the answer? science.
I'd like to preface this post with the following:
I. Feel free to swap in whichever pronoun(s) that suit your fancy. I use “boy," "him," "his," "he," simply because that is the only experience I personally can attest to.
II. If a boy from my past is reading this and believes that it is written about him— it probably is.
It all started with a meme. Doesn’t it always?
As soon as the classically centered, sans-serif text post surfaced on my feed, I knew I was in for something either clothed in stupidity or completely hilarious. (Let’s be real, there rarely is an in-between).
“The guy you can’t stop thinking about is currently texting at least four different girls. Happy Tuesday!" the post read.
Cue the familiar, sharp inhale of breath that indicates a feeling of: “damn, that’s relatable.”
I do want to note before I continue that the door certainly does swing both ways in regards to this subject. In relationships, boys can be elusive as fuck. By the same token though, girls can be just as shady. If a boy would like to compose an article such as this about girls who strung them along, be my guest. In the mean time, however, here is my piece.
Part I: You’re not stupid
Growing up I remember my friends and I, huddled together over each other’s flip phones, anxiously awaiting text replies from adolescent boys. Even a remark as simple as “hey wyd” would send a liege of butterflies soaring through our chests and out of our ear canals. Today, not much has changed. Now however, we face the horrors of ominous, three-dot bubbles, screenshots and read receipts.
I vividly remember one of the more vivacious of my childhood friends proclaiming: “Never text first and don’t even think about texting more than once in a row. That’s social suicide.” We all nodded our heads in agreement, a few of us masking pangs of guilt with nervous laughter.
I receive hundreds upon hundreds of messages on a daily basis along the lines of “why did I let myself fall for a fuckboy? I’m so stupid…” But, let me tell you this: we’ve all been there. We all know the utter joy of receiving a “good morning” text and the painful agony of the read-without-reply.
We aren’t ‘needy.’ We aren’t ‘paranoid.’ We’re just human.
The proof is in the pudding— or the amygdala, that is. Yep, I’m telling you that the reason that we act impulsively in relationships and feel absolutely stupid about it afterwards lies in an almond-shaped mass of gray matter located deep within your brain. The amygdala is responsible for detecting danger, uncertainty and risk. When your being is infused with feelings of love, the amygdala and parts of the brain’s frontal lobe sleeps, therefore switching off nearly all judgement and detection of potential danger. This is why we act rather recklessly and do things without thinking when we are in love. Once out of love, when the amygdala snaps back into action, we are overcome by a suffocating rush of uncertainty.
So that settles the “The boy dumped me. I’m stupid” debate. You’re not stupid. You’re just human with a functioning brain. (and the boy probably sucks anyway.)
Part II: Curiosity killed the cat
Arguably the worst part of the entire "fuckboy" debacle is all of the waiting involved.
All of the seconds spent
for messages and gestures that never arrive.
We know we shouldn’t put our lives on hold to wait around for these things, but it’s like turning your head away from a car accident on the side of the road. As much as we like to say that we’d pass by the wreckage without even a fleeting glance, we’d be lying if we did. Humans are curious creatures, constantly considering the ‘what if’. That’s what sets us apart from most other species. As they say: “curiosity killed the cat.”
A friend of mine compared a fuckboy to a McDonald’s drive-thru endeavor: you know it's bad for you, but you dive head-first into it regardless. It feels absolutely delicious and satisfying in the moment, but has the polar opposite affect on you the next morning. You roll over in bed, look at what you settled for in a moment of impulse and feel disgusting. No matter if its a takeout bag pooling with fryer grease or the silhouette of a boy, the feeling in the pit of your stomach is much the same.
Personally, when dealing with fuckboys, the majority of me always knows its a bad idea before it even begins. However, there is always that small sliver of hope wedged deep in my core that whispers: “maybe, just maybe, it’ll work out this time.” I used to think that this small voice was my fatal flaw; the arrow in my achilles heel. Fuckboy after fuckboy, I remain hopeful still, and walk freely and confidently from one booby-trap to the next.
But after some thought, I’ve realized that I can’t be upset with myself for being openminded and hopeful. Someday I’ll put these qualities to good use once I’m involved in a relationship that is truly right for me. Sometimes, though, fuckboys turn people cold.
I know the feeling of laying in bed, my hand clasped over my mouth, the silent tears trickling down my cheeks as my heart breaks in two.
If you’re anything like me…
You’re tired of being tired.
You’re restless and broken and trying to figure out what went wrong.
You think that something is wrong with you.
Amidst all of these doubts and blurred lines, I hope that you and I can find the courage to choose ourselves over the people that haunt us.
At the end of the day, we will encounter people like this in our lives until the end of time. Sure, there's science behind why we care, but that alone won't stop us from caring.
The truth of the matter is: a man who actually cares about you will never be 'too busy' to prove it.