No more a ‘backup’: Here’s how to make sure you come first

Simona Terron
Woman leaving man

So, you just got done reading our article What if you’re just the ‘backup’ plan? And it turns out you are indeed someone’s second choice. If you’re tired of being a ‘just in case’ relationship or having someone treat you like a ‘definite maybe’, read on to know what to do next. Because it’s time to take charge of this aspect of your life.

If you are tired of being a backup dancer in the ballroom of romance, here’s a 6-step guide for you to fix the situation:

1. Risk-assessment

As is often the case, love is a gamble. There’s no guarantee that we reap what we sow, and chances are, we can invest everything we have in one person, only to have them change their mind about how they feel about us. But that’s where the thrill lies and the challenge of getting it right is what makes it all so exciting.


However, once you find out that you’re being led on for selfish reasons and treated worse than you deserve, you need to take a decision. And here you have two choices:

  1. a. You evaluate what this person means to you and whether you truly want them to be an important part of your life. Then you assess how you would feel about not having them in your life. If the answers point towards intense feelings and a desire to do whatever it takes, you have a goal to work towards.
    b. You realise that you would rather step away from a person who would dare treat you this way and get on with your life. Having wasted so much of your time on this no-go, you refer to leave with dignity and find someone who values you as the best option, not as a pale substitute.

2. Confrontation

If option ‘a’ is what you chose, it may be time to call them out on their actions and see if they own up to their deeds or deny them completely. Give them the opportunity to explain their behaviour and see if they feel any remorse. There may be a slight chance they really had no idea, and are willing to mend their ways to make you feel special. If they don’t, maybe option b is finally what you need to take.


3. Exit, stage right

The act of leaving instead of settling for second best is often the smartest move in a situation like this. It’s one thing to be listed as someone’s emergency contact or elect to be the designated driver on a Saturday night drinking binge, but if you don’t want to waste your life hoping this person realises you were always there for them, just leave.


Related reading: How to break up with your boyfriend?

4. Goodbye note

You could sit down and share with this person why you will no longer be available at their beck and call, but only if this is what will make you feel better. You don’t owe anyone any explanations, especially someone who took you for granted for so long.


Related reading: How to identify breadcrumbers in online dating!

5. Don’t rinse and repeat

As you get on with your life and start investing more time and energy in yourself rather than an ungrateful person, be wary of repeating the same patterns. Folks with low self-esteem and damaged self-worth are more likely to attract self-absorbed and manipulative people who then use them. Learn from past mistakes and take some confidence building lessons from a life coach or guidance counsellor, if needed.


6. Shine, don’t hide

Experiences like the one you’ve been through are easy to harden one’s heart, but don’t let that happen to you. There are wonderful individuals out there who would love the chance to get to know you. Being bitter and angry about what happened in the past should not stop you from letting your light shine through.


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