Non-reciprocal relationships… every time

It’s Not You: 27 (Wrong) Reasons You’re Single Forums Welcome Non-reciprocal relationships… every time

This topic contains 13 replies, has 5 voices, and was last updated by  courtney550 7 months ago.

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    Non-reciprocal relationships have been a trend throughout my entire life. There always seems to be one person who isn’t quite as excited about the other person. One person always has one foot out the door. One person is always holding back, emotionally or physically.

    You would think this would be the most natural human exchange in the world. One person loves and wants to be with their significant other and the other person equally loves and wants to be with them back.

    How people actually experience this is completely beyond me.

    Maybe this is delusional feeling, but I feel like I’m typically the one on the other side of the one-sided romance, meaning I’m the one who likes the other person more.

    Sometimes I wish there was something specific I could change, like if I was making these people less interested because I was sending way too many texts per day… or I wasn’t taking care of myself and looked rough every time they saw me… or I excessively nit-picked or complained about past relationships.

    The maddening thing is that I can’t actually pin-point a single thing I’m “doing wrong.” In fact, I would argue that I’m actually pretty well adjusted and act socially normal (well, “normal” as society might define it lol). These people just aren’t that into me and I’ll never know why.

    • This topic was modified 9 months, 3 weeks ago by  courtney550.


    Hello Courtney,

    I am sorry for your experiences. Although I have made mixed experiences, I can understand you very well. What (most of the times) works for me is telling me
    a) that it IS a lot of luck to meet another person that is as much interested in you as you are in that person, is available and wants the same in life as you and
    b) that even if I knew what the other person does not like that much about me – would I like to change? In my last relationship my boyfriend after the falling-in-love phase told me quite explicitly what he did not like in my behaviour and what I should change. This relationship exhausted me like nothing else, even physically. So looking back now, I prefer NOT to have a relationship than having one like this again. If the person loves and appreciates you, he will not care for little things that bother him.
    Sometimes it also works telling you one of these things like “You can do nothing right with the wrong person but you can’t do anything wrong with the right person”.



    This. Courtney, this is exactly my experience. Except I have never even gotten to the defining a relationship point. It has always been me interested in someone and they are not interested in me. At times they have taken advantage of the situation, other times they have just told me they are not into me and moved right along. I cannot figure out either how it is possible for people to even have reciprocated relationships. It still sounds impossible to me.
    Like angelita said, there is nothing wrong with you, you’re not doing anything wrong even if you’re not “normal” by society’s standard. It’s just luck. But I completely understand that urge to try and change whatever it is you think you’re doing wrong or trying to be different. It still happens to me at times. I get this feeling that maybe if I were more conventionally beautiful, maybe if I could not see sexism from a guy, maybe maybe maybe I would find someone. I have to actively remind myself that it doesn’t matter because I want someone who accepts and loves me as is. It doesn’t have to be that hard.
    I wish I could tell you how to manage, what the formula is… But I am in exactly the same situation as you and always have been.
    The only thing I would remind you of is that when we don’t like something about someone, the issue comes from us. It’s a projection most of the times. When a guy doesn’t like us, more often than not it’s because we represent something for him he hasn’t dealt with and same with us. I know it’s too psychology oriented but I see that being the case many times. The only thing I decided to try lately is trying to make things work with any decent man that approaches me. A friend of mine did that and it was very rough for her at first because she wasn’t into him but she willed herself to at least try to stay close and make friends with him before even going intimate and such and it ended up working for her. She’s in a relationship with that guy now and she’s happy. I know it’s hardly appealing or a formula but I thought that if some gut expressed genuine interest in me, even if I am not convinced, I could at least try, see if I find out more about myself that can point me in the right direction. Now if only I were approached lol.


    Courtney – reading your post was actually eerie. It was as if I could have written myself. I have been in several relationships in the past year which have always been one sided. I am starting to think that it is me. Everyone starts off so excited and after awhile they make an excuse to leave and it hurts. I am always left upset and crying and trying to figure out what I did wrong. After awhile it can really mess with your head and self confidence. I see that u are a pretty girl and I am as well so I don’t think the attraction is the problem. Not quite sure why everyone always ends up walking away. Most recently I was in a long distance relationship for a year and one day he just told me he didn’t love me as much as I loved him. I was crushed. This was a couple days ago and I am feeling so depressed. He added insult to injury by telling me he is still thinking of his ex as well. Ouch. I’d love to chat with you. I can’t believe how much we have in common with awful online dating stories. It would be great to talk.



