by: Nico Lang
You know they aren’t that into you if they don’t seem to really kiss you back when you kiss them or pull away any time you try to show affection, not because they have social anxiety but because they don’t want to be touched by you. They aren’t into emotions; they are into emotional distance. They will say things like they “aren’t that into PDA,” which you would normally agree with (because that sh-t is gross) — except that the two of you are in your apartment watching Bridesmaids on television, and not strolling Central Park. They don’t cuddle you at night anymore, because they say that they want their personal space or blame the summer heat, even though you have an A/C unit and it’s 68 degrees in your room. They happen to fall asleep on the couch a lot or find subtle ways to avoid you in the shower, the bedroom or during sex. They spend all of their time texting or calling other people instead of you and you have to hear about important life information or events through their friends — rather than hearing it from them. They always seem to let you know last, like when they are going to be late for a date, got a promotion, are suddenly going out of town for three weeks or decided to get married to someone else. They definitely have a loop, and you’re not in it because they don’t want you to be in it.
You know they aren’t that into you when you’ve been dating them for a week and they already try to propose a threesome, not because they are poly but because it was a thing to do. They take forever to return any form of communication, like a call, an email, a business sext, a tweet, a carrier pigeon note or an in-person request to get lunch next week. They will never commit to anything with you, like your relationship, and when you ask them to lunch, they’ll always say things like, “Let’s see when it gets closer,” “I might have something else going on” or “I think I might be having lunch with my ex, but if they cancel, definitely!” They always say that they are too busy to see you today or this week or for the rest of the month, which is silly because even Barack Obama makes time for Michelle and it gets posted all over Tumblr. They have time — because everyone has time, it’s just how you use it — but they just don’t spend it with you. They spend it on Facebook, playing video games, tipping cows, watching Teen Mom for the hundredth time or by consistently blowing you off at the last second to get lunch with their sister’s cousin’s sister’s cousin’s best friend from high school or their ex. They always make you come to them when the two of you do spend time together and haven’t left a single artifact in your apartment, not even an errant issue. They have never even slept in your bed.
You know they aren’t that into you when they only ever want to hang out with you when they want sex — which is not a relationship, that’s a booty call. They only ever see you late at night, not because they work late or work in a bar, but because it’s insanely easy to facilitate sex or a sexy sleepover out of. They have been dating you for nine months — in a supposedly monogamous relationship — and are still on Grindr, just to “talk to people.” They hit on other people in front of you — in a way you’ve told them you don’t find appealing — and still regularly solicit other people’s phone numbers. They never talk about a future that includes you or are willing to make space in their life to fit you in long-term and avoid any conversation on the subject. They will let you dote on them endlessly and let you do things like buy the two of you matching vintage Halloween costumes but won’t return the favor or even pay for the occasional dinner. They never take you on real dates, instead just asking you to hang out with their friends all the time, because they don’t understand how important one-on-one time is or don’t want that with you. They only ever treat you like “one of the guys” or a girlfriend, which isn’t bad necessarily (because friendship in a relationship is very underrated) but is bad when it leads to never having sex with you.
You know they aren’t that into you when they want to date other people, not because they are into poly (to which a lot of this doesn’t apply) but because they want to see people who aren’t you. They say that they “aren’t that into commitment right now” because of vague, non-specific reasons and remind you a lot of Summer in (500) Days of Summer, who really was not that into Tom. They indicate no moral opposition to a relationship, just one with you. They have been dating you for two years and force you into an open relationship so you can “spice things up,” even though you just want to spice things up with them and not with other people involved. They let you call them your boyfriend, girlfriend, penguin or gender-neutral life partner but won’t ever return the nomenclature — even though you’ve been together for two years — because they “don’t like putting a label on it.” They “forget” to invite you to major events all the time, like their sister’s wedding or their mom’s funeral, and their sister has to be the one who invites you instead. They will — at any event you do go to together — neglect to introduce you to other people, as anything, not even their “friend.” They also don’t include you in conversations, not because they are independent and don’t need to talk to you all the time but because they don’t want you. They don’t seem to know the difference or how to let you know that they are just as interested in you as you are in them. They likely aren’t, so why be that into them?
Nico Lang is the Co-Creator and Co-Editor of In Our Words and a graduate student in DePaul University’s Media & Cinema Studies program. Lang is a Change Coordinator for LGBT Change, the Co-Founder of Chicago’s Queer Intercollegiate Alliance and a columnist for HEAVEMedia. At HEAVE, Nico writes a column on film called Found Footage and talks about nerd stuff on a weekly podcast called Pod People. Elsewhere in podcasting, Lang hosts Broad Shoulders, a monthly podcast for Chicago’s Live Lit community. Nico is also a contributor at Thought Catalog and the Huffington Post and has been featured in the Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, LA Times, The New Gay, The Guardian and on their mother’s refrigerator. Follow Nico on Twitter @Nico_Lang or on the Facebook.