All Articles Tagged "commitment issues"
You can be in a one-sided relationship and not even know it because A) You want to see what you want to see and B) The guy you’re seeing puts in just enough effort to give you the hope he’ll commit, eventually. But here’s a truth about men: they’re either all in immediately, or they never really are. Here’s how to know if you’re the only one taking your relationship seriously.
As a single, 30-something year old woman, I’ve got explaining why I’m still unmarried down to a science. You’re at a dinner party, a wedding, a barbecue, or at a place where everyone is coupled up, and then folks find out you’re single…still. Once they get past the shock of your singlehood, they ask you if you’ve considered YouKnowTheSite.com. That’s when it gets fun for me. I’ve actually practiced my responses. Here are a few:
Why are you still single?
“That’s a mystery right up there with ‘Who Shot Biggie?’”
“My fiancé is doing a bid”
“Why aren’t you?”
No one really asks smart, successful, good-looking men why they’re single but if you’re a smart, successful, attractive woman, people want to know what’s wrong with you. While many women find this question so maddening that they don’t even bother to answer it, other women might actually wonder if there issomething wrong with them. There is nothing wrong with being single, a woman, or in your thirties – all at the same time. But if you’re trying to figure out why a woman might be unwed and in her 30’s, here are some reasons to ponder…if you really truly care.
“Someday, someone will walk into your life and make you realize why it never worked out with anyone else.” —Anonymous
As a relationship coach, I talk to a lot of single women. It’s pretty rare to find one who wants to be in a relationship, isn’t in one and is perfectly relaxed about it. There is usually some fear lurking under the surface.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that single women are living in fear; most are not. They have busy, happy lives just like coupled people. But when many of these successful, self-assured, independent single women let their guard down, most of them admit that they are afraid that maybe they will never meet “him.”
Many are afraid that their ship has sailed, they let “the one” get away or that the older and more established they get, it will only become harder to find someone who fits into their life. I get it because I was there too.
I met my now husband when I was just shy of 27 and although I was perfectly happy on my own at the time, I had my moments of doubt. Part of me wanted to “just meet him already” so that I could breathe a little easier. I thought that once I met him and it was clear that we were headed toward marriage, there would be one less thing to worry about, one less way my life might not go according to my plans.
Read more at YourTango
I won’t pretend to know Eva Marcille’s whole life in this post but from what I do know of her relationship trajectory in the past few years, it appears the girl is running from something—something being a committed relationship. I know, sounds odd considering she was in fact in a committed, five-year relationship with Lance Gross — sans cheating. But from her recent interview with The Breakfast Club and the pattern her dating life has taken since then, the “top model” might be looking for love instead of looking inside to figure out what it is that’s keeping her from it.
Everyone was surprised when Eva and Lance unexpectedly split in 2010, so naturally Power 105 hosts had her dig right into that breakup this morning. When asked what really went down she said:
We were together for 5 years. When I started dating Lance, I was young and we were definitely in love but I don’t think either one of us were really ready to get married. I know that we were both committed to each other and he didn’t want to be with anyone else. I didn’t want to be with anyone else. So, naturally you feel like the next step is, ‘Let me propose’. So when he proposed, I definitely wanted to be with him, but I wanted to have a long engagement. And then, a year and a half [later], the wedding is coming up and we just wasn’t ready. He didn’t do anything wrong, he never cheated on me, I never cheated on him. He’s still a great guy. Whoever ends up dating him is gonna be very lucky. It just wasn’t my moment.
My first question after hearing Eva’s explanation was whose timeline were they judging their relationship by? Often, in a long relationship, you’ll hear one partner lament that they were ready to take things to the next level and the other partner wasn’t but it appears Lance and Eva were actually fine with how things were until they started adjusting their relationship according to what they thought they should be doing instead of what felt right for them. It’s not hard to see why that didn’t work out, but since then Eva has taken her love life in a completely different direction.
After Lance, Eva had a very public, and somewhat quick, relationship with rapper Flo Rida. Taking the conversation a very different route, Eva remarked that there was no way he left her for Melissa Ford because “[Melissa] realized that he had money after I dated him and decided that she wanted him. A lot of times women don’t give guys the credit necessary until they understand their bank account. And so, seeing that obviously I dated him, to other women that tells them that he must have money, or that he must be more successful than you thought. So now he’s eligible.” I saw a little gold digger red flag raise while reading that, but what’s even more interesting is what she attributes the breakdown of the relationship to:
“I didn’t want anything too serious. Flo is a great guy [....] but I had just come out of a very serious relationship and he got really holy on me and wanted to go to church all of the time and I was just trying to kick it. So, then he wanted to take me to church. Then the preacher was like, ‘You guys are gonna get married,’ and when I heard the marriage line I was just like whoaaaa.”
