“I’m engaged to someone who I ghosted,” my 25-year-old friend, Destinee, says. “I ghosted her for about a year before we started dating.” Destinee didn’t think of herself as queer at the time, and she was concerned about things like how she would talk to her religious mother about her now-fiancé, Shadai. Still, she couldn’t stop thinking about Shadai and eventually worked up the courage to message her.
Destinee and Shadai have been together for three years now. And perhaps thanks to their happy ending, neither regret anything.
“Yeah, it sucks to have someone who you like ignore you. But I also think that things work out when they’re supposed to, and we were destined to reconnect when we did,” says Shadai, 27.
I recently reconnected with someone that I ghosted for seven (yes, seven) years. And like Destinee and Shadai, I am glad I did.
In 2012, I met a guy named Hector online. Our connection was instantaneous. We shared the same taste in anime, video games, books, and Mariah Carey’s discography (speaking of other things that, quite surprisingly, came back in 2019).
I can’t say that I have ever been a particularly good judge of character, but Hector was the closest thing to perfect, until he started pressuring me to meet in person. Rather than affording him the courtesy of a truthful response to his request, I created several excuses for why I could not meet him. If I wrote out every one, the list would be as long as a George R.R Martin novel.
The truth is, my grandfather had died around the time Hector and I began speaking, and I wasn’t yet ready to be social in the real world. I was satisfied with building a friendship, possibly a relationship, over an app. But Hector wanted more, and I wasn’t willing to give it to him because — mentally and emotionally — I could not.
Last year, I gave Tinder a try for the first time, and Hector’s profile was one of the first ones I encountered. The fact that unless he Liked me he would never know that I Liked him gave me the strength and courage to make my move. He Liked me back almost instantly. That night, we messaged for hours and exchanged numbers, and this time I invited him out.
We had our coffee date, where we debated Mariah Carey’s best album and whether iced coffee is superior to hot coffee. We also addressed the elephant in the room: my ghosting him. I apologized and explained that I simply wasn’t ready to meet him or anyone at that time. I admitted that I am still emotionally unavailable, but I would love to be actual friends. He agreed, and we have been close friends ever since.
Five months later, he is in a happy relationship with a lovely woman. And he is incredibly thankful that we fell off seven years ago. If we [had gotten] together, I probably would have never met [my girlfriend],” he says.
When I think about how I made Hector feel, I am overcome with regret. It is never my intention to hurt someone and force them to ask hard, unnecessary questions about themselves. I am, however, glad that we reconnected and had the opportunity to meet face-to-face and build a genuine friendship. If I learned anything from this experience, it’s to be more vulnerable and honest. I could have avoided hurting Hector if only I had been more truthful with myself and with Hector.
Above all things, I am a firm believer that things happen when they’re supposed to happen.