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Let A Man Do What He Has To Do

September 15th, 2010 Leave a comment Go to comments

In the years since I graduated from Howard University, I have only missed homecoming once. That was in 2007. Anytime I bring this up, a person (always a woman) ask me why, and I tell them I was in a relationship. They ask me why I let that stop me, I say, “Well, I wasn’t going to bring her and I for damn sure wasn’t going to go by myself because that would be trouble.” They ask me why would it be trouble.

Months prior to homecoming, that same year, one of my best friends was living in London and insisted all of us, my whole crew, come out to visit. I was, of course, in a relationship with my ex at the time and I told her about the invite but I told her I wasn’t going. She asked me why. I said it wouldn’t be good for me to go. She asked me why again. I said I have a thing for black women with English accents. She asked what’s that have to do with anything. I said well if I meet a black girl with an English accent, I’m going to get in trouble. She asked me why I would get in trouble.

Here is the answer to the last question in each scenario I just wrote about. The reason I would get in trouble is because I knew back then I was no match for temptation. In both instances, when I explained how I was liable to cheat, the woman’s reply was something along the lines of, “Well if you were in love you wouldn’t cheat.”

To which I say, I am in love and to me love is not so much resisting temptation when it’s waving at me in front of my face, but avoiding all possible scenarios where temptation would rear it’s ugly head.

I have a theory called the Alcoholic Bartender Theory. The way I see it, if I was running a restaurant and I knew my most talented bartender also had a drinking problem, I would cut my losses and re-assign him to another area in the restaurant. Now of course he can bring me his sponsor and all this proof he’s sobered up, so as to show he can control himself behind a bar, but why even take the risk? Why put him in the exact same scenario that probably contributed to him landing in rehab in the first place?

This is the theory I applied back in 2007 when I was avoiding a week in the UK with my boys and a weekend down in D.C. with my boys, yet some women never seem to understand why I couldn’t do both. But what’s funny is, when I explained to my boys why I couldn’t go overseas or down to the District for homecoming was because I had a girl, they didn’t even flinch. Sure they made fun of me, but they certainly didn’t question my love for my girl. As a matter of fact, they said the exact opposite. When plans were being made to go the UK, it was right around the time things were getting serious. When I told my boys it was because I was getting serious about this girl, I wouldn’t be going on the trip, my boys knew how serious I was. As one of them said to me, “Damn man, you must really love that girl.”

He was right. I did.

Women have to understand that when a man is in love with her, he will do everything in his power to keep straight. That’s honestly probably the reason why some men don’t want to get into a relationship. Some men (emphasis on some, not all) know in order for them to be happy with the boyfriend they are, they have to let go of a lot of things they used to be. As I always say, you date someone for who they are, but you love someone for who they become.

I have been single for two years now, and in those two years I have developed a lot of habits that are not relationship-friendly. When I think about the idea of getting into a relationship with a woman again, the idea of it all seems so daunting. Not because of the things I will have to learn, but because of the things I will have to unlearn. This here bachelor life is a lifestyle, and I know when I get into a relationship, I will be making a decision to live a different lifestyle, but women always seem to not understand the differences between the two, so they wonder why a man can’t be the same guy he was before he met her.

Women think men avoid titles because they don’t want others to know what kind of relationship they’re in, when really a lot of men just want to deserve the title they’re given. If a man isn’t willing to work for a title, he doesn’t want it bestowed upon him. And if a man is given a title or asks for it, then he’s willing to do whatever it takes to retain the title day after day.

If a man is doing things like avoiding a night out with his boys, avoiding guys only trips, changing his phone number so the old girls won’t keep calling, I’m not saying he deserves a pat on the back. But he for damn sure doesn’t need to be asked if all those moves are necessary. For some of us (again emphasis on some, thumbs up to the men to whom this post does not apply), they are. Quit worrying about why a man can’t be himself  just because he’s in a relationship. He’s been himself for years and now maybe he wants to be someone else, specifically, a good boyfriend and, who knows, eventually a good husband. Whatever it takes, let a man do what he has to do.

P.S.: The fourth edition of the Poppin’ Questions Podcast is now ready for your enjoyment. Click here to listen or download.

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  • Sentrell

    Hmm This post really cleared some things up for me. Thanks! I always enjoy reading your site.

  • ??

    Now how do I show this post to the guy I like and ask him if this is why he keeps saying he’s not ready without sending him an e-mail with the post asking him if this why he keeps saying he’s not ready?

  • http://bubblyblackgirl.wordpress.com Renae

    Wow, “Let a man do what he has to do”. This helps me to see and understand those behaviours that are often called “shady” (i.e. changing the phone number, etc) and see them as necessary steps towards a committed relationship. I see you. Great post.

