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.