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Elizabeth Brockway
Elizabeth Brockway

I Was Ghosted ... Twice!!!

The emotions linger — including the nagging feeling of wondering what went wrong. 

The first time I was ghosted, “ghosting” wasn’t even part of our everyday lexicon. I might have gotten dumped, ignored or left out. But the newer term ghosting is so precise and accurate to describe those times in life when someone we are in a relationship with — platonic or romantic — suddenly, without notice or reason, departs abruptly from our lives. 

My first ghosting: I was so excited when Joe called me that Christmas Eve in 2000. Both single parents, we met at our children’s school. After the phone conversation, in which we really clicked, he asked me to dinner. Although the evening didn’t see sparks fly, it was truly a lovely time. He called several more times and invited me to his home for dinner. Once again, I accepted and we continued, or at least I thought, to get along and progress in our relationship. Until we didn’t. The phone stopped ringing.

The invites stopped coming. When I reached out to him to find out what went wrong, he’d ignore my calls. I called several times pleading to know something, anything. I even reached out to mutual friends; they were equally confused. The unsettling discomfort of not knowing what happened or if I did anything wrong was overwhelming. 

Did I say or do something wrong? Not say or do something? I pleaded with him to be honest with me, but he simply vanished. I never heard from him again. Ghosting is cruel. Not only is it sad to lose a relationship of any kind, but also not knowing what ended it is torture. I was left utterly and completely baffled. I wracked my brain trying to think what I might have done, but came up empty-handed. So, I mourned the loss of a burgeoning friendship while simultaneously having no closure to it.

The second time I was ghosted — which apparently is also called “simmering” or “icing” — was about two years ago. I worked with Eileen at not one, but ironically two places of employment. We were work friends as well as outside-of-work friends, and stayed in frequent touch when our career paths parted. This time the ghosting came in the form of sudden unreturned calls and texts. After several attempts to connect with her, it was clear something was very wrong. Again, I played out every scenario and every conversation we’d had recently, trying to find a clue as to why she was doing this.

Also, again — nothing. Once, when I directly asked why she was ghosting me, she did reply, insisting she wasn’t doing that, but that she was just very busy. That last contact was two years ago. I see her interactions with others on social media, and I’m left with an empty feeling in the pit of my stomach. What did I do so wrong that not only I can’t even pinpoint, but also caused her to end a fairly long and connected friendship?

This time the ghosting hurt more than it did the first time. For one, I had at least 10 years invested in this friendship. Heck, I even went to her wedding. Second, because this now happened twice I began to think there was something wrong with me.

According to verywellmind.com, one of the reasons ghosting occurs is because it’s simply “the easy way out.” There is no awkward sharing of feelings. Bree Jenkins, a licensed marriage and family therapist, explains, “It’s almost like sudden loss [or] grief, especially the first time you’ve ever been ghosted. You are shocked, and you’re in denial, thinking things such as ‘maybe they didn’t see my text.’ Then you feel anger. Next, the feelings of depression [can] kick in along with feelings of poor self-esteem as you mentally reexamine your relationship and last conversation for possible warning signs.”

And while my two ghosters went *poof* into thin air, I forgive them. But honestly, the emotions linger — including the nagging feeling of wondering what went wrong. Unfortunately, I guess I'll never know.

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