He’s Just Not That Into You


He's Just Not That Into You

I am about to tell you six words that will change your life:

He’s just not that into you.

I know, it was the title of a hit movie that I haven’t seen. Before that, it was the title of a bestselling book, which I did see. I was never entirely clear how they made a movie about it, since the book has no storyline. It’s an advice book. Non-fiction. Self-help.

I also can’t recommend the book without a very big caveat, since it’s extremely vulgar and decidedly un-Catholic in places. (The author, Greg Behrendt, was a writer for Sex And The City. You do the math.) But I can wholeheartedly recommend the concept. You can even replace the “he” with a “she” if you’re a guy, and it all still applies. (But for the moment, I’m sticking with the “he” just because it’s simpler, and I figure if it’s good enough for a best-selling book, it’s good enough for me.)

I have, over the years, talked to a lot of singles who came to me to help them analyze the people they were dating. (It is also possible that, at various times in my life, I may — just possibly — have been that person trying to analyze someone I was dating.) It’s always the same – you want to know why. Why does he act so crazy about you, but then he doesn’t he call for days or weeks on end? Why is he unwilling to marry you when you’re both clearly so much in love? Why is he breaking up with you when everything was so perfect?

You know there must be a reason. He has fears. He has an addiction. He has deep-seated issues related to his childhood and his mother. He has a neurosis, or a psychosis. And you – yes, you – can fix it and save him.

The truth – the truth that we hate to face – is that there is a reason, and it’s very simple. He’s just not that into you. Sure, he may not be into you because he has fears, or a psychosis, or some deep-seated issues relating to his childhood and his mother. But that doesn’t change the resulting truth, which is that he does not possess the necessary enthusiasm to fuel a healthy relationship with you. Which, in the end, is really all you need to know.

We, of course, don’t want to hear that. So we believe the excuses. Take, for instance, this excerpt from the chapter “he’s just not that into you if he’s not calling you”:

“Oh, sure, they say they’re busy. They say that they didn’t have even a moment in their insanely busy day to pick up the phone. It was just that crazy. Bulls**t. With the advent of cell phones and speed dialing it is almost impossible not to call you. Sometimes I call people from my pants pocket when I don’t even mean to. We may try to make you think differently, but we men are just like you. We like taking a break from our generally mundane day to talk to someone we like. It makes us happy. And we like to be happy. Just like you. If I were into you, you would be the bright spot in my horribly busy day. Which would be a day that I would never be too busy to call you.”

You get the idea. The table of contents reads like a cautionary tale of situations not-to-fix. He’s just not that into you if he’s not asking you out, or if he’s not dating you, or if he’s cheating on you, or if he doesn’t want to marry you, or if he’s breaking up with you, or if he’s disappeared on you, or if he’s married, or if he’s a selfish jerk or a really big freak. (I skipped the chapter on how he’s not that into you if he’s not having sex with you, because we all know there should be other, very noble, reasons for that. But if he shows no interest whatsoever in the whole idea of having sex with you, I’d consider that a red flag.)

Why do we tolerate bad behavior or pursue people who are blatantly un-interested in us? Why are we so hell-bent on believing the excuses, or even making up excuses of our own? There are probably lots of reasons. Maybe we want to hang on to the fantasy of what we thought this relationship could be. Maybe we don’t want to believe we’re being rejected. Maybe we’re afraid this is the best we can do. Maybe we were the unpopular kids in school, and we still have this idea that we can’t get one of the good ones, but we can take on a fixer-upper and build him up from there. (To his eternal gratitude, of course.)

Greg Behrendt has a simple response to this: don’t waste the pretty. Or, as Jesus would put it, stop casting your pearls before swine. You are created in the image and likeness of God. You possess gifts and charisms and a unique dignity. Start acting like it. You demean yourself when you allow yourself to be treated badly, or when you settle for someone who doesn’t respect you or isn’t excited about the prospect of being with you.

If he’s not that into you, that’s all you need to know. You don’t have to be a diva to refuse to tolerate bad behavior or to end a relationship with someone who isn’t really reciprocating. It can all be done with a smile and a sweet “good-bye.”

