You can’t make people do what they don’t want to do. At some point, you have to believe what people tell you through their non-verbal cues.
I’ve been there. You like somebody, you build up hope, your conversation is good, you go on some dates, those dates turn into a few months of dating that same person. Cool! Eventually, though, you feel like things are settled, you don’t know where you stand, you don’t know if this is a true relationship, you haven’t discussed who you are to each other. It’s an odd song and dance and you feel the awkwardness of the unknown—what are we doing here you ask yourself. Maybe the other person doesn’t know either or maybe they don’t know how to speak to their needs.
Who knows. We’re not mind readers after all. You have a conversation and bring up your feelings because you’re able to have awkward or difficult conversations. Good on you! That’s a great place to start. You tell your partner, who you’ve seen naked, and tell them how you feel and what you want. You tell them you like them and you want to date more seriously and you want to know what your status is. Your partner shrugs it off. I’m just dating around, whoever I’m serious with next that’s who I want to have as my forever person. Sure, that makes sense, you’re not trying to waste your time either. They tell you they like you and they want to keep dating.
So you get back to it, you keep dating. You notice, though, that you’re the only one putting in the effort—you’re the only one doing the outreach, you’re the only one making the plans to spend time together. Your partner answers the texts, takes your calls, and they show up to the places they’re supposed to show up to. But it’s not enough, your gut is screaming something is off.
Just a reminder: You can’t read their mind and they can’t read yours. Your best way through this, the most mature way, is to voice your concerns and needs. And if you don’t get a satisfactory answer to what you require from the other person, you should walk away.
For me, I had a similar situation come up not long ago. Before Christmas, I noted the lack of effort from the person I was seeing. I brought it up to them and she said, “Oh, things are just crazy, I like you and I like spending time with you.” I told her that because I don’t hear from her, it made me feel like she had other things to do or more important priorities and that I wanted to be in a relationship where we prioritize each other. At a minimum, communication needs to occur.
I wasn’t getting very far with everything. In short, the person I was seeing wasn’t matching my energy on the communication or the emotional front. It’s odd because that usually doesn’t happen. In the past, I would have looked past that and put the honus on myself to do more, to make it so the other person would want to make the effort—like it was my fault the other person wasn’t engaging with me. Now, with some time, some more learning, I look at things through a different lens. Even so, I know these lessons. It’s an old one: Pay attention to what people do and not what they say.
The gal I was seeing wasn’t aligned in her actions and words. It was clear. I saw her once before Christmas, we hung out, had lunch, had some good fun and I left. I suspected that I wouldn’t hear from her again if I didn’t reach out. It turns out that I was right. I never heard from her over Christmas, nor did I hear from her on New Year. She likes my Insta photos, though… Weird but that’s not my problem. I did text her, though, and said Hey, I realize you weren’t into me, not enough to date me, it’s messed up that you couldn’t say that especially since we’ve been dating for most of the year. That’s not something I do. Ever. But I did and I felt resolved, at least. She didn’t reply back and now I have one less follower on Instagram.
You get to tell people that they hurt you or let you down. It’s okay to be upset!
It’s a simple lesson, though. If your partner isn’t matching your energy, don’t keep putting effort into it—have that conversation, state what your needs are. If your partner can’t meet you in the middle, walk away. It doesn’t matter what they have going on, especially if they can’t muster the words. That’s not your problem to fix. All you can do is put yourself out there, be vulnerable, and express yourself. If they can’t do the same or if they don’t match actions to their words, it’s time to walk.