    Thank you all for the replies! It looks like this may be more common than we think.

    Toryburchshopper197: Wow, we have a lot of similarities between us! I’m sorry to hear you went through that. A little over a year ago I was dating someone who I was completely enamored by. I felt like I had an amazing connection with him, he had so many characteristics that I would love in a person, and he would occasionally say things like, “I’ve never been to this city, WE should go together.” “My brother’s wedding video is almost finished, you should watch it with me.” His family has a different culture than mine, so that also fascinated me about him.
    Well, one day while we were at dinner and things hadn’t been going well he told me “I feel like you might like me more than I like you.”

    I felt like I got the wind knocked out of me. My completely heart broke and I’ll still never understand how there was such a huge lapse in interest. I feel like I can tell relatively quickly if it’s not going to work out with someone. How can you date someone for almost a year and just come to the conclusion “Oh yeah, you may like me more than I like you.”

    I’m sorry, but in many cases I feel there is a level of selfishness and stringing the other person along for personal gain (not feeling lonely, etc…).

    I don’t know how to stop this cycle, or if there is really anything to even “stop.” Again, trying to rationalize this I think love is luck and sometimes two people are both willing to equally invest in each other and have a connection.



    Oh Courtney, I’m so sorry. My heart broke just reading your last comment. Of course you want to make sense of it somehow because it just doesn’t make any sense!
    I can relate to that feeling of shock. But there is nothing for you to do. There is nothing to understand. It just happened that way sadly. Don’t beat yourself up about it. You were you, you gave it your best, you felt, you cared and there’s nothing more you could do. I BBC an totally see why you think about it a lot. It happens to me too. I met a guy a year ago too that I really really liked, but same thing. He wasn’t very sold on me so I walked away before I became some booty call to him. I still think about it and sometimes my head goes to what if mode. Maybe if I had done xyz… But then I remind myself that it wouldn’t have made any difference. I was me, I tried, I cared and it just didn’t pan out. Maybe some day it will pan out with someone.
    Sometimes I think that me being super excited about someone is a bad sign. I feel sad and hopeless when I think that, but it’s a thought I’ve had for a while now :(



    Angel88- You said, “Sometimes I think that me being super excited about someone is a bad sign.” I’m the EXACT same way now! I literally remind myself to not seem “too interested.”
    There was a guy I went on four dates with and around date two he said, “Is it just me or does it seem like you don’t really want to text me?” I was very interested in this person, but was afraid I’d come on too strong if I texted him too much. Well, I started texting him more frequently and showing my interest, but it didn’t matter anyways because after our last date I never heard from him again after our exchange of “I had a great time tonight!” texts and he soon after deleted me as a friend off social media.

    Sooo… I feel like I can’t win either way?



    Oh God. I think that last guy was just looking for an out. Did you tell him the truth? I know we can get caught up in our thoughts and about getting it right, but I’ve come to think there is no right or wrong. If a man is really interested in us and really wants to give things a try, it won’t matter if we show our interest a bit. Honestly, I think we should just be who we are and say what we honestly think and let chips fall where they may. After all, we are looking for someone who accepts us and cares about us as we are in reality. I get that we try to make rules out of things because we’re sick and tired of this thing, but there are no rules. Show your interest the way you see fit, be real and you. If the guy doesn’t like it, then he’s not who you’re looking for anyway and he’ll leave sooner or later no matter what. This is the part I struggle with the most. Being focused on myself and my feelings as opposed to what the guy will think of me. It’s HARD! But I think there’s no other way to be found by someone who likes me, the real me, flaws and all.
    The reason I feel like it’s a bad sign if I am excited about someone is because I notice I tend to be excited about men who are rather ambivalent about me. It’s a pattern. The exciment comes from some anxiety inducing thing I pick up from the guy subconsciously. I’m working on focusing on men with whom I don’t feel that, with whom I feel more comfortable.. Which is hard for me. I don’t know if this happens to other women, but I automatically feel wary and nervous around men. Rarely do I feel fully relaxed around one… So I guess that should be my goal? Keeping my eyes open for a guy with whom I feel relaxed and who treats me well. Sounds less than romantic, but given my track record, I think I might need to try that.



