Sunday, 22 January 2012

Blog3: He's just not that into you..... but you still wish he was.

According to my google-ing, 40% of people have dated someone at work.
My friend Charlotte comfortably sits in this 40%.
Charlotte (or Charlie as her friends like to call her) is one of the most inspirational people I know. She’s funny. She’s gorgeous. She’s clever. She has the most amazing sense of style. She even owns her own house. She’s basically everything I want to be.
But Charlie has one crucial flaw. Michael. 
Michael first caught Charlie’s eye at the work Christmas party – so clich├ęd, and yet we’ve all been there.
After he made a beeline for her at the bar, he spent the entire evening discussing their mutual love for ‘The Smith’s’. Charlie cringed whilst Michael danced like Morrissey and chuckled whilst he tried to mold a napkin into a gladioli flower (which she still keeps hidden in her bedside drawer).
Thankfully, despite Michael’s best efforts, Charlie didn’t cave in.
The next day Charlie was confused about her feelings, but proud that she had kept her dignity.
She liked Michael. She toyed with the idea of an office fling. But her dedication to succeed at work forced her to focus on her job role rather than her romance.
Consequently, this made Michael like Charlie even more. She became his firm favorite in the ‘office top 10’ list. Michael, as company sales director, loved the chase.
A few weeks later, Friday work drinks quickly whittled down leaving Michael and Charlie. Alone. In a bar. With a bottle of white wine still left to drink.
After the initial awkward chit chat, they stumbled across a topic they both had in common. Michael impressed Charlie with his vast knowledge of the Italian coast so much that she didn’t hesitate to say yes when he suggested they continued their conversation over dinner.
Maybe it was his love of Rome, or maybe it was her love of white wine, but something clicked and Charlie went against her better judgement.
They split a dessert, each had a cappuccino, and discussed their favorite books and movies. When the evening was over, Michael insisted he saw Charlie home safely, walking her all the way back, then lingered at her door hoping for an invitation inside.
“Do you want to come in for a bit?” Charlie asked.
“Only if you aren’t tired,” Michael said.
Charlie smiled and stepped into the house. She looked back to see Michael still standing there.
“I’m not tired at all, actually,” she said flopping down on her couch.
Michael walked through the door and closed it behind him.
The next morning Michael woke up to find Charlie in the kitchen.  After an awkward goodbye, he headed home to get moving on his day. As it was the weekend, he promised he’d call her later that evening, but he already had plans with the guys.  I will see her on Monday anyway, he thought.
Meanwhile Charlie was already on the phone with her best friend, retelling the nights’ events.
“You slept with him?!” Her friend gasped.
“I know, I was bad. I shouldn’t have.  But we have such amazing chemistry.” A hungover Charlie explained. “He’s going to call me later tonight. Maybe we will go to the cinema.”
Of course Michael never called.  Charlie sat home for a while but then forced herself to meet up with her friends at a bar down the street.  She lamented to them that she hadn’t heard from Michael and began to think she had done something wrong.
“I don’t think I thanked him for dinner!” She exclaimed quickly breaking out her iphone. “I’m going to text him and say thanks again for the wonderful night.” Before her friends could interject, she had already sent the message.
Michael text back on Sunday evening telling her he was exhausted from the weekend and maybe they would catch up after work one night.  Charlie was completely thrown off by this comment. Maybe? What does maybe mean?
Monday morning came round and Michael gave Charlie a cheeky wink as he walked past her desk on route to the kitchen.
Charlie blushed. Then quickly popped him an email.
“I’d rather we kept this out of the office ;-)”
“Sounds good to me” Michael replied.
They decided to meet up for a drink that evening.  Everything went well just as it did on their last meeting.  Charlie felt silly for stressing out. Clearly Michael liked her, all the signs were there. They stayed out until the bar closed at 2am.  As they walked out the door, Michael grabbed her and kissed her.
“Come back to my place?” He asked.
“Okay.” She said.
You can guess what happened next. After they had sex for the second time Michael didn’t talk for almost two days. He was working on a really busy project.  Charlie was going nuts.  Why hadn’t he emailed asking to see her? Was there someone else in the picture? She hadn’t done anything wrong. They had amazing chemistry. They even worked together. Why would he seem so interested one minute, but then not care the next? He didn’t even wink at her anymore. All week she had worn her best outfits and got up super early to curl her hair. And still he hadn’t noticed her. She felt helpless and depressed.  What could she do? She was wrought with anxiety. She chose this man over her career. Surely that should mean something. Surely that shows that they are supposed to be together?
