First and foremost, you must fall in love with your phone. You must fall in love with the sound — that precious, metallic “ding!” — that lets you know a message has arrived. Something is there where there was once only tedious, agonizing silence from the other end. Countless days have been spent waiting for a response to something you have sent, and that little sound (a ring, perhaps, if you are lucky, but you so rarely are) means that your patience has been rewarded.
Never ask yourself why you are always the one to initiate contact or make the effort. Only focus on waiting at least an hour before responding to their long-delayed message, lest you come across as desperate as you actually are.
Begin to hate your body, because it refuses to be good enough. If it were, they would not be such an elusive presence in your life, unmotivated to present you to friends and family. You wouldn’t be this Inconvenient Thing that lingered in the corner of their life, only to be called when they decided that you fit into their inscrutable schedule. Your body, your looks, your personality — they are all easier to dislike and resent than the excuses you are constantly given for not having showed up. When they say, “Sorry, I was busy,” you take it at face value and ask yourself what you could have done to be higher on the list of priorities.
Realize that you are ready to drop nearly anything when the prospect of seeing them comes along. Catch yourself spending an entire night out with friends checking your phone and hoping that you are going to hear some good news, going to get an opportunity to see them as they have dictated the terms. When you finally get the word (likely drunk, half-misspelled) at 2 AM that you can come over, drop everything you are doing and pay for a 20-dollar cab ride to their appointment. Berate yourself for not having brought a comb or something to cover up the bags under your eyes.
Ignore friends when they tell you, with varying degrees of tact, that this person is not good for you. Get visibly angry at the ones who tiptoe into implications that what they are doing could really be described as “emotional abuse.” Recoil at that term, and refuse to accept that such a thing could exist when you clearly love this person so much and they make you feel as you have never felt before. Know that, as long as they have never harmed you physically or said something outright cruel, you have a bulletproof vest against any implication of damage. Be prepared to alienate nearly anyone who attempts to convince you that you are making a mistake.
Wonder what their friends are like. Remember that one time you ran into one of their colleagues while walking from one bar to another and you were barely introduced out of the corner of their mouth. Briefly wonder why you didn’t get a drink with that colleague, but brush it away with your catch-all excuse: “They were busy.”
“Busy” has become your favorite word. It is a balm that will soothe any wound, cover up any blemish, make everything seem perfectly acceptable. There is nothing that being busy isn’t a sufficient excuse for, nothing that it doesn’t make just that much more understandable. So many people are busy, you just happen to be in love with one of them. You are proud of them; they are doing so many wonderful things in their life. One day, you will be a part of them. You will get to profit from all of the investments you have been making for them. One day, things will be so much easier.
Receive an email from them in the middle of the night which explains, with just enough words not to be insulting in its brevity, that they are just swamped with work. They don’t think this is a good time to be seeing someone, don’t think it’s right when they can’t give you what you want, don’t want to hurt you with their overfull schedule. Maybe in another time, another place, you will both be in the right frame of mind to give it your all and it will all work out. They love you, but sometimes things just get in between people and it isn’t fair at all. You should still get coffee sometime, you shouldn’t feel like strangers, this is nothing personal.
Find out that they are dating someone new. See them in photos on Facebook with all of their friends — the friends you were never introduced to — at the bar. Immediately compare hip-to-waist ratio, hair thickness, facial symmetry. Google everything you can about them, and hate everything you find more than the last.
Spend a week crying in bed.
Vow to only ever date the living again. Or at least someone who responds to your text messages.