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Today’s Word is… EXCLUSIVE 

So once upon a time not long ago,  I was on a date with someone, let’s call her… Stacy, and we ran into a friend of hers.  They chopped it up for a second and then she introduced me, this is… *cue Jeopardy theme* “Tristan” I interjected to move this along because I don’t do awkward.  Two revelations came from this; first, she ain’t even bang with this friend of hers in the first place (why do women do this) and secondly, it was the first time she had to actually think about who the hell I was to her.  We had been kicking it for a few months, saw each other often, she even picked up a check… basically, we went together.  Or so she assumed.  She not so subtly brought it up at dinner, “next time you can just say you’re my boyfriend… Or boo…or lover…maybe bodyguard (she realized the hole she dug and recovered quickly, I liked that about her).  We decided I was her unpaid escort/spades intern and swept that “what are we” under the rug. We practically went together and that was good enough. Except… It wasn’t.  I liked someone else actually, I would later end up with that person.  Stacy never asked, I never told.  She just assumed I wasn’t interested in someone else, that was her fault.  Wasn’t like we were exclusive.  

Karma would get me back for that one, as I found myself on the wrong side of an assumed relationship.  Once again, technically she didn’t do anything wrong I never asked, she never told.  (But a WHOLE boyfriend, B. How you fail to mention you got a whole nigga. Not a date, not a hookup, an entire relationship *inhales* *exhales*).  The lesson here could be to never assume, always ask and don’t put all your eggs in one basket because no one else is.  This game cold, diversify your bonds. 2-3 years ago, Today’s word would be Assume. 

But I’m #damnnear30 now, so today’s word is exclusive.  Everyone has a basic understanding of how dating and relationships work, yet when it comes time to be accountable everyone turns into Jeff Sessions.  Asking for exclusivity has become a necessary step in the courting process, but we can all be real with ourselves for a second… It’s bullshit.  If you have to ask someone to stop dating other people, break up with their boyfriend, not sleep with an ex while you’re out of town (this didn’t happen to me it was on a Netflix show), chances are they aren’t that sure about YOU in the first place.  We operate under our free will, not titles.  We do things for the people we like, love, desire regardless of what they are to us, so why do we act as if we need to be told first when it’s convenient?  Are you a Sim? 
Are we at a point where a relationship is some big step in life?  Is this like how we created an upper middle class because the actual middle class is broke? The word “boyfriend” doesn’t sound serious but now it’s practically an engagement.  I panicked at the idea of Stacy calling me her boyfriend as if I wasn’t damn near her boyfriend.  Or is it because boyfriend engenders some level of accountability that a “bae” doesn’t.  We all the security of a relationship, with none of the responsibility of one.  So much so, we’ve extracted this whole concept of exclusivity, because you got to earn the right of me giving up options. Or something.  What do you call someone who isn’t your boyfriend but you’re dating exclusively? (Denial.) 

I knew at that dinner what Stacy wanted and I could’ve cleared the roster and made it real but I didn’t want to and I knew it then.  I did break it off not long after that.  The one I ended up with never asked were we exclusive and if she did my answer would’ve been of course because I wanted her and I’m an adult who knows how things work.  

-Stan-

  

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Today’s Word is… NO

So a reader asked me was I afraid of commitment, without a second thought I had said no.  She was surprised by this answer, as young dudes usually try to avoid commitment like they do baldness, debt and the flu.  She asked for a particular reason, she was seeing someone and everything was going okay except there hasn’t been much effort on his part to eliminate the gray area and make it official.  “He’s afraid of commitment” she explains, he’s been burned in the past and is cautious about doing it again.  I had nothing.  And by nothing I mean I had a suspicion but I didn’t feel like speaking on it at the moment.  That suspicion being he’s probably more than likely full of shit.  I never placed much stock in the being afraid of commitment because titles don’t breed feelings, he is just as likely to get hurt by this girl she’s dating routinely than someone he’s actually yoked himself to. Hell, I would say that it hurts less failing a relationship than being jilted by a never was.  I’m biased.  So of course what followed is the cliche question:

Why are men afraid of commitment?

Now, there’s some men who are just unabashedly self aware, they don’t feel as though they would be a good mate, they’ve been hurt, they inflict hurt, they don’t trust themselves to take that leap. But in her beau’s case, and I would say they aren’t afraid of commitment, they’re afraid of the “no”.

No is rejection, no is finality, no strips always the blissful ignorance that is enjoying the ride and seeing where things go.  No has consequences, suddenly the spoils and privileges you enjoyed as a “friend” cease to exist.  Those all day conversations are now “hi, wyd, and thats good”.  Its like coming into work one Monday and your badge doesn’t work. (Which is terrifying, every time.) 

No shines accountability on the other side as well, there is no more being led on, no credence lent to your doing the wrong thing with the right intention.  Now you know this is a road to nowhere, there’s no hope to hide behind.  You’re left with two choices; continue down this road to nowhere or just turn around and head back.  The reality sets in that you were never “friends” or you were never “talking”, you both just, were.  Its a tough pill to swallow.  If only a return to bliss was possible…but its been spoiled forever.  (Well unless someone changes their mind)

The ignorance is addictive sometimes.  Don’t ask questions you can’t process the answers to,  keep telling yourself who knows what the future may hold when you know deep down it looks very bleak.  In her case, she just accepted that he’s afraid of commitment and he’ll come around.  I would beg to differ but maybe I’m wrong on this one and he truly is just afraid of a being hurt in a relationship with the person he’s been dating for months already and seemingly has feelings for.  Or something. 

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Today’s Word is… EXCLUSIVE

Its so funny running into you…

So I run into a girl I used to talk to, we catch up for a second.  I almost forgot how much I was feeling her at some point, but for whatever reason whether it was my aversion to titles or the fact she never spoke up; we never were technically more than friends, although we were clearly involved.

