For a while I found myself locked in a daydreamy memory of how the kisses felt when I was 16. How intoxicating lovemaking was when I was 19; and how intense being inlove had been with the past love of my life. Some strange affliction had befallen me and caused me to magically forget all the days I spent chasing, the nights I spent crying, and the crippling pain of betrayal. 

“The one that got away” means so many things for each of us but a fantasy of past love is how best I describe this idea of missing a person you once had. What is it that keeps us going back to late adolescent memories that seem to brighten in the distance?

We replay exactly the moments that fill current voids in our lives and relationships making us believe that it’s all still possible. Sweet nostalgia.

NOSTALGIA : a wistful or excessively sentimental yearning for return to or of some past period or irrecoverable condition

Fixation on the idea of someone you once romantically connected with will have you questioning the reality of the connections you’re currently in. Plainly, “the one that got away” is the tape you measure every romantic love by; ensuring that you’re never truly satisfied with what’s in front of you.

BUCKO you’re so stuck in the past. We’ve all done it. Romanticized this idea of someone and what we think could’ve been had the stars aligned or the character flaws within us behaved.

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RESPONSE FROM A MALE BUILDER

The problem with holding someone in your past on a pedestal is that people change including them and you. Who you were is now fashioned from different life experiences including the shared one you had. It’s interesting to me that so many men seem to hold on to the idea of a woman who they wronged in their youth.

Does it not occur to them that she has forever been changed by the pain she endured? The girl you once knew is not the woman you think you know. This truth goes both ways; stop romanticizing strangers.

As people, we change and with it our interests, attractions and needs; what would satisfy 16 year old me is a far cry from what 29 year old me demands. It’s safe to say that the men in my past no longer know this version of me because I’ve grown.

The “shape” of me has been altered. In talks about this topic I listened intently as glossed over eyes spoke nostalgically of 1st loves and “good girls” or “almost mine-men”…they remembered the best but also recounted the worse. All circled around to the knowledge that “the one that got away” is just a memory, the people in it are no longer who they were and it’s not guarantee another go at a relationship would taste as sweet.

Still it’s a nice thought; to have known love intimately even when blinded by our childish haze.

“The ONE that got away” is a two-edged sword; depending on the nature of the person the connection can act as a reminder of what you deserve or what you don’t. We can appreciate what we shared in a lovely way without letting ourselves long for something that may be nonexistent.

Usually sayings have some truths; “If it’s meant to be it’ll come back around.”

but don’t base your life around that possibility and ruin the realities of love and connections that are current.

-LBF

 

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LBF Dominant Definition: Taking charge of yo shit; being able to perform without excessive guidance, teaching, or hand holding in love, finance, and life. In general, being a developed adult who can share “control” “power” within a romantic setting I.e dating/relationships.

 

What comes next is not a generalization but an observation.

“Either be dominant and happy or submissive and miserable…”

My guy friend told me that after our discussion of sharing power in a relationship delved into me venting about how I’m tired of always being the “adult”, teacher, breadwinner, and “dominant” in relationships.

He stated those two options like they were my only choices in the dating/marriage realm. Be dominant or don’t. Where’s the balance in that? Is that what we’ve come to in our dating as women? Either we accept taking on dual roles unequally or allow ourselves to be yoked to a man who doesn’t know how to lead in our life. WELP. I choose the third option of excessive flirting and whimsical dating while remaining single. I’ve grown tired of raising adults. I have my hands full raising myself.

My mind chewed on his dating ultimatum and I began to question whether my natural leadership was also my natural dating downfall?… I wondered what are the stories other women have when dating while dominant, how do men feel about it, and if we only have those two choices then who in this day-n-age is the damsel and who was the dominant?

Is dominance the curse of the modern woman’s dating world?

let me make my case:

EXHIBIT A: Strong Women Vs. Damsels aka alotta men

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I’m fully back into the dating world. When I say I’m back I mean I finally, at age 29, learned how to connect with multiple people and actually find it enjoyable. Coupled with this enjoyment, however, comes a spotlight placed on my independence (also labeled “strong” “dominant”) presence.

A light also illuminated the fact that I am more dominant than most men who approach me; how does this happen.

My strength is a quiet one but still real strength nonetheless. I found myself once again taking on roles to cover down for their lack of self-awareness, financial instability, communication, one-dimensional thought processes aka limited worldviews, and general immaturity in countless areas with various men.