I know that’s easier said than done. I know there will often be pain and a grieving process and more than a few dates with Ben and Jerry in the mean time. But I’ve always said there is good pain and there is bad pain. Bad pain is sticking around and putting up with the constant rejection. Good pain is facing the truth, and the hurt that comes with it, and moving forward with our lives centered on Christ.

Let Him – the One who sees your deepest beauty – guide your search for a spouse. I suspect He’ll keep your standards high and keep you from settling for someone who’s just not that into you.





40 Comments

  1. Barbara-505962 September 1, 2010

    I'm impressed with your article, which is straight forward!! I'm tired of trying to decipher what people mean and is there any correlation between their actions and words. And life isn't as complicated as it sometimes feels or appears…just overly busy. I also looked at your web site and very interested in reading many if not all of your articles….they make sense to what is happening in our society today and with our youth. I plan on sharing with many of my friends who will appreciate them as well! Thank you~~

  2. Judy-163754 September 8, 2010

    Mary Beth, it doesn’t just have to be in a “dating relationship” where you have to realize people “just aren’t that into you.” It can happen when you are rejected by a group as well, or a friend you’re interested. I was reading my Mother Teresa calendar and she kept talking about acting on your love for Jesus and your love for neighbor. I realized the people I was looking toward were not acting on my behalf because they didn’t love me enough to do so. They just weren’t that into me. At first, big “ouch” but afterward it was easier to except. Nothing I can do. Not necessary anything I do. They just weren’t that into me.

  3. Mary-197437 September 8, 2010

    Thank you. This is one of the best articles I’ve read on relationships (dating or non-dating). There are times we just have to accept that things are not going to work out and move on.
    Well said.

  4. Lisa-557203 September 9, 2010

    Great article! Very helpful!

  5. Becky-101748 September 10, 2010

    WOW! That was all I really needed to hear to change my life. I have a very complicated on and off again relationship with the father of my two kids. We are always breaking up and somehow getting back together. But the truth is, I don’t think he will ever marry me. I just need to kick him to the curb for good, but it’s so hard with two kids. I want and need a loving, caring, grace-filled relationship with a man who truely loves me for me. I just don’t need this for myself, but for my kids. Thanks for giving me the boost I needed. :)

  6. Sara-329369 September 10, 2010

    A terrific piece. And sometimes it’s the opposite, you’re just not that into him. And yet it’s hard to be honest about that! But we must be, in a nice way. Great blog and I will check it out more often!

  7. Brian-252799 September 10, 2010

    Great article.

  8. Bernadette-408767 September 10, 2010

    Oh Dear! I’ve been away to California for 3 weeks and the Partner, who I met on ‘Plenty of Fish’ is a man of integrity, but not in anyway compatible. Then, I have to say that I’m 68 years old, so no spring chicken. The togetherness is partially satisfying. I’m on the verge of saying to him ‘I need more dialogue. I am sure that a person who will worship in the faith that I really believe in is for me, but there is no one from my area and I will not travel nor expect anyone to do so. Bernadette McCaffrey

    • Mary-16845 September 12, 2010

      Bernadette- I understand exactly where you are coming from- I am in your age group and it is difficult to meet men since I live in such a secluded area and dont have the desire to travel a long distance to see if there is any chemistry. I have met a few nice men f rom some of the free dating sites but made me feel like I was in high school- ones I liked, were not attracted to me and the ones that liked me, I felt no attraction. I keep trying and do my best to remain positive about meeting a nice guy but there are times that I tell myself should I keep trying or just be content with my life as it is- good luck in your search. Mary

  9. Laurianne-160619 September 11, 2010

    This still doesn’t answer my question:

    What about if a man “is into you” calling you 2-3 times a day, telling his parents about you, emailing you every day, being upset when you dont answer your cell right away, etc.etc. and then all of a “sudden” he “poofs” and stops all communication. The reason women or men can’t walk away from the rejection is precisely because this person “was” into you and switched gears with no apparent reason. That’s what is confusing and mind boggling. If he/she was never into you it would be understandable. But I’ve had men come on like “gangbusters” to the point that it frightened me being that it was so soon and then all of a sudden disappear. That’s what I want explained to me.

