This pattern of making all the effort, pushing and prodding relationships forward is not leading you toward love, it is you pushing lovers to give you what they have no interest in giving you.
Are you incapable of seeing, or are you ignoring signs that he or she isn’t interested? Is he or she being nice, participating in conversation and smiling, and you are taking their politeness as proof they are into you, while ignoring that they are not making any effort to start a relationship with you? Do you come up with excuses or scenarios in your head for why he or she isn’t making any moves? Chances are that you have come this far in your mental scenario because you refused to accept rejection. Once you have created an entire story in your head for why this person isn’t making any effort to be with you, and you start believing it, you have deleted rejection from being a possible explanation. The relationship is now a fabrication that you have repeated a thousand times in your head, you may have even convinced your friends or your therapist that it is real.
There may have been a little spark during that initial conversation. You may have felt something, the other could have felt it too. But relationships don’t manifest into existence until both parties verbally agree, physically and emotionally start building something together. Your over-focus on the idea that he or she felt the spark too, is helping you grow a delusion. You are ignoring the fact that the other isn’t participating in building a future with you.
The main reason men and women can’t accept rejection is low self esteem. They take rejection very personally, and it feels like a deep emotional wound. They don’t want to feel it. And when rejection does happen, as it happens to every human on the planet, they react to it like a child projecting their anger and frustration onto the other person as if the rejector is somehow evil, malicious, a player, a user, a manipulator. The fault is with the other person, and the rejected is the one who has been wronged.
An emotionally healthy grown up would accept inaction as evidence that there is no interest from the other person. Even when rejection isn’t blatantly obvious, healthy people take the lack of phone calls, the lack of participation, the lack of effort as a clue. Sure, rejection hurts all of us. But healthy people don’t believe that their own interest is enough to create a connection, instead they would gauge whether the other is making an equal effort as well. A healthy person would be able to reason without creating false scenarios in their head, without accusing the rejector of wrongdoing. They don’t believe they are owed interest from anyone, and can accept when they are not wanted. They would rather feel the pain and discomfort, than create a delusion.
Please understand that you are hurting yourself when you create those false scenarios in your head. You are hurting yourself when you start waiting for him or her to respond, when you start waiting for his or her situation to change, when you start waiting for them to participate.
Here is a scenario that I see all the time, which leads to the pursuer getting emotionally pummeled when they realize they have been pushing for something the other person never wanted.
In this case a woman started making advances toward a man who was making no effort at all, and created a physical relationship when no emotional connection existed. From day one, she was sure he was the one because he smiled, because she was sure he was feeling it too, and because she felt some sort of a spiritual, psychic bond. She could read him and felt his energy matched hers, therefore he was the one. So she waited, but he made no effort at all. Months passed and still no effort was made, so she started to pursue him.
He wasn’t calling so she started texting. He wasn’t making effort so she started advancing the situation forward. He was nice, never blatantly rejected her, showed up when she asked him out for coffee, then a drink, then dinner, and each time he was nice and polite, but still disengaged. She started making “we” plans, taking him to BBQs, group dates and introduced him to her friends. Once the relationship got physical, she had all the evidence she needed that he was the one, she only had to push him and prod him a little to remind him that she is owed a text now and then, and that it would be nice if he remembered it’s their one month anniversary, and that it would be nice if he actually took the lead and made a plan to go out too.
If you are the only one advancing, it is because the other is not interested. Some rejectors are nice people with feelings, and we smile, respond to questions, accept invitations, and might even accept free sex if you are offering it. Some people won’t blatantly reject you when they see you cannot handle rejection, instead they will withhold any effort. If you do all the work, and you eventually offer sex, can you blame them for taking it?
I happen to be a big fan of direct, often blatant communication, so I will spell it out for a man when I am not interest. No thanks to the drink because no, I am not interested. No thanks to a date, because I am not interested. No reply to the messages because I am not interested. You would be amazed by how some people continue to push the relationship forward despite my blatant use of the word No. On the other hand, a lot of feelings get hurt, and when the rejected cannot handle it, I get called by all kinds of names for openly stating my disinterest. I am okay with that because I would rather be clear than polite and risk misinterpretation of a reluctant yes for feelings I never expressed.
