I have recently come to terms with what it's like to be the girl he isn't in a relationship with.
I've encountered many guys who just "don't see it going there" with me, but are comfortable enough to want to see me naked.
Then, after a few months of fooling around, they end up in a relationship with a new girl and I'm back to my relationship with copious amounts of ice cream.
Up until now, I didn't understand the logic behind the matter until it dawned on me one day: I am the in-between girl.
By definition, I am the girl guys are with in-between serious relationships. They turn to me at vulnerable points in their lives without really realizing it. I'm a space-filler and a safe place to go because I am consistent and that's what they need.
I've heard all of the names: rebound, hookup, friend with benefits — but none of them seem to fit. I don't feel like as though they match how I feel.
He touches me, he hugs me, he kisses me, but don't worry… we're just friends. He says he doesn't want a relationship but he acts like my boyfriend. I just don't understand.
I know we mean much more to each other than just a few casual hookups here and there; there is intimacy. We talk about the future and we share secrets. That's not casual at all.
It starts out as something innocent. We figure it will be a one-time thing, especially considering he just got out of a relationship. Then, things spiral beyond our control.
We officially enter the grey area.
This is the part where I find myself waiting around for him to text me. Although he blatantly tells me he's not looking for a relationship, I still cling to the smidgeon of hope that he will change his mind.
When I ask why he's distant, he says, "I want to take this slow because I'm scared by how much I like you already." This excites me because I think I'm gaining ground in his heart.
The cyclical agony continues.
We aren't up front with each other because we're afraid to say things when we don't like how they sound. "I don't want a girlfriend but I want to f*ck you," doesn't exactly have a nice ring to it. Then again, neither does, "I'm f*cking you because I hope you'll love me."
So, I always go along with it. I allow the games to be played because at the end of the day, I am lonely.
I naturally press for more and sit through his, "I have commitment issues" speech that concludes with, "Do we really have to define this?" I lie and say no because I don't want him to leave.
Then, one day he leaves and disappears into thin air. A few weeks later, he surfaces on social media, beaming from ear-to-ear with his new girlfriend on his arm.
Normally, I spend every second of my free time poring over our texts, wondering what I could have said to make him stay.
I'll feel like it is all my fault that he chose not to be with me. Maybe if I had launched into a Meredith Grey-esque, "Pick me, choose me, love me," speech, he would've stayed.
I don't know if we were friends, more than friends or just complete strangers who shared a bed. I'm angry for a while, wondering, "Was this fun for him? Was I not good enough for him?"
I compare myself to her. I wonder what he sees in her but couldn't see in me. By the end of the day, I know her life inside and out.
I offered him the world, my world, and that wasn't enough. I wasn't enough.
We'll have an awkward encounter and I'll feel seasick on dry land because I have to face the music that I'm just the in-between girl. Then, he'll give a half-assed reason for leaving, dropping the inevitable, "It's not you, it's me," bomb.
And he's right. It's not me. It really is him.
Us in-between women need to understand we did nothing wrong. So, why is it always us who feel like sh*t when it all goes to hell?
We didn't ask to be hugged from behind while shopping for groceries together. We didn't ask for the forehead kisses and the public handholding.
We didn't mean to believe the "one days" and the "we'll sees" that he whispered in the dark. But, what kind of person would give false hope to someone just to sleep with her? ...Oh, wait.
We are still the in-between women, haunted by the "what ifs" and the futures that never pan out, and we're okay with that.
Because one day, someone will choose us first.