It’s 11 o’clock at night. You crawl into bed after a long day and as soon as your head hits the pillow, you hear the ping of your cell phone alerting you to a text. “Hey, what’s up.” Probably the most annoying three words to receive when your eyes are so tired you can barely make out what they say. And of course, the text happens to be from the guy that you thought you had moved on from. The almost relationship you started three years ago and for some reason has carried on ever since with sporadic phone calls and random no-content texts like “Hey, what’s up.”
Only these texts do have content, because you know what they really mean. They appear every few months, sometimes longer than that, when he is thinking about you after whatever girl he is dating at the time breaks up with him. Or when a date goes poorly and he already has his finger hovering over your name to call immediately when he drops her off. You used to respond to these messages, because for some reason that you still can’t explain, you cared about him. You would think about all the hours-long phone calls that nearly always made you late for work the next morning and the fun times you had when you were out together, either with friends or alone. Maybe you are a little guilty as well for keeping it going for so long. You may not have always been the first one to initiate the conversation, but you definitely didn’t stop him from reaching out. You didn’t block him from your phone or express your anger towards him when you didn’t hear from him for six months until the infamous “Hey, what’s up” text came through.
But now enough is enough. That last text gave you clarity. You realized that after all this time, you were never anything more than his backup plan. You were the girl he would reach out to whenever things didn’t work out with someone else. He has always continued to keep one foot in your life to make sure you would be there when he needed you. If the several dating apps he was actively using proved to be unsuccessful, or if he got rejected by a girl at the bar, he would immediately search your name in his contact list. He’s smart by texting you every few months to “see how you are doing.” You didn’t even realize his strategic planning when he would reach out to you when he was in town or call you at 11 o’clock at night to check in. It wasn’t necessarily because he wanted to see you, even though the hidden meaning behind “Hey, what’s up” may indicate otherwise. He wanted to make sure that you were still available.
He cycled through his Bumble profile so fast that he has expanded his radius half a dozen times, already looking for new prospects. And every relationship he has been in so far has only given him more ex-girlfriends than he’d care to admit. But then there’s you. The one person he can always revert to when times are hard. He can always count on you to answer your phone, because let’s face it, you always do when he calls. But not anymore.
Nope. The next time your phone goes off, you have already trained your mind to ignore it. You are prepared to hit “Do Not Disturb” as soon as his name appears on the screen to end another game of his before it begins. You won’t allow yourself to be bread crumbed along in a relationship that will never materialize, because you know it never will. Being someone’s second best option is not something you are willing to settle for, no matter how innocent you want to believe the generic words “Hey, what’s up” meant. The person you are meant to be with will have more than just three words to say to you. He will fill your inbox and messages with paragraphs of kind words genuinely wanting to hear about your day, not because his date stood him up. You would not only hear from him every few months, but rather every few days, proving that you are the first person on his mind, not the last. Nothing good ever comes from a “Hey, what’s up” text at 11 o’clock at night, making the best response being no response at all.