People tend to interact with the special men in their lives quite differently than the ways in which they play, cut-up and let loose with their friends. We create a different set of rules for how we should spend time with our partner and that can make him feel like the outsider. He sees the level of fun that you engage in amongst your core circle, as he also overhears you replaying those joyful moments on the phone when you’re cackling with your BFF. Your man knows how much you value the social life that you’ve created outside of the space that has been established with him. So, it isn’t necessarily that your man is boring or that he has lost his ability to enjoy life alongside you. Sometimes, it’s that you make him feel that “all he is”…is your dreadful, b-o-y-f-r-i-e-n-d.
You must remember that the couple that plays together often stays together — longer than those existing around them. One or both persons involved in this type of unique relationship treats the other like a TRUE FRIEND. These two individuals have made the conscious decision to hangout with one another like homeboys naturally would, as opposed to placing traditional restrictions on their partnership. They smoke together on the couch while playing video games and binging on fast foods. The couple that plays together goes hiking on Saturday mornings and falls asleep having tickle fights on Saturday night. These two are able to openly compliment other people’s bodies and physical attributes without the other blowing up in a jealous rage. They’re able to spend an entire day at the amusement park together – riding roller coasters, sharing funnel cake, watching the dolphin show and not becoming irritated with one another while standing in long, hot lines that wrap around the game booths. These couples actively and consciously incorporate one another into their most preferred activities.
And they’re so absolutely cute together, that they’ve even begun to look, dress and sound alike.
Often times, people complain to me about how incredibly draining their boyfriends have become over the years. I receive countless messages or emails from men and women who are involved in relationships where their boyfriend has no desire to leave the house on the weekends or to get up from the couch on his other days off. Many of us then take the approach of simply tossing our hands up and making weekly plans with our friends – leaving our man home alone to eat, sleep and be with his dry and ‘boring’ self.
IT’S TIME YOU STIMULATE YOUR MAN BACK INTO ACTION… LETS PLAY!
TEXT & TALK TO HIM AS IF YOU’VE KNOWN HIM SINCE THE SECOND GRADE – The special language and verbal routines that we have developed with our friends usually define the reasons why we enjoy talking or texting with them so often. When we are telling our friends a story or explaining ourselves otherwise, we often don’t have to share all of the same drawn out details that we would divulge in revealing the same tale to a stranger. It’s because your friends know and understand exactly what certain words, phrases and inside jokes mean — even if no one else in the room has a clue what you’re talking about. Throughout every single day, we are sending our friends photos, screen captures, gifs and links to music or other breaking stories while they are sitting at work or dragging themselves through midday classes. It’s a constant back and forth of, “LOOK AT THIS!” and “LISTEN TO THAT REAL QUICK!”—
Well, your man should be afforded the same luxury of comfortable, casual communication. We don’t always have to be discussing serious relationship issues or other problems when we talk to our man. Make him feel that he is as much your friend, as he is your romantic partner. Engage him in the same upbeat, nothing-really-but-I-had-to-tell-you type conversationsthat you have with the people you’ve known forever. Don’t tame your language or censor your texts simply because you don’t think your man will understand or “get” what you’re trying to say. The more you reel him in to your free, fun and friendly language, the easier it will be to avoid what seems like the booooring, “what you doing” conversations throughout the day. You may be surprised by what comes out of his mouth once he feels totally comfortable to say exactly what he’s thinking.
CHOOSE AN ACTIVITY THAT HE LIKES TO DO EVEN IF YOU HATE IT – Allow your boyfriend to make the plans, even if they are thrown together at the last minute. Go along with his impulsive decision to do wall climbing or to go look at dogs at the pet adoption center. His interests do not necessarily have to make sense or appeal to you right away. Simply agree to be with him when he is engaging in activities that make him feel good about himself and his life. Even if he doesn’t verbalize it, your presence enhances his enjoyment.
The more often he sees you compromising by agreeing to spend time with him doing things he loves, the greater the possibility that he will leave the sofa once in a while to sit alongside you on the opening night of that romantic comedy he would never, normally watch.
INTRODUCE HIM TO NEW PEOPLE OR OTHER COUPLES WITH SIMILAR INTERESTS – If your man doesn’t have a slew of friends of his own, introducing him to other couples may help him form associations and ties that will encourage him to want to be more social and outgoing.
You have to keep in mind that part of the reason why you were drawn to your man in the beginning is possibly because he is so reserved, laid-back and rather low key. He wasn’t on everyone’s radar. People didn’t automatically know who he was when his name was brought up in conversation — and you liked that. He may not be placed in too many situations outside of his job where he is forced to engage with other people beyond you and his family members. If you set up very specific situations where you and your boyfriend are engaging with couples of similar interests, it could possibly help him find comfort in getting out of the living room and out into the world.
