One of my favorite TV shows is about a single woman living in the Los Angeles area who, along with her friends, is navigating the winding and sometimes bumpy roads of dating, relationships, love and sex.
In the last episode, one of the characters who has gone on several dates with a man, is taken aback when she learns that she is not the only one he is spending time with. Thinking they are exclusive, she doesn't handle the situation well and instead of being a big girl and using her words, she gets in her feelings. She should have pulled her big-girl panties up and told him how she felt, but she became distant and cut the night short with him. He opened the window of opportunity for her to say something when he looked for confirmation that she was also seeing other people. That's when she was supposed to say how she really felt, instead of pretending her calendar was full every night.
After each show, I always debrief with male friends to get their perspective and each of them said the woman should have spoken up, but I also think it should have been a conversation had by both of them.
This same character was once involved with a married man who claimed that he and his wife had an open marriage. She and the married man spent a lot of time together and shared romantic moments. Feelings came into play and the female character dramatically ended the relationship. My male friends place the blame on the woman by saying she knew what she was getting herself into by getting in bed with a married man, but doesn't the MAN have some sort of accountability?
I don't profess to be an expert on relationships, but one thing I stand by is a mutual understanding and open communication when it comes to where things stand. Is it a relationship?A situationship? Are we just friends? Are we friends with benefits? Are you my man? Am I your woman? I have questions and I need answers.
Unfortunately, what happens often is mixed signals are sent.
In the past and now in my current life, I make it very clear to any man that I meet that I am not interested in a relationship. That means that I have zero desire to be mutually exclusive... HOWEVER... I am a grown-ass woman with grown-ass needs. Once it is made clear that we are both two consenting adults going into a no-strings-attached physical relationship, then we can move forward.
Often, what happens during this said "no-strings-attached" situation is that lines become blurred and mixed signals are sent. Picture this; you've met a guy that you have amazing chemistry with. Y'all click on every level and he makes your body do things you never knew it was capable of. You've both agreed that it's just sex, but he sends "good morning, beautiful" texts messages, he takes you to dinner, he spends the night, you're Netflixing and chilling and talk almost every day. Your head starts spinning and it's confusing!
William asked me today if I could name one person with whom I had a no-strings-attached, zero expectations, physical relationship, where there was no confusion or mixed signals. Immediately, I named Ahmad.
"You said his name like you just had an orgasm," William laughed.
"I mean... he gave me multiple," I shrugged.
"But he was a professional!" William argued.
That was a true statement.
Ahmad has global vagina. He literally has been with women all over the world.
Ahmad knows his way around a woman's body and I was well aware that we weren't exclusive, but I was okay with that.
Ahmad and I had a long distance thing. He would let me know when he would be in town and I made time for him. I also gave him advance notice when I would be in his neck of the woods and we shared memorable moments together! When we connected, he treated me as if we were the only two people in the world. He would take me to dinner, drinks, dancing and we shared passionate moments while we were together, then go our separate ways.
We didn't talk every day, but we kept in touch. He never treated me as if I was a jump-off, and we had an understanding. No woman can ever call Ahmad a whore, player or dog because he keeps it 100 percent real at all times. Ahmad knows how to play the game, but never plays games.
In order to have that type of understanding, it takes two mature, consenting adults, but you have to be honest with yourself and decide if that is what you truly want.
It is not for the faint of heart.
If you want a title, speak up! Don't say you're okay with being friends with benefits, when what you truly want is bae.
Don't give him an out!
If you tell him what you want and that's not what he is willing to give, then he's just not the one for you. Move on before you go in too deep and feelings are hurt - which more than likely will be yours.
Longtime readers of this blog may remember Deputy Dan.
When we met, he told me that he was fresh off of a divorce and not ready for a relationship and I was okay with that, but he started doing boyfriend stuff; spending the night, coming by and shoveling my walkway after a snowfall, and buying groceries for me to cook meals for the two of us.
Then, one day, without warning, he went ghost. I mean, when you go ghost, there really is no warning. It's not like the guy says, "Hey baby, uhhh.. I'm about to disappear on yo' ass and cease all contact with you."
When I had the opportunity to confront him, he confessed that he felt things were getting too serious and he wasn't ready, but all he had to do was be a big boy and use his words.
If men and women were more capable of communicating openly and honestly, imagine how wonderful the world would be! I mean, there are a lot of men who would love to hear a woman say hat she is not looking for a commitment and only wants to use his body, but they both have to be mature and enter into this sexual contract with no expectations. Don't be face-timing, texting and calling each other every day. Don't place any demands on one another. Hell, if you really want to get down and dirty, act like Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman and don't kiss on the lips!
It's all so complicated and it's not black and white, but are relationships really ever that simple?
I guess my whole point is, EV-AH-REE relationship requires communication - no matter what kind it is. In order to avoid mixed signals, you must be able to maturely, honestly, logically and rationally communicate your needs.
Whether it's a booty-call, dating, committed relationship or marriage, in order to make it work, you must first be honest with yourself and then with the other person.
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