Let’s stop here to discuss the obvious…

Could I just be attracting the types of men that are “lazy” or not self-aware; possibly but this phenomenon is not just one that keeps happening to me; friends, associates, women who don’t even consider themselves dominant all share these similar experiences of dating men who don’t know how to take charge or step up in their own lives or connections with others.

There is truly a surplus of men acting as damsels; waiting to be rescued by a woman with the ability to take charge, teach, communicate, and understand them all in the name of “men weren’t taught those things.”

The romance of dating has shifted from beauty finding her beast to women becoming the beast while still expected to behave beautifully. The responsibilities of mature, adult dating now rest upon the backs of those once considered damsels.

 

Let’s pause again to quiet all the men yelling “WOMEN BE THE MAIN ONES LOOKING TO BE SAVED!”

Most just want you to have your shit together and so they hold you accountable when you don’t which gets them labeled…EXHIBIT 1A

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I am fully aware that there are many women who still use the “damsel” trope to be saved by a man financially, emotionally, and all-around…I’m not speaking to that at the moment, if that’s how they choose to connect then I have no issues with it. However, we speak to that point often at this age. What doesn’t get talked about enough is men being overly dependent in the world of dating in a way that is not only toxic but tiring.

Back to my Point.

 

Exhibit B: Even women who don’t consider themselves dominant feel like they have to be dominant because so many men don’t know how to step up.

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And let’s read another…

 

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We love the first feelings of things when we’re dating. Like a new car smell surrounding the person of interest. When it wears I begin to notice how many men seem to lack the most basic functions for dating and long term relationships. A reoccurring theme has revealed itself and made me question how women are required to be dominant in being not only the nurturer but the teacher, healer, communicator, and even sometimes sex therapist. We’re not the damsels…we’re the dominant and we’re exhausted.

 

Now would be a good time to address the “Y’ALL WOMEN DON’T KNOW HOW TO LET A MAN LEAD”

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Calm down Tyrone…I hear you in the back.

It’s true there can never be two alphas at the same time but a sharing of power makes it possible for two people to perform as such in different areas, at different moments. If a strong female doesn’t sense you can match her strength then why should she yield to you? She got shit to do so move.

Ladies and gentlemen; when you’re a leader, about your shit, dominant or whatever you want to call it; no one has to LET you do it. YOU JUST DO IT. This idea that strong women get in their own way is tired. It’s grounded in just enough truth to help you miss the entire point. When a strong woman connects with a strong man she doesn’t ask him to stop being strong and immediately trusts that she “got him.” She remains herself while working alongside him to show how she contributes to his life experience; she earns his trust and with it his vulnerability. She requires that in return. She knows it takes time (not forDAMNever) but time. Stop thinking women owe you submission just because you speak and perform as a strong male; which brings me to my next point…

 

Exhibit C: Performance doesn’t equal dominance

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Men. Performing in exactly the way you’ve been socialized to doesn’t make you the dominant; simply because society actually didn’t teach you how to communicate or share your hard emotions and thoughts; it didn’t teach you that beyond being the “provider” of your household is a responsibility to be emotionally, spiritually, and mentally there as well.

Simply because you’re performing as a man doesn’t make you a dominant one; it doesn’t even mean you’re a good one. Women today find themselves filling in the gaps even when pride dictates there are none. From knowing how to have hard conversations to planning in real ways like saving for the future; women are leading their relationships. Instead of a helpmate, we get men who only expect help, love, adoration, support, and experience without having those things to offer in return.

We want balance.

Balance is something we talk about often but something I rarely see in the connections we have romantically…when you do see couples with true balance, it’s beautiful.

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I Rest My Case

The goal isn’t to control but to share…the exchange of power in a relationship is just as important as the love because it too requires trust. Can I trust that when my schedule is crazy you will still find time to fit me in yours even when it’s a role I usually fulfill? Can I fall apart even when you’re used to me having it all together and find that in your wholeness my emotions are safe?

Can I trust that my opinions are just as important and valued as your own? Can I trust you see me as your equal, your partner…not your bank, not your mother, not you’re hoe. Can I trust you to lead me and be led by me in our journey? We don’t want to dominate you; we want to trust you, love you, grow WITH you, and rule the world like Beyonce and JAY Z. It’s that simple but modern dating makes it so hard.

But there is hope…

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Phone wet.

Lips & elbows moisturized.

Curls Juicy.

DMs Drippin’.

