He Loves Me, He’s Just Not In Love With Me

Photo by nattu via flickr

All my life, I’ve been looking for that guy—the one I can tell anything to, the one who totally gets me. The guy who is handsome and charming, with a gorgeous smile. We can talk all night, but we don’t always stay up just talking. I can curl up in his arms, feeling loved and contented, as my mind slips into pleasant dreams.

So, is it any wonder that when I find that guy, I feel myself falling rapidly, intoxicatingly in love? The mystery for me, though, is why isn’t he falling in love with me? In fact, not only is he not falling in love, he isn’t even considering a romantic relationship with me. Seriously, how am I still in the friend zone?

This lesson hasn’t been easy for me to learn. In fact, it’s taken me several relationships to realize where I have gone wrong. So, why do I make the same mistake and fall for the friend? And how do I keep from repeating this folly over and over again?

I think one problem is that I don’t have that “list.” You know, the sometimes-hypothetical, sometimes-literal inventory of items people keep for what they’re looking for in a mate? I’ve never made one. I have a general idea of what I want, but these vague guidelines tend to be mutable. Rather than the guy fitting the ideal of what I want in a man, what I want mutates into the shape of the person I care about.

Perhaps if I sat down and considered what traits should comprise my soul mate, I might have a better chance of knowing when the person I’m with fits me, instead of me trying to fit the person I’m with.

Meanwhile, these guys I’m falling for do have a list, and a very specific one. And, while I listen to their stories about their relationships, I sometimes hear only what I want to hear. If I don’t measure up exactly to their description of the perfect woman, I figure we can work out the details later.

My most recent guy told me he couldn’t date an atheist. The idea of someone not believing in God disturbed him. Now, I’m actually more of an agnostic humanist (meaning it’s not that I don’t believe in God, I just don’t feel that the existence nor absence of a deity should influence my love and desire to help my fellow human beings). Did this deter me or send any warning signals to me that this guy wasn’t “the one?” No. After all, I don’t adamantly believe there isn’t a god. Plus, I had no criterion in my mind regarding the religious beliefs of my ideal guy.

After I was thoroughly and explicitly rejected, it became pointedly clear it wasn’t meant to be. In hindsight, when I really think about the differences in our values, I understand why we wouldn’t be well-matched. I really don’t want to raise my kids in a church. If I’d really been listening to him and paying attention to his ideals, I would have recognized that this was just one of many factors that we didn’t agree on. How many more truths did I choose to ignore?

It’s easy to fall into the trap of turning someone into a supposed soul mate simply by interpreting your morals and theirs in favor of your desired outcome. The question then is how to avoid this behavior before this same good friend has to explain to you that, while he loves you and thinks you’re a wonderful person, he is not in love with you and really doesn’t think of you this way. Although, of course, the after-hours recreational activities were mutually enjoyed….

Which brings me to another common pitfall of mine. I’ve also had a hard time learning that just because you’re sexually attuned doesn’t follow that you’re romantically so. For a long time, I figured that love comprised two simple ingredients: friendship and sex. It seems so logical. After all, we want someone we can trust and confide in, but also whom we are attracted to and who makes us feel desirable in turn. Unfortunately, I’ve been oversimplifying matters.

Maybe it’s not enough that we can enjoy emotional and physical intimacy with a person. Maybe we also need to share a common vision of the future.

I admit my theory as to this magical third ingredient is still a work in progress. I’ll let you know how it holds up once I’ve had a chance to test it.

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Meg Pierce

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  • I really don’t get waiting for the sake of waiting. I have to have some sense of what or why I’m waiting. I don’t believe in the whole waiting for virtues sake.

  • meg :

    I really don’t get waiting for the sake of waiting. I have to have some sense of what or why I’m waiting. I don’t believe in the whole waiting for virtues sake.

    Whoa. For once, I agree with you, Meg. 😉

    And… Joe! Nice to see you on here. Did you see my little shout-out to you on my “I Date Outside My Race Because My Race Won’t Date Me” post? 😉

  • Pingback: Why Settle For a Great Girl? « Heels and Hiking Shoes

  • I dunno, I recently met a person and we were compatible in all three of those regards. However, now she says, she does love me but isn’t in love with me. Maybe I’m becoming a pessimist from all of this, but I’m starting to believe love is pointless. It’s a chemical response of our ancestors to ensure we didn’t eat our young and could survive.

  • Murr. I can understand where you are coming from, but that person was doing you a favor to be honest with you. She has let you be free to find someone who really is in love with you and someone who you love in a different way. Eventually you will find yourself in a place that you couldn’t have been with her. At least that’s my newly optimistic take. Check out writerwithani.wordpress.com for my new article, “Dump Me, Please!”

  • I think there are good and bad thing about rules and lists. It’s easy to dismiss them because … often they are taken literally and end up hurting dating and relationships. I think that instead of looking to rules or lists, it is actually good to look at why there are rules and lists. For example, a list stipulating that you want to date someone who is gorgeous, has similar interests, is always funny, or is super smart really doesn’t tell you much about your future chances with someone. But if, rather, you focus on personality traits that are essential they can help guide you in assessing your future interests, like, it’s important for a man I date to be generous and conscientious, not only to me, but also to others. He also needs to be open to looking at things / opinions from different viewpoints because, as a feminist, I don’t need him to agree with me whenever I see sexism, but to at least consider how someone could view common actions, words, etc as sexist and hurtful.

    As for rules, one reason I think there is a “rule” for waiting to have sex is that it is easy to either get caught up in the moment or feel pressured into having sex before you feel ready. I think that whenever you feel ready is fine, but it may be detrimental to your relationship to come out of sex feeling anything but satisfied and fully connected to the person you’re with. For example, while I, personally, enjoy one night stands, I always end up waiting a while to have sex with someone I’m seeing only because sex + relationship is something entirely different, more emotional and scarier to me than pure sex.

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