You’ve been talking to someone for a few months. They seem really into you. Then they take hours to reply to your text messages and disappear altogether. A few months later, they resurface and ask you out. You go out a few times and have really good times together. Then they act weird again.
You scratch your head asking yourself, your family, your friends, and the internet, “WHY?”
Okay, let me save you time and spell it out for you:
You’re not the only romantic interest in their life.
You’re not their first priority.
You’re not in their life plan.
But you shouldn’t even care about “why.”
See, whatever it is you think is the reason for their acting weird, it’s likely wrong. You simply do not have enough information and, in fact, you will never have the full, objective truth.
The only information you have is their behaviors and how you feel.
Do they act like someone seriously interested in you or capable of giving you the relationship you want?
Do their behaviors make you feel good?
If the answers to both questions are no, there you have it—they’re not right for you. They won’t meet your needs in a relationship, regardless of why they do what they do. Hence, they don’t deserve any more of your time and attention.
It’s not your responsibility to decode the behaviors of every single person you go on one or a few dates with. That’s an impossible task. You need to learn to accept people you really don’t know that well at face value and act in your best interest.
Is it easier said than done? Then do this:
Validate your feelings. Do you miss them? Do you desperately want to hear from them? Do you feel embarrassed for liking them way more than they like you?
Write it out. Talk to someone. Or even scream at the top of your lungs. You’ll feel better afterwards, and you’ll be able to think straight. Every time your feelings get intense again, release them privately. Trust me—they will subside eventually.
I understand that your mind and your heart might not be in agreement when it comes to love, but you must let your rational brain take control this time. If you’re sick of being treated like you’re second-rate, then don’t allow anyone to do so to you—only choose the people who show you they value you.
Someone who values you—your future spouse—won’t act weird with you. They will make themselves and their intention known to you all the time. They won’t risk losing you.
Trust me, I know what it’s like to be attached to someone who doesn’t give that much of a shit about you, who acts like a clown but you let them anyway, and how easy and comforting it is to give in to your passionate, obsessive feelings, but it’s destroying you. It’s taking away your most valuable asset: your time—the time you could spend living your best life.
I’ve gone to the other side; I’ve made the hard decisions; I’ve found the love of my life, and let me tell you from first-hand experience: it’s amazing, it’s beneficial on every level, and you can have it every day. This is what’s at stake when you keep holding onto someone who’s wrong for you and dissecting their same old behaviors. They’re not even that interesting!
If you have understood why you need to stop asking “why” and just move on, but find it hard to do so in practice, here are a few practical tips:
1. Set hard rules.
Right now, just decide you’ve seen enough. Delete their number. Block their contact and social media accounts. Set a deadline of three or six months, for example. Out of sight, out of mind.
2. Identify the behaviors you want from a partner or visualize your future spouse.
Be as clear as possible, then you’ll be able to see the gap between what you want and what they actually give you.
3. Write affirmative notes to yourself.
I don’t care how: phone notes, emails to your future self, a Medium article—write down in full present-tense sentences what you deserve (only the best) and what you want out of life (e.g. a full-time partner who chooses you every day). Shoot for the moon!
4. Use fear as a motivator (then let love guide you).
I don’t usually advise this, but it actually worked for me. I thought if I kept getting hung up over shitty guys, my future would be ruined for real, as I was already behind my goals. So I immediately pulled myself together and stopped all the bullshit. If you still want a chance at your dream life, you might want to do the same too.
That said, the moment you embark on this life-changing journey, let love pave the way: love for yourself, your family, your friends, and your life.