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Unproductive Romance: The Time Opportunity Cost of Dating Someone That Is Half Interested

The other day I eavesdropped on a woman talking to her friend on the phone.

“He sent me a text, all it said was ‘hey stranger, long time no see.' I don’t get him. He never makes plans with me but he always randomly texts me. I’m not ruling him out but I don’t want to be the one pursuing him”

Welcome to today’s dating mess.

Maybe you met someone on Tinder. Maybe you met them at a bar. Maybe even at work. Regardless of where you met, the trend is usually the same: this person is only half interested in you and therefore, spends more time interacting with you electronically than they do physically. As a result, they keep you at their disposal - all while never having to put in actual effort.

In fact, if I had to coin the number one dating problem of this generation, it’s that’s we’ve lost the art of interpersonal communication. Apparently getting to know someone in person is just far too much work. We've become so cowardly, that it even seems "awkward" to talk to someone on the phone! Is this really the future of dating?

Now don’t get me wrong, technology is great, but when it regularly replaces actual face-to-face communication or quality time with somebody new, it can create an artificial sense of closeness. In other words, electronic communication should be the glue of getting to know someone, not the substance.

With that being said, there's a very grey area that exists between "single" and "in a relationship." This grey area isn't what dating used to be, but it is unfortunately what it has become: a guessing game subject to interpretation.

This is what I call unproductive romance.

Unproductive romance is a circular dating pattern with someone which continues with no destination and no boundaries. It relies on electronic communication and convenience, leaving blurred lines and mixed signals in it's wake. As a consequence, you miss out on all of the other people that would love to make you a part of their life - in real life.

This is the time opportunity cost of unproductive romance.

Now for all of you out there shaking your head in disbelief thinking "yea but my situation is different", here’s a quick story I'd like to share about a friend of mine, we’ll call Greg*.

For months, Greg was messing around with a girl named Julia*. They weren’t boyfriend and girlfriend, they were just sort of haphazardly "dating." If anything, it was more of a "textationship" since texting was their primary form of communication. However, since Greg was half interested in Julia, if she invited him to do something, he'd usually go. He even accompanied her to her brother's wedding. Yet whenever I would ask Greg how things were going with her he would always reply “eh, ya know, I think she’s more into it than me, I should probably break it off”.

But he didn’t.

For months.

Eventually the situation came to a screeching halt when one day he finally broke up with her; only to start dating another girl, Amanda*, almost instantaneously; and then to take Amanda on vacation; and to ask Amanda to be his girlfriend.

When I questioned him about the scenario, he said, “when it’s someone you really like, you want to lock it down.”


So where am I going with all of this? Simply put: what you see is what you get. Don't keep people in your life that don't make a genuine effort, because all of the time you spend entertaining what you don't want, you miss out on the potential to get what you do want. Oh and for the record, when someone acts like they’re not looking for a relationship, it usually just means they’re not looking for a relationship with you. But that's ok, because there's always someone else who is.

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