Are you a love interest or are you a victim of being cookie jarred?
What is “Cookie Jarring” and How Do You Know if You Are Being Cookie Jarred?
Dating a few people at once, trying to figure out what they are looking for in a relationship, has become the norm in the online dating world. Many people will hold on to one of those partners as a backup, while pursuing someone they are genuinely interested in. This is called “cookie jarring”. This happens when an individual needs a back-up plan or security blanket, with no intention of pursuing a long-term relationship with one partner, but are generally already dating another partner who they consider having a long-term relationship with.
Similar to the way we might reach for sweets or cookies when we feel insecure in our relationship, thinking the cookie will help us feel better, the "cookie jarrer" reaches out to the back-up option when they start to feel insecure in their forever relationship. Having a back up plan, just in case the real relationship ends, can take the sting out of feeling lonely and insecure.
Looking back to when I was in the dating world, and before I started healing, I was guilty of “cookie jarring”. When I first met Mr. Wonderful, I was so afraid of commitment, although I knew he would be my forever. At that time, I still felt insecure about myself from the disparaging comments from my past relationship. I didn’t want to fully commit to anyone until I was sure I was in a respectful and caring relationship. So, what did I do, I “cookie jarred” a guy, who I will call “the perfect backup”, who I met at the same time as Mr. Wonderful? He was the whole package and he refused to believe we weren’t meant to be. I entertained him just in case it didn’t work out with Mr. Wonderful. When Mr. Wonderful found out I was still talking to him, everything blew up in my face! I also realized I prevented the perfect backup (the person I “cookie jarred”) from meeting someone who genuinely deserved to date him. I ended up hurting both of them. But that being said, the gift I carried with me from that experience was not to be codependent because of my fear of being alone. Today, I’m healed and truly love my alone time. Luckily for me, Mr. Wonderful gave me space to heal. The perfect back up and I remained friends, we all found the happily ever after we were looking for and deserved!
What is The Difference Between Being Someone’s Love Interest or Being in Someone’s Cookie Jar?
"If you love someone, set them free. If they come back, they're yours; if they don't, they never were." -- Richard Bach
The difference between being someone’s love interest or being in someone’s cookie jar (the perfect back up or, in other words, using you as a security blanket) is:
If you are a priority in this person’s life, you are a love interest.
If this person only comes around when they are feeling rejected by their true love interest, and they run to you because they are feeling lonely or insecure, you are being cookie jarred.
If you are a true love interest, this person will be empathetic and compassionate about how you are feeling and will validate your feelings, not become defensive.
If this person is not responsive to your needs and makes their own needs priority, you are being cookie jarred.
So how do you know which category you fall under? It is difficult to know if you are in someone’s cookie jar. The person cookie jarring you is most likely trying their best to keep it hidden from you. They will appear trustworthy in order for you to feel safe when you are with them, and keep you hanging on when you are without them.
Luckily for you, there are ways for you to figure it out. Signs to watch for if you feel you are being cookie jarred:
If you try to make advance plans with this person, but this person says it’s too far in advance to make plans, you are being cookie jarred.
If this person thinks it’s ok to come to your place at the spur of the moment and on their terms, you are being cookie jarred. This generally happens when there is trouble in paradise and this person starts to feel rejected and insecure by their true love interest. This is when they start to feel lonely and think it’s ok to turn to you.
When you are putting more effort into the relationship than they are, you are being cookie jarred.
When they appear overly needy or insecure when you’re together, you are being cookie jarred.
When they speak about commitment, but they actually avoid committing, as they are unsure where their relationship with their true love interest is heading, you are being cookie jarred.
It’s so important for you to trust your gut and intuition in a situation like this. If you are feeling a little insecure about your relationship status with this person, there is a good chance they are not really into you and that you are their backup plan, or in other words, you are being cookie jarred.
The way to avoid being in someone’s cookie jar is by being clear about your intentions with this person. It’s very important to express how you feel and be clear about wanting to be exclusive. Share what the importance of being #1 looks like through your eyes. When communicating your needs, be real and vulnerable. If you are being cookie jarred, this person might start to get defensive as you express how you feel. If this person tries to turn the blame back on to you, tries to attack you or maybe accuses you of using them as your security blanket, this is because they may be panicking about you seeing their true motives. A good response would be “We can revisit this conversation when you are less frustrated and until then, let’s take a break so we can reflect and figure out our next steps.”
It's important to understand that, if you love someone, sometimes you have to let them go to allow them to figure out their life. Over time, if they realize you are their love interest, they will eventually come back to you. If you are not their love interest, they will be focused to work on their true real love interest, rather than avoiding their troubled love life. By letting go and setting boundaries you are allowing yourself to not be used as a distraction and freeing yourself to find true love. Either way, this is a win-win for everyone involved. If you are this person’s true love interest, you will eventually become their #1 after reflection. If you are being cookie jarred, you will be set free to find someone who will make you their #1 priority.
Remind yourself that if someone is not willing to meet you where you are at or validate your concerns, this is a serious red flag. If your survival brain is telling you to continue in this relationship because of your fear of being alone, remind yourself that continuing in the relationship might mean you will continue to feel disrespected and continue having trust issues as you move forward in the relationship. Also, remind yourself that you are also denying yourself of finding true love.
In my view, everyone is entitled to experience true love. Learning to love yourself first, and making yourself a priority, is a step in the right direction. Only when you realize you are worthy of having the #1 position in a relationship, rather than accepting to be #2, is when you will finally experience and find true love.
Do some deep breathing exercises and sit with the feelings you feel in your gut as this will help to find clarity.
Do I cling to others because I'm scared of being alone?
How can I allow my loved ones to have the space they desire?
Will talking things out help us see eye-to-eye?
Journal about your accomplishments in life. This will remind you of your beauty and will help you realize your worth.
By doing deep breathing exercises and answering the above questions, you will be able to have a clearer view as to whether you want to be a true love interest or sit in someone’s cookie jar. By reminding yourself of your accomplishments will remind you of your true worth.
Still wondering as to whether you are being “cookie jarred?” or if you are a true love interest? Let's chat! Drop a comment below or send me a message!