Ask a Guy: Am I Just His Fallback Girl? post image

Ask a Guy: Am I Just His Fallback Girl?

Me and this guy started off as friends but thing quickly turned romantic between us. He was doing an exchange program at my university and after a few months moved back home, but we continued to stay in contact and visited each other several times. Over these last few months we don’t talk as frequently, but we do have occasional lengthy phone calls where we talk about everything.

I don’t know where I stand with him because we never discussed it, plus we are both not very expressive/overtly emotional people, and I never expected (and still don’t) a relationship to blossom from this, but I do have strong feelings for him and want to see him soon. We are both going to be in Vegas next month and he messaged me asking if I want to meet up. Maybe I’m just paranoid, but I feel like he just wants a guaranteed hookup.

I guess my question is, is it normal for an ex-fling whom you were once romantically and sexually involved with to always reach out and initiate long conversations? Is it just to be polite/friendly, does it mean he misses me and still has feelings for  or am I just his “fallback girl”?

Here’s what sticks out to me in your situation – and I suspect this is what is really tripping you up:

You ask if it’s normal for an XYZ guy to do ABC. (My thought is, “Who cares what’s normal and what’s not normal… it’s what’s happening….”)

You ask if his actions mean XYZ or ABC. (My thought is, “Maybe they mean neither of those things… maybe they’re just what happened and they’re ‘meaningless’….”)

You ask if something means you are the “fallback girl.” (My thought is, “There is no such thing… that was a term invented by an idiot to scare women… stop believing in unhelpful things….”)

You talk about how you want to do one thing but you’re afraid if you do what you want, he could react in a way you don’t want. (My thought is, “So… what are you proposing… to not do what you want, act in a way that you think will create a reaction you want even though it’s based on you acting in an unnatural way? How does that make any sense?”)

Now, one thing that I can pick out from your email that I think is very succinct and on point: “Maybe I’m just paranoid.” Yes, I would say you are, and I want to illustrate what paranoia is as a process in your mind so you stop participating in it….

The following is what leads to paranoia:

1) You need to make an image of some future that you want to have happen (which is your first crucial mistake… because it leads to step 2.)

2) You get excited about the possibility of that fantasy-future, but then you get afraid that what you want might not happen. In other words, if that scenario plays out the way you want, you’ll allow yourself to be happy. But if it doesn’t, you erroneously believe that you will lose something… your life will become less… your life will lack something… you will no longer be whole or complete… you will somehow lose a part of yourself. In other words, your fantasy immediately sets up a fear of loss and instead of enjoying every moment of your life, you start trying to shield and protect your path to make this fantasy future come true. You throw away the joy of the present moment in favor of some fantasy future that will make you happy. (As if happiness even worked that way… the reality is you’re just stressing yourself out and then IF you get what you want, you allow yourself some relief from the stress you created in the first place!)

MORE: 11 Ways to Find True Happiness

3) Now that you’re full-on chasing a fantasy reality, your emotions are on a constant roller coaster ride (which is totally silly, because it’s all fantasy, illusion and nonsense in the first place… it’s self-created torture with zero benefit). In other words, whenever the guy shows some sign that things could potentially resemble heading towards your fantasy reality… the reality you want to come true… then you feel elated. You are delighted. You feel relief from the self-induced torture of resisting/rejecting all of reality that is outside of the pinhole-sized portion of “acceptable reality” that you’ve decided is real. And when reality falls outside of your pinhole-sized, microscopic idea of an acceptable reality, you feel terrible… you feel worthless, stressed, deflated, disappointed, etc.

4) This is the paranoia: You have trained yourself to shield your very fragile, fictitious fantasy reality of what you want and, in order to keep the nonsense alive, your brain habitually generates images of how this fragile fantasy could be destroyed… then you react to those images.

Here’s the fact of the matter….

No matter what happens with this guy, it’s not going to make you happy. It’s not going to complete you, it’s not going to change everything. The best you can hope for is relief from the stressful fantasy game you’re putting yourself through.

Being good at relationships and being good at being happy is the same thing. Happiness is the relationship you have with yourself… when you find way to relate to every moment (every. single. moment.) in a way that feels good and happy to you (even when everything is going the opposite of the way you’d prefer it to go), then you love yourself. Then you are finally … (continued – Click to keep reading Ask a Guy: Am I Just His Fallback Girl?)

Written by Eric Charles

I'm Eric Charles, the co-founder and co-editor of A New Mode. I love writing articles to help people free themselves from suffering and have clarity in their love life. I have a degree in Psychology and I've dedicated the last 20 years of my life to learning everything I can about human psychology and sharing what gets people out of struggling with life and into having the life they really want. If you want to contact me, feel free to reach out on Facebook or Twitter.

