What We Talk About When We Talk About Love: I'm a Man and I Don't Play Games

Damn I wish I said that line!

Instead, I stood in my living room and told my would-be wife that I could no longer be her friend, I had fallen in love with her and the time had come for us to either move into a relationship or simply go our separate ways. We had gone months as friends, talking to one another whenever an occasion freed itself, we were hanging out more and more and the vibe between us had definitely moved out of the “friend zone”. Yet, here we were, still undecided about if there was going to be an “us”. We both had some things to sort out, but at that moment I made it clear, I did not intend to spend another day as just her friend, I wanted her as my woman. There were some tears, a conversation, but obviously we aren’t just friends anymore. I wasn’t given her an ultimatum, I was simply declaring my position so there could be no confusion. I wasn’t interested in dating anyone else and didn’t want to leave room in her mind to think that I didn’t want to be with her, so this conversation was necessary, because the nature of our relationship was changing and we needed to be clear about what was happening.

Too often we leave space for doubt and when there’s doubt, there’s confusion. I’m a firm believer that confusion is a root of evil in relationships, so avoiding that gray area when dating or married or even just kicking it is a must. However, many of us have been so scarred by previous relationships that something as simple as having a conversation about the direction of a relationship becomes a burden. Often, men will avoid the conversation, in hopes that eventually things will progress on their own and she will become his lady. Other times, we become overzealous and over-commit ourselves, moving much faster than the situation called for and dealing with more than we’re capable of at the time.

In either case, the purity of the relationship can become contaminated; if you wait and string a woman a long, trust and believe that guy who simply says “hello” to her at the gym may be joining her for drinks when she skips her Zumba class. Although we believe women to be the more emotional of the sexes, they are pretty logical as well and if you haven’t made a move to commit to her after an extended period of time, she’ll start to get the feeling that this isn’t going to be anything more than what it is. Sure, you’ve talked about the possibility of a relationship and you text throughout the day, but all of that talk not followed by the action of making it real, seems like every other guy she’s dumped before she even said “hey” to you.

Conversely, you could be the guy that’s pressuring her to pass “Go” without collecting her $200 and really getting to see what it’s like to be with you. You’re the serial monogamist moving past dating to marriage and skipping the essentials to building a successful relationship. Giving you guys a chance to grow as a unit before taking the ultimate plunge because going back to change what time didn’t allow isn’t a possibility, so getting it right should be paramount. However, we’re conquerors and many times, planting our flag takes precedence over doing things correctly. When you look at it that way, it’s no secret why so many relationships fail and quickly. Ultimately, how we communicate and work together to move forward in a relationship is, along with friendship, the foundation of what healthy relationships are built upon.

Yet, we have so many brothers out here sending mixed signals. You’re telling a woman that you want to be with her, but haven’t acted on your words or we have cats proposing with empty ring boxes and promises just as such, but aren’t committed to the basics. At the root of it all is fear; I took a chance on losing a great friendship, but the risk was having a beautiful wife, so I stepped out of any trepidation lingering in my Adidas and made it known that I not only wanted to be with this woman, but I wanted to maintain the principles of our friendship as we moved into the romantic portion of our relationship. Sometimes fear causes us to miss out on something real, other times it makes us put a band on an illusion, hoping it becomes real. The result is the same in either situation, your name attached to those words you hate to hear: alone, unhappy, depressed or bitter.

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