You can create a false relationship if you force the other to keep responding politely. If you keep pestering them to call you, if you keep demanding their attention or their acknowledgement, if you start accusing them of anything, people will give you polite attention but still remain disinterested. Many people don’t realize that they are pushing the relationship forward and creating a situation where they are giving themselves while the other person is just taking what is given. Is that their fault? No. You demand phone calls and frequent texts, so the other is obliging. You are referring to him as illmanered, cold, rude, for not making effort, so again they are obliging. You are demanding that your needs be met, and since they have empathy, they are doing their best to throw you a bone without entering what you have already deemed as a relationship.
In this scenario, the man was not invested and he was taking what she give him for free, until he met the woman he actually wanted. Guess what happened next. As soon as he met the woman he was interested in, he pursued her actively. It’s like someone turned the power button on in his head and he was in full pursuit mode. Once he found her, he started disengaging from the girl who pursued him rather quickly. His slate needed to be clear in order to accommodate the woman he was truly interested in, otherwise, he knew she would not accept his half-assed advances. He began clearing up his calendar, his social media page, deleting photos, making sure nothing could be misinterpreted by the woman he valued. He was suddenly available, proactive, and was taking initiative. Action means I am interested. Inaction means I have no desire to make effort toward something I don’t want.
Admittedly, I do this too. When I am interested in a man, I clean things up. There are no photos of random men on my profile that could be misinterpreted for an ex or a boy toy. I clearly introduce the males in my life as “friends” to make sure he doesn’t get the wrong idea. My home contains no evidence, you won’t find that spare toothbrush nor a man’s deodorant in my bathroom. I wouldn’t do that to a person I respect and want as my own.
When I am genuinely interested I make effort too. I say Yes, Thank You, I’d Love To! I don’t just show up, I participate actively and return texts promptly. We all have skeletons in our closet, meaningless flings, boys we think of as toys. They get deleted right away. When I truly have an interest in someone, there’s no chance of a stray text from a nobody interrupting my date. I am present, I am available, I am communicating, and I am here.
So, may people both men and women fabricate relationships in their heads, then pursue them without the active participation of the other. Sometimes those imaginary relationships stay in the state of waiting for something to begin, and the waiting period can last for years. Other times, one party keeps pushing, keeps offering sex, attention, home-cooked meals, just to prod this along to the next relationship status.
If you can’t take rejection you are setting yourself up for an emotional meltdown. You can’t force someone to be interested in you. It is absolutely against the laws of nature and the universe. You might persuade them to sleep with you, to keep you around while they look for someone better, but their interest will always remain low. They will always take whatever you are giving, but remain disengaged.
Nice people don’t want to blatantly reject you, instead they stay passive, and demonstrate lack of effort. They don’t want to hurt your feelings, so they show you they are not advancing. If you can’t take those clues as evidence of disinterest, you will end up in either a mental prison constructed all by yourself, or superficial, sex-only relationships where the person is not giving you what you want for a good reason. If a person is passive about a relationship, they are not into the relationship, and they are definitely not into you.
One of the most common arguments I hear from people who are in these imaginary relationships is that grand delusion “I know he has feelings for me. I just know that when we spoke he felt something too. I know he has a heart somewhere in there, but he is bottling up his feelings because he had a hard childhood”. The rejected becomes a psychoanalyst and starts using evidence that the other isn’t interested as a diagnosis. To avoid pain, the rejected devote themselves as a therapist to heal the rejector from the rejection. “If he is incapable of actively participating in this relationship, then I must heal him from that inability”.
This grand delusion that the rejector is somehow sick actually soothes the rejected from facing their own feelings. Rejection hurts and some people would rather avoid any signs of pain than face them head-on. You can spot emotional criples up front, when people talk about their relationships in terms of avoiding pain. Their only motive is always to avoid the painful truth.
But the reality is that rejection is a normal part of life. We all learn about rejection and how to deal with it on the playground. We learn to accept that they are people in this world who do not want us, and they are okay. They are not evil for not wanting us. They are just people who are entitled to their preferences, and entitled to pursuing their own dreams of love. It is okay if we don’t fit into their lives. We accept that and we move on.
