Limbo is a Game I Played as a Child

This week, I’ve been going through a little thing; my own internal battle.

I’ve been dating a guy for a little over two months. I actually met him online. Go figure! My experiment worked. Actually I guess I can’t say that it “worked”, because he’s not my boyfriend yet, ::fingers crossed:: but it’s been going well in my opinion. I have tried to approach this situation differently than I’ve done in the past. I’m not necessarily changing who I am, because I really have trouble changing me.  I am definitely trying to loosen up and not be so uptight. I want to be able to relax and let things take their natural course.  But herein lies my problem.

There are only two men that I can refer to as “my ex boyfriend” since I’ve been an adult. Neither one of those relationships lasted more than 6 months.  I’m not even really sure I can count those either since they were so short. I did love them both. Or at least I was convinced I loved them when we were together. Amazingly, my longest stints with men have been outside the confines of the title “boyfriend & girlfriend”.  If you read my blog, you probably already know these facts about me. But I’m just giving a background for those of you who don’t know. I am famous for sticking it through with men who did not want to be committed to me, or anyone else for that matter. Yet, I was faithful to them because their actions told me something different from their words..

These men (two in particular) and I would spend so much time together it was almost  (almost) impossible for either of us to see anyone else. We did all of the things that couples do, but couldn’t exactly be classified as one.  I won’t get into all of the things I gave to these dudes and did for them, cause that’s not what I want to focus on for this post. The point is simply that we were essentially in a relationship without the title, each time for over a year even two years. Both of these situations just left me feeling disappointed, hurt and definitely used once I decided to leave them by the wayside, realizing that it was never going to be more than limbo.

Limbo for the purpose of this post refers to the place in between “just dating” and “relationship” (although, every interaction with anyone, friend, family, love interest is a relationship, of course but y’all understand what I mean!). It’s the confusing, scary, shaky bridge that men and women have to cross to get from one side to the other.  I picture myself in an Indiana Jones-like setting, standing with one foot in relationship land and the other still on the bridge, while I’m grasping at the hand of a Him who is just standing there perfectly comfortable 2 steps away. He’s standing there looking like he’s enjoying the view but would rather just go back to where he came from. He hears me trying to get his attention, feels me tugging for him to just take those last few steps and join me, but I’m being brushed off.

What a desperate scene! It’s the role I’ve played several times though. I don’t want to do that this time. So I asked my current suitor when we first started dating, after all the pleasantries and polite conversations if what he wanted was to just date someone or if his goal was a relationship. He said relationship.”Yes!

Here were are a couple of months in and he’s dropping lines like “why can’t we just be two people who enjoy each other’s company?” during normal conversation. He said “Go by my actions, don’t I act like I like you?” when I asked him why he said “I’m sure you can tell I like you a little bit”… brrr? Just a little bit??  Well sir, I’m confused! Your actions say you like me more than a little bit. I feel us falling into that place of limbo where he’s getting comfortable with the way things are. He spends his free time with me, he treats me well but now his words are starting to contradict his actions. Everything he does indicates that we’re headed toward more-than-just-this, but now the things he says don’t tell me that. So what do I do now, sir? Am I supposed to go by your actions like you’re telling me, or do I listen to what you’re saying and nip this shit in the bud??

In the past I’ve gone by the actions of men I cared about. I thought “hey he wants to be with me, why else would we be doing all of this?” while he was telling me “No, this isn’t want I want.” I was afraid to just let go because what if he changed his mind? What if he realizes that he doesn’t want to lose me??

Yesterday, I was explaining to my friend (signedmissyoung) about my usual predicament and what stuck with me was  “If ‘if’ was a fifth then we’d all be drunk!” ← Read it again. Let it soak in.  Seriously, I’ve gotten so drunk on “ifs” I stopped rationalizing properly. I should have been saying “Self! If he wanted to be committed to you, then he would be. Get it together and move along.”