SEDUCE HIM – Just because you are already familiar with your man’s body does not mean that you shouldn’t use your lips and fingers to remind him just how much you enjoy the different parts of his physique. Make him feel the way he does when he’s watching porn in the middle of the day or late at night when you’ve ditched him to be out in the streets. Every bedroom scene with you should be different from the last for a few weeks. If you can reignite that sexually expressive side of your boyfriend, maybe he will begin to initiate more exciting, headboard moments. Often times, he is simply following your lead. If you haven’t presented new sheet tricks, he may be a bit apprehensive about exploring the desires he has been keeping secret. Your man may even suggest that you two invite one of the new couples you’ve been hanging out with to join the newfound fun. I mean, it’s totally up to the both of you to create those very specific boundaries. By no means am I suggesting that you have to open your bedroom door to outsiders in order to enjoy pillow playtime as a couple.
Your boyfriend is as dry and draining as you have allowed him to be. The BOTH of you have become very familiar with each other, as the relationship has taken a steady course. Yes, you have become less surprised by his behaviors and character traits. You are as settled into the routine of your interactions with him as he is settled into his interactions with you. Stimulate him into rediscovering that exciting, more appealing side to his personality by going along with activities that he enjoys engaging in, introducing him to new couples with similar interests, seducing him as if the two of you have just met, and actually talking to him like he’s just another friend in your iPhone, group chat. Don’t simply complain about your boyfriend being boring if you aren’t willing to heighten the fun in the relationship by playing with him as if this is the first time that you two have met.
We all have a guy existing in our lives who is famous for sending that annoying and cliche, “HEY STRANGER” text almost immediately after he has bumped into us out at a party or has recently seen the attention we’re receiving from strangers in the comment section beneath our new, online postings. He is someone who we have been attracted to for a very long time – a guy who we’ve been texting, talking to, or spending on and off time with for almost a year. This man is fully aware of the intimate and romantic feelings we have for him. There have been at least three or four occasions where he too has expressed his mutual love or care. The issue, however, is that this guy has not made the necessary sacrifices or taken the appropriate steps to secure a solid relationship with us. He no longer makes a point to talk to us frequently. He isn’t affectionate unless we are actually in his presence. And it’s pretty obvious that he is still entertaining the company of people who he knows are interested in being more than simply his damn friend.
As a result of the months of inconsistencies, you haven’t cut him off completely, but you no longer initiate the communication or make advances to reassure him of your feelings. He responds to your calculated distance by making snide remarks saying – “I see your groupies leaving kissy faces under all of your half naked pictures”, or…
“I see you got yourself new, little dates, huh”?
You roll your eyes and laugh to yourself in response. In your mind, you know that you aren’t phased by the public attention, but the fact that he is affected by the assumption that you’ve moved on, makes you feel accomplished.
When you first met this guy months and months ago, he made you feel that he was open to the possibility of a solid relationship. The two of you actually went on a series of dates together that eventually turned into regular, face-to-face interactions. There was even a period of time when he would stay at your place for days and cook, lay around, give you the keys to his car to run errands and even offer to pay for everything. The beginning stages of the relationship felt really good.
Now, this man only seems to give you attention when it’s convenient for him – like, it’s 8:45 on a Sunday night and he’s driving home tipsy from some rooftop, day party. You haven’t seen or heard from him the entire weekend, but now that he’s mildly intoxicated and aroused, he’s texting or calling asking if he can come over. You respond with a bold, “HELL NO!” — and out of nowhere, he starts crying. It’s clearly the alcohol, and you know it. Now you’re receiving a series of apologies and the, “I’m so sorry for not treating you the way you deserve to be treated” speech — more of his pointless, “I really do love you. I care about you so much. Please don’t do this to us”, lyrics.
You are sitting on the opposite end of his emotional outburst somewhat feeling guilty about your attempts to create distance from him. On the contrary, a part of you feels overjoyed by the fact that the plotting and your actions to take control of this situation have brought this man to his knees. You’re feeling vindicated of all guilt after thinking about the ways in which this man has kept you dangling on a rope for so long. However, the other side of you that loves and misses this man wants to immediately forgive and reassure him that you aren’t going anywhere.
AVOID MAKING THIS SAME MISTAKE FOR THE MILLIONTH TIME…
Guys are very much governed by the instinct to avoid loss. When they see how desired you are by other men when the two of you happen to be out at the same party or they’re reading flirtatious comments beneath your newest selfie, it can create a sense of panic. Many of the actions guys take or impulsive decisions they make to FINALLY HIT YOU UP, stem from a desire to own and hold on to people or things that he believes increases his personal value.
He sends that “HEY STRANGER” text as a selfish ploy to keep you grounded and isolated in his life. He is well aware of the fact that the only reason he hasn’t seen you or heard from you is because he hasn’t made an attempt to do so.
No, he isn’t willing to give you the love and affection that you deserve, but he also doesn’t want you seeking that level of attention from someone else.
