Dating in my 20s…
Was not fun and learning about ghosting was a rude awakening. I was in a relationship from the age of 18-23. This man was a wonderful person and in so many ways, an amazing fit for me. He was ambitious, attractive, emotionally secure and financially stable. Yet, when I was 23 and he was 27, he started to discuss marriage and suggested I forgo graduate school and get a job. It was a conversation that angered me at the time. Shortly after, I broke up with him and moved to Manhattan. I simply could not see myself married with 4 children by the age of 30.
Up until this point, my relationship history was, for the most part, pretty drama free. There was one exception of a high school boyfriend who was a hot mess but most of the young men I interacted with, including my long-term relationship were great guys. I didn’t appreciate these great guys (aka emotionally secure) until many years later. When I moved to NYC, I started dating again around the age of 25. The crap my girlfriends and I dealt with at the dawn of the online dating age is not what I hear my clients talk about now. We didn’t have terms for the “bad’ behavior but we all certainly experienced “ghosting.”
“The real magic in relationships is the absence of judgment in others” – Wayne Dyer
An Early Experience with “Ghosting”
When our dates simply seemed to vanish out of thin air, we just referred to them as an a**hole. We didn’t have a term for their behavior but it didn’t mean we were any less pissed off than people are in the present moment. I remember meeting a somewhat sexy international gentleman around this time who was traveling back and forth between NYC and another city. I believe he was originally from Canada and was working in something related to luxury sales. To this day, I honestly do not remember how many dates we had been on but it wasn’t more than 6 weeks worth of dating but he was one of the first to pull this ghosting nonsense.
What I DO remember is that at the time, I really liked him. Yet, I was naive and coming out of a 5.5-year relationship at such a young age did not prepare me to handle difficulties in communication. One of the few things I do remember is talking to my roommate in my kitchen after making him dinner, indicating how much I liked him (we must have been on a number of dates if he met my roommate!) He stayed over that night, and while it was not the first time we slept together, it was completely awkward and not super enjoyable for me. I assumed that we would have a conversation about it sometime soon but instead, I simply never heard from him again…well until…
He Reappeared Multiple Times over a Span of Years
I remember moving to the west coast and receiving a LinkedIn message asking how I was doing. At that time, I don’t think I even remembered who he was and I ignored the request to re-connect. This happened a couple of more times. After the third time, I politely responded to the message. He wished me luck and I thought nothing about it until I moved back to New York.
He Messaged Me For my Book Launch
As part of any book launch or getting a new project off the ground, you are always pooling your contacts. I pooled my LinkedIn contacts and of course, an announcement message was sent to this man. What I received back was nothing short of a warm, adult and polite email wishing me the best of luck. Could it be that he feels bad all these years or that his memory of what happened was completely different than mine? Or could it be with age we all mature and learn to communicate better? Or is it now that I am achieving some success in my career he is interested again making his intentions less about me and more about him and his own business development?
What I’ve learned so far from this experience is that I am proud that I have rarely, if ever, retaliated against men who did stupid things or dropped off the face of the earth. I am proud that I have always been able to walk away and NOT CHASE THEM. I am pleased that the image or impression that I am projecting to the world is of a strong, successful woman. Had I made the choice to enact my anger and send a crazy slew of text messages, we certainly wouldn’t be in a situation where it was possible to reconnect.
Why I Said Yes to a Glass of Wine
That’s right. I made the choice to reconnect instead of telling him to f*ck off. I’m choosing to be more Gabby Bernstein and see this situation as an opportunity to heal, to learn, and to listen. It is also the RIGHT BUSINESS MOVE to always be connecting and reconnecting with people and see where they are in their own life, their own business, and to reassess what type of contact they are at this moment in time. I’m not saying I would be so open if he did things back then to maliciously hurt me but I think I’ve learned from my own personal life and from my clients how much poor communication there is in the dating scene. It is wise to reassess rather than avoid. Does this mean that I ignore my intuition? NO. If my gut told me to run the other way, I would listen but it told me to accept the offer to reconnect.
Lessons Learned: What to Do When you are Ghosted
You may follow up once but if the person is not communicating with you, move on as a classy person. Do whatever you need to heal yourself but do not expect others to give you closure. You are in control of how to respond to negative events and I do believe that the Universe forces situations (often over and over again if you’re stubborn) to force you to grow and heal. Sometimes the person is blowing hot and cold and driving you crazy, but this could be a sign most ignore that a ghosting is coming. People who ghost can range from simply being anxious and stuck in their head to being rampant narcissist’s who are simply looking to use your contacts. Or sometimes that person is not in a place to give you what you want and they think the classy thing to do is disappear. It is often a gift that you are not ready to receive.
Many men default to ghosting because they realize they cannot make you happy and simply do not know how to handle those emotions.
If you take care of yourself and do not retaliate, you have the opportunity years later to reconnect and grow your business. In this situation I was able to sell a book but who knows what other opportunities there may be if it is a good time for us to be in touch. Forgiveness and your self-healing will help you assess all of these situations in a healthier manner and possibly help you grow your brand or your business faster with more support.
What Happens Next?
When you are the one who has remained classy, you are in control. I’ll update you on what happens after we reconnect. I am guessing that this gentleman is married or in a relationship and is simply reaching out in a business context – but according to John Gray, you never know what you’re old dates are up to and who may help you find the person you are meant to be with. It is also a wonderful way to keep your seductive energy going while you are building a business or your love life.
“I am willing to see things differently. I am willing to see love.” – Gabby Bernstein
I have to say that making the choice to listen to my intuition and meet with this man was a good one. Not only did he want to reconnect, we discussed what happened and he apologized for not being more available. We discussed our lives and overall it was a pleasant experience. It was also interesting simply seeing how one’s body reacts when it remembers a connection with someone in the past. It was a wonderful reminder of why we all need to pay attention more to our intuition and our bodies. He’s an overall great man who did some ridiculous things when he was younger and took responsibility for them. I am grateful that I allowed myself to have such a wonderful opportunity.
Dr. Jennifer Rhodes
Licensed Psychologist and Founder of Rapport Relationships
Dr. Jennifer Rhodes is a relationship expert and licensed psychologist. She provides dating strategy, consultation, and date coaching services to clients all over the world. Dr. Rhodes is a frequently sought media expert on the topics of seduction, sensuality, dating, divorce, and relationships. In addition to Rapport Relationships, Dr. Rhodes is the founder of Visual Arts Reimagined (VAR) where she provides services to visual artists interested in entrepreneurship and leadership.