The next hurricane should be named “Krystal”

The only things dry are my eyes.

 

In the DRY Season, I went through a drought in the dating world which allowed me to focus on my healing and creativity in a way that was more beneficial than harmful. Though it was a choice I started to long for the touch-n-go flirtations, cute dates, and nighttime phone conversations that make a girl feel all tingly on the inside.

In the drought, my phone stayed charged.

BUT

In the WET Season, it’s raining men and I am here for every drop. Well…not every drop. There’s something truly powerful about being able to flex my feminine energy over the salacious attempts of men. Returning into the dating world or even returning a mildly interesting DM slide is a new venture for me. At age 28 I’m just learning how to date.

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The Sunken Place of Dating

I started to get the “sO WhEn ArE yOu GoNa StArt DaTiNG Again?” questions that still make me wanna break out in hives purposely just to physically display my discomfort with the mere thought. However, the question did cause me to reflect on a very unique truth: I had never really learned how to date. Through various entanglements of relationships, situationships, and WhatTheFuckIsThisBullshitShips I sort of rolled like a tumbleweed from one person to eventually the next. Good chemistry and humor were more than enough for me to settle and set up shop for a while.

That’s just not the case now and so I am forced to partake in the dating scene that I’ve avoided like a Jehovah’s witness ever since my first major breakup at age 20. As a grown woman,  it takes more than mere likable traits to get me to glance; it takes a whole person.

A healed person.

Though I still think of the dating world as “the sunken place,” I find myself enjoying not wanting to belong to one person for the first time in my life. I’ve been a hopeless romantic searching for my soulmate since age 11; it’s nice to finally give my heart a much-needed break.

 

Hot Girl Fall

The third quarter of the year is when I truly shine. While everyone was screaming Hot Girl Summer I was waiting for what I knew would be a hot, steamy fall. During the third quarter of the year, the universe is like the best friend that hypes me up. The energy that surrounds me during the fall season is like a natural pheromone that lures potential mates to me. It’s an indescribable oneness that allows me to celebrate myself with others hoping to win me over. This is not meant to sound selfish but instead, it is empowering to know you’re the shit and then to have others pursue you based on this truth. As a perpetual outlier it’s nice to once again be the center of attention; if even for a season.

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Rejuvenate 

This WET Season spills over into my worldview. As I allow others to slightly enter my space, I bring in those new experiences that help to keep me on my creative toes. I thought the idea of having to date again seemed like rain on an already sad parade at first. Having to sift through the DMs, rando text messages, awkward introductions, and infuriating small talk was not how I wanted to spend any seconds of my life.

Now I realize that because I focused on healing in the Dry Season I’m able to enter this new season of adventures with a fresh understanding of who I am, what I want, and more importantly…what I deserve. I am able to appreciate what new people bring to the table and learn from interactions that I would’ve never opened up myself to otherwise. Plus, there’s a magic that feeds into a new first kiss, sexy second dates, or fresh late-night talks about childhood experiences that’s actually quite lovely.

The WET Season isn’t about forcing myself to find love. It isn’t about pushing past my still swollen scars to bed the cutie with the deep voice. This season is about exploration. It’s about allowing myself to discover myself as a woman in every way I feel comfortable. It’s about challenging my boundaries and allowing others to attempt to get an inch or two closer. In this season I am selfish, focusing on my enjoyment, my laughter, my comfort, my heart.

I am drippin’ with confidence.

Letting nothing ever take me back to a place where I’m begging for attention or love like a drop of water in a drought. I make my own rain.

and watch myself bloom.

Hey Builders! Have you ever had a WET Season? What about a DRY Season? Comment below and Let’s talk about it!

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Hey Builders! Follow the blog on Instagram @lets_build_futures

 

Grab a fresh pack of batteries girls, I’m single. I know; I heard the collective gasp when you read the title but it’s true. I have been flung like a loose booger back into singledom and I wasn’t as prepared as I had previously hyped myself up to be. Not being able to say “I have a boyfriend,” to ward off the creeps has been sorely missed. And while I revel in all the possibilities of life and love that comes with singleness; I find that I am not ready to mingle.

The dating world is a thing of terror for me. I internally scream just thinking about the questions to come “What’s your favorite color?…” “Oh so you G.I. Jane?” and the never disappointing “SO cAn I cOmE tHrOuGh?” said best by Amanda Seales in her HBO special “What are we talking about????!!!” I want real connections but the truth is sometimes you have to put yourself out there and sift through the bullshit before you stumble upon the good stuff.

