It’s not just about how you feel when you’re together but how do you feel when you’re apart? I was listening to a podcast the other day and this topic came up because one of the hosts was spending a lot of time with a man who she liked and who obviously liked her yet – they weren’t dating. Stuck in the friend zone, every encounter, while fun, left her feeling alone and anxious post-meeting.

These feelings are often brushed off because we have such a good time with that person but who ultimately makes us feel terrible directly after making us so happy. Thinking about my own life, I wondered if I had let myself fall into this trap and the answer was indeed, yes.

I dated this man for about 5 months and completely adored him. When we were together it was as if every choice I had ever made led me to the moment where I met him. Those feelings overpowered the ones that left me doubting and unsure overtime we were apart. Not because we were in the friend zone but because ultimately, it was a one-sided emotion. While I do believe he cared about me, he didn’t want a relationship with me and the inconsistent behavior and non-committal nature would leave me feeling anxious the next day. I didn’t fully realize this then, but there are two things to hone in on when dating.

How you feel after your date and the actions he/she makes when you’re not around. These two go hand in hand. You can’t afford to ignore the obvious, no matter how much it may hurt. A good guy friend of mine told me the other day, “If my actions don’t match my words to a girl, forget about it. If I’m showing up, messaging her every day and making plans – it’s not an accident. Always go by a guy’s actions.” Makes sense right? Yet we ignore the signs and we hope we can be “the one that changes his/her mind.”

“Our chemistry is so good, we have so much fun together, they get along with my friends and I with theirs, we are into the same things, our time together is amazing…” This could all be true but nothing will change if their actions don’t match the person you want them to be when you’re not in each others presence.

Weirdly, there is a meme floating around out on the Internet that sums it up perfectly:

If he likes you, you’ll know it. If he doesn’t, you’ll be confused. Simple. If you like him you’ll know it, if you don’t you’ll be confused. Right? In theory but not so much in practice. In my talks with my girlfriends, this is the same issue that crops up again and again. I feel that we live in a world where we believe the good in people and we hang on the hope that they will see what we see and feel what we feel. When they don’t, we sum it up to, “well, maybe he’s just dense. When he realizes how great we are together, it’ll all make sense. Just need more time.” NO. Wrong, oh so wrong. Yet, we keep that narrative going hoping for an alternative ending. If only this were a choose your own adventure storybook, it would be so easy.