Again, just because the preacher said the two were going to get married didn’t mean it was etched in the tablet of life — or that it had to happen the next day. I’m confused what it is she was running from, and if rather than having her heart broken, as she told Sister 2 Sister magazine earlier this month, she’s been breaking her own heart by being scared to commit. Publisher Jamie Foster Brown asked Eva about a tattoo she has of a gun with four bullets which symbolizes each of the men who broke her heart and she said:
“I have a .38 Special on my left hip, and it’s modeled, actually, after my own revolver, and it’s a symbol of me now protecting myself and guarding myself. It’s a symbol that I’m going to take my heart and my relationships more seriously and I’m gonna have more control over them. Because I literally have been broken so bad that I felt it was like a gunshot.”
I think that’s an amazing idea, and though I have to openly admit I’m being a bit judgmental when I say this, I’m not sure the latest man is proof of Eva taking her heart more seriously. The now-reality TV star told The Breakfast Club of her current flavor of the year:
“I’m dating this guy, He is from Jamaica. He lives in LA. Very regular guy. Super regular. Gold teeth, tattoos. [He is] a music producer. He is just grinding out. He is on the come up.”
Now gold teeth and tattoos don’t automatically cancel a man out, but when the reason Eva decided to give him a chance is just because he had the cojones to send her bottles at the bar while she was in the company of other men and “can get them for free” — oh and he shut down a Steakhouse and “got a little respect in the city” — I have to wonder where her head, and heart, really are. She seems to have gone from a man she considered a “great guy” who was stable and making a commitment to her, to playing around with a guy whose money she appeared more interested in than his commitment to God, to now chilling with a guy who’s putting on for the city. Not to mention a guy who, in an upcoming clip for her new reality show “Girlfriend Confidential LA,” left her in a fit of tears when he couldn’t be there for her when she needed him.
All I’m saying is this doesn’t sound like a woman guarding her heart, especially when she’s taking a chance on her relationship failing under the all too real reality TV curse. It sounds like a woman on the way to adding another bullet to her tattoo because she isn’t comfortable being with men who really value her and want to make the commitment to her that she’s too scared to give back. What do you think?
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They say “slow and steady wins the race”. Given enough time — with persistence and the power of incremental action — you can beat anyone, in any race.
Of course those sorts of statements are meant to drum up images of a New York City Marathoner slowly outlasting everyone on the trail until he eventually wins first place. However, when it comes to relationships, the endurance of an Olympic marathon runner has nothing on these girls who are willing to wait it out in pursuit of a particular man’s affection.
You know the kind. They’re the Carrie Bradshaws who blush with pride when announcing their Mr. Big has decided to marry them after ten years, two wives and countless cold-hearted actions. Their relationship is the stuff chick-flicks are made of: boy meets girl, boy shows interest in girl, boy likes girl for five minutes, boy loses interest in girl, girl waits around for fifteen years, boy comes back to girl, boy and girl live happily ever after.
It’s not just movies though. This stuff happens in real life! I know a girl who was infatuated with a guy when we were juniors in college. He wasn’t interested in titles because he was more interested in bedding girls all over campus. He seemed to like her, but then again he seemed to like every girl on two legs. Instead of showing any self-respect by leaving him alone, she waited. And waited. And waited. After college, when he finally decided to be her boyfriend, unbeknownst to her, he also decided to be someone else’s boyfriend. When Girlfriend #2 found out, she unceremoniously dumped him. Girlfriend #1 found out at the same time, but she didn’t dump him. No way, she felt she’d won! After all the girls he had been with “at the same damn time”, she was finally the last woman standing. Now, they’re married.
In some ways, I am happy for her. She got who she wanted. In other ways though, I wonder if that’s a real prize. It’s kind of like the show “Let’s Make A Deal” when the contestant chooses Door #3 and it’s a lifetime supply of dog food.