That’s where I’m drawing the line, as previously discussed in burned out to a crisp, I don’t have the energy or the willpower to introduce the fullness, and complexity of myself to another person hoping they’ll retain the fact that my favorite color is gold. I’m good and would much rather burn sage in my house, flirt excessively, fix the many broken pieces and love on myself for a while.

 

“It’s Better to have…STFU”

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I’m at the phase of my recent breakup where the saying “it’s better to have loved and lost than to never have loved at all” garners a hearty “FUCK ALLAT!” from a place deep within my spirit. My trust in romantic love has been severely damaged as my emotions have been twisted, torn and shattered due to various relationships. It is at this phase that most of my single friends encourage me to spread my “hoe” wings and fly to the next available erection to ease the sadness and embrace the single life; and I thought I’d be eager to do so. Turns out it’s not as simple as getting over my ex by getting under the next. What do you do when you’re newly single but not sure if you want to mingle?

Grab the Tissues

Mourning the lost of someone alive is top three worst experiences in life; up there next to stumping your pinky toe on the edge of the bed in the middle of the night. There’s a brief period in both where you swear something is permanently broken. The pain is still very much real for me and while it’s subsiding and I’m realizing that, no, the pinky toe is still attached; there’s this cautious fear I have for a while every time I walk around the edge of the bed. The same is true for the thought of inviting anyone else into my space even if only for a night. There’s a vulnerability and openness that comes even with the casual mingle that I’m not sure I’m ready for. And that’s okay.

 

Wholesome or Hoedom

I entertained the idea that if I was ever single again that I would throw myself blissfully into the hoe phase I had so foolishly deprived myself of during my college years. But now that I’m here, I’m not so sure. You see, though I have spent time alone and in reflection; I also look back and realized that I rolled from one tallywacker to the next even though I wasn’t the one pursuing; I accepted being caught. Now I can’t let countless energies enter into me until I can truly heal myself from all the heartbreak and trauma I’ve experienced over the years of my young life. The expectation is that I should sow my wild oaks….for now I’m good with being a kissing hoe with the mindless flirt tease to flex my single muscles.

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Hot Sign

I did some serious debating with myself trying to figure out if I was ready to tell the world about my new singleness for a very important reason. As soon as we utter the words “I’m single” after a long term relationship it’s like cutting the hot sign on at Krispy Kreme or Little Caesar’s; the masses flock for all the delectable goods you have in your procession. Truth is, though, I’m not a little Caesar’s pizza, I don’t have a sign saying hot and ready because I most definitely am not. So no doughnuts or pizza for you big fellas; I’m spending some of my time repairing, celebrating and improving.

 

Showing Some Ankle

Still, there’s power in remembering that you are still a person outside of your failed relationship and eventually putting yourself back in the game is necessary. I find myself more recently craving true, unfiltered testosterone in my life which let’s me know that my desire to mingle is only delayed and not dead. So, I use my flirting as the casual “layup” practice for when I’m ready to play the court again.

My flirt game is that of a more refined taste…

much like the near touch; I’ve been off limits for so long that just the mere show of an ankle-flirt is more than enough to get the blood flowing. Flirting just enough to make you question whether there’s a chance in hell but not enough for any of these men to actually attempt to take it any further. Showing that sexy ankle as a way to find my feminine powers and reassure the goddess in me.

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Regardless of whether you spread your “hoe” wings or choose to indulge in the near flirt; Do it all at your own pace. No one knows the conditions of your heart and mind quite like you do; being single again allows you to rediscover all of your strengths and wonderful qualities while reassessing what is deserving of your presence. Cherish this time as much as you can and remember “It’s better to have healed yourself than to have rushed to another tallywacker.”

Feel free to use that quote.

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Alright Builders! Your turn, tell me your post break up stories. Comment Below and Let’s Build better self love affairs.

 

 

It’s Friday Night and I feel alright ( it’s more like Saturday afternoon) and I’m getting cute because I’m preparing to go out on a date. I already know what I’m going to order at my favorite restaurant and that I can choose to see either the chick flick showing at 2:30 or the action movie showing at 3:15. Excitement mixed with feminine confidence pours over me when I get to the restaurant.  “How many?” the server asks me with a smile and I reply “One.” ☝🏾

Almost once every month I find the time to take myself on a date. I wear the outfit that’s been collecting dust in my closet, begging for a day out on the town. I obsessively snap pictures of myself to confirm how beautiful I look and feel. Some I post, most I delete after oogling at how pretty I am. Sometimes I even shut my phone off so that there’s no distractions to take my personal attention away from me. I usually do this either when I’m in a euphoric mood or when I’m a little down. Eating fajitas at San Jose while reading the Color Purple without having to explain or listen to anything other than “Would you like another tea?,” is both refreshing and empowering.