“Seeing anyone?”

“nothing serious”

“Yeah, I know all too well”

She smiles and literally bites her tongue, she had more to say but she knew she already won this round.  That was one of the things I liked about her, she was a witty and sarcastic as me.  However, like me she would use it to hide real feelings and sell it really well; perhaps that’s how we ended up here.  We exchange numbers, although I’m not sure what my next move is yet, I miss her company but she wasn’t exactly the one that got away.  I hit her up that night, pick her brain.  We catch up on a lot and ultimately we come to the elephant in the room: what happened between us?

What it ultimately boiled to she wanted a relationship, I didn’t, she let me cook.  I kinda knew that already.  Why we stopped talking in general, was she felt some type of way when I actually turned around a got in a relationship (Madame).  “The better woman won :).” Still with the sarcasm.  Funny she said that as Madame was far from it.  To be honest, I never saw it as choosing one over the other.  Madame was somewhat of a whirlwind romance, I met her one day we were a couple the next.  I think had we just dated a while we would’ve never been official.  Me and “Ms.Wit” dated so long I never saw reason to be official.  So what is the ideal timeframe to actually take things from dating to exclusivity?

In my experience, its usually sooner.  Even though Madame was a flop, at the time I felt there was something there I wasn’t getting from my casual dates.  “She” we were actually friends for a while (she had a man when we met), but the second she was available to date (keyword available, not just single) I was on it.  Now I think about it most of my girlfriends we were together within the first month or two.  The times I waited, it never materialized, I already showed I ain’t sh*t got a gist of what type of relationship it would be. From there comes “friend zone”, completely cut off or forever waiting like Tim Tebow.  I trust my instincts if after months we aren’t an item there’s usually a reason why.  With Ms.Wit, there was no concrete reason perhaps because I was already getting free milk (I was like 19-20 after all).  I still was dealing with “Her”, and I was enjoying being single.  Guess you can call that poor timing.  There might’ve been something else I’m not remembering.  I don’t know, I’ll figure it out.

when is my turn?

All in all, the transition from dating to exclusivity should be a smooth one.  You should both want it, shouldn’t be an ultimatum or a “sure why not” #pewnpewn #shotsfired.  It should be a direct dialogue of expectations and feelings, not a game of chicken.  It can also mean sacrifice whether its withholding pink matter or simply walking away from it all.  Ms.Wit knew things weren’t headed where they ought, knew when to fold em, got to respect it.  Dating casually for years, ain’t nobody got time for that.

-Stan-

 

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Today’s Word is… TITLES

The Good ol’ Common….

I had it all figured out.  We would go to a movie, take a nice summer stroll in the Commons, and I would tell her she was meant to be with me.  This was me in 2007, and the target was this friend of mine who I had developed feelings for, y’all may know her as “Her”. The only issue; she had a boyfriend.  The fact that she even agreed to the movie gave me optimism, since she got with him she had little to know time for me anymore, which was understandable but this was my chance.  She was late so I had to scrap the movie, didn’t matter that was just the ploy to get her, a dinner seemed too obvious, just hanging might’ve been blown off (she was good for that).  She almost cancelled but I guilted her into coming, I needed to do this today.  We walked,  talked and people watched and basically did what we had always done since we met.  I told her I fallen in love with her, she was lost for words. I kissed her, she kissed back, the remainder of the evening was pretty much extreme PDA (something I’m honestly not a big fan of but it was worth it with her).  “We never spoke about what that night actually meant…”

Was my first thought the next morning.  Was we together? What about dude?  Would she tell him? Was this just a one time thing?  I was too up in the clouds to think about it too much, I was just happy.  Ignorance was bliss as we just enjoyed ourselves, it was wrong but right, confusing but made so much sense.  Then we had to have the damn talk. We realized we weren’t on the same page.  This was the narrative for the next couple years, there were other girlfriends/boyfriends in the picture but they never could keep us apart…and we could never seem to stay together.   We were always happiest when there was nothing official, just two people in love with each other.  Our hearts were exclusive,  nothing else mattered.

Not tryna hear that see

Today, I still feel some type of way about titles.  They complicate things.  You’re happy with me, I’m happy with you what does it matter if I’m your “boyfriend”.  Oh yeah, other suitors.  Titles is what keeps others away (somewhat, to be honest taken Stan get way more play than single Stan does).  But if both people aren’t with anyone else but each other, what’s the point of a title?  Just because you’re not technically off the market doesn’t you’re on. I’m secure what’s mine, she’s secure what’s hers then a title or not changes nothing, it’s like labeling the milk and you live alone.  Then there’s also expectations, a boyfriend catches a lot of grief a boo doesn’t (unless you’re me who is always in trouble with someone I’m not with).   One of the things that really came between me and Her’s 35973rd attempt at a relationship was time.  Suddenly she wasn’t getting enough, I was her boyfriend now it was time to take it up a few notches (or maybe I set the bar too high initially but I digress)  I also expected more in a relationship, if I’m investing more I expect a bigger return otherwise I was better off where I was.  Title-less like LeBr…oh yeah he won….Dwight Howard.

OMG I can finally change my facebook status

Of course, titles make people happy.  So regardless of reservations, if a woman I’m with wants it to be official and I’m ready to take the leap, I will.  If we’re just happy with it being what it is, I’m okay with that as well. One is not a referendum on the other, I can say I cared more for some boos than some girlfriends.  Different store, different prices, but if you want it bad enough you’re willing to pay whatever it takes whether its titles or even being willing to not take a title.  Why miss out on a good thing for an ego boost or for what you believe is the right way to be in a relationship? Why miss out on a good thing because you don’t like definitions? Choose to be happy.  It’s so much easier.

 

 

-Stan-

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