Why “It’s Complicated” Is Just Foolish

March 19, 2013  |  

Yesterday Jazmine Denise Rogers reported that that despite years worth of stories of a relationship between Ashanti and Nelly and then a rumored breakup of this said relationship, Ashanti set the record straight, by telling radio DJ Sway, ““Who said we had a relationship?…”

First whenever I read about Ashanti, I always think of that track where she (and her team) masterfully flipped Biggie’s smash hit,”One More Chance,” (originally DeBarge’s “Stay With Me”), to “Foolish” describing how stupid we can be over some dude. And then that always makes me think about a saying I once heard, “Youth is wasted on the young.”

Ironically, it was an ex-boyfriend, who told me that. He was ten years my senior. He also said those words belong to George Bernard Shaw. Back then I took it as an insult, which is why we are probably not together anymore. But now, a little older, I definitely “get it.” I was strong, vital and in my best physically but I lacked both wisdom and at times, basic common sense. I could have saved myself a lot of heart ache and unnecessary stress, if I knew about life – and more specifically love – then than I do now.

Years ago, I was having an awkward phone conversation with my father about a guy I was seeing. I normally don’t discuss the guys I date with my dad. We just don’t have that type of relationship where I felt comfortable to let my guard down to share. He wanted to know if I had a boyfriend. I told him I had a “friend.” I heard him sigh and then he said something to the effect of, “that’s the problem with your generation, you don’t know how to properly define yourselves. You call relationships any-and everything but relationship even though you do this and that.”

This and that, was my father’s coded way of saying “sex” but without having to acknowledge that he once little girl wasn’t a little girl anymore. Nevertheless, I was irked. For one, I felt like he had no right to make a judgment about the guy I was dating, for whom he had never met. And secondly, how could you hold my relationship in judgment when I was conceived out of one of those “friendly” affairs? Sort of in the spirit of Sade’s Babyfather?  But that’s where his unsolicited advice came from: the experience. You know, the whole “youth wasted” saying?

Mainly because he was partially right: I made the mistake of telling my “friend” that I wanted more. It was nothing something that had sprung up over night. To be honest, I had always wanted more from him. He told me then that he wasn’t looking for a serious relationship. And after six-months of hanging out in that gray area, not much had changed. “I’m just not into that right now. I got a lot on my mind right now. You know, my baby mom; I’m not exactly where I want to be in life; emotionally I’m just messed up, right now…” blah, blah blah. Basically, he was saying that despite spending time with and being sexually intimate with you, I’m just not that in to you. If I was, I probably wouldn’t be seeing all these other women besides you.

But I really liked him. Or I thought I did. Looking back, it was probably out of fear of rejection combined with fear of being alone. And I accepted it because I wanted to believe that if I just held on that one day, he would change his mind. I wouldn’t let the thought cross my mind that he might be using his baby mom as an excuse. For what? Who cares? Point is, he wasn’t being totally honest. And if I am truthful, I wasn’t being honest neither.

I was dishonest with him for leading him to believe that this complicated situation we had was okay with me. But more importantly, I was dishonest with myself. Despite how Musiq Soulchild makes it sound, being “friends” with someone you want more from ain’t always sunny. In fact, it’s a very uneven relationship where the power dynamic didn’t bend in my favor. Simple couple decisions, like when and how you should meet, become non-negotiable for me.  For the most part I felt powerless.  And the emotional stress from my chosen indentured servitude started to take a physical toll including being marked by anxiety and bouts of depression. For me, our friendly relationship became very unhealthy. And lying to myself about the affect it was having on me was the equivalent of labeling flu-like symptoms as “just a cough.”

Being honest with myself meant knowing how to articulate – and most importantly stand by – what I wanted in a relationship. If you’re not into a relationship, than by all means, don’t have one. In fact, I would suggest you don’t.  However, if a relationship is what you want, don’t settle for him (or her) calling you – as well as being – anything and everything but.  Sure, it is not going to be pleasant. And you might have to cut ties and spend time alone.

