Photo Credit: Damir Spanic

5 Ways to Be Someone’s Priority NOT Their Option

How To Be Someone’s Priority — -NOT Their Option

People will clearly indicate to you what your place is in their life — from their communication with you, to your first date, to their first move, and to how they treat you thereafter. Perhaps they pursued you in the beginning of the relationship, but now, their interest and communication has dropped off significantly and you’re doing all the work. You have become their option, not their priority.

It can be painful to admit that you are allowing yourself to be treated as an option by someone else. But, the sooner you acknowledge that you are not their priority, the faster you can take your power back from them.

**Knowing the love language of the man or of the woman with whom you are in a relationship is different than being someone’s option, not their priority.**

Signs That You Are Just an Option:

(this is by no means a complete list)

1.You are rarely their “plus one.”

2. They often “hit you up” at the last minute.

3. Plans are always on their terms.

4. They never take you out.

5. They often cancel plans or do not follow through with plans.

6. They forget dates that are important to you, such as your birthday.

7. You do most of the texting and make most of the moves toward them.

8. You make excuses about their behavior to your friends and family.

9. You catch them in little (and big) lies.

10. They are vague about what they are doing.

11. They only show up for physical gratification (think “booty call”), then bail on you.

What You Need To Know

To become someone’s priority means that you have to change. You will not change the other person, or anyone, for that matter, unless you first change. You show people how to treat you through what you accept. Any time you accept any of the above signs that you are just an option, you are allowing your partner to treat you as an option. You know in your gut when you are someone’s option. Trust your gut.

You take back control of the situation by acknowledging that you are allowing yourself to be treated poorly by your partner’s behavior.

I have counseled many clients who successfully turned the tide when they finally realized that the only reason their significant other treated them poorly was because they allowed it to occur. In order to turn the tide like they did, you must possess these four elements:

  1. The unshakeable belief that you deserve better.
  2. The will to control your need to have that person’s attention at any cost.
  3. The discipline to follow through by not accepting anything less than what you want.
  4. The deep, inner knowing that you can have better because you deserve better than what you have been accepting.

Ask Yourself These Questions

  • Do you believe that you deserve better than the way you are being treated?
  • Do you believe that your partner is better than you or is more important than you? If so, why?

If you do not believe either of these things, then why on earth would you allow someone to treat you as an option? Be completely honest with yourself. Before you can address the “how,” you must know “why” you allow someone to treat you as an option. No matter your answer, you want to be treated better, right? Then start acting like it. Choose that now.

Your mantra: I am a priority, and I will always be a priority.

Do Not Accept Less

You are not desperate, so stop acting like it. Loneliness is not an excuse. The world is filled with amazing things to take interest in. When you decide that you will not accept being anything but a priority, you will switch up your thinking, and your behavior will follow. You will stop responding immediately to your partner’s messages, calls, or any other request of theirs, because you are sending them a message — you are not as available to them as you once were. You are taking your power back. Trust me — they will notice.

Possess Inner Discipline

You must be sure to have firm control of your reactions, because many partners will try to trigger you emotionally in order to “get their fix.” (your energy, your chasing them, your attention) They need and want to know that you are still available to them at any time. Take that off the table, and keep it off the table, until you notice that you are an important priority to them through their behavior. Always remain kind. Trust me — they’ll notice that, too.

Be Resolute

You cannot be weak. Partners who are used to making you an option can smell your weakness a mile away. You want them to feel your strength and your firm boundary that you are only allowing people to treat you as their priority. So turn it up, and turn it on. And when you flail and want to roll over and give up so that you can have your own emotional “fix,” remember — you are choosing to be the option. Choose, instead, to be the priority, and you will be. Remember that it is a choice.

What To Expect and How to Change It

People change their behavior when they feel they need to change it, because they are not getting what they want. At first, they will continue to behave in the way to which they have become accustomed. But, when you don’t flinch, they will. If you allow your partner to treat you as an option, they will continue to do so. When you shift your beliefs and behaviors, you challenge their behavior — so, expect some push back. But, if you are resolute and disciplined, they will change. They will have no other choice, as you are no longer participating in the idea that you are an option. You are a priority. Period.

Set clear boundaries with yourself first. Your partner will ask you why you are different. Bend the truth to bend your resolution. Be firm. Know why being respected and having your boundaries respected is important to you.

I am a firm believer in telling someone what it is that you need. Each time your partner treats you like an option, make it clear that it is unacceptable. Stay calm. If you react, you give away your power. Not responding for a few hours sends a clear message. It’s better than showing anger. A firm NO is enough to send your message.

I had been working with my mentor for about a year. He was notoriously late for our meetings. One morning, I waited for him for over 90 minutes. I realized that he didn’t respect my time. I had set a pattern with him. I had allowed him to be late. I called him and I asked him this question, “Do you think that your time is more important than mine?” He stumbled and he asked me to repeat the question. And I asked him a second time if he thought that his time was more important than mine. He told me he did not think his time was more important than mine. I nicely said, “I would appreciate you being on time. I had many other things I could have done in the 90 minutes I have waited for you.” He was never late again.

People will constantly test your boundaries. Remain firm. Tell them that you value yourself too much to be treated like a doormat. Make it clear that if their behavior doesn’t change, you no longer wish to engage with them. If they continue to treat you poorly, tell them that you are going to end the relationship and any communication with them — and then do it. If you don’t follow through with that threat, you show weakness . Don’t say it if you can’t follow through.

In this process, you will become a better, and much more interesting, version of yourself. People love a bit of a challenge. People love a person who respects themselves. It’s attractive, sexy, and intelligent. People will put more effort into knowing you when your attitude exudes a confidence that says, “I am my own priority. I don’t lower my standards to be anyone’s option.”

In remaining true and resolute, you will find that your partner will change their behavior, because you no longer feed theirs. It can happen quickly, or it can take a few months. They will clearly come to know that you accept nothing but being a priority. They will treat you like a priority, or the relationship will end. They will see you as valuable because you value yourself. They will be more attracted to you, because valuing yourself is attractive. Being needy and desperate is not attractive.

The most important piece of advice that I can impart to you is that when you make yourself a priority, you are changing your energy. Having the willingness to not be someone’s option says that you respect and love yourself. When you change, everything changes.

If you meet someone who treats you like an option, or treats you as if you don’t matter, remember that we get exactly what we need — someone to mirror back to us how we feel about our own self worth by treating us poorly. The most important thing you must know in this life is that you matter. Every single thing comes down to love, and being loved, and knowing that you matter. Love yourself first. Make yourself your own priority.

Below is a list of questions that I often refer to when working with a client who has never been someone else’s priority, or has never felt as if they could be a priority:

  • Do you know what it feels like to be a healthy priority?
  • What are your priorities?
  • Who do you allow to use your energy and suck the life out of you?
  • Where does that habit and pattern come from?
  • Are you over-accommodating with friends, lovers, family members, work mates?
  • Are you the understanding one whom everyone else dumps on, leaving you feeling empty and alone?
  • What is important to you?
  • What value do you bring to a relationship?
  • What value do you need brought into your life from another?

Be direct with what you need.

Invest in yourself — including spending time being alone.

Don’t ever give up, and do not ever allow yourself to go backwards.

If you follow this advice, better people and better relationships will come.

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Jocelyn Somers

Jocelyn Somers

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