My boyfriend ghosted me when I needed him most.
Their status says online but your message remains unread.
No matter how many times you check your phone, no acknowledgement, no reply. Hours go by, then days; still, no reply. In an ever-fading optimism, you refresh the screen and check again; they’re still online and there’s still nothing.
That familiar feeling of dread in the pit of your stomach starts to rise as you realize it’s happening again.
The bile of another rejection rises up as they fade without a trace into the night. No explanation, no closure, just another ghost.
I have been ghosted so many times, I’m starting to wonder if it’s a date I need or a full-blown séance. Like a thirty-something Miss Havisham, trudging through life tied down with the digital ghosts of dating past.
Out of 34 people that answered my poll across social media, 68% had been ghosted. Those that answered yes, described feeling “embarrassed,” “worthless,” and “pathetic;” and I can resonate with every single one of these feelings.
The difference is I feel this every other week, and the person ghosting me isn’t some random tinder match or a casual date; it’s my (on/off) boyfriend of three years.
And it never gets easier.
For the last few years, whenever there has been any trouble in our relationship—which is always—he blocks contact from me on everything. I’m resorted to sending emails, which even then end up in a spam folder somewhere, probably. It’s heart-breaking and it’s hurtful, and every single time I end up looking and feeling like a psychopath trying to get him to respond to me.
When things are good, they are really good. It’s almost like a form of abuse, reeling me in, making me feel loved and visible, then completely erasing me within a matter of minutes, hours, or days. Half of our relationship I’ve stared at that little grey blocked figurine, so much so that I think I have more in common with the icon than the blocker behind it.
From the teary love notes to threats about moving on and burning his stuff, to pictures of us happy, to stupid quotes I’ve found online; I will literally go to any lengths to get his attention. The few times I haven’t chased him, he’s come crawling back; but I can’t seem to learn my lesson, and neither does he.
He promises he won’t do it, then does it in a heartbeat. It doesn’t last for just a few hours, it can last for weeks. It’s soul destroying.
We are stuck on this merry-go-ghost that keeps rotating both of us back into a whirlpool of bad habits. No matter how much motion sickness we get from this ride, we can’t seem to get off.
Recently, I’ve noticed how sick the patterns are, and I really want to ghost my ghoster once and for all.
I have Rapid Cycling Bipolar, and the stress of someone you love tossing you aside so frequently and without any warning is enough to make anyone lose the plot, let alone someone who already feels worthless and has low self-esteem.
Last week I suffered a major relapse in my mental health, spending most the week in bed, checking my phone over and over, refreshing emails; hoping that this person—who I really needed—could put aside petty nonsense and be there for me.
But he wasn’t. He never is. Not even in those darkest moments when I am begging for him to be. I spent a week in pain, hurting myself more by daring to hope things would be different.
They never are.
My boyfriend ghosted me when I needed him most.
What I hate most about being ghosted is that hollow feeling. The disbelief that someone who you care deeply about can just throw you away like you mean nothing, and try to delete your very existence.
It becomes an obsession, almost a game trying to get back in touch. I’m walking my dog thinking of replies I will send when he unblocks me. I’m trying to sleep when I dream up an excuse to message again. And I’m crying, I’m angry, I’m numb and I’m tired, over and over again.
Its like grieving for someone who suddenly rises from the grave. Mourning a relationship, and just before the coffin has been lowered to the ground, the corpse jumps out alive and apologetic. It’s being stuck in limbo, existing between two worlds, the living and the dead; hanging on for dear life and unable to move on.
It wasn’t until I witnessed my mother and one of my friends go through a similar situation with guys they barely even knew, that I realized how toxic and heartless the act of ghosting is. I recognized the patterns, watched the hope fade, watched them question what they had done wrong and beat themselves up.
And I realized the anger I felt for them, I should be feeling for myself too. Sitting there telling them they’re worth more than these idiots, whilst I’m being perpetually haunted by the same idiot was just a little too hypocritical for my liking. I’m going to listen to the advice that I gave my mother, and realise that it is not okay to continue letting someone treat me this way.
It is okay to not want to continue things with somebody. It’s ok to break up or need space. But it is NEVER okay to toy with someone’s feelings, and cut them off without explanation.
It is NEVER okay to string someone along when it suits you; whether it is a stranger, a friend, or a long-term partner.
Ghosting is the ultimate disrespect, and you and me, we deserve more than that.