There was a period in college when I dated (and I say dated somewhat loosely) someone who kept me in the bae zone. By that, he never would completely “commit” and came up with many excuses to defend his position. Being the naive and #unchose girl that I was, I stayed and dealt. Years later, I recognized why I was in such a damaging relationship (yes, I’m calling it that because that’s what it was) for so long. Based on my own experience, I’m going to outline a few reasons why I thought I’d become his girlfriend in hopes that someone else can avoid this before it happens to them too.

1. I met his family and friends and he met mine.

I used to hang out with his friends almost every weekend. We’d sit around, drink, eat, talk, and play card games all night long. If we weren’t doing that, we were probably at his place. When his mom would come home (yes, he lived at home —this was college), I would speak as she rudely walked to her room. He met my people, too. But, I swore this all meant something. I knew the people that he cared about the most and vice versa.

2. He bought me something.

I have never been the teddy bears and stuffed animals kind of girl, but one time, #he gave me a bear. And I adored that bear because it was from him. The $10 he could have saved went towards this bear that he got for me. Oh, and another time, he got me an iPhone charger for my car. Griffin, too girl, so you know it lasted longer than our baeship. My love language is giving gifts, so to acknowledge that in someway really impressed me.

3. He brought up the future and included me in it.

I remember sitting on the couch as he began to outline how he foresaw his future. He mentioned once he was done with school, he could see us going on vacations together and just traveling the world. He had never spoken about us in the future sense before. To me, traveling meant being together in the long-run and capturing these moments together.

4. He sent me “good morning” and “I miss you” texts on a whim.

There was nothing like waking up to a text from #him. We went to different colleges so for him to think about me in the middle of his “busy” schedule was flattering, especially since he didn’t do it all the time. I assumed I mattered.

5. He took me to the movies and dinner and probably paid for it too.

This wasn’t even an indoor relationship. We went a few places and he took care of dinner…in the beginning. Being the understanding college student I was, I took care of the bill because I knew that these hard times wouldn’t last.

6. He was the guy I could call when something included manual labor.

If I needed to move something heavy, I could call him. And he obliged. He helped me with grunt work and I figured he wouldn’t do this for just anyone.

7. He confided in me.

He told me about minuscule things like school and work but also talked to me about issues in his family. He told me about how his parents got together and got married. He told me about past relationships and hurts. I assumed that he was opening up to me for a reason.

8. He told me we were together in so many words.

He called us exclusive after I finally inquired about our status (like, three months later). Exclusive to him meant he wasn’t seeing anyone else (at the time, at least) so that’s what we were. It satisfied my need for a title while allowing him to dictate what the title actually meant.

I didn’t dream up a scenario in which I was disrespected physically and emotionally off the bat. I believed that I was obviously engaged in a pre-relationship that would eventually lead into what I wanted it to be. Granted, there were a few signs that were glaringly obvious that this would never amount to anything more than it was, but again, I believed in the potential. It took me nearly 18 months to shake that feeling and to finally see him for who he really was. I couldn’t understand it then but I recognized that he was just a part of my journey. Though I don’t necessarily care for him as a person, I appreciate the lessons he taught me.

Were you in a similar situation? What was it about his potential that kept you around?

Published by Ashleigh

Ashleigh is a recent M.S. graduate from Northeastern University. She works as an interactive designer in Atlanta and loves dogs, Netflix, and great food. Oh, also the creator and designer of this here shindig you are reading right now. View my impersonal personal blog @

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