Sunday, September 27, 2015

Men Marry, Women Wait!

“I haven't gone more than 4 hours without hearing from him since the day we met,” she said.

I swooned, literally.

My follow up question, “ does he have a brother?”

I was catching up with an old friend and I couldn't help but smile from ear to ear as she described her boyfriend of 8 months. He seemed amazing, and she seemed in love. But then I began to think to myself, “4 hours huh?” There are men out there that still do that!?

It’s been awhile since I’ve had a man follow through with consistent phone calls, text, and/or dates.  Four hours?! I’m lucky right now if I can get a consistent 4 minutes, seconds, or days of anything! The art of follow through and consistency has dwindled to non-existent. It’s simply not what they do anymore. Well, let me take that back. It’s not what many of them do, because clearly she caught a great one! Shout out to all the consistent brothers! But as I asked more questions, because that’s what I do, I learned that he was in a more stable state of mind of settling down. He’d recently experienced a shift in his life that immediately catapulted his maturity. He now had to step into a provider role that I’m sure altered his mind on many different things, including women and relationships.  

So is that what it takes? Does a man have to encounter a major life alteration before he decides to settle down, commit, follow through, pursue, etc, or is it a one day epiphany they have and decide to get right and do right?  Or could it be that they encounter the right woman who inspires and sparks a change in their behavior and attitude?

I was talking to a guy friend the other day who was once married but has been single now for the past few years since his divorce.  He’s literally been doing his own thing; traveling with his boys and encountering his fair share of women, really not looking for any commitment but just to have a good time and intermittent companionship.  He began to share with me a conversation he recently had with God as he sat in his backyard and declared to the Lord that he was ready to settle down and find a wife, again. He asked God to prepare him and shut down any relationships that were not for him. The brother was talking to at least 4 women around that time and all of them began to fall to the waist side. Did I mention he also recently bought a house and is preparing for a promotion on his job. Major life events!

I was also able to catch up with another old male friend a few weekends ago who also shared that he was truly ready to be married, more than he’s ever been before. He talked to his pastor about it and is actively ready to pursue a committed relationship. He started a new job in the government and also had some breakthroughs in past relationships. Major life events! He also proceeded to let me know that he is open to being introduced and “hooked up” by his friends. Hint! Hint!

I’ve always gone with the theory that when a man is ready to get married, he does, but if a woman is ready to get married she waits! And all of these men seem to prove my point! As frustrating as it can be for us ladies in that waiting phase, I would rather take a ready man, than an unsteady, uncommitted, unreliable, and uncertain man any day! Fellas, take your time! It’s always been stated that men mature slower than women. I meet so many women who are ready to get married and demonstrate a right mindset, and are positioning themselves to be wives, yet, it only seems that many of the men are not yet at that place of settling down.

Could it also be the ratio of men to women? I read an article that stated in 39 states there’s a slightly higher number of women than men according to the 2013 US Census Bureau, Maryland being one of them. As a woman on the campus of Howard University, I was always told the ratio was 10:1, at least that’s what they say, and therefore the men had options! No need to settle down when the pickings were plenty!

Listen, we’ve all had our moments of “doing our thing”, both men and women, as well as dealing with our past baggage, or trying to pursue our dreams and goals; but there comes a time when reality hits and life becomes real. Do I want to keep playing games or settle down and start a family?  Games get old, but life only continues to get real. But I do also recognize that the value of family and marriage has diminished tremendously. Besides the fact that they’ve both been redefined by society, they were already on shaky ground before the shift.  If a man didn't have the privilege of growing up in a solid two parent home foundation or taught the value of family and the covenant of marriage, there’s no way we can expect him to now want to pursue a committed relationship or start a family with anyone!

So we continue to wait, and pray!  I’m truly continuing to learn about this thing called “waiting on God”. It takes work to wait! And ladies, if you’re sitting around waiting on a man to get and be ready, YOU WILL ALWAYS BE WAITING FOREVER. Keep your focus and wait on God, not a man!  God seems to have this timing thing down to a science.

SN: If you haven’t already, please go see the movie War Room! It will change your life! You want to know how to pray for a man, check this movie out! Your prayer life will never be the same!

So, although the male friends who declared they’re ready for marriage are not the men for me, go figure, I don't think God allowed me to hear their hearts and their desires for nothing. I’ll pray that God present their Eves to them, as I continue to wait on my Adam, who I really believe is around the corner. I’m praying that he is somewhere having his own conversation with God about his readiness to be married! In the meantime I’ll just be waiting, and working of course! Faith without works right??!! Oh, did I mention, I’ll be praying in my War Room too!

