How to Be a Priority, Not an Option: 6 Powerful Steps that Work post image

How to Be a Priority, Not an Option: 6 Powerful Steps that Work

Do you feel like guys always treat you like a last priority? When someone treats you like an option, it can really make a dent in your self-esteem.

You think, “I don’t feel important” and that can begin to influence your behaviors, leading to a negative cycle of not feeling good enough and then being treated as such.

Not to worry though. Stick with me to the end and I will reveal what makes a guy really invest in you and treat you like a priority vs an option.

Here’s a common misconception – a lot of people believe they will get back exactly what they give. A woman will invest in a man with her whole heart, prioritize him, and make him feel like the most important thing in her life. But she ends up not getting that back and wonders what she’s doing wrong.

MORE: When You’re Not a Priority in His Life

This is how you end up in a relationship where you’re doing all of the work and you feel like you’re way more invested in it than he is. The more you invest in him, the less work he puts forth because he doesn’t feel like he has to.

This is a very common issue many women face and I’m going to tell you the exact steps to be his priority and why you should never make someone a priority if they’re not doing the same for you.

First let’s talk about some signs that you aren’t his priority…

1. He’s In And Out Of Your Life

Women call this being “hot and cold”, wishy-washy, or sending mixed messages. The point is, he’s not being consistent. He might disappear for days at a time or it feels like pulling teeth trying to communicate with him and make plans.

A guy who prioritizes you would never go days or weeks without reaching out to you because he fears losing you. When a guy doesn’t care, he doesn’t make the effort. If you disappear, he won’t do anything about it because he wasn’t invested in the first place.

MORE: How Do I Get Him to Treat Me Like a Priority?

2. He Doesn’t Make Plans In Advance

If you try to make plans with him, he won’t give you a definitive answer or he always makes plans with you last minute making you feel rushed and like you’re just an afterthought. This often feels like he’s just contacting you because he’s bored and doesn’t have anything better to do with his time.

Oftentimes when I hear women say, “He treats me like an option”, this is the type of behavior they’re referencing. They’re not a priority to their man so they don’t get treated like one with the care and planning that he would normally take with something or someone he really cared about.

3. You’re Doing All The Work

This one often goes hand in hand with the previous point. You are always the one who initiates calls and texts. It’s you coming up with the fun date ideas and it feels like he’s just along for the ride.

If you suddenly stopped doing all the work and making all the plans, you probably wouldn’t hear from this guy again. I call this the passive reciprocation trap.

What happens is you reach out to him and the interaction is pleasant enough but he makes zero effort to make plans or follow through with you. He’ll happily pick up the phone when you call but he isn’t putting in the same effort to contact you and make things happen. He is passively reciprocating.

MORE: How Men Show Their Love

4. He Tells You He Doesn’t Want A Relationship

Maybe he doesn’t want a relationship with anyone right now. Maybe he just doesn’t want a relationship with you. Either way, if a guy ever says this, the most important thing is to BELIEVE HIM!

Don’t fall into the trap of thinking you can make him change his mind, that he just needs to spend more time in your sparkling presence or that he doesn’t know what he really “needs” in his life (i.e. a relationship with you).


5. He Doesn’t Do Anything To Make You Feel Special

This one feels awful when you realize, “He never makes an effort with me. I’m just not a priority.” You’re just like any other woman in his life. There’s nothing special that makes him step up and treat you like a priority, not an option.

So now if you’ve recognized the signs and are thinking “Wow, I’m being treated like an option and I just want to be a priority”, how do you turn the tables on him? How do you fix this pattern so that you’ll never be an option and have to settle for mistreatment again?

1. Exercise Your Walking power

Let me just make this clear first, walking power is not saying, “You better act the way I want you to or I’m leaving!” It’s not about making threats or ultimatums on a whim in order to bend him to your will.

Walking power is a mindset and a way of being. Men are biologically hardwired to desire a woman who is the “prize.” To be a prize, you must be a woman that he could potentially lose to another man if he doesn’t bring his best to the relationship. When a man feels that he could lose you if he doesn’t bring his A- game… he brings his A-game!

