“I’m leaving messages and voicemails, telling you ‘I miss you.’ Baby am I doing too much?” sweetly sang a naïve Paula Deanda desperate for new found love to last in the 2006 chart-topper “Doing Too Much.” We know this girl, have gossiped about this girl or have been this girl at some point in our love lives. As women, we sometimes desire to have a man so badly that we try to rush the comfort that comes with a naturally developing relationship. Unfortunately, that desire can read as desperation and make potential boyfriend material duck for cover. You might be doing the most if you’re engaging in the following behaviors:
1. You start canceling on your crew.
That funny little feeling called infatuation will have you believing that you should be spending every waking minute under your brand new boo. In fact, this is the best way to guarantee you’ll be sick of him before you can change your Facebook status. Make time to miss each other by maintaining your separate social lives.
2. You refer to his relatives as “in-law’s” and try to force yourself into the family.
You buy his niece Bikini Beauty Barbie, her beach bungalow and her hot pink Jeep Wrangler and sign it, “Love Auntie.” There’s nothing wrong with being nice, but being too eager, too early with family can come across like you have something to hide. If he has decent relatives they’ll question your assumption that their affection has a price tag. If his relatives have no shame in their game, they’ll use this as an open invitation to take advantage of you. You may also be overstepping some boundaries. Either way, you should want his family to grow to like you for who you are and not the presents you’re packing.
3. You don’t take into consideration how your kids feel.
We’ve probably all been witness to a woman that gets a man and totally forgets her kids’ feelings. It’s almost too predictable: Dad leaves, mom moves in her new boyfriend and is so caught up in being a ”girlfriend” that she puts her mommy responsibilities on hold. You don’t have to permanently close the doors on dating, but you should understand your choice in a mate affects the whole family. If your child starts flipping desks in school, it’s not a coincidence or just he/she being a bad-A$$. Your child may have some issues that you need to attend to instead of obsessing over keeping a man.
4. Fulfilling “girlfriend” responsibilities without the actual title.
I’ll be the first one to tell a woman to not over-analyze every move she makes in a relationship; if you want to do something, just do it. With that said, you also need to realize the type of situation you’re creating for yourself. If you are just kicking it with someone new, and have only been out on a few dates (or even worse have never been on an actual date) and you find yourself taking lunch to him on your day off, letting him use your car or handling his personal affairs on his behalf you are officially “doing too much.” You want to market yourself as a girlfriend potential, not audition to be a personal assistant. By eliminating the challenge, he’ll feel no pressure to get serious about the relationship since he’s already getting the benefits of one. You don’t have to play games, but give him a chance to prove if he’s worth all of the hassle.
5. Loving the crew a little too much.
Friends are a part of the package, it doesn’t mean you’re obligated to make his BFFs your besties too just because you’re dating. And don’t feel pressure to be something you’re not just to win his homies’ approval. I’ll never forget when I was dating a guy and his friend happened to be on the phone and thought it was ok to call me the B-word as a term of affection. As much as he tried to convince me he wasn’t being disrespectful, my standards are my standards and that just wasn’t cool with me. In the end, your man will respect you more for holding your own. Any guy who bases all of his relationship choices on the needs of his friends is not the man for you.
6. You force the pet names.
It’s only week two and you’re throwing around terms like “wifey,” “boo” and the dreaded “bae” (short for baby). When I see women do this I instantly want to scream “You don’t even know that man!!” Pet names can be cute, but they’re all kinds of awkward when thrown around prematurely. If it feels forced and phony, chances are it sounds that way too. Anybody can be a “baby” or “honey” but there’s nothing better than a nickname that’s unique to the relationship.
7. Your Facebook/Twitter timeline is a play-by-play of all of the “special” things he does for you.
I always say you can tell when a girl isn’t used to being treated very nicely. We all have that one friend who subjects you to endless updates of what others may view as very normal healthy relationship behavior. They read something like: “I have the best hubby in the world, he took our kids to see The Lorax.” “Breakfast on the boo! Cheese eggs on deck. I love my man!” You get the point. I’m really happy someone loves you enough to take the kids you created together out for a day. I hate to break it you but some things are a given in a relationship and not worthy of applause. I understand how exciting new love can be after repeated heartache, and it’s fine to be appreciative of the little things that come with love. Just be careful not to glorify behavior that should be happening regardless.
Have you ever found yourself “doing too much” in the early stages of a relationship?
Toya Sharee is a community health educator and parenting education coordinator who has a passion for helping young women build their self-esteem and make well-informed choices about their sexual health. She also advocates for women’s reproductive rights and blogs about everything from beauty to love and relationships. Follow her on Twitter @TheTrueTSharee.
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