This guest post was sent to me by an anonymous reader. It will be shared in 2 parts. This week, she will disclose her dating stories from the battlefield and next week she will reveal 5 red flags to help you know if you are just an option. My favorite line:
“The problem with being an option is…there is no real appreciation of you or of your time.”
As Cindy so wisely says, one of the most important things to sort out when you are in a relationship is whether you are a priority to your boyfriend, or just an option. She could not be more correct! The problem with being an option is that when you are one, there is no room for the development of true commitment between you and your boyfriend, and there is no real appreciation of you or of your time.
Let’s be clear – there is a difference between when a man and woman are getting to know one another in the very initial stages through coffee dates and lunches, and when a man and a woman are in a serious relationship. In the case of the former, the level of commitment you have to each other is relatively low. You are trying to know more about each other to just determine if you want to see each other again.
The dichotomy between priority and option should be most rigorously applied when you have committed to each other -when you are boyfriend and girlfriend. Sometimes, girls even make the mistake of staying with a man that they are merely an option to, up to and including the moment of engagement.
I made this mistake, as did another girl I knew in school. For the sake of helping prevent others from making this kind of mistake, I am going to highlight aspects of our experiences with men to whom we were not a priority by telling our stories. I am telling both stories because they are similar and yet different, and I feel that together they are representative of relationships where the woman is an option and not a priority.
In the case of my relationship, I loved a man for five years. Our relationship was always on-again/off-again, and we saw other people in between seeing each other. We spent many years in this type of relationship, marked by periods of emotional closeness and declarations of love as boyfriend and girlfriend, and periods of alienation and anger. These periods of anger were brought on by my frustration with the fact that he would not make me a priority – he randomly cancelled dates, he had lunches and outings with other women, and he insulted my religion to me personally and in front of his friends.
Things changed when I was accepted to graduate school, and he wanted to move with me if I was able to stay in the state our college was in. He couldn’t bear to lose me, he said, life without me was miserable. I wasn’t able to stay in state, and when I moved to the Midwest we both cried, but he did not offer to remain in a relationship with me. I should have taken this as a sign of the limits of his love for me, but I cared about him so much and thought so little my own value, that I was just happy that he had wanted to move with me.
Needless to say, I did not see that I was not a priority to him, and I continued to think that over time I could persuade him to love me and commit to me by proposing marriage. If only I became more beautiful, more intelligent, thinner and funnier, then maybe he would see – I worked really hard at that, to the point of developing an eating disorder.
Two more years passed of an on-again/off-again relationship while he lived in another country and I got a master’s degree. At the end of these two years, I finally received an offer of marriage from him, and I was elated. I couldn’t believe he had finally asked! In retrospect, this admission from him seemed to be caused by two things: his own growing sense of confusion and disorientation about his vocation in life and his future, and his realization that other men wanted to make me their wife. These are two bad reasons for someone to want to marry me, but I didn’t let this stop me.
We began to make plans for him to move to the town I was living in and find a job there, but these plans fell apart when he told me that he had cheated on me with another girl who lived in his town and he couldn’t chose between us. For the final time, I was a choice among various options for him, and I hated it. I cut off all communication with him, and that was the end of a painful period in my life. I was very humiliated afterward because I saw how many disrespectful behaviors I had accepted for the sake of a chance to be with him.
In the case of my friend’s relationship, she had been dating and sleeping with her boyfriend for six years. My boyfriend and I very fortunately did not sleep together; she had years of physical intimacy with her boyfriend, and I think it made their eventual breakup one hundred times more painful than the extremely intense pain I felt. She moved to live where her boyfriend was living, and quit a steady and successful job to become a student in the town he lived in, prior to being engaged to him.
When she was away for the summers or for holidays, he would take other women to parties and bars with him, a fact her friends would report back to her. He would dismiss it as nothing for her to worry about. Another sign of distress was that when other women greeted him, he did not introduce them to her.
Another one was that she clearly was the one always trying to please him, and his concern for pleasing her seemed minimal. She threw parties for him, she cooked constantly for him, she advertised his band for him and she picked up his house. Her whole life was clearly about him, and his life was not so clearly about her. When they got engaged, her father bought a house for them to live in that she decorated and made beautiful in the town she had moved to be with this man.
That summer, he went on a trip. In an attempt to sever their upcoming marriage, he cheated with a random girl that he never spoke to again. After the fact, he explained that he had not really loved his fiancée, but that the convenience of their relationship was too much to refuse. She initiated the move to his town, she initiated the cooking and cleaning and caring for him, and she initiated the engagement when she ultimatum-ed him about getting married before her graduation.
She was beautiful, she was talented, she was agreeable, she gave him sex, and she so clearly loved him. How could he let her go as a girlfriend? Still, he said, he did not want to make her a wife.
In both of these cases, there are many red flags that serve as signs that my friend and I were “options”, not priorities. Let’s go over them together:
Stay tuned next week for the red flags! She will also disclose what her life is like today! Thank you, Anonymous!
God love and bless you!
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Such a great post – thank you! We all sometimes need reminding of what’s really important in a relationship. I don’t ever want to be just an option! Really looking forward to next week’s pointers!
Thank you, Esther! 🙂
Great post! I needed this little reminder 🙂
Thank you, Maggie!