How many times have you spent an evening out with friends, staring at your phone on the table amongst wine glasses. stifling your disappointment. waiting.
“For the love of god. just text me back.”
While conversations happen around you, all you want to do is dissect the excuses and replay every happening that got you to this place. Stuck in a quasi relationship with a partner who is amazing in theory but who has yet to put it into action.
You’re in love-ish, if only they would do that one thing that proves that they care. But they don’t. They do the bare minimum to keep you in the relationship. Enough to make you care, but not enough to trust them.
When you’re ready to break it off (for real this time) they show up with your favorite bottle of wine or introduce you to someone in their family. Not all hope is lost, and you inflate the experience to be a sign from the gods that love is inevitable.
It’s not a sign – people are good at reading these moments and doing just enough to perpetuate the situation you’ve created in your head. We’ve learned as a culture when and how to do juuuuust enough to keep people hanging on.
Just in case you turn out to be the best option… sometime in the future.
This is a plague of our society and one that we perpetuate by clinging desperately to these pseudo-relationships without ever saying “hey – what’s our deal?”
There is a better way.
Call people on their non-committal bullshit.
You will get left by people who were going to leave anyway, but the good ones will step up.
Instead of asking for what we want – we turn inwards and blame ourselves for not being “enough”. Not beautiful or skinny enough to make them fall head over heels for us. Not smart or interesting enough to make someone commit for good. Not sexy enough for them to stop sleeping with other people.
Believe me, you are enough.
But our FOMO dating world has made it easy for non-committal turds to keep playing this game.
And these turds are not bad people – we have all been on both sides of this at one point or another. I’ve been a turd more than a few times.
Not out of intentional manipulation, but because not breaking up was easier than having one difficult conversation. And it was better than being alone. I thought it was worth hedging my bets. It wasn’t.
And we can get away with it because no one ever asks us the tough questions or has definitive conversations about relationships. We assume and hypothesize and drop subtle hints (that are never picked up).
Until we collectively raise our expectations of our partners – even just in casual dating relationships our pseudo partners have no reason to do more than the bare minimum.
So just ask:
Hey – I really like you – but it’s not ok that you’re always canceling plans last minute. It’s rude.
I like our late night booty calls, but I want to see you during the day too. I need more than just sex to have a relationship, even a casual one.
I don’t date people who don’t text me back. Ever. See you around!!
Tell your person that you’re upset or annoyed when they do something that doesn’t work for you. It’s not a threat, it’s common courtesy. Let’s all start standing up for what we need. Let’s all take responsibility for how we make other people feel. Having these simple conversations out loud will raise the collective bar for everyone.
Imagine if we all had higher standards and people who didn’t text back or treated partners with disrespect were the outsiders instead of the norm. That’s a possibility.
Let’s raise the bare minimum.