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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