I’m still trying to figure out when we all apparently unanimously agreed that the person who cares less wins. What do you win? A security blanket? A false sense of pride if only because you can feign being emotionless and indifferent? A fun game of who’s able to wait longer to text back? Unless you’re someone who’s truly emotionless and indifferent, then that’s a whole ‘nother story.
I mean, I can’t speak for everyone, but caring less develops into an obsession for me. It takes a lot more energy to pretend to not care that you didn’t text as you said you would than it does for me to just show it or to verbalize it. So, why expend all that extra energy? That’s what I want to understand.
This whole concept of establishing power is actually terrifying. Don’t get me wrong, we all fall prey to the influence of the power struggle whether it be in a romantic relationship, a friendship, or even a familial relationship. You begin to strategize and speculate without even noticing how preoccupied you’ve become. Before you know it, you’ve entered into a vicious cycle of relentless chasing followed by an ultimate survival mode that leads to falling back. That all sounds so incredibly exhausting.
I’m absolutely guilty of perpetuating this cycle. In fact, if I do say so myself, I was essentially a pro at one point. Sure, I’d feel satisfied with my so-called detachment every so often, yet that satisfaction was short-lived with a fleeting glimpse of “glory,” or whatever you want to call it.
At last, I decided to make an active effort to change because, you know, it was the end of my senior year and I needed to be consumed by my other priorities…like making it to graduation or finding a job. “I’ll get there eventually!!” I’ve been reassuring myself for 21 years now. It was initially really challenging to say the least.
At first, every emotion I’d display was accompanied by a cringe and every text I’d send out first immediately made me want to hurl my phone into the Atlantic Ocean. I got there, though. Slowly, yes, but I got there eventually. I’ve learned to give more than I get. I’ve learned to forgive and not to forget. I’ve learned not to be the one who cares less. I’ve learned to be the one who cares more.
I wish I could lie and say my efforts were successful and things finally changed for the better. They didn’t. I’m not saying that they always will. I did start to feel more confident in myself, though, and recognized that I could put my best foot forward, and then the next move is up to the other person. How they choose to respond to your interest is telling of them, not of you—this is easy to forget.
Now, while I may not have acquired anything else out of my recent experience, I’ve fully realized that most relationships aren’t symbiotic, as we’d assume they’d be. And that’s okay. Giving a shit is okay, too. Thank you for teaching me that; this is still pretty difficult for me to admit. But, I’ll get there eventually.