It hurts like hell to be relegated as a “second-class citizen”. For as long as you can remember, your world revolved around her and her world around you. And then one day – poof! You become “an accessory”, just some guy she’s dating, an option in a relationship.
You’re the one waiting most of the time, she takes her time to answer your calls or texts, excuses start to become unbearable, and she simply no longer seems to care. What a bummer! But feeling like an option in a relationship while painful can be a blessing in disguise. It’s a wake-up call that something needs to change.
When You Feel Like an Option, It’s Not Your Fault… Or Hers!
Yes, you see it’s simply because - The relationship dynamic has shifted.
You see at the beginning of your relationship sparks were flying. PEA (phenylethylamine) was triggered and kept your rose-colored glasses on for as long as you can remember helping you see mostly the positive of each other – that’s the Limerence phase or the honeymoon phase. Unfortunately, studies and science showed that PEA lasts between 6 months to 3 years (depending on the relationship dynamic). And once PEA wears off, the masks fall; we see our partner for who they are - or rather we see our partner as a whole for the first time. That part in the amygdala that suspended judgment during the Limerence phase has become active once again.
But WHY? You might ask. Why can’t it always be rosy? Why can’t I block this amygdala thing and just be happy? What’s the point of a relationship anyway if it’s always going to end up in gloom and doom?
A relationship is a playground for us to play, experience, and most importantly grow. A relationship is never static; every relationship passes through different stages, and it is up to us to learn how to dance gracefully or become an option.
Okay, enough theory, what does all that mean to you?
Why Are You Feeling Like an Option in a Relationship?
Simply put: You started your relationship having a dominant masculine energy and over time, your energy shifted to a dominant feminine energy.
What?! I’m not masculine enough is that what you mean?
Before you bite my head off, both men and women have both masculine and feminine energies within them.
When you enter a relationship, you start exchanging energies. This exchange constantly happens, until the dance stops. When one partner becomes stuck in one side of the energy this is when the alarm bells start ringing.
Getting back to you…
At the beginning of the relationship, you most probably demonstrated some masculine traits such as showing initiative, intriguing her with new choices and possibilities, possibly awkward moments that built up the tension…
And at some point, you started falling into the routine, you became familiar (no longer a mystery to unravel), you started acting more like her friend…
Dare I say you became a tiny bit needy? (we’ve all been there, there’s no shame in that).
That’s when your partner started to get bored. She started doing new activities without you, joined groups, and all that to spice up her life.
You became the more feminine partner, and your partner became the more detached masculine partner (remember the exchange of energy?).
That is why you are feeling like an option. Because you are acting from a feminine energy standpoint and your energy has been drained (because of the exchange). Similarly, with your partner also feels drained because she is behaving with a more masculine approach in your relationship and it’s tiring her.
Feeling like an option in a relationship is never the fault of one party, it’s always both parties’ responsibility. In a relationship (of two), there are two people involved, so it’s always a choice.
So, what are some of the signs that show that your partner is treating you like an afterthought?
- Communication has gone coo-coo
- Fights and misunderstandings are on the rise
- She spends less and less time with you
- She develops new hobbies and activities
- She sees her friends more often
- She is less touchy-feely
- She looks at you differently (her gaze has changed)
- She might start not wanting to have sex
And if you’re not yet in a relationship and wondering why you’re friend zoned, don’t lose hope. You will have every chance to attract her by working on your masculine energy. After that, you can see how her energy will shift. Her intrigue to the new you will reveal 10 signs so be ready for them!
Blame it on the “nice guy act”.
Heck maybe it’s COVID and the pandemic that is to blame for your relationship shift! It’s unfortunate but it’s okay. Or perhaps you’re just disconnected and looking for a way to reconnect with each other.
And here’s an important secret that women do not want you to know: women are friends with nice guys but they are attracted to bad boys.
The bad boys make them feel safe and secure, the nice guy tends to be a people pleaser.
Do you see why feeling like an option in a relationship can be a blessing for you?
Now you know why your partner is treating you like an option, and why you feel like an option.
What to Do If She’s Treating Me Like an Option?
Simply put: Work on shifting your energy to be more masculine in the relationship.
She’s treating you like an option because she misses your masculine essence. She misses your initiatives. She craves novelty and unpredictability.
You see, masculine energy builds a house; feminine energy transforms it into a home. Masculine energy creates a startup and feminine energy transforms the start-up into a multimillion-dollar corporation. Masculine is the raw seed and feminine energy expands that seed to give it its full potential.
Feminine energy gets irritated when there is nothing to grow.
Now if your partner has a growth mindset when it comes to relationships and believes in the potential of your relationship, then asking for her help will only help straighten the ship faster and even develop a stronger bond between the two of you.
Here are five ways she can help you:
- By making you feel like a hero (through praise – both fixed and growth mindset praise – maybe even boasting about you in public if applicable)
- By focusing on all the positives that you do and telling you about it
- Every time she criticizes you, she gives you 5 compliments instead (Dr. John Gottman was able to prove with a mathematical formula and with over 90% of precision that couples who stay together give 3 compliments for every criticism)
- By allowing you to take the lead and trusting you in your decision
- And, well, sex of course
And here are three ways you can help each other:
- By clarifying your relationship goals and expectations
- By staying clear of the four horses of the apocalypse (also by Dr. John Gottman)
- Creating and visualizing together the ideal relationship life you want
How to handle feeling like an option in your relationship
Now if your partner has a fixed mindset when it comes to relationships or she realized there is a big gap between what you both want, then working on regaining your masculine energy is your best bet (no matter the outcome).
So here are some of the best practices to help you regain your masculine energy:
- Focus on your purpose (not your relationship)
- Act with integrity
- Cave time (i.e. spending time alone and focusing on your hobbies)
- Set strong boundaries
- Hang out with masculine friends and challenge each other
Once you regain your masculine energy, you can hold space for her.
You will already have come a long way. If you start seeing signs that she’s opening up again or being intrigued by the new you, you can take it up a notch by giving her compliments (fixed and growth mindset compliments – physical and intellectual), asking about her day, asking if she wants a massage, etc.
You see, a relationship is as good as the consciousness of both partners. It’s common knowledge that to receive the money you need to provide work (a service), and to have a healthy body you need to exercise. But when it comes to relationships, we humans take them for granted. We don’t want to “work” for relationships, and we instead believe in folklore such as “The One”.
Let me tell you something about “The One”: only people with a fixed mindset believe in it. And you know where that leads us? Separations, divorces, and the like. Hoping from one partner to the next until we are so tired that we just settle for the “best” we could.
Relationships require work. Work at the beginning and work throughout the relationship. That’s why you need both dating and relationship skills.
After you’ve done everything that you can, the best thing to do for you is to walk away when you're not a priority. By walking away, you are saying that you value yourself and treat yourself with respect (feminine energy craves that in its masculine counterpart). You are taking back control of the relationship (setting boundaries) and as a result your future. You are telling her, “Stop treating me like an option.” And who knows, she might be chasing after you.
Sometimes it’s hard to walk away when you’re not a priority. Even if feeling like an option in a relationship is something we project onto others (I mean “it could never happen to ME right?”). “Treating me like an option? Never”. Then one day comes when we start to realize that we feel different. We feel ‘weaker’, less in ‘control’, as if we gave our power away.
All it takes is a shift of energy…