Remember when the past was the present and how we would talk about the future?
In those moments, we discussed everything: Me. You. Who would be invited to see me and you as we prepared to live life together as one.
We talked a lot about those times, with no hint of uncertainty. Somehow we knew, or rather, we felt like with the exception of the bare ring fingers we had at the moment, our future would look no different than our present.
To be fair, it was me who spoke the most of what we could be, of what I wanted us to be. You have to understand, at the moment I said anything to you, it was coming from a sincere place. I could have been strapped into a lie detector test, and the results would have showed, I never lied. I meant it when I said I could see us getting married. I meant it when I said I could live anywhere in the world with you. I meant it when I said my mother is going to love you when she meets you.
But we’re not together anymore, so getting married seems impossible. We never moved, and my mother only asks when is the last time I talked to you.
And now you think I lied to you back then; all those things I said were just things I said because they sounded good and were fun to say.
Let’s unpack some myths and facts before we get into it.
MYTH: All women want to be in a relationship.
FACT: Not all women want to be in a relationship.
MYTH: Women who don’t want to be in a relationship are not worth dating.
FACT: The best woman to take out on a date is the woman who is not searching for a relationship.
I know it may seem like a backwards idea, dating a woman who doesn’t want to be in a relationship, who isn’t hoping for a boyfriend and thinks she has no room in her life for one. If you’re one of those guys who actually wants to be in a relationship, who feels ready for a girlfriend, this idea may seem even more nonsensical. Because if you’re looking for a serious relationship with a woman, why not go for the woman who is looking to be in a serious relationship with a man?
The answer is simple: The woman who is looking for a boyfriend has an agenda.
A woman who plans her love life like she plans her weekend is a scary thing, not because commitment is scary, but because she is allowing her head to captain a journey her heart should be steering. Should I get into a relationship with this type of woman, I’m not her man so much as I’m some character in this fairy tale life she is writing every single day.
At the bottom of this post is my response for the last question of “Poppin’ Questions Podcast 35.” I bring this to your attention because it is where I repeat a phrase I wrote in my first installment of “‘Until I Get Married’ Relationship Facts.”
“You have your whole life to be single” was my response to a question from a young man who emailed me recently. Here is his question:
I’m turning 20 this Sunday. I have a best friend (and I really mean best friend), and of course she’s female. It’s one of those relationships where we’re we became good friends,then started to like each other, but couldn’t be together because she went off to college out of state. I’m sure I don’t have to explain how I feel about her. She tries to control her emotions and feelings towards me so she doesn’t get hurt; something that she’s learned to do from situations with numerous guys that have played her. It’s really hard for me sometimes. Now, I’m not interested in a relationship with anyone else. But do you think I’m wasting my time when I could be living the “single life” like so many my age are? Is there a point to be worrying about a girl I’m not with?
As I said, you can see or hear my response in the video at the bottom of the post, where I didn’t really have time to emphasize my point, so I am writing this post not only for the guy who emailed me but all the guys who are young, in love, and probably thinking they’re doing it wrong.
Fact: You’re not going to get very many of these women in his life. People love to say there’s plenty of fish in the sea, but there aren’t a lot of sharks. The woman you’re talking about is a shark and here’s what you do with sharks:
Fight for them.
Go for her and go hard for her, because love is worth all the risks.
Obviously, you recognize the difference between how you feel about this girl versus how you feel about other girls. It’s different, and if you don’t think it’s different, let me ask you this: How many other girls have you so confused and lost you have to write to a relationship blogger for some guidance?
I’m pretty sure the answer is zero.
Once you understand this girl is worth your best effort, consider the risks of trying. You could fail or you could succeed and both outcomes will carry with them their own burdens.
Now failure, in this instance, is not a permanent thing. If the girl insists now is not the time, for the reasons she’s given you (she’s been broken-hearted, etc), fall back. Let her figure out that cynicism, at her age, is a self-inflicted sickness. Give her the head space she needs to figure that out for herself, and in the meantime continue to be her friend. Gamble away all the other chips, but always, always keep the friend chip in your pocket. It’s the only chance you have for her to see in you what you see in her now.
This may be a little bit more difficult to wrap your mind around, largely because right now you think if this girl says she’s ready to be in a relationship, and you are too, what can possibly go wrong? But as the old adage goes, be careful what you wish for.
In your question was a hint of confidence that if you persisted, eventually she will believe in you and you two could be together. I also sensed how that worries you slightly because you don’t want to be the lone guy amongst your friends who is in a relationship. You don’t want to be on boyfriend duty while your guys are riding around on their own girl watch.
Stop worrying about such a thing.
What you and you friends (who are all probably around your age) have yet to realize is at some point, playing the field is more work than what it’s really worth.
I once went broke for a girl with whom I was madly in love. She lived clear across the country and the only way we could be together is if she uprooted herself and move to where I lived. Because we were both in love, this move made total sense at the time. But things happened, and eventually, after she moved out here and in with me, she moved out and we broke up.
When our relationship ended, I was so emotionally spent and exhausted, I decided to not only be single, but to focus on being single. Prior to her, I found myself constantly getting wrapped up in relationship after relationship, some lasted longer than others, but all had depth. Having undergone the experience of a relationship in which huge sacrifices were made to be together, I realized the single life was what would be best until further notice.
Over the past four years, I discovered how valuable being single can be but also how overrated it can be too. Some of the hardest times in my life were probably more difficult than they had to be largely because I had to go through them alone. I wouldn’t say I didn’t have anyone, but I certainly didn’t have the consistency of one person in my life at times when I needed it the most. The other thing I learned is, sometimes being single can take such a concerted effort on our part, we end up doing more damage to ourselves than others. I’ve met a lot of fantastic women in my single years, women who deserved all of me, but because I was so caught up in staying single, I had to break their heart to protect my own.
