Talia Levy

April 17, 2023

the only person who's waiting on you

It’s stressful when someone’s waiting on you. Knowing someone’s anticipating your response can feel incredibly pressuring. In a previous relationship, I felt that stress often. The boy wanted quick replies—usually within ten minutes—and that put pressure on me as it came to my time.

We’re all doing our own things during the day. If I didn’t want to text, it’s not because I was upset; I was just occupied with something else. Having to text back within a certain time was overwhelming, and I often felt unhappy.

It felt like I was a robot, checking my time within the minute, when really, I’m human, and it’s not realistic for me to constantly meet a reply time like that. I didn’t enjoy that constant checking whatsoever. To make matters worse, there was an added layer of him getting upset with me if I didn’t reply within the time. So, I felt stuck.

When the relationship ended, I thought about how much I disliked that feeling of time pressure. I couldn’t imagine returning to a situation like that—I had my freedom, and I wanted it to stay.

After some time, I thought about the possibility of a new relationship. But the thought of feeling that pressure again scared me, and I was sure I didn’t want that again. I knew I would eventually like a relationship though, so I thought about how my both of my wants could work together in one.

But the more I thought about it, the more confused I got. Because I couldn’t disconnect the two. I couldn’t disconnect being in a relationship with feeling the pressure of someone waiting for you to reply. Now, it might not be a ten minute reply, but there was some level of pressure to reply all the same. So I was like, how can I have both? How can I have my no-pressure freedom and have a relationship?

What I came to realize is that the two can’t be disconnected. BUT, it doesn’t have to be a bad thing.

If you think about it, the only person really waiting on you for a reply, day after day, is your partner.

Everyone else has their own lives, they’re going about their business, and they may or may not be thinking about you. While those things are also true of a partner, they’re tied to you in a different way.

If you stopped talking to even some of your closest, non-partner relationships in your life—your parents, your best friends—yes, they’d be sad if you discontinued contact. They may be extremely worried. But 99% of the time, they’d come to a point of acceptance that you are no longer in their life and go on with things as normal.

And for many of your other relationships—friends, acquaintances, even some family members—they may not be waiting on a reply from you at all. They may care about you, yes, but if you stopped talking to them, it wouldn’t really affect them much.

Now, think about a partner. A partner is someone you’re hoping to spend the rest of your life with. Who you’re hoping to build a future with. You guys are a duo til the end. If you don’t answer them—if you were to just disappear—to an extent, they are waiting on you for their next move. Until they decide to move on from you and find someone else, they’re still waiting on you to build that life together.

There’s no one else who wants to grow with you in the same way as your partner. So naturally, there’s no one else waiting on you in life like your partner does.

Yes, there would be a gap in your parents’ lives if you were to disappear, and the same goes for your friends. But your parents aren’t going to seek out a new son or daughter to replace you. And your friend probably has other friends already. Since they’re not looking to fill the gap you left, once the loss is accepted, they can move on somewhat as they always have.

But it’s different for a partner. With you gone, there’s now a gap they’d eventually look to replace. How long they wait to see if you reply and whether they should fill that gap, varies from person to person, and is why they wait. You not talking to them affects how they move forward. They’re waiting on you to come back because they still want this life with you. They’re put in limbo.

Others move forward as “normal”, but since your partner wouldn’t and there's this gap they can potentially fill, that’s why there’s this feeling of them waiting on you.

So, this feeling of someone waiting on you is inherent in a relationship. Now, that can be a scary thought, and it was for me. But I think it can also be spun to be a positive thing. Instead of someone waiting on you as feeling stressful or like you need to reply quickly all the time, it can be reframed as thinking of it as someone who’s always looking forward to the next time to talk to you and someone who is always there for you.

You can think of that feeling as a sureness that someone will be there, and a blessing that day after day, they wish to continue having conversation and building with you.

How the time “pressure” looks is different for everyone. Some people may not mind texting back within ten minutes, whereas for others (like me), that’s not how I would like to experience that pressure. So, although the time pressure concept can be spun more positively as a whole, you still have to think about what you want and how it looks for you. You can still set whatever boundaries you’re comfortable with.

But however rigid or flexible your boundaries are, finding a place where you’re able to view this pressure as positive—that your partner is excited for the next time to talk to you—is a wonderful thing.

For my situation, the fact that if I didn’t meet a certain time preference, then I would also be met with upset emotion from him, further added pressure for me. So for my case, that would be another aspect of my boundaries I'd make clear, not wishing to be met with that upset over time in that way.

So, how people prefer the extent of this “waiting on you” pressure, will be different from person to person. But recognizing it’s inherent in a romantic relationship because they are the only person in your life who’s waiting on you, and realizing it can be spun positively so that it’s no longer a negative pressure, but a beautiful blessing, is an amazing place to reach.

About Talia Levy

i write about relationships, self-help, & other random reflections i have. new posts every sunday.