The Dangers of the “Undefined” Relationship

| 07/06/2009 | Comments (0)

The other day I blogged about men and the meaning of “a relationship,” and why women prefer that their relationship with a gentleman be defined as boyfriend/girlfriend, fiancee, husband and wife or even FWB, as long as there is clarity!  Women want nothing to do with this “secret relationship”, undercover limboland nonsense which leaves things open to interpretation and the whims of the moment. Here’s why:

Yesterday I got an emotional phone call from a woman I’ve known for years. She’s in her mid-30s, very attractive, smart, and funny, with the kind of figure men like to look at (big butt, big boobs, all in proportion). She’s been “kickin’ it” with this guy we’ll call “Donald” (early 30s) for the past 7 or 8 months, though from what I know it hasn’t been serious.

However, she told me a week or so ago that Donald had spoken about making things more committed, how much he liked her, and wanted to spend more consistent time with her. But nothing had happened… yet. She was thrilled to hear that news however because she really likes this dude. Now she is furious and heartbroken.

She stopped by Donald’s job yesterday.  They’re talking and he introduces her to a few of his coworkers. They are checking her out curiously, but no one was disrespectful or flirtatious at all. She’d planned to stay no more than 5-7 minutes. 

A few minutes later a regular customer comes into the store and is checking my friend out. He sees her standing very closely to Donald and starts to make some kind of joke. Donald jokes back with him and says a few words. After the guy gets what he needs he came back by. She sees Donald and this guy exchanging more words. My friend is standing on the other side of the store at this time, and doesn’t find out until later that when the guy asked for clarification and said “oh, so that’s not your girl?” Donald told him no.

This is when it gets interesting.

The guy goes out to his car and returns with one of his business cards.  My friend is stunned when he walks up to her, shoves the card into her hand, and starts talking about his business and how he can help her with her taxes.  She goes along with the conversation politely as the guy was obviously someone known to Donald, and he wasn’t being disrespectful or anything. But of course she couldn’t wait to ask Donald what the heck was going on!

When confronted, Donald claims he had no idea the guy would go out to his car and get his card and try to make a move. My friend asked him what he thought the guy was inquiring about their relationship for if he was not interested and wanted to make sure that the coast was clear!?  From my perspective, Donald gave this fella the signal that this attractive woman is single and available. Donald claimed it was all innocent, and tried to make it seem like she was out of pocket for getting upset.  He even told her that her hurt feelings was reason enough for them to not be together because he does things that would always have her angry. It wasn’t his fault anyway. You know, the typical male defensiveness.

Humiliated and choking back tears, she left the store in a huff and headed home. That’s when she called me.

He claimed her feelings are too easily hurt and that is why they would not be good together as a couple. To me his words and behavior demonstrate that he cares very much for her, but for some reason doesn’t feel that he has enough “heat” to hold her interest. Also, though he apparently is close to her, he is also still on the fence about making a deeper commitment. From her reports he is slowly moving in that direction, but he wasn’t ready to acknowledge in front of his friends/coworkers how he truly felt about this woman. 

This was a sad situation. She happily came into the store to visit with him for a few minutes and left feeling cheap, used and embarrassed at her feelings for this jerk. She and I talked about it for quite awhile, and even with all my experience with men, I had a hard time figuring out why he would put her in the position of being forced to deal with the man’s flirtatious behavior right in front of everyone until I decided it must be his way of running The Ho Test.  

What he apparently didn’t realize is how she would take his behavior, how his words and actions were interpreted both by the Inquiring Fella and his coworkers. She felt totally and publicly humiliated at his refusal to confirm to Inquiring Fella that this woman was tied to him. Donald’s behavior could only be interpreted by more astute minds to be that he was letting everyone in the store know she didn’t mean shit to him – not really. After all, would a man that really wanted a woman be so quick to deny any association between them?

This scenario is a perfect example of why women must not allow men to “free-style” in an undefined relationship. Give a man a reasonable period of time to make a decision about your rightness for him and get on board, but you must have a defining relationship conversation with him no later than 90 days after your association begins.  From thousands of conversations with men, I know for a fact that a man knows if you are the woman for him or not long before 90 days elapses. Life is too short to waste months or years with a man that does not see you as anything more than a secret undefined relationship he hides from the important people in his life. You should be more than an option to him, and women must stop hanging on and trying to force something that will never be. 

Love and relationships with our loved ones is the glue that holds humanity together, that bonds us to family and friends, and brings us peace and joy-filled memories in our senior years. But in order for a casual relationship to develop depth, trust, and a deep unyielding love, it is mandatory that the relationship be acknowledged both privately and publicly. Participating in an undefined relationship with very defined feelings is a foolish mistake.

The association between the couple must be discussed and defined with strict boundaries and expectations for performance with regards to time spent together, friends, accountability, sexual exclusivity, and your title which reflects the commitment you’ve made to each other. Don’t allow yourself to be adrift in an undefined relationship… in a sea with no paddle, no motor and no direction for your romantic relationships.


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Veteran social researcher, relationship advice columnist, author and radio host. Author of hundreds of articles on American and black culture, gender issues, singles, dating and relationships. Author of "Sucka Free Love!" , "The 24 Types of Suckas to Avoid," "The Black Church - Where Women Pray and Men Pray," and "Why Vegan is the New Black" all available on Amazon.Com. Her unique voice and insightful commentary have delighted fans and riled haters for 20 years. Read her stuff on SurvivingDating.Com and AskHeartBeat.Com.

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Category: Women's Issues

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