Please don’t misunderstand; I’m not trying to rope this man into a committed situation with me after only 2 months of knowing each other! I don’t even know if I want to be his girlfriend. I just want to know that the option is there. What is the point of getting to know someone  & spending time together if one of the involved parties already knows there’s no possibility of moving forward? I guess it’s all right when you’re younger. It was less consequential when I was in college. Even right out of undergrad. I had time.  But at the stage in my life that I’m in right now — I’m not old and out of time just yet so I said “stage” not “age”—I want something that has the potential of a future.  This time around I’m paying attention to the signs. I refuse to spend too much time in limbo once again. Maybe I’ll give myself a personal marker of how long is too long to be here. After a certain, much shorter than usual period of time I’ll cut my losses and move on. This time it will be before I’m intoxicated by love and what ifs (yikes! at the thought of loving someone again).

PS. That picture at the top has nothing to do with the post. LoL, just wanted to show you guys my “transition hair”… I’ve been experimenting lately! 😉

Oh yeah, and go check out www.CocktailOur.blogspot.com to download their first podcast! They touched on a similar subject.

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10 Comments

  1. Trust me Tiff… if a man tells you he doesn’t want a relationship.. then believe him.. we have all been there.. thinking that okay if he just got out of a relationship with some other broad, we’re really being nice and giving him time to get his “head together”.. what happens is that we only spend time investing in something that will net us NO returns.. think about it.. these are the types of dudes who right after you stop dealing with them, pick up with some broad and end up in a relationship with that girl.. why? cos he didnt come to her right off the bat saying “i’m not looking for a realtionship”.. why? because the possibility exists that he DOES want a relationship with her and by not saying that, he’s leaving room for it to happen.. when a man hits you the “i’m not looking for a relationship” spiel, it often means WITH YOU.. and that means hey i want to have casual sex with you and while that might be enough for you at the moment, when you start getting attached i’m going to dig in my arsenal and say “but i told you upfront that i didnt want a relationship”… so treat that statement like its raw counterpart “i just want to be your fck buddy no strings attached”… if somebody walked up to you and told you that, more than likely if thats not what you are looking for you would say to him, dude please, keep it moving.. but when they frame it in the “im not looking …” women think that’s a challenge.. and we’ve all been there.. trust .. sometimes we just have to nip it in the bud IMMEDIATELY after those words.. as in “oh well then we’re not on the same page”.. and cross that dude off the list for anything more than an occasiional lunch date .. he’s not on the road you’re going.. you’re on I-95 and he’s trying to take the service lanes or the local..

    these kinda relationships where there is that whole “claiming ” issue hurts cos you have to rationalize to yourself.. hmm why am i good enough to have sex with and to chill with but not good enough to be shown off as a girlfriend and committed to? hmmm so the best thing to do is to really be upfront and honest, as you’re getting to know somebody, before you get attached.. ask them, what’s going on here? are you just trying to kick it? as in hang out- no sex.. if you gonna be a friend then that’s what you are going to stay.. or are you trying to get in a relationship and see how it goes from there.. don’t even waste time in limbo.. sometimes we women just need to know when to just let dudes float on by in the stream of love, and wait for a better catch… if you get one out and he proves to not be satisfying, and giving you what you need then toss him back.. another will come along.. i say this from the heart, cos i’ve found out that sticking around hurts more in the long run.. it really does… and if that person gets with another right after you.. that adds to the hurt.. sometimes you lose a few by stating your intentions but better you lose them sooner than later when you have grown attached.. when a man wants you nothing will keep him away from you.. when a man doesnt want you, nothing will make him stay.. and that’s the raw truth of it… people find time to do the things they want to do.. if you have to wonder about the state of your relationship then its not where you need to be… a lot of men say oh this is not a relationship but act like boyfriend supreme.. those are the ones you have to ask upfront, what’s going on.. are you my boyfriend? if there’s hesitation or a no. then you pack up your self and move on… dont give the milk to those who wont buy the cow.. as the chinese say YOU BREAK YOU BUY.. or YOU PLAY YOU PAY.. lol

    • I loved this comment thanks! I agree with you. That was really the purpose of this post– to say I’m NOT dealing with the “limbo” game I used to put up with in the past. I asked him up front. He told me he was open to a relationship. But as it progressed his words started changing. I moved on. lol

