White Oprah Book Club slash Sex and the City Good Book Moment

I am reading a book I swore I'd never read. I mean really was determined never, ever to read it. Ever. My mom actually bought it for me a couple years ago and I tossed it out with the trash that very day. Mom sends me things and I have a habit of rolling my eyes - she still asks "Have you read that book" and I just try to switch subjects. But this book in particular I was determined never to read. I am never reading that stupid book that makes women think most men don't like them, I said. I am not going to be a party to yet another self-help, battle of the sexes, men and women are from different universes, I said. I will not read a book that spews the philosophy that you must basically only love yourself , put yourself first, I said. Garbage! Stupid! Part of what is wrong with this world and why men and women can't seem to get along these days because they read these stupid books.

And yet, here I sit, reading "He's Just Not That Into You".

"People are inspired to do remarkable things to find and be with the one they love. Big movies are made about it, and every relationship you admire bursts with a greatness that you hope for in your own life." -intro excerpt by auther Greg Behrendt

I do love the idea of a movie star-like love...but is this really love? It's more to me a fantasy than a reality. And I feel qualified to say this is an imagined ideal more than reality because I have really, truly, madly, deeply been in love and it was not like the movies.

But, then, it was probably because I was in love with a man who seems to this day incapable of loving the way I wanted and needed him to. He loved me in his own way, I'm absolutely sure of it. He loved what I could do for him or be for him. And he learned to care about me and show concern when he thought I was in danger. He was into me. But he was not romantic. He would not open my doors, he would not help me take care of things I needed him to, he rarely said he loved me, he didn't like to go do the things I wanted to do, only what he wanted to do, he complained and criticized, a lot. He was thinking of marrying me, we discussed it, but he never proposed. But he really was into me. He was irate when I could not be there by his side all the time, or when he thought I was doing something that wouldn't be good for me. He asked why I didn't call him all the time (though he wouldn't call me). It was a selfish love. But he was into me. He wanted me. And in his own way he loved me. And I loved him like crack cocaine.

I now read this book and can only take it in, compare it to my own experiences and try to find the balance between the description of ideal movie star, magic love and the kind of love I had that was definitely not ideal and try to meet somewhere in the middle to create a picture of what real love looks like. Something like both unidealistic and unselfish.

In the meantime I present a few learned truths:

Love, real love, is not like the movies. It is a lot of work, sometimes without reward. It is accepting the other, flaws and all. It is thinking of them more than yourself.

Real love is not about what they do for you or ignoring them and practicing secret rules and making them ask you out five days in advance and testing them and comparing them to your self-centered check list. Love is love and has nothing to do with what they do for you.

However, if a guy doesn't call or text you, he's not that into you

If he doesn't ask you out...well it is possible he is shy. Okay, but you'll probably get a sense he likes you anyway if he tries to find excuses to sit next to you or hang around while you are talking or doing things. If not, he's not into you...and if you give him a wide open chance by saying something like "gosh, I'm so hungry and it'd be so great if only I had someone to go with me to dinner right now..." and he doesn't take the opportunity, well chances are he's just not that into you. Or really, really dumb.

If a guy is married already or already in a relationship with someone else...he's just not that into you - even if he talks with you a lot or says he likes you. Do not be that girl.

If a guy has a discussion with you about how he doesn't want you to get your hopes up and that he wants you to know he is seeing other people but will continue to date you to see how things go. He's just not that into you. This guy, ugh, do we even need to talk about how insulting that is to you?

Anyway, so I'm going to continue reading the book...with a grain of salt. And see the movie when it comes out next fall.


Steve said…
I'm always amazed at how many women keep hope alive by a straining thread! Seriously, cut your losses and find a decent guy! The funny thing is, an ex was reading this while we dated and I wasn't that into her and she still would always throw herself on the fire. Clearly, she wasn't learning anything from what she was reading, but loved to tell all her friends what was said in the book and how true it is, haha.
abby said…
My sister once yelled at me "He's not that into you!" once when I was telling her how I rebounded back to my ex-boyfriend. As I thought about it more, I realized he really wasn't that into me. I was determined to break the mental cycle I put myself in. He actually told me he never could be alone with me again. Six weeks later he was engaged. It was a painful moment when I found out, but it helped complete the break.

A few weeks ago, he and his siblings came to help my mom move. My mom sat there insulting him, me and his siblings. He put this arm on my shoulder and said reassuring words. Then at church his wife said he really was concerned about me. No we are not into each other, but I thought that really is what true friendship is. Yeah we weren't made for each other in the marital way, but through dating we really did build a caring friendship.

I guess the point is a guy can not be that into you, but he can care about you. It's when you get the two things confused that problems ensue and your relationship becomes the Facebook term of complicated.

MJ and Steve know real love and I'm sure they can enlighten us. The second book he wrote has the best title "It's Called a Break Up Because it's Broken." There is a lot of truth in the title. I have no idea if the books have any awesome advice.
SJ said…
Saw the funniest book in Urban Outfitters a few years ago "Ya, well I'm not that into you, either!" It was about how sometimes we settle for a guy we aren't really into because we just want to be with someone for the moment, only it's a total blow when we find out that guy isn't actually into us, even though we totally settled for a loser just to have someone. I only read excerpts but it was really funny, and has totally happened to me.

I was like "what, but you're a major loser and I'm actually spending time with you. You should worship the ground I walk on Hello? Hey, come back here, I'm above you!" LOL, so dumb.
mj said…
Abz, I don't think I'm that wise about love. More like lucky. But I did learn a thing or two along the way and from the brief bits I've read, this guy seems pretty right. I remember when this book came out, I was still trying to get over a certain hapless friend of ours who was never right for me (and vice versa). I didn't read the book, just an article that summarized the whole thing, but it did help me finally stop thinking like an idiot. Somebody that spends time with you because you are a good diversion or even a good friend is not in love with you.

You got it right that love is work, but be careful not to use that as an excuse for someone else's bad behavior. It goes both ways. If the other person is not working too (and little piddly efforts every once in a while do not count--that's guilt), then they probably don't really love you and it is probably past time to just walk away.

And it's time to give someone else a chance. Maybe someone you don't necessarily think of right away, or someone where you figured the opportunity had passed (which is of course MY love story), or somebody new that you haven't figured out what you think of them yet.

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