Let me say that I have indeed been out of the “dating” game for a minute at this point in my life. But I believe no matter what season we are in, whether we’re currently dealing with situationships, Netflix and Chilling or fear of commitment, I think the phrase my momma always used to say reigns true. “You teach people how to treat you.” Even when the dating world may seem completely upside down, it remains that we are able to set the standard for what we will and will not accept when it comes to relationships.
In my estimation, it sounds silly to consistently blame other people for what you are allowing them to do in your life. Honestly, that goes for relationships, friends, family, co-workers, whoever. When we set the standard from the gate of how we expect to be treated, believe me, you will weed out the jokers a lot faster and save yourself a lot of tears and heartache. And yes that means that you may not constantly be the hot commodity because ta-dah, you actually have standards. But ultimately, you will find a lot more rewarding outcomes.
At the end of the day, like the old song says “you just keep on using me, until you use me up.” That is the motto of most people. We are selfish by nature and people will get away with what they can get away with until they cannot. People are constantly testing boundaries to see how far they can go. So when they go a day without calling and you act like that’s normal, they think “okay cool, I don’t have to hit him or her every day. When you don’t have an expectation of dating each other solely and not seeing other people, they think that’s the norm and that you aren’t looking for anything serious either. Stop trying to play it so cool that you are compromising the things that are really important to you and then looking up wondering where it all went wrong.
Another thing my mother used to say is, “The way you start relationships sets the expectation.” The things that you act like are cool, will be the things that they still think are cool. This is not to say that relationships don’t mature and develop. That would be silly. You can’t have two dates and lay down the law about what is and is not going to happen. But I think it’s important to communicate from the jump about what it is that you are really expecting. If you meet someone and they really aren’t looking for anything long term, BELIEVE THEM! It is okay to say, “Hey, I know we’re not serious now, but I definitely am a relationship person and look forward to finding a person to work towards that with.” It may not be that person, but at least they know where you are coming from. You CANNOT change a person’s mind unless they want it to be changed.
We make it easy on our counterparts and then wonder why they don’t want to put forth any effort. Well, you are making it so easy for them, why would they? I often think of this when it comes to the physicality of relationships these days as well. Though I am part of a generation that is all about sexual liberation and freedom, I still believe that people should have to work for that and that it’s something we give away SOOOOO easily and the other person is gone so fast it leaves our heads spinning. Now if that’s what you want, more power to you! I do believe that both men and women sometimes just want a physical relationship. But often we think that we are giving of ourselves to “keep” a person around or because once they get it they’ll never leave because we have the good stuff. That is BS. There are a million vaginas and penises, there has never been a shortage on that.
I personally feel like we focus on a lot of the wrong things. I know I sound like I am preaching. But I honestly just get so tired of people talking about not being able to find great relationships and when they start talking I feel like I know why. No expectations, no accountability, and no standards. Not everyone clearly, but the peeps in my world. I can only speak on that. Don’t let these R&B or Rap songs get you confused about your worth, about what’s out there, about whether “hoes” are actually winning or not. We are in control of our actions, who we are and what we will accept. So no matter if people are “acting right” or not, that decision is still ours. We don’t have to chase down people that have made it clear that we are not a priority. We don’t have to hang around in hopes that eventually they’ll see the light. We don’t have to accept the BS that they try to cover up and act like its roses.
I have learned to be accountable for myself. The things that I have allowed, the things that I will or will not accept. And in my current relationship I feel like those expectations have been set. ON BOTH ENDS. There are things that I was willy nilly about that he said “nope that doesn’t work for me,” and vice versa. But the key to that is communicating those things and having a counterpart that is willing to make that adjustment. And both of us are the type of people that if we felt the adjustment wasn’t being made, we wouldn’t have stuck around. There are certain things that Ashley Coleman will not accept. Period. And there are a lot of other things that I am flexible with and growing in and learning more about. And that’s cool too. Sometimes experience is the teacher we need. But it’s my hope that you won’t keep spinning wheels and expecting anything less than what you deserve as a woman, or a man really.
You do not have to be a victim to the culture or the times or Netflix. If you decide that you like dates, then the people you date need to have the understanding. We will be going out somewhere not chilling at your house. BOOM. That’s that. The jokers fall by the wayside and the real ones stand up.
By the way you are treated in the dating or relationship space, what have you taught your counterparts about how to treat you? Be honest with yourself. What have you allowed? What’s different now?