It started last Friday when I saw a video of First Lady Dr. Jill Biden delivering cookies to the National Guard at the Capitol in appreciation of their service protecting her and her family during the inauguration. I sent it to Red with the brief subject line, "Class act" and nothing in the body of the email except the link. Throughout the day, we take "brain breaks" and after Red watched it, she called to tell me how she was extremely touched by the simple gesture. Not only because she could relate to how many times over the years she had baked "thank you" cookies and brownies, but because she knows first-hand how protective moms are about their families, and especially their children. Never one to be succinct, she explained how she could "totally relate" to how your maternal instinct always seems to be front and center. Then adding how the fact Dr. Biden was also a military mom only meant her desire to show her appreciation to the National Guard was even stronger.
So, when it came time to pick the topic of our next Banter Bite, Red immediately suggested the cookie story. But I hesitated. I was concerned that this might have been staged to offset the uproar about the National Guard, who initially had been resting and napping in the Capitol, but post-inauguration had been relocated to nearby parking garages. (This was subsequently remedied.) Instead, our Saturday Banter Bite, which tend to be "feel good" or, at least, less serious ones, was about Ben & Jerry's new doggie treats.
But, I could not stop thinking about the "cookie story" … and the fact it seemed true to character to who Dr. Biden is, so whether or not it was orchestrated for the media, it still was an authentic reflection of our new First Lady. A woman displaying gratitude, decency, and grace. A role model for us all.
And, I could not stop thinking about my initial reaction, as I have always prided myself on giving people the benefit of the doubt. (Red often jokes that I am much better at that than she is, even though she is the warm and fuzzy one!). But why did I not do so this time? Is it a reflection of how jaded we have all become? Is that what the last four years has done to us?
If nothing else, just knowing we have become jaded is a step in the right direction. But I could not let it end there. So, early Saturday morning (well, early for Red, as I am usually up well before 6 a.m.), I called Red and said I was wrong not to run with the "cookie story" and explained why. Which explains why we will do it this Saturday.
|Based on the "hints" in your Ghosting post, it sounds like your recent "romance" wasn't quite a Lady GaGa "bad romance", but, well, a frustrating one.|
|Interesting comparison, as years ago Gaga revealed that she is drawn to bad romances, but is not sure if she goes after them or they find her. Regardless, my "relationship" ended in the dating stage and never really became a romance. Either when I dated him almost 30 years ago, or recently. Although, this time, I thought it had potential.|
|I was amazed that you were even willing to "rekindle" the relationship as you're not exactly a believer in "recycling" relationships, as I think you once phrased it. In fact, I thought you were pretty adamant about the concept of not repeating your mistakes.|
|True, you should learn from your mistakes, not repeat them. But with most things in life, timing is everything. And, just because someone is not "Mr. Right Now" does not preclude them from being "Mr. Right" at another time in your life.|
|That sounds good, but neither time did you date very long. Maybe there's a reason for that. A reason why you should've left the past in the past.|
|It is funny you say that because that was my first thought. Then, I thought about where each of us was in our lives at that time. I was still climbing the corporate ladder and was not interested in ever having children. He was building his business and had young children. However, what made us incompatible back then was no longer applicable.|
|That all makes sense. But, at the risk of making you sound warm and fuzzy, you have described him in glowing terms – very intelligent, caring parent (and now grandparent), loyal friend to many people, and all-around nice guy.|
|And, we both collect art, enjoy fine red wine, and have similar tastes in restaurants and hotels. Not to mention being almost thirty years older and looking at life from a different perspective.|
|You sound totally compatible. Which, as you've told me over the years, is critical to a successful relationship, especially when all the "lovey-dovey" romance gives way to day-to-day reality.|
|I think that may be where we disconnected. We each need to have realistic expectations, and then decide if we are compatible. He may have decided that he wanted someone more romantic, and less pragmatic; therefore, I was not a good fit. Which I would have accepted. But, instead of telling me that, he went radio silent.|
|I'm not condoning his behavior, but I can understand it. Speaking as a "mere mortal", I can see why he might want to avoid having such an uncomfortable and difficult conversation with you. Especially if he's ever seen the "debate queen" side of you. But this isn't the first time he dated you. Doesn't he know you're a Vulcan?|
|Intellectually, he knew that I am not a physically demonstrative person, especially in public. Nor do I immediately get carried away with the idea of "being in love".|
|Excuse me? This from the woman who I used to say got engaged instead of dating?|
|Fast-forwarding past the "games" and "infatuation stage" of dating to see if a relationship has long-term potential is very different from thinking infatuation is true love.|
|Don't you know most people, if they like someone, want to jump in quickly and enjoy getting "carried up in the moment"?|
|That is fine, as long as they know that infatuation is only infatuation. It may be the beginning of a long-term relationship, or the spark may die. Unfortunately, it may result in a dating process that eliminates those who have the potential to be a lasting relationship, instead focusing on those who want to get carried up in the moment.|
|I'm almost afraid to ask, are you talking about someone in particular?|
|Sometimes you wonder why, in their determination (and rush) to find a lasting relationship with one person, they cannot see everything that has made them lifelong friends to so many people took time.|
|You didn't answer my question, but if you are – maybe you should remind them of that.|
|Maybe I will send them this post.|
Everyone laughs and wants to hear the story when I mention that I was recently "ghosted" by someone I had dated. What I find interesting is that ghosting has become so prevalent in today's society (and is not restricted to dating) that there is a term to describe the sudden "disappearance" of someone who wants to avoid all future contact with you.
Going back decades, I know there have been first dates that, at the time, I thought went well. But, after getting the "I'll call you" line … I never did. As a teenager, I can remember anxiously waiting for the phone (a landline tethered to the wall – and yes, I am that old) to ring, not wanting to go out and possibly miss the call. And, being very disappointed by the silence. Now, I cannot even remember who they were.
Over time, especially once women's lib made it more acceptable for women to take the initiative when dating, I came to appreciate that it was easier not to call than to tell someone face-to-face that you did not want another date. But, it did not change the inevitable, and ghosting can be more painful than politely telling the truth. Meanwhile, given how outspoken and opinionated I was (I still am), I think they could always sense where they stood and whether our personalities were compatible.
I never intentionally misled anyone, as that is not my style. Plus, it is inefficient as it creates more work down the road to try and reverse the situation. Of course, when you get past the initial dates and learn more about each other, you may realize that you are not compatible. Then, you want to cut your losses and move on, so would break up. It did not require long conversations or detailed relationship analysis. Merely, the common courtesy to be honest.
I know that Red would try and make me understand that "mere mortals" (as she refers to herself and most people, accusing me of being a Vulcan) prefer to avoid these situations – finding them not only uncomfortable and difficult, but thinking they require full explanations. However, I am not questioning "why" people ghost.
Yes, there can be legitimate reasons for ghosting someone, although often there are not. The specific details of my situation are not relevant, but the fact we went on six or seven dates, and he made it very clear that he thought our relationship could be a long-term one (I thought it had potential but was concerned about emotional compatibility) made being ghosted very unexpected. And disappointing. Not to mention,
Ghosting is flat-out rude and shows a lack of manners. If you no longer want to date someone, tell them. Plus, it is an excellent way to practice having difficult conversations, especially as there is no downside risk. But, there can be upside potential … Besides improving your communication skills, you may realize that your decision to stop seeing them is based on a misunderstanding or extenuating circumstances.