August 25, 2011 at 2:21 pm EDT | by Meghann Novinskie and Kim Rosenberg
Priority or option?

Has anyone ever cancelled a date on you last minute? Ever been someone’s last option? Are you labeling your booty call a real relationship? This issue is so common, I’m certain everyone reading this column has experienced it, either first hand or vicariously through a friend’s relationship.

What is this hugely common yet hugely misunderstood problem? Allowing your partner to be your priority while simultaneously allowing yourself to be his or her option.

With the rise in dating apps, indecipherable text messages and online dating sites, it’s easy to fall into the trap where you aren’t sure whether he is portraying an illusion, or he’s really into you, as they say. Unfortunately, friends often aid in steering this confused person in the wrong direction by enforcing the idea that “maybe his phone died” or “something came up at work” when he blows them off. Friends love to identify with the victim and tend not to bring attention to the real issue at hand.

Obvious one-sided relationships are painful to watch. Here’s the scenario: A friend who is seeing someone has repeatedly cancelled on you when his or her special someone calls unexpectedly.(S)he is probably already entrenched in a one-sided relationship. The reality is that your friend needs to recognize the signs that (s)he’s just not into her/him. This is challenging to do, so we recommend suggesting your friend hire a therapist or matchmaker to help him or her work past these mystifying messages and stay on the right path toward reaching the goal of a lasting relationship.

It’s difficult for the naive to see the warning signs of their one-sided relationship. We’ve seen it many times, so here are a few: You ask your so called girl/boyfriend to meet for drinks. (S)he said (s)he is busy, but when her other plans fall through, you get a call asking “Do you want to still grab a drink?” Without hesitation, you say yes. Another great example is when you turn down offers from friends to hang out, praying this “special” person will ring. Speaking from experience, this is a great way to lose a friend.

Sound silly and immature? Yes. Then why do people hang on to someone or the idea of being in a relationship with this disconnected person?  Sometimes we think the more we hang out together, the more they will be into us. That said, yes, relationships and attraction can grow after multiple meetings. It’s important to recognize the difference between “getting to know you better” and “I have nothing else to do, so yeah, I’ll meet you.”

There are also instances where you won’t admit that the person you are pursuing is out of your league. You hold on to the thought that because you have dinner twice a week, there’s a chance for the two of you to be skipping off into the sunset together.(S)he might just be bored and yes, enjoy your company. But that’s it.(S)he’s not going home after your date and picking out your wedding planner. Last minute dates or meet ups usually mean you are his or her last resort. Especially if you run in similar social circles, recognize the warning signs that (s)he’s not into you before everyone talks behind your back.

Don’t allow your world to revolve around this person unless you get the respect and attention you deserve. To the friends out there watching this disaster unfold: Wake them up, give them a little shake, but take feelings into consideration. Say things like, “So how are things going with Mr/s. So and So?” or “He cancelled on you again? That’s how many times in a row?” or “Have you ever thought it might just be a convenience for her to see you, not true love?” Remind your friend how it feels it feels to be stood up. It’s never fun to hear that someone is using you or isn’t into you as much as you hoped. Realize, reflect and respond and end a potentially horrific relationship that will make you look like a fool.

Follow us on Twitter:  @MegNovinskie, @KimRosenbergDC for more dating tips or e-mail us at


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