    • Allyson-603227 September 11, 2010

      Laurianne- Oh my goodness. I think that we were dating the SAME guy! I met a guy who was borderline freaky because of the constant compliments, text messaging, invites to do something with him etc. etc. He told me how happy I made him, and wouldn’t leave without knowing how soon he’s be able to see me again. He brought me around his family and got close to my friends, and also visited me at work a couple of times. After 5 weeks of us behaving like we were crazy about each other, he just stopped calling altogether and gave me poor excuses when I called him out on it. We haven’t talked in months, and I still can’t wrap my head around it! My friends and family can’t understand it either!

    • Matt-489793 September 12, 2010

      I think that the reason a person will go from being super-infatuated to avoiding you is most likely that they realize that they’re not that into you after getting to know you (regardless of the reasons/fault); but will be way too uncomfortable to tell you that… I know I would be; especially given how complex relationships are; and how emotionally painful a breakup can be for both people involved.

      • Matt-489793 September 12, 2010

        …Maybe it just comes down to the person who’s not into you anymore wanting to avoid breaking up; even though if they don’t, the situation will never end. They’re caring more about avoiding pain than they are about doing what’s right. (I’m not pointing fingers)

        • Amaka-548083 September 13, 2010

          it really is hard to let go. especially when they act all loving and say they love you… especially at the beginning. then you start to care for them and they start acting like your possessive or selfish. if you feel the relationship is over, why not have the maturity to say so. why say you love the person when your actions don’t match the words. its enough to do your head in!!! yes it’ll hurt but the uncertainty is worse.
          thanks for the article. its reinforcing my courage to say “i deserve better than this,. i am beautifully and wonderfully made, if you cant take it, its your loss”

    • Theresa-110510 September 12, 2010

      Hi Laurianne!
      I feel that when men come on ‘like gangbusters’ never letting up with the calls, etc. – that they are trying to ‘win’ us, as if we were a project to them. Both partners need the time to gradually get to know one another as only over time will our true colors come out – we can see what the other person is really like for ourselves. Never trust when a guy tries to monopolize all your time so you can’t see other men (before you’re exclusive), see your girlfriends, have your own alone time to think if you like where things are going. Keeping you too busy is precisely so you CAN’T do those things; and is a sign of the man’s insecurity; and of course, his need to control you. When he leaves for no reason following all this is likely because he has realized he wishes to focus his stalking behavior elsewhere; or the intensity of where he has taken the relationship so far is something he realizes he can’t backtrack from – and there is nowhere to go but – to go. i.e. I feel many men who do this may actually still want to continue dating the woman they’ve pursued and won – but while they now would be wanting a more relaxed pace in the relationship, realize that with what they’ve done so far – the next event (her birthday, Valentine’s or Christmas) she’ll be expecting no less than a marriage proposal the way he’s gone so far.

      My thoughts only; for what they’re worth. Bottom line: better to meet someone who is more mature in their dating and cares enough about you to not try to control you.

    • Sandy-622742 September 13, 2010

      Count yourself lucky, some men are “into you” only for control and manipulation–those relationships are hard to get out of and are unhealthy.

  10. Jos-22128 September 11, 2010

    There is a reason why a guy might not call, or ask out again. He doesn’t know what to say or do. When that is the case, there is no way to know without asking him. Especially if he doesn’t know if saw the movie with him: to go out with him, or because you wanted to see that movie. In other words because he doesn’t know how you feel about him. Call him and ask, if you get the run around etc, “he isn’t that into you”, otherwise, maybe he is. (Speaking because I know I can be dumb like that.)

  11. Phoebe-97914 September 11, 2010

    Ive read the book and seen the movie, and I agree. But there comes a point where you get old enough to realize you just dont have the magic touch, and its time to say what the f***. If someone I like cant love me for being myself, his loss. I dont know why relationships cant just be simple: 2 people loving each other. Why is it always one who likes the other and the other doesnt? Its like f***ing trying to win the lottery. Guess I’ll just be satisfied w/ my friends and pets….I wish I lived in the days of arranged marriages.

  12. Sherry-338592 September 11, 2010

    There really seems to be some good points here. I have had this happen and it is hard to admit when they just aren’t into you. Yet the break up can still be so hard too.

  13. Gloria-487377 September 11, 2010

    Thanks good words of wisdom. I think you are absolutely right and no matter how much we may think we like a guy, there are times we just have to accept the fact that he is not into us as much as we are into him and LET IT GO!