  2. this posting hits to close home…I will say this from experience, when its time to move on…you’ll know. I moved on…went back…moved on…went back. The love wasn’t the issue. I had to realize until he does something different (another type of action/re-action) i had to stop giving him the benefits. Not just sex, but the love, the caring temperament, the loyalty, the genuineness, the quality. He no longer deserved it. He was and is a great guy, but I know what I’m worth, and I’m worth having what i want. I don’t have to settle and neither do you! Enjoy getting to know this guy, and do just that-get to know him. He will pursue you when he’s ready. I’ve noticed Real men will step up and carpi diem…it’s the boys who don’t know what they want out of life just yet who are afraid to really LOVE. $$ will stand in the way of love at times…but when love runs deep $$ ain’t an issue, but that is something my dear you and me both will only see with time (well spent might i add).

    I to am spending time with a great guy…i whom has expressed he doesn’t want a relationship–yet his actions are speaking to me louder than his words. I do like him, and the time that we spend together getting to know each other. It is too soon for me to say let try a relationship, yet i want to express to him that that is what i want, and i’m thinking i want it from him. but he has like i said expressed that a relationship is not what he’s looking for, b/c he likes me and wouldn’t want to hurt me…I just want him to keep me smiling as he’s been doing and maybe just maybe only make me smile 🙂

    So I suppose u and me both will be posting updates within a few months from now. keep enjoying dude, if it ain’t fun no more…u’ll know what the best move to make will be. We forget to live and let live sometimes when we’re dreaming and mapping out dreams that we forget to live within our reality to make the dream come true!

  3. This seems to be a dilemna with a lot fo people. We see what we want to see in a situation and not what is being shown to us. if you guys are dating as exculsively as you say then 2-3 months is not too early to have the discussion about whether or not we are going to see anyone else. And when yo both agree that the answer to that is no..despite the anxiety of the title for some people..that’s a relationship.

    I would say be upfront about it and tell him that you aren’t seeing anyone else and you want to know what’s up. I have a tendency to rage on and on about women who jump the gun and ask about committments too soon. but 3 months is not too soon if you have been dating closely. And even moreso if you are having sex. Because he isn’t gonna bring it up. He’s cool with the way things are and not having an official title allows him to absolve himself from the guilt of cheating if he steps out.

    Just gauge where his head is an act accordingly. If he says let’s do it and be a couple…great! If he says I am cool with the way things are then don’t explode. just say to him…Ok. Just wanted to know. And politely start to make him split time with some other guy who is showing you interest or just slowly pull back from him completely. Not to play games with him or to try to force him to act the way you want him too. but just to give yourself some space to do you. without being committed to him.

  4. I’ll be brief. When a person tells you who they are and what they want….believe them.

    When a man wants a woman – he will do what’s necessary to have her- period. If he really wanted what you want – he would say it. You wouldn’t be guessing.

    My advice: Don’t give this friendship so much energy. Just enjoy dating. And while you’re dating him, date other people. At this time in our life, most dates are interviews, treat them like group interviews and get them out of there fast when they’re not impressive.

  5. I say take your power back. We find ourselves in limbo because we are too afraid of what the man may think or what the man may do IF we step outside of their comfort zones. We are afraid to ask for what we want and be who we are and express ourselves the way we want to because it might make the man uncomfortable or want to leave. I say throw a fit. Get absolutely out of pocket on him IF he deserves it. Say something bold and outlandish. Tell him the absolute truth about yourself and what you think. Let him know when he’s annoying you. Tell him you want to get married or move to Arizona or join a rock band. Let him become uncomfortable. Let him leave! OR let him show you how badly he wants to be with you. Men have a way of wanting to fixing things, so watch and evaluate the way he fixes things between you after a thoughtful but difficult conversation.
    But remaining quiet, not expressing your thoughts/goals/needs or hesitant to express yourself or not standing up for yourself is unfair in so many ways 1) You aren’t being yourself 2) This man is unable to evaluate, learn about, and properly care for you the right way because you aren’t being yourself 3) You aren’t able to evaluate him and/or how he responds to “the real you” 4) He’s not a mind reader. Withholding information about your desires and goals ensures that he will never meet your expectations 5) Communication is the foundation to every relationship. It sets the tone to whether you should trust, protect, or respect the person you are trying to communicate with… CLOSED MOUTHS DON’T GET FED.
    Not saying I have all the answers, but these are the lessons I’ve learned. A few great friends taught me about being accountable for the parts that I played in failed relationships. When it came down to it, there was a breakdown in communication and it was easier just to play it safe. Getting out of limbo state is as simple as holding a conversation and making decision. Take your power back.
    I think I’m going to turn this comment into a blog on my website.

