"I think you're the best girl in the world. The first girl I've had any real feelings for since my ex. I'm not sure if I'm ready for a relationship right now. But I don't want to lose you. I like how things are. Let's just keep doing what we're doing and see where things go," he says as he leans across the table to give you a kiss.
You and this guy, let's call him Tommy, met about two months ago, but it feels like you've known each other forever. You aren't technically in a relationship, but you're definitely something. And tonight at dinner, you're trying to figure out what that "something" is -- until he confuses you even more with a "let's see where things go."
But first, let's backtrack for a second.
The two of you matched on Tinder and, even though you never actually meet up with people on there, you just had to meet up with this guy because the banter was so great. What you expected to be an hour long first date turned into three hours of non-stop conversation.
He deleted all of his apps for you. You introduced him to all of your friends. He introduced you to his mom. You can barely remember the last time you fell asleep without a "goodnight" text from him. Things are going well.
But, as I said before, it's been two months. You're feeling a little stuck in the in-between.
People ask if he's your boyfriend, and you're not sure what to say. Well, he's not technically my boyfriend... but sort of. But even that makes you feel kind of like an idiot. Is he even kind of your boyfriend? You don't know for sure! What if you're just reading way too deeply into this relationship that really is nothing?!
You know what you have to do; you just REALLY don't want to do. You've gotta figure out where this is going.
Unfortunately, there's only one person who can really define this relationship for you, and it's not your mom or your best friend or your Uber driver. It's him. Well, and you, too. You have a say in this, also. Don't forget that.
But, as terrible for your super chill reputation as it is, there's no way to figure out where the relationship you are currently in with another person is going if you don't talk to the other person about it. So you decide to suck it up and just do it.
Now, you start drafting text messages to him. Your best friend, Karen, doesn't like your first draft. "Hey, what are you up to tonight? I think we need to talk" seems like you're breaking up with him to Karen. So you change it to "Hey, what are you up to tonight?" Karen likes that.
But your best guy friend, Alex, hates it. And he's a guy, so obviously you trust his opinion on it. Alex thinks that text doesn't work because you're blindsiding him... why don't you just text him right now and get it out of the way?! He thinks you should just say "Hey, is this going anywhere?"
But, your co-worker, Jenna, who has a really serious boyfriend who's just, like, the greatest guy, thinks that's way too forward and you just have to have this conversation in person.
So you settle on, "Hey, what are you up to tonight? I kinda wanna talk about some stuff."
Yes, you are well aware of the fact that it is basically the same text you had originally drafted. Just a little watered down to make you seem more ~chill~.
You guys finally meet for pizza, and you're doing everything in your power to avoid the conversation. Not to mention the fact that you haven't had a single slice of your margarita pizza because your stomach is in knots at the thought of bringing it up in the first place.
Finally, he does it for you. "So, what did you want to talk about?"
You hesitate for a bit as you nervously take a sip of your Diet Coke. Finally you just launch into it: "I just want to know if this is going anywhere. I'm not saying I want a relationship tomorrow or anything. Well, I guess I wouldn't even be opposed to that. I just like you, and, I mean, I'm not hooking up with anyone else... I just want to know what you think. Do you think this is going anywhere?"
He smiles the cutest smile in the world, leans over the table and kisses you.
"I like you so much... you know that."
Then he takes another bite of his pizza.
"Yeah, I like you too," you say. The kiss was nice and all... but you'd still like an answer here. "But do you think this is going anywhere?"
He gives you one of those deep looks that look like he's peering right into your soul, and your heart just starts to melt as he starts to speak. Then, he says the dreaded "let's see where things go," which brings us right back to square one.
You're even more confused than you were to start. He didn't answer your question at all. And if he has real feelings for you, why can't he admit to seeing some sort of potential for a relationship!? Also, does that mean you guys aren't exclusive?
But you still take his word for it. I mean, you agonized for days over whether or not to have the convo, how to suggest actually having the convo, and then, finally, having it. You thought you guys really were something! You can't take anymore agony; you just want to trust.
His half ass excuse made you feel a little hopeful that maybe this vaguely defined pseudo relationship actually will go somewhere. You're not an idiot for wanting to believe him, you're not crazy and you're not naive, either. You're just a human being who really likes someone, who really wants to believe that this will go somewhere eventually.
And that's OK. It's OK to be human and to want to be hopeful about your relationship with a person you care about this much. But, you also deserve better.
Let me ask you something. What makes a real bonafide relationship different from what's going on right now?
Well, there are two possible answers, and neither of them are looking that great: Either he doesn't like you enough to be in a relationship (aka "Let's wait and see how things go until hopefully I like you more"), or there's someone else (aka "Let's wait and see how things go until I stop feeling the need to bang other girls"), in which case, he doesn't want to lose anything in order to keep you. Right?
The only other possible excuse is he's "not looking for a relationship right now," and I think that just falls under the umbrella of not liking you enough.
If someone really likes you the way you deserve to be liked, they'll make it happen no matter the timing.
So now, you know what you've gotta do: You've gotta call him (or text him, if you're not a 97-year-old woman who appreciates a good, old-fashioned phone call like I do) without consulting your friends -- or your coworkers or your Uber drivers -- and just be honest about what you deserve.
Tell him you thought about it and you would rather be alone than driven crazy by someone who makes you feel like you're constantly trying out for the role of "girlfriend." You deserve better than that.