I was a serial ghoster, let me explain why …
It’s not my fault, I don’t think, that there was a time when I chose my own well being above everyone else’s. I mean, that’s what growing up is really about, right? Making sure your path is a clean one while sweeping life’s dander across to the next?
So, I admit: I used to ghost women. I was good at it. In my earlier years, I couldn’t help but be a serial dater — albeit a reckless and terribly naïve one, driven by a simple goal of "getting my kicks in before the whole shithouse goes up in flames." It was easy. And it was a far more fulfilling of a venture than trying to wrestle with my own personal demons while attempting to build a worthwhile relationship with someone else’s.
Being anywhere in your 20s isn’t a time for meaningful anythings. At least they weren’t for me, because tying down I felt (and to some extent still feel) as a burden, it’s a death sentence for youth. It’s extremely fucking difficult, too. So flying around chasing whims, it was a much easier path to take. Impulsivity is simple.
There’s plenty of time for everything, there aren’t many benefits of jumping into a “forever” too soon.
To me, building an early foundation that would eventually crumble under the weight of time was a bleak outlook compared to the few twig houses I could build, able to be blown over by any passing wolf. It suited my capacity just fine. That’s how I felt. And I’m ok with that.
I left questions in my wake. Questions that went unanswered for many women that I abandoned. For some, it was a fairly abrupt, “fuck you” before hauling off, telling her friends what an asshole I was. I’m ok with that, too. Anyone’s life isn’t a physical application to make everyone else happy.
But there were others, some that I just stopped talking to. I “ghosted” them. This was well before social media took over — ghosting was pretty easy. Screen calls, never phone back.
Time changes everything …
But the women that I left in the cold probably had a few things on their mind. One — which was probably most prevalent — was that they probably didn’t care. I was a wreck, as most early-twenty-somethings are. It was probably nice for them that they didn’t have to tell me to get lost. I did it on my own.
Two, it might have hit them in their core, challenging self-worth and likely carrying over to other relationships. I hope not, but I’m also not so crass as to believe it didn’t affect them. Being left out in the open hurts.
To those women out there, I’d apologize, but apologies these days are thin. They’re too often delivered without substance. We’re immune to apologies now. So I’ll try and do one better: I’ll try and make sense of the senseless and explain why I left you wondering why ...
I was afraid
Even now, at 30, “forever” is still frightening. That’s it, for the rest of time, from now until then. Is settling down with one person really worth a lifetime of same-ity? I can’t even keep a haircut I like for more than half a year before I chop it and start anew, how would I have managed keeping a woman around for the next 60 years?
I’ve since evolved my perception on it, a little, but a dive that big isn’t without its debilitating anxiety. I was probably a coward, and it freaked me out.
I was too drunk to care
I had my own demons to deal with, and I didn’t hide it very well. We all know that drunks aren’t the most reliable, and rarely have the capacity to think about themselves, let alone another human being. Making it to work on time was a chore, planning romantic dates and remembering to phone before let-out hour for things not related to hooking up would have been a nightmare. It would have ended eventually. These things always do …
You probably were too good for me
Let’s face it: There’s an unconscionable amount of beautiful and successful women out in the world. And those women deserve men (or other women) that can keep up with their unending prowess while making them perfectly happy in the process. As a fixer upper, I didn’t need to be a significant part of your life. Somehow, deep down, I probably knew that it was better for you in the long run. It’s a coincidental favor you owe me nothing on.
I had other shit to do
Yep, really. I’ve never been one to sit idly by, allowing for things to come to me. I’ve always had to be on over-drive, counter attacking real world bullshit every step of the way. I’m still busy. I’ll always be busy. If I was too busy then, you might have gotten lost in the fray. “It isn’t you, it’s me” is a completely applicable cop-out here. Then again, maybe …
I just didn’t like you
Most guides to relationships spouting cliché and unreasonable conclusions aren’t going to tell you this. They’re not going to be as forthright. I will be. There isn’t some unsung rule on this planet that everyone has to vibe well with everyone else. We don’t all have to get along. Sometimes, it just doesn’t work out. I wasn’t about to try and Patrick Swayze your clay pot of emotions to fit my narrative. Closure? Why? Closure is for cockpit doors and diary entries. Not for two kids who have billions of other options in the world with little obligations to anything. This too, shall pass.
There’s no moral to the story, no ultimate lesson to be learned. I was selfish. I acted like a child. I didn’t harbor much respect or empathy for anyone else. If I did, it wasn’t directed at relationships. I was afraid, busy, uninterested … and alone. And I’m ok with that, too.