When a man begins crying and pleading for you to not leave him, after his behavior has forced you to walk out of the door, it’s because he is scared for the first time. However, he isn’t scared of losing you as a person as much as he is afraid of losing someone who he felt belonged to only him. Its his desire for ownership that has taken over his emotions and psyche. During all of those days and weeks and months that you were calling and texting and reaching out to him constantly, he had no reason to fear the thoughts of your absence. This man genuinely felt that he no longer had to put forth effort to maintain your attention because you were not ever going to move on from him. His recent goal has been to say or do just enough, the BARE MINIMUM, to convince you to stay put… and for the most part, you have.
So — NO, you should not take him seriously at this point, for it is merely his ego that he is protecting, and NOT your heart or your desire to exist in a committed relationship alongside him.
People tend to enter into new, random relationships thinking they truly know the other individual if they’ve spent the night at the persons house six or seven times and happened to be sitting in the living room that one day the individuals mother stopped by to drop off a case of water. We get lost in the idea that we’ve officially met the family following a quick wave and pass through — therefore, securing our position as the new love interest. Realistically, a lot of teenagers, young adults and grown folks especially, prematurely enter into romantic situations hoping that a title and an update to their Facebook relationship status will cure their insecurities or loneliness. It seems that once some people establish a mutual attraction, they become all too willing to bypass the necessary process of learning who someone is beyond the first few table conversations that were had at TGIFridays. We fool ourselves into believing that if we’re able to sit on the phone with someone for five hours the first night of meeting and six hours the next, then somehow it’s destined that a strong bond will bloom. And while most people want to fall in love and build a life with someone special, three weeks may not be long enough to determine if your idea of “special” matches what this other person is willing or capable of offering.
There are SIX main reasons why people are willing to bypass the process of truly learning someone’s character and jumping head first into a new relationship…
BOREDOM & CONVENIENCE – Most people simply aren’t honest or clear about why they want a boyfriend in the first place. Too often, “having a boyfriend” in the minds of some, presents the opportunity to be driven to amusement parks, taken out to dinner and photographed in couple-pics that can be uploaded to social media. Relationships that are formed quickly and exist out-of-nowhere are sometimes used as a hobby. One or both individuals find that they have a lot of free, alone time to spare between their long days and lonelier nights. Adding a boyfriend or girlfriend into the daily routine is seen as a way to guarantee company during various personal and leisure tasks. If these two individuals know a lot of the same people or are already engaged in some of the same extra curricular activities, to them, it may really make sense to get together based solely upon their social connections.
There also exists this present day obsession with being deemed as the next online, “power couple’. Everyone wants their relationship to be visually seen and publicly hailed as the second coming of “Bey & Jay”. It simply becomes something cute-to-do for two people who photograph well alongside one another or who look good together on paper to conveniently slap that TITLE onto their misguided intentions.
RACING AGAINST THE CLOCK – As we continue to age, individuals begin to panic. People start examining their lives and personal accomplishments. Life begins to feel heavier and less eternal as we celebrate each birthday. Once people begin to hit their 30’s, the assumption that romantic love and a family unit aren’t going to happen, can become a frightening thought. These thoughts of, “everyone else has someone. why not me?” – can force an individual into attaching themselves to someone who under most circumstances, they’d never entertain. It’s a race to secure romantic love before our looks fade or we become less desirable to the same or opposite sex. After all, we are socially conditioned to believe that love after 30 is damn near impossible.
REBOUND – Individuals who find themselves most comfortable existing within the confines of a relationship aren’t usually willing to remain single long enough to give their hearts room to heal. Being single makes these types of people feel extremely lonely, insecure and afraid. In an effort to patch these empty feelings, attaching to anyone “half decent” and “cute” has become a routine. And especially for guys and young women who have never lived alone; having someone to lie with every night and to share their home with everyday becomes a safety net. It honestly doesn’t matter in some cases who the person is…as long as “somebody” is around.
FILLING A PARENTAL VOID – Some people prematurely enter into random relationships subconsciously in search of a mother or father figure. If an individual grew up in a household where the father was absent or the mother was always in the street, that person could potentially seek parental nurturing in their lovers. The lack of parental stability within the household where they were raised has left a void. In turn, these particular individuals look to others to play the role of the leadership figures they longed for as children. This is usually the saddest and most unfortunate reason why people latch onto relationships in their journey to cope with the world as adults. A lot of responsibility is placed on the lover, and it begins to create a major strain. A boyfriend cannot exist as a father figure and a girlfriend isn’t a mother. The relationship titles and duties aren’t interchangeable.
PEER PRESSURE & FAMILY INFLUENCE – Sometimes, we simply become overwhelmed by the constant questions from those closest to us regarding WHY we aren’t actively dating or involved with someone special. We get tired of being the only one to attend holiday dinners alone, or having to arrive to our company holiday party without a plus one. Even when the questions aren’t being thrown at us, it’s the constant feeling of being that ONE who is always “single”. We begin looking around at our friends, our cousins, god sisters, co-workers and siblings – thinking, DAMN! AM I REALLY THE ONLY ONE ON EARTH WHO ISN’T MARRIED OR AT LEAST ENGAGED?
