A lot of things change when someone says they like you. All of a sudden, that person you never noticed before becomes significant. They give you special attention, and, it makes you feel special. Now, you can’t stop thinking about them; you can’t stop seeing them; you can’t stop asking yourself if maybe you feel the same way.
At least, that was how it happened for me in high school.
One of my classmates asked me out. I didn’t mind saying yes to a few dates because it never seemed like a commitment. He was nice, the dates were fun, and I liked spending time with him. I was just never sure if I actually liked him. I never hung out with guys growing up so this is what I imagined it to be like. Even though we texted regularly and started hanging out more frequently, I was still able to keep my distance. I treated him more as a friend, but I was ignoring his feelings which he was trying to make more obvious with the passing time.
It made sense that two people who were going on dates would eventually start dating, but I wasn’t sure if I was ready to be serious yet. I’d let him put his arm around me then play it off as being casual.
I didn’t want to admit that he felt more strongly than I did because I was convinced that my feelings would change if I gave it more time. Nor did I want to admit that I was leading him on, even though I was being flirtatious.
When he asked me out, I felt pressured to say yes. I lied to him and to myself by saying a relationship could work between us.
We decided to go to a Halloween party with matching costumes just a few days later. Only when I was facing the public acknowledgment of our relationship, did I realize what I had gotten myself into. The reality of my actions finally set in and I immediately began to regret it. I liked the attention he had shown me, but accepting that attention is what had given him false hope.
I lost a friend when I ended the relationship.
I hurt him by admitting that I wasn’t ready for a relationship. How badly I hurt him didn’t occur to me until the same thing happened to me. My ex-boyfriend and I had been together for a couple of months during the school year. I stayed over at his place frequently, we were in the same student organization, yet he always hesitated when it came to saying that we were “official.”
I was already going against my beliefs for the extent of our “relationship” without being in an actual relationship. The phrase ‘the person who cares less has the most power’ had never sounded truer to me than the time I spent feeling insecure while I was with him. When you actually like someone, you want to make that commitment to define your relationship. Instead, he made me feel like it was an obligation to me that he didn’t want to make despite that we acted like a couple.
When my ex and I split up, he told me that he liked how I was nice especially towards him. It shocked me that I was on the other end of giving the attention and it made me feel used. If you are not prepared to reciprocate what you receive in a relationship, then that is not a relationship.
The idea that I had been just as selfish once horrified me.
With my ex, I had the self-respect to walk away from someone that was treating me like a hook-up. A relationship consists of a balance between two people, not one person putting in all the effort. Being on either the giving or receiving side of attention is never a good feeling. Always begin by asking yourself if you or your partner are ready for a relationship because everyone deserves someone that will treat them like how you would treat yourself.
Remember, you are worth it.