50 NEW THINGS TO TRY BEFORE I’M 50: NUMBER 4

 

Ghosting – a bit of a surprise entry on the list and it certainly wasn’t a consideration last year when I started thinking about what I’d include, to be honest, it’s hardly likely to make anyone’s list. However, it’s a new experience I’ve been exposed to in the last week and although it’s not particularly pleasant, it has provided quite an extensive source of personal learning.

So what is ghosting? Well internet dictionaries define it as the act of suddenly ceasing all communication with someone the subject is dating, but no longer wishes to date. The theory behind ghosting is that the person who is being ignored will just ‘get the hint’ and realise the person they’ve been dating is simply no longer interested.

Whatever the rationale I can say from experience it leaves you feeling confused, upset and more than a little disappointed.

So why include it here, it’s hardly a subject write home about, especially as I’m in Paris and there are far better experiences to be had in such a city. Well there are and I’ll undoubtedly be sharing them at some point, however as it’s also been well over a year since I dated and before that even longer, over 25 years at least, I feel that it’s an interesting entry in the scheme of things.

When I dated a year ago, it was brief and unfulfilling, but served a purpose. At that time, I’d been separated from my husband for approximately 2 years and as I know from the women I coach, your confidence needs a boost when you’ve been married a long time and suddenly find yourself single. (Moreover, the experience of being single is definitely the subject for another day)

This time dating was a more rewarding and fun experience, I know a great deal more about myself, what I want and who I’m prepared to accept into my life and spend time with. Plus I’m in Paris, the most romantic city in the world, where standing by the Seine, watching the sun go down, talking, giggling and kissing, are simple yet gratifying and meaningful pleasures. I’m grateful that I’ll always have wonderful memories despite the eventual outcome.

However, even after a short period with someone and the knowledge from the outset, it was likely to be nothing more than a passing flirtation while I was in Paris, I found the lack of closure maddening, disheartening and frankly disrespectful. When the contact changes from regular texting throughout the day and seeing someone a couple of times a week, to complete silence, it feels like a slap in the face.

So what have I learnt?

The main thing is that my self-esteem is doing very well, even more so now and it’s got that way because I believe in myself, I’ve always believed in myself. I know I’ve the strength recover from emotional hurts, because I’ve made it through far worse, and from a very young age. I know in my heart that people who ghost, are primarily focused on avoiding their own emotional discomfort and they aren’t thinking about how it might be interpreted or felt. The actions of another person are not a reflection of your self-worth and whether you are worthy of love or not.

I also don’t let my inner critic have too much airtime; mine is always too keen to point out that there’s something wrong with me, or I’m not good enough.

I know I need to take time to lay about, wallow and do nothing other than simply be with whatever pain shows up so that I can know it and not fear it. I’m unbelievably fortunate that I have amazing family and friends who will listen to me, encourage me, help me see a fresh perspective and make me laugh as well as totally be on my side. For those alone, I’m eternally grateful.

Finally, after sufficient wallowing, I reminded myself of the things I value the most, in myself, in others and in my life and the two ones that helped me reconcile in this situation, were honesty and freedom. For many reasons these are incredibly poignant for me and thinking about how I am now free of someone who won’t or can’t be honest with himself, or me, makes me feel fearless, free and as light as a feather.

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