Earlier this year I met a man and we fell hard and fast. Our second date was on Valentines Day – the day AFTER our first date. It was all roses and chocolates and dinners and adventures and talks of picking out curtains. He looked good, smelled good and treated me great. Within no time he was asking me to go away with him and wondering ‘where I had been all his life’.
We went on 11 dates before he disappeared.
I never saw it coming; no red flags, no alarms, it never felt like we were moving too quickly. It felt like I was possibly falling in love for the first time in my life. I say this as a woman and as an adult who is completely normal and believes “when you know, you know.” I know I’ll never see that man again, what is done is done and God always has a better plan, but the pain of the situation is still here. The sad fact is almost every dating woman in Los Angeles has a story like mine, I’m one of several million.
Why is this happening? Why are men just not saying ‘I was wrong, I’m sorry, I’m not ready, I don’t want to do this’? How did a man become so weak and scared, that he would be willing to put his comfort over that of another human? And what can we do to stop this?
We can tell our stories.
My friend Mark was a broken human. He suffered extreme trauma as a child and by the time he was a man, he didn’t know how to bond with women and didn’t know how to treat a woman. He was never abusive to women, but he was in so much pain in life that he didn’t know how to be vulnerable and treat a woman with compassion, whether he would date her or not. So he ran through them. He dated quickly, had sex quickly, had no deep connection and decades of no true intimacy. If a woman wanted too much physical contact like holding hands, snuggling or hugging, Mark would tell her no and he would often retreat for several days to get his “self” back.
I know all of this from personal experience because I dated Mark when I was 20 years old. That experience was brief but luckily the Universe kept us in each other’s lives and here we are almost 20 years later. Mark moved to Hawaii, stopped drinking and started learning about himself. Over the years his efforts to heal became strong and permanent. We’ve always walked this earth together, but it wasn’t until some DEEP inner work that Mark finally broke free from that pain. Our connection is old and deep, like soldiers who have fought a war for 1,000 years.
So now when I ask Mark about vulnerability and treating his girlfriend like a queen, he happily tells me about the love notes he writes her every day. How he opens her car door, hugs her, touches her, got to know her for more than 90 days before sleeping with her and how he loves her even more because of that. I ask him what stopped him from treating a woman so well in the past.
Mark says its because the pain he was in and where he was from. Small town Midwest guys don’t do that because that’s what “pussies” do. Ironically, treating his woman well makes Mark feel like a man more than anything.
My friend Damian has a completely different story. His stepfather often beat him, Damian remembers one time in particular he thought he might die. He escaped through a basement window and ran away to his grandmother’s house down the street. As he was bleeding and regaining consciousness he looked up to see his mom. She had fled the house earlier, when the beating began, and she was now sitting on the hood of a car, smoking a cigarette. Damian says it was at that exact moment he decided he could never trust women again. He purposely ran through them, seeking vengeance for his mother’s betrayal. But God performs miracles and He saved Damian who is now married and has children of his own. I love talking to this man about our old stories of heartbreak and suffering and what life is like now. I love his wife and their children and his stories of being a parent and how it has opened his heart.
So what do these extreme stories have to do with ghosting?? Men have gone through pain, and instead of working through that pain to see what the lesson is, they avoid the possibility of experiencing that pain at all costs. This means having sex with a girl you don’t care about, disrespecting her, using her, not treating her like you know a woman should be treated. Going in with bad intentions, to fill your own cup, to validate your insecurities, to make that woman feel pain because some other woman made you feel pain, to ignore the message deep inside your heart that you are actually, truly, very sad and you don’t know how to fix it.
That is why men ghost. That is why they treat another human with such disrespect. I wish I could tell them there is a way out and a way to live fully in their manhood without losing themselves. It is hard work and it is painful – but a different kind of pain. It’s not the pain we suffered from as children, but the pain a warrior feels when they fight for something they believe in: true love, true growth and true connection to our Higher Power.
Yes this is just dating; it’s just Bumble and Tinder and drinks at a bar and having a toothbrush at someone’s house. But what it all boils down to is love, and that is the most important thing in this world.