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All this article is teaching you is that women should have no expectations while the guy is carefree and gets what he wants. That’s unrealistic. There should be relationship goals even with a friendship. If I meet some girl and I want to be friends with her I’m going to do things to help build towards that goal. That’s life. To meet someone with no intentions in mind is unrealistic. I don’t meet a potential employer just for the heck of it. I don’t meet a potential contractor just for the heck of it. Everyone you meet you have some goal in mind of what you want to accomplish. Men should be no exception and we should not let them off the hook. The right advice for this girl is that if she doesn’t think this is leading to something that she wants, cut him off. Plain and simple. Not finding her own happiness. What makes you think she wasn’t happy? I’m sure she was perfectly happy before him and she will be perfectly happy when she lets go of him and the confusion he’s causing in her life.

Reply February 29, 2016, 9:02 am

Eric Charles

I do believe it’s a good idea for people (men and women) to have standards. I don’t believe it’s a good idea to have expectations.

Standards are knowing what you won’t accept (as in, if it’s what’s happening then you are OK with walking away and letting go).

Expectations are ideas in your head that the other person *should* be doing things for you, and if they don’t, you’ll be angry and feel entitled to attack them for it.

Moreover, having expectations or goals with people is dehumanizing to the other person. You can’t be fully present and connected to a person when your mind is busy calculating the trajectory of how to get from point A to point B with that person. It is, by definition, mentally objectifying the person.

So expectations are a bad thing. But more importantly, the real thing worth paying attention to is my earlier statement about standards: you have terms where, if they’re violated, you’re willing to walk away without looking back and you let go.

Most people, instead of walking away, double-down on trying to *make* the other person come around and force the relationship to work. With relationships, 90% of relationship success is smart selection (and that means walking away from bad choices for you).

Reply February 29, 2016, 10:23 am


Well im talking to this amazing guy and he’s very sweet and everything . Like he would want to bring me food have “secret dates” with me but the bummer is he has a girlfriend. Honestly ive been hurt alot and he says he wouldnt do that but in honest truth he is . Because he has a girlfriend and hes flirting with me. I just dont know what to do . Can you help me?

Reply June 13, 2015, 3:23 pm


I re-read this daily, thank you!

Reply April 27, 2015, 9:39 pm


Personally, I think a woman can have the best mood ever and if a guy is hell bent on a fling and she wants a boyfriend then no amount of good mood, fun, etc. is going to change that. It might for a short time but not for a real relationship. The only thing I found useful in the article is a reminder for women to be happy in their life. However, relationships are a lot more complicated than be happy, cause it still takes the right fit, the right relationships goals, and more. Let’s say she wants a boyfriend and this guy wants a travel fling, she can be happy and living in the moment but she won’t get a boyfriend and he will get a fling.

Reply September 22, 2014, 12:26 pm


so I have a serious question about long distance relationships.. How can I go about this relationship? And do you think that the guy is really doing what he says? For example a guy I am currently speaking to is always ‘busy’ as he says with working here and there. And he doesn’t really text me throughout the day or when he has time, unless I text him first. Is he just really busy or is that an excuse? I’m so confused on this one! I don’t know what to believe because long distance is hard to know if you truly can trust that person, not saying I don’t, but sometimes makes you second guess everything..

Reply September 16, 2014, 12:48 am

Mary Walker

I have been seeing this guy for 3 years and living with him. I just caught him having cyber sex with someone. Was ferious. He said he didn’t know that he was doing such thing. Well I feel he is still cheating on me. He freaks when I go near his phone. There is more.

Reply September 15, 2014, 8:47 pm


Eric is soooo right! I have been focusing on my mood for the past few months and have seen almost magical things happen in my dating life. Life has been so much clearer since Eric came into it. :)

Reply September 10, 2014, 10:56 am

Crystal Tompkins

I loved how you kept it real…I really enjoyed this article…until recently I was unfortunately one of those illusionist….now I have learned to do what makes me happy and enjoy making memories….the rest will fall into place… happiness is not planned or mapped out….its a feeling of living life and enjoying each moment of it.

Reply September 9, 2014, 10:28 pm

Aj Tooke

Thanks! So needed this today. Look forward to your email advice!

Reply September 9, 2014, 5:44 pm


This was like reading my situation literally!
I know all what you have written but I needed to hear/read it in another person phrases. Other than mine.
Thank you. God bless.

Reply September 9, 2014, 5:38 pm


Love! Love! Love it!
Eric you nailed it once again!

Reply September 8, 2014, 8:49 pm


Eric, this is the best article you’ve ever written. You are amazing. Thank you.

Reply September 6, 2014, 1:59 pm

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