No one owes you a relationship, and no one owes you interest. Just because you do all the work, does not mean the other owes you their heart, their body, their soul. If you are pushing forward and investing to create a false sense of interest from the other person, you might delude yourself into thinking you are building a relationship. No, the relationship can only be built on a strong foundation of both people expressing an interest, both making equal effort, and both showing up with evidence.
If you always feel like you are the one making all the effort in relationships, please take a step back. Do yourself a favor and invest in therapy. This pattern of pushing and prodding relationships forward is not leading you toward love, it is you pushing people to give you what they have no interest in giving you. You might be fooling yourself into thinking that this one-way effort is love, because giving can feel loving, when in fact you are clearly expressing a lack of self-love and a lack of self-respect. You are forcing the other into participating in something that isn’t there. And you are making their disinterest into a crime, when they really don’t owe it to you to be interested.
Eventually, the friend whose situation I mentioned above got a harsh slap in her face, when she found out that there was someone else that this man was interested in. She could not understand why he couldn’t be honest with her, when in fact she left him no room for honesty. She blocked any possibility of it not being a genuine relationship, ignored all evidence, made it impossible for him to speak openly, because she created a scenario where she was giving, pushing, prodding, and he could only deliver exactly what was asked of him or risk hurting her feelings.
In my opinion, rejection is a wonderful thing. It is that sign from the universe that this person or a situation is a definite No. I love hearing the word No, because it gives me a different direction to go in. Healthy people don’t force yeses out of nos, instead they make a new start and set a course toward someone who is clearly articulating the word yes.
I also love saying the word No, repeating it, and I exercise clarity and bluntness with men because I am empathic and conscientious, and I hate hurting people. Being polite and feigning interest simply to manage the other person’s feelings is morally wrong to me. Why should I have to feign interest so the other can feel good about themselves? Why should I give myself so the other can feel like they are succeeding with me? It feels awful to me to be a part of someone’s false scenario when I can openly say no thanks to that first drink, and save myself the frustration and discomfort of having to talk them out of continuously offering me more later.
But if you read relationship related media, you might notice that we are all being instructed to coddle people’s feelings, and to in fact, send mixed signals to remain in the game. A lot of women still believe and vehemently defend accepting a drink from a man they are not interested in, because it is the polite thing to do, whereas I will say No upfront so that there is no misinterpretation of my feelings later. And a lot of men are instructed to make women feel good, pay compliments, and gently back off without hurting her feelings. This leaves a lot of room for misinterpretation. You must accept the fact that we all accept phone numbers because it is the polite thing to do. You can’t then make people responsible for calling you.
Of course, the blunt, direct friend that I am, I will always tell you exactly what I think. And most of the time I tell both male and female friends that truth that I think they are refusing to see. I am that person who will point out that you are not in a relationship, that what you believe is a relationship is just a fantasy that you created in your head, and that if you keep living in that fantasy, you will get hurt.
Personally, I am a fan of the truth. I would always rather know exactly where I stand, and when relationships become ambiguous, unclear and confusing, I always take a step back. If the other person isn’t answering my questions as clearly as I am able to comprehend, I take a time-out to get re-centered. Ambiguity means that this relationship equation does not add up. An important factor is wrong or missing.
I tend to gravitate toward people who love full openness and clarity as much as I do. I value the blunt answers, the uncomfortable truths, the direct communication. Clarity is a turn on. To me, 2+2 must always equal 4, and that is the only correct answer in my book. When something doesn’t add up, I am not in a relationship. I’m a big girl, I can accept that. I make no excuses for why the other person can’t do math. If they are not capable of making the equation add up to an even number, I won’t help them with a skill they should have learned in first grade.
Rejection is a good and healthy thing. We should all drink a healthy dose of rejection every day. We must learn to accept the pain so that we can learn how to properly deal with it. It is important for all of us to learn to accept it without combusting into a hot fiery mess every time someone has hurt our feelings. And when it does happen, we have to acknowledge that pain serves an important purpose. It’s your brain warning you as clearly as humanly possible No, No, No, back off, don’t touch the hot stove, don’t put that into your mouth, don’t create that false scenario in your head. If you ignore rejection, it will kill you later. And whose fault will it be? You guessed it.