And that pressure can definitely force people into searching for love and then settling for what comes the easiest and the quickest.
DESIRING INTIMACY & AFFECTION – Contrary to popular belief, everyone isn’t sleeping around with everyone. Some guys and girls truly can still count their sexual partners on one or two hands. In an effort to keep their body count low, you’ll find that certain folks get into relationships in order to feel that they’re engaging in sex with someone they know and feel comfortable with – if even on the surface. It makes some people feel better to be able to say that they’ve only had sex with the same person for the past few months to a year. Hopping fast into the new relationship then presents the opportunity for unlimited cuddles, kisses, hugs and booty without the guilt of sharing ones body with multiple partners.
Jumping into a relationship before truly knowing someone personally, learning them mentally and understanding who they are emotionally is truly a mistake. The first few weeks or month of the new relationship may be filled with passion and thrills. However, that level of excitement will only last for a short period of time – most often igniting the end of the quick pairing. It is very rare that these random, three-week, turnaround relationships survive the long haul. When the bond isn’t based on true love, the relationship has no real basis to exist or to survive.
The winter season will transition into spring, and many of us will continue to end blue nights with the quiet cool of solo thoughts and our single relationship status. Love scars have left their marks on many of our hearts, often times making us fearful of being open and vulnerable to the possibility of entering into another, romantic union.
People often ask me why I am single. As I attempt to offer an explanation, it seems that the answer is constantly changing. Once upon a time, I thought that I would never fall in love again. It took years to emotionally heal from a very significant breakup. I felt as if I was mourning a death on most days. During that period in my life, trying to “get over” my ex was a very challenging and gut wrenching experience. However, my heart did eventually piece itself back together and I was able to once again entertain the idea of meeting new people. Though, I wasn’t confident in allowing myself to romantically attach to another individual. And I certainly had no interest in placing a title on the casual relationships that I had begun to form. I became extremely focused on trying to build my online platform once I realized that my voice and written words were reaching waves that extended beyond my core circle of friends. There were plenty of people who walked into my life, offering to stand alongside me and aid in the process of my artistic development. They wanted to exist as my romantic partner in every capacity imaginable. I was just so hell bent on walking this path alone that my attitude pushed good people into very dark spaces. As far as I was concerned, falling in love was a sign of weakness. My desire to control every aspect of my life left very little room to ignite an emotion that I could not turn off during moments of inconvenience. I missed out on various opportunities to solidify healthy, romantic bonds. I was told that if I continued to practice my push-away routine, that eventually I would grow lonely. I have. Now, as I approach the celebration of yet another birthday, I long to exist in the type of relationship where I’m unafraid to pour all of me into someone who consciously refuels my vulnerable spirit.
The problem I face in securing another long-term relationship is trying to exist organically in the initial, dating phase of learning a new individual. I find that I am either forcing myself to create comfort in the rigid chemistry that exists, or I am growing extremely frustrated by the inconsistency of the other person’s communication. Quite honestly, I am a very easy guy to connect to if the beginning stage of our relationship is framed with constant, face-to-face meetings. I express myself best in situations where I’m able to talk and physically engage with someone who is offering the same level of energy or passion. I lose interest very quickly in people who aren’t willing or able to immediately express their thoughts and directly open up to share their feelings about me, their personal lives and ultimate desires as well.
While I understand that some people reveal pieces of themselves slower than others, I do not have patience for those who timeline what they choose to show and tell.
If the energy is intense and we are growing close quicker than what magazine articles and other social standards dictate as appropriate dating rituals, I want to feel that the other person is willing to trust our unique process. It is never too soon to freely share with someone exactly how you feel about their existence in your life. I don’t necessarily think it’s a good idea to prematurely enter into marriage, moving in together or even claiming someone as a boyfriend or a girlfriend. However, there’s no reason why two people should feel embarrassed to acknowledge the fact that feelings of comfort or love or a strong affection are developing after only a few weeks of knowing one another. We, collectively, make ourselves feel silly or ashamed to love “too soon”.
While it seems that everyone desires a romance to pair them alongside a special someone, the idea of courting and “putting ourselves out there” is where the masses often fall short. We exist as the generation that fears being labeled as “thirsty” or pressed in our pursuit of getting to know someone of interest. In an effort to maintain the façade of being in control of our dating situations or somehow avoiding being stuck with the short end of the stick, many of us aren’t putting forth much effort at all. There is no such thing as replying to someone too quickly. Immediately responding to a text message, directly returning a phone call, accepting the first date invite or even being the first to like and comment the picture of a potential love interest is actually appealing.
To turn your read receipts on is to let down the walls that are guarding your pride and your fragile ego.
