Dating and Relationship Advice

Dear iris,

I've been seeing this guy for about four months now. He wants to focus on his career. He says our relationship isn’t on his list of priorities. I've been feeling very distant from him lately. What should I do?

Signed, Feeling Dejected

Dear, Feeling Dejected

There’s nothing worse than hearing from someone you like that you aren’t a priority. I'm not going to beat around the bush: it flat out sucks. The fact you’ve felt distant from him makes complete sense, along with whatever other emotions you’ve been experiencing.

So first, let’s talk about that. I don’t want you invalidating your emotions because you weren’t “official” or only saw him for four months. A relationship is a relationship. Even if this almost happened but never did, you have every right to feel upset or even led on by this guy.

Now, let's focus on what he told you about his priorities. Because as much as it sucks to hear him say that his career is all he wants to focus on right now, he has every right to. It’s a great thing that he told you sooner rather than later down the line because now you can choose how to handle this.

When someone tells you that they’re not invested in dating you, there’s only one right decision to make: move on. Use the fact that you feel distant from him to your advantage and cut things off. If he wants to focus on his career, great. But you’re going to focus on finding someone willing to invest the same energy you are into a relationship.

I really want to stress that there aren’t any corners to cut or reasons to wait around for him to change his mind. You deserve to be someone’s priority. You deserve to listen to your feelings that things have drastically changed between you two. This isn’t a relationship worth trying to save, nor does it sound like this guy even wants it to be saved.

So what I’m telling you to do is have a conversation with this guy. Either say something like, “It’s been fun getting to know you, but I don’t want to date anymore,” or “It’s clear we don’t want the same things out of dating. We're better off seeing other people.” You don’t need to explain much beyond that. Seeing as it has only been four months, and he’s the one who said he wasn’t that invested, texting him this suffices.

Now let’s talk about the aftermath. You might feel like you’re going through a breakup even though it’s technically not. Again, that’s totally normal. The end of an almost-relationship can hurt just as much, if not more, than the end of an official relationship. You’re going to want to cut off contact with him, at least for a few months. Give yourself a fighting chance to move on.

In the meantime, invest all the energy you used to invest in him into yourself. See your friends and do activities you love. Focus on your life goals (or if you don’t have any, create them). Build up your self-confidence that way, so when you do get back into dating, you remember how worthy you are of love and won’t settle for someone who doesn’t prioritize you.

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