But being alone ain’t that bad, especially when you learn to love yourself. Then you realize just how much fun you really are. I think my overall point is that, life is too short to be on some friendly, aka Ashanti Foolish, aka Biggie’s One More Chance, mess – if you don’t have to.

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  • Nina

    . Its kool when your in your early twenties when all you want to do is just have fun but when you hit that 24 and older age group its just that. A waste of time.. Move on…Interracial women dating?? Black women looking for white men??? Black women loving white
    men???_______blackwhiteplanet.c0m_______is the #1 black women white men dating site. No one night stand. serious relationship

  • or how about the classic “We don’t need to put any labels on anything”…. It’s either you’re in a relationship or you’re not. Nice and simple…. if things need to complicated and unlabeled then you don’t need to be with that person.

  • clove8canela

    Thx for linking to Musiq’s ‘Just Friends’ video. That really took me back! Love love philly & everything about this song!

  • 3880

    Big fat….

  • Nope

    A lot of this can be avoided by:

    #1: more women actually realizing what the definition of dating is. Stop jumping rank.

    #2: if the relationship or “relationship” only exists inside of your head, well……

  • hollyw

    Everyone needs to experience at least one friends-with-benefits kind of relationship in order to feel the pain and insecurity it brings. That way, when they’re older and time actually matters, they won’t waste people’s time and be more straight-forward b/c they know how it feels to be on the receiving end.

    I had mine in college, and the funny thing is, usually men don’t even seem to like these kind of relationships… the guy I was w/ was even more paranoid and invasive then I was! Which basically taught me that men who prefer this route do so b/c of distrust they have in women, in which these relationships just create a self-fulfilling prophecy for them, and due to a lack of value in themselves…why i spent most 20s single!!

  • I can assure you with almost 100% certainty that not defining their relationship was his idea. She went along with it hoping she would appear confident and cool and unaffected by his unwillingness to claim her. Let’s be honest here if you spend enough time and share enough intimacy with someone a relationship is formed. A woman is a dang on fool if she allows a man to use the best of without at the minimum requiring he show her the respect of pronouncing her as his lady.

    If a woman insists on selling herself short by playing the homie, lover, friend without a title or the parameters of a real relationship, she had better be smart and be actively dating men who express early on that making her their lady, wife, girlfriend is on their agenda.

  • Cocokitten

    It either IS or NOT.,,the grey area makes for unhappiness

  • sabrina

    I honestly feel that reading MN through the years definitely made me more privy to what I should and should not accept from men, and it’s totally okay and possible to be single and happy. My young and naive self definitely wasn’t learning on my own. It’s like learning from my older sister’s mistakes (even though you guys aren’t really my older sisters) and taking advice from the wiser and more experienced. So thanks ladies! 🙂

    • guest

      I agree!

  • JaneDoe

    Its complicated is a big a** waste of time.. Its kool when your in your early twenties when all you want to do is just have fun but when you hit that 24 and older age group its just that. A waste of time.. Move on

  • Eri Cad

    Well, we as the public don’t really know what the nature of Ashanti and Nelly’s relationship was. It’s complicated tends to really be really simple its just feelings get involved, fear rears its ugly head. In the case of the writer I’m glad she acknowledged where she went awry as well in the “relationship” I think two people can be seeing each other on a casual level such as that if they are both seeing other people. She seemed to want a serious relationship with him all along instead of the arrangement they actually had which is always a recipe for heartbreak in my opinion. She settled for less hoping that later it would turn into more. We have all been there and if we haven’t we on the way. For me I opted to date multiple men instead. I still kick it with dudes who aren’t looking for anything serious just cause they are cool dudes but I still keep looking for someone to pursue a potentially serious relationship with. The key for me has been not putting all my eggs in one basket. Mind u I’m not talking about being sexually intimate with all of them but no reason I can’t enjoy their company either.

    • Yes but keeping too many eggs in your basket that you find lacking, or cracked, or rotten doesn’t leave any room for you to put the good egg in. IJS. Having options is nice and more women ought to take your stance on dating but making sure these are good viable options is key.

  • Lauren S. Clark

    No. Do not deal with the drama or mess. Move on.