Sunday, September 20, 2015

To Give My Number.......That is the Question!

“Good day to ya Kristin,” he texted.

Now back in the day when I was doing the online dating scene, almost 4 months ago, I met and exchanged numbers with quite a few men. I never saved numbers in my phone unless they reached a status to deserve that space, and needless to say, many did not, including this guy.

Now my memory is pretty good when it comes to people and particular situations. The great thing about technology and smartphones, they track your text message and phone conversations for months!  I recall chatting with this guy online and exchanging numbers. His name was pretty unique so it left an imprint, yet his presence never did. We never got a chance to meet or talk on the phone, yet, for the past 4 months, this man has periodically sent me text messages! Whether it was “Have a great day”, “Good morning”, or “Happy Friday”, they would all be months apart and extremely random! Never once has he picked up the phone to call and actually hear my voice. So at this point I am weirded out and simply confused. What game is he playing? Whatever it is, I was about to play it back!

He texted me the other day after nearly a month from his last text message, which I never answer, by the way, but today I decided to answer. I needed this dude, or whoever he was, to get a clue! Normal people don't do this! His randomness was not cute nor would it continue to get my attention. I proceeded to ask who he was. He sent me a picture this time and told me his name. I then proceeded to play my dumb blonde role and ask, “Have we met?” His response, “Not yet.”

Now I’m fresh off of seeing the movie Perfect Guy with Sanaa Lathan and Michael Ealy in which Ealy plays a stalker boyfriend turn killer. The man had cameras in her home and was hiding in closets and under beds!  I told my friends I don't do movies like that because they make me paranoid, but noooo, they had to see Ealy and that fine Morris Chestnut. Ok, so maybe I enjoyed seeing them too, they were fine! But I digress….

“Not yet” sounded like a stalker response to me.  My response, “Yet??” As in, sir, did you ever have intentions of meeting me since we exchanged numbers back in June!? Again, who does this? Better yet, who thinks this is ok?  I continued with the game because I just needed him to acknowledge that it’s been 4 months and be accountable for his delay and randomness!

“When did we exchange numbers again?” I asked. And of course, like a true man, not all men, but this man, when his back was against a wall and the truth was in his face, he retreated. I sent that text at 5:07pm. It was currently 10:00pm, and still no response. Guess I’ll have to wait another month before I get an answer, but by then his number will be blocked!

What really runs through some men's head? Do they think we really sit around awaiting their call or text messages and desperately jumping at the chance for any form of male contact, communication, or attention? Truth is, there are many women out there who are absolutely jumping at any chance, but not this girl! Consistency and follow through are a must, and randomness and inconsistency get you deleted or blocked.

I guess along with his random text message, I can celebrate my 4 month anniversary of being off of online dating!!! I’ve actually felt less stressed and overwhelmed and dating hasn't been at the forefront of my mind as much lately.  I think I’ve been on one or two dates since getting offline and I’m ok with that!  I’m challenging myself to get out more and enjoy different activities in which I can meet men the old fashion way.  

I’ve also found that guarding and being more choosy about who I give my number to is a must.  I’ve always given it freely, even to guys I wasn't interested in.  I felt bad and a bit obligated since they were doing the approaching. Oh, but now I’m learning that my phone number is a precious commodity that allows direct access, and every Joe Blow that ask doesn't deserve that privilege. There’s a scripture in the bible that says, “ To much is given, much is required” (Luke 12:48), and my number absolutely comes with some responsibility!

So I’m asking God to give me more discernment when it comes to guys who ask for my number. Better yet, I may just start taking theirs! It may sound a bit extreme and maybe even taking the more dominate role in the sequence of phone number exchange, but hey, they say insanity is doing the same thing and expecting a different result. This girl is ready to be married, so no more insane actions from me! My mother keeps telling me to act like I’m ready to be married, so I think I’ll give it a try!

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Men are from Mars, Woman are from Venus!

“So, would I seem pressed if I called to talk to him about why he totally stopped talking to me?” a friend texted me one night.

My first reaction, “Absolutely!”

