Relationships work a lot like jobs. Which means that dating is a lot like a job interview. So here’s a question: why interview someone for a job you don’t want filled? And why chase after a prospective employee that doesn’t want to work for you?
You see each other. You talk. There’s a great chemistry between you two. You tell him how you want to be in a relationship and the horrid words “I’m not ready for a relationship” come out of his mouth. All your imaginary plans come to a screeching halt. After the words are accepted, you are thankful that he was honest and you decide this isn’t the scenario for you so you walk away.
But then, something strange happens. He still pursues you. He is still flirting with you and here begins the confusion. You start to ask, “Is he playing games?” “Did he change his mind?” “What’s going on?”
This can go in 1 of 2 ways. You either ignore his advances and move on knowing that he told you straight up he’s not ready. Or you put one foot back in to see what he’s talking about.
Here’s another scenario. You’re out with her. She seems like a nice enough person, but you’re not feeling her. Instead of wasting her time, you tell her straight out that you’re not interested. And you walk away.
But then, something strange happens. She still pursues you. She starts throwing sex at you and offering to buy you things and introduce you to her mother. You start to ask “Did she not hear me say I’m not interested? Is this chick crazy?”
Often, I’ve heard men say, “I told you from the jump I didn’t want to be in a relationship, so if you catch feelings it’s not my fault.” And I disagree if they kept at it after the woman walked away. And on the flip I’ve often heard women say, “Yea he said he doesn’t want to be in a relationship, but I don’t believe him, or I’m going to change his mind.” And when they get hurt, I think it’s deserved if they kept at it after the man walked away.
This is an immature game that we play in relationships. The “I’m not ready to commit, but not ready to walk-away” game or the “He said he doesn’t want me, but I’m going to make him change his mind” game.
Both games can work although they usually don’t and both genders can be guilty depending on who walked away and who kept pursuing. So I wanna break down my POV!
When she says she wants a relationship and you say you don’t, so she walks away, but you keep on chasing.
This is the same as asking a prospective employee to turn in a resume for a job you know you’re not hiring for. Having them come in with hopes of finding employment. Asking them questions and telling them the benefits of being an employee in your company and then telling them immediately after that they cannot possibly have the job because you’re not actually hiring. And maybe you soften it with the idea that if ever you do begin hiring, maybe you’ll consider them. The interviewee walks away now knowing where they stand. Possibly irritated that you wasted their time, but they can move on nonetheless and take other interviews for jobs that actually are hiring. But you don’t like the idea of them finding a job that’s hiring, so you call them in for another interview. You invite them to the company party. If they should entertain you, you show them how great a time they could have if they got the job, but still, you’re telling them you’re not hiring.
As you can see, this is stupid and selfish. If you’re not hiring, you don’t accept interviews. You don’t pursue the employee that you know is looking for a job and you don’t try to get in the way of them finding one. You can keep your eye out for prospectives. You can observe their potential, but you cannot selfishly engage them in activity that misleads them when you know you won’t follow through. In relationship terms, when you’re not ready to be in a relationship, the best person to “pursue” is another person who doesn’t want to be in a relationship. Or to simply spend some time alone. The worst thing to do is pursue the person that does want to be in a relationship, just to tell them over and over again, after engaging in relationship behavior, that you aren’t actually looking for a relationship. That is if you don’t want to run into unnecessary problems.
On the flip side…
When he says he doesn’t want a relationship, but you do, and after he walks away, you keep chasing.
This is the same as interviewing a perspective employee and finding deep interest in hiring them. Yet, the interviewee discovers that they actually do not want to be employed by you. They express their disinterest in no uncertain terms and walk away. Yet, you are still calling for a second interview. Sending invitations to the company party. Trying to show the perks of your company. Spoiling them with advances to win them over. Either they will accept the offer simply because you won’t leave them alone or they will continue to ignore you and move on. Should they accept the offer, it was always clear that this job was not their first choice. In fact, they explicitly said they didn’t want it. So, should a job they actually like come along, they can interview for it, they can not show up to work on time, they can ignore the boss, they can take random vacations and explore their leeway, they can quit and they’re not at fault. Even if you paid them top dollar. Even if they got all the bonuses. Nothing this company does can make it replace what the employee wants if the employee doesn’t want the job and since they don’t want it, they never have to be committed to it. They never have to take it seriously.
As you can see, the ball is in the employees court entirely. It’s a choice a business can make if it feels it’s worth it. But the risk is clear. Similarly in relationships, in order to “change someone’s mind” requires manipulation. Can we ever change someone’s mind? Can we make someone want to be with us? I don’t think it’ll last for too long if we do. And it’s also pretty creepy to want someone so badly that doesn’t want you.
When a person is not interested and they make it clear, the best choice to me is to move on. We can all put up a fight for what we feel we want and deserve, but at the point that the other person is showing absolutely no interest and everything that happens is one sided, we are officially at fault if we continue.
A lot of times, we attract who we are. Whether we say it to them or not. People who have affairs are on the same wave length. People who have healthy relationships are on the same wave length. People who are abusive/abused are on the same wave length. People who play games and get played are on the same wave length.
The goal is to know what we mean when we say it. Know what we’re doing when we do it and why and to be clear with others about where we are. If you’re not ready for love, don’t toy with it. If you are ready for love, don’t waste time on someone who’s not. If you can be intimate without feelings, do it. If you can’t be intimate without feelings, know that and work within your zone. We can become very selfish and pursue things from an emotionally detached space. Wanting things but knowing we’re not ready. Hoping for things to fill a void that can only be filled alone and within. Missing the affection and security that comes from a relationship but not being able to take the risks that would make it fair and fulfilling. Nothing good can come of a relationship spawned from a foul place. And should it ever pan out, the underlying issues will have to be addressed and healed before it can.
So the next time you find yourself on an interview, aka dating, whether you’re male or female, know for yourself what your limits are and have enough respect and consideration for yourself to stick with that no matter how it may affect the other person at the moment. If you’re not ready, stop. If you are ready, go for it. If you don’t want to be in a relationship with a person that wants to be in a relationship, leave them alone. Don’t accept the perks of friendship. If you find yourself attracted to someone that’s not attracted to you, don’t try to convince them by giving them previews of how great it could be. Don’t give up your money and sex and all your great assets that they don’t want or deserve.
Everyone should have what they deserve. Sometimes, we deserve to be alone and single. Sometimes the person we wants deserves to be with someone else. Sometimes we deserve to be with someone other than who we pursue. And sometimes we deserve each other whether good or bad. But we should not willingly inflict pain on other people to satisfy ourselves during the moments that we’re too afraid and too selfish to face and heal our own pain. That’s not love. That’s the absence of it.
Thank you for reading. Listen to #BeWithYou below: