By: Britt Dior
It was Christmas morning and the whole family was celebrating because my younger sister’s boyfriend had just proposed to her. I was happy for her and celebrating too, but I was also checking my phone every 10 minutes to see if I had gotten a “Merry Christmas” text from the man who had told me 3 weeks earlier that he didn’t want to date me anymore.
By not dating me he meant that he still wanted to be friends, occasionally hang out, and of course communicate every single day. In essence he wanted a situationship.
It all started a little over a year ago. My sister had been dating her guy for a few months already when I met my guy, Mr. Tall, Light & Handsome. My sister and I had similar dating experiences but walked away with two different results. Her guy committed to her, while mine gave me excuse after excuse as to why he didn’t want to commit.
Even when my sister’s boyfriend didn’t know he wanted to get married he knew he wanted to be with her, so naturally their relationship progressed and eventually led to an engagement. I, on the other hand, had willingly walked into the lion’s den with hope and a prayer and got eaten alive.
There was no commitment from my guy. He was very clear from the beginning, that he didn’t want a relationship and he sure as heck didn’t know if he wanted to be with only me. I fell in love with him but he, on the other hand, just “cared” for me . I wasn’t looking for a ring but I was hoping for a commitment. Instead I got, “This is too much. Let’s back up a little bit.”
I went against all the empowerment lessons on what a prize I was and settled for this man. I partly settled because it can be hard to find a decent black man with his stuff together on paper. I’m an educated black woman with a great job and my life pretty much together, so when I run into a fine brotha that is bringing the same, if not more, to the table then I have to do what I need to do to keep him. Or so I told myself.
You would think that after seeing my sister fall in love and eventually get engaged that I would want more for myself. She and a few of my friends were showing me that happily ever after does happen – with the right person. But I made us strong black women look bad, and stayed with the wrong man anyway.
I went to see him the day after Christmas still holding on to hope that he would see the light and want only me. When that didn’t happen I started a huge argument with him about HIS life choices. He had been honest with me from start but I chose to overlook it and then I got mad.
Even as my sister was in pre-marital bliss I continued to be the Grinch that stole Cupid’s heart. I told her I didn’t want to hear any talk about wedding plans until after my birthday (the middle of January). Part of me just wanted to enjoy my birthday month without any wedding talk, while the other part of me hated that she was the one getting a happy ending while I was nursing a broken heart.
I wanted to be happy for my sister, who was becoming an obsessed bride, but I was so mad at myself. How did I manage to let a whole year pass me by and it end up being a waste of time?
Eventually I came to terms with my unhappy ending. Although my sister and I were living in the same house and going through the same emotions, her story will always be hers and mine will always be mine. The uniqueness of our closely knitted lives is what makes both endings absolutely okay.
See, my sister and I had the same goal in mind. To date, fall in love, get married, and start a family.It can be a lot of stress and pressure when your younger sibling does all of that before you and It left me feeling like I was incapable of finding a good guy when I was presented with the same opportunities that my sister and my friends in love were. How did I keep picking men who didn’t want to be in a committed relationship? What was I doing wrong?
Eventually, 2 months after my sister’s engagement, I snapped back into the reality and realized how amazing of a person I was. I came to see that I deserved every single thing I desired and if I stayed on track then I would eventually get them. My sister and I both were right where we were supposed to be in life. She was supposed to be happily in love and I was supposed to be heartbroken.
I do not discredit my ex in this situation, since he was an amazing guy who treated me very well at times; he also told me exactly what he wanted and didn’t want. I was the one that chose not to listen and good things never follow not listening. So I proudly take my portion of the blame. Owning my portion of what went wrong allows me to step outside of our situationship and see it for exactly what it was. A lesson learned.
No time is ever truly wasted time and there are definitely some things you can take away from my failed relationship, to enhance your next relationship. First, be more of an active listener and act accordingly. If someone were to offer you cake that was a flavor you didn’t like, you probably wouldn’t eat it, and you would be crazy to think the flavor would change to something you like because you decided to eat it anyway.
The same goes for relationships that you entertain. All people aren’t misleading so if a person is telling you that they want something different than what you’re looking for, you need to accept their truth and act accordingly by showing them the exit.
It is also important to be confident in what you want and what you don’t want. To my knowledge, my guy was always up-front and honest about everything I asked. I hated it but it was refreshing and necessary at the same time. The truth may hurt but it’s better to get over that pain than to live a lie. Moving forward, lying should always be one of your deal breakers regardless of how painful the truth is.
There also needs to be a mutual balance of interest. So many times I felt like I was more invested in him and getting to know him than he was in me. Ask yourself if that would be something that you would want from a lifetime partner. The answer should be an easy no. Whether you want to admit it or not, you want a partner to know you the same way that you know him. The goal is to be each other’s best friend and safe place. If that part is missing then the relationship is potentially doomed.
I tell you a portion of my story to encourage you. Sweet and beautiful Black Queen… you are wonderful even when life hurts. You may choose the wrong door and knowingly roll with it but when it’s all said and done it will still be a journey worth taking. Before you move into the next relationship remember the lessons you learned from the past. Mistakes become habits when we don’t learn from them. You are definitely strong enough to never have to settle! Let my sister’s engagement and your friend’s love stories remind you that love exist and it’s waiting for you!