do my best to force myself to either write or do artwork or at least clean the house or a closet or something to get myself moving. It’s a daily struggle, and it has been for years, and no one that hasn’t been through it will ever understand what it’s like to wake up every single day without a purpose or feeling that you matter in the world.

PTSD Triggers and Losing My Sh*t

I have never been kicked out of a place before, but  that changed the other night, and I am not the type of person to lose my shit like that. I will leave a place before I lose my cool, so I am surprised at myself, actually. It wasn’t expected, but there were three things going on all at once that triggered PTSD.

Here’s a little backstory on something that happened recently: I had seen OC out a couple of times with the woman he’s dating. I didn’t think it bothered me; perhaps I suppressed my feelings, but my feelings weren’t towards them. My feelings were about how I felt when he ghosted me, and for whatever reason, those feelings came back in full force, as if it had happened all over again. I didn’t eat or sleep well for about a week, and I had that same knot like I’d been kicked in the stomach that I had two and a half years ago. I don’t understand why I had these feelings except maybe the stress and depression around the holidays also triggered something else that I have yet to deal with.

OC’s girlfriend happens to be a bartender at a place I sometimes go. I think she’s a nice person, and I never have problems with anyone. I happened to be there when she was working, and there were cute puppy videos on the tv we were watching. She then showed me a pic of her dog and said something about her boyfriend of six months (surprised he lasted that long with anyone). Then we got onto the subject of the boyfriend (OC). I told her I had dated him, wish I’d never met him, said I think he’s sneaky and a liar and filled her in on my side of the story. I don’t think she knew he and I dated. I told her I hope she breaks his heart. I wish nothing bad on her whatsoever, but perhaps she is also avoiding the red flags and warning signs that I had.

In the meantime, someone else walked into that bar that I hadn’t seen in quite some time, and it set off another trigger. I don’t know what happened, but my mind just shut down at some point. I was still talking to the bartender when someone else that knows nothing about me piped in and started talking shit to me about me. First of all, I’m not going to let anyone talk shit to me, especially when they don’t even know me enough to attend my funeral. This is a person that has zero room to talk, but I suspect she gets her information about me from a frenemy, so that’s when I lost my shit. I told her to fuck off, told her to shut the fuck up, called her a stupid fucking cunt, and at some point I don’t remember what else I said. I must have been blackout angry by that point. Actually, I was yelling, which is something I never do unless I have just had enough. It’s been a long time since I’ve yelled at anyone. Maybe it’s what I needed before I exploded inside.

Between PTSD triggers, anger, and alcohol, that was it for me. I was told to leave the bar, which I was attempting to do at that point anyway, and I was getting up to leave and gathering my things. I think they thought I was going to physically attack her (I’m not a fighter), so I was grabbed and pushed out. Not a loss, actually, because it’s the place that I feel a lot of the douchebags I’ve written about here hang out; I just like the music there.

I have never dealt with certain things that have happened to me, because I find it difficult to talk about and blame myself for a lot of it. Now that I’ve identified a trigger or three, maybe I can begin to work with it in my next counseling session.

New Year Not As Planned

So far, my new year hasn’t gone as planned whatsoever. I was attempting to focus on healing physically and emotionally, and I was determined to get it right this time. I’ve started working out again – yoga, long walks, and my first bike ride in months.

On New Year’s Day, I was recovering from lack of sleep, taking it easy and getting some work done on my laptop. A “friend” stopped by after drinking a bottle of vodka (I wasn’t aware at the time how much) and got on my nerves like most drunks do before she passed out while I babysat her. I had some cards and a book by Shannon Kaiser that I wanted to work with, and when I showed her, she laughed. I was not amused, and I sent her home. I don’t need anyone getting in my way of my healing/recovery. I just want to be happy, because being depressed is no way to feel.

Same friend also talked me into trying Facebook dating, which has also been a waste of time like all of the dating sites. One match has no vehicle. Another one has no time. What the fuck. Why be on there? I don’t need a penpal. Said friend tells me I need to be more open minded about meeting men. Just because she matches with a shit ton of men doesn’t mean I’m closed minded about who I meet. I’m just careful, I have standards about spending quality time with quality people, and I’m not looking to date multiple men. It would be nice to find just one with an actual brain (and a vehicle), but I’m not holding my breath.

I have an upper respiratory/cold that started just around New Year’s Eve and has gotten progressively worse. Last night I was up coughing most of the night, which of course, disturbed my much needed sleep, which caused me to sleep later, and I missed important phone calls from my doctor. The other day I had some pain and bleeding as if I’d started my period, even though I no longer have a uterus. So now I have another doctor’s appointment to see what’s going on, and I’m afraid I’m going to need yet another surgery. I don’t start another job for at least 3 more weeks, but if I have to have another surgery, I won’t be going.

The other night, I was talked into going out, even though I told myself I would stay in. I should have listened to myself instead of other people, but I figured it was the weekend and just one more time out before I start a new week. My ride left, and when I went to take an Uber, my phone completely died on me. No one was around, and it was late, and I ended up walking five miles to my house.

I realize I need to completely change my circle of friends and my habits if I want to heal properly. Since the holidays, I drank way too much alcohol, and I need to find alternative things to do, even if I do it alone, because ultimately I’m alone anyway. A healthier lifestyle is what I want for myself, which means I need to find people that are like-minded.

End of Year Brain Dump 2019

I’ve been struggling a lot emotionally lately. I don’t know if it’s the holidays or a combination of things that have kicked in, things that have triggered PTSD, anxiety, and depression back full force, causing me to lose sleep and lose my appetite again. I seemed to have been doing fine up until about a month ago. I need to get back to counseling, but I don’t have my next appointment until the end of January.

What changed? Some of my habits changed. Since the holidays are here, I’ve been going out more, which means drinking more, which has brought up some suppressed feelings about things I wasn’t ready to deal with before. Suddenly, I’m aware of things that I don’t want to think about, but I’m unsure what to do with these feelings.

Major anxiety and depression has my mind going back and forth, creating stories that don’t exist (this is where I need to put them into a fiction story just to get it out), and I can’t focus on anything. I haven’t been this bad in two years. My appetite has changed. I don’t have much of one, and I don’t know if it’s due to stress (I tend to not eat when I’m stressed) or other things that I’m allowing to bother me. Perhaps it’s hormonal, but I don’t think this is.

Holidays. Parts of my family do not get along or speak to each other anymore, which makes it difficult on everyone trying to get together. It also makes it sad for the rest of us. Being single once again during the holidays is also taxing, kicking in reminders of how our society views women as failures for being single at all.

All of this reminds me of when I was a senior in high school when my first boyfriend cheated on me and dumped me without telling me. I was devastated. I have that same gut anxiety feeling right now. I remember then that I couldn’t eat and couldn’t sleep, but I rode my bike a lot just to let out some physical angst. The only thing different is that I’m in my 40s, haven’t been working out, and I have more life experience. So why is this awful feeling coming back? Triggers.

I suppose I need to learn to recognize what really triggers all of this, but I’m thinking it probably has a lot to do with abandonment issues and feelings of lack of love and trust from people that I’ve loved and I thought loved me, too. At this point, do I even know what love is, because what I thought was love apparently was not. Hmmm….