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!

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.

Gaslight Guy is a Fake

It was recently confirmed that I was right about the guy that I thought had been gaslighting me a while back. Being a small town, I’ve run into him a few times with friends, and we’re cordial, but we never hang out as friends ourselves. Now I have a new friend that used to be his friend. I’ll just call her Megan.

Megan was very close with Gaslight guy, not in a dating sense, but as in very good friends. Eventually, Gaslight’s true colors came out, and he began treating Megan like shit. Without going into too much detail on her end, I related my experience with Gaslight. Sure enough, I was correct the whole time. What he says and what he does are two different things. How he puts himself out there on social media and dating sites is in direct contrast to who he is at home. Not a surprise, however.

While we were still chatting, I had called Gaslight out on his constant “liking” of scantily clad Barbie doll type of women on social media. For a man in his 40s, it seemed excessive, and it also made it seem like he was constantly on his phone. I had thought to myself, if that’s what he likes, I can’t live up to that. He denied it. He denied everything I had called him out on. However, Megan confirmed that’s exactly what she’d witnessed firsthand. In person.

Another thing I had noticed on Gaslight’s dating and social media accounts, he claimed to like doing certain activities that he in fact doesn’t do at all. Prior to all of this, I had suggested things for us to do, but he always had some excuse. (Maybe I just wasn’t too Barbie enough for him.) But Megan confirmed he does NONE of those things, that he’s actually quite boring and besides going to work, spends most of his time on his phone (liking women on social media, I presume). That was kind of surprising to me, because except for the gaslighting, I didn’t expect him to be a complete fake.

I guess part of the gaslighting from my childhood is still ingrained in me – that I was always imagining things that were actually right there in my face, because I still sometimes find myself doubting what I think. Whatever the case, I’m glad to know that I was right about Gaslight guy. That I’m not crazy. That my intuition and feelings and my observations are spot on, no matter what these assholes try to say.

Giving Second Chances Makes Me a Fool

I’m not usually one to give second chances, because most of the time, someone pisses me off so much I want nothing to do with them. I saw Toe Ring on Bumble again a couple of weeks ago and swiped right for the hell of it. We matched. He said he would like to try again and asked me out for lunch. I thought that sounded fine.

Lunch was great, but it ended up being a day drinking fest, which is something I hadn’t done in a long time. We ended up having dinner also, hopping around town to different restaurants and a brewery. By the time we got to the brewery, my memory was foggy, but Toe Ring decided to use the bathroom and it seemed to take him a while to come back. He was talking to (flirting with?) some other women playing a game. Then he proceeded to attempt to make out with me at the bar, which is a huge no-no for me. My bartender friend said he was a drunk hot mess, and he told me to run. All I remembered the next morning was that we had a really fun time.

A week later, I was meeting my friend for a cocktail and appetizer. Toe Ring was nearby, and I invited him to say hello. Plus, I thought it would give me an opportunity to get a friend’s perspective. He showed up pretty tipsy. Here we go again, I thought. He offered to buy a round of drinks and then sat there talking to my friend the entire time. I had to leave to go to a family event, which he already knew, but invited me out for sushi. I said I would, but I have to do this thing that I already told you about. So what did he do? After letting me pay my own tab, he asked my friend out instead. She was coming with me, so that wasn’t going to happen. I thought that was a shitty thing to do.

My friend and I both agreed it was rude of him. But Toe Ring thought he was being nice. I said you think asking my friend out on a sushi date in front of me is being nice? Because it’s pretty disrespectful. Not to mention you let me pay my own tab. He reminded me that he paid the tab the weekend before. Well, if you’re going to ask me out on a date, be prepared to pay the damn tab! 

Later that night he was texting me some drunk gibberish that wasn’t making sense. Basically he wanted me to come over, but clearly he was wasted. The following day I went off on him about his rudeness of asking my friend out. That’s when he said he was just trying to be nice. Then he said I should have just showed up to his house, which is something I don’t do anyway. So I reminded him how he cannot properly communicate, and he “liked” my comment. I told him that it’s obvious he’s not that into me. He never said anything about that and I have barely heard from him since.

I don’t know why I gave Toe Ring a second chance. I don’t know what it is I like about him, because clearly he doesn’t like me very much. My next therapy session is next week….

And Then I’ve Had Some Good Dates…

I know I’ve only been posting about my dates from hell, but I have actually had some pretty good dates over the years. However, most of those had no chemistry on my part. Obviously, I had three months of great dates AND chemistry with OC, so that bar has been set to only find good dates that also have chemistry.

Years ago before I was married, I had a good date with a doctor, but there was no chemistry. Same goes for another date to a Renaissance faire and again to dinner but no chemistry. I’ve even had friends with benefits types of dates in the past that were a lot of fun. Today, I remain friends with many of these guys. And obviously I had some great dates with the person I was with for nearly 10 years. I had a pretty good first date with Computer Guy until he got weird and insisted he only wanted a relationship not a friendship. I had another good first and last date with someone our acquaintance set me up with… and again, no chemistry on my part, and I didn’t think we had that much in common.

I have also had some other great dates with good food and drinks and conversation. The most recent was with a man originally from California that is a few years older than me and super accommodating. We spoke on the phone for several hours until late morning over three nights. I really enjoyed talking to him; he was a good listener and a genuinely sweet person. Cali drove an hour to meet me for dinner at a really nice restaurant. When I arrived, he had flowers waiting. Our meal was amazing, and the date went very well. I wanted to have that chemistry, but no matter how hard I wanted to, I wasn’t feeling it. I don’t know what was holding me back; maybe it was lack of chemistry, maybe it was intuition of something I haven’t figured out yet. Or maybe it was because he looked so much like someone else I’d briefly dated (they even drive the same car!). And that really sucks, because Cali would probably make a great boyfriend for someone. I knew he could tell that I wasn’t into him as he was to me. But I am not sure if I could develop something more over time if we remain friends and get to know each other more than just over the phone. I think he may be like Needy Guy and only wanting an immediate relationship, whereas I’m all about taking things slow.

I know Cali wants more than just a friendship, and so do I, but I think a relationship really needs to start off as a friendship to begin with – chemistry or not. I can’t just rush into a situation like I have in the past. And there are things about Cali that really do melt my heart, but I can’t allow that to be my reason for going forward with a relationship. Looking back, it’s exactly how I ended up married to a person I basically had nothing in common with and no chemistry (who was also very needy).

I want a man that both makes my heart melt AND my panties wet!

Also, I think that just because I can hold a conversation for hours with certain people doesn’t necessarily mean we’re meant for each other in a romantic way. Obviously, being able to communicate in any relationship is a must for anything to last. But it seems like a lot of men confuse the fact that just because I’m nice that I’m automatically into them. Cali kept mentioning how close he felt to me by our conversations, and I truly appreciate that. However, I have had conversations with several people throughout my life that were just as good and just as long without having a romantic relationship.

So what now? I think I’m at least getting somewhere by raising the bar for what I want and what I’m not going to tolerate. I have been extremely flexible (too flexible!) in dating people that don’t make my “list” of things, which turned out to be disastrous. But I know one thing is for certain – the mental (which to me includes intellectual and emotional), spiritual, and physical ALL have to be included in my next one. It often seems impossible.