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.