One of the things I’ve learned through experience and then through reading countless stories here on Baggage Reclaim, is given half a chance, we would invest our entire lives investigating what the hell happened between us and someone that wasn’t mutually interested or was unavailable. Recently I’ve had a few people tying themselves up in knots trying to distinguish between the two. Here’s the thing:
Whether someone is unavailable or not that interested in you, both tell you that you that you need to take a parachute, jump, land, keep running and don’t look back.
If you’re debating between these two things, I’m left in no doubt about what you’re doing – looking for reasons to remain invested or even to blame yourself. I know immediately that you see shades of grey in inappropriate or even downright unhealthy situations and that you don’t register someone being unavailable or not that interested as a code red. Instead, you internalise it, wonder what’s wrong with you, why you’re ‘not good enough’, and how you can turn it around and ‘win’ them over.
Do you know how most people find Baggage Reclaim? Looking for answers. In fact, they’re looking for a solution to a problem that ideally involves a magic fix-all that will win over a reluctant somebody. When they think of the solution, it tends to involve tactics to ‘catch’ them, or ways they can change themselves or evoke change in the other party.
Many readers arrive here wondering what they ‘did’ to change this person who they believed was crazy about them, was going to give them a future, or at least wasn’t planning to use them up and then bail. ‘They may wonder if they’ve misunderstood or are going crazy.
But then you discover that you’re not alone.
Your problem isn’t so ‘unique’ and in fact, sometimes you read a comment or a blog post and wonder if they’re talking about the person you’re with.
Many of you believe you were going to get the relationship that you thought was on offer, it’s just that you ‘did’ something to prompt a change in scheduled relationship programming.
Many of you believe that you were going to be involved with this amazing, loving, caring, sharing, yada yada person, it’s just that you ‘did’ something that actually managed to change their fundamental characteristics, qualities, values, and mental and emotional behaviour.
Don’t you think that’s actually completely outrageous? That you could believe that under ordinary circumstances, this person would be The Absolutely Most Perfect Person On Earth but because they’re involved with you, they’ve suddenly dropped their emotional skills and ability to treat you with some basic courtesy or afford you some honesty?
And what if it comes down to you believing that they’re not as interested in you as you’d like them to be? If someone isn’t interested in you, it can be for a multitude of reasons that don’t have to come down to some bone crunching, horrible ‘rejection’ of you as a person.
When you’re not interested in someone, is it because you’ve identified a hideous flaw in them and that they’re not ‘good enough’? When I think of all the guys I haven’t been interested in, while about 10% of them were jackasses, the other 90% were down to something within me that wasn’t always possible to put my finger on, or even being into someone else.
If everyone isn’t my cup of tea, suffice to say I’m not everyone’s. The same goes for you.
How can you be perfect for every person you come across?
If you think that it matters whether they’re unavailable or not interested it’s because you believe that you’re responsible for one of these reasons. You can’t ‘make’ someone be unavailable. You can enable it by participating but they come to the table unavailable, even though initially they may blow an available trumpet. They might not be interested due to something specific they’ve encountered in you but equally they might not. It could be because they don’t want a relationship, they don’t want to mess you around, or anything. The more you make it matter is the more of your life you spend regretting the fact that you couldn’t ‘make’ them ‘change’ for you to get the level of interest you want. It’d matter less if you moved on.
Unavailable or non mutual interest – it doesn’t matter which one it is because both require you to push your mental flush handle and distance yourself.
Here’s how it stands – you’re either in, or you’re out. There’s no such thing as 10/20/50/75 or whatever percentage available or interested. You’re either in, or you’re out. You’re available or you’re not. You’re interested or you’re not. It.Is.As.Simple.As.That. This isn’t the frigging Hokey Cokey.
Being ‘interested’ isn’t a commitment to marriage etc but if you can’t commit to even being available enough to feel out your feelings and put both feet in to discovering whether you both have something that can progress into a relationship, you sure as hell won’t be available for much else.
If someone’s interest extends to getting all of the trappings of a relationship without the commitment, they have limited availability and interest – you don’t need someone with a cap on their capacity.
Many people think ‘unavailable’ means they will only use you for a shag and go, or will not be dating – as many a person in a casual or struggling to progress relationship has found, this is completely untrue. I challenge you to tell someone they’re a user. Nine out of ten will deny it because most people don’t want to see themselves as being using even when they are. They think if they’re enjoying themselves and they perceive you as ‘benefitting’, they’re all good.
That’s why it’s up to you as the person who is responsible for you to recognise when someone is unavailable or is not interested or half interested and opt out.
It doesn’t matter if they don’t see it – you see it. Your job isn’t to raise them from the ground up and teach them basic things that even my four year old could probably grasp. Some people aren’t honest and responsible enough to know their own mind, never mind clue you in on their thought process.
Your job in life is not to turn a pigs ear into a silk purse or to keep pitching yourself like a used car salesperson to batter and override their objections until they eventually become interested/available.
Unavailable = unavailable for a mutually fulfilling relationship.
Half interested/not interested = not mutual interest = not available for a mutually fulfilling relationship.
Don’t waste your time – every moment you spend with someone that isn’t available or mutually interested, keeps you hanging around in an unhealthy relationship when you could be going out there and forging a mutual relationship.
There’s some great comments on my last post about being blinded by appearance about recognising that people who are available don’t just offer out a slice of pie to make you jump through hoops for them to determine if they’ll give you all the pie, plus a great shoe analogy.