    • I feel this comment with both hands. Love it!

      signed,

      miss young
      @signedmissyoung

  6. hmm. yeah. limbo’s no fun. and although we do say actions speak louder than words. but words mean so much more. at the end of the day. if the man wants you, the man wants you. and he will choose you with both his actions and his words. he’ll say you’re his boo and treat you as such. i’m with you on the whole approaching a relationship differently ‘this time around’. in my last one…i thought i was doing that too. in my head, i’d crossed off the list the fact that he wanted the same things that i wanted. when in fact if i was being honest with myself, the conversation actually went:
    me: so you know i’m looking to get married in the next few years.
    him: yeah. most women your age do.
    yeah –> that was not a real conversation about what my goals were and what his were. i say that b/c it’s kind of like how you set objectives at work, right: SMART. they should be Specific Measurable Attainable Relevant Timebound. my ex agreeing with me…(and my vague scared-girl convo –> another sure sign that he wasn’t what i needed) did not mean he agreed with my objective. cuz i didn’t set that objective up SMARTly. does that make sense? lol i’m talking in circles.

    i think it’s so good to be able to step back and assess the situation that you’re in. the fact that you’re able to peep the change says volumes about your growth. the part that i’m working on (and i hope you are too!) is what you do with the information that you peep, ya know. take the growth to the next level.

    does this mean i’m team tiffany now? lol

  7. hmm. yeah. limbo’s no fun. and although we do say actions speak louder than words. but words mean so much more. at the end of the day. if the man wants you, the man wants you. and he will choose you with both his actions and his words. he’ll say you’re his boo and treat you as such. i’m with you on the whole approaching a relationship differently ‘this time around’. in my last one…i thought i was doing that too. in my head, i’d crossed off the list the fact that he wanted the same things that i wanted. when in fact if i was being honest with myself, the conversation actually went:
    me: so you know i’m looking to get married in the next few years.
    him: yeah. most women your age do.
    yeah –> that was not a real conversation about what my goals were and what his were. i say that b/c it’s kind of like how you set objectives at work, right: SMART. they should be Specific Measurable Relevant Timebound. my ex agreeing with me…(and my vague scared-girl convo –> another sure sign that he wasn’t what i needed) did not mean he agreed with my objective. cuz i didn’t set that objective up SMARTly. does that make sense? lol i’m talking in circles.

    i think it’s so good to be able to step back and assess the situation that you’re in. the fact that you’re able to peep the change says volumes about your growth. the part that i’m working on (and i hope you are too!) is what you do with the information that you peep, ya know. take the growth to the next level.

    does this mean i’m team tiffany now? lol

  8. “Everything he does indicates that we’re headed toward more-than-just-this, but now the things he says don’t tell me that. So what do I do now, sir? Am I supposed to go by your actions like you’re telling me, or do I listen to what you’re saying and nip this shit in the bud??”

    I think this is the most significant statement, because his action and his words do not line up (Duh, Nak!); hence, the point of this post in the first place. Actions ALLEGEDLY speak louder than words, BUT words (to me) last longer. Think about it: If he buys you a bazillion dollar purse today, but tonight tells you how much he hates you, will you think it is love? Will that purse matter? While this is an extreme, it is still the same concept (to me). Even if he acts like he wants more, his words need to be in alignment.

    “Limbo” es no bueno! Good post.

    signed,

    miss young


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