I’ve been in an obnoxiously happy relationship for fifteen years. I try not to be a twat about it, so I don’t go around giving advice or writing something twatty like “Lessons I’ve Learned From Being Happily Married, Not That You Would Know You Sad, Pitiable, Single Who Will Likely Have Your Dead Face Eaten By Your Pet”. But occasionally, a non-attached person will ask my advice about someone that he or she is dating. Often, I start with this disclaimer: “Anyone who has ever given you relationship advice is full of bullshit.”
It’s true. Human beings are invariably different, each and every one of ’em, and driven by thousands of experiences, beliefs and behaviors. Generalized advice just doesn’t pan out most of the time. For instance, that “Don’t go to bed angry” shit would have resulted in my divorce. I need time to breathe when I’m angry or else I lash out like a heavy-footed she-beast. In my relationship (but maybe not yours), the best medicine in the world for intra-marital conflict is for me to be by myself, preferably with some sleep time in there somewhere. So that’s what I do. In fact, I’ve uniformly rejected every piece of relationship advice that I’ve ever been given — thank GOODNESS, because relationship advice is fucking dumb.
All of it save for one thing.
If someone is into you, they will find a way to be with you. No exceptions.
In all the relationships I’ve witnessed from the sidelines of my longterm union, this is the one rule that has never gone away, never wavered, never been disproven. Yet when I try to tell someone who is single this rule, they genuinely never believe me.
“You don’t understand. Dating is different nowadays.”
“He’s just gotten out of a relationship, so he wants to take things slow.”
“She’s just really independent so she likes to be alone most days.”
“No, no, you don’t get it. He’s got a super busy job, so it’s just hard for him to make time for me.”
“She’s just spending a lot of time with the girls lately.”
At first, when people told me these things, I tried to push them. I told them about every happy, lasting, fulfilling relationship I’ve witnessed. The couples in those relationships all have the same “When we first started dating” story. They glowingly talk about how they hardly ate or slept or concentrated at work because they found any spare moment to be talking with or hanging out with the other person. They would talk about the nonstop, bonkers touching/sex and the inability to be in polite company. They would talk about being enveloped in the other person. They would break off relationships or move across the country. They would alienate friends. They would learn to love a cat, even though they are most definitely allergic.
Don’t get me wrong. Just because someone loves to hang out with you doesn’t mean they’re your soulmate, but if someone won’t make time for you, then they aren’t into you. The relationship is going nowhere. It doesn’t matter if it’s 2016 or 1986. It doesn’t matter if someone is shy or busy or sleepy or nervous or attached to someone else. As human beings, we can’t help ourselves when we’re into someone. It’s a literal drug. It’s the best feeling chemicals in the world that urge, urge, urge you to be in the company of the person who makes you produce those happy vibes.
I get why people don’t listen when I tell them this. The hardest thing that human beings ever have to face is that sometimes, the people we most want to be around in the world could give a shit less if we exist. They don’t mind us being around, necessarily, but they wouldn’t care if we weren’t. It’s a feeling that’s almost unbelievable in its cruelty. So instead, we choose to believe that our situation is different. That there is a legitimate reason why the man or woman who we’re interested in just won’t invest a lot of time or energy. But alas, 99 times out of 100, there isn’t a good reason and the situation never changes. In fact, it gets worse. And we have to deal with the ugly truth, but with months wasted under the ol’ dating belt.
Sometimes, the people coming to me for advice are young and I let them figure it out. Sometimes, people are just looking to fuck around or to have a little wild sex and they don’t need advice from a boring married lady like me. But to the ones among you who don’t want to waste any more time with someone who won’t commit to you, heed my advice. Grind it into your heart and head. Sew it into a pillow and keep it on your bed. And when you want to make excuses for the person who isn’t hanging out with you, pull it out and let it sink in.