When he feels that you’re not going anywhere, he knows that he has you and he no longer has to bring his A-game to keep you…he won’t. He might not mean to, but people are people; it’s human nature to take whatever path is the least effort to maintain.

Don’t make someone a priority when you’re only an option. If you’re being treated like an option, use your walking power. If he truly likes you, he will quickly snap to attention and step up because he doesn’t want to lose you.

And if he does nothing and lets you slip away, well, you don’t want to be with a wishy-washy guy like that anyways. Why waste your time on someone who doesn’t want you?

Remember, how he treats you is how he feels about you. If he’s not enthusiastic, happy, and engaging, it’s because he doesn’t feel that way towards you.

MORE: Why Men Lose Interest and How to Fix It

“Walking Power” means you always remember that you have other options. It helps you remember that you don’t need to be in the relationship with your current guy, you choose to be. And if a guy says he doesn’t want a relationship, then that is the time to use your walking power!

2. Establish Depth of Connection

One major thing men look at when deciding whether you’re just “A” girl or “THE” girl comes down to depth of connection.

When you have depth of connection, you are a special person in his life. You are a partner. You’re on the inside of his life and he feels that he can let guard down around you. It is only when you have depth of connection that you have true shot at love.


This level of connection is super important if you want to be a priority and not an option to him.

How do you know if you have that depth of connection with him? Here are some questions to ask yourself:
Does he talk to you about problems and stresses he deals with in life? Or does he just show you his “got-it-all-together” persona?
Is he real with you? Does he show his true emotions?
Is he guarded or unguarded around you? Does he always keep things light and surface-level, even when it comes to painful areas, secrets and fears?
Does he talk to you about what’s most important to him?
Do you know things about him not many other people know? For instance, things you wouldn’t find anywhere on his social media.
Has he immersed you in his life? Have you met his friends and family, etc?
Does he make an effort for you to understand him?
Does he talk about a future with you in a real, concrete way?

It’s important to ask yourself these questions. The answers to these questions will give you a clear idea of the depth of connection you have with him. It comes down to whether he’s guarded or unguarded around you. That will ultimately tell you if there’s truly relationship potential here.

3. Let Him Know What It Is You Want!

I get so many messages from women asking me for help deciphering their relationships and basically asking me to be a mind-reader for their man! They ask why hasn’t he kissed them yet or introduced them to his friends.

I often ask, “Well, have you asked him for any of these things? Have you told him what you want to have happen?” and they answer no.

So many women are afraid to speak up and express their needs and I get it. The fear here is that they will come across as needy and any request, however small, will be seen as desperation or neediness and send him running for the hills.

But owning what you want isn’t neediness. Neediness is needing someone else to validate you because you don’t feel good about yourself. It’s not neediness to know what you want and to ask straight up for it. If you think, “I’m don’t feel like a priority to my boyfriend”, ask yourself if you’re being up front with him about your wants and needs.

You can tell him, with poise and confidence, “You know… I really need you to plan things with me in advance.” Or, “I really love it when you text me or call me curing the day and I really love it when you plan romantic dates. It makes me feel really cared for.”


Asking for what you want takes you from “I don’t feel important” to “I feel empowered in this relationship and I’m glad I speak up.”

You also have a right to know where your relationship stands. Stop being so afraid of rocking the boat. If you have to monitor your behavior around a guy so carefully, he probably isn’t the right guy for you.

4. Pull Back

This applies if you’re putting in all the work, you’re doing everything, and you find yourself in that passive reciprocation trap I mentioned earlier.

Just step back a bit and see what happens. If he truly likes you, he’s not just going to let you fade into the abyss. Sometimes women make their man too comfortable and make it too easy because we want to be cool and easygoing.

Take a break and make space for him to step up and come to you. Don’t be mean or cold. Just simply stop doing all the work.


One of two things will happen. Either he will step up and start putting in more effort because he’s starting to feel you slip away. Or, he won’t make any changes to his behavior in which case you’ll know for sure that you were in a passive reciprocation trap and the only one investing in the relationship.

