Waiting Game

In response to “Women Wait” by meganhana : 

Nobody likes to be kept waiting – at restaurants, on the phone with customer service, or in the supermarket checkout line. And yet we force ourselves to wait nearly every day of our lives. We wait for the other person to text us first, and then we wait the customary two to five to forty-five minutes to text them back.

Waiting, with its unwritten rules and regulations, has become both a universal survival tactic and a metric by which you can gauge romantic interest. If you wait too long to send that first message, the other party might have lost interest. If you don’t wait long enough, you may come across as too eager (or worse – needy). When it comes to relationships in this strange digital age, you have to play the game.

…At least, that’s what I thought. In the past couple of months, I have come to love a man who refuses to wait. He never liked this game, and it became clear that my perpetual waiting was starting to drive a wedge between us.

At the beginning, I played the waiting game because I had no clue that there was an alternative. On our first date, I waited for him to as to reach for my hand, the same way I waited for him to reach for the bill. Each step of the way, I waited. Reflected. Tried to anticipate his next move. I did what I knew how to do – always on the defense, never offense.

I waited for him to define the relationship, the confirmation that not only he wanted what I wanted, but that he wanted it more. Never to be the more loving one – a true race to the bottom when it comes to denying your true feelings time and time again.

What’s more, I waited for him to say, “I love you,” first. Even though there were times when I felt as though the words were bursting from my chest (I had to bite my tongue to subdue the declaration, a sure sign of weakness, to keep it from forcing its way past my lips).

I hadn’t known then that the game was one-sided; that waiting, ironically, was the very thing that was pushing him away.

If I’ve learned anything from falling in love with a man who refuses to wait, it is that love cannot result from passive waiting. Such an approach no longer works in our swipe-saturated dating culture, where you have to compete for another’s attention (i.e. affection) amidst not even true candidates for love, but those who represent a mere swish of a finger, the ghost of a possibility.

We imbibe on the potential for love. We are paralyzed by the abundance of choice. We turn dating into this torturous game. As a result, we wait and we wait and we wait. And in most cases, to no avail.

The truth is as old as time itself: life is too short to wait. We need to stop condemning ourselves to the same self-imposed purgatory, lest we lose our shot at love due to our own stubborn passivity. The key is to act – to act now and to love freely. To embrace all of the hurt and embarrassment and vulnerable emotion along the way.



One thought on “Waiting Game

  1. I’ve also grown an appreciation for your frenchman who “refuses to wait.” You share such powerful wisdom that love isn’t passive waiting or aggressive competition. I feel like this love has just blossomed, and more beautiful writing will sprout in the coming days or weeks. Please keep writing, I love reading your stuff.


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