My friend had been talking to a guy for a few weeks and she was really feeling him. He’d been calling consistently for about a week and then started to linger off. The phone calls and text began to fade. She found herself doing more of the reaching out and it was a constant question of should I call or text? Should I invite him out or suggest something for us to do? Is there something wrong? Am I doing too much? The typical self-conversation of single women in this thing called dating!

Let the games end and never begin! I find for my ladies, that this is the hardest thing to combat and fight when dating.  The communication struggle is real! Men are absolutely from Mars and women are absolutely from Venus!  

You talk it over with your friends and they tell you not to call and text anymore. Let him call you.  You check your phone periodically just to see if his number will pop up on your phone.  And if you’re me, you turn your phone off from time to time hoping that when you turn it back on a text or missed call will come through from him. Don't judge! You gotta do what works for you! Then a few days or a week later, after you have decided in your mind that he’s “just not that into you” and you’ve let it go, he calls or texts!

“Hey, how are you?” he says.

You’re about to lose it!!! Really!!??? (in my Kevin Hart voice)  If you’re honest and upfront like me, you hit him with, “I figured you weren’t interested, haven't heard from you in a while.”

And that’s when he hits you with the ringer, “Well, all you had to do was call me!”

This scenario played out for my friend almost to the tee! Once he decided to call and she shared her concern and/or frustration, he reprimanded her and explained that if she wanted to talk to him all she had to do was call. All facts presented, he preferred to talk on the phone and she was a texter. We’ve been friends for a few years and I can probably count on my hand how many times we have had full blown conversations over the phone! It’s just not her communication style.  She had been texting him periodically to check in, but he would only respond with short answers, which could only leave her feeling “some kind of way.” In his defense, he preferred for her to call and therefore only responded in a short way to possibly give her the hint that a phone conversation would better suit his needs.

So what do you do with that!? In most relationships, the opposite is true. Most men like to text while many women enjoy intimate, long phone conversations.  Early on she shared that she preferred texting but did appreciate that he would call and talk to her throughout the day.  Although it was a bit uncomfortable for her, she obliged and went with it. But now he was challenging her to step up to his communication style and, in essence, disregarding her attempt to reach out in her way of communication which was texting.  Can the sista get a little credit! She tried!  

What’s a girl to do? These days texting is a convenient but impersonal way of communicating needs, wants, and desires, but a phone call allows for more of an intimate space for conversation, emotion, and truth.  But she finds great comfort in texting three-page text messages to express her feelings and inquiries.  Is she suppose to immediately oblige and conform to a form of communication that is uncomfortable and unusual for her just to appease a man she barely started talking to? If we flip it, many times we as women will challenge a man to grow up in his stage of communication to pick up the phone to call us or to ask us out rather than sending an informal text message.

Was she wrong for not picking up the phone? Was he wrong for not responding to her as she would have liked? The author of Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus, Dr. John Gray, explains in the book,

“Men mistakenly expect women to think, communicate, and react the way men do;
women mistakenly expect men to feel, communicate and respond the way women do.
We have forgotten that men and women are supposed to be different.
As a result, our relationships are filled with unnecessary friction and conflict.
Clearly recognizing and respecting these differences dramatically reduce
confusion when dealing with the opposite sex. When you remember that
men are from Mars and women are from Venus, everything can be explained.”

It may not explain everything, but they do say opposites attract and differences are actually great things in the proper perspective. Differences must be acknowledged, respected, and then properly addressed to meet each other's needs appropriately.  Now I am nowhere near perfect in this realm of communication or even how to apply this successfully, hence why I went to see a therapist a few months ago and I'm still single.  I am learning that it is extremely important to let your needs, wants, and expectations be known up front, particularly in how you prefer to communicate, how often, how long, what time, etc.  As women, we tend to hold back or give half truths in hopes of not scaring the man away with our true desires and needs. In a sense afraid that we may come off too needy or desperate.  If I can let the cat out of the bag, everyone needs something; at what level or degree of that need depends on the person, but we are all needy people. Many are simply in need of companionship, love and affection.    

I believe that my friend and her guy simply have differences and shared a miscommunication that can further be evaluated moving forward. There will have to be a compromise at times for one form of communication over the other, but that is the wonderful thing about relationships that helps to keep peace and harmony.  And at this point, I believe many of us have had enough drama to last us a lifetime. I am ready for the peace and harmony that comes with a healthy relationship built on two different people, from two different planets, who somehow simply make it work.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Always "The One" But Never the Wife!

“But did you ever think about how that makes me feel?” I asked.

