Hoping you have some good advice for me. About a month ago I met a guy on a trip and we had a super-strong connection. Three days after meeting he even said he loved me, and we starting talking about ways for him to move closer to me.
Here’s the problem. On our trip we talked every day, but when I returned home two weeks ago I texted him and he just said he was really tired from work, (he’s a doctor), and would text me tomorrow. I haven’t heard from him yet, but he did like a photo I posted on Instagram last week.
Should I try messaging him again? I can’t get him out of my mind!!! He was perfect. I would really like to go back and visit him to rekindle what we had. What do you think I should do?
-Dazed and Confused
Dear “Dazed and Confused,”
Ahh… Is there anything more romantic than falling in love on vacation?… Well, maybe a returned text, right? Lol… In the age of ghosting I see this question a lot, but since everyone’s particular situation is different, (or at least feels that way), I’m happy to address the whole “should I keep trying” issue… Again 😉
One of my favorite teachers once said, “Struggle to get, struggle to keep,” and I offer that as a reminder to anyone embarking on a new relationship that’s starting off rocky. For the most part, if you want a relationship where both people are on the same page, coming together should be harmonious and mutually satisfying, with “issues” arising later when the relationship eventually asks one or both parties to step outside of their comfort zone and grow. If you want one full of confusion and miscommunication, well, starting off with cat and mouse games should do the trick.
So it depends on what you want. A lot of times we get so used to feeling bad that we put up with unnecessary drama, but it doesn’t have to be that way.
However, since you’re talking to me, I assume you already know that. You’ve first learned to care about how you feel, and therefore want a relationship that feels good. So in my usual direct fashion, here are my two cents:
When the ball is in a romantic interest’s court to contact you, and they don’t, it means that they’re (1) just not that into you, (2) unreliable, and (3) in cases where they previously expressed a lot of interest, confused about what they want.
And why would you not only match up with, but pursue someone who’s shown you that they’re just not that into you, unreliable, and confused about what they want? (Oy. Brace yourself for a not-so-easy-to-hear truth, my friend.) Because they’re mirroring back to you how you feel about yourself. In at least some way you’re (1) just not that into you, (2) unreliable when it comes to consistently putting your feelings first, and (3) confused about what you deserve.
So what should you do?
Work on raising your self-esteem, (at least a teeny weeny bit), so that you’re attracted to people who are just that into you, reliable, and clear on what they want because you’re clear on what you deserve.
Now, there will always be people who shower all sorts of love and attention on others then ghost, and there’s nothing wrong with having met and liked someone who’s done that. Heck, you may even have, or will have, done that at one time or another. However, if you want to be in a good relationship, one that’s not full of “struggle to keep,” you’ll have to give yourself enough time to get to know whether or not the other person you like is not only up for, but capable of, sustaining a loving relationship – and that discipline to wait-and-see before going all-in requires a certain amount of self-esteem.
Alright, now, cultivating the self-esteem you need to get the relationship of your dreams is a three-step process. And step one, lucky you, will happen on its own. In step one you simply “burn out” of the emotionally unavailable, inconsistent “bad boys,” (or “bad girls”), you’ve been dating.
Here you’ll just continue to date people who ultimately don’t really treat you all that great until you get fed up with it and flat out no longer like or pursue them. Sounds horrible, I know. But don’t worry, there’s actually some fun to be had in this step as there will be moments you’re insanely goo-goo ga-ga over a wolf.
So go ahead and text that person you just can’t get out of your head. Get all excited when they finally drop you a crumb of a text days after you contacted them, or like a pic on your social media page. Get confused and heartbroken as many times as it takes for you to no longer be able to stomach people who don’t treat you the way you deserve. Eventually you’ll tire of it and be ready to move on to something more consistent and better.
Introduce step two. Step two is where you step into action. Here you’ll create strong boundaries and standards for yourself that dictate what you will entertain and what you absolutely won’t. Last minute booty calls? No, thanks. Asking you out on a proper date, showing up on time, and consistently expressing a real interest in getting to know you? Yes, please.
Now – side note – how do you know you deserve all this “better” treatment? Well, because it’ll feel better than shitty treatment. And despite what other people in your life might have conditioned you to believe, what you feel deep down is ultimately your truth.
Alright, back to the steps. In step two you also allow yourself to be vulnerable with those who do meet your standards. After all, with the emotionally available people you were linking up with in the past there were walls up that prevented you from ever really having to “go there.” But to be a match to real love, you’ll have to open yourself up to real hurt. So when you do meet someone who shows you that they can be trusted to support you in all your glorious vulnerability, you do just that – become vulnerable.
And, finally, step three is where you trust your instincts. Your boundaries and standards aren’t there to get you to be with someone you think you should be with just because they aren’t a douche, or something basic like that. They’re there to remind you to trust your instincts, which always wanted you to be with someone who treated you well.
Being with someone you both like and who meets your standards will feel good. Someone who doesn’t will quickly feel bad, which is your signal to listen to your gut and jump ship. After all, relationships aren’t just about learning how to live happily ever after with someone else, they’re about learning how to live happily ever after with you.
With relationships you get a mirror for how you feel about yourself and how you love yourself. And if you don’t like what you see reflecting back at you, (i.e. what you’re getting back from others), keep reimagining yourself until you do.
So, don’t chase. Wait.
Wait for you to consistently adore yourself so much that you can’t help but attract others who do the same. And when you do meet the person who is perfect for you, like I said in “The Care and Feeding in Sex Symbols,” you’ll receive a “Hell Yes!” to proceed in mind, body, and spirit. Anything other than that, (aka doubts), are for the blogs. Best of luck.
Note: As this column is designed to be a judgement-free zone, only those who have been, (or know someone who has been), in a similar situation are invited to comment; especially if the question is unorthodox or hard for one to relate to. And for even more relevant insight, those seeking answers are always encouraged to go within.