It could’ve been the sneaky way he asked me for my number when we were playing 20 Questions.
Or how he texted me the screenshot of movie times the next morning to ask me out.
Or when he offered to drive 45 minutes out of the way to pick me up.
It was cute.
He was cute.
I was hooked.
We went out. We did the cliche first date things – dinner, movie, even the heated makeout session at the end.
I left with a happy heart, the promise of a second date, and a hickey.
But that hickey lasted longer than he did.
Less than 12 hours after he dropped me off, I got the text.
The text every girl has received at some point or another. The one that says he’s not looking for anything serious. Aka since I wouldn’t have sex with him, he really had no purpose for me.
I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised.
After all, we met at a bar. He asked if we could split the check at dinner. And we both knew what he meant when he invited me back to his place afterwards (you know, “to watch The Office”).
But I was still surprised. Because I thought he was different.
And there is the one lie we all tell ourselves. The one that ends up with us feeling used, laying half naked in a stranger’s bed.
This is what I’ve learned: He is never different.
It doesn’t matter who “he” is. It could be the coworker you’ve been secretly crushing on for years, your best friend’s brother who suddenly got very grown up and very cute. Or, in my case, it could be the guy you met on a random Thursday night.
Regardless, if there is a red flag, don’t pretend you don’t see it. Pick that shit up and wave it over your head as you run far, far away.
Stop trying to convince yourself he’s different.
Stop pretending you’re okay with unreturned texts, drunken 2:15 a.m. calls and waking up alone. Stop watching him sneak out in the middle of the night and thinking one day he’ll stay.
Newsflash: He won’t.
Because they’re all the same. He was just like the last guy who made me feel worthy of something more… only to remind me that I wasn’t.
It sounds cynical. I know.
But it’s honest.
Although maybe it’s less that… and more how honest (or rather how dishonest) we are with ourselves. We trick our hearts into believing what we WANT to believe instead of what’s really there.
Forehead kisses are just forehead kisses. They aren’t a sign that he feels something other than pure lust towards you.
Taking you to see a movie just means he really wanted to see A Quiet Place.
Telling you you’re pretty or cute or cool or incredible is just his way of getting you to take off your dress.
It does not mean he’s different.
Most of us have a horrible habit of reading between the lines too much. Of asking our friends what exactly that heart eyes emoji he sent meant. Of mistaking our lives for a romantic comedy with a happily ever after where the asshole turns out to be the one.
But real life isn’t a fairytale.
And chances are, the guys who you tell yourself are “different” will always be the same.
Because true love doesn’t need to be convinced or persuaded or forced.
It doesn’t have to be magical sparks and lust and never-felt-this-way-before feelings.
The point is that it shouldn’t feel different.
It should feel like coming home.
It should feel the same.