I know he likes me. He tells me he does. He texts and we try to meet up. But he is with his friends. And I'm with mine. But that's ok we are both out having a good time with people and I know I'll see him out later. We coordinate and figure out where to meet. Usually the 3rd or 4th party of the night. I don't know why it takes so long to connect. Maybe he isn't really paying attention to his phone. But it's been going on like this for a while and I don't think he's seeing anyone else. We text sometimes during the week, too. But I really only see him on nights like this. It's the same each time. Those texts. The pregames. A couple parties. And then the party where we meet up. By then it's usually pretty late, sometimes after midnight. He always seems happy to see me, comes right over and grabs me. We make out a little bit and then play some beer pong or quarters or just have a beer and hang out with people. Sometimes there's a dance floor and we'll do that for a while. But before long he takes me back to his room. It's nice – he does talk to me and says nice things and it feels like he's listening to me, it feels like he cares about me....for at least a little while.

But now things are different. He was in such a hurry to leave this morning. He didn't mention anything about that last night. Nothing was different this time – we'd been seeing each other for almost a month like this. I was pretty guarded at first—I wasn't looking for a relationship, and this was just supposed to be fun, but as things continued I started to really like him. And it really seemed like he liked me too. He seemed to have fun when we were together and I thought he enjoyed my company. But now he barely said goodbye. He never calls or texts, won't return my emails. He even ignored me when I saw him outside the library the other day. I waved so I know he saw me. Gave me this sick feeling in the pit of my stomach. I was so embarrassed.

This is so not the way I thought love was supposed to go. But maybe it doesn't have to go like this. Maybe next time I could get to know the guy first. Be friends. Find out if he's worth liking. If he actually likes me. I never intended to like this guy in the first place because I was scared of getting hurt. But I started liking him when I least expected it—and got burned pretty badly anyway. I was trying to avoid the risk. Maybe if I acknowledged that romance does involve some risk – the risk that always comes with letting someone really get to know who I am inside and learning who that someone else really is – maybe I won't get so hurt. I'll be able to take small steps, keep my eyes open, and see where I'm going. If I paid attention to what my heart was up to – and didn't just try to pretend it didn't exist – I might find romance that's worth having. The kind I deserve. And that would actually be pretty amazing.

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