Caught in a storm of emotions, it’s easier to vanish
I don’t pine for this woman, not now. I’ve moved on and accepted that it was nothing more than a wildly romantic, sensual, explosive, tender, and psychological meeting. But in retrospect, it was much deeper than she gave it credit for, deeper than say, two people getting drunk to let off some “steam” in the bedroom.
I recall after the lovemaking, our fingers tracing the contours of each other’s faces in the wan morning light. There was an undeniable tenderness we shared: kisses fluttered like butterflies over each other’s faces, eyelids, foreheads. I whispered, “I haven’t felt something like this in years.” And I meant it. She replied, “Me too.”
I detected no act in her voice, no lie. It was a voice that almost broke as if she were on the verge of tears. Then we slept—correction, she slept, and much to my surprise, she held my hand all night. At the time I remember thinking her clasp was a little too tight—there was a kind of desperation to her firm grip as if it intimacy were a rare bird and she had to grab hold of it before it shot away from her, destined for someone perhaps more deserving.
I don’t blame ghosters for their sudden disappearing acts, not really. Emotions are hefty, lumbering beasts that we often fail to understand. And how are we expected to grasp the complex emotions of another human being when we are so often wrestling with our demons?
Our hearts may feel one way, but often our heads are leading us in the other direction. We can easily overanalyze and overthink what should be a simple emotional exchange. In this regard, ghosting makes total sense — the choice to turn our tails and run, bury those feelings deep down and move on. Forget. Emotional avoidance at the expense of our hearts.
We’re too smart to let our hearts decide
Once upon a time, when people lived relatively simpler lives and social media didn’t exist, people met, fell in love and for the most part, they kinda went with it. It was a world of fewer distractions, even online dating was rare. Today we are presented with endless choices and distractions. It was Bryan Davis who said, “Too much information will make your brain choke.”
The problem with living in an Information Age is that it can pollute the mystery and magic between two people. It’s as if our smartphones are nudging us to constantly prove our intelligence, or parade (and glorify) our past experiences while placing ridiculously high expectations on others to tick boxes that never used to exist. We’ve grown too smart for our own good, or more to the point, we’ve allowed our media laden society to influence our decision making.
“We live in a world where there is more and more information, and less and less meaning.” — Jean Baudrillard
If we live in a world of too much information and less meaning, then don’t we owe it to ourselves to seek out deeper connections and more meaning? I have always found human connections to be relatively straightforward — you meet someone and you make your own judgment based on personal feelings, physical appeal, and personality. It is when our actions become influenced by misinformation, social trends, and technology, we run into problems.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m no Luddite. Social media was always destined to happen eventually, and society will always be shaped by technological advancements. But we should be mindful of what we deem socially acceptable, such as ghosting — it may be easy to do, given the power is literally in your hands, but just because you can doesn’t mean you should.
Communication is about personal values
Imagine a world where people took more responsibility for the way they communicated and were more courageous with their emotions. It would be nice but sorry, it’s never going to happen. This is why I make the point of thinking for yourself, otherwise, you are giving in to fear, or unhealthy social “norms” like ghosting.
It’s harder to face the emotional monster staring back at us, causing us to ask questions of the soul, the heart, our very existence. It’s easier to simply hit block on your phone and wipe that monster from the face of the earth. But I’ve found nothing good ever really comes from the easy way out.
The woman I dated last year blocked and ghosted me in the end because, and I can only speculate, I believe I exuded certain vulnerabilities and sensitivities, as to say—I started getting a little attached. I hadn’t been in a relationship in almost five years and my heart leaped out of my chest before I realized what was happening. I didn’t act crazy or anything, I was just a little overzealous, and I believe she recognized my excitement and fled. Her choice was to not communicate this to me, to ghost me, leaving me with nothing but speculation and a great big puzzle piece in my heart.
I believe my article about ghosting has become widely read because people are still looking for an answer to this seemingly mysterious cultural phenomenon. But here’s the punchline: it’s not a mystery, it’s just a choice. Only you can decide what kind of person you want to be. If you’re a person with high standards then that’s great, but if you fail to communicate effectively with others then you are avoiding some key values and customs that your grandparents taught your parents for a good reason — because a life without responsibility is a vacuous one, a lonely highway. And unless you can hold true to some old traditions, like having the courtesy to say, “Sorry, not interested,” then you may not know which road to take when you reach the crossroads.