My greatest fear is that one-day my big warm heart will turn cold. That I won’t be as open to new experiences because of ones I’ve had in the past. That I’ll stop being as playful for fear of getting hurt, and mostly that I’ll become cynical as to how fantastic love, or simply even liking someone can be.
This has all come about from a recent experience of being ghosted, which for those of you who don’t know is a phenomenon where someone suddenly and without explanation stops all forms of communication. Although this isn’t the first time it’s happened, this particular instance left me reeling. Having spent a lovely time together on my birthday followed by text exchanges over the next few days and then… nothing.
My crazy female brain kicked in and went into self-blame mode, which is pretty normal considering my type-A perfectionist personality. Was it something I said? Did I rush things? Maybe we slept together too soon? Suffice to say the mental gymnastics going on in my head were pretty loud because I liked this person and the way they acted made me assume that they liked me back as well.
Being rejected is never a nice feeling, and I personally started to question things about myself that I knew weren’t true. It’s natural for your ego to take a hit in these circumstances, but telling yourself ‘maybe I just wasn’t X enough’ will never help the situation. My conscious mind knew I needed to move on.
Here’s how I did it:
1. First the things I DIDN’T do
I never called incessantly, sent 50 text messages or stalked the person on social media. I know it’s hard because Instagram, Snapchat, and Facebook make us so available, but ogling their stories or updates will NOT help in the long run.
Don’t let your precious mind spend time thinking about someone who obviously isn’t thinking about you.
2. I stopped blaming myself
Nothing good can come of it. You can’t force someone to like you or expect an explanation for why they disappeared as much as you might want it. In the initial stages of dating someone (within the first 6 months) you get snippets of the other person’s life, but there might be things going on for them that you still don’t know about. Maybe the timing was off, maybe they were looking for something different, maybe the feelings weren’t mutual, maybe you’ll never know - and that’s ok.
3. I learned from the experience
And no, by this I don’t mean nit picking every single text message you sent back and forth. What I took away was that I acted in a way that was aligned with my values, and I didn’t play games because I literally don’t know how. I also learned that I shouldn’t be outcome dependent and instead enjoy dating for the interactions and playfulness instead of having a ‘where is this going’ mentality.
4. I made sure I took care of myself
It’s okay to allow yourself to feel rubbish, but only for a short time. Eating ice cream and wallowing watching Netflix isn’t healthy for anyone! Sometimes we let our good habits slide when we don’t feel great, but this is when we need them most! Start the day with a walk outdoors, listen to fun uplifting music, eat real food, spend time with friends, get a massage, run yourself a bath, and always say yes to dancing.
5. I got back in the game
The first thing I learned when I started horse riding was that is you fall off you get straight back in the saddle. The same applies to life, not just dating! Don’t let setbacks hold you back, whether it’s at work or in your love life. Realise that there are so many great experiences waiting for you if you’re willing to keep putting yourself out there.