Three years of walking on Jayhawk Boulevard has taught me a lot. For example: Blake Hall is virtually the worst building to hide behind when trying to escape from an ex-lover. I happened upon that coveted Jayhawk tip when I was trying to talk to a boy who ghosted me.
Ghosting is a term that's used to discuss the sudden and unexplained ex-communication from a partner. It's essentially any sort of action in which the partner takes to break off a relationship by stopping all communication without any apparent warning or justification, as well as ignoring the partner’s attempts to reach out or communicate.
Sadly, I've been ghosted many times. I never tried to confront or talk to most of the guys who ghosted me. I didn't feel like I needed to waste any more energy on someone who cared so little that they couldn't type a message simply saying they were no longer interested.
Until recently. Here’s what happened when I tried to confront the guy who ghosted me twice.
I met him in the spring semester of my freshman year in a theater class. He was running for a local political office and talked about it endlessly. The class was small and he grabbed my attention. His ambition and slight cockiness attracted me to him. That class ended and we didn't talk again until we matched on Tinder in the fall. Our messaging immediately became flirtatious and we decided to meet up. He picked me up and we went over to his apartment. We talked about how he wasn't looking for a relationship and didn't want to get attached. I told him that was fine by me, and for the following weeks we were seeing each other and hooking up almost nightly. I would sleep at his place, he would drive me to class, and we would talk about his family and mine. It wasn't exclusive but there was some sort of relationship there, even if it was just a friendship with added benefits. One Sunday we made concrete plans to hook up at a specific time before he had to go to work. I hadn’t heard from him that morning but he always picked me up so I patiently waited in my living room. After about three hours I realized he would never show up.
A few weeks later he deleted me on Snapchat and I never heard from him again. For the following weeks I walked around campus holding in so much anger. I just wanted to yell at him and tell him what he did wasn't OK. I wished I would see him on Jayhawk Boulevard and have the confidence to talk to him. By the spring semester, I was much more relaxed. I was sure he had left for his internship and I would never see him on campus again. One day I walked out of Strong Hall and he was directly across from me tabling with a student organization. I was shocked. All I wanted to do was cry and yell at him. He saw me, left my line of vision and I walked away. For weeks, I was so upset with myself for not confronting him.
Fast forward to the fall semester of my junior year. My best friend had a class with him and sometimes mentioned his name. One day I received an Instagram direct message request. His name popped up and a wave of confusion and anger hit me. The message included an apology, an explanation for what happened last semester and an inquiry as to whether he could see me again. I was hesitant. He hurt me so much, but he said all the right things – like how he had grown, changed and would never do it again.
He explained how last time his ex-girlfriend came back into his life and he was unsure how to tell me. I argued with him and he said he wouldn't put this much work and effort into seeing me again if I wasn’t something special. That hit my weak spot. I truly thought he was a changed person.
I decided to go to his place, feeling confident he wouldn't hurt me again. When I got there, he looked me in the eyes and told me he wouldn’t hurt me again. I trusted him.
I stayed there almost all night and saw him two to three times a day that following week. The things that attracted me to him were still there; his leadership, ambition and slight cockiness all still got to me.
One night, he came over to my apartment and then left to go to an event. I wasn’t expecting a reply until late at night or early the next morning, but by noon the next day, he still hadn't replied.
I sat on the couch and worryingly looked at my roommate, “What if he’s ghosting me?” She looked up at me with hopeful eyes and said that he wouldn’t do that because it was different this time. After all, what decent human would do this to a person TWICE? By about 10 p.m. that night I sent him a Snapchat. He opened it and immediately deleted me. I messaged him on Instagram asking him what was up. He read the message the next day and blocked me. I was shocked.
I sent him a text message basically telling him I was hurt and he wasn’t allowed to do this to me again. I was angry all weekend and my friends suggested acts of revenge, such as “Egg McMuffining” his house. I’m not even sure how that would work. All I wanted was to tell him how I was feeling and get all this anger out. I walked around with so much vengeful, hateful energy toward him last year. It was truly exhausting. I don't have that energy to expend on being angry at him anymore. I'm a full-time, involved student, and he shouldn't have that much of an impact on my life.
My friend still had a class with him and one day when I was waiting for her outside that class, I saw him.
We made direct eye contact and in the middle of the conversation he was having with someone else, he turned around and walked the opposite direction. He then exited out to the front of the building where he again saw me and my friend and went behind Blake Hall. There is virtually nothing behind Blake besides a parking lot. He was avoiding me.
He would occasionally peek his head out from behind the building to see if we had left. By that point, I wasn’t going to chase after him just so he could hear my 3-minute rant about respect. I watched him cross the sidewalk and walk away.
While watching him walk away, I was shaking with anger and frustration. It infiltrated every part of me. I didn’t think and all of the anger just flooded out of me. I screamed a few cuss words and then I walked away.
If he didn't want to hear my more dignified, planned speech, he was still going to understand that I was angry. His actions had consequences.
Once I got home, the saying “Fool me once shame on him, fool me twice shame on me” kept running in my mind. I felt so stupid. I felt embarrassed that I was so blinded by anger that I yelled at him.
Once I calmed down, my friend and I started laughing. His actions were so juvenile. I felt like I was the 12-year-old bully waiting to grab the 10-year-old kid’s lunch money. A 20-year-old man ran away from me because he didn't want to own up to his actions. Instead of feeling embarrassed and sad for myself, I pitied him. I felt embarrassed and sad for him. His lack of communication skills will harm his life more than mine. Sending me a simple message saying he wasn’t interested in me anymore would have been acceptable. It would have also resulted in a lot less anger from me and a lot less running and hiding for him.
As much as I would love to “Egg McMuffin” all the men who have ghosted me, I know this just gives them more attention they don’t deserve. I am fairly confident I'll be ghosted again and I know I'm not the only one who has experienced this.
His actions and the way he treats people has nothing to do with who I am as a person. My automatic response to the ghosting was that something was inherently wrong with me. I racked my brain the night he deleted me thinking of what I could have done wrong. All I wanted to hear from him outside of Blake that day was what I did wrong, but his silence showed it wasn’t me.
Sometimes the situations we play over and over in our heads don’t work out exactly as we plan, but what we do after them is just as important. My plan didn't go as perfectly as I rehearsed it in my mind, but I had to let that go. The anger he brought back into my life was unwelcome. Sometimes I still walk on campus and imagine what I would do if I happened upon him on Jayhawk Boulevard, but when I get caught in a downward spiral of anger, I remind myself that his actions aren't a reflection of who I am. I am strong and no one can ghost that.