All Articles Tagged "settling in relationships"
I have a disconcerting habit of keeping some people around longer than I should. So it’s sadly no surprise that I stayed in a “situationship” that looked like a committed relationship, but wasn’t, for way too long. For two years, I spent my time, energy, and effort on a man who could never actually be mine. We didn’t want the same things for our future, and yet, I didn’t feel like starting over with anyone else.
At the time, I made plenty of excuses as to why it made sense to continue the dysfunctional relationship, but in hindsight, it was probably one of the dumbest decisions I’ve made in my adult life, and trust me, I’ve made some less than smart ones. So why did I waste more than 24 months on an in-the-meantime situation? It all boils down to complacency–and a less than positive outlook on dating. Basically, I was tired of dating and also sick and tired of being sick and tired of dating. I’d secretly given up hope (at least for the time being) that there was someone out there for me. And frankly, I was too tired of the dating woes to go out on the scene and find out.
I wrote an article during the tenure of my two-year situationship entitled, “Why We Sometimes Settle,” so I was fully aware that I was playing myself. I was making a conscious effort to devote most of my time to an in-the-meantime man while putting other potential available suitors on hold. And yes, guys were attempting to put their bid in, but I wasn’t buying into them. I was quite comfortable with the man I was in a fake-me-out relationship with. We had fun together, and I genuinely liked having him around. But that wasn’t enough.
One of my older friends simply couldn’t understand my choice. She flat-out asked me, “How in the hell does a woman in her early 30s get tired of dating and give up hope?” She added that I had plenty of years left in me to sit around and settle for whatever came my way. This was my time to enjoy dating, and if it were meant to be, I would find someone worthy and settle down soon enough. In her opinion, it most certainly wasn’t the time to simply settle with a much older man who had made it clear that he didn’t want kids or to be married, despite the fact that I wanted those things.
Still, I knew his routine. I was comfortable being around him. He was like a really great friend with added benefits. I didn’t feel like meeting a new man and getting to know him. I was also very uncertain if it would ever work out for me, and was trying to come to terms with the fact that maybe I’m just not meant to be married.
So these array of emotions coupled with the fact that I felt that a woman had a better chance of meeting a good man at a strip club than in the city I currently reside in, my vision was clouded and my optimism nonexistent. I realized for two years I’d completely given up on love, and my in-the-meantime man was my crutch to hold on to the little bit of hope I had left that I could get along with a man who I enjoyed and who enjoyed me. I realized, I wasn’t just settling when it came to relationships, I was settling when it came to my thinking and the future.
So after losing two years of a proper dating life, what am I doing now to make sure this somber story doesn’t replay itself in my life? Actually, I’m not sure. After constantly interviewing people about relationships for articles I’m working on, listening to horror stories, and replaying my own tumultuous tales, I’m still having a hard time doing as the late Ms. Maya Angelou advised: “trust love one more time.” While I’ve ‘deaded’ my two-year situationship with no intention of going back, my dating life is certainly not enviable. Partly because I still don’t feel like putting in extra effort and I’m still somewhat jaded about past experiences. In no way am I saying this is the way I want to continue, but I’ve yet to figure out how to actually give it another shot. But if I was ever lucky enough to have Oprah randomly ask me her infamous question of “What do you know for sure?” I would say with conviction that I know I wouldn’t allow myself to waste anymore time on another man who could never really be mine.
A few days ago, a friend of mine broke up with her boyfriend of 4 years. While she was hurt and angry, she said she knew what she was doing what the right thing because she had known their relationship was in trouble for about as long as they had been together. When I asked her what made her stay in a dysfunctional relationship for so long, she said that she was in love, and also that she wanted to be in a relationship. She wanted a boyfriend.
And she’s not the only one to have ever stayed in a relationship longer than she should have. So many of us have found ourselves falling head over heels for a guy we know isn’t quite right. Or we’re not sure, but we ignore our gut instincts because we’re attracted to him, want to love someone, or want to be loved in return. The smartest women can be blinded by love, lust or even simple infatuation, and no matter how many times our friends and family try to warn us to run for the hills, sometimes we just don’t want to see it.
The universe has gifted us all, especially women, with instincts – a sort of sixth sense – that tells us something just isn’t quite right and that we should proceed with caution. However, if you feel like your radar is a little off and you aren’t sure if what you’re feeling is a gut instinct to run or not, then here are some relationship red flags you should never ignore so that you don’t kick yourself later.
Dear Dr. Sherry,
I started fooling around with a good friend of mine strictly with the intention of us just being friends with benefits. Seven years have passed by and now I’ve fallen in love with him. When he and I first got involved, I knew that he was not the emotionally expressive type and that was fine because I only wanted sex. Now that I have feelings for him, he’s still the same non-expressive, unaffectionate guy. He says he cares deeply for me and that he’s just always had issues with his feelings. I feel like he just says that he cares because he doesn’t want me to move on. We don’t even go on dates, and yet every weekend he’s partying with his friends. In the beginning I was the same way, but as the feelings grew deeper I’ve lost the desire to be in the club. I’m starting to feel like I’ve wasted these years with him, and that I am nothing more than a booty call even though he insists that he has real feelings for me. What do you think?
Have you ever found yourself in this situation? Visit Essence to read what Dr. Sherry has to say about lovers and friends.
If you’re a fan of The Real Housewives of Atlanta, you’ve probably become very familiar with Kenya Moore, the resident desperate woman who, as “Gone-With-The-Wind-Fabulous” as she is, still hasn’t found her Prince Charming. She’s made it known on almost every episode of Season five that she is more than ready to be married and have children, pressuring her poor [faux] boyfriend Walter to put a ring on it.
While there is nothing wrong with knowing what you want and going after it, there is a difference between actively pursuing romance and desperately trying to find a husband. In case you don’t already know, desperation isn’t hot by any means. As a woman who is knocking on 40 herself, I understand her level of concern – especially as it pertains to having children. But pressuring yourself and others into marriage can cause more harm than good if you’re not careful. If the following describes your approach to looking for a relationship with marriage in mind, it’s time to slow down and take it easy before you find yourself with the wrong guy, or pushing the right one away.
Some of us still believe in true love, so we won’t accept anything less than the best when it comes to our romantic relationships. But others of us are either tired of waiting or no longer believe in true love. We asked our Facebook followers if they’ve ever settled in love and this is what they had to say.
Kirsten: I’ve considered it but God wouldn’t let me…and I’m so thankful for that!
Barbara: Yes, I have settled in love. I fell in love with someone that made less than I made. I was not really attracted to and we had different religious beliefs. Eventually, it ended after 5yrs because he looked at my money as his money and his money as his money. He also continually pressured me to adopt his religious beliefs and I had to get a divorce. It was like playing tug of war with him. We were undoubtedly unevenly yoked.
“I wish a brother would…”