  14. Bernadette-530935 September 11, 2010

    I truly needed to read this. Thank you so much for your impressive insight and knowledge. The very last line is something that my mother has always tried to convey to me, but never seemed to have the right words to strike it home for me. In saying that, I know that my mother is just as grateful to you for this article as I am.

  15. Kathy-555815 September 11, 2010

    Sometimes SHE’S just not that into you either.

  16. William-612286 September 11, 2010

    Good Stuff.

  17. Joanne-622831 September 11, 2010

    What a great article!! I have tendency to go the opposite way,—-. fear of rejection so I don,t even try . that isn’t healthy either. I’m Trying to get a healthy medium in this area. And u r right–GOD DOES NOT MAKE JUNK !! there is someone for everyone. Just need to put GOD at the top of your decisions and lists in life and seek His guidance.

  18. Elaine-607083 September 12, 2010

    intresting . good info thanks

  19. Cheri-590400 September 12, 2010

    Wow, how did you know…..what was I thinking? I can surely talk the talk…now maybe I can walk the walk. Thanks for the reminde…I deserve the best.

  20. Kath-534314 September 12, 2010

    Great article! It really made me reframe why he isn’t … with all his drinking, I never see him sober. I’ll say call me in the a.m. (before drinking starts) and he calls the next night oblivious to our agreed upon time to connect, and states he wishes I liked him more! I’ve beat my head against the proverbial wall, saying great guy sober, not when not sober (95 % of the time). Nothing changes. I get confused because we’re supposed to forgive and love (even our “enemy”). Am I not doing it right? or…. maybe, just maybe….he’s just not that into me (and more so the alcohol)!!
    Struggling…

  21. Peggy-580119 September 12, 2010

    Who asked you and who gives a s…t?

    • Barbara-620061 September 12, 2010

      Peggy,

      Was your comment really necessary…there are many of us who do give what you did not need to include here.

  22. Barbara-620061 September 12, 2010

    Ditto on what Mary said below…thanks for this…I so needed it!

  23. Catherine-283801 September 12, 2010

    What an EYE OPENER..Now I know no one ever loved me!!! I NEVER WANT TO DATE AGAIN!!

  24. Stephanie-572060 September 13, 2010

    I wrote a message to a guy last week, then left town this weekend. When I checked my email I did have this little hope that there’s be a CatholicMatch notification saying, “so-and-so has sent you a message!”
    What I got, however, was an email with the subject line, “CatholicMatch Update: He’s Just Not That Into You!”
    This made me LOL, if a little ruefully. You’re right though that sometimes what you really need to do is accept that he’s just not that into you, and move on.

  25. Maureen-541808 September 13, 2010

    Life is full of questions and tough lessons. Remember this: Nothing, absolutely NOTHING happens in God’s world by mistake.

  26. Jennifer-619087 September 13, 2010

    How true! I saw the movie, but never read the book. Both the movie and the book offer good advice! Stop making excuses! If they really cared, they would call, they would see you again, and they would be more enthusiastic about being with you! It may take awhile, but trust that God will lead you in the right direction.

  27. The article is so true, but too difficult to realise that when you are in a situation. It will do omst couples if not all of them to go by this article. Surely there will be fewer if not a complete death-free relationship ending.

  28. This article is so true yet not easy to realise this when in a situation. if most couples can live by this there will be lesser deaths as a result of relationship misunderstanding.

    • Will-366762 September 13, 2010

      I dated a woman who wanted too much from the relationship right from the get go — it was too much too soon. And even though I loved her and cared about her, her constant need for attention and reassurance was overwhelming. I did my best, I gave her lots of reassuance, but it was never enough. I suppose on surface you could say I came to not being into her — but in a lot of ways, she was her own worst enemy.

  29. Janice-574287 September 19, 2010

    This is just an amazing article for me right now. I am “agonizing” over a break up…my decision to leave because he was just so unhealthy. Our value systems are quite different. Anyway, I was meant to see and read this today and I am grateful. Praise God. Jan

  30. Irma-597194 September 20, 2010

    GREAT affirmation for those of us who (like it mentions above) insist on wanting to know why or insist on hanging on to whatever excuse possible. But the Greg Behrendt response is good and the Jesus response is GREAT!!!

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