If It's Not a "Hell Yeah," it's a No: When to Walk Away from a Conflicted Man
"Oh no, Here comes the sun again That means another day without you my friend
And it hurts me to look into the mirror at myself And it hurts even more to have to be with somebody else And it's so hard to do, and so easy to say But sometimes, sometimes you just have to walk away Walk away"
- Ben Harper
I don't normally see the world in black and white terms.
In fact, I live a lot of my life in the grey zone. Life is ever-changing and fluid and nuanced and complex. I rarely use a one-size-fits all approach to anything, and I won't normally advise one to others.
Usually, if I'm making a decision, I ask myself:
1. What do I truly want in my life at this moment? 2. Does this choice align with what I currently want? 3. Am I being honest with myself right now? Being a better decision maker, having boundaries, and having a vision for my life only became clear after making a lot of pitfalls along the way. I'm a critical and analytical thinker, and I try to weigh all of my options before giving a final answer. But once I reach a conclusion, I tend to stand firm in my convictions.
So what happens when you do have to make a black or white call? What happens if you need to think fast to protect yourself because once in awhile, life really is about a "hell yeah" or a "no"? Most times you can hash through the details or wait for the answer to reveal itself -- but sometimes you shouldn't.
Today, I want to tell you a story of when this rang true. Once upon a time, I briefly dated a guy who I had great chemistry with. He was smart and handsome, and we were able to hold good conversation -- we really connected on an emotional and intellectual level.
While we hadn't known each other long, I was excited about where a potential future with him could go. We had some fundamental differences, but we were both open, honest communicators, so I figured we would just continue to work through things as they came up.
One thing to note here: Don't confuse chemistry with a life-long commitment. Chemistry is definitely an important part of any relationship, but having critical conversations about who you are as an individual as well as what you stand for are far more important for your relationship in the long run.
Anyway, one morning I woke up next to him and he told me how nice it was to be able to sleep next to me. We laid around in bed for awhile, until he offered to make me breakfast. Once I had finished eating, he looked at me with a slight furrow in his brow and said, "I'm torn about us." I almost threw up the breakfast I had just finished eating -- I already knew there this conversation was headed.
Normally, I would've fought for it. I would've said, "You're giving up on this without giving us a fair shot." I truly believe that relationships will always take work, and early on it can be hard to tell if that's your intuition telling you to back down, or if it's just fear from your past. But I didn't fight. Instead, I just wrapped my arms around him and I said, "If you have any hesitations about me, then let me go now before I invest any more time into this." My heart was screaming otherwise, but my brain said, "Why the hell would I want to be with someone who isn't excited to be with me?"
He's just one of several conflicted men I have encountered throughout the years. For whatever reason, the stars weren't aligning -- and I have seen both sides of the "conflicted man" story. He knows you're smart, he knows you're beautiful, he knows you're a catch and that any guy would be lucky to have you -- but for whatever reason, he doesn't want to commit. At least not yet. Possibly not ever. And definitely not to you.
I have waited it out, and I have walked away. I can tell you that waiting it out has never worked out in my favor, and why would it? Building a relationship on fear and uncertainty is not a healthy foundation. In this particular story, I chose to walk away, even though I didn't necessarily want to, but I had to, for myself.
I didn't cry in his kitchen while we were having our conversation. I didn't cry when I said goodbye to him. I didn't cry when I hopped into my Jeep and pulled out of his driveway for the last time. But while I was turning out of his neighborhood and onto the road back home, my eyes began to well up and big tears started streaming down my face.
Was I hurt? Yeah. Was I bummed out? Totally. But honestly, he did me a favor by telling me he had concerns about moving things forward. To be honest, we didn't actually sit down and talk about what his hesitations were (or mine, for that matter), or if we could find a way to work through them. It's quite possible that we could've found common ground -- and a part of me may always wonder, "what if?" After all, great relationships are about appreciating you and your partner's similarities but respecting the differences.
But that morning, I took his lack of a "hell yeah" as a "no". I'm hoping that decision saved me from committing to someone who wasn't really that in to me in the first place. Or, we both may have missed out on what would've blossomed into an amazing relationship.
Regardless, the thing about decisions is that you need to make them, accept the consequences from them, and move on. Sometimes there are regrets, yes -- but that's just part of life. I'm always living, learning, and growing and my life is a testament to that. Anyway, the moral of the story is this: Have enough self-respect and understand your worth well enough to walk away before you become hurt, disappointed or angry about your partner or yourself. If you have to convince someone to want to be with you, that's not your person.
Wait for the guy who sees you and says, "hell yeah." You're worth it.