I dated a guy for five months. We had a talk and he said he wasn’t ready for a relationship yet. Things fell off after that. I saw him about a month after the conversation, and he mentioned that we should see each other more, at least once a week. Didn’t happen. I let him know that things weren’t working. I felt like I was falling for him, and clearly he’s unavailable. I know the way I did it wasn’t ideal—via text—but we mainly text anyway. (I know, I know, interested men call.) But he didn’t put up much of a fight or stop me from ending things. He’s still texting me regularly, though.
Is he trying to be friends? Why? What’s the point? I don’t know what to do or tell him. I’m still very hurt and still want things to work out with him, though it looks like they won’t. —Anonymous
Hon, you’re wasting your pretty. I get it, you like the guy and want things to work, but he’s done very little to show that he likes you, too. This isn’t going anywhere.
He’s already told you plainly, and after an ample amount of time getting to know you, that he’s not looking for a relationship. I’m unsure why you expected him to be interested in one when your relationship was built on texting. I’m not surprised that he didn’t put up a fight to keep you from leaving.
But deep down you know this, because you’ve said that interested men call. And this man wasn’t calling. So you know the deal. Maybe you chose to overlook that because you’re lonely, and after failed situations in the past, you just wanted someone around, so you settled. If so, I get the reasoning, but settling isn’t the way to get what you want.
Last week on Twitter, a woman asked me if a woman was wasting her pretty by dating a guy for an extended length of time who wouldn’t commit.
My answer: Yes. Period.
Another woman chimed in and provided a link to a well-written (in jaded frustration) article about a woman lamenting, more or less, how dating sucks and men are crap and no one does what they used to do. The woman thought I was unrealistic about dating, specifically the part where I tell women not to accept men who text instead of call, who offer couch dates instead of actual dates or who won’t commit after dating for a significant amount of time.
To which I say: Stop dating the man who does this. He’s not all that interested in you, and you’re being used as a convenient placeholder until he finds the woman he really wants. You are wasting your energy and time—i.e., your pretty.
The woman he really wants to be with? He has no problem calling, and for the woman he really wants to spend time with, he finds the money and time to take her out because he wants to show her off. He wants her to commit because he wants her to be his and doesn’t want anyone else to have access to her.
If you want to be in a relationship, only date a guy who puts forth the effort. That’s not a guarantee that he’ll commit, but the odds are better with him than with the guy who won’t even call.
I have tons of male friends. For years I’ve observed men who were indoctrinated with circa-2000 Jay-Z’s almost-lethal strain of hypermisogyny be indifferent to women they were bored by and then go from 0 to 100 for women who move them. You want the guy who at least goes to 80. He calls, he shows up, he plans dates, he sacrifices, he communicates, he considers, he gets focused. And he puts a ring on it.
You want to “waste” less time, date the guy who at least tries to act as if he wants to get to know you and shows consistent interest. And if or when he doesn’t want to commit? You’re not interested in being “friends,” that hazy area where he still keeps access to you for his convenience and you pine for him, wondering, “Why not me?”
Thank him for his time, tell him to come find you if or when he is ever ready, and move on to someone who is interested. Do not waste your pretty on a guy who can’t be bothered to pick up a phone or take you out in public or claim you.
Demetria Lucas D’Oyley is a contributing editor at The Root, a life coach and the author of Don’t Waste Your Pretty: The Go-to Guide for Making Smarter Decisions in Life & Love as well as A Belle in Brooklyn: The Go-to Girl for Advice on Living Your Best Single Life. She answers your dating and relationship questions on The Root each week. Feel free to ask anything at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Previously in Ask Demetria: “Should I Be Angry That I Might Be My Husband’s 2nd Choice?”