My friend from Chicago. You may remember, “Mr. Simple Moment” from the beach.  I met him in Florida back in April of this year while on vacation and we’ve been talking ever since. He’s actually become a great friend that I not only get advice from, but also spiritual wisdom and council. But like every other male “friendship” I’ve had, he always seems to slip in a compliment of some kind or share a fantasy of us someday being together, even calling me his potential wife.

Where have I heard that before? That’s right! All of my other EX boyfriends! Every last one of them proclaimed that I was "the one" no less than a month in to our dating process. My therapist once shared that I should be flattered by their gesture and thoughts of me. But why? It's cute and flattering in the beginning, but the truth still remains, I am still nobody’s wife yet! I keep allowing myself to feed into the fantasies of men who see the potential of a wife in a good woman, but this good woman never becomes the wife.

At moments I would slip into the fantasy with him because honestly, I could see myself being in relationship with him. Sometimes you need the escape from the single state of mind and linger over into "relationship fantasy-land" just for a little while. But the truth still remains, he lives in Chicago! And if you haven't noticed by now, God has this funny way of allowing me to meet potentially great prospects who happen to LIVE IN OTHER STATES!!! I’m still trying to figure this one out! That's what I get for traveling so much! But I digress! 

He feeds me hopes of one day coming to visit and potentially pursuing a real relationship, giving me the quality time and conversation I desire, but yet in still no action behind it. It must stop! No more! I'm tired of being emotionally pimped by men who aren't my husband. 

We recently had a heart to heart discussion because I just couldn’t take it anymore! I was tired of hearing the fantasies and playing the game with him; gripping to a glimpse of hope that ends when we hang up the phone. I was OK with keeping it strictly at a friendship phase, but oh how those lines become grayed. I remember a friend cautioning me to not get emotionally attached to these men I meet, and she's right. Physical touch is one thing, but intimate conversation for a woman will draw us in such a way, you'd think we'd had sex! So I decided to use my good ol’ communication skills I learned from counseling and let him know what I needed and how he could meet that need.

I needed him to take in account how I felt. Every time he gave me a compliment or shared a scenario of us being together, how does that make me feel? Every time he says, “I’ve been praying about us,” what does that do to my emotions? Every time he mentions possibly coming to visit, what runs through my head?  It’s a an emotional roller coaster and I’m about to throw up!

I find that many men like to use their words for their own satisfaction and the assumed satisfaction of the female they use them upon. But if I can simply alert all men at this time: WOMEN CAN DO WITHOUT THE WORDS, WE DESIRE THE ACTION!

And here’s the punchline: telling me I’m a wife is not the bad part because I'm clear on that call on my life. But it's the assuming and proclaiming that I may be “your” wife that presents the problem. Many men like to put stake and claim on what they potentially see as theirs without yet having the papers to prove ownership. Jokingly or not, its a strong title to put on a woman who actually truly desires to walk in that role.  Until a ring is placed on my appropriate finger and the autograph is signed on the proper line, I am no one’s wife. I’ve decided and vowed that I won’t feed into it anymore. 

So I shared what I needed. Now in order for him to meet that need, as the old folks would say, I told him to "piss or get off the pot." I know. It sounds so vulgar, but I think he got my point! I'm OK with a simple friendship without the "extras" on the side. It keeps me in a place of emotional stability in which I can focus on other things and not on him until he is truly serious about his pursuit.

I deserve to be pursued, loved, respected, and on that special day, I deserve for a man to get down on one knee and ask that one question we've waited for our whole lives! I'm not wifey or wife material, I am a wife. No stake or claim made yet, but I do await that day. I won't put up with the hopes and wishes of men who only hope and wish with words and not action.

And another thing to my men, while I'm still on my soapbox, if you aren't ready and need time to "get yourself together", by all means do so, just leave the wife comments and gestures out of it! Don't string a woman along in hopes that she'll stick around and be used for emotional support while all the while she's emotionally frustrated and drained from a man that's not even her husband! We are only required to wait on God, not a man!

Not trying to come off like the angry black woman because I absolutely am not. I'm just in a place where I've decided to take back control of my emotions. I'm taking back the pieces of me that I've lent out to men who don't know and are not equipped to handle the full scope of me! Just being reminded of scripture once again, "Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life." (Proverbs 4:23) Scripture for my life! Particularly this dating life!

And at this point in the course, I don't need another man to tell me I am “the one”. I just need him to make me his wife.