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He took you out once. That was perfect. He told you you’re “so beautiful.” That was sweet. He kissed you. That gave you butterflies. He said, “I can see myself with you.” That made your heart skip a beat and your mind race to marriage. He listened when you were distressed over that horrible situation plaguing your life. That comforted you. He cuddled and watched television with you a few times. That felt so good. He’s funny. He seems genuine. He has potential. How cute.

And those are reasons to sleep with him? Those are reasons to cook for him and clean his apartment as if your name were on the lease? Those are reasons to shut out thoughts of any other possibilities for your love life? Those are reasons to compromise pieces of yourself that you sometimes worry that you shouldn’t have compromised?

Baby girl, you’re doing too much and he’s not doing enough. You know how I know? Because I’ve been that girl. You got so wrapped up in his primary packaging that you didn’t bother to look inside. You were sold. It looked good. At first. It felt good. At first. But “at first” is long gone and so is the spark and you’re not sure why he’s not doing all the things he was doing before. You’re wondering why you no longer seem to be a priority. You’re a little crushed but keeping Melanie Fiona on replay is bolstering your spirit just enough to keep truckin’ along. You still wonder though.

Take it from someone who has been a semi-consistent victim of her own overly active emotions: If he didn’t have to earn it, he won’t honor it. More than once I was so eager to be in love that I took off from my starting block before the gun even got in the air, let alone fired a shot. That kind of impatience – especially when dealing with love – WILL backfire and leave you losing. Every time.

And don’t misunderstand. This is not about playing games. It is however, about guarding your heart and your emotions until the he proves that not only are his intentions honorable but that he will consistently honor YOU. You will never get to that point of assurance if you’re filling girlfriend shoes without him ever having actively given you the title. Or picking out “His and Hers” bath towels and he hasn’t even thought about putting a ring on it.

Much of the hurt we face when dating is a result of our own impatience and need for affection when, as a mentor of mine once said, “Patience reveals all deception.” If he’s for real, you’ll be able to see consistency in his actions over time. If he’s just putting on a mask to get the good-good, then time will tell that as well. Whether young or old, patience has never been anything but a virtue. And in the case of love, wouldn’t you rather keep some mystery about yourself, guard your heart and make him work for your love than to give it away off the strength of a cheap date? To give a man who has not proven worthy access to you physically and/or mentally is like making small tears in your view of your own value. What are you worth? A few drinks at a swanky bar? A few compliments about your hair? What’s your price? Or are you invaluable?

Listen to: “Earn My Affection” by Amel Larrieux

I’ll answer for you. You’re invaluable. But that is a fact you have to know for yourself and refuse to accept any treatment that suggests less – even from yourself. Exercise some patience. Let him work for it. Don’t put yourself in compromising positions. If you know you might sleep with him prematurely, don’t go to his house. Insist on active dates. If you know you’re prone to getting too drawn in emotionally too soon, steel your mindset against getting too attached too soon and enlist the help of your girls for support.

Women hold more power than we give ourselves credit for. Men follow our lead. Let’s be absolutely convinced of our worth with our actions and interactions as evidence. Then, men will have no choice but to be convinced as well and either manifest cowardice by shrinking back, wanting something easy OR stepping up to the plate and earning our affections.

La Truly’s writing is powered by a lifetime of anecdotal proof that awkward can transform to awesome and fear can cast its crown before courage. La seeks to encourage thought, discussion and change among young women through her writing. Check her out on Twitter: @AshleyLaTruly.

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