5. Don’t Commit To Him Until He Has Committed To You

A guy is not going to invest equally in you based on how much you invest in him. Don’t act like his girlfriend until you are his girlfriend! I say this all the time because it’s so crucial to making sure a guy is ready and willing to step up and commit.

Don’t cut yourself off from other guys. You are not competing for his affections and auditioning for the role of girlfriend. Even if you’re not seeing anyone else, at least mentally keep yourself open to the idea.

Let him invest in you. You don’t get someone to invest in you by investing in them (and doubling down when it doesn’t seem to be working). When you do this for a man, it isn’t earned or deserved so he doesn’t value it or make you a priority. Let him come to you, put in some work, and plan the dates.

6. Be Easy To Be Around

This is the #1 thing men want in a relationship: someone who is easy and fun to be around.

If being around you is a drag, he won’t want to be around you. It’s as simple as that. On the other hand, if being around you feels good, feels like relief and happiness, he will be open to you.

7. Prioritize Yourself

If you want a man to treat you like a priority, you have got to prioritize yourself. By putting the focus on yourself, you’re not putting pressure on the relationship or him to be a certain way or validate you in a certain way.

You do not become a priority to him by making him your priority. You get it by prioritizing yourself! This ties into the last point I made that when you’re focused on how awesome your life already is, you’re happy and you put out that good energy and that’s what is so attractive to men.

Having a fun and amazing life and enjoying time by yourself is super attractive. You have to have things going on for yourself outside of the relationship.


MORE: When You’re Not His Priority

When you’re always available, you’re not a hot commodity. He knows he has you and he doesn’t have to really put in too much work because you’re always around no matter what.

To flip the tables, fill your schedule as much as you can and remember that the relationship and guy are an addition to your life, not the end-all-be-all that finally makes you happy.

Get back to who you were before being in a relationship. Don’t abandon everything for him and spend all your time with him. If you’re in a long-term relationship and you find yourself feeling more like an option than a priority, think back to how you were in the beginning of the relationship.

MORE: Why You Must Be a Priority

What made you happy? What were you doing without him? What was it that made him so attracted to you in the first place?

Don’t wait for him to put you first. Put yourself first and don’t be an option.

Let me know in the comments below what you think. Are you currently struggling with believing “I’m more than just an option”? If you have any questions, please post them below. I read every single one. And make sure to like and subscribe for more relationship and dating tips to get you the love life you truly want.

If you’ve been doing everything right and he still seems to be pulling away then something deeper might be going on. If you want to know why men sometimes lose interest and pull away, and what you can do to bring him back, read this next: If He’s Pulling Away, Do This...

Written by Sabrina Alexis

I’m Sabrina Alexis, the co-founder, and co-editor of A New Mode. I love writing relatable, insightful articles that help people understand relationship dynamics and how to get the love they want. I have a degree in psychology and have spent the last 10 years interviewing countless men and reading and studying as much as I can to better understand human psychology and how men operate. If you want to get in touch with me, hit me up on Facebook or Instagram.

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I have been dating my boyfriend for 7 years. Sadly we have experienced a lot of trauma. We moved in together 2 years ago. Unfortunately his dad was diagnosed with cancer and passed away earlier this year. We decided to move back to his parents house to help them financially and emotionally. Since then our relationship has been rocky. We took a month break and things seemed better until suddenly efforts stopped and he slowly moved into a depression. We then broke up and about 2 months after that he came back and put in so much effort… sadly the effort did not last long and he recently told me he “Cant be what I need right now, can’t do this anymore and can’t think of relationships.” This has been extremely heartbreaking for me as its been 7 years together, I don’t understand how he is ok to loose me after being together for so long. He has completely pulled away. I do believe he loves me as before we found out about his dad marriage was brought up by him. I don’t doubt his feelings but sadly his actions speak otherwise. I would love some advice on how to get us back to where we could be and also some advice on how these steps would work if he is in a depressive state. Him saying these things like he can’t do this anymore is a reflection on how broken he is but sadly only he can help himself…. The biggest problem is I’m not ready for this to be the end…… Please Help!!

