I know ghosting is the worst for everyone involved, but sometimes there’s no other way to get out of a bad situation. I kept a situationship going with an old flame for a long time but there came a time when it had to end. We were both dating new people and our thing had run its course, so I decided to be honest with him about my desire to move on. I thought I was doing the right thing even though I was tempted to ghost him. In hindsight, I should have done that.
I thought I was stating the obvious.
If we were being really honest, all we ever had in common was our lust for each other and that ended years ago. We’d been talking about nothing deeper than the weather for years, so what were we even holding onto anymore? Wasn’t pretending just taking up energy for both of us that was better spent on the friendships that were good in our lives? This wasn’t friendship, it wasn’t courtship. Whatever it was, it wasn’t working for me and surely he had to feel the same, right? Apparently not.
At first, he didn’t really get it.
I think he thought I was joking or playing some kind of weird game with him. I remember thinking that he would totally understand where I’m coming from because what kind of real friends go weeks or months without talking to each other? Sick family members, promotions at work, new relationships…we didn’t support each other through any of those things.
He questioned everything.
Why now? Did something happen? I guess he hadn’t really thought much of our conversations being shallow. He was happy with a friendship where we talked every few weeks and didn’t mention anything about our families or social lives. I wasn’t. I want to invest time and effort into my relationships (including friendships) and at some point, having surface-level friends is just exhausting.
It wasn’t out of the blue.
For months, I’d been quietly dropping hints that I was thinking about ghosting him. Leaving his messages on “read,” taking a week to respond and never really getting too far into a conversation before making up an excuse to stop talking were just a few examples.
Frankly, he was shocked.
To him, our “friendship” meant that I should be happy with his risqué texts and inappropriate innuendos because that’s the kind of relationship we had before. He didn’t understand why I didn’t value our friendship, and he was hurt that I didn’t consider us to be close.
What mattered to me didn’t matter to him at all.
It didn’t matter to him that we were both happy with other people and that kind of banter wasn’t appropriate anymore, but it mattered to me. I couldn’t even explain I was working out at the gym without some over-sexualized response, and I was just over it.
He lashed out.
What do I get for trying to be polite? Well, he didn’t take kindly to me trying to end our friendship amicably. How dare I, when I was the one who had caused every problem we ever had with my apparently seductive gym selfies?
He thought I was leading him on.
At this point, he was in (what he said) was a happy relationship. I definitely was, but apparently I was somehow still leading him on, or so he said. I mean, maybe his version of sexy really is a woman in baggy sweatpants and a loose-fitting t-shirt working out in a crowded gym. To him, maybe that was grounds for sending me provocative messages. My annoyance at those messages, in his mind, was completely unwarranted.
He blamed it all on me, of course.
Just when I thought I was in the clear! It had been over a week since we last talked. I’d ended our friendship, he’d shared his less than affectionate feelings about my decision, and we’d split ways.
Unfortunately, it didn’t end there.
I get a message from him one night out of the blue, blaming me for everything that ever went wrong in basically the entirety of existence since the day he met me. I wasn’t affectionate enough towards him, didn’t want to make things official with him, didn’t do enough for him. You name it, I failed at it, according to him.
Then he ended it his way.
Ah, of course—the power play move. He decided he wasn’t going to let it end this way. He told me I’d changed, he was disappointed in me and that my current partner was a bad influence on me. He wanted nothing to do with me because I wasn’t the same person he knew before and he didn’t respect me anymore. I was shocked. I tried to do the right thing and it not only backfired, but I think I actually hurt him more than if I had just cut him out of my life.
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