I thought he wanted to date me because he paid attention to me. Back when my self-worth was low, back when ending up alone seemed like the worst thing in the world, I got excited over the smallest bits of attention. I would freak out and text my friends when a crush glanced my way in the halls or smiled at me or remembered my name. I exaggerated the smallest interactions, assuming each look meant more than it actually did. I set myself up for disappointment.
I thought he wanted to date me because he kissed me. At the time, I considered kissing a big deal, a major milestone. I thought the gesture was his way of revealing his innermost feelings for me. I didn’t think we needed to define the relationship. I assumed our kiss meant we were boyfriend and girlfriend. I lived in blissful ignorance for a while, completely unaware we were on separate pages, until he mentioned he was not ready for a relationship. Until he brought up a term I’ve grown to hate: friends with benefits.
I thought he wanted to date me because he texted me every single day. We never went more than a few hours without hearing from each other. I thought this meant he was interested in dating me. Until he started mentioning other girls. Until he started asking me for advice on how to get their attention. Until he ran to me in tears when it looked like it wasn’t going to work out with the girl he could not get off his mind. He never picked up on how angry I got when he mentioned these other girls. He never realized my advice to move on was selfish advice, advice I hoped would lead him back to me. I wanted him to consider me someone he could get serious with, but he only considered me a friend.
I thought he wanted to date me because he tried to sleep with me. He made his attraction obvious. He liked every selfie. He watched every story. He drooled over every snap. He gave blunt compliments that boosted my confidence. He made me feel pretty for the first time in a long time. He made it sound like he was interested in more than my body to butter me up, but it didn’t take long to find out he only wanted one thing. It wasn’t a relationship.
I thought he wanted to date me because he flirted with me. We teased each other. We bantered back and forth. We texted nonstop. I knew the relationship was not one-sided because he admitted he found me attractive. He admitted he was happier when I was around. He spent months leading me on. He invited me over to spend one-on-one time in his bedroom. He held hands with me. He cuddled with me. He made me feel comfortable. He became the definition of an almost boyfriend but for some reason he never wanted to become an official one.