Maya Angelou’s infamous quote, “Never make someone else a priority when all you are is an option to them,” has been shared repeatedly for years. You’ve been sure to see some form of those words plastered all over Facebook statuses, Instagram captions and posts, or framed in one of your friend’s apartments. That quote should very well ring true when it comes to understanding one’s self-worth, but that doesn’t always mean it’s applicable, or all that important, when thinking of a current significant other.
You shouldn’t ever feel like you don’t have your partner’s undivided attention when you need it, but you also shouldn’t expect it from them all the time, particularly when other obligations are ringing off the hook.
Successful partnerships happen when the two of you value each other’s individuality, have separate friendships, and your own agenda of ambitions. If your partner gives you all that they have, whether you’re asking for it and even when you’re not, that may not necessarily correlate well with the type of guy’s qualities that you want to keep around, either. Rather, your partner should have his own set of priorities and a clear desire to establish his personal and professional life, aside from your relationship. Finding a guy that has a long(er) list of priorities and takes the time to invest in them may mean you finally unlocked the door in finding a healthy, long-lasting relationship.
Example 1: He got caught up at work, and he didn’t find the time to return your call. Instead, he sent you a text that was too short for satisfaction.
As much as this can be a nuisance, this doesn’t mean that your partner isn’t prioritizing your relationship. It shows that they take their work seriously, and they value you enough to let you know that even though they aren’t reachable at the moment, they plan to get in touch with you afterwards. They may take pride in work’s latest project, not wanting to skip a beat. Their boss may be pressuring them to reach a deadline and a few minutes away could prevent them from doing so. This is something to cherish about your guy and is a tell-tale sign of his disregard for laziness. Dating someone who’s work is a focal point in their life means exactly that: they’re a hard worker.
Example 2: He’s out for a night with the guys and hasn’t checked in with you yet, even though he he told you he would.
Hearing from your guy when he’s out with his crew can have a magical way of making you feel confident in your relationship, whether that’s always easy to admit or not. When he doesn’t ask how your night’s going or send you a Snap of his meal from the bar, that doesn’t mean he hasn’t thought of you. He’s with out with his friends, and it shows he values their time together by giving them his time and attention. Don’t assume that his lack communication means you’re inadequate in the priority department. Instead, understand that your guy is someone who’s invested in his friendships, making sure to show them he cares, even if it causes you (for a night) to feel second to them.
Example 3: He didn’t stay over at your place because he had an obligation the next day. He told you it just made more sense for him to crash at his own pad for the evening.
When your guy chooses to sleep at his own place, rather than stay up a bit later and wake up next to you, it can feel like a slap in the face. You can’t count how many times you stayed over there on work nights, knowing that your 6am alarm was coming only hours before the two of you decide to hit the hay. Don’t take immediate offense to this, feeling like you really are ranked at the bottom of his priority totem pole. Him making a plea for his own bed because it makes his life a tad easier in the morning isn’t meant to hurt you. Truthfully, he felt comfortable enough to express this small need of his, without expecting it to cause any trouble. This means he is confident in himself and the two of you enough to voice his desire for a night of independence. He may be tired, he may not feel like making the thirty minute trek from yours to his in the morning, or maybe he just wants to take a night for himself. The fact that your guy wants to catch some shuteye solo for the evening shouldn’t be a reason for you to assume he doesn’t actually care.
Having multiple priorities, although that may mean having to share the spotlight, can be an amazing trait for your guy to possess. You have your own set of them, which at some point have had to shuffle around to give another your attention. He should have them, too.
If it feels like your guy isn’t as invested as you are, first, you may need to reflect on your own division of time and see if you have been showing some love to solely your relationship. If you know that’s not the case, maybe some adjustment making on your perception of his time will.
As Ms. Angelou’s infamous quote has helped to establish, you very well shouldn’t be anyone’s option, but you also should never be the sole reason for another’s sense of being. While his list of priorities may seem long and at times, make you feel like you fall in second (third or even fourth) to them, as long as your relationship finds itself at the top of his list often enough, there’s no sense in feeling like you have something to question its existence over.