That was never fair to them and completely selfish of me.
Of all the lessons I learned from being single the most important was this: Going back to the fishing metaphor, there are plenty of fish in the sea, so many that you really can fish forever. No one is saying you have to fall in love with each and every one woman you meet; that’s as unhealthy as preventing every girl you meet from getting closer to you. But recognize the women who are custom made for you; the women who aren’t just good on paper, but good for you. Then, understand those women are worth the effort because you only get a few, if you’re lucky.
The choice to be single is yours, but fate or whatever higher power you believe in plays a slightly larger role in love. Sometimes it arrives at the least expected of times, and sure we can choose not to capitalize on it, but I would advise to choose differently. Just because there are plenty of fish in the sea doesn’t mean you have to fish forever.
My answer to the question in “Poppin’ Questions Podcast 35”
To submit a question for consideration on a future episode of the Poppin’ Questions Podcast, go here formspring.me/jozenc.
I’m 21 dating a 30-year-old. We get along amazingly, but we’re at a standstill because we’re questioning if a relationship is worth it. I’m still in school and not ready for marriage. I am overly mature for my age and he overlooks my age and he’s ready for marriage. What should I do?
My response, as follows
Go to formspring.me/jozenc to submit a question for consideration on a future episode of the Poppin’ Questions Podcast.
Let me clear a couple of things up before I get into the main point of today’s post.
No I am not getting paid from the people behind Think Like A Man to write this post.
Yes, we did run a contest to giveaway tickets to special Think Like A Man preview screenings.
No we don’t get paid for that.
Yes, I have seen the movie Think Like A Man already.
No, I have not read the book the movie is based on and I probably never will.
Now that I’ve gotten the disclaimers out of the way, let’s move forward and talk about why I want all of my black readers to take a non-black friend or family member (cause I know some of you all have them) to see Think Like A Man, which comes out in theaters this Friday.
WATCH THE POPPIN’ QUESTIONS PODCAST 35 ON YOUTUBE
For those who can’t stream or download the entire podcast or prefer to hear me answer one question at a time, watch the segments on YouTube. This week, you can watch as I answer questions and cook dinner at the same time. Quite impressive, right?
Anyway, below, I answer the first question: A reader wants to know how he should handle a girlfriend who is always trying to find a way out of hanging out with him. My answer to the second question — “He Changed, She’s Worried” — can be found here.
I urge any of you interested in the topic to do so, especially those who are thinking about living with your significant other sometime in the near future. The article, written by clinical psychologist Meg Jay, specifically targets young couples still in their 20s and it offers up some interesting facts Jay has picked up from her own research and years spent practicing psychology.
Couples who cohabit before marriage (and especially before an engagement or an otherwise clear commitment) tend to be less satisfied with their marriages — and more likely to divorce — than couples who do not. These negative outcomes are called the cohabitation effect.
Most of us are aware of the cohabitation effect, even if we don’t know what to call it. When an article from an authority as credible as The New York Times comes out basically saying the same things we’ve always known, it only serves to support every reason we ever had for not wanting to live with our partner before marriage. We see the numbers and read the horror stories about the cohabitation effect from such a young age, we go into our 20s convinced we will never make the same mistake ourselves.
All your life you said if ever you were lucky enough to just be in the same room as Tyra Banks, you would take your shot. That’s all you needed was proximity. When you used to have her poster up on the wall in your childhood bedroom, you would talk to the poster and say, “One day, Tyra. One day.” You meant it too, because you knew she always wanted just a regular guy. That’s what she would say in interviews over and over again, “I just want a regular, normal nice guy I can bring home to my Mom.” And you knew you would always be the epitome of normal: an everyday guy who woke up, worked, had a little fun, and took showers on a regular basis just like everyone else.
So the other night, you are at The Darby (a spot I highly recommend for food and drinks), sitting at the bar with one of your boys, enjoying a Manhattan. The place isn’t too crowded. As a matter of fact, it was a rather quiet night in what is currently one of New York City’s most popular eateries. The friend you are with, one of your best friends who has known you for 12 years, knows exactly how you feel about Tyra Banks. He remembers how one year you actually tried to do a paper on the significance of Tyra Banks’ Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition cover but because your professor was a hater, he didn’t allow it, but whatever. That’s all in the past.
You and your friend are having a conversation, about what, you can’t recall and it really doesn’t matter because all of a sudden in walks Tyra Banks. Your friend sees her first, hits you on the shoulder, and says, “Tyra Banks, Tyra Banks, Tyra Banks, dude Tyra Banks!” Before you even can turn around you smell the beauty and then as your head turns, she’s walking right past you, headed straight to a table with some guy we’re just going to name Whatever aka Non Factor.
Now was your chance. Here it was, the moment you had been waiting for your whole life. Tyra Banks sitting at a table approximately 15 steps away from you. Even with Non Factor sitting next to her, if you would be so bold, you could approach the table politely and say hello, and what a big fan of hers you are and that you used to have her posters all up on your wall. You could tell her that she looks just as beautiful in real life as she does in pictures and on television. You could tell her all the things you’ve ever wanted to tell her like how you think Chris Webber is an idiot and no one could love her like you could love her.
But instead, you do the exact opposite. You do nothing. Absolutely nothing. We can count the effort you made to try and not stare at Tyra Banks for an inordinate amount of time, but we won’t. You froze up and tried not to drool on yourself and by the time you came to your senses, and realized you missed the opportunity of a lifetime, Tyra Banks, the woman you’ve loved from afar ever since you knew what love was, was gone.