If You’re His Second Choice, Don’t Make Him Your First

Who wants to be put on the backburner? I don’t, but it used to happen more often than I’d like to admit. However, I’ve recently realized that I deserve more and better from a guy who claims he wants me in his life. It sucks that it took me so long to get to this point but now that I’m here, I’ll never settle again—and neither should you.

  1. I used to think the problem was mine, not theirs. I always seemed to think there was something wrong with me. I wondered why nothing I did was good enough and what I could do differently to make these guys actually want to put in more of an effort with me. Ugh. This had to stop—it was exhausting and completely brought down my self-esteem. I may not have been perfect, but I certainly wasn’t the problem.
  2. I always accepted the love I thought I deserved. While I always thought I was the issue, I also assumed that what little I received from a guy was basically all I deserved. If I came on too strong for a while and he distanced himself, I told myself it was because I’d been too needy. The thing is, I wanted to be affectionate and he didn’t. That should have confirmed my fears right there and shown me that he wasn’t on the same page.
  3. I was sick of being jealous of everything. Being constantly on the backburner truly got to me and eventually, I’d had enough and decided it was time to stand up for myself. I’d find that I was getting jealous over the stupidest things that had nothing to do with my relationship but ultimately stemmed from not feeling validated by whoever I was dating. If he chose not to call me or waited until the last minute to make plans with me, I always went to the craziest end of the spectrum and assumed it was because the first choice had other plans. As you can imagine, this was pretty exhausting.
  4. I could do casual, but only sometimes. There have been guys I’ve enjoyed seeing that stated from the beginning they didn’t want to be anything serious and I’d go along with it even if it wasn’t what I wanted. Not anymore. It’s a simple question, but an important one. These days, if I feel like I enjoy him and just want to have some good times, I have no problem occasionally getting together to hang out or go to dinner. If I start to feel more and he’s not in the same mindset as me, I know I have to be strong and step away, otherwise, I’ll end up brokenhearted. I have to be very aware now but it’s ultimately a good trait to have.
  5. I couldn’t put my life on hold anymore. I used to sit around waiting for the guy I was seeing to call me to get together and that resulted in a lot of lonely nights. I didn’t want to make any plans because I knew the second I did, he’d call and then I’d end up being the jerk and breaking them to spend time with him. Looking back, I realize this is absolutely nuts and I won’t ever be that flaky girl again. Now I don’t wait for anyone. If I happen to be free when a last-minute call comes in, that’s fine, but I won’t sit around and wait for someone. I have more important things to do.
  6. I put feeling secure at the top of my list. There are a lot of things that are needed to maintain a healthy relationship. Trust and honesty have always been important to me but I didn’t realize security was up there as well. I don’t need to sit and wonder about someone I care for—in fact, I shouldn’t have to. I don’t need to know their constant whereabouts but if I’m unsure about a guy I’m dating, I think a little harder about why I’m feeling that way. If it’s because there’s a lack of security, I know the relationship isn’t for me.
  7. It wasn’t an overnight change. One misconception I had was that once I discovered my self-worth, I’d never backstep again. Oh, how wrong I was. I failed countless times after that, but I will say it was a lot easier to pick myself back up after a heartbreak. I know things don’t always go as planned and sometimes I’m going to become the doormat again without even noticing, but I choose to live and learn—with a huge emphasis on the “learning” part. I take inventory of what happened and put it into practice so I don’t make the same mistakes in future.
  8. In the end, I became stronger. After deciding that I was worthy of being a priority, I gained a lot of confidence that helped me sort through the guys that only wanted me part-time. I was able to stand up to them, say no more, and cut off ties if I was just being used as a backup. I started surrounding myself with people that wanted to be around me in all aspects of my life, not just dating. I wanted to have more meaningful relationships all around and I needed to introduce those kinds of people in my life instead of ones that weren’t willing to give it back.
jordan is a writer from salt lake city who enjoys a good steak, her dog, and conversations about how radiohead is awesome. she hopes to be a talking head on some VH1 pop-culture show someday and can curate a playlist for any occasion. when she grows up she wants to be an olsen twin.