Kelliann DeCarlo

SHELF GIRL

Kelliann DeCarlo
SHELF GIRL

I dated him for over a month. I started to feel something bigger and I thought he was too, but as it turns out, I'm a whole lot of fun, yet he doesn't know what he wants. The cliche makes me cringe even typing this.

A vast improvement from the last time, I only let about three days of weird, lackluster conversation go by before I called him on it. He sighed, did a lot of apologizing and acknowledgement of how crappy it all sounded, and then dropped the bomb: He just doesn’t know what he wants, and what’s worse, he doesn’t know why.

Such a casualty of love. my heart goes out to him.

Apologizing for wanting to be casual is the worst, because it makes them sound like they wish it was different - and they actually don’t, because if they did, this wouldn’t be happening. They also subconsciously know that by apologizing for this “struggle”, it will appeal to your, at the moment, raw emotions.

Read that again.

They like you, but they don’t want to date you right now. You’re amazing, a real catch and so much fun. They’re just not ready to put all of their eggs in one basket (the jokes here are unending, but let’s move on) because there are just so many other options.

So, they subconsciously, put you on a shelf.

They don’t fully let you go, because then they might lose their chance. Besides, who really knows how they’ll feel three months from now? At the moment, though, they’re not ready for you either.

This part of dating is made to be such an overly grey area, and luckily (luckily!) it’s really not that difficult:

you either like someone enough to get to know them better, or you don’t.

My loves, it is that black and white. A relationship isn’t a prison sentence - and if it is, you’re in the wrong one. It’s having someone who has your back 100% of the time, for free, at anytime. It’s having someone to share the really fantastic moments with, and someone to be there for you during the terrible moments where you feel alone. I know I’m going to upset some of you by saying this, but if your relationship is any less than that, then you both should part ways, because you both deserve everything I just mentioned, and more.

You either want to see what happens with this person, or you don’t - and if you don’t that’s okay. But just tell the truth, and don’t apologize for wanting to be casual.

This is the tricky part.

In hindsight, I would have loved to look back on this with respect for him, regardless of how much the truth initially hurt - but I can’t, and here’s why: There’s nothing wrong with being casual - as long as you respect the person you’re sitting next to enough to set that clear boundary up-front. It’s just being an adult.

I took a deep breath, and told him that it sounded like we weren’t looking for the same thing. Big Scoop: not wanting anything serious right away but still wanting to get to know someone and just seeing what happens is not the same as having a casual relationship. After he suggested we continue to casually see each other and have fun, I ended it. His silence was deafening, and none of this felt fun. I felt sick.

Wouldn’t it be fun if he miraculously came to his senses and begged me to reconsider? Wouldn’t it be fun if he panicked and realized he knew exactly what he wanted, and it was me? Wouldn’t it be fun if he picked up the phone the next day and apologized and asked to start over? It would be, but it’s not what happened. I also think it’s worth noting that I’ve found it almost never works out that way.

I don't share this uglier part of my week to air my dirty laundry - it was a little nerve-racking to share. I also don’t tell this story because I’m bitter - truthfully, I’m sad. I tell this story because I know so many people who stay stuck on one person for months, even years, hoping that the other’s indecisiveness will materialize into something - anything; Cut to you holding onto shreds of affection and internalizing them to mean what you’re ultimately wishing for - when in their mind, they’ve already told you everything you need to know and you’re making the choice to hang around anyway.

The only way this stops is with you;

Is with you holding your breath while he describes how much fun he’s had with you, and how he thinks he’s being accountable by acknowledging that he knows it's terrible, and how he wishes he knew what he wanted because you're so great. It stops by you swallowing the lump in your throat and ending it, swiftly. It stops by you patiently listening to his disappointment when he realizes he can't subconsciously put you on a shelf, to date whenever he's feeling relationship-ready, and you not caving or accepting this totally misguided apology because of his sad tone of voice, or misreading that tone as if he’s scared.

friends, He’s not scared. he’s just not ready, and when he is ready there is no guarantee it will be for you.

I also tell this story because it's been two days, and I'm still nauseous.

I don't want to paint the highlight reel-esque illusion that this happened and then I walked away, head held high, into my cool night air like Carrie Bradshaw. This isn't an easy thing to do, but this behavior also won’t stop until we stop accepting it.

This isn’t exclusive to men either, we all must do better. If one more well-intentioned person tells me that they're proud of me I'm going to throw my phone against a wall.

Doing this shouldn’t make me strong, it should make me human. at the end of the day I’m glad I ended it, even though it hurts.

Because I deserve better, and so do you.

Love on love

Kelle