If there’s one thing I’ve learned through my many failed attempts at a relationship, it’s that you can’t force somebody to love you, or even just like you. No matter how hard you try, no matter what you do to get that specific person to return your feelings, it just doesn’t matter. If the person doesn’t feel for you the way that you feel for them, then the situation is a lost cause. Don’t bother trying. Whatever attempts you make to reach said person will only drive them away further. Any messages you send, whatever hang out arrangements you design, whatever hobbies you pick up in the hopes of you two bonding over it, it doesn’t matter. Even worse, most of the time your efforts, well-meant as they may be, will end up making you appear obsessed, psychotic even, depending on how the person views the attention they are receiving from you.
I learned this the hard way, of course. My ex-husband was a prime example of this. I thought that if I tried as hard as I could, it would influence his decisions and he would end up staying with me, returning the feelings I felt instead of searching for them in the arms of another woman. But… it didn’t, to say the least. In relationships after that, I still had a hard time realizing that if one person in a relationship isn’t feeling it, then the relationship is doomed. Even with friends, I had a hard time just loosening up and matching their efforts instead of going all out. I don’t know why that was. Whether it was because I just cared about the person that damned much, or because I was just afraid–afraid of a future without that person or afraid of just being alone–I’m not sure. The fact was, though, that I just had difficulties cutting ties with people and it would make me physically sick wondering why my efforts weren’t getting results.
Now I have this motto that I live by: I don’t chase after people. You don’t want to go on a date with me? Okay. You don’t want to hang out and catch up for old time’s sake? That’s fine. You do you, and I’ll do me. That doesn’t mean I don’t care about you. I care deeply for the people that come in to my life; that’s the blessing and the curse that I live with. No, it just means that I care about myself first–at least in situations where the feelings–friendship, comraderie, passion, etc–are not matched.
As a single woman, I have to look out for my well-being–my finances, my emotions, my health(both mental and physical)–first before I can really take someone else’s needs in to consideration. Nobody is going to sacrifice their own lives, time or livelihood for me. So I have to do it all myself. Which is fine. If you want something done right, you have to do it yourself. Sometimes this attitude can come off cold, and it isn’t meant to be. It’s just a safety mechanism for an individual.
The point I’m trying to make, the advice I’m trying to give to others out there who are going through similar things, is to make sure you’re not sacrificing yourself for the wrong people. Don’t chase after people who don’t care about you. Only make an effort for those who actually give a fig about you. You’ll know that they care. They’ll be responding to your messages as much as humanly possible (be realistic, though, because people have jobs and lives), they’ll be agreeing to Game Nights, whether on the table-top or on the computer. They’ll be calling you, giving you help when you need it, making you laugh when you’re sad. Actions speak louder than words as well–if they say they want to be friends, but never make time with you, then they probably don’t care, but if they actually do things to be a part of your life, then that shows that they mean what they say. Bottom line? They’ll be making an effort to be a part of your life. Those are the people it’s okay to chase after, because they’ll be chasing after you too.