The Gabber’s semi-regular advice column, Dear Gabby, is here by reader demand. Have a question or a conundrum for Gabby? There’s no problem too small for our resident advisor. Send your questions – they can be anonymous – to email@example.com.
Dear Gabby: I’ve been ghosted. I thought it would never happen to me, but here I am. This girl has been after me for years after we met up once about five years ago after connecting through friends. Soon after our little date, I met someone else. I did a terrible thing and left her waiting at a dive bar for me after I forgot we had made plans. Five years later and (suprise!) I’m single and thinking that I’d like to make the changes needed to make the “ulimate commitment.” I have some serious intimacy issues and It’s never been good timing, but I’m in my mid 30s now and I’m ready to settle down. So, I sucked in my beer gut, reached out and threw my phone across the room with a scream. We met for drinks and it went well! We’ve been casually dating for a few weeks, and then nothing. It’s been a week of silence and I refuse to reach out because I Am Prideful. I have a thing about regection, and this is killing me but I want to see her again. I have a sneaking suspicion that this is payback for what I did all those years ago. Another thing is that our schedules (work and life) are completely opposite and we have constrasting friends groups, hobbies, ect. So maybe it won’t work anyway, but I’d like to try. I guess I should get over my pride and reach out, but I feel paralyzed. Why would she try to date me for literally years then drop off the face of the earth?
While it seems strong to be prideful and stoic, it’s actually a consciousness rooted in fear. Fear of appearing vulnerable or needy, in particular. Rejection issues are about fear, too – fear of putting yourself out there and being turned away. But, talking about fear, you guessed it, makes us feel vulnerable and needy. It’s a cycle of… being human? Humans are social creatures; we need love, companionship and connection. When we lose those things, or when we aren’t getting enough of them, we suffer. That’s why ghosting hurts so much. Here’s the thing though: if you stay prideful and afraid to reach out, you know the outcome. You’ll be miserable, wondering what happened, resentful at her and yourself for what could have been. That’s guaranteed. But, if you face your fear, embrace the inherent strength of vulnerability, and reach out, the outcome could be positive. You may find that she was having her own issues or wasn’t sure how to communicate what she was/is feeling. It’s a risk of course, because if you contact her and the ghosting persists, you’ll feel bad at first. But remind yourself that you tried your best, that you made a step toward what you wanted, you faced your fear, which is badass! It’ll also be clear that regardless of how it started, this woman isn’t a good fit for you, as people who ghost and play emotional.