I thought that Ryan was going to be just another ghost. He would be a fun fling before he flew away, never to be heard from again. That seemed to be the situation when he stopped answering my texts and skipped out on dinner plans after three months of dating. And yet, almost four years later, I'm leaning on his shoulder as I write this sentence.
That's right, I got ghosted. And then that ghost turned into the most meaningful relationship of my life.
Two weeks went by without a sign of life from Ryan, until I finally received one simple message. He asked for forgiveness and wanted to meet up.
Ryan and I met on the app Coffee Meets Bagel, and sitting across from him on our first date, I felt like I had known him for years. There was an instant ease and a tangible spark between us, and we quickly fell in rhythm with each other. That is, until it all stopped. This part of the story isn't all that noteworthy: it's the classic tale of ghosting that we've all heard so many times before. What's worth discussing is what happened after. After the ghosting, it became a pretty beautiful love story, if I do say so myself.
Two weeks went by without a sign of life from Ryan, until I finally received one simple message. He asked for forgiveness and wanted to meet up, saying he would completely understand if I didn't want to. Maybe it was that same rhythm between us that was still calling out to me, but whatever the reason, I said yes.
A common bit of advice is that the key to any strong relationship is communication. Well, that night that Ryan and I met up, we could have won the communication Olympics. Ryan explained that he'd been dealing with some personal issues and apologized for handling them poorly. I explained how hurt I was by how he acted, but that those weeks apart gave me time to reflect on my needs. We agreed that we had missed each other. Because we talked about what had happened in the past with such raw honesty, we had the opportunity to talk about our future in that same way.
Ryan and I rebooted our rhythm. We also set out to have vulnerable conversations and check in constantly, never allowing for the sort of gap in communication that allows ghosting again. We checked in when we said "I love you" to each other a couple months later, and we checked in again one snowy night in December when we watched It's A Wonderful Life. As George promised Mary the moon, Ryan and I promised each other our future, and we made plans to move across the country together.
It's been almost four years since Ryan and I first met, and we now live together. We spend Thanksgivings with my family and Christmases with his. We have a dog. We're best friends and lovers and partners. That time that Ryan ghosted is now just a funny blip in our relationship history. Although, it was an important blip because it gave us the chance to check in and truly think about what we want in our lives. And what we want is each other.