I’m a self-confessed commitment-phobe.
Relationships are such an odd concept to me. I get the first few months, the heady excitement, the flirtation and the butterflies. I even understand the first year or two, building a deep friendship to support the initial attraction, the acceptance, the love. But after that, it just stumps me. Because, in all honesty, how many years does it actually take to work out if someone is an Arsehole? I’ve grown up with people, and only now do I realize that I actually don’t like them. And what if you marry that person?
I’m 22 years old and I’ve never been in love. I’ve dated, and I’ve really, really liked people, but no one has ever passed the ‘cold, steel cladding that covers my heart’ (a wonderful description from one the boys I used to date. I was working at a steel factory at the time, don’t you know). Now I know that maybe I should start to feel worried about this. My mother sure is, and I do know that in the future I would like to have children (and preferably with someone who I don’t hate), but I just don’t feel like it’s such a big deal for me at this very moment.
I’m sure there are a lot of people my age who think they are a commitment-phobe. Our generation have created a completely new world of courting than the one that our parents talk about. Everyone is just out to have a good time. Nothing needs to be serious. ‘The Casual Relationship’ has taken front stage for the youngsters, and I honestly think it’s great. It works well for me. I can enjoy the meals and the flirting, the sex and the late night phone calls whilst knowing that our future doesn’t entail us picking out furniture together, or worse, meeting the parents. At least, I thought I was happy with the casual relationship, until I got ghosted.
Ghosting, is a casual dating phenomenon where, when one side of the partnership wants out, instead of officially ‘breaking up’, they just stop all contact. No texts, no calls, no nothing. They drop off of the face of the earth (electronically). It’s harsh, but it’s easy to do (I’m probably guilty of doing it myself at some point) and because you were never in a ‘real’ relationship, the recipient technically can’t even get that angry about it.
But they can, because I was fucking livid.
I’m not going to pretend that me and *John* were ever going to actually be together, officially. He would see jazz bands in his free time whilst I’d binge watch Netflix. He was approaching 30 and working as a barman, whilst I was studying Engineering full-time. A dating app and tequila shots was responsible for our ‘connection’, not Fate. And this was FINE. We had a laugh, we had (lots) of drinks and it was just nice to have someone who didn’t expect anything from you, on a deeper level. We messaged every day and met up whenever we were bored. Whilst I would play it a little coy, he would boldly double text if I didn’t get back to him for a while (this is flirtation on a screen, people), and so it felt like we were in a pretty good place.
Then one evening, nothing. Nada.
And in normal circumstances I would have thought ‘fine, screw him’ and move onto the next person. Sure, it’s a little embarrassing to be ignored but I’ve had (and probably done) worse. But *John* didn’t just simply ghost me when the conversation ran dry. You see on this day, *John* had been messaging me all morning, begging me to meet him for drinks after work. I’d been putting him off all day because I had piles of work to do, but I thought ‘hey, he’s a nice guy, we’ll have a laugh’, and so I got out of my Netflix bingeing attire (you know the ones) and into something a little fancier. When I’d finished and messaged him, asking where he wanted to meet, he didn’t reply. Ever. THIS WAS THE MOMENT HE STOPPED REPLYING TO ME.
I attempted to play it cool at first, but a couple of days later, I got really drunk and just texted him saying ‘Are you alive?!?’. Funnily enough, he didn’t respond. I legit thought he died for a while. Until I stalked him on Facebook. He was alive and well. Unfortunately. It’s been about 6 months now and I still cringe thinking about it. I still have him on Facebook. He’s in a relationship now. I don’t know if it’s the thought that he ditched me for an upgrade, or just his sudden lack of interest in me that felt like a kick in the stomach. It’s not that I ever really wanted him, I just wanted him to want me.
The truth is, I don’t mind that he didn’t see any future with me, because I sure as hell didn’t see one either. But I just hate that he clearly thought he couldn’t talk to me in person about it. I hate that he thought that I liked him so much. That he didn’t feel like he could just be upfront and call it quits. For someone like me, with a chunk of metal for a ticker, I’m always the person to pull away when it starts to feel too warm and fuzzy. But it’s almost like there was a tiny chink in my armor, and he saw a gaping hole. I hate when people see me as weak.
But most of all, I hate that he didn’t reply to my fucking text.