Playing It Safe: When You’re Only into Guys You’re Not Really Into
“I tend to find myself in relationships with men I know I’m not that into because it’s safe.”
‑-Olivia, 31, advertising sales, Atlanta
One of the possible scenarios for falling for a man who you were never
that into to begin with, or who reeled you in simply for the challenge,
is that it may be a relationship in which the main attraction is simply
the lack of attraction. Strange as that may sound, it happens a lot.
A lot of women end up dating men who they know they’re not into
(or who are otherwise inappropriate for them) because there is less
risk if it doesn’t work out. When it ends, they can say, “Well, he was
not right for me anyway,” and then climb right back onto that
treadmill, only to repeat the cycle.
The problem with this sort of pattern is that it eventually
results in dramatically lowered standards. You may think you’re not
giving up a little, but as a result, you end up giving up a whole lot.
And how much worse is it when the loser guy you went out with
primarily as an ego boost (let’s be honest here) winds up rejecting
you? How much worse do you feel as a result? It’s a vicious downward
spiral that you originally got into for the feeling of presumed safety
of superiority, and you then end up feeling lower than low in the end.
I mean, how could this not-so-attractive guy who doesn’t dress
particularly well and still lives with his mother wind up rejecting you?
Could he really have found someone better? Is the dating scene truly
this cutthroat? And if so, what will you do about it? The next time,
you’ll probably aim even lower. And so it continues until you hit rock
bottom and finally decide that you’re better off alone.
You were not that into him but, somewhere along the line, your ego got
involved, and then you needed him to be into you. Perhaps you just
wanted the attention and were then baffled when he pulled away. Or
maybe you became so into making him like you that you got into a
relationship just so you could validate yourself. But what happened
next? Well, maybe it went nowhere, and you were back on the dismal
Or, perhaps for better or worse, you actually started to like
him and found yourself falling for him. If the feelings were
reciprocated, and there turned out to be more to this guy than
initially met the eye, then great, you may be on your way to something
meaningful and real. But if he’s everything you ever thought he wasn’t
and less, you’re bound to feel worse for the time and energy you’ve
spent pretending you were into him in the first place.
Raise (Your Standards) and Reach (for Love)
Let go of the ego: If you’re into him just because you need him to be
into you, you’re letting your ego drive your decisions. And while you
can never entirely remove your ego from your dating life, don’t let it
run (or ruin) it.
Don’t play the game: If you’re just in it because he’s chasing you,
then you’re playing the game as well. Instead, use good sportsmanship
and have enough confidence to bow out and send him on his way.
After the fall: Even if you think you’re not into him, you may
be falling harder than you think. Be on the lookout for telltale signs.
And if the feelings aren’t being reciprocated, remind yourself about
what you didn’t see in him in the first place and get the hell out
while the going is still good.
Don’t play it completely safe: If you’re sticking with guys who
you’re not into simply because there is less at risk, you’re lowering
your standards. To get what you really deserve, you’ll have to put
something on the line.
From the book Be Honest — You’re Not That Into Him Either. Copyright © 2005 Ian Kerner. Reprinted with permission from Harper Collins Publishers, New York, NY.