#RelationshipGoals: How Well Do You Ever Really Know Someone You’re Dating?
Getting to know someone has got to be one of the toughest things you could ever do as a human. Let me be more specific. Getting to know someone, romantically, has got to be one of the toughest things you could ever do as a human.
We meet people, have an amazing time with then and hope against all hope that they’re 100% honest with us about everything. I watch a lot of the TV show, “Snapped” and a lot of the time on this show, married people wake up next to their spouse and they’re a completely different person. I mean, this entire show is about spouses who murder their other half. That show had me thinking that most marriages either end in divorce…or murder.
A story that caught me all the way off guard was when a woman found out her husband was a pedophile a week after the wedding. She did meet him at the bar and married him in a couple of months, so she didn’t really get a chance to know him. But what a thing to find out about someone who you’ve committed yourself to!
Remember Kevin? Mr. He Never Pays, I’ve Never Seen His Place and All We Do Is Argue. We dated two different times and each time there was some level of secrecy on his behalf. I don’t understand how you never invite someone you’re dating to your home. A few of my friends tried to tell me that he was married. But one of my guy friends, Clark, said the married theory didn’t work out because the second time we dated, he’d call me back-to-back 10-plus times a few nights a week at 3 am. He knew I worked 9 am-6 pm and would more than likely be asleep. I’d never answer, but when I’d check the messages the next day, they’d be casual as if they were left at 3 pm instead of the wee hours of the morning.
Clark claimed that a married man wouldn’t be able to make those type of frequent late night calls. “How could he get away long enough to call you back-to-back for an hour more than one night a week?”
“That’s a good point. But it’s also not impossible,” I said, laughing to myself because I was defending that my boo could possibly be married and that was the best case scenario.
“Sure, Danielle,” Clark laughed.
“Well what do you think it is?” I asked, genuinely curious.
“Maybe he doesn’t have a home?” Clark said with a question in his voice, but completely serious.
“You’re saying he’s homeless?” I couldn’t help but laugh.
“Could be. Nothing explains those causal, but frantic frequent calls bruh,” Clark said supporting his reasoning.
And now, here I am with Thomas, the bouncer and baby’s father of three who was smitten with me and requested patience and understanding. Before getting myself involved in anything with Thomas, I had to take a step back and ask myself, could I really be with a man with three kids who didn’t belong to me?
I’ve dated a man with children before. Even when he and his baby’s mother are mature and co-parent like the best of them, you’re still in a relationship with a man who has people in his life that naturally come first. If a priority of your relationship is being treated like a priority, you may have to reassess. Those children are always going to be first and if they’re not, do you really want to be with someone who would neglect their kids?
One evening, Thomas asked that we meet in Brooklyn for dinner. My inner dialogue was telling me to just let him go. But I wondered, how many times would I meet a big, thick and handsome Black man who could recite Pablo Neruda poetry to me? Chances are, I wouldn’t meet that man often. I decided I’d entertain him and not get too involved. He won’t have the time to devote anyway.
We sat across from each other at a small candlelit table. Thomas smiled at me, “I”m glad you’re here.”
“Me too. I’m so hungry!” I said opening the menu.
Thomas laughed, “You’re funny.”
I laughed, “I know.”
“For real. I’m glad you gave me the chance to show you the type of man that I am,” Thomas reached for my hand.
I pulled my hand away, “Well, you said I need patience and understanding. So tell my why I need these two important virtues. I mean, besides the obvious.”
“The obvious being my children?” Thomas asked.
“Yeah, them and the woman who birthed them,” I said, assertively.
“Well, I do need for you to understand that they come first…”
I cut Thomas off, “That’s a given. Their your kids. Let’s get more specific here.” I said, looking right at Thomas.
“Like?” Thomas asked, treading lightly.
“Like, do you live with your kids? Do you live with her? I can give you patience and understanding, but you gotta give me some details.”
“See, it’s one of them things…” Thomas started.
“I’ve heard that one before. I need more details. What is this ‘thing?'” I shifted in my seat.
“I could lie to you. As a matter of fact, I should,” Thomas looked directly at me. “The lie would sound better right now. The lie would buy me more time with you.”
“And the truth?” I asked Thomas.
“The truth is that my kids do live with me. And so does she. It’s cheaper this way and more convenient. We’re both single and we’re trying to date, but it’s a little bit crazy for us to both try dating while we’re living together.” Thomas sighed. I sighed. “See? You’re already done with me in your head, and I’m a good dude,” Thomas said searching my eyes for some sort of approval of his confession.
I couldn’t help but think about Kevin and how even in our second break up, I still wasn’t 100 percent sure that the things he told me were true. I’d never been to his apartment, met anyone in his life or was allowed to snap any photos of us together. This screamed that Kevin had secrets. I told myself I’d never be in a relationship like that again. I only wanted to deal with men who were honest with me, no matter what. That all sounds good until you’re faced with a test of it. Here I was, staring a seemingly good man in the eyes, but his honesty was turning me away from him.
“I’ve lost you, haven’t I?” Thomas asked, breaking me away from my thoughts.
“Let’s just enjoy dinner, and each other,” I smiled at Thomas. “We’ll see what happens.”
Thomas and I continued to enjoy one another. From dinners to poetry lounges, brunches and late nights on the phone. Getting to know him has been an intense pleasure, but I can’t help but think about his situation–he lives with the mother of his three kids. They’re both single and dating someone else. I don’t know all the details of her dating life, but I do know that she lives with the man I am interested in and they share a sordid past and three children.
I keep telling myself not to get too involved, but the more I spend time with Thomas, the more I enjoy myself. In a dating world of trying to believe everything they tell you and having someone who has the balls to be completely honest, I wonder, which is worse–knowing the horrible truth or believing the good lies?