The “Meantime” Relationships: It Doesn’t Always Have To Be Serious

March 20, 2013  |  

I love my office…for several reasons. It’s black, we get to watch episodes of Maury the news and we have the most emotionally charged debates about celebrities, the actual news and real life ish. It’s how I’ve always imagined the barbershop to be, except, in our case, the women are the loudest and most aggressive when trying to prove a point. Anyway, one day we were talking about Taylor Swift and her extensive dating history. Everybody had something to say about “America’s Sweetheart.” The general consensus is that no one particularly likes her or thinks she’s exceptionally talented, (we do have one coworker who is like a true Taylor Swift fan) but other than that, the rest of us are underwhelmed. And since most of us don’t really like her, the opinions about her very public love life ran the gamut, from she’s a heaux to she’s just a young girl out here doing what young girls do. You might imagine that the last sentiment came from the  lone Taylor fan.

I argued that while Taylor Swift has been linked to a lot of different men, it doesn’t necessarily mean she’s having or had sex with all of them. My other coworker co-signed, adding that even if she had slept with each and every one of them, it doesn’t make her a heaux either. Agreed. We’ve got to get past the policing of other womens’ vadges. But that’s another story for another day.

Call me naive, but I really don’t think Taylor was bustin’ it open for all those men. Call me crazy but it is possible to date someone and not sleep with them. That’s been my experience and I don’t think that because you’re in the public eye that that rule has to change. Sometimes, relationships just aren’t that serious. My coworker didn’t agree. “Who just dates knowing that the relationship isn’t going to go anywhere?” I just raised my eyebrows. Tons of people do. I, myself, am currently in a relationship that I’m pretty sure is not going to go anywhere. (And I feel comfortable writing about the publicly because I’ve told the person that I’m seeing this very thing.)

But there was a time when I wasn’t so comfortable with the fact that the relationship was inevitably going to be short lived. You know the media, old Disney movies, your friends, the internet and a whole bunch of people in between will have you believe that your sole purpose in dating is to find the one, your soulmate, Mr. Right etc. Rarely, do people tell you or encourage you  to date to have fun, to get to know people or to learn what you do and don’t want in future relationships. So, in my own relationship, once I realized that this wouldn’t be a forever type of arrangement, I panicked. Do I have to “break up” with him now? Am I leading him on? Am I going to hurt his feelings? 

All these questions. But at the same time I didn’t want to stop seeing him altogether either. He’s respectful and I enjoy the time I spend with him. Because we had both agreed, on a couple of different occasions, that it wasn’t serious and neither one of us should expect anything from it. I just wanted things to continue as they’d been going even though I knew and still know that it won’t last forever.

It wasn’t until I read this passage from Iyanla Vanzant’s In The Meantime: Finding Yourself and the Love You Want that I learned to be at peace with the whole thing:

“You can have meantime relationships. Relationships that are fun, satisfying, or fulfilling for now. You do not enter meantime relationships in need. You enter them as a choice. You know this is not the forever one, but it is the one for now. A meantime relationship should not deplete you. It should give you something to do, keep your spirits up, and help you prepare yourself for a greater experience. You will know that you are in a meantime relationship if you like the person but you don’t like them enough to lend them your car. If you enjoy spending time with them, but you cannot see yourself sitting in a rocking chair sharing your Jell-O with this person. In a meantime relationship, sexual activity is your call, but less is more. If you recognize that you are in a meantime relationship, relax and enjoy it. Do not invest your life’s savings- meaning you should not order the wedding rings or print the invitations. Face the truth! Know what you know! Accept the fact that the relationship you want is being prepared, like dinner. In the meantime, have a light snack.”

I can’t really say it much better than that. Iyanla is my girl because she illustrates the solutions to life’s dilemmas with such clarity. She let me know that since I had honestly expressed my feelings and intentions, I didn’t have to stress myself out about this relationship. You don’t have to go into every relationship expecting the man to be the one. As long as he respects you and you enjoy being around him, it’s alright for him to be the one right now.

