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Quitted the dating apps then ghosted… But it’s an experience

Quitted the Dating Apps then Ghosted… But it’s an Experience

Photo by Anthony Tran on Unsplash

I feel… no longer anxious from lack of contact? Since I’m keeping busy

I finally decided to stop dating apps… actually I stopped doing the dating apps the day after I wrote my other story about dating apps from my perspective. My brain had gone into a short-circuiting mode. I was exhausted. My brain and my eyes felt fatigued as if I had just gone to the mall with my parents. That wasn’t a fun experience. ☹️

The men I’ve had contact with, by messages… although I’m not confident yet to video chat with a stranger unless it’s for an interview

I’ve met some very kind, funny and ambitious men on there as well as the… well… not too decent men (which was scary to me), as well as maybe intimidated some men because of how I consider everything when thinking about problems that we talk about (like running a fencing club or texting about science) and it’s taught me how to manage things through texts without having to ghost someone if possible. And I’ve also learned what ghosting is too! 😜 So I’m treating it as a learning experience! It was fun while it lasted, but now that I look at it, it was also a way to socialize due to quarantine (but slightly a waste of time for me as of now). I had ended up exchanging numbers with three people. One of them who was actually from my University invited me to hot pot. He seemed to be a fun and outgoing person from our small conversations, and caring as well! Unfortunately, I won’t be able to meet up with him (but he wished me luck) since I’m moving soon to a new area, which I’m excited since I’ll have new opportunities to put my research skills into applications that can benefit people… that is… if I hear back from the research labs (still waiting for responses from my interviews…) and get accepted… 😅

Another guy who I had exchanged numbers with was someone who was messaging me on the dating app and then I had told him that I would be deleting my account, and he asked for my number. So I gave it to him. He was also a scientist, and he was very kind. (He even offered to help me move, but I declined since I don’t have too much stuff.) I ended up telling him that I wasn’t ready to date. He thanked me for not ghosting him and I told him that after I moved if he wanted to, we could meet up in real life. And he said that was a good idea. He also said that he’d be happy to send me pictures of his cat since his kitten is adorable, fluffy and seems really photogenic for a cat 🤣. And I laughed and agreed. I do feel sorry for the guy, but it’s the truth. I have a thesis to finish, exams and certifications to study for, and possibly a virus to familiarize myself with and learn as much as I can about it before I dive into working with it if I get the chance.

The third guy, the guy who was one of the first people whom I talked to before we started lockdowns in the states, about two weeks ago, ghosted me. We had been texting each other back and forth for three months… well… technically two and a half months and it seemed fun. I realized something was up when he started taking forever to text back a few weeks back. Although he said that he was busy… I don’t think it should take over a week to look at a message… but I could be wrong (probably am… as usual). People are busy, and we all have our priorities. But what hurt was that this guy was kind and encouraging, and it felt genuine. He’d always ask what I was doing and I’d be able to share that bit of excitement with him. He’d often ask me about projects or exams and presentations that I had coming up and text me before and after with a cheer/encouragement and then ask how I felt afterward. I opened my life up to him through texts. And it was nice. Being able to share my daily quarantine adventures of a graduate student with a… a potential? Pen pal maybe? And he’d tell me his schedule, and tell me it was the same thing each week. He had sent me a few pictures of his two cats and they looked so cute. I built up the confidence and sent him videos of me stretching since he said his back hurt. Or a photo of an origami star that I’d fold the night before just to cheer him on for his busy week. (I’m trying to fill a jar right now and it’s something to give my eyes a break from staring at the screen for too long. It’s so fun! But only one star each week.) The other day, knowing that he ghosted me, I still decided to send him a final message, telling him I wasn’t ready to date since I had things to focus on and thanking him for the kindness and encouragement that he had sent me. I don’t know if he’ll ever see it, to be honest, but sending him that message made me feel closure. I teared up a bit (just a small bit) as I was sending it to him, but I felt better afterward like a rock had been lifted from my heart. Maybe he was being genuine, when he sent me those encouraging texts, maybe not? I’ll never know. But one thing’s for sure: it was an experience, it was fun and took me on a bit of a daydream while it lasted, and I’ve opened up to a stranger about my life.

But no more dating apps… it’s too much information for my brain to process for now and it hurts. I told a close friend about it over the phone yesterday and she said that it was good that I felt better after I sent that closing text to the guy. Then I said, “Hee hee! I’m going to stay single for the rest of my life!” (In a joking manner~). And she responded that it wasn’t healthy thinking like that. (🤫 Shhh. No one tell my parents I said that! They’d be awfully upset.) She asked me if I wanted to cry, and I told her “No tears were produced in the process, just a bit of fatigue and slightly sad, but I guess it’s normal! Besides, I have a stuffed round panda to keep me company!” But then my friend was curious as to why I turned to dating apps, so I told her that since I’d never dated before and that well… as someone about to go into my mid-20’s, most, if not, all of my friends are either in a relationship, or about to be married, or are married and I just kind of wanted to be in a relationship, to be able to share my adventures and happiness with someone, as well as be able to be by their side, and support them if they ever had hardships. So it was something that I was willing to try out. Another reason was that a few other friends had kind of threw the suggestion around and one almost decided to make a profile for me (but I managed to stop her), but I tried it, because… I’m just a curious scientist.

To the people who do ghost… please don’t. It’s a cruel thing to do. Sure. I know that my single tiny vocal voice can’t change your mind, let alone make a dent in your conscious, but being an emotional human, don’t do it, because mentally, for some people, it can be stressful or painful even, and for the brain to be processing that, well… it activates the pain pathways of the brain (physical and emotional) as Dr. Vilhauer states. And knowing humans, we tend to do anything to avoid that sort of pain with our brain setting up a defense mechanism to protect ourselves from hurt, or we turn to activities to distract us from the pain (like indulging on chocolate or ice cream, which boosts norepinephrine and dopamine levels). So unless the person steps your boundaries, is creepy, and/or is disrespectful, and activates your sympathetic nervous system (fight-or-flight response), a simple “I’m not interested” text, or “I’m not ready to date” text is good, rather than just completely dropping off from the face of the Earth… unless… you’ve suddenly contracted SARS-CoV2, cancer, or well… was in an accident, and/or passed away 😢. If person Y on the other end doesn’t react well to this and proceeds to maybe attack you with text messages… then that speaks something about the person and their logical thinking and emotional control as well… so maybe person X can block person Y… (just my personal opinion though).

And to the people who are probably thinking “But you’ve never met this guy in real life. How is this ghosting?!” I personally feel like it is. You’ve opened up to another human. You’re sharing pictures of the foods you cook or order, and what your daily life is like, and your brain’s reward circuitry activates when you’re talking to someone new, exciting, cute, and a possible potential. You’re also investing time getting to know what this person might be like until a screen chat or an actual coffee/food meet up. It’s mentally taxing since the brain’s acquired one more set of tasks, but it’s also not mentally taxing since you’re meeting a new person whom you’d want to maybe share your life with.

So please. Even if it is painful to be direct, it should be better that way, so that way the other person on the other end doesn’t have to be mentally or emotionally exhausted, and that they know, “oh… you’re really not interested anymore.” Time isn’t wasted waiting on a reply to that last text you sent, and you also learn to make yourself a bit emotionally stronger and more confident… just try not to be arrogant or rude about it, please!

Quitted the dating apps then ghosted… But it’s an experience was originally published in ILLUMINATION on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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