    Angel88- That’s true, he may have been wanting an out. I think he also was the type who wanted validation and hearing things like “Oh no! I didn’t mean to come off like I wasn’t interested! Of course I am!”
    I liked that you said, “We should just be who we are and say what we honestly think and let chips fall where they may.” With someone who is a compatible match, all of the little things won’t really matter.
    In the past I also felt excited about guys who were ambivalent toward me. I have no idea why. My guess is that it feels extra good when you do get their validation (which they seem to hand out like bread crumbs, stringing you along). I’m so over that though. I want someone who is head over heels about me and isn’t afraid to show it.


    @courtney550 – I swear reading your posts remind me that I am not the only person going through this awful feeling. I sit here on a Saturday night in tears because I’m wondering where he is and what he might be doing while in so very lonely. Everyone tells me they can’t understand how I’m still single and when I first meet a guy he usually starts off with “wow u are gorgeous – how did no one take u off the market yet??” Truthfully I don’t have the answer. Everyone always ends up the same. I try so hard to not appear too anxious but when u care for someone it would be horrible to pretend to feel otherwise. I just want to have a happy and fulfilling relationship and I’m consistently let down by online dating. However it seems to be the only place to meet people nowadays. In all honesty I’m scared to keep putting my heart out there to only have it broken but what’s the alternative. I have considered speaking with a therapist because this last breakup has crushed my self esteem. Some days I find it hard to even function. It’s so confusing bcz we had the best times together. I felt like we genuinely got along. I never pressured him and tried to do everything perfectly. To hear the words ” u love me more than I love u in return” are simply horrendous. I have never felt so mortified or sad. It cut like a knife to hear this from the man I thought was going to finally be the one. I feel for what ur going through and it helps me though to know I’m not alone. It makes me feel as though this isn’t just me. How do u cope when u get sad? I’m such an over thinker and its destroying me.



    Hi @toryburchshopper1973

    I’m a little late to the conversation, but just wanted to say “me too”. I always feel like it’s the guys who show so much interest at the beginning, and when I respond similarly, they back off. WTF?

    There may be hundreds of theories of why we keep going back to the same types of relationships — attachment issues, self-esteem issues, etc — but nothing really stops the pain, does it? Or the fear of getting hurt again.

    It does help to get to know yourself better though. Through therapy and meditation/quiet time to reflect, I’m trying to understand my impulses and behaviour a little better. It helps me better understand why I choose to go down a particular relationship route. It’s not always easy, of course, which is why I’m super grateful to have a therapist whom I can untangle these issues with.

    You mentioned considering speaking with a therapist … and I highly encourage it! It’s really helpful to have a compassionate (but still impartial) sounding board to talk through all your fears and worries (especially those you may not feel as comfortable sharing with family or friends).

    Sending a big hug your way!

    Btw, relevant song:



    Misstree thank you for that song.
    Very very relevant, indeed. In my case though, I’d change the words “you’re a little too much” for “you’re not really it” or “you’re not enough”. At least that’s how I’ve felt with these men in the past. Like they like a few bits, but I just don’t do it for them. Now though, in retrospect I realize they actually didn’t do it for me, I just thought they did.
    I felt the pain all over my body listening to that song.


    It has been so nice reading all of the posts from u lovely ladies. Thank u so much for the song as well! I am definitely going to see a therapist as I think it will definitely help. I am really hoping that we all find the love we are searching for and that there is someone good out there for each one of us. I genuinely feel like we all deserve that happiness we are seeking. My ex called me tonight and asked to see me in a few weeks(we are long distance). Part of me wants to go meet him so badly and part of me feels like why should I settle for scraps. It’s so tough to be strong when u are still in love with someone.



    Thank you all for the comments and sharing your experiences!

    I just listened to the song and it’s great. I liked the line, “The truth is I’m a toy that people enjoy until all of the tricks don’t work anymore and then they’re bored of me.”

    I’ve felt like this in many of my non-reciprocal relationships. Their excitement feels like they view the beginning stages of dating as a novelty. A new person, the rush of a first kiss, new conversations… and then bam. The novelty wears off and they’re done and it’s onto something new.

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