“What made you seek therapy?” my psychologist asked. “The guy I just dated ghosted me,” I whispered. My voice broke as my eyes filled with tears.
His name was Dan. I met him at Babalu’s nightclub in Midtown where he asked me to dance to a Gilberto Santa Rosa song. Dan was light on his feet and extremely cute. Short, but at 5 foot 2 I’ve never needed a giant.
At the end of the salsa, he asked for my number. I refused and took his number instead. At 23, I needed to be in control, and that included initiating romantic conversations, picking up men at bars, and shutting off my feelings so I wouldn’t get hurt. Dan was no exception to my stringent rules. Exactly two days after our club meet-club (I followed the 2-Day Rule like a pro) I called him up and we made plans for our first date.
Our first date led to many more. By summer’s end, we were sexually involved, had met each other’s friends, and spent almost every day together. And my heart, well, it was invested. Guard almost completely down, I trusted he wouldn’t ghost me like so many men had after a season. Then I received a call.
“Who are you?” a woman screeched.
“You called me! Who is this?!” I exploded with a mix of rage and anxiety. Because I knew. Dan had shared details about his past and swore that his off-again-on-again relationship with his ex was officially off. “Because she’s crazy,” he would say when I’d ask for specifics about their breakup. I didn’t know it then but many men blame the crazy ex-girlfriend instead of taking accountability for ghosting. At that time, I believed Dan. And there was Crazy on the other end of my phone line proving his point. She continued hollering, demanding answers to questions that I didn’t have. Like how long I had been fucking her man.
I confronted Dan that same night after a night with my girls at China Club. I chugged six Bacardi and Cokes and chased them with Jose Cuervo before I turned into Crazy and demanded answers.
“Why would you do this to me?!” I screamed on the other line of his phone while standing outside of the club. I slurred my words as my friend, Marilyn, held me up.
“She’s lying, I’ll explain everything. I’m only a few blocks away, I’ll come and get you so we can talk,” Dan reassured.
Only he never showed up. On that warm summer night, I waited outside for Dan for 30 minutes with Marylin, who begged for me to accept that he ghosted me. I called him repeatedly but he never picked up.
I never spoke to him again.
“I tried to see him again,” I explained to the therapist. “I went to his favorite clubs and bars. I almost went to his job, I was so desperate for answers.”
“What stopped you?” the therapist asked.
“I didn’t want to be that girl…crazy,” I replied. “I’ve been here before, you know, guys just disappearing. I don’t know why…”
I choked up again and the therapist nodded while jotting something down on his legal pad.
“So….why are you here, Sujeiry?”
I burst into tears. “Men always leave. Even my father…”
And that’s when I knew why I was truly seeking therapy. It wasn’t about Dan at all. I sought therapy to heal my wounds after years of men disappearing into the night.