Be completely intoxicated with them. For the first few weeks, maybe a lovely month or two, be consumed with the way they do everything and how incredibly cool it all seems. From their friends, to their hobbies, to how they deal with strangers in a bar — everything just seems to come off without a hitch, as though the universe has conspired in their favor to make everything easy. Feel a bit self-conscious when out with them, as they have simply mastered this “don’t appear to care too much” attitude that you strive for while constantly landing somewhere around “anxiously concerned.” Catch yourself, occasionally, staring admiringly at them while they’re talking in a group — realize that you are transfixed with them the way someone might be with a particularly beloved celebrity.
Start to understand that this nonchalance, this attitude of “it’s all good,” is not merely an act that they have managed to pull of in social situations. The attraction that people feel towards them is largely rooted in the fact that, for most things, they actually don’t care. Realize that when one is indifferent to the minor comings and goings of people around them, others gravitate towards it, as it signifies a clear feeling of dominance, of leadership, of default power in their inability to be effected by things that don’t concern them. Wish that you could master this ability to not catch yourself up in the little things, but know on some level that you will always care.
Find yourself often waiting by your phone, constantly checking, even though you know that, if someone had called or messaged, you would have clearly heard it. Make holding your phone — that talisman of the relationship you have become nothing short of addicted to — as ingrained in your daily routine as breathing. Touch it, dart your eyes over to it, remind it that you are still here and ready to check it if something were to happen. Spend far more time than is appropriate waiting for responses to simple questions or cute messages. Write a veritable essay of thoughts and feelings, receive a sparse “heh” or “lol” in return. Feel like a complete idiot every time you receive a response.
Be starved for affection. Become an obedient, grateful lapdog every time the smallest morsel of admiration or comfort is doled out in your direction. Spend such immense expanses of time waiting for something — anything — to let you know they are still checked into this relationship, that a tiny afterthought of a date or some two AM sex when they stop by your house on the way home from doing something more interesting with friends is viewed as the stuff of romance. Think of this this as their very particular way of showing that, even though their methods are a bit unorthodox, they care about you more than you know. Fail to understand that the significance to these meetings, to this sex, to the time spent together, has been completely added after the fact by your own overeager imagination. Be blind to the fact that they don’t put any thought into these things, and your time together happening at such inconvenient and random hours is not spontaneous, fun affection, but simply a result of you not being terribly high on their list of priorities.
Notice their difficulty in expressing their feelings towards you. Listen carefully to the way they mumble out “love you, too,” all chewed-up and ugly, as though it were a bad taste they were trying to spit out before it reached the back of their tongue. Be repulsed by yourself as, the more they treat you with detachment and indifference, the more you cling to them like a parasite who longs only to sap a few minutes’ attention from its unfriendly host. Start to comprehend that the whole “doesn’t care about the small stuff” attitude that made them so appealing extends very comfortably to you — that you are some of “the small stuff.” Realize that they are not playing some intricate game of cat-and-mouse, that they are not having difficulty showing their feelings, that their crippling fear of commitment is not some painful ice around their otherwise-good heart that you’ve been slowly melting with your patient, unconditional love. See now that they are just a selfish person who is using you for sex, and attention, and likely to feel awesome about themselves because, hey, they’ve got a personal admirer to follow them around and tell them how wonderful they are.
Know that, when you go to end things — as you’ve tried/threatened to do so many times before — that they are going to give you one of those last-minute, “wait, no, I love you” speeches. Know that they are going to try to convince you that you’re crazy, and insecure, and play relentlessly on these sore spots until you agree to go in for another round of being treated like a mildly irritating house pet. Know that it is going to be difficult to actually let go. But know, above all, that you love yourself more than you love the idea of them that you’ve been holding onto so pathetically, and that you deserve to be with someone who actually gives a damn.