Stop Dating People You Aren’t Into

Don’t play it safe. You’re worth more than that.

I wanted to date men I wasn’t attracted to.

When asked I insisted it was because I “gave everyone a chance” and because “looks don’t matter” and because I “might find a gem.”

The truth is, I didn’t deserve the guys I liked.

I knew it. I knew it by the semi-faded acne scars on my face and the way my tummy sticks out over my jeans and the jokes I make, how when I say something other people sort of cock their heads and wonder where the hell did I get that from?

I’d spend hours on dating apps swiping yes on guys I felt I deserved and no on guys I really wanted.

Needless to say, dating didn’t go well.

I found myself just really, really hoping they wouldn’t ask to kiss me at the end because I didn’t want to deal with saying no; I wanted to check my phone while they were talking even though it was rude, even though I wanted to care but I didn’t; even when I enjoyed myself I looked forward to going home alone.

The truth is, I didn’t deserve the guys I liked.

I left every date wondering what a good first date should feel like. Should I feel smitten? Should my heart be racing? Is it okay to just feel content, like I could see them again except the minute I get in my car I forget what their face looks like because maybe I wasn’t really looking?

They say that if everyone around you shares the same trait, it’s no coincidence — something about you is attracting those people to you. So if every guy I dated made me shove my hands in my pocket so that he couldn’t hold them, then it wasn’t the men.

It was me.

I had the rather stunning realization that if I wanted to date men who made my heart skip a beat, then I had to… well, date those men.

But God, I was scared. Acknowledging that you find someone attractive is vulnerable. What if they thought I was too stupid, too ugly, too fat, wholly inadequate in every single way?

What if they weren’t interested in me? What did that say about me as a person — about my worth, my character?

Dating guys I didn’t like was safe because I knew it would hurt less if they turned me down.

But dating attractive men?

Oh no. What if they don’t like me? Or worse — what if they do?

I wasn’t sure I could handle that.

Even so, I couldn’t handle another date with someone I didn’t like.

Fuck “giving it a chance” — if you’re not into someone, you’re not into them. There’s no amount of well-wishing that will change it.

So I plugged my nose, closed my eyes, and dove straight into the deep end —

Without floaties.

When I saw cute boys — boys who wrote things I found intriguing, boys with good-looking faces and a physique I liked and ooh, you’re into that? That’s so cool! — I gave them a like. I reached out. I said awkward things. I bumbled. I was, as I described it to a date later, hopelessly myself.

And I started getting dates.

Some were awful (seriously, don’t compare yourself to Ted Bundy on a first date), some were marginal, and some?

Well, some taught me what a good first date is.

I don’t know about you, but for me, it is butterflies in the stomach and redness in the cheeks and flying in the door at midnight with no one to tell about how WOW WONDERFUL it was that you give the whole play-by-play to your cat, who’s just happy to see you’re willing to pet him for once.

It’s staying up late because gah, you don’t want the night to end.

When people say not to settle, they’re telling you not to undershoot for fear of getting hurt.

Because you will get hurt. Any time you want something, you’ll go through fire to get there. In business you’ll lose money, in life you’ll lose health, and in love you’ll get your heart broken so many times you’ll wonder how it still pumps.

But the reward of not settling?

Is so, so, so worth it.

Mental Health Advocate | Writer | Aspiring Cat Lady |

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