"First is the worst, second is the best, third is the one with the hairy chest," said every child who grew up in America in the '90s or the early aughts. When it comes to dating, this could be true... if you're talking about the timeline of your exes and your most recent boyfriend is of Mediterranean decent. However, if you're talking about your crushes ranked by whom you like the most, second is most certainly not the best.
Knowing you're the second choice relationship is a strange thing, but it happens. Maybe you knew that your current boo was hung up on a co-worker forever, but then she moved cross-country, and then your SO started dating you. It's not ideal to know that you are someone's second choice. Settling is the worst. Nobody wants to win the silver medal at the Olympics.
Here are four insecurities you'll have when you settle for being someone's second choice.
1. You'll Constantly Be Comparing Yourself To Others
And you'll probably end up spending a lot of cash money investing in all the face serums to glow up as much as every girl you see in your partner's Instagram feed. Even if you don't know whom you were second in line to, you know that you weren't your partner's top choice, so you're always going to be looking at who likes his Facebook posts and thinking, "Is that his type?" or "Was he ever into her?"
You are wonderful just as you are. Save yourself the constant worry by being with someone who put you first from the very beginning.
2. You'll Be Jealous, Which Is A Gross Feeling
In an ideal world, you should be able trust that your partner loves you more than anyone else in the world, so there'd be no reason to be jealous of other people from their past. However, when you know that your SO was interested in someone else that it just didn't work out with prior to dating you, it can be hard to shake the envy. Whether or not your SO still talks to her, you're going to be jealous.
Jealousy is very human, and it's kind of inevitable. It's OK to have some passing jealousy when you meet your partner's cute new co-worker, but being constantly jealous of someone from their past is going to eat away at you forever, because you can't change the past. If feeling jealous isn't your thing, knowing that you were runner up is never going to feel great.
3. You'll Never Feel Like You're Enough
If I order a taco instead of a burrito, it's because I want a taco more than I want a burrito. If the restaurant I'm at is out of tacos, I'll happily indulge in a burrito, but I'll wish I had that taco throughout the meal. Yes, I can learn to love that burrito dearly, but if that burrito had feelings, it would never value itself properly because it would know that it wasn't my first choice. (Sorry, I must be hungry.)
To put things in non-Mexican food terminology: Even if your partner develops the deepest feelings of their life for you, the fact that you knew you weren't their first choice could give you a complex that could lead to passive-aggressiveness or fights down the road. Even if your partner thinks you are more than enough, you might get stuck in a subconscious, low-key cycle of self-loathing because you know you weren't their OG number one. It's a terrible feeling.
4. You'll Be Extra Anxious About Your Future
Insecurities and anxiety are unavoidable because you are a human person. I love a good old fashioned night of insomnia, or a shame spiral on a Sunday after a weekend of indulgence. (Not.)
Anxiety permeates romantic relationships, too. If you're in a serious relationship, talks about moving in or engagement and the future are bound to come up. These talks can cause stress even in a perfectly love-balanced relationship.
When you know you were your partner's second choice, these discussions have even higher stakes. Will that other woman come back into his life when you're finally moved in together? Will bae always be wondering about what she's up to? Ugh. Wouldn't it be easier if you were confident in your partner's love and didn't have to feel second best?
My mom used to tell me to "marry someone who likes you a little bit more than you like them." While this sounds harsh, her point was that you should never settle for someone who isn't 100 percent into you. Love, relationships, and marriages are hard work, and if you and your partner are not confident in each others' love for each other, the challenges you meet together will be that much more challenging.
You can't value yourself properly if you are with a partner who wasn't always sure about being with you. That said, your partner may have initially seen you as second best, but now that you are in a relationship, they see you as number one... forever. I know that I personally have thought I was hung up on a crush with whom things didn't work out, only to meet someone new and realize I was just hanging onto the past because I hadn't found my person yet.
Think about if you are happy in your current relationship, no matter what number choice you were, and go from there.