Tom’s words lit a fire in my heart.
“I really like you, but… I don’t want to add a label to it right now. Let’s chill and see what happens. You’re cool with that, right?”
Looking back on the diary entry that my teenage self had written, it makes me wince because it’s apparent that I was being played.
My teenage ears heard the four magic words. “I really like you.” They didn’t hear that this person didn’t want a relationship and failed to recognize that Tom was probably saying the same thing to many other girls.
Time and time again, I come across men and women asking for relationship advice, and although they are often older than my high school self, they are in the same situation.
What they aren’t realizing are these simple truths that also took me way too long to learn, which are:
- When someone likes you, they’ll tell you.
- If you want a relationship, take someone at their word when they say they don’t want one.
- There are billions of people on this planet; I promise that some also desire commitment.
If you need clear-cut examples, here are some brief diary entries and my embarrassment that can help remind you why it’s essential to DTR (define the relationship.)
They tell you that they aren’t looking for a relationship
“He told me he isn’t looking for a relationship, but it’s fine; I’m cool with being casual.”
The words in my diary are at odds with the pages before and after this entry, where I only wanted to be in a real relationship and have a boyfriend.
Yet, beggars couldn’t be choosers, so I told myself I had to chill out. Eventually, Tom would share my feelings. Yet, when he didn’t, and I angrily looked back, the truth was staring me right in my face. Even though he hadn’t said the exact words, he had never once said he wanted more than anything casual. I simply didn’t want to listen.
They “admit” that they have secret feelings for you
The sound of the high school band was so loud that we had to yell to be heard during the football game intermission.
Tom smiled at my best friend and me as his beautiful face appeared in front of us, and she was an angel who took the queue and quickly walked away to talk to someone else.
“You look so pretty tonight,” Tom said, lightly brushing his knee against mine. “I like you.” The words again were music to my ears. That is until Tom instantly pulled away when one of his friends started coming up the bleachers.
PSA: when someone truly cares about you, they won’t want to keep it a secret, and they won’t be acting shady about being around you in public, especially in front of their boys.
They say that down the line, they may want to commit
“Things are just so insane right now, but in a few months, I’ll be in a place where I’ll be able to have a girlfriend.”
This is where everything changed.
Tom’s words meant that he WAS going to be looking for a relationship. What he had said before didn’t matter because now, there was evidence that I could be his romantic interest.
Whether he wanted to admit it or not, Tom was trying to date other people and would eventually go back to his ex of over four years because of their on-again/off-again pattern.
They allow you to dream about a non-existent future
“I asked him if he wanted to go to a concert with me in a couple of months, and he said he would love to. ”
The entire time I dreamed about a future, Tom was getting back together with his ex-girlfriend and talking to me on the side.
However, when I look back, it’s easy to see that Tom did everything he needed to do. I was informed upfront that he wasn’t interested in a relationship. Sure, Tom should have aligned his actions with his words and not flirted and played me a bit, but I also allowed myself to be played.
Remember, it’s better to be alone than to compromise for someone who can’t meet you where you need them to be. Getting rid of these emotionally draining and confusing situationships allows you to be in a healthy place where the right person comes along. After all, life is too short to give all of yourself to someone who can’t even call you their significant other.