okay so maybe he doesn’t like you

written by bunny

i remember when i was in early highschool playing bryson tiller for a group of adults (please don’t ask me why, i was really into his music back then) but, one of the women in the group turned to me. she faced me with this look of pity and longing as she said “you must really wanna be in love.”

that stuck with me. i wanted to be loved so badly that it didn’t even really matter who it was or if they even liked me back. 

i am the type of person who falls hard and fast. from 3rd grade through 8th grade i had a crush on this boy. i was in love and everyone knew it. my affections have and will never be a secret. however he definitely didn’t feel the same and i don’t necessarily blame him either. i really was the mildly off-putting chick who didn’t really understand the hierarchies and social cues of the pre-teen years. 

this attachment to love and my longing for it, has made me hyper aware of what it looks like when someone does not feel the same way. it doesn’t matter how much i worked or loved or changed, the relationships weren’t right and there was nothing i could do to change their feelings about me. i would stay in these relationships that turned so toxic and nasty. i lost myself in these people that hurt me and i hurt back. its painful to be vulnerable and to be rejected but it is not as damaging as becoming someone you don’t recognize. i mean come on, my girlfriends wanna hang out with me, not another version of the shitty man i’m seeing.

i have come to help navigate what it looks like when a man doesn’t really like you, to save you from heartbreak or from your friends hearing about him. the talking stage can be really confusing and its hard to navigate the feelings of this person. everyone comes to expect different things within the talking stage. this article, by Damisola Sulaiman says that “just because you’re only talking doesn’t mean you should expect any kind of disrespect or deceit.”. but no one should feel so blinded by the potential that they disregard what the other person feels. please be honest with yourself and your partners. nothing hurts more than deception. 

so lets say you go on a date with a boy, you don’t know him that well but you hit it off right away. the date goes well and you’d love a second date. your night ends with a debrief with your roommates. 

but now we enter into the danger zone. is he gonna text you back? 

the danger zone is my absolute least favorite part of the date. i am always riddled with anxiety, even the last time i went on a date i couldn’t fall asleep after. the danger zone is the window of time after a first date, in which they either text you with the intent of moving forward or they ghost you. so what is the appropriate amount of time to give this potitiental partner? this is entirely debatable but i would argue that they have, AT MOST, two days. 

now if he texts back in two weeks, after midnight then that’s an answer too. it may not be the answer you want because he doesn’t really like you. that is a hookup, a booty call, a by-product of this casual dating thing that we can’t seem to escape.

i continue to struggle with letting things progress at a natural pace. i want to know what my partner thinks of me, what they want, where this will go etc etc. it keeps me up at night. so be honest with yourself, is a casual relationship something you can not only live with but be happy with? are you okay with not having girlfriend/boyfriend status? 

because you don’t have to be! you are allowed to ask for what you want. you are allowed to meet someone on tinder and ask for a serious relationship. its okay to set boundaries and want them respected. however, that goes both ways.

if they dont want you then let things lie, they aren’t an asshole or a jerk for not wanting to be with you. you don’t need to respond or hold resentment, that being said, you are allowed to be upset. some people thrive in casual relationships or serious ones but if your wants are different then walk away. 

so now lets focus on communication. yes, yes i know communication is awkward and terrible and uncomfortable butttttt it says a lot about people. if your prospective partner is messaging you and talking to you consistently, i would say that’s a green flag. so let’s now assume that those partners, the ones messaging you every time they’re horny, are not that into you. they want something out of you and i would assume that even if you really, reallyyyy like him, those feelings may not be mutual.  

there are so many different ways people let you know they just don’t like you, let’s list off a couple of other instansists. they lag on messaging you for days. they don’t respect specific needs or boundaries that you have talked with them about. they aren’t curious about your life. they flirt with other people in front of you. they bail on plans frequently. they may not suggest hanging out or never make solid plans. 

this however, can be a benefit to the terrible talking stage. it allows you to get to know them and really decide if you want to continue on with them. the talking stage is our modern-day courting, but that doesn’t make it any less painful when it comes to rejection. 

i implore you to please listen. whether or not they like you back is not that big of a deal, it just means that you can move on. do not continue to move forward with them if you want a relationship and they want a booty call. you can’t change them and you shouldn’t change your values either. if you listen to what they are saying and what their actions are conveying then you’ll know. maybe just asking yourself if he really likes you is a sign that those feelings just may not be there for them. and if they do ghost you, or end it or want different things, it is not the end of the world. there are so many people desperate for love and fulfilling relationships. do not settle for someone who only wants you for what you can do for them. we are all in a crazy transitional period of our lives, we are all trying to figure it out. be kinder to yourself because what you are looking for is looking for you too and its not behind closed doors and 2am text messages. 

further readings and cited sources
Sulaiman, Damisola. “The Dreaded ‘Talking Stage’: All Your Burning Questions Answered.” Medium, Hello, Love, 7 June 2020, https://medium.com/hello-love/the-dreaded-talking-stage-all-your-burning-questions-answered-fe2c70f6d459.

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