Reply October 29, 2021, 6:54 am


Okay, now on to my question and dilemma:

I have been “dating a guy” for two months. We met thru OLD. It was so great in the first 3 dates. We were open, fun-loving, enjoying each other’s company, asking each other questions. He kissed me on the third date. Lovely! He has, like clockwork, text me 3 times a week to see how I am, ask me out for the weekend, and just to chat a bit. Our text msging used to be long bc i was so into it, then I feel like I sabotaged it by cutting them short bc I felt like I wanted “more” from him. I also started being quiter on dates because I felt I was doing a lot of the talking, and I felt like he wasnt asking me questions, so i feel like my energy changed. A couple times he asked me out later in the week for Sat (he text on Th and Fri). I turned him down. I could tell on text that he also pulled back. It’s like he’s mirroring what I do over text. He still kisses me all the time, always touching me when we’re out, but he doesnt tell me he likes me, and he doesnt really compliment me. He is from a European country where the men are known to be a bit more reserved, but i dont want to use that as an excuse. Im really confused. i havent asked him anything, as I think we both may not be great at being too emotional or great at communicating whats happening in our mind. It has gotten to the point where I have felt awkward a couple times and I think he picked up on the vibe. Ugh! What do I do? What’s going on? I am leaving the state for work for a month. We met this past weekend and i told him to keep in touch with text and phone, and ill miss him. he said hell miss me too, and to keep in touch as well. I feel like some of the things I say could be selfsabotaging, like I told him when I was leaving: and maybe we will meet up again in a month when I come back.” ugh…dont know why im so awkward. How do I know if he likes me, doesnt like me, or if Im sabotaging. HELP!

Reply August 29, 2021, 7:21 pm


Cristine, I am here to ask a question myself, but i HIGHLY ADVISE you to seek a therapist. I have, and it was THE BEST DECISION I EVER MADE. She has helped me to balance myself, regain my spirit for life, and talk through all my problems. I feel stronger, and thus, can better handle relationship decisions. Based off what you are saying, I really think you will find this helpful. Plus, friends and family…we all have issues. You need a REAL THERAPIST with an amazing background who will help you SO MUCH! Please get a therapist! Lots of luck and love!!!

Reply August 29, 2021, 7:14 pm


I’m puzzled why I have a man pursuing me who is definitely not interested in me; tells me he is not pursuing me but takes the initiative to ring every week and make a date with me. This has been going on and off for years now. After 3 episodes of affairs on his part, I have cooled and am no longer interested in a relationship, but as lockdown was intensely lonely, we have been supporting each other as friends. His behaviour has changed towards me, he was once more caring and more generous. Now he is frequently moody, irritable and stingy. I feel as if I am being controlled. If he is into someone else, why does he bother? I have pulled back and am just polite and friendly if he makes the effort. However I feel I have lost confidence in myself and find it hard to believe that anyone would want to make any effort to keep me and treat me the way I should be treated. I cannot fill my schedule as I am in my 60s and partly disabled and fear the loneliness if we part. So I content myself with someone to go out with, who can drive, although it is mostly about what he wants to do which is usually governed by his tightness with money. I am unsure how to handle this. He has no family and I don’t really have anyone else. I don’t really feel I can talk to my friends, some are having a hard time and some “tune out” when I try to talk feelings. So many of the people I know seem rather self-absorbed and full of themselves, but there are one or two that I genuinely like. I feel rather guilty that I feel so negative about some friends. I suspect I attract needy people. I have arranged some counselling to try and sort out what is going on with me. I think I may be hiding behind this man, because I am afraid to trust because I have felt let down by every single man I ever opened up to and feel inadequate now. It is hard not to feel distrustful and suspicious especially after this man’s affairs. I think he may be Aspergers or on the Autism spectrum, so I make allowances for that, but he is intensely private and never wants to talk about what he has been doing, so I find it hard to trust him and because of that and his past affairs find it hard to want a relationship with him now. I feel I should probably walk away but what to? I feel this disconnection and distrust with a lot of people and unsure of other relationships.

Reply August 5, 2021, 4:56 am

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