I was recently the runner up; 2nd place. Not in the driver’s seat. Having fun moments with somebody I found special, then being disappointed the next. Almost everybody in their lives will go through a situation in which they feel like the runner up. If a certain person was not in their lust interest’s lives, THEY would be the one invited to Christmas dinner, THEY would be invited to their lust interest’s cousin’s wedding. Instead, they get a hot romp once in a while and maybe the odd date. I want to talk about this to help people maneuver through this difficult and confusing time.
First, congratulations! It can be rare to find somebody that makes your heart flutter, and it’s awesome you are getting these moments to share with them. Take a moment to be grateful for these. Maybe this is all this is ever meant to be; that’s okay if you let it be and are not putting yourself in harm’s way.
Second, congratulations! Going through these ups and downs are going to prove critical in your relationship growth and experience. Not only are you reevaluating your boundaries with others, you are discovering what you like and dislike, and want in a relationship. These will be useful for this particular relationship later on, or the next one if you decide to move on (or they do).
Now we need an action plan! I wouldn’t ever leave you hanging!
If you find yourself in this position, I recommend these steps to keep your self-respect high, and move yourself forward towards a healthy relationship. It may not be with this particular person, no one can force someone to like them. If two people are meant to be together to share and to learn, they will be. There must always be a willingness between the two parties.
1. Come up with a 3 strike rule: 3 things you definitely CANNOT and WILL NOT put up with this particular person and relationship. If they get 3 strikes, they are outta here! For example: when I think I’m a runner-up with the person I want to be with; one penalty is “if they invite somebody else instead of me to a special occasion.” If this person does this and I feel left out, I DO NOT get all DRAMA, I don’t even mention it to them. I give them one imaginary strike and move on. Simple as that. I haven’t left it, but I’m also not completely putting up with it. I’m saying to myself that this is something that I know I don’t want.
2. Commit to the strikes you have laid out. IF THEY GET 3 STRIKES, as hot as they may be, you have to move on. This is according to the rules you’ve laid out in your strikes. You need to respect and honor yourself, always and forever. The 3 strikes rule helps guide you through this while having concrete evidence to look back on and make an adult decision.
3. Actually move on. Don’t initiate conversations. Feel free to respond, but it’s time to no longer put in any effort, they already proved they aren’t what you’re after. OR…..
Be open to changing the type of relationship you want with this person.
If 3 strikes happen, dating them seriously is out of the picture. That doesn’t mean you can’t revisit this at a later date. For example, if, by some miracle, they change as a person through their individual experiences, or they split with the person that is their priority interest. Striking out it means it’s definitely not the right time now. If you can disassociate feelings with sex, maybe this person can just be a play thing, or just meant to be a friend or snuggle buddy (somebody who comes over and watches movies or sleeps without the sexual contact).
If you decide from your 3 strike rule this person is definitely not right to be “the one,” it is still very possible that they can just be somebody you have a fun or hot time with once in a while. Is this really so bad? I mean, isn’t that exactly what they have decided to do with you? Sit with this thought for a bit. I don’t mean use them; that would also be disrespecting yourself. I’m saying have an adult conversation where you are both redefining the type of relationship in a way that is not disrespecting either of you. You both can gain something which still leaves room for this unique new relationship to evolve as well. Both parties being completely “in” on it and conscious of it (not fooling themselves). In the meantime, you should definitely be dating and looking elsewhere for that special somebody.
WHAT NOT TO DO
• What NOT TO DO: Manipulate them into what you want. People try this all the time and perhaps they will have fleeting moments of success, but the end result will be nothing more than a distrust and a distant type of relationship in the end. It’s never worth it. By manipulating others you indirectly lower your own respect level even if you don’t notice this, at first. When you lose respect for yourself, others will soon follow suit. We must hold ourselves to a higher standard. If we don’t feel we deserve a healthy, happy relationship and don’t act accordingly, we will find ourselves further and further away from the things that matter most to us.
• What NOT TO DO: Continue along while doing nothing, and being disappointed time and time again. This will result in a breakdown of your self-esteem that may take years to recover. YOU ARE ENOUGH and DESERVE SOMEBODY AMAZING TO LOVE YOU.
• What NOT TO DO: Fight or Flight response. There is something that brought the two of you together, try to find out at least what that was before you move on. Ask yourself, “What have I learned here? What have I learned from being with this person?” Once you know the answer, feel free to move on.
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