Let me begin by saying he was dark chocolate, had strong arms, and a smooth talker. Recipe for disaster. We met over drinks and twerking at a local bar. Enamored with his presence, I fell hard. I fell so hard that I shut my eyes to all the blaring red flags that greeted me on each step of the journey.
I wanted him. Nothing else mattered and I was going to make this round peg fit into this square hole and we would both live in bliss. A few weeks would turn into months. A few texts turned into kisses, sex, and suddenly the winter wasn’t so bad after all. We spent a lot of time together (mostly in the house) and our conversations would deepen as time went by.
For all intents and purposes this FELT like a relationship and had many relationship-like qualities. We were exclusively sleeping together. Emotionally attached.
Yet in title and in actions – we were both single people.
He wasn’t ready for a relationship when we met. I ignored it. That was six months ago and surely he’d changed his mind by now. He didn’t.
He wasn’t (and didn’t want to be) my boyfriend. I ignored it. Instead I held him to boyfriend expectations and played the girlfriend role. I found myself in cyclical disappointment when he didn’t meet those expectations (because he wasn’t, after all, my boyfriend) and my “girlfriend” actions went unappreciated. It had been six months and surely he’d changed his mind by now. He didn’t.
He didn’t understand my frustrations and my emotional outbursts. What was “cool” wasn’t cool anymore as I drove my emotional train down the incomplete tracks of his heart.
The whatevership began to crumble as they always do. I crashed. I crashed right into the brick wall when he said, “Dee, we are just friends. I told you I didn’t want a girlfriend. Relax.”
If my life was a sitcom I would have kicked him and his duffle bag right out my house. If I’m just your friend stop eating my cooking, messing up my sheets and hair, and stop taking up space in my life where a boyfriend should be. Theme music would play and I’d emerge like a triumphant heroine recanting the story to my girlfriends over wine in the next scene.
Instead I sat quietly. Let it soak in. And when he left that evening he left for the last time. There was wine, but it was sipped from underneath the covers of my bed as I sat fully dressed in heartbreak. I played my “break up songs” playlist and melted into a puddle of feelings. I spent many sleepless nights completely thrown that I had another break up for a relationship that didn’t actually exist.
I’m getting too old for this. But thank God for friends, prayer, writing and wine. I got up one day and began to process how exactly I’d fallen down this gaping sink hole of foolishness in the first place.
Although the situation felt like a relationship it wasn’t. Often times, when we accept less than what we want and deserve, people take advantage of our willingness to settle. I subconsciously gave away the benefits of a relationship in hopes that he would give me the accountability and responsibility that comes with a relationship title eventually. As long as we played house maybe it would turn into a house one day. Right? Wrong.
The companionship was great and I convinced myself that because my feelings changed, his would change just the same. No matter how much time, energy, and emotions we spent, at the end of the day he was a single man being held to boyfriend expectations that he did not want to meet. And there I was picking up the pieces when it all fell apart.
Whether I wanted to admit it or not, I settled. My desire to have him as my own blinded me to the red flags and clear signs to leave the situation before it got too deep.
Some people enjoy whateverships. There’s nothing wrong with the situation if that’s what you BOTH want. However, I wasn’t willing to admit to myself that this wasn’t what I wanted and stayed in this relationship purgatory for way too long.
I denied, and was almost ashamed to admit that my heart needed a real relationship in title, action, word, and deed. In the age of “playing it cool” and not wanting to “pressure” a man, I buckled in to a seat on the whatevership bus. When my heart was uncomfortable and it was time to get up, I just kept riding around hoping it would change.
Although that’s not everyone’s story, it’s mine and it was time for me to reflect and do better the next time. No amount of companionship is worth risking emotional damage. The whatevership just isn’t for me. I expect the best from everyone else so it was time I stopped giving myself scraps.
Dee Rene is the writer and creator of Laugh.Cry.Cuss., a faith based blog that finds valuable lessons in pop culture and every day life. She is based in NYC. You can follow her or the blog on twitter @deerene_lcc @laughcrycuss or visit the site at http://laughcrycuss.com.