Instead of sitting someone down to talk about our feelings, we play guessing games. We avoid asking questions about labels because we are worried about coming across as clingy or desperate or controlling. We let the love of our lives get away because we are holding back our emotions, censoring our conversations, raising our guards.
We could look someone in the eyes and admit we have feelings for them — but we waste weeks hinting at our feelings instead. We let our body language do the talking for us. We give vague compliments and monitor how much time we wait between texts. We try not to look like we care too much, but at the same time, we assume our feelings are obvious. We assume the other person knows how much we like them.
Meanwhile, we swear this other person is sending mixed signals because we cannot figure them out. We wish they would let us know where they stand. We wish they would come out and say whether they are interested so we could either work on moving on without them or work on building an official relationship.
We talk about how much we value transparency, about how we want to find someone who will be straightforward with us, but we are unwilling to be straightforward first. We dance around our feelings. We pretend we are fine when we are hurting and hold back I miss yous to avoid coming across as the one who cares more.
We don’t want to be the one to make a move, the one to wear our heart on our sleeves, because we are afraid of rejection. Afraid of abandonment. Afraid of finding out the other person does not feel the same. We don’t want to embarrass ourselves. We don’t want to scare the other person off. We don’t want to take a risk.
We wonder why our almost relationships never grow into serious relationships. We wonder why our “almosts” seem interested for months at a time and then end up dating someone else. We wonder why our relationship status never changes.
It’s because we don’t talk to each other. It’s because we make assumptions about what their latest text meant instead of asking for clarification. It’s because we talk to our friends about how we feel about them instead of filling them in on the details. It’s because we keep accusing them of sending mixed signals while they are accusing us of the same thing. They are just as confused as we are.
If we approach our almost and have an honest conversation, maybe we won’t like what we hear. Maybe they are not ready for a relationship right now. Maybe they don’t feel the same spark as us. Maybe they are only flirting with us to pass the time. Maybe we have been on two completely separate pages all along.
Or maybe not. We will never know unless we communicate. Unless we summon the courage to have a serious, adult conversation. Unless we push aside our fears and speak from the heart instead of pretending not to have one.