Seriously, how can she trust him going forward when they have that kind of history? He showed a callous lack of respect for her feelings for years. Now, all of the sudden they’re in love? I only wonder about that now, because I think about all of the times I didn’t wait on a guy to come around and I used to wonder if waiting would have done me any good. For longer than I care to admit, I dealt with my share of ambivalent men who refused to be with me and refused to let me go. I would eventually wise up and hightail it out of his life, but later I would wonder What if I would have waited just a little bit longer? Would he have changed his ways? Would I have ever been the last woman standing or would he have continued to add to his roster thus continuously forcing me to share the court?
I know a couple of girls who have been dealing with the same inexcusable mess from a guy for years. Does that end? Does he eventually look around and say, “You know what? Womanizing is fun but Alissa has been with me through all of my whoring, so I think I’m going to leave these other chicks alone, marry her and begin being faithful to her from now on.”? Or would I have waited around for ten years only to have him leave me at the altar?
On this topic, writer Natalie Lue says:
Waiting around for someone to make up their mind about you, to dignify you with contact, a relationship, decency, a change of self or whatever, devalues you. If you’ve been living your life in limbo waiting around, you’re breaking a fundamental personal boundary that will erode at your self-esteem.
I’m inclined to agree with her, but then I wonder about the women who wait and it turns out well for them. They were in love with a guy and he finally came around. In the best cases, he’s done it while she has some good years left. In the worst cases, well, at least she’s still breathing. Are these women onto something? Have they figured out that the best way to get with the guy you want is to wait around until every other woman bows out of the race?
It just seems too risky. There’s a risk that he has lost all respect and will merely use the girl as a placeholder until he decides to wife a random woman whom he respects because she didn’t put up with his trash. There’s a risk that he will never come around and instead will end up being the sixty-year-old man in the club, grossing out 19-year-olds with his immature behavior. There’s the risk that the girl will get a clue in a decade or two and wake up trapped in a loveless marriage (or long-term dating relationship) held together by three kids. There’s also the risk that, if she leaves him early on, she will never meet someone whom she loves more than him.
Benjamin Franklin once said that energy and persistence conquer all things, but can they conquer an unbalanced psuedo-relationship and morph it into lasting love? I’m not conviced, but what do you think?
Follow Alissa on Twitter @AlissaInPink
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Dear Very Smart Brotha,
I don’t have a specific issue per se but a general question about the behavioral physiology of men. I gotta know, where do men go to vent and talk about their issues??
My ex-boyfriend told me that we women talk too much. And when I thought about it, it is true. I am no holds barred when it comes to talking about relationships with my girlfriends and vice versa. Isn’t that what friends are for? I noticed that many of my guy friends are mum when it comes to discussing their personal issues with their friends. So what do men bond over? And who are they supposed to talk to when it comes to their issues in relationships and in life (if they don’t have a girlfriend at the time)? Is this healthy? I’m only worried because it seems like men like my ex have no one turn to when they’re not in a relationship…and I’m a bit nosy when it comes to how men work. Please give me some insight!
I’ve been doing this “Ask A Very Smart Brotha” column for about a year and a half now. That’s 70 to 80 weeks worth of questions. Some good, some bad, some making me reconsider my citizenship. Anyway, I’m bringing this up because your question just now may be the most important one I’ve ever been asked here. Not necessarily the best, but the most important.
This — the fact that many men are either unable or unwilling to discuss whatever relationship issues they’re having — is a root for many of the communication breakdowns between the sexes. We’ve been socialized to keep certain things in (feeling, pain, empathy, etc), leaving many of us unequipped to handle the types of emotions synonymous with serious relationships. This is why you see many of us either completely shut down or supernova when forced to face them.
This socialization is large part due to the fact that men, “manly men,” are supposed to be strong, stoic, and unflappable. These are the types of men we (rightly) assume women are most attracted to and other men admire and wish to follow, so many of us do what it takes to become that type of man. Part of that process is the suppression of things that make us, well, human. We still feel the same things, but may be scared to express them because we don’t want to come off as less manly and jeopardize our status with women and other men. This is especially true with Black men. For many of us, there is really no other way to be than this hyper-hetero, uber masculine human-less cipher, and that has grave effects on how we communicate. I mean, there’s a reason why the life expectancy for Black men is like 43. All those years of holding everything in rots your insides.
Obviously, not all men are like this. There are many who are perfectly ok with expressing themselves and allowing themselves to be “open.” Many of us have friends, fathers, ex-coaches, and even barbers we’re able to bond with. But, as long as “sensitive” continues to be thought of as a feminine trait, we’re going to continue to create dangerously vent-less men.