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  • Bumbling Black Man

    This sounds like a pitiful “relationship” to be in, stuff like this is why so many people have gimped concepts of “love” and “relationships.” Honestly, what’s wrong with just being friends if y’all don’t see a future with each other, but still enjoy each other’s company? Mr. Right may have been turned away because you’re “involved” with this temp. I understand dating is “fun” for some people, but many people, including myself, have no interest in short term flings or “meantime relationships”, and only want relationships with someone we see ourselves with long term.

  • Kev

    It used to SOME, not all, SOME guys would cheat on their girlfriend. Lead on girls, text/talk to many of them everyday, have sex with different chicks & still be able to hide it from his girl. Now it’s not just guys that do that, girls are starting to do it more & more. If you’re not in a relationship, your able to mess with other girls & not be in the wrong, same goes for the girl, she’s gotta get some loving just like use guts do. But if a girl/guy is in a relationship, they shouldn’t be messing,talking( flirting wise ),flirting,seeing, or staying with another guy/girl. The generations to come are going to be the worst haha. Stay loyal once you fibd a god guy/girl, being inlove is an amazing feeling.

  • Chas

    I get with the writer is saying. I currently have a couple of meantime relationships and I’m not sleeping with anyone. They know that I’m not looking for anything serious and I know I’m not in a place to give anything serious. So we keep it light and fun. I see you when I see you and I speak with you when I do… I personally feel as women we have to recognize the real. We try to make meantime relationships more than what they should be.

  • Nope

    “You don’t have to go into every relationship expecting the man to be the one. As long as he respects you and you enjoy being around him, it’s alright for him to be the one right now.”

    What I think happens is that a lot of women do have their fun in their prime years, and when they exit their prime years (late 20’s into their 30’s) they’re in a rush to get a ring like Kobe Bryant is in the twilight of his career.

    • If someone can’t see a future with you, then they don’t really like you that much, and if you are over your 20’s and 30’s, you don’t have time to be wasting time with a guy who doesn’t really like you that much and you don’t have time to be wasting with a guy that you really don’t like that much. Why settle for Luke Warm in your life when you can have Hot?

  • Nope

    Why all of these lengthy articles to explain a simple concept: DATING? I guess DATING really must be such a foreign concept for a lot of women. A lot of you all seem to want an instant husband like a bag of Jiffy Pop.

  • And another thought, too many black women are settling for the meantime relationship. Having babies with the meantime man and are hurt and confused when that meantime man doesn’t eventually want to settle down with her. Why invest your precious time energy and affection into someone you KNOW isn’t good enough for you? That’s self-defeating.

    • Chas

      I think you should just be honest with what you are looking for. In the situation you’re describing the women obviously wanted more…

      • How many women do you think HONESTLY want to spend time on a man that they know for whatever reason isn’t what she ultimately wants? Do you disagree or agree that too many black women are sharing themselves with men they think aren’t good enough people to be a serious partner yet their still sharing their valuable cookie with?

      • women obviously want more and when they don’t with a guy, and are able to date him casually, it is usually because they are pining for some other guy.

  • A meantime relationship sounds like you are just bored as h*ll and need someone to call up on Friday when your girlfriends are otherwise engaged in their real fulfilling relationships. Someone who doesn’t require much and who you can say you have in your life so you won’t feel alone. Meantime isn’t good enough. I’m a whole enough person to not have to settle for “he’ll do” because I want someone to share the booth with me at TGIF’s

    but that’s just me though.

  • OSHH

    I disagree, occupying yourself with a filler may have you miss out on the real thing.
    Good enough doesn’t = RIGHT.

    • exactly. Mr Right might see you with Mr. Meantime and think you are already shacked up.

  • Ms. Kameria

    I love how Iyanla described it. This is the type of relationship I’m in right now but didn’t know how to define it. I’m into keeping things light, fun, and simple. We spend time and kick it when we can, and it’s not serious as far as getting feelings involved.

  • Evie

    How about don’t be a selfish coward and waste the other person’s time, just tell the truth.

    • kittensonfire

      Nay, Truth hurts…

  • Riya

    Totaly agree but it could last forever sometime

    • Pivyque

      So true. My relationship with my husband started out as a meantime relationship.

  • Truth is

    Great… do this all the time