Whether I’m hoping to be in a relationship, in one, or just out of one, when something isn’t going right, I perform a detailed—some might say obsessive—analysis to try to determine what’s behind it.
I’m going to be lynched for revealing this, but women do this all the time. We analyze the hell out of every word and inflection, every unreturned e-mail, text, or phone call. I have found that most men don’t twist about relationships the way women do. They are much more black and white: a woman’s interested or she isn’t; the relationship is either on or off. “Why” isn’t part of the equation.
But women tend to overthink things. Certainly I do. When I meet a guy who seems like he should be interested and he doesn’t follow up, I don’t shrug my shoulders and say, “Oh well.” I’ll come up with an explanation, one that may make me feel better or, sometimes, worse. Either way, I can almost guarantee it’ll be wrong.
My friends do this too, although they almost always want to make me feel better. Friends are great, but they tend to be so rabidly in your corner that they don’t see the truth. Anyhow, that’s what friends are for: to lie to you.
Delusions, as I call them, happen in all phases of a relationship, starting before the first date and continuing after the breakup, sometimes for years. Here’s a sampling.
A guy drops out of conversation.
- Delusion: I came on too strong.
- Delusion: I said something stupid.
- Delusion: There’s something wrong with me.
- Delusion (friends): There’s something wrong with him.
- Reality: He found someone younger and thinner.
You don’t hear from a guy who’s “in play” for a week. (This one could go in any direction.)
- Delusion: He’s not interested.
- Delusion: He’s busy.
- Delusion: Some people don’t check their e-mail every day.
- Delusion: Was it something I said?
- Reality: Any of the above could be right. However, this happened recently, and I gave up on the guy, only to eventually hear from him and find out he was sick. Who’d have thought? And a friend of mine thought she was dumped when she didn’t hear from a guy for a week, sent him a nasty note (back when the US Mail was the primary means of communication), only to discover he had been out of town…which he’d told her about and she forgot. Don’t write the nasty note. Don’t.
But you can see the difficulty in this situation. There could be a simple explanation and you’ll hear from him, or he could have moved on. This is when you really need to practice the shrug and the “oh well.” So much easier said than done.
A guy is not interested in me.
- Delusion (friends—God love ‘em): He must be gay.
- Reality: Not everyone sees me as my friends do, but thank you, you are sweet to say that.
My boyfriend starts to cut back on e-mails and texts.
- Delusion: He’s been so busy.
- Delusion: It doesn’t mean anything.
- Delusion: I’m a paranoid, needy bitch.
- Reality: Something is wrong. Trust your gut, moron.
A guy has to choose between me and his weak, dependent, alcoholic ex-wife or girlfriend. (Sad to say this has come up more than once.)
- Delusion: I’m stronger, smarter, and better for him than she is. He would never pick her over me.
- Reality: Oh, he’ll pick her all right. There’s a reason some men choose weak women; there’s a reason they stay with them.
- Delusion (friends): It’ll never last.
- Reality: He will stay with her forever…or until she dumps him.
I’m in a relationship in which everything seems hunky-dory and in which, by any objective standard, I would be considered the prize.
- Delusion: He would never break up with me.
- Reality: Yeah he would.
He’s all over me when, very affectionate.
- Delusion: He couldn’t act that way if he didn’t have feelings for me. I would know it if he was faking.
- Reality: He could. He would. He did. And I wouldn’t.
Mr. Perfect broke up with me.
- Delusion (friends): He didn’t deserve you. You’re too good for him.
- Reality: He could get any woman he wants.
- Delusion (his mother): He loved you. He still loves you.
- Delusion (friends): He’ll be back.
- Delusion (me): Of course he’ll be back.
- Reality: He won’t ever be back.
A guy broke up with me without a satisfactory reason.
- Delusion (friends): He was scared.
- Delusion (friends): He’ll miss you, he’ll want you back.
- Delusion (friends): He was intimidated by you.
- Delusion (moi): Wha, hunh?
- Reality: I have no idea, but friends really did say those things, and I’m sure none is true. As hard as it may be for them to believe, he just didn’t like me enough.
So there you go: a peek into a woman’s mind. How about you? What stories do you tell yourself? Comment below or send me your story by clicking here.