Putting in effort means going out of his way to spend time with you.
It’s not texting you when it’s convenient. It’s not asking you to come over at the last second when he’s bored and the rest of his friends are busy.
It’s not answering your messages, as long as you’re the one that texts first. It’s not agreeing to hang out with you, but only if you’re the one that makes the plans and finds a time that works for you both.
Effort is texting you during his lunch break, even though he only has a few minutes to spare. It’s asking you if you’re free days in advance so that you don’t miss out on a moment together. It’s rearranging his schedule so that he gets to see you for more than an hour or two each week.
Effort is showing up at your house with pizza, even though you didn’t ask him to order one. It’s coming up with date ideas that he thinks you’ll love, even though you didn’t expect him to think of any. It’s trying his hardest to make you smile, so that you don’t feel like the love is one-sided.
Sending a good morning text isn’t enough — not if that’s the only thing that he’s doing. You shouldn’t be happy to wake up to a text that claims he cares about you when he never proves it. You shouldn’t be happy to hear that he misses you if he doesn’t actually do anything about it.
Words aren’t enough. He should be taking action. He should be doing whatever he can to see you. Because effort is more than making promises. It’s keeping promises.
If he cares about you, he isn’t going to let life get in the way. It doesn’t matter how busy he is. He can make time for the things that matter. Maybe he’ll have to spend a little less time drinking with his friends on weekends. Maybe he’ll have to miss out on an hour or two of sleep.
If he wants you enough, then he’ll either find time or make time.
But if he doesn’t want you enough, if he’s only semi-serious about you, then he’ll put in minimal effort to try to keep you around. He’ll continue saying that he misses you. He’ll say that he wants to hang out — but will never set a date.
He’ll apologize for being so neglectful and promise that things are going to be different soon. He’ll string you along for as long as he can.
And then you’ll end up heartbroken. Because if he isn’t willing to put in effort when you’re still in that flirtatious stage and he’s trying to impress you, he definitely isn’t going to put in effort once you’ve been together for months, years, decades.
That’s why you need to walk away. Walk away, because being there for you half the time isn’t enough. Walk away, because things are never going to change if you keep letting his bullshit slide.
You shouldn’t be stuck doing all of the work in a relationship. You shouldn’t accept his sad excuse for effort.