Hello, I need some help. I’m currently speaking to guy and he’s constantly letting me down. When we arrange to meet he turns it down because of ‘work’ or because he’s always late. He says he wants me to be his girlfriend but he never makes the effort. I always have to text first and I’m fed up. Why can’t he make the effort? What can I do?

You can’t control another person’s feelings or behavior. If he’s not prioritizing you, it’s not because you aren’t deserving of his attention. There’s not some secret thing you can do to make him want to pay attention to you in the way you need.

Getting randomly rewarded for things can be very powerful - this is why gambling is so addictive, and why rats become obsessed with levers that dispense food randomly. We start thinking about what we can do to discover or control the pattern, because our brains can’t handle randomness.

Relationships work the same way. When someone doesn’t respond to our affections consistently, it makes us want them even more. We try to figure out what we can to do capture the attention of this enigmatic person, and think that since their affection is so hard to “earn,” it must be worth a lot.

But you deserve to be the girlfriend of someone who cares about you and shows it in a way that feels right and healthy for you. The best thing you can do is drop this guy and find someone who doesn’t make you feel let down and fed up. Never prioritize someone who won’t prioritize you.