Friday came and Charlie rationalised that this was the 21st century. In this day and age women can make the first move. She typed H and I into her keyboard, then dragged the mouse to click on send. She would feel better just hearing back from him.
“Hey you!” Michael replied back.
By this point Charlie was so upset that she was in no fit state to hold a coherent conversation. 
 “Are we ok?’ Charlie asked as if she were neglected mother who’s son hadn’t called home in awhile.
“Yes. Why?” He asked.
“You haven’t emailed me all week and I thought…. I’m not sure what to think really because we had such a good time on our dates. I guess I thought you would want to see me more.”
The lack of reply indicated how uncomfortable Michael was at that moment.
That night whilst Charlie read the print out of the conversation over and over again, Michael hit the pub with friends. At about 9pm, boozed and feeling horny he picked up his phone and sent a text to the one girl he knew would reply.
“I do like you, I just don’t really think I want a serious relationship right now. I thought we were having a good time.”
At that point, Charlie should have deleted his number and walked away.  She should have realised that Michael’s impression of her was already a done deal.  He had already had sex with her, so he didn’t feel the need to chase her any longer.  Now he was just calling and texting at his leisure.  He wasn’t out to pursue her. He had already divided and conquered… so to speak.
But Charlie didn’t delete his number.  Instead, she reassured Michael that she wasn’t looking for anything serious either and suggested he comes over.  He agreed. And arrived 3 hours later, after last orders.
And the pattern repeats itself. Six months down the line, Michael says jump, and Charlie says how high?
She does this with the desperate hope that soon Michael will realise that he loves Charlie, and will be ready to commit to a proper relationship.
But Michael never will.
To an outsider, it seems so obvious that Michael is just not interested.  He doesn’t call when he says he will.  He doesn’t want to see Charlie more than once a week, and he even flat out told her, “hey, I’m not looking to get involved with you.”  So why would Charlie continue to keep seeing this guy?
Because Charlie is a representation of our greatest female flaw. As Women we have a bizarre attraction to the unattainable. This is why every lunch time 5 million women log onto  We want to look at the burberry coat. Want to be like Rosie Huntington Whitley. We long for that bikini body. We dream of sailing on that luxury Yacht.
 We are programed to want what we cannot have. Which makes us want it even more. Even though, in most cases, we accept we’ll never get it.
When we come across a Michael, this desire for the unattainable merge’s with something that should be easy to get. Michael is unattainable and yet he is already a part of Charlie’s life. She has to some extent already had him. He is dangling carrot in front of a horse, allowing it to occasionally nibble but only for a taste.
In Charlies’s case, she’d rather fight tooth and nail to get Michel to go out with her again so she doesn’t have to face the fact they will never be an item.
If he sees her again, pays the bar tab, and drives her home, then she can tell herself, “see, he really does think you are great.  Even though he doesn’t want a relationship now, he may later.”
And every little text she gets, every moment of attention, feels 1000 times more gratifying than the embarrassment she faced to get there - because she’s one step closer to making him realise. And one day I’m sure he will. Won’t he?
The harder Charlie works at it, the more she believes she’s closer to the ultimate goal.
Because it feels so right when they are together, just like a mulberry bag looks so good when it’s on your arm.
It’s the elated joy of getting what you want, the unattainable.
It’s dangerously mixing the definitions of love and obsession. Love lasts a lifetime, obsession is temporary.

If a man loves you, he will always try to win you, he will never feel as though he has won you over. He will perform small acts of kindness all the time. 

If a man is obsessed with you, he will try to win you for a short period of time, then back off and watch you chase him with delight.
So Charlie, if you’re reading this, Even though you don’t want to hear it, the best thing to do is walk away.  You aren’t going to change his mind by continuing to hound him.  He’s not going to suddenly feel different about you if you text him more.  I know it’s hard to face the fact that you may have been taken for a mug and he’s put you in the “hook-up only” box, but it’s a lot better than wasting your time chasing a guy that doesn’t want you, right? 
So move on, as hard as it is, move on. Make sure this is a lesson you don’t soon forget. Your self-respect will come back in time.  The more time you spend away from him, the faster it will come back.  In time, you won’t feel that constant ache.  You won’t crave his approval.  But it starts by cutting yourself off from him. 
The more you hold on, the longer you will suffer.


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