When we first meet someone new, it’s important to verbalize our feelings to that someone as our interest intensifies. Sometimes, we avoid extending compliments to this person because we assume they receive them on a fairly regular basis. And while the individual you’re getting to know may hear from strangers how attractive they are physically, there’s nothing more comforting than receiving that level of attention from the one whose opinion actually carries romantic weight. In order for the new man or woman in your life to feel that they serve a role more significant than simply someone you’re hanging out with, tell him or share with her that they turn you on physically, mentally and/or emotionally.
Do not runaway from an opportunity to be the first to send a morning text message or to initiate an afternoon, lunch date. Your initiative sends a direct message that this new guy or new girl has crossed your mind during different stages of your day. Even in instances when the text reply is delayed an hour or the face-to-face lunch is postponed as a result of a busy work schedule your effort contributes to the healthy fuel that keeps the dating process exciting. Of course, no one wants to feel that they are always the first to call or the only partner making couple plans. However, it’s silly to constantly wait for the other individual to take the control.
Turn your read receipts on by turning your inhibitions off. If you’re overly concerned about how your instincts to express your feelings are going to be interpreted by the one you’re falling for, the relationship may never exit the dating zone. People want to feel loved and desired. Even in situations where the love is fueling into someone’s life at the most inopportune moment, the comfort of the feeling tends to blanket any daily inconveniences. Open your heart to the possibility of meeting someone tomorrow, connecting to that person next week and by next month — the two of you are establishing the type of bond that doesn’t allow pride, ego or the perception of “thirst” to dictate the organic flow of your relationship.
It is often said that dogs exist as man’s best friend. As a result, guys often place these creatures at the high end of their daily task list. Especially in instances where a man has owned his dog since childhood or his teenage years, “Sparky” has become more to him than simply a pet. From the moment your boyfriend’s parents brought “Sparky” home as a surprise, 8th birthday present, the bond between the two has been sealed. Not only does your man love his dog, but he also considers him to almost be a child. Though you may sometimes feel that your boyfriend goes overboard in his expression of love towards Sparky, the ways in which he treats his dog can benefit the framework of your romantic relationship.
Guys who have developed strong bonds with their pets often exude strong qualities of loyalty and commitment. These attributes will positively filter into a romantic relationship; making your dude one of the best boyfriends you’ve ever had. More than likely, your man doesn’t turn his back on the ones he loves when times get tough. He realizes that you are more independent than his animal. However, he also understands that his presence is as needed or desired in your life, as the time he has invested into loving his doggy. Usually, guys who own a dog have already embraced the idea of settling down and raising a family. He wants you to love his dog as much as he does. He also hopes that his first-born son will be granted the opportunity to receive a puppy to grow up with as well.
Because guys who own dogs have had to raise and take care of their pets for years, it’s a good chance that your boyfriend is also responsible when it comes to actually going to the grocery store to buy food, cleaning up behind himself and following through with other individual tasks. You don’t necessarily have to remind him every other day to take care of his personal business. Unlike fish, rabbits, hamsters, snakes or even some cats, dogs can’t be left alone for more than one or two days. This means that your boyfriend has always consciously thought about the welfare of his dog before making plans. This practice has then shaped your dude into considering your presence and feelings as well before he makes impulsive decisions. Raising a dog has possibly helped him to consider how his life choices affect those closest to him. Additionally, your guy probably has a very clear understanding of organic love and the importance of nurturing the relationship with someone or something that has always been present. If you have become that certain individual, it’s highly unlikely that your man will stray in hopes of replacing that bond with someone new.
There also exists guy’s who own dogs and have become obsessed with the role “Sparky” serves in his life. The obsession has taken a huge toll on the romantic relationship you two share. This has contributed to your feelings of frustration and neglect. As a result, your dude risks existing as the worst boyfriend you’ve ever had. Some men will allow their dog to become their entire world – to the point where the dog sleeps at the head of his bed every night and sits inside of the bathroom with him each morning. Every other photo on his Facebook and Instagram pages are pics of him and the dog. You’ve asked him to post a picture of the two of you sitting at Sunday brunch and he makes excuses not to. However, the photo you two took together in the front seat of his car with Sparky poking his head forward from the backseat was uploaded instead. And as much as your boyfriend loves his dog, he doesn’t take great care of him. Sparky is in desperate need of a shampoo, a haircut and a new doggy diet. You are disgusted to even spend the night at your boyfriend’s house because his place smells terrible. There is dog hair spread across all of the furniture, bathroom floor, sheets and carpeting. Sometimes the dog uses the bathroom inside of the house because your dude comes home whenever he wants to and wakes up each morning when he feels like it. You’ve grown tired of every discussion you have with your boyfriend beginning and ending with stories about what Sparky did to the trash cans outside or how he ”accidentally” chewed the sweater you left in the bedroom.
So, before you commit to placing a title on a relationship with a guy who owns pets, pay close attention to how he cares for and interacts regularly with his animals. If you notice that he constantly ignores his mothers calls to take selfies with Sparky by his side, he certainly isn’t going to change that behavior to give you special attention once the two of you are together. However, if owning a dog seems to have instilled great levels of responsibility, sensitivity and balance in your man’s life, he may be for the keeping. Most pet owners are loving people, but that doesn’t mean that they will make the best romantically loving partner.
