Listen to this story
There’s an essential truth that’s been on the tip of my tongue lately when it comes to dating and relationships: We deserve to have someone who makes us waffles, not someone who waffles on whether or not they want to be with us.
This has been on my mind for a number of reasons. It seems that so many of the people I know and love are settling for relationships where their partner doesn’t make them a priority. Even if we’re just casually dating, we all deserve to know where we stand. We don’t need the mind f*ck of uncertainty. If someone has to think about whether or not they want to be with us, maybe we’re just not the one for them. But what bothers me is that we seem to have given up our power to people who treat us this way. In the words of Maya Angelou, Never make someone a priority when all you are to them is an option.
When our hearts are involved, it doesn’t seem so cut and dried. In fact, it feels impossible to separate our love for that person from the fact that they aren’t as invested in us as we are with them. Disentangling ourselves is difficult because we’ve bound ourselves to someone who has no interest in being bound to us. Yet, we love them so we don’t want to give them up entirely.
So what’s a person to do?
It would be healthy for us and for our relationships to begin to put in place some boundaries. We need to stop investing in people who aren’t investing equally in us. That may mean that we stop making our side of the relationship exclusive when the other person is busy dating other people. It may mean that we have uncomfortable conversations seeking clarity with those we’re dating to make sure that we’re on the same page and to clarify our own intentions. It may mean that we draw a line in our committed relationships where we no longer tolerate less effort than we deserve. We can make it clear that we have needs, too, and if those needs aren’t met, we get to decide what we’re capable of accepting for ourselves.
We can also raise our standards. Rather than lowering the bar so that the people we’re interested in can fit our expectations, we need to start raising it. Why do we tolerate, even at the earlier stages of our relationship, less than what we need? We’re overlooking red flags because of these other qualities, but those flags are red for a reason. It doesn’t mean to proceed with caution. It means to stop and pay attention. Sometimes, it means to get the hell out before we get any deeper. But oftentimes we tangle up our hearts and close our eyes to all the red flags that say it’s a poor investment. We need to raise up our standards so that we don’t tolerate less than what we want and need in our lives. We commit to loving ourselves enough not to settle for less than we deserve.
We deserve someone who makes us waffles, who takes the time to show their love and appreciation. We deserve a relationship that’s like an entire waffle buffet- where the whole of the relationship adds up to something that makes our lives better and makes us feel happy and wanted. And more than wanted, loved. Cherished. Adored. We deserve more than someone who waffles about whether or not they even want to be with us in the first place. We deserve a seat at the table, not a place on the bench while they wait to decide how they feel.