How To Be A Priority, Not An Option

Photo: Nick Starichenko / Shutterstock
woman walking outside

Let's be real. We have all been the second choice. Default option. Substitute woman. Sidepiece. Batter-up. Understudy. Pinch Hitter. It's the worst position to be in.

When you're little, you're taught to be a graceful loser. But when you're a man's second option, you're fooled into thinking you matter, except it's really not true. You're just getting slivers and slices of this person's affection, but somehow you've been walking around as you must matter to this man.

But you don't.

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You matter when it's convenient for him. You matter when his first choice doesn't show up or fulfill her role. You matter on an "as-needed basis." There's no pain greater than continuing to live as the second option and accepting your occasional walk-on role in a man's life.

So there must be a time when you decide no more. Finito. It's time to retire the damn role of "default option." It's time to decide that you deserve to be the first choice, primary woman, lover, and friend, the priority not an option. The be-all-end-all owner of his heart.

When this time comes, you need to tell him: "I am not your second choice. Choose me or lose me."

Choose me.

Because I matter. Not because someone didn't fulfill your needs.

Choose me.

Because I am special and deserving of all of your attention.

Choose me.

Because I want a relationship that lasts 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Because real love lasts more than just a few hours.

Choose me.

Because I choose you. Because I have decided that you are my number one, heart-throbbing love. Because I don't leave you as an option. Because you have the only seat in the theater that is my heart.

Choose me.

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Because you crave me, and not crave filling an empty hole of loneliness that someone else created inside of you. Because your life is a better, richer place because I am in it.

Choose me.

Because when you wake up in the morning, I am the person you're thinking of, and not someone else. Because when you haven't seen me or heard my voice, you can't wait to finally have me in your arms.

Choose me.

Because the option of losing me is unacceptable to you.

Or, you can lose me. Because you think I'm just good enough to be a stand-in.

Lose me.

Because you don't really need me, you just need to scratch your itch. Because the gaping hole someone else left is desperately waiting to be filled.

Lose me.

Because I don't matter to you; I only fulfill a need. Because you don't need me, you want me to make it "all better" for when she's gone.

Lose me.

Because it's not me you love, it's the service my "second option status" provides for you. Because it could be anyone standing in for your first choice and truly, who I am as a person doesn't matter.

Lose me.

Because you don't love me — you love yourself so much, you can selfishly choose me to alleviate and relieve your needs.

So when the time comes and you are on your feet, ready to be choice number one and can't stand another freaking minute of being the pinch hitter, you will tell him: "I am not your second option. Choose me or lose me."

And when you walk away, you'll finally give him the choice to choose you or lose you. And if he doesn't choose you and he loses you, someone else will step up and take his place and choose you, because you deserve to be chosen.

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Laura Lifshitz is a former MTV personality and Columbia University graduate currently writing about divorce, women’s issues, fitness, parenting, and marriage for The New York Times, DivorceForce, Women’s Health, Working Mother, Pop Sugar, and more.