Dear Miss White,
Great news: The guy I liked during all 4 years of college is into me. The thing is, I’m just not that into him anymore. He’s great, but not the guy I fell for anymore. He had a girlfriend all throughout college, and we hooked up within a month of their breaking up, and a lot since then. I’m dating around, but when we’re out together, he’ll make a move, even if I’m there with another guy! But I just can’t imagine turning down someone who I crushed on for soooo long, even though I otherwise think I’m over it. What’s a girl to do?
-(Not?) Over Prince Charming
WELCOME. Welcome to my world. Really though, you should feel comforted by the fact that, young ladies/women from all walks of life can relate to your situation. Normally I hate when people use the phrase “we’ve all been there” because it sounds like an auto-response to a far more complex issue, but I’m making an exception today. Girl–we have ALL been there.
With most situations similar to yours, timing is CRITICAL. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve liked guys with girlfriends, guys disinterested in me, guys who live miles and miles away…it’s all so very normal, so very heartbreaking. Part of the intrigue and allure in these lustful scenarios, at least with my experiences, has been the “off-limits” nature of it all. It’s the classic “I can’t have you therefore I want you” mentality. All you have to do is watch any romcom starring Joseph Gordon Levitt (HELLO Tom spending 500 Days obsessing over the obnoxiously elusive Summer) to be reminded of this steadfast scientific fact: we want what can’t have.
But here’s the thing–college is like boy tapas. Everywhere you go there are cute, post-pubescent (finally!) guys—cute dudes in the library, hot boys on your dorm floor, total babes at the gym. I could go on, but I’ll spare you. These young male counterparts can serve as distractions, as adorable extra curriculars, as inspiration for your new tumblr. I mean, the opportunity to immerse myself with seemingly endless amounts of boy options was half the reason I even applied to college (sorry dad!).
And as young, rapidly evolving women it’s imperative that we try a bunch (or maybe just a handful) of them out to see which ones we like, you know? Sometimes we fixate on one particular unavailable guy because a) it’s easy to do b) it’s an excuse to wear strawberry lip gloss to lecture c) it gives us something to look forward to without the gross/scary risk of being rejected and/or hurt.
But as the semesters fly by and our college sweatshirts begin to fade, our tastes (romantic and otherwise) change. A lot. And even though our interests, crushes, preferences can switch/waver/evolve at such a rapid pace that we begin to feel like CRAZY people, all of this inconsistency is actually a good thing. I promise.
You’re young and you’re still figuring out what you like. So maybe you liked this dude for four years and now that you can finally have him you’re over it. So what? Sure it’s disappointing to demote him from the “Pussy (Penis?) Pedestal” to the “You’re Just Like, Whatever Stool”, but think of it this way—aren’t you glad you had the chance to discover that you’re just not that into him? The more guys you meet, the more you date, the more relationships you have, the more you learn about YOURSELF and what you really want.
You said he’s not the guy you fell for originally and maybe he’s not. You know what’s also likely? YOU’RE not the same girl that fell for him. And that is perfectly okay. You shouldn’t feel obligated or pressured to like him just because the YOU from four years ago would have freaked out at the chance to date him. You don’t owe her anything, I’m telling you. I mean, the ME from four years ago thought wearing pigtails on campus was a “fashion statement.” So if you think I still listen to HER and her crazy expired tastes, you are MISTAKEN.
Instead of driving yourself crazy over whether or not you should give this guy more of a chance, I recommend asking yourself a few simple questions. Do you want to spend time with him? Do you look forward to seeing him? Are you, at this very moment, into him? If so, by all means…go for it. And if you answered NO to any/all of these, it’s time to LET IT GO. Why would you want to let this lackluster dude hold you back from meeting someone really cool?
Maybe if he continues to put the moves on when you two are out together, you can pull him aside and (diplomatically) let him know that you just want to be friends. Every girl likes attention from a guy, especially from the ones that we were into at one point. But do him a favor and make it clear that you’re not feeling him before things start to get uncomfortable. I always find it super shady when a girl continues to string a guy along just because she feels like it. I sure wouldn’t want the guy I like to do that to me.
Once you cut the cord on this guy, you’ll be amazed at how free you’ll feel. You’ll no longer have this lingering outdated lust weighing you down. And feeling lighter and more open is a good way to be. Not just when it comes to relationships…like, in general.