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Dating Phenomenon: Being on The Shelf (Or On the Hook)


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Dating Phenomenon: Being on The Shelf (Or On the Hook)

What does it mean to be “on the hook” or “on the shelf”? Check out the meaning behind this dating phenomenon. Don’t be in this predicament in relationships!

HangerHave you ever wondered why he/she keeps coming back into your life? Like a soldier who’s gone AWOL, he/she returns to your doorstep to leave again to call again only to disappear…again. In this moment, many of us feel confused yet hopeful. He keeps coming back, we say. She remembered my birthday! We coo. Anything to keep us from realizing the nature of the relationship. Eventually, we find ourselves pulling out the hair from our scalps, screaming, “What does he/she want from me?!”

He/she wants to keep you ‘on the shelf.’

An episode of How I Met Your Mother explained it best. In this episode, Ted (Josh Radnor) refuses to give up on Tiffany (played by Carrie Underwood), a taken woman who loves Ted’s affections. Throughout the episode, she claims to be interested in a possible, probable, maybe relationship with Ted….someday. Classic move when ‘on the shelf.’

So, what is it about being ‘on the shelf’ that attracts us? It’s the possibility. The game. The desire to be with someone who is unavailable. However, it is a fantasy. We think they’re back in our lives (temporarily) because they want us. We believe they need time, that we are ‘the one’ because they keep knocking on our door. That’s the thing about being ‘on the shelf.’ It fills us with hope, masking the root of the matter. The only reason he/she calls again to only disappear again is because you are his/her safety. His/her Plan B. His/her back up. His/her ‘just in case’ girl/boy. We keeps opening the door and they keep picking us up from the shelf, quickly skimming our pages instead of digging deep into every word, every theme, every metaphor.

Then they put us right back.

So, do yourself a favor. If a man ever says he’s in a troubled relationship and needs time, close the chapter. If a woman says she loves hanging out with you but you’ve never been kissed, lock the door to your bookshelf. Because being ‘on the shelf’ leads to no where. That maybe will not become a yes. The someday will keep you lingering. He/she will never pick you up and tuck you in his/her back pocket, like a favorite novel he/she can’t get enough of.

Love yourself enough to know that you deserve someone to love you right here…right now…always.

Watch Sujeiry explain it all on video!

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Sujeiry is a natural storyteller, dynamic radio show host and the proud CEO of She's been at this digital media and content creation game for 15 plus years and pours her heart and soul onto - the only site for Latinas on all things love. After realizing there was a void in the love/relationship Latina media market, she took matters into her own hands and became the go-to sex and relationship expert on Latinx platforms. The former sex and relationship expert on works diligently and passionately to encourage women of color to be their authentic selves as they navigate all things love.


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