What being ghosted has taught me
A heartbreaking story of being ghosted by a girl I never met — based on a true story
I met Domie through a mutual friend. She was an online personality, which was a fancy way of saying she was a webcam model. This was 2015 and during this time, being a webcam model wasn’t common— there weren’t any Instagram models or people with an OnlyFans. Firstly, it was because of their profession (which consisted of stripping for money) and secondly, they often emotionally manipulated lonely men for money — at-least on the website I was on. As cliche as it sound, Domie was different: very down to earth with a childlike innocence, I never saw her as the typical webcam model from the start. By this time I had so much experience in this realm as I frequented these sites as a young adult— it was my millennial way of going to the strip club. Everything told me that she didn’t belong, she was too out of place with her tiny frame and awkward disposition.
I didn’t find her attractive at first, but she quickly grew on me. We both were lonely and had what felt like the weight of the world on our shoulders, so naturally we bonded as our conversations got deeper. I enjoyed looking into her eyes since they told me exactly how she was feeling — they were so full of expression, they had this glint that gave me hope. But no matter how much I looked into her beautiful eyes, they never told me why she became a webcam model.
As we got closer, it started to feel that what we had wasn’t real. We still had the void of the internet dividing us, she was just another cute girl that appeared on my computer screen every now and then. I didn’t know her name, where she lived, her family or her friends —she could disappear anytime and I’d never know why. As someone who grew up on the internet, I understood that some people used it to play different characters. Oftentimes they did this to avoid real life and I feared my friend Domie was doing the same. Then one day, she opened up to reveal something very unexpected.
“They pick on me.”
“My mom…and my brother.”
“Seriously? Why would they do that?”
“I feel like they don’t like me, my brother even told me he didn’t care if I died.”
“He must have been out of anger, don’t take what he said seriously Domie.”
“No, they always bully me… about my height, weight, face, basically everything. I live with my bullies, I just want to save up and get out.”
I fell silent. On the one hand, I felt happy because our friendship was starting to manifest but on the other, family matters were complicated and I didn’t want to turn into a blabbering casualty. It wasn’t my place to talk bad about them, even if this was a sad situation. People commit suicide from bullying but imagine being bullied by your family, all the time, in your home? This affected me deeply because I knew who Domie was as a person, she was too forgiving and would let them continue to hurt her — no matter how bad it got. She was the type of person that hurt herself to make others happy, it was part of her innate personality.
This made me want to protect her and was the turning point in our relationship. I encouraged her to push forward and persevere, even move to her sister’s place in the meantime to get away from them. During this time, I was dealing with my own demons. I was unemployed, overweight, depressed and in debt — basically my life was at a crossroads between two roads that led to darkness. We developed a symbiotic relationship based on happiness and self-improvement, we became each other’s rock and spoke pretty much everyday.
The day had finally arrived when Domie decided to quit being a cam-girl. She couldn’t do it anymore, apparently her ex-boyfriend found out and grilled her to the point of quitting. I knew she wanted to get back with him, she often romanticized about them cuddling and playing video games together. This was her way to appease him, hurting herself to make him happy. But her leaving was bad news for me. It meant I wouldn’t be able to talk to her again. Being a cam-girl, she was careful not to reveal any personal information about herself to anyone, this was for her security and I was no exception, after all I was technically a stranger to her.
I convinced Domie to add me into her real life. I felt nervous, she had never seen me — not one photo, but I knew her like the back of my hand — watching her religiously online. At this point, our relationship became real but it wasn’t all fairy tales. We decided to speak on the phone, but the conversation ran short as she was still recovering from her surgery — jaw surgery, she had underlying medical conditions which surprised me since she had been through enough.
She never told me about the surgery beforehand but she did say she suffered from mandibular prognathism where her lower jaw protruded outwards, causing her to get bullied all through high school. This surgery meant redemption, her one chance to be pretty like she was supposed to be. She had been patiently waiting to remove her bandages for a month, I could feel the underlying excitement she had this entire time.
A week passed and she sent me a morning text with a photo of her face without the bandages and a message that read “How do I look? ;)”. It was such bad timing, I was going through back to back job interviews and was thoroughly stressed out. If you knew me at that time you knew I would do anything to get a job, I hated being unemployed. I didn’t see her message until later that night — which I’m sure she did not appreciate one bit.
When I finally saw her photo, it put a big smile on my face. She looked so adorable — her face was as round as a bao and her cheeks as fluffy as a bunny. I thought all of this to myself but in no way, shape or form, could I tell Domie that. I knew this was a sensitive topic for her and I needed to be careful with my word choices, so I gave her a short positive reply. Immediately, she could tell something was wrong and my reply felt censored. She must have thought it was censored in a bad way, which was far from the truth. I felt bad, my gut told me this surgery didn’t quite meet her expectations and she wasn’t very happy. My delayed response might have added to that grief.
My message went unanswered. I messaged her again and she responded, only telling me that she’d give me a call later that night. It was the last time we spoke because she never returned my messages after that. I kept trying, weeks went by and then months. We left on a positive note and I liked her, I wanted to meet her and build a relationship but instead I was forced to move on. She was on my mind as time passed but luckily I had many distractions in my life to keep me busy. I needed to get a job desperately, so I focused on that and tried to forget about her — after all she left me, not the other way around.
Months passed and her presence lingered in the back of my mind. I didn’t get it, “why would she ghost me?” I kept thinking to myself every few days. Then one day while waiting for a job interview, I noticed on my social media feed that it was her birthday — my face lit up. It had been roughly 5 months since we last talked and I decided to extend an olive branch. As I typed my message, another popped up which caught my eye — it read:
“I miss you, you were taken too soon.”
My heart sunk. I started to sweat. “Why would someone say something like that?” It didn’t make any fucking sense. I felt confused, I needed answers — so I messaged the poster and demanded an explanation. The ten minutes I waited until he responded, I swear, were the longest in my entire life. I wanted this to be a bad joke, I didn’t want to let her go like this. I got a reply back and to my shock, he mentioned that Domie had passed away in her sleep — no other details were provided. My mind started racing, I didn’t know what to think anymore. I forced myself to focus on my upcoming interview, pushing my bubbling pain inside.
Domie, it’s been 4 years since you passed away and while we only knew each other for a short time, you made such a strong impact on me. I miss you and still think of you from time to time. I wish I could have seen the signs. I wish we could have met, maybe it would have been different if we did. I know you suffered from depression but you never told me that. Years later I messaged your sister and she confirmed what actually happened and that you had taken your own life. You had tried several times before but you had been unsuccessful. I wish you had told me so I could help. I will always remember you, you will never be forgotten — you will live on, your story will stay alive in my memory and of those who read this story about you.
You taught me many important things Domie and I’ll keep these lessons in my heart until I’m gone with the wind. I know now that it’s good to live life in the present, do things you want to now and don’t let them linger. Tell people you love your true feelings while they are alive, because every moment is temporary, actually everything is temporary. Anyone can die, at anytime — so be thankful for them right now, because you might never speak to them again. I miss you my dear Domie — you take care of yourself until we see each other again.