Catch-22

It’s the age-old story of girl meets boy, girl likes boy, boy “isn’t ready” for a relationship.

Like so many others, it seems this conundrum is the foundation of my love life. Countless times I’ve met the man I think I’ll be dragging to family gatherings, only to be knocked back when The Big Questions arise.

Do you like me?
Do you see this going anywhere?
Are we ‘exclusive’?

You thought it was all going so smoothly, until they inevitably begin to cold-shoulder you and subtly ween you off their Whatsapp attention. Ever reluctant to seem like the Crazy Girl, I graciously accept it, wish them the best, ignore them for at least a year and ask myself ‘what did I do wrong?’.

It’s a dangerous question and one that nonchalantly eats away at your self-esteem, thriving off your depleted state.

You ferociously dissect your last conversations together; Did I say something wrong when I was drunk (probably)? Did I swear too much? Did he find me unattractive? Was I not good enough for him?

But it’s futile.

Perhaps it’s karma. I’m certainly no stranger to knocking back a man’s advances. In fact, when I told my friend about my latest unsuccessful venture, she rightfully flagged that I’ve left a fair few questioning where it all went wrong too.

And that’s always the way. The Catch-22. The men you like don’t like you and the ones you don’t like are the ones chasing you like a lost and irritating puppy. Your friends will tell you not to worry because the one that got away will come crawling back, but that’s just not the case. This isn’t a Rom-Com starring Jennifer Aniston. The chances are they’re already back on Tinder violently swiping left to right looking for their next victim. And I probably will be too.

I vividly remember my year-long boyfriend breaking up with me when I was eighteen and out of confusion and my incessant need to know ‘why’, I quickly morphed into the monstrous irate girl, hounding him down until he probably thought I belonged in an institution. If we had a chance of reigniting things, we certainly didn’t after twenty attempted calls, essay-worthy texts and “check your phone” messages on Facebook (in a three hour window).

But with the power of hindsight, I’ve gone from the Crazy Girl to the Cold Girl. Only five minutes ago I was giggling with them in bed as they played with my hair. Now I’m trying to delete them from my memory because my affection wasn’t requited.

So what’s the real reasoning behind this paradox? It’s quite simple; your relaxed attitude towards the boy you don’t like entices him – you’re an enigma. But your open stance towards the boy whose caught your attention scares him – he’s got you in the palm of his hand. And once they’ve dropped you from their grip, you’ve been officially extradited.

It’s somewhat of a coping mechanism but I no longer bother asking questions. They’ll tell me I’m fun and that they loved ‘hanging out’, that it isn’t me, it’s them; but I have a brain. Obviously I’m aware that’s not the truth, they’re just playing the get-out-of-jail-free card. So this is where our violent obsession of knowing comes from.

I certainly didn’t think this five years ago but now I can confidently say that finding out why isn’t worth it. The only outcome is embarrassment. If they’ve changed their mind, what’s the sense in chasing? Move on.

People say ‘be yourself‘, but to a certain extent I disagree. Because that false sense of security that allows me pour the innings of my life across a sticky pub table to a man I’ve known for only a few weeks is my inevitable downfall. So in the name of dating, I’m vowing to only share the Cool Girl aspects of my being; the Wes Anderson loving, Radiohead adoring girl with a dark sense of humour and a few tattoos.

I don’t really believe in ‘the one’, nor do I believe that the world has a hidden agenda for me. However, I do believe that everything happens for a reason. Perhaps I’ll be proven wrong, living alone with only cats for company, but at least my perspective provides a temporary solution to heart ache of failed relationships.

Indifference trumps emotion. My advice? Play the game.

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@PippaBugg

Images via Giphy.

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Relationships, controversial ramblings and ongoing internal feuds - this is an uncensored account of a twenty-something's mind.

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