It has been a little over one month since the two of you decided to part ways — for the third time in two years. You are determined to walk away once and for all; leaving behind the countless incidents of infidelity. Sick and tired of waiting hours for him to reply to your text messages or simply to answer his phone whenever you call, you have decided that he will never hear from you again. You love this guy deeper than you have ever loved anyone else, but the dynamics of the relationship have hurt you worse than anything you’ve endured in your past. You have worn yourself thin by worrying at night that he is out in the streets flirting or sleeping with someone else. He denies ever meeting or conversing with the scantily clad “others” who are suddenly commenting all of his online photos. Every time you ask him a question or request that he explain a situation, his response is always, “what do you mean? stop blowing things out of proportion!” The relationship you share with this guy takes a toll on the other facets of your life and you simply refuse to carry the emotional burden into a new year.
However, your frustration with being mistreated by this man has not overpowered your intense connection to how he makes you feel when everything between the two of you appears to be “okay”. Watching him live his life from a distance, as if everything in his world is perfect and happier without you has become painful and difficult to endure.
The reality is that you are the one who ended the relationship, again. Your man agreed to let you walk away in that moment as a temporary fix to the issues that he didn’t want to verbally address. You have broken things off with this guy several times in the past. However, the moment you begin to miss him, the two of you have always reunited.
Since men tend to exist as very routine creatures, your man has become quite familiar with your cycle. As a result, he no longer fears permanently losing you or missing out on the long term benefits of having you in his life. Your “run and return home” routine has trained this man into his own cycle of avoiding your questions when the two of you are together, allowing you to break things off, waiting for the turmoil to cool down and then knowing you will eventually come back to him.
The entire time that you have existed in and out of this man’s life, there has never been a period where he was truly forced to feel your absence. It crossed his mind during the first breakup that he would never see you or hear from you again. That’s why he showed up to your job unannounced, cried on your lap inside the car, and worked so hard to win back your affection. Now, he doesn’t even take your absence or physical withdrawal from his life seriously. Instead, he uses the weeks or months of separation to hangout and “chill” with other individuals he finds attractive. He takes full advantage of the two of you not officially being together by now openly engaging in all of the activities that he would normally hide from you. And the moment you dare to question him about his decisions or reckless behavior, he knows that he can toss it in your face that YOU broke up with him. This man knows that he doesn’t have to be cautious of how he carries himself, because you’ve trained him to believe that ultimately, you’re going to return to the relationship.
Most often, guys experience the “Play” phase almost immediately after their relationship ends. This is the phase of behavior that you are misinterpreting as your man being perfectly fine without you.The “Play” phase is the initial period following a breakup that lasts between 4 to 6 weeks. During this “Play” phase, guys will purposely avoid dealing with emotional pain even though he IS hurting. There is very little self reflection as it pertains to the mistakes they’ve made. Men will use this time to buy new clothes, create dating profiles on different hook-up sites, go to the club with their friends, invite strangers to stay the night at their place, purchase high end items to fill your void and usually just indulge in the foods, people, places or things that you would otherwise suggest they stay away from.
Your response to his “Play” phase must be total silence. This time, do not react out loud to his antics. He is expecting you to post emotional status messages on Facebook or “Im doing me” quotes on Instagram. He’s waiting for you to text and call him to fuss about the new whores he is spending time with — just as you usually do. Your normal reaction gives him the opportunity to laugh at you, brag to his friends that you’re blowing up his phone and simply relish in the fact that he still has your heart tangled in a knot.
IF you even decide that it’s worth your energy to ignite a reconciliation, it becomes important that you remain distant in all regards for a minimum of 10 to 12 weeks. It usually takes guys this long to enter into their “Self Reflection” phase following a breakup. Once the novelty of his single life activities has worn off, he is now beginning to feel the intensity of your absence. Additionally, the pain that he has been able to suppress over the past few weeks has risen to the surface. The combination of your absence and his refusal to acknowledge his pain forces him to examine his own weaknesses, misgivings, failures and disregard for others. He is no longer enjoying the “pretend my life is perfect” behaviors because the universe is forcing him to address the role he has played in the dissolution of his most important relationships. You need him to undergo this growth period, otherwise the cycle will repeat itself.
Sometimes, guys need to experience their own peril as a result of avoiding the issues that plague their lives. Allow him the space to make believe that life is happier without you because in your mind, you already know it’s simply an act. If the man you love is never able to make a conscious connection between his internal problems and the poor relationship decisions he tends to make, then he may never become the man you can spend the rest of your life with.
