“Hi Muffie!! I recently rekindled things with a guy I initially met in 2009. When I met him he had zero children. Now he has 1 and one on the way by 2 different women. Every time I think I’ve shaken him somehow we end up speaking and making out again. Whenever we are together we discuss our future and what it might have been had he not pro-created. I really do love this man. Anytime I see him I get butterflies. I’ve dismissed him many times for what I’ve considered to be poor choices. Now we are both single despite him having a child on the way. What should I do?”
-Desperate in DC
Hi Desperate in DC,
You mentioned that you two often talk about your future together and imagine a life before he had children. It’s fun to think about those things, but unfortunately that’s not reality. Be careful! Don’t fall in love with the fantasy; fall in love with the reality. Your reality with this man is that he has 1.5 children and has done things in the past to make you reconsider moving forward with him (maybe those things should go into the reality pile). The real question is can you handle and accept the reality and let go of the fantasy?
All relationships have speed bumps and crossroads and there’s agood chance that the reality of the situation can be worked through if you are okay with accepting him just as he is in this moment. However, there are a few things that I would like you to ponder before fully pursuing a relationship with him: (1)Aside from you calling things off, what has prohibited him in making an exclusive commitment with you? Five years is a long time to know someone in that capacity. If he has never brought the idea of an exclusive relationship up over the years, I would compel you to ask him why. (2) I would encourage you to examine his past relationship patterns with his children’s mothers in the most organic way possible (Please don’t have a list of 54 questions when you guys meet for happy hour). These things will help you separate the fantasy and reality of the situation and aide you in making the decision. Can you handle and accept the reality and let go of the fantasy?
As life occurs, so does overbooking, which means definitive plans will sometimes be cancelled. Understandable. However, if he is constantly rescheduling or canceling, his priorities are somewhere other than getting to know you.
2. He’ll make plans in advance and won’t make every date tentative and/or last minute.
Spontaneity is cool, but not every single time. Taking the time to plan something in advance indicates that he puts you on a higher priority.
3. He’ll compliment you. (“You have great boobs,” doesn’t count).
Compliments can be flattering, but be leery if he ONLY compliments you on your Serena Williams booty physical assets. That most likely indicates that his interest in you is strictly physical, so make sure to listen for compliments that go beyond your physical beauty and focus more on your intrinsic qualities.
4. He’ll do nice gestures.
Nice gestures are a good way to tell if he has an interest in you. Flowers are probably the most obvious and my personal favorite hint, hint.. The definition of a nice gesture varies because of its subjectivity. Always pay attention to his display of kindness towards you.
5. He’ll share personal things about his life/daily events and he will ask the same of you.
Sharing things about his personal life is a sign of intimacy, whether it’s consciously done or not. Conversation will go beyond the cliché “How was your day?”jargon if he has a genuine interest in you.
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I met this guy on a social media site and I fell for him immediately after he told me he thinks that I may be the one. I really like this guy and have gone all out for him. I have provided for him financially, given him my time and have been to visit him on many occasions (he lives in Columbus and I live in NY, so it’s long distance). However, I am starting to feel a little uneasy because he doesn’t have a job and is trying to get back on his feet. He has never been to visit me and doesn’t know any of my family. I don’t want to seem like I am all about money but I have done a lot for this guy…Things I would not normally do. We argue a lot and I feel like we should be more happy than we are because we have been together for almost a year. I want more from him. Should I wait for him to get on his feet or just be friends until he gets his act together?
Baffled in Brooklyn
Dear Baffled in Brooklyn,
It sounds like you have invested a lot of time and money waiting for him to make some changes. From what I read, it seems that the relationship started off as you being the financial steady by providing for him and flying/driving to see him. Although I am sure you did not envision being the only one who has her things in order, it has surely turned out that way. Remember: How the relationship starts off usually sets the precedent for the relationship.
A key word in your summary was: “WAIT”. Always remember that when you wait for someone to possess an important quality that you need for a fulfilling relationship, you’re also “waiting” on your happiness and contentment. I’m not saying that’s wrong, but waiting is a gamble because there is no guarantee that he is going to change any time soon. I believe the feelings of uneasiness–and what sounds like resentment– are stemmed from not getting what you need from the relationship. I am gathering from the background you provided that you would like a man who is more stable financially. It also sounds like there is a certain level of intimacy missing that you desire (e.g. Getting to know your family, etc.). Unfortunately, you’re not being provided with any of those things.
To answer your question: If you’re not getting what you need, it probably won’t be in your best interest to continue the relationship because his behavior over the last year has not been indicative of what you desire in a mate. I will leave you with this: Sacrificing your happiness based on someone else’s failed attempts to give you what you need will usually result in feelings of resentment and frustration even when love is involved.
Often times we are quick to label ourselves as “settling” if we renege on one or two expectations for a mate; but in all actuality, the determination of settling should not be dependent upon one or two wants that aren’t being met. Instead, settling should be based on specific needs that aren’t being met.
Knowing the difference between a need and a want is simple: If your need is not met, you will continuously be dissatisfied with the relationship. Trying to convince yourself that your need is an insignificant want may seem tolerable for a while but your tolerance will eventually turn into resentment and discontent. Consequently, you’ll most likely leave the relationship, have many failed attempts in changing the person due to your neglected needs. Conversely, a want will not be a significant hindrance if it’s not met because your needs in the relationship are being met. For example, ideally you wouldn’t want your partner to have any children, but you end up in a relationship with someone who does. This doesn’t act as a hindrance because you’re still satisfied with the relationship due to your emotional and physical needs being met.
