Monday, October 18, 2010

'Don't Ask. Don't Tell': Why I Don't Believe in Exclusive Dating.

I had a conversation with a friend of mine who is in a fresh relationship yesterday. She was thinking of having lunch with an old friend of the opposite sex and was torn ab whether or not she should tell her boyfriend ab the lunch. The whole situation reminded me about why I don't believe in exclusive dating in the first place.  My position was 'Don't Ask. Don't Tell'. Which is my position on relationships, in general.   

I guess I should, first, warn you that this post is gonna piss some people off. My motivation, though, is the other 25% or yall that are gonna feel where I'm coming from and identify with where I'm at. I'm taking this one for the team. There are not a lot of us out here... Black women that reject the idea of exclusion before marriage. I'm not speaking about an entirely 'Open Relationship'. What I'm talking about here is more of a 'Don't Ask. Don't Tell.' type of situation. Maybe I should start there.

An open relationship is a relationship in which, within mutually agreed limits, the participants are free to have emotional and/or physical relationships with others. What I'm talking about here lies in the 'within mutually agreed limits' part of the definition. 'Don't ask. Don't tell.'(or DADT).  The mutually agreed upon limits of a DADT might look a little something like this:

*There is a mutual understanding that, for all practical purposes, this is your significant other. What this means is, the two of you do not, openly, date others. The important people in your life know this person to be your boyfriend/girlfriend/dude/lady/whatever you want to call it. You receive all rights and privileges that come with such a position. However...

*The two of you are allowed to see other people. If you so choose to. This makes better since if I say it like this...The two of you are not prohibited from seeing other people. AS LONG AS, the people you are seeing have been made aware that there is someone, who takes precedence over them, in the picture AND that person respects the boundaries of the situation. (ie.not calling at disrespectful hours, starting arguments, drawing attention to self, ect.) I know it's confusing, but stay with me because this is where it gets a little tricky...

*As long as there has not been a breech of boundaries on the part of the side chick/dude in some form, the two of you do not inquire about whether or not either of you see someone(s) on the side AND as long as there is not a necessity to do so, you do not voluntarily tell each other about the person(s) you see on the side. However, if asked... and the situation at hand warrants an inquiry, the two of you are forthcoming with the requested information.

(I, purposely, left out any sexual stipulations. I'm encouraging abstinence, not promiscuity, not even exclusion. Abstinence.)

Now... I already know what some of yall are thinking. 'AH AINT BOUT TUH GIVE MAH DUDE PERMISSION TO KICK IT WIT NOBODY ELSE!!' I'm gonna challenge you to come out of that 2x2x2 box for just a minute. Go ahead. Crawl on out. I'll wait.

Here's what I DO know. Titles are pointless. They don't stop a person from cheating. Take it from a from a person that has been on both ends of the deal. It doesn't stop a person from stepping outside of boundaries attempted to be set by it. I know this is hard for some of yall to grasp because I know some of yall live for the title. But keep it real... Did the fact that *insert cheating ex's name here* was your 'boyfriend' stop him from getting it in with *insert slore's name here* every chance he got? No. Why? Titles are not what keeps a person faithful. If a person wants to cheat on you, there is nothing you can do to stop them. The key to a person remaining faithful, is their own disinterest in seeing other people. That comes from commitment and connection.

Commitment- not to a title, but to a person. This is why I have such problems with titles. Most people use them as a way to control the people they love. 'If this person is my boyfriend, then he should act like this'. or 'If this person is my best friend, they should do this.' We start expecting people to conform to the titles we put on them as opposed to waiting for them to reveal (by their own actions) what their commitment level to the relationship we have really is. A person's commitment level is not determined by titles, but connection.

Notice I said 'connection' and not 'love'. Commitment is not always attached to love. Sometimes it is. A lot of times it's not. I know all too well that you can love somebody and lose your connection to them. When the connection is lost, so is the commitment. You don't have to believe me, but I'm telling you what I know. This is why we love some people enough to let them go. The fact that I love you, does not mean that I have to stay committed to you even after my connection to you has been lost. (If that were the case, some of us would be in some bad situations right now. So, thank God, it's not.) A person does not commit to that which they feel no connection to. And when two people feel a strong connection to each other, they, on they're own free will, cease having outside relationships. Because they have no desire to. Voluntary commitment...(meaning... I'm committed to you because I want to be) is a helluva lot stronger and more powerful than forced commitment (meaning... I'm committed to you because I feel like I have to be.) 

Once two people have reached a point where they are voluntarily faithful to each other... where the connection between the two of them is so strong that they are ready to commit only to each other... That's when you know you're ready to take the vows. This is why the only titled relationship I choose to be in is marriage. It's the only title that really matters. It's the only title that comes with an obligation to 'forsake all others'. It's the only title the Bible acknowledges. We all know that some people cheat in marriages. These people probably cheated in exclusive relationships too. My point is... concentrate on the connection and not the title. If the connection is right, the commitment will be there, and your position will remain intact.

That's my take. Discuss.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Single is not Available

A person's relationship status is not an indication of their availability.

I wish it was. But it's not. That's why you have to learn to ask the right questions. Stop asking people if they are single and start asking if they're available.

That's all I really have to say about that...for now.

I'm out.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

J. Moss- Restored

This song has been in my spirit for days now. Just thought I'd share. Be blessed.

We live in two different worlds......What's it like to be YOU?

Have you ever talked to a friend about your issues of life and when they start talking back to you, you realize that they really don't understand your life? That happened to me yesterday. It kind of messed me up a little because it was someone I consider a good friend.... Someone whose opinion I seek on a regular basis... Someone I love, respect, and admire. I've done my best to be transparent with this person. Well, as transparent as I can be for the time we've known each other. And yet, she opened her mouth, began to speak, and it was like... she was talking to a complete stranger. She THOUGHT she was talking to me, but what she was saying was not resonating with my spirit at all because it felt rehearsed... cliche... Hallmark, even. My first emotion was frustration, because I felt like she hadn't really heard what I said before she gave me such a programmed response. It felt judgmental in that moment. The more I thought about it, though, I realized that she and I live in two very different worlds. And the truth is... She has no idea what it's like to be me.

I say all the time that people are a product of their experiences. The way we see the world is directly affected by the way the world has impacted us. In like manner, the impact we choose to have on the world is directly related to the way we see the world around us. What does that mean? It means that no two people, metaphorically speaking, live in the same world. So, the way I see a situation could be largely different than the way someone else does. As was the case here. My friend (lets call her Dawn) came from a place in her own world... a world that is, might I add, particularly black and white, for whatever reason. There's nothing wrong with her world being black and white if she likes it that way. BUT, my world happens to be particularly gray, for lots of reasons, in the area we were speaking about. She didn't take that into consideration before responding to what I had said. She probably has no idea that our worlds are so different. How would she know when I work so hard to keep it a secret?

I realized that not only does she have no idea what it's like to be me every day, I have no idea what her world is really like either. I know one side of it... what makes her laugh, what she loves to do, who she loves to be around. But I don't know her struggles, her issues, her fears, her regrets.... all the things we DON'T say and yet, carry around with us on a regular basis. Why are we so afraid of transparency? Why are we so afraid of giving each other a full view of the worlds we, individually, live in?

We need to understand that everybody is coming from someplace different. Dawn wasn't trying to be judgmental, but she spoke on my situation without understanding the world I live in. That doesn't make her a bad person. I still love, admire, and respect her with my whole heart. But it made me realize that I need to take a step back and really pay attention to the world SHE lives in so that I can make her understand the world I live in.

That's my word... And I'm out.