6 Signs You Weren’t His First Choice

Note: I originally published this piece on Thought Catalog on February 7th, 2018. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to republish it here, but since it has done well with currently 20.7k page views, I figured it might be worth sharing.


Ever since you were old enough to date, you’ve heard that you shouldn’t settle for less than the best type of guy. But how do you know that you’re not the one who is the runner-up to someone else?

When considering his other options, were you really his top choice, or are you just the consolation prize?

1. He had been seeing someone else recently. If the woman he was dating before you happened within about two months (or less) of the time of your first date with him, chances are you are his plan B. Anyone worth getting to know understands the importance of being single for a while and healing before jumping into a new relationship with someone else.

2. The breakup with his last girl was circumstantial rather than faulty. For example, maybe he or she moved to a different city/state, or they had conflicting schedules that prevented them from spending quality time together, etc. In other words, she could still be the first choice in his mind even though there’s a circumstantial reason why they aren’t together.

3. Your gut tells you he’d still be with her if he had the chance. You’ve caught yourself wondering about all the what if’s about his ex. You have a gut-wrenching suspicion that if the circumstances mentioned above were in the right place (she didn’t move away, wasn’t too busy, etc) that they’d still be together.

4. He didn’t ask you out right away. Guys pretty much know instantly whether or not they want to date you. Very rarely do they think, “Well after being friends with her for two months, I realized I was attracted to her and wanted to spend more time with her.” It just doesn’t work that way. This is especially true if he’s always had the opportunity to date you since meeting you, but asked someone else out first. You were literally his 2nd choice.

5. You’ve caught him brooding. For the most part, he seems happy when he’s with you but sometimes you catch him acting moody or deep in thought about something serious, and you don’t know what it is. When you ask him about it, he remains vague and brushes it off like it’s nothing or he’ll say he’s just not feeling like himself. This is a huge red flag that you aren’t the only one on his mind.

6. His demeanor changes when he talks about her. If on the subject of his last girl, he starts to inhale and exhale more deeply, stumble over his words, suddenly acts nervous or uncomfortable, then he likely still has feelings for her. He might make snippy comments or blame her for why things didn’t work out as a way to cover up his lingering feelings.

Bottom Line: Never settle for being 2nd best.

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Ash Pariseau
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Comments 11

  • I think that you are spot on with five of the six signs, and have a bit of a different point of view on #4.

    Although guys may know immediately if they want to date a girl, they don’t always act immediately on it. This is especially true if there is some sort of work relationship between him and her. In today’s #metoo environment, it can be especially dangerous for a guy to ask a girl out if they work together, or even work for two different companies that do business with each other.

    Other times it may be because he doesn’t know what her current relationship status is, and doesn’t want to get in the middle of something she might already have going on. (remember Dawn? that’s why it took so long!)

    Finally, your statement of “Well after being friends with her for two months, I realized I was attracted to her and wanted to spend more time with her.” is the norm, sometimes feelings do change and the guy finds himself falling in love with a girl, without realizing it right away. I was friends with Pam for a few years, before I realized just how strong my feelings were for her.

    never say never, because you might be caught by surprise…

    • Yes, that is true as well. I understand that there are men who hesitate to act on their feelings. In a work environment, they might be weary of coming off in a way that is unwelcomed, or in a way that will catch negative attention from bosses or coworkers. Men are often afraid of rejection as well.

  • The reality is sometimes you are Plan B.

    I asked my ex to marry me. She declined and we broke up. Two years later, she was back after my successor had allegedly cheated on her. We were sitting in my car outside her parents house and she started to ramble. She had a bad habit of not knowing when to keep her mouth shut. I asked her if what she was telling me was that I was an OK guy and there were things about me she really liked; but she wanted to look around some more and if she didn’t find anything she liked better, she might come back and settle for me.

    Her reply, “There’s some truth to that.”

    When I spun down, I decided to go after her but I met the woman who’d become my wife and I decided to just cut off my ex, instead. My wife knew my ex was in the picture but took a chance on me anyway. Years later my wife told me that it took her years to believe she wasn’t my second choice. I told her let’s look at that, starting with the facts.

    Fact 1: When I asked my ex to marry me, I hadn’t met my wife. There was no choice to be made.

    Fact 2: They overlapped. When there was a choice, I chose my wife. She won.

    Then we moved to the metaphysical:

    Scenario 1: If my ex had accepted and we were still married, we wouldn’t be having this conversation at all.

    Scenario 2: If I had married my ex and we had divorced or she died, it’s possible my wife and I could be standing in that very room, at that very moment having a conversation. But, it wouldn’t be this conversation.

    Scenario 3: When I asked my ex to marry me and she declined, it set off the chain of events that led me to being in the bar the night my wife walked across the dance floor. We can never be certain that my wife and I wouldn’t have gotten together if I hadn’t asked my ex to marry me. We can only say for certain that my wife and I are together today BECAUSE I asked another woman to marry me.

    • Interesting perspective, Scharnhorst. Thank you for sharing your story. When you think about timing and the chain of events you mentioned, it’s hard telling where we’d all be if things had gone differently.

      • I used to wonder a lot about what it would have been like if my ex had married me. Life isn’t a zero sum game. My life could have been better or worse. I’ll never know. All I know is that my life would have been different.

        I don’t remember when it happened but at some point, the question changed from what if she’d married me to what would my life be like if I hadn’t asked when I did? The question matters since my destiny wasn’t the result of her decision, it was the result of mine.

        She chose the direction but only because I gave her the choice. That’s huge.

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