If you’ve ever had a crush, you’ll probably know that the first few weeks of having said crush can be hard. The newness of the crush tends to feel consuming, so much so that they’re all you can think about, you’ve told all your friends about them, and your heart skips a beat every time they send you a text or like your Instagram selfie. But, if they don’t like your Instagram selfie, or they take a little too long to text back, you sink into a stomach-churning spiral of self-doubt.
And, of course, there’s the insecurity. (Insecurity of what? You name it–that they don’t feel the same about you, that you’re not the only one you’re talking to, that you’re more of an afterthought for them than the main event.)
Take, for example, this potential situation: You like your crush a lot. You’ve made that clear. You’re pretty that your crush likes you back, to some degree, but you have a sneaking suspicion that there’s someone else they’re talking to. Someone that, for whatever reason, might even take precedence over you. (In your crush’s eyes, in this particular moment. Not, like, in general. In general, you are a star!)
You almost certainly know what this is, because, chances are, you’ve done it to someone too–like, you’ve continued talking to one or two people even if there’s someone you have an even bigger crush on, just to keep your options open in case things don’t work out with your main crush. Most of us have at some point or another (some people call it “benching“); it’s one of those sorta-rude-but-socially-acceptable things that people do when they’re in the dating pool.
Still, realizing that you are the one on the back burner is…not the best feeling in the world. It’s not impossible to recover from–there’s definitely someone out there who wants to make you their number-one crush–but it’s important to be prepared for when it happens. So, check out these signs that you’re actually your crush’s backup girl:
They Text Without Making An Effort To Hang OutLike, they definitely text you, but it's about regular, conversational things--never about actually getting together and hanging out. If you mention hanging out at some point, they either breeze over it or say "Sure!" but don't follow up afterwards On one hand, it's always nice to have a pen pal, but, on the other, it can be super annoying to talk to your crush all the time without having any concrete plans to hang out IRL. Of course, there could be a number of factors that play into this--they could have strict parents who won't let them date or they could genuinely be busy with school or work stuff--but it could also be that they're not that invested in actually hanging out. Trust your judgment here! And, if you haven't asked them to hang out yet, go ahead and do it--their response can be pretty telling as to whether or not they want to pursue this further. Image source: Getty
You Almost Always Have To Text FirstIt's not like they're leaving you on read--if they did, you'd probably get the message, or lack thereof, and just stop texting them altogether--but they almost never initiate texting conversations, leaving you to do the work of reaching out. Of course, it's totally possible that they're shy or that they've simply gotten used to having you be the person who texts first, so they just feel like they don't have to do it, so don't use this as a reason to write them off entirely. Still, relationships (even new ones!) should always be a bit more two-sided. If you feel like you're putting in a ton of effort to reach out and they're doing the bare minimum, it's probably not worth it anymore. Image source: Getty
They're Always On Their Phone When You Hang OutIf you do get around to hanging out, they don't seem to be exactly...present. As in, their phone is out and they're pretty much always on it, no matter what you're doing. This is just, like, a rude thing to do in general, but it can be particularly upsetting if it's coming from someone you have a crush on. It doesn't make you feel like a priority, as they probably are to you, and it can just be annoying to constantly have to repeat yourself if they didn't hear you because they were too busy with their phone. Either way, this is probably a sign that they're just not a very good friend anyway. Image source: Getty
They're Cagey About What They've Been Doing Since You Saw Them LastSay it's been a week since you last saw your crush. When you ask what they did over the week, they mention what they did Monday through Thursday, but conveniently skip over the entire weekend. If you ask what happened over the weekend, they shrug and say something non-committal. Of course, this itself is not a red flag--maybe they just didn't do exciting over the weekend and they're embarrassed to admit it!--but if it constantly happens, it could be a sign that they're hanging out with someone else. Image source: Getty
You're Pretty Sure They're Active On Dating AppsSo, against all your better judgment, you've been lurking. During said lurking, maybe you noticed that your crush created a dating profile, changed their profile picture on the app you met on, or randomly started liking a bunch of photos of someone on Instagram that they don't seem to have a prior connection with. (For the record, you should never lurk. You'll never find what you want! Of course, it's technically fine to be doing stuff like this if you haven't both decided to be exclusive, so you can't really be mad at them for it. but if thinking about your crush actively dating other people makes you feel queasy, have a talk with them about it. They might want to be exclusive, too! But if they balk at the idea, it's probably best to go your separate ways. Image source: Getty
Just When You're About To Give Up On Them, They Reach OutAfter what you've viewed as enough frustration, you stop texting them. A week goes by, or maybe two. It stings that you haven't heard from them, but you figure it's for the best. And then, right when you've just about forgotten about them, they text you It's totally possible that your silent treatment has made them realize that they miss you and will never be whole without you! It is, however, also possible that they want to make sure that you're still interested in them just in case they need you. I'll leave it up to you to decide which one it is, though you can usually tell by if the message seems sincere or simply says "sup" or "wyd?" Just be careful not to be pulled back into the same cycle as before! Image source: Getty
You Just Kind Of KnowIf you've been wondering if you're the backup option for your crush, chances are good that you already know the answer. If you pay attention to your instincts, you can generally tell when someone is making you a priority and when, well, they aren't. So, trust your gut. It's probably right. If you really need a straight answer from your crush, you can also just ask them--it might feel slightly awkward, but you'll get some closure from them and feel better moving on if that's what you have to do. Image source: Getty
Have you ever been someone’s backup? Do you have any tips for dealing with it? Let us know in the comments!