After some self reflection, I've learned one thing: feigning disinterest is stupid. While I still believe that it's important to play it somewhat cool during the early stages of a relationship (yes, I'm that girl that waits three hours to respond if you took two!), you're really not going to get anywhere if you don't express your feelings.
It's hard to show you care, but it's good to show you care. Being vulnerable is one of the scariest things ever, but it's vital to both the birth and growth of a relationship. Now, I'm not saying go all 'The Bachelor' on the person you're starting to see. Like, oh my god, why don't you just get to know each other and have some fun instead of talking about your feelings every five seconds?
But for me, if you show me that you like me then I have no problem showing you that I reciprocate those feelings. However, I have a serious fear of being the first one to express my feelings. As a self-proclaimed feminist, I realize the error in my ways when I think, 'he's the guy, so he should be the one to reach out to me.' Or 'it's his job to tell me how he feels first.' I'm working on it.
Am I just scared? The simple answer is yes. I guess I just think that if someone knows how I really feel about them before I'm certain about how they feel for me, then they may freak out or find me pathetic. I'm obsessed with having the upper hand, and that's another thing I'm trying to work on.
In some relationships, there's an imbalance of power. In my personal experience, it seems that either I'm head-over-heels for a guy who likes me a decent amount, or a guy I sort of like is head-over-heels-for me. I think it's this uncomfortable imbalance that has distorted my view on relationships, like there's always someone who gives more of their heart and therefore has more to lose.
If I like someone a lot and it's unclear how they feel about me, then I immediately think that I must be the one with more to lose. So, I start acting like I don't care because I can't let myself be that person. It's kind of stupid now that I see it written down.
But in truth, they could be holding back for the very same reason. Or they could just think that you actually don't care at all, when that's not the case. It's more fair to the other person and to yourself to just come out and say how you feel. Doing so will open an important line of communication on both ends, and that's how you get somewhere. There is no power struggle in a good relationship.
And if the other person's feelings haven't progressed to the point yours are at yet, opening up can give you insight into whether or not they can get there. As admittedly hard as it is for me to practice what I preach, I now know that it's OK to care more than someone else at first, as long as it doesn't stay that way. Feelings grow, relationships progress.
For example, I was recently talking to a guy in which our relationship just 'fizzled-out', and by that I mean, I texted last and I thought that meant that he was supposed to text me next. He didn't, so I just let the relationship die instead of fighting for something I actually cared about.
Sure, he didn't text me either, but I liked him a lot and I couldn't even bring myself to send a simple sentence that potentially could've saved what we had, or at least could've opened up a conversation about it. So what am I left with? My pride. What good is that? It's sad that so many people miss out on each other because they are simply too scared to say anything.
So what do you say? Maybe he/she has been waiting for you to open up...or maybe that person is just an asshole. But if you really care, then it's worth finding out.