Finally, I ended my relationship and I couldn’t take it anymore, so I told Kevin I had feelings for him. At the time, his response was not as I had hoped; he said he didn’t like me “in that way” even though we had so much in common and he found me physically attractive. I was hurt, but I dropped it in an effort to save the friendship. I began dating around, and he even met and befriended a few of the men I was seeing. Then one night out at the bar with friends he professed his feelings for me and told me that it had just taken him a little while longer to realize that what he wanted was in front of him the whole time.
We are dating now, and it is by far the most connected to a person I have ever been. There are no red flags and everything is wonderful, but for some reason his initial rejection of me has left me with a lingering sense of self doubt. Having watched him try to date other women has left me feeling like a consolation prize and I feel like I can’t fully appreciate this budding romance. Admittedly, my pride was wounded but I don’t want that to sour this experience for me.
Wendy, how do I get over this feeling and really appreciate what could be the best relationship I could hope to have? — Insecure inamorata
You say yourself that your relationship is wonderful and that Kevin is the person you’re most connected to, so whatever issue you think you have is truly in your head. In order to move on and enjoy what you have, you need to change your perception. You keep thinking back to when you confessed your feelings to Kevin as the start-point that led to where you are now, so consequently, you think of his rejecting you as the beginning of your relationship. But it wasn’t. Your relationship — at least the friendship portion — began when you two met, months before he “rejected” you.
Have you considered that when you met, Kevin felt what you felt — that initial attraction and magnetic connection? Have you imagined how learning that you were unavailable, he had to reject the idea of you two becoming something more than just friends? And have you considered that once someone convinces himself to reject the idea of someone as a romantic partner, it may take a little time for him to come back around when that same idea is presented in a new light?
Kevin never rejected you. He rejected the idea of you as his girlfriend because he had to — because you were not initially available to him in that way. Rather than turn from you altogether, he convinced himself you were not whom he wanted to date so that he could enjoy you in his life as a friend. How romantic, really.
You are not a consolation prize. You are the prize. You’re the prize Kevin didn’t even allow himself to imagine winning for fear that he could never have you. And now he does. How wonderful for you both. Let go of your self-doubt and any other sabotaging fear you may have and enjoy what sounds like a lovely relationship. Lots of us meet the right guy at the wrong time. Not so many of us are lucky enough to have him still be there when circumstances change.