  • tamia w

    I LOVE THIS POST … Everything you said is true and i agree with it

  • Miss. Riss

    You always have a way of writing a post that makes me think about my current situations totally different. He should thank you for that. LOL

  • http://www.adivastateofmind.com A Diva State of Mind

    So many women need to read this. You’ve answered a lot of questions with this one post!

  • Jackie

    So you’re basically Pookie from New Jack City, lol

  • Erica

    Hahahaha @ ????? that is def something I have wondered on various jozen posts. I say, just send the link and say “so….is this why?” Add a smiley face. Go for it. Obviously you want to know, so ask. Give yourself some peace of mind! What’s the worst that can happen?

  • mochabarbie

    Great post. Thanks for the clarity.

  • ??

    @Erica

    He’ll realize I really am nuts and can’t get him off my brain :-/

  • http://sleep-is-the-cousin-of-death.blogspot.com/ MadScientist7

    i agree 100%. especially about unlearning behaviors.

  • j

    good stuff jozen…. nice perspective “Quit worrying about why a man can’t be himself just because he’s in a relationship. He’s been himself for years and now maybe he wants to be someone else, specifically, a good boyfriend and, who knows, eventually a good husband. Whatever it takes, let a man do what he has to do.”

  • Cristina

    This is a very interesting take on it….. I like the emphasis on “some” men because sometimes your readers go a little nuts generalizing everything.

    This thing about this is that the guy then doesn’t trust the girl to go on girl only trips or girls night out. Just cus he can’t trust himself, does not mean she can not trust herself. |

    On Saturday night I met these two girls from England around 34th St and OMG they looked like prostitutes!!! No joke!!!!! My friends saw nothing wrong with it but I was like you know if they didn’t have those accents you would be like where is the rest of their clothes and why do they have 17 lbs of makeup on their faces ala drag queen…… a little off topic, but I’m just saying.

  • v4c

    “to me love is not so much resisting temptation when it’s waving at me in front of my face, but avoiding all possible scenarios where temptation would rear it’s ugly head”

    That (^), you should package and sell. Put it on t-shirts and mugs. Attach it to a plane and have it flown around for all to see.

    Why hasn’t Oprah or Dr. Phil talked about this?! Someone call Soledad and tell her to hop on this topic ASAP for her next hit, Relationships in America!

    So actual and factual. Yet, no one seems to live it.

    Shameful…

  • http://www.avenue8.com MissMina

    Good insight. I have always believed that cheating is never like oops “I slipped and fell on his…” (quoting Love Jones) but it is always the grand finale of a string of bad decisions. So this is definitely the smart way to go

  • Vanessa

    I love the part about titles:
    “Women think men avoid titles because they don’t want others to know what kind of relationship they’re in, when really a lot of men just want to deserve the title they’re given. If a man isn’t willing to work for a title, he doesn’t want it bestowed upon him. And if a man is given a title or asks for it, then he’s willing to do whatever it takes to retain the title day after day.” – exactly what I need to hear from a man’s perspective. Thanks!

  • Tbeauty

    *Sigh* You men make everything so complicated. But I see where this article is coming from, but then there is this stubborn part of me that’s like No!. Dammit it’s not necessary to completely be lame just because you’re in a relationship!!

    On the other hand, a part of was enlightened because this does explain why men are very weary of doing the whole relationship thing. I also feel like as a single gal this applies to me as well. Right now there are a whole host of “not relationship-friendly habits” that I enjoy ie. my Thursday happy hr ritual with my male friend, clubbing with my girlfriends, or say the long hours I work which often cause me to have to cancel dates during the week and cause me to only be available on the weekends (mostly Sat.). Hmmmm…So from a female perspective I concur, Jozen!

  • BYondit

    ‘Quit worrying about why a man can’t be himself  just because he’s in a relationship. He’s been himself for years and now maybe he wants to be someone else’ … #CHURCH

  • **inquiring mind**

    @ Christina “a little off topic, but I’m just saying”… girl you hatin'(j/k)… at Essence I saw somma da same mess, I guess it’s a trend we ain’t get yet *shrug*

    About the post:
    Interesting perspective. If I had to guess I would say it boils down to the whole women being more imprisoned by their feelings and men their thoughts (not to say men ain’t emotional, but I find their most binding emotions come from ego which could easily revert back to their thoughts/perception… I digress). If I had to guess I would think most women only cheat when they are unhappy in a relationship (feelings) while men cheat when they grow bored (thoughts)… so, maybe yeah something as exciting as a new place with new women with new accents could deter one’s outlook on their commitment… Awww Jozen, you just effed it up for all the ninjas out there now. Let a mofo tell ME they wanna go on a “guys trip” or to HOMECOMING (ninja WHAT?)… he’s definitely getting the HELL NAW!

