When we are told the person we have our heart set on dating is not looking for a relationship right now, it should be our cue to leave. It should motivate us to move on and search elsewhere for a serious relationship.
But we don’t want to date someone else. We want to date this one specific person, so when they tell us something we don’t want to hear, we ignore them, we twist their words, we convince ourselves they will change their minds eventually.
We get stuck as friends with benefits because we believe this other person will fall madly in love with us once we kiss, once we touch, once we sleep together. We believe spending enough time together will form an unbreakable bond. We believe they will grow to feel the same way about us because our emotions are too strong to be one-sided.
We agree to casual hookups when we are secretly searching for something more serious because we assume the arrangement isn’t going to last long. We assume it will only be a matter of time until the other person realizes how perfect we are together. We assume a committed relationship is on the horizon.
Even when someone is straightforward with us, when they admit they are going to break our hearts, when the warning signs are blaring in our face, we stick around. We put ourselves through hell because we believe it will pay off in the end. We are convinced we are doing the right thing.
We tell little white lies about how we are perfectly fine keeping things casual. We squash our jealousy, we censor our compliments, we hold ourselves back from getting into petty arguments, because we don’t want to chase the other person away.
We act like we do not care. We act like we do not have hearts. All because we assume, if we cooperate for long enough, the other person will eventually come to the conclusion they could not live without us.
We believe in a fairy tale, rom-com version of love where everything works out in the end, where best friends become lovers, where everyone lives happily ever after.
We let our emotions blind us. We let this other person take advantage of us because we tell ourselves spending a little time with them is better than spending no time with them. We give them all the tools to hurt us, even though they set clear boundaries from the start.
We end up stuck as friends with benefits, even though we are secretly searching for a serious relationship, because we are stubborn. We consider waiting romantic. We refuse to move on from people who have made it clear they are wrong for us. We give them too many chances. We give them too much credit.
We should accept we want different things and leave them behind, but we keep giving it one more day. We keep telling ourselves our fairy tale happy ending is right around the corner when reality is a little more complicated.