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I have noticed a trend around me… a trend that often inspires me to watch the movie He’s Just Not That Into You. You probably know what I’m talking about before I even describe it. We all have probably done it at some point, and we all know at the very least, one close girlfriend or sister who is doing it right now.
The pursuing of a man who is Just. Not. That. Interested. *insert hand clap emoji here*
I didn’t realize how pervasive it was in my life, even after watching the movie for the first time when I was 20 with tears streaming down my face, thinking,
“Well that hit close to home!”
I ended up married to a man who wasn’t that interested in me. I pursued his interest for years. While married to him, I realized that I was the one who married someone who had no interest in pursuing me. Ever.
Ladies, at this point, you might be thinking I’m about to start preaching some old-fashioned crap at you...
Well, don’t run off just yet and listen up.
I’m only 27 years old and am about to have my divorce finalized any damn day now. This is not where I thought I would be. With a divorce (no kids, thank the stars!) that has dragged on for over a year—a year filled with uncomfortable truths, the biggest of which: He wasn’t that into me.
I didn’t want a man who pursued me, too much attention made me uncomfortable. I wanted someone quiet and reserved. No butterflies? Great! Love is just a chemical in the brain and we don’t need to get that attached anyway, because we all die.
That was my super uplifting outlook on life at 21 years old. Which is when I met my ex-spouse. And you know what, I decided right then I was going to marry him. I looked for romance in the little things like grocery shopping and told myself, I didn’t need a boyfriend to hold my hand. Affection wasn’t that interesting.
Over time, our relationship was so one-sided because I pursued him for every ounce of affection I could get. This was always given half-heartedly and often inappropriately.
So when I finally decided to leave, you better believe I was on my Boss Ass Bitch, Strong Independent Woman Don’t Need No Man.
And that fierceness led to me making a whole bunch of hilarious mistakes right away. I fell for a guy on Insta who started private messaging me, convincing me to meet up with him in IRELAND. I live on the west coast of Canada. And when he ghosted me four months later, three weeks before our meet up, I was like GREAT. I’m still gonna go. (I did and it was amazing by the way.)
But I noticed these uncomfortable truths. Like, how I had just thrown myself into this weird “affair” with someone I’d never met, because I was flattered. Flattered that some gym rat with abs could possibly be interested in me. (Insecurity issues much?!)
But I was still strong and independent, so of course I immediately downloaded dating apps. Duh. I was swiping like crazy and had six dates planned for one weekend before I knew it.
It was hilarious, but exhausting. (To keep everyone straight that is, don’t let your mind go to the gutter like that, go on now.) I was so proud of myself, and came up with little code names for them and everything.
Even so, I was waiting weeks at a time for a text back, I was obsessing over which witty clever thing to say next, and working so damn hard for just a small nugget of attention here and there.
So there I was, stretching my wings, thinking I was still on my Strong Independent bullshit, when my almost 70-year-old mother tells me…
"There’s a guy I like, but…"
And when you hear that “but” you know, this is gonna be good!
Well damn, if I wasn’t listening to her talk about how she always had to initiate conversations, this guy would say he was going to do something and then wouldn’t follow through… I listened to her talk and realization crept over me until I was covered in goosebumps.
I sat there realizing… I was doing the same damn things over again. Just on a different platform. Dating apps had completely amplified every bad trait I had about dating. What I really wanted was a guy who would step up and make some damn plans and tell me what we’re doing. And listen, you can be Strong and Independent AND want a guy to take charge. There is NOTHING wrong with that, but I didn’t know how to make it work. I felt suddenly incapable, and I realized I was just setting myself up for another failure. I didn’t want that.
I was horrified to think that I might be stuck with this cycle for the rest of my life. If my mom was still doing it at 70… and I was just 26… what did I have to look forward to?
And that’s how Tinder (and my mom) inspired me to get a therapist. I realized, I didn’t have my priorities straight. I wanted to make everyone happy so I bent over backwards to make plans work and didn’t set a single boundary. And as soon as I started trying out boundaries, boom! Ghosted. So I started setting internal boundaries, and damn before you know it, everyone was off the list. They waited too long to text back, they couldn’t make a plan and conversations were so awkward and stilted, I thought… that’s fine, I’m just going to eat a pizza and drink some beer and worry about my own damn self. Maybe I don’t need to date at all. Ever.
Well, that is exactly when I met the Guy with the Beard. He told me he wanted to PURSUE me. He told me he wanted to take me on a date and try and win my heart. He used exactly those words, folks. And I told him, “MMM Don’t think so. Not looking for anything serious.”
So we went on our first date three weeks later. LOL. I know…
He planned the whole thing, brought flowers, picked me up, gave me a copy of a book… when we talk about it now, we laugh because it could have been so weird or creepy. It could have come across as way too strong… but when I saw that 6’1’’ bearded tattoo guy standing there waiting for me, quite literally clutching a bouquet. I was a goner. And damn, I had butterflies.
It’s only been eight months, so I’m not preaching to you on how I found my happily ever after. I am simply here to tell you that:
- It is okay to set boundaries. Be clear. Be firm. If your boundary is that you want to have sex on the first date, but not cuddle, more power to you! But feel confident in setting whatever boundaries you have, that is a far better way to protect your heart than anything else.
- Allow someone to pursue you. This does not mean that they have to put all the effort in. Absolutely not, but pay attention to the people who text you back right away when they can, who follow through with what they say they will do and who do not leave you hanging. You deserve to be treated well whether you are seeking something serious or something casual.
- Being a Strong Independent Woman does not mean that sometimes someone else can take the lead. It can feel so good to be cared for and have nothing expected in return. That doesn’t mean you aren’t going to plan dates or text back right away or be present in your relationship. Absolutely not, but I know way too many women putting in so much effort and getting nothing in return.
- And finally, a person who does not care for you the way you wish to be cared for from the beginning, will not suddenly change. I know far too many women, and have been there myself, who get carried away trying to say or do just the right thing to grab a man’s attention. If you have to work that hard, it wasn’t worth it to begin with. Trust me.
- Okay, okay, one more: Everyone deserves someone obsessed with giving them orgasms. This is not relevant to the story, but I’m just going to throw this out there. I promise you, you will never regret finding a man who just wants to please you. It can be very mutually beneficial. ;-)