#RelationshipGoals: Wait, Did I Just Get Played?

April 24, 2017  |  

Beautiful young Afro American couple is hugging and smiling while sitting together on couch at home

How do you know you’re getting played?

Wounds from our past usually dictate the way that we act and react, especially in romantic relationships. And some of us–let me speak for myself–I try my best to be smarter than my emotions and overlook the tiny things I used to latch on to and drive myself crazy over. I overlooked all red flags with Eric borrowing money from me. I just wanted us to be in a trusting place and I thought me giving him money would fast track our journey to trust. I was wrong and left thinking: Wait, did I just get played?

Continued from #RelationshipGoals: You Should Never Give a Man Money?

I transferred $200 to Eric. It wasn’t the $300 he asked for, but it was what I felt like parting with. The only thing that made me feel at least OK about it was that I no longer needed a rental car because I broke my foot. So the money I was using to rent the car, I gave to Eric.

“I just want to make sure you know that I absolutely expect to get this money back. I just don’t want it to be an issue babe, for real,” I told Eric after I let him know I made the transfer.

Eric sighed. “I hear you.” He sounded defeated. “Thank you.”

We sat in silence for what felt like forever. “I’ll call you later,” Eric said.

I didn’t hear from Eric until a couple of days before Christmas, when he told me he’d bought back two of his daughter’s most important gifts. “Thank you again babe. I appreciate it and Jada will too,” he said.

I didn’t want to reiterate how important it was to get the money back, so as not to emasculate him more than he already was by asking me for and accepting the money in the first place. “You’re very welcome. We’re building trust and a mature relationship, right? This is a part of that,” I told myself more than I was telling him.

“You’re right. I’ll call you back later. I’m about to go to the store with my cousin,” Eric said. He was already in Atlanta for the holidays and had plans to be back in North Carolina before the New Year so we could spend it together. We were going to get a hotel room, sit down and plan out our year, starting with the first three months. Eric planned on moving to New York City later in the year and we wanted to plan out the move to be as easy as possible on him financially.

“Hey you,” I messaged Eric a couple of days later. The last time we were in contact, he told me he’d be right back after a quick trip to the store. That was four days prior. Christmas was the next day.

“What’s up Dee? ” Eric asked.

Instead of showing him that I was upset about his small disappearing act, I asked if he was excited about Christmas.

“Not really. I mean, it’s not really for me. It hasn’t been in forever. It’s all about Jada and this year I failed,” Eric sighed.

Eric’s negativity hit me right in the chest and I couldn’t help but take it personally and react. “Wait, so the money I sacrificed to give you didn’t matter?”

“I’m not saying that Dee,” Eric replied.

“What are you saying then?” I was heated.

Eric and I went back and forth about him not having enough or being able to re-buy the things Jada was missing and how he had to go around borrowing. He made it out to be my fault that he wasn’t able to buy her gifts back. Of course his failure was my fault.

But here I was, reconnecting with my first love and wanting to be in a mature relationship. So I tried to put myself in his shoes to understand what he was experiencing. But then he said, “You acted like I wasn’t going to pay you back. You don’t trust me like you should.”

He was not about to turn his misfortune around on me! I wanted to dismiss him, but I didn’t want to do it in a hurtful way, so I joked around and said, “I’ll be right back. I’m gonna run to the store with your cousin real quick.” (Considering the last time we spoke, he told me that and I didn’t hear from him again until four days later. I thought it was funny. I even used an “LOL!”)

Eric didn’t call to wish me a Merry Christmas, he didn’t call the day after that or the day after that. After sending a couple of un-returned messages, I was ready to dismiss Eric. It burned my soul that he could be non-responsive even after I’d let him borrow money.

“Can you believe I haven’t heard from Eric since before Christmas? And we’re supposed to be spending New Year’s Eve together!” I vented to Delilah. She came over to visit me at my mom’s house because she knew my broken foot was giving me cabin fever.

“Do you want my real answer Danielle?” She asked.

I braced myself, “Yes. Give it to me straight.”

“I don’t think he had any intention on paying you back. So…I think you got played love.”

“Who plays people they’re potentially planning on starting a life with for $200?!” My pride was hurt.

“That’s a question you may never get the answer too,” Delilah often gave the best advice, even when it hurt.

“Someone stupid. If he was smart, he would have held out for much more. You gave him $200 when you first reconnected. Imagine how much he could have gotten if he stuck around!” Delilah cracked herself up.

I stared at her wiping a tear from her eye, “I’m glad this is amusing to you.”

“It needs to be amusing to you. He played you, but you shouldn’t let him take your sense of humor girl!” Delilah was still cracking up.

I giggled, “I’m gonna fight you!”

“Save your punches for him girl. If you ever see him again,” Delilah laughed.

“This is bringing you too much joy woman,” I said, slightly offended. “That a–. Ugh, we were supposed to spend New Year’s together.”

“Well, now you just have to make plans with me!” Delilah said. I could tell she was serious. “Every year, I don’t make plans and I’m not interested in going anywhere to ‘turn up.'” She used air quotes. “And look at you Cripple McGee–you can’t turn up anyway. So, what we doing?”

“Well, I was going to plan out my next three months with Eric, but I could do that with you and actually plan my life and not my life with him.”

“See, that’s cute! And you were about to waste that good idea on that fuck boy? God be knowing,” Delilah laughed.

Delilah and I told Veronica about the New Year’s plans and she was in before we explained it all. “This is exactly the kind of New Year’s celebration I need!”

We had dinner at a swanky Italian restaurant and rented a hotel suite, where we had drinks and talked through our major plans for the year and broke down how we’d accomplish these things, starting with the first three months of the year. This is what Eric and I had planned and by the end of our “private party,” we’d have the foundation to our lives set. It meant a lot to me that Eric wanted to do that and now, without hearing from him, I was left to assume that Eric didn’t want to build a life with me.

Shortly after midnight, champagne flutes still in hand, Delilah, Veronica and I had every aspect of our lives planned for the next three months. I felt more buzzed from tackling that feat than I did from the champagne. I smiled when I looked at my plans that didn’t include Eric. I thought I’d feel sad about it, but I let Eric represent the ignorance around my love life that I was leaving behind in 2016.

My phone had been lighting up all night with Happy New Year messages from everyone I knew and even some I didn’t, as the messages would come through without a name attached. For the most part, I ignored them and then I saw a message from him.

I opened the message, eager to see him pour his heart out, begging to be forgiven, but instead, it was a simple: “Happy New Year.”

“He’s got some nerve!” I yelled, throwing the phone into the couch.

“Nope! Not tonight. Not in 2017 Danielle. Nope!” Delilah said between sips. She grabbed the phone and read the message from Eric. “This guy! He’s good,” she laughed.

What to know what happens next? You know the drill. Stay tuned for next week’s column to see what Eric had to say.

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