This is the guy who you know is only good for going out on dates. He’s far from your type and only has 3 out of 20 qualities on “The List”, but there‘s something about him that keeps you interested. Usually, it’s a quality that would be considered shallow by most (i.e. He looks just like , he makes a lot of money, etc.). There’s a slim chance that the two of you could have a serious long-lasting relationship because he’s significantly under-qualified. The men I dated who have fallen into this category were generally good guys, but I knew it would never go further than an occasional date because of the pretentious nature in which the dating relationship started. Besides, it’s always a terrible idea to force a relationship based on trivial qualities.
Alternatively, Mr. Dater could be the guy who‘s a good catch, but not ready to settle down. He’s the one who has a very demanding career or the one who simply enjoys dating and has no intent on changing his lifestyle anytime soon. I enjoy dating men who fall into this category because I’m not fully ready to settle down and there’s no pressure to progress the dating relationship. It works for both of us.
2. Mr. Maybe
Most of the men you date start out as Mr. Maybe. Mr. Maybe is the guy who may have some quirks. In particular, he reminds you of Tommy from Martin. He swears that he has a job, but he always seems to be available ANYTIME of the day and is constantly talking about how “The Man” is trying to take him down. But, oddly enough, he has captivated your interest. One thing that I despise about dating Mr. Maybe is that most times it results in continuing a dating relationship knowing there’s no progression. Once the relationship ends I always feel a sense of disappointment because I settled for what was there and blatantly ignored the red flags.
This is a tough category for me to delve into because I have not had the experience of dating a bad boy since my freshman year of high school (Sorry, mom). Mr. Bad Boy doesn’t necessarily have an episode on The First 48 nor has he been seen on Maury doing backfilps when he found out little Tay’Qwanell wasn’t his. However, I will admit that maybe there is a little something about an uninhibited man with a little too much confidence. I’m not sure what that something is and I’ve never been compelled to find out. However, there are some women who are willing to test the waters with Mr. Bad Boy. Maybe it’s the chase or maybe it’s the excitement of the relationship. No matter the reasoning, when you choose to date a Mr. Bad Boy, know what you’re getting yourself into and don’t try to change him, especially since you were initially attracted to his unconventional ways.
7. Mr. Fantasy
Mr. Fantasy is the guy who you’ve been stalking on Facebook watching from afar. You’re extremely attracted to him and he seems to meet all of the major requirements on your list. Once you get his attention, you know there’s a good chance that he’ll fall for you. Before you know it, you two have been on a few dates and everything is going well until Mr. Fantasy isn’t as intriguing as you once thought he was. You never understood why he had to call his mom after every date. And what was up with that Wayne Brady shrine in his Living Room? The smoke clears and your Mr. Fantasy quickly turns into Mr. Are-You-Kidding-Me. It never fails; unrealistic expectations will always turn into failed realities.
My experience with Mr. Fantasy has always been a dupe in the end. When I come across a man who is aesthetically appealing and perfect on paper, I tend to get the fantasy confused with reality by envisioning this perfect specimen of a man. This ideal obviously sets me up for disappointment because no one is perfect, no matter how symmetrical their face and how awesome their resume is. Due to my past mistakes with Mr. Fantasy, I now realize that Mr. Fantasy is just that…a fantasy. And that Wayne Brady shrine? It’s not so bad, is it?
If your weekends consist of NETFLIX rental every Friday night, I’m sorry to break it to you, but you’re not dating. Don’t get me wrong, having a movie night every now and then is cool, but not every weekend. I’m not sure about you, but I’m definitely worthy enough to be taken out in public (especially on a good hair and outfit day). He’s not that into you if all of your time together is spent watching Coming to America and Trois I,II and III. Call me an old school modern woman (oxymoron, I know), but last time I checked, he’ll invite you to places other than HIS place if he digs you. If his idea of doing something special for you includes ordering two movies instead of one, that’s a problem.
Having strong feelings, spending a considerable amount of time together, having sex, meeting the parents, etc. are not indicative of exclusivity. You go to the movies, meet for happy hour and have even gone on a few quick weekend trips. It’s the perfect relationship until you find out he is also having that type of fun and intimacy with someone else. You think about all the time and emotion you’ve invested and you’re disappointed in what you ended up with.
My cell rings after I return from lunch with Marisol. It’s Eugene calling back for the ninth time in a row. I finally answer in my best exhausted voice. He replies with, ”Baby, it’s me. Eugene. I’ve been tryna catch you for the last hour!” I look at my watch just to kill some time. I apologize and tell him I got caught up chatting with my homegirl and how work is kicking my butt. He didn’t seem to let that phase him and he asks me to meet him for dinner. I responded with a, “Let me get back to you,” and called my friend Dominique to tell her about my potential date with Eugene. After some laughs and giggles, she reminds me of the 90-day rule and gives me her blessing. Soon after, I text Eugene with a yes.
Ladies, you’ve spent hours at the mall shopping for the right shoes to match the pink clutch purse that you picked up last week. You’ve already gotten your mani/pedi and the last thing on your To-Do list is to stop by Shaketa’s crib to pick up the accessories you ordered from her online boutique. You have put in work for this date and pray Mr. Man is worth it. Hours later, you’re stepping out of the shower as you blindly reach for your iPhone, almost dropping it. It’s him. He wants to meet down at that new swanky bistro over in the meat packing district. Chasity at work set this blind date up and you had a bad feeling about this from the jump. You comb out your weave, finish applying your Mac and grab your keys while darting out of the door. You pause in front of the body-length mirror to reassure yourself that the gym flow has been paying off. As you sit on the train going eastbound to Gansevoort Street, you think of dating as a second job…