You find yourself drawn to this new man for qualities that extend far beyond his physical features. He loves alternative music. He eats sushi. Hates clubs. Goes hiking on the weekends. Watches “How To Get Away With Murder” every Thursday night. Plays the saxophone. He works as a freelance photographer. And he doesn’t associate with a lot of popular, uppity people. He hates driving, but you enjoy it. While you’re behind the wheel, he’s always gripping your right hand in his left. What the two of you are building is cozy and it makes you feel good. He isn’t necessarily the type of guy you’d usually date, but your “type” has continued to be of disappointment over the years. You’re trying something new. Keeping his face and identity hidden from your social media timelines.
Your “friend” is aware of this particular guy in due part to mutual associations or simply in passing amongst the social circuit in your city. This guy and your friend have never spoken or engaged in real, face-to-face conversation. Your friend has decided that based on this dude’s surface characteristics, he isn’t worthy of their attention.
Anxiously, you mention to your friend one day that you and this new guy have been texting, spending time with one another and exchanging photos over the past few weeks. The initial response from your friend is laughter, paired with a sharp, “ewww…you like him?!” – This is your friend reacting to your excitement over finally, possibly, meeting someone you organically feel connected to. In your mind you’re thinking, “how rude can you be?”
Then you snap back at your friend by saying, “I don’t care if he isn’t the cutest boy ever. He doesn’t have to be. You don’t even know him. You don’t see him the way that I do and I think he’s perfect the way he is.”Your friend apologizes. However, you silently vow to never mention this man or your dealings with him in front of your friend again.
Another month goes by and your friend randomly asks how things are going between you and this new man. Despite the fact that you’ve spent every single day at his house, in his kitchen, on his computer and between his sheets, you casually respond, “we’re good.” When your friend begins probing for more details, you make it clear that you really like this guy, but you then suggest it’s too soon to tell where things are going. Your heart is already too attached to this man to stomach any further judgment from your friend, so you don’t give up the specifics they’re fishing for. You’ve decided it’s enough that your friend is clear that the two of you are involved. Changing the subject but not really, you then inquire about the guys who your friend has been seeing as of lately.
A few days later, while scrolling your Instagram timeline, you notice that your friend has begun following your man’s page – the same friend who screamed, “EWW!” when you told them that the two of you were dating. Not only has your friend followed your new man, but there are also random, pointless comments & smiley face emojis left beneath three or four of your new guys photos.
It’s at this point that many individuals make the mistake of not saying anything to their friend, in fear that they’re making too much out of nothing.
BEWARE: Your involvement with this new guy, who otherwise would have never crossed your friends mind, has now made this man intriguing to them. Suddenly, your ‘friend’ is a little more attracted to this dude. Over the past fourteen years, it has been my experience that some people don’t usually find a certain guy attractive or appealing until someone else close to them begins to express interest.
People who we mistakenly label as friends have a sordid way of wanting to get close to someone new in our lives, simply because that individual represents something else we have that they don’t. It’s a similar scenario to watching two children interact with one another in a classroom setting. It’s not until the more developed child picks up the odd toy that’s stashed in the corner and starts playing, that the other child attempts to snatch it and keep the toy for themselves. Especially in instances where the new guy we are dating is completely different from the men our ‘friend” is use to seeing us with or even the men they themselves often attract, this ‘friend’ will go through extreme measures to figure out why we are drawn to this man. In their ploy to uncover the connection, their first effort is to make contact. It is not wrong or inappropriate for you to tell your friend that your new man is off limits to their online or in person advances. Of course, your ‘friend’ is going to downplay or deny their fascination, but it’s still up to you to make your HANDS OFF position very clear. You are not blowing the situation out of proportion by drawing lines between a ‘friend’ who prematurely expressed disgust for a guy you care about, and their newfound interest in connecting with him. If their social media contact were truly innocent and void of ulterior motives, your friend would have mentioned to you that they followed your date online in the first place.
In this day and time, it is very difficult to formulate new associations with individuals who truly respect the GIRL/BOY CODE that reads – “Thou shall not attempt to meet, date, talk to or sleep with someone who is presently or once was involved with my friend.”You can often expect that the same individual who screamed “EWW!” will change their tune to “OOO!” the second they see that there’s something about this guy that truly turns you on. BEWARE.
Often times, we transform ourselves into the roles of counselor, therapist, secretary and parent whenever the man we’re dating or seriously involved with is facing a dark period in his life. Suddenly, his job layoff, financial crisis or family emergency becomes our problem to solve. We begin taking on tasks, responsibilities and self-imposed stressors in an effort to make sure that the man we love survives this unfortunate setback in his life. We are buying extra food to make sure he’s eating as often as he likes. We’re updating his resume, making phone calls, being extra affectionate and offering loving advice to help him get through this dark period. It seems that our surface efforts would be embraced – our dude would display an outward expression of appreciation. Instead, however, he becomes distant and increasingly agitated whenever he’s in our presence. He doesn’t want to spend one on one time anymore, but is constantly entertaining his loser friends and online “fans”. Everyone else in his life seems to be receiving the smiles, upbeat personality and star treatment. Meanwhile, we are left home, alone, venting to our friends and wondering what we’ve done wrong to deserve his negative attitude. It’s simple…
Many of us make the mistake of extending ourselves in the same ways in which we assume we would want others to help or assist us in our time of need. We place ourselves in the mode to support our men by any means necessary, even if that sometimes means ignoring our own needs and sacrificing our financial or emotional stability for his ultimate success. In our decision to dive in to fix the issues that are plaguing the man we love, we tend to forget that a lot of guys initially feel the need to retreat and make decisions on their own. Even though we often think that it’s best to create a plan and take immediate action, a lot of men require space and time to determine what his first step will be in handling his dilemma. Bombarding his space with increased calls and text messages in an effort to find out what he’s going to do or if he’s going to follow our advice, only intensifies his stress levels.