    Good post… PS. Alladat was a joke… I mean at some point you gotta trust right? Yourself included, no? And if you can’t, then can you really say the relationship is for you?… I mean, I thought trust (trusting them and yourself to do the right thing in bad situations) was a major part of having a successful relationship… awww now I’m confused.

  • BoomShots

    I will give you props for this one, it gets to the point of the matter. There a great deal about being a single man that is antithetical to being in a committed monogamus relationship.

    Anyone with an experienced or seasoned view of life is aware of this fact but the idealist are often aware.

  • Danni

    **inquiring mind** :
    Like or Dislike: 0  0
    Good post… PS. Alladat was a joke… I mean at some point you gotta trust right? Yourself included, no? And if you can’t, then can you really say the relationship is for you?… I mean, I thought trust (trusting them and yourself to do the right thing in bad situations) was a major part of having a successful relationship… awww now I’m confused.

    True, true. But I think his point is that he’s gonna have to learn to trust that he can be faithful to a woman he cares about even when temptation is staring him dead in the face. And until that day comes, he just has to avoid the temptation all together.

  • HoneyMoney

    I think woman ask you why you can’t do both because they want to understand why the man they love cannot resist temptation for them. I am 31 yrs old and will never understand cheating…maybe in a handful of cases but that’s it. I believe if you don’t want to do it, you just don’t.

    Pretty much, its not something I would want to hear and its in a way the guy wanting to get credit for not cheating. Like, “see how I am such a good bf? I am not goin to the party/uk/whatever because I don’t want to cheat on you!” Really people who say things like deserve a pat on the head and a doggie treat.

  • SimplyBeautiful

    ‘To which I say, I am in love and to me love is not so much resisting temptation when it’s waving at me in front of my face, but avoiding all possible scenarios where temptation would rear it’s ugly head.’

    Now THAT’s what I’m talking about…THANK YOU. Sad part is people don’t get that…avoid the temptation to avoid the loss of the one you love.

    (now back to my scheduled reading…had to stop on that one).

  • Christine

    You have not truly been in love. A little bit of tail with an English accent would not make you stray if you loved someone. I’m not saying you shouldn’t be attracted to another person or even flirt shamelessly..but to have sex with another person…I don’t know…wrap it up anyway you want, but real love is a different than the rest!

  • citygirl22

    **inquiring mind** :Like or Dislike: 0  0
    Let a mofo tell ME they wanna go on a “guys trip” or to HOMECOMING (ninja WHAT?)… he’s definitely getting the HELL NAW!

    right?!?!?!?!? bwahahahahahahahahahaha!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I mean, I thought trust (trusting them and yourself to do the right thing in bad situations) was a major part of having a successful relationship… awww now I’m confused.

    girl, don’t be confused. A big part of the problem is that we women sometimes like to use the word “trust,” when in our own minds, it’s really a “test.” That, coupled with the foolish belief that our particular p—y is sooooo wonderful that a man will magically become blind, deaf and dumb to every other woman around him. We create these fallacies because we want to believe we are special.

    And we are. Special enough for a man to want to leave all that other ish behind (at least for now, LOL) and be with us. So, why set him up to fail? Instead, we need to appreciate the fact that he is honest and willing to make sacrifices in order to give our relationship a chance. That’s the very definition of commitment.

    Love this post, Jozen!

  • BoomShots

    @citygirl22

    That is some real grown folks talk for you!!

  • **inquiring mind**

    @Danni and @citygirl22

    You know… I can dig that. Excellent points and explanations.

    @citygirl22

    Burrrr???? Test??? Me no know if this “test” you speak of… lol

  • Jade

    This was great! However, at some point you have to be able to have that drink with the boys in a bar full of Black Women with British accents, right? Avoiding your temptations only works until they start finding you. What if you Mr. Writer found yourself in a very esteemed position at a magazine and your boss a fine Black Woman with a British accent just happened to think that you, my friend were irresistable. Do you quit your job? Or do you face your fear? Do you ask your girl to help the fantasy come true by allowing the Brit to join in or do you ask her to out on a phony British accent with British flag Knickers :) Just a thought … I loved your post.

  • Tasha

    Good Post. But if you can’t go out of town for a few days without cheating or without thinking you’ll cheat…that’s a problem. Do you really lack that much self control??

  • http://streetztalk.net Streetz

    THis post is 100% tabernacle!

  • http://mobbdeen.tumblr.com Deen

    Slow clap. Eventually, one can trust himself to behave but until then, it’s best to avoid temptation…

  • http://www.teaandsuch.blogspot.com Tea

    Alcoholic Bartender Theory… YES! This is a phenomenal description. I shall be using this in the future, it’s not copyright infringement if give you a hat tip, is it? :)

  • Kelz

    I still don’t know about this though. I totally see where you are coming from. But at the same time. There is no way you can avoid all the temptation in the world. What if a girl with an English accent gets a job at the same place you work. Are you going to quit? I think being in a relationship is yes about avoiding temptation, but also knowing what’s most important to you, so that the things that phased you before phase you less because of the person you are with.
    Idk, guys do function differently than women though.

