Tolerating mixed signals does you no favours

Graphic by Jamie Mere

In any respect, feelings are complicated. And they can become even more so when you’re in a situation with someone – not a committed relationship – that allows for things to get a little twisted.

And with these tricky scenarios come the possibility of being stringed along. This isn’t just a problem for ladies, I’m sure – but I’ve definitely experienced my fair share of this at the hands of guys who just weren’t able to communicate.

Ironically, most of them have been communications majors. But perhaps that’s besides the point.

There really is no worse feeling than thinking everything with a guy (or girl, if you like) is going fine, and then all of a sudden you’re hit with a text, seemingly out of nowhere, saying that you “should see other people.”

It’s especially disheartening to hear that after effectively being ghosted for two week’s time, but then being reassured by said guy that he was sorry for being distant, and missed talking to you.

If these mixed signals made your inner monologue say “What the heck?” you’re not alone: me too! Having this happen after what seemed like a wonderfully paced, drama-free three months’ worth of dates ended not only in a snap, but left things on a bit of a sour note.

Truthfully — and I’m not just saying this because other people will be reading it – if this person was honest with me as soon as he knew things weren’t working, I would have been able to understand.

But his way of ending things left me not only feeling like I wasn’t worth his time, but that I wasn’t worth the basic courtesy of honesty.

Not to mention the fact that, since he seemed like a genuinely nice guy before, I kept making excuses for his absence in the two weeks leading up to the dump-by-text.

“He probably has some family stuff going on,” I kept telling myself. “He has such a hard semester right now, and it’s exam season, so I’m sure he’s just focusing on school.”

That leads me to rule number one for my fellow dumpees: if you find yourself justifying someone’s failure to respond to your text messages, that person is not worth your time.

If you’re talking to someone and are planning on being distant for a while, that’s okay – especially at busy points in the school year. Just have the courtesy to let who you’re seeing know that being MIA is your plan, but that you’ll be back soon. It’s pretty easy, and saves everyone involved a lot of anxiety.

Rule number two is also fairly simple: know your worth. If you can sense that someone is beating around the bush when it comes to spending time with you, trust your gut.

It’s always right. And know that those who can’t be honest with you when you sense something suspicious are not worth your time or energy.

Rule number three for dumpees is to take it lightly. Most of us here are only in our late teens and early twenties.

Like me, you might feel the pressure of meeting your ‘person’ during your time at university. But in reality, we’re still very young, and have plenty of time left to make that happen.

And although I have little experience in the realm of ending relationships, I know one thing for sure: ghosting someone, acting like everything is fine and then sending a breakup text (three days before Christmas, to boot) is not a great way to end things with someone. Hopefully my next breakups end a bit more decently than my last.

Overall, dating is complicated. But learning from what worked and didn’t work, even if situations didn’t end on your terms, truly are lessons that you can learn from so that in the end, you get the treatment you deserve.

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