We forget that even as his romantic partner, our position in our man’s life is not to necessarily solve his problems. Men are very prideful creatures. Despite his race, sexuality or socioeconomic background, a lot of men still feel that their role in life is to provide for themselves and protect the individuals closest to them. When we make an attempt to help without his asking, that behavior on our part tends to make our man feel weak. While it’s sometimes difficult to sit back and wait for our dude to share all of the details or to ask for our input, it becomes important that we give him the room to do so.
He is sometimes running to hang with his friends because even though they may be aware of his situation, they aren’t forcing him to discuss it or execute their idea of what the resolution should be.
One of the best ways that we can be supportive of the guy we love is to speak to him with encouraging statements, as opposed to using sympathetic words. You have to learn how to feed and fuel his ego in order to get him to open up to you or to ask for your assistance. Instead of saying things like, “I’m sorry that you’re going through this baby. Are you okay? Awe…I hope things will get better”, you should offer statements such as, “You’ve got this! The job is yours. Are you forgetting who you are?”Remind your man that he is still in charge of his own life. You can also bring up a past situation where the chips were down for him and he somehow pieced them back together. Encouraging him, as opposed to pitying his circumstances will give your dude the confidence he needs to make solid decisions on his own. Then, more than likely, he’s going to want you to contribute to the plan of action he comes up with. His mind and spirit will be open to receiving your ideas or suggestions. Your man needs to feel that you are standing beside him in his path to solve the problem and not necessarily in front – trying to lead him to make the decision that YOU think is best.
Also, keep in mind that you too are going to become just a tad bit frustrated and exhausted as you’re taking on extra responsibilities to make sure that your man is okay. Once you start getting frustrated because now you’re paying two cell phone bills instead of one, or now you’re having to run extra errands to help him out, he will recognize a change in your demeanor. Even though you’re aiding him from the kindness of your heart, the little things he says or does may begin to upset you. Despite your annoyance with him going out to have drinks with his friends when you feel that he should be home applying for jobs, you should not say things to him like, “well, if it weren’t for me then your phone wouldn’t even be on”, or… “I’m the one trying to help you and you haven’t even thanked me”. Your man may begin to feel like a burden and will often retreat as a result of his guilt. That explains why he’s suddenly interacting with strangers on Facebook or posting “happy photos” on Instagram, as if everything in his life is perfect. The communication he is now sharing with associates or total strangers serves as his escape from the relationship with you that is now filled with feelings of ridicule and resentment.
Always remember that during tough times, guys will often turn towards the individuals who know the least about their real life situations. Engaging with people publicly who only know them for their cute faces and other surface attributes sometimes makes men feel good about themselves when their lives are falling apart behind closed doors. It sometimes feels that we are getting the short end of the stick because he knows that we are aware of what’s actually going on. Our expectations of him are often greater than what he may feel he can fill at the moment.
So, the best way to avoid becoming the frustrated, lonely lover who is sitting at home feeling unappreciated, is to support your man WITHOUT MENTION. When he initially calls or texts you to inform you about what is happening in his life, do not tell him what he should or needs to do… until he asks for your input. Your job is to listen and offer encouragement. You only need to express sympathy in the event that his grandmother or best friend has just passed away. If you’re going to take care of washing his clothes so that he can focus on making emergency calls, there’s no need for you to verbally bring it to his attention that you’ve done so. Simply dry his things, fold them and put them away. He will notice on Monday morning that all of his underwear and tee shirts are clean. Never throw in his face what you have done to help him during his time of need. It’s tough enough for a man to accept money from his partner for food, gas or other bills. Even in the event that you two are upset and arguing with one another, avoid bringing up the gifts or favors that you’ve extended to him. He will often respond by LEAVING YOU, simply because he never wants anyone in life to feel that they can take full credit for the man he has become. And even if he doesn’t walk away from you in that moment, the resentment will send him on his way the moment he gets back on his feet.
Men don’t simply leave the individual who “held them down” when times were tough. Men walk away from the person who constantly held it over his head.
Guys rarely forget the individuals who helped them keep their heads above water. If you want your relationship to remain intact following the struggles your man is presently enduring, please don’t overwhelm him with your desire to take total control of his circumstances. Help him without stealing his power to help himself.