For a long nine months, I found myself in the ever-frustrating almost-relationship. At first, this casual setup suited me because I liked the freedom—that is until I developed actual feelings for him. The following months were spent debating whether I should hang in there or walk away, particularly because he didn’t seem to be on the same page. When he finally told me he felt the same way, I knew it was time to close the book.
He took too long.
Sure, we went into things agreeing we wouldn’t get serious, but not long after, it became obvious we were a great match. From the great time we always had together to our friends commenting on our compatibility, it was hard to deny our chemistry. Only I wizened up to this quickly and he took his sweet time. I don’t want someone who’s going to take nine months to figure out I’m a catch.
He raised my expectations.
It was one thing when we were friends with benefits—I learned to not expect much. After all, I’d agreed to the arrangement and I wanted to play by the rules. But after he divulged his feelings for me and declarations on how we would be in each other’s lives for the long haul, things changed. Suddenly his inconsistent texting habits and flaky behavior weren’t good enough—I wanted him to step up if that’s how he really felt.
If this was real, I had to raise my standards.
For the last four years, I’d been adamant that I didn’t want a relationship with anyone. It wasn’t until recently I realized that maybe I’m ready for more—and if I am, it’s time to raise the bar. I was willing to look past certain flaws in casual flings but not so much in potential partners whom I’d be making an emotional investment in. It was time to get the checklist back out.
He waited until it was more convenient for him.
He was happy keeping things string-less while he was living in his bachelor pad with his best friends. It was only once he moved back in with family and started focusing more on work and adult responsibilities that he pursued something substantial with me. Oh, so now you can fit me into your life? Too late!
It was all on his terms.
Whenever I bought up the conversation of feelings or asked what we were doing, it was met with exasperation and insinuations that I was trying to change the terms of our casual agreement. Yet when he’d done his own soul-searching and realized the depth of his own feelings, suddenly the conversation was allowed to be on the table. Sorry, that’s not how it works, buddy.
I’d already wasted enough time.
I had already spent the good part of a year with this guy, not really interested in anyone else and worse, putting myself second. Too many hours had already been wasted being distracted from my career, agonizing over whether he felt the same as I did. Did I really want to invest even more time on someone who had been so complacent about me? Nope.
He continued to be flaky afterward.
It wasn’t like his grand declarations came with a commitment to make us work. We lived apart from each other at this point and he still didn’t appear to be willing to make any compromises to have me in his life for real. It seemed like my FWB situation was just going to transition into friends with benefits and feelings. Not exactly what I had in mind.
By then, I realized I wanted more.
After acknowledging how good I felt to have him reciprocate my feelings, I could no longer kid myself that I was OK with our arrangement. It had to be now or never. It does suck to walk away from something that could be great. Many of our obstacles are circumstantial and likely to change at some point, but I need more than just the potential for a great relationship to stick around.
If you have to force it, it’s not right.
I’d spent months waiting around, trying not to pressure him and playing my cards right, hoping he’d change his mind like I had mine. Then I realized that I shouldn’t need to put in so much effort to persuade someone to be with me. I want someone who will dive into a relationship with me with the same enthusiasm I dive into a pint of Ben and Jerry’s. Frankly, anything less isn’t good enough.
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