We apologize for the slight posting hiatus. I’ve had a few things published, including this poem, and Britni has been super busy writing. (Check for her stuff here.)

Lots happening.

But let’s get to it, shall we?

The other day Demetria Lucas-D’Oyley spoke all kinds of truth in one of her Facebook posts about how we, as women, can sabotage our chances of meeting someone when we mistake the act of being an active participant in our dating life with looking “thirsty.”

I’m not saying hunt a man down. I’m not saying pursue him. I’m saying smile, pay a compliment, or ask a question. Initiating a conversation is not breaking any commandments.

If you want to be married, you need to be an active participant in your dating life. By all means, pray. BUT DO SOMETHING else too.

The women that some call “thirsty” for smiling, saying hi, paying a compliment, and having a conversation, are the same women you look at her wedding photos and wonder, “why her, not me?”

You get the gist. Lucas-D’Oyley’s post got me thinking about another problem I see happening.

Let me tell a story.

Woman meets man.

Woman decides that she likes man and wants him to pursue her, but he tells her that he’s not interested in commitment. (Clue and red flag #1)

Woman begins pursuing the man in hopes of showing him “what a relationship with her will look like.” (Red flag # 2)

Man takes the bait, because: why not?  But man done already TOLD her that he was not ready.

Woman gets hurt because her emotions were attached.

Man moves on and finds another woman.

Woman becomes scorned.

How many times have we seen this scenario–a woman giving her best to a man who gives very little effort, who dates multiple women, and who fails to commit, only for that woman to be hurt in the end?

I see this scenario happening all of the time. In fact, I’ve been this woman at some point in my relationship history. I saw the potential in a man, believed the words spoken in infatuation, gave my best “girlfriend” effort without the full commitment, and was hurt when there was no reciprocity.

I like to call this “freelance to full-time” dating, or giving your all to a relationship with the promise of “full-time employment,” but no contracts are ever signed.

Why do we attach ourselves to emotionally unavailable men and act surprised when they don’t attach to us?

There are myriad reasons we could go into, but I am not a psychotherapist. I’m just a woman who dates.

In the meantime, here are four ways to not get caught up in this whirlwind of dating tomfoolery:

Remember dating is dating

The lines are blurred these days. We go from texting and calling to hanging out a few times to “you’re MY man.” Dating is the vetting process. It’s where you learn if you’re truly compatible. What I’ve learned is that women and men date differently. Men can truly date multiple women, like something different about each, and can date each with no attachment until a decision is mutually made. But women have a harder time doing this. The older I get, the more I see this freelance to full-time style of dating.

If you’re “dating” a man and there is no commitment, please stop going into his house and cleaning his clothes, doing his grocery shopping, picking up his laundry, etc. to prove your worthiness. A man who wants to get to know you will do so, and you won’t have to prove it. You’d be surprised how many women do these things for men they are just dating. I get that we want to be useful to our men, and sure we are nurturing and love to take care of those we care about, but there are levels to this.

Set Boundaries

Know where you will draw the line in any relationship. This is called guarding your heart, not to be confused with closing your heart. Dating requires you to be fluid and open, but that doesn’t mean you have to lower your standards. Some people will just not measure up, no matter how much you try to be a “good” woman or man.

I have to say this, and pardon if it sounds preachy, but being a good person will not keep anyone around. (Read that again). What you bring to the relationship will not change the other person if they do not want to change.

Some relationships just will not work, and that comes with the territory of dating. What’s important is knowing what you will and will not tolerate from any potential suitor.  

Don’t be afraid to walk away

A lot of times we stay involved with the other person because of “legacy” or time spent. I’ve seen women stay involved with a commitment-phobe for years because she feels that he’ll eventually give up the others for her diligence. Um…no.

Read what was said above: what you bring to the relationship will not change the other person unless they WANT to change. Be a good person with the RIGHT person.

Trust that the best is on its way

This is, perhaps, the hardest part of dating.  The best I can say is that if something doesn’t feel right, it’s not, but there is no need to panic. Being in love with the right person at the right time feels so much easier, even in the most complicated situations. You have to trust your intuition, and when in doubt, call your Anti-Fuckboy Accountability Partner for moral support, take a moment to regroup, exhale, and then get back out there.

Have you ever given girlfriend/boyfriend privileges to someone who didn’t have that title in your life? Let us know your story in the comments.