  • ShaCrista

    Great post! Having dealt with a man who left me because he felt he was not worthy of the title of being my man, this really hits home. I didn’t understand it at the time and was totally devastated that we broke up over that, but this post and other pieces I’ve read have totally cleared things up! He totally made some terrible choices while we were “separated” for us to ever get back together, but I would have if this (him trying to be a good boyfriend) was our only concern. Nice job sir!

  • Kady

    Intersting post. I actually was on vacation a few years ago and was chatting with a very cute bartender but when I asked if he was going out later, he told me he was in a long distance relationship and avoids “trouble”, I though it was cute, but didnt think much else about it. But this post does make me wonder if my man will think im cheating because I dont avoid cetain types of events or vacations. In the past my boyfriends have always had atleast 1 mid vacation freakout whenever I go away with the girls. I can totally respect if a man wants to avoid what he consisders to be “trouble”, but I think its totally different for women, I can bask in the glory of getting attention from a very good looking man anytime, but it never has to go any further than that.

  • http://womanofcolor.wordpress.com brownivyx

    I was just having this conversation (read: argument) with a male buddy of mine. He contends that men are biologically conditioned to cheat and women aren’t. I explained that women have the same urges but we tend to avoid (stupid) situations in which we have to battle that temptation. For exactly the same reason I don’t keep ice cream in my house…I know myself well enough to know better. Would I like my man to be able to fight off a nekkid Brazilian Jessica Alba-Sofia Vergara hybrid while thinking sweet thoughts of me? Sure. But I’d be just as happy if he doesn’t let his Alba-look-alike co-worker talk to him in enclosed/locked spaces or plan elaborate trips to Rio with his single, baller friends.

    Meanwhile, I’ll continue to fend off the (semi) playful advances of my good-looking male buddies.

  • KiLlingMEsoFTly

    Jozen,

    Just recently started reading your blog and I will say all the entries I have read has been a good read. I love your perspective. Never thought about this topic in this way before but I can dig it. An ex from at least 7 years ago use to tell me this exact think but you know I thought it was a load a crock of course but being a little older and hopefully wiser I can say I get it!!!

    This is a side bar but, I would like you to write a blog about why men break up with a woman, move on and start a new relationship and still call their ex. Isn’t that temptation especially when there is and always has been this heighten sexual chemistry!! Inquiring minds want to know. I’m just saying in the word of Deborah Cox we can’t be friends. I’m sure many woman would like to know!!

    Thanks!!!

  • http://metanotherfrog.com Sam Sharpe

    This post was so on point. This section in particular needs to be explained very carefully to women:

    “Women think men avoid titles because they don’t want others to know what kind of relationship they’re in, when really a lot of men just want to deserve the title they’re given. If a man isn’t willing to work for a title, he doesn’t want it bestowed upon him. And if a man is given a title or asks for it, then he’s willing to do whatever it takes to retain the title day after day.”

    I’m in the exact same position. Really busy trying to establish myself professionally, back in school part time and enjoying keeping my own counsel and not being beholden to anyone else. In a word: bachelorhood. Many wonderful women have assumed I’m running from relationships with them when it simply is a matter of knowing I won’t be any good at it (at least not consistently) right now.

    Again, I really, really love this post.

  • Vionne

    Wow Jozen…..this post is so on point!!!!

  • http://www.cruxny.com Angel

    Love this post. Cleared some things up and definitely made sense of other things.

  • zy

    @Jackie
    LMAO!!!!! “It just be calling me!!!!”

  • zy

    This post was great but I still think at some point, a man in a relationship is going to have to stand up and simply look temptation in the face and rise above it. it’s that simple. you can’t tell me you’re going to avoid every black woman with an english accent in the world… especially in your line of work… it’s impossible. so why not just be true to the woman you’re with, put your relationship before your lust and simply be the man you are for her even when she’s not around? let’s face it, your work may take you to london at some point and then what are you gonna do?

  • Kristin

    Why am I just getting up on your blogs??!! I love this!

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  • AmazingTheory

    Wow, I’ve been begging my boyfriend to adopt this strategy to no avail. I am an attractive woman and being tempted a lot so I avoid putting myself in such situations but it seems to be all he does. I just don’t trust our human nature, has nothing to do that I think badly of my boyfriend.

  • Anonymous

    So many people fail to realize that you have to keep yourself away from certain situations so as not to caught up. You can’t avoid everywhere temptation is to be found, though, so you’d have to eventually build up a form of resolve beyond refusing to show up.