*Guest blog* – In January, my darling friend wrote a beautiful post about the stories we formulate in our heads with potential partners. Here, he talks about learning what we want from a relationship and getting to grips with ghosts.
Recently, I’ve had to come face-to-face with a part of my dating life I didn’t want to revisit in any hurry. A friend of mine has recently been through a hard break up with his fiancée, and I’ve done my best to be there for him throughout this ordeal. Shortly into (what I’m going to describe as) his “hoeing phase” – that wonderful (read: absolutely not wonderful) time when we all seek to get under someone to get over someone – he mentions that he’s been talking to a girl I very briefly saw in 2018 and that there seemed to be some mutual interest in going on a date. In what, retrospectively, must have seemed like hilarious blasé arrogance, I absolutely gave him my blessing, happily claiming it was “his funeral” and thought nothing more of it.
Three months later and it’s become a lot clearer that, a serious relationship or not, this girl isn’t going to bugger off and is going to become a large fixture in my friend rebuilding his life. My cocksure attitude that this would be full of high fives about being newly-minted Eskimo brothers and subtle bitching about some of the things I found annoying about her soon thawed into an awkward conversation in which my friend very much saw this girl’s side of the story as the right one when it came to how she and I had finished.
“You know she calls you ‘Casper’, right? Because you ghosted her.”
I really didn’t agree at first. I didn’t feel like she’d texted me very much either, and that we’d just mutually drifted apart as early dating situations that don’t work out often do. I felt that there was no need to put a full stop after it and just move on.
The truth was I was flattered by her initial interest when we met and because I don’t really get that very often, I slept with her at the end of a night out – even though I wasn’t really into her. Of course, I then panicked. Realising that, whilst I actually liked her a lot as a person as we hung out a few more times, I just didn’t fancy her. No hard feelings as I tried to explain – eventually. She just wasn’t my choice. Or someone I could see myself with.
I don’t know if you came to the same conclusion reading that paragraph I just did, but even hearing myself attempt to articulate that to my friend made me realise the problem.
I think we all have different expectations of what we’re looking for when we hook up with or date someone, and when those expectations don’t match up, someone invariably gets hurt. And reflection took me back to the last time a girl really hurt me.
There were too many uncomfortable similarities. We slept together shortly after it was obvious I liked her. We then went on a series of dates that I, personally, thought were lovely. And in the end, she moved on through no hard feelings. I just wasn’t her choice. She just didn’t fancy me, even though she liked me a lot.
Being liked a lot wasn’t something I understood when she eventually started to ghost me, and knowing what was happening and being sick of feeling like I was forcing a friendship she didn’t seem interested in, I stopped texting her. We’ve not really interacted since because in the grand scheme of things, I was a bit of a nobody to her; just someone that seemed nice on the way to her discovering what she wanted.
I conceded the argument to my friend, hoping that if I do have to hang out with this girl that we can try and be adults about it and get along. And as for me: I’ve always tried not to be the arsehole in these situations. But the truth is it’s a role you will play for someone if you play the game enough. You just have to consider what they might have wanted from you.