 

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This topic came about when talking to a group of my female friends about how we view and appreciate ourselves. I know that I’m weird but it still came as a shock to hear that some of my most flamboyant friends don’t take themselves out; let alone show appreciation to themselves. I asked why and the main answer was that they felt weird eating by themselves or going out alone.

Maybe it’s because they never had to or maybe there’s something more going on. When dating other people we often go all out. Whatever movie they want to see is fine. Whatever they want to eat is great. They’d rather do this than that, cool. We give so much attention, time and energy to other people but what about ourselves? Especially if you’re single. If you don’t do these things for you then who will?

Obviously I’m taking this beyond the scope of taking yourself out on a date and diving right into a discussion about seeing the value in yourself even when others don’t.

I always thought of myself as beautiful though I had been rarely called that in earlier years of my life. I had also saw myself as an amazing girlfriend or companion even though I had virtually nothing to show for it for years.

No confirmation for my self esteem mixed with situationships weighed on my self image like Rick Ross on a glass bathroom scale.( Pre weight loss.) If I’m really valuable and nobody sees it then am I still valuable? If a tree falls in a forest and there’s nobody around to hear, does it make a sound?

HELL. YES!

I started doing my dates to remind myself of this. Plus it doesn’t hurt that the guy at the concession stand or the server flirts with me because he thinks I’m cute. (bonus confidence boost and free popcorn!) Dating myself became a form of therapy that allowed me to dump everything out of my mind to celebrate myself in a way no one else was willing to.

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Now that I’m happily in a relationship that doesn’t mean that I’ve stopped showing myself love. It’s my outlet for when everyone and everything is overwhelming or for when I’m just randomly feeling myself. The result is that by the end of my little soiree I feel appreciated, looked after and cared for. It doesn’t really matter that it all came from me.

Dating myself is just one way I choose to keep my spirits up. Instead of focusing on the fact that I don’t have someone with me, I celebrate the fact that I don’t have to share my kids movie box that only comes with a hand full of popcorn, one candy and a small drink. (No sip of my damn juice). Instead of being self-conscious about whose watching me eat I catch up on some reading or writing. Some girls go get their toes done, some guys take a midnight drive or zone out in 2K.

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Whatever you do, celebrating alone time with yourself as a choice and not a circumstance will help to increase your self image about what you want and deserve. I could sit at home sad that no one is in my life to watch Mean Girls with me OR I could get dolled up to go watch Fifty Shades Freed by my damn self.

I mean, because how can you expect others to value you if you don’t value you? or know what’s valuable about you because you never spent quality time with yourself? You want someone to appreciate you in the right way but how would you know if you don’t have a base line to go off of ? Now Tyrone gets points for the infamous Good Morning beautiful texts even though that’s all he does for you because you never told yourself you were beautiful.

You brought your girl, Ashley, Gucci, Louie and Chanel for Christmas and all she got you was a pack of socks. You’re unappreciated but you don’t know it because you never appreciated yourself.

OFF my high horse…

I’ve never had a problem being a loner. Socializing is harder for me than being out alone so that’s why it’s easy for me to have this particular outlet of appreciation. I get that most people would share the same concerns that my friends have but I honestly think that it’s worth a try. It’s liberating. You don’t have to go out on a Saturday with the Fast and the Furious 58 crowd. I like Sunday afternoons or Wednesdays. You don’t even have to take yourself on a date. The most important thing is finding a way to show yourself love because regardless of whether there’s a bae or not, you are definitely valuable. You just let yourself forget it. #LETSBUILD

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So there I was. Knee deep in a situationship that lasted beyond its expiration date like Wal*mart brand milk. It was still good but not nearly as fresh. Half in love and more than half annoyed with myself. It wasn’t the first time I had found myself in this sort of a pickle; however, the realization that I not only wanted more but actually deserved it made it my last. Hopefully…

 
Still, there’s a distaste for how our generation (millennials) chose to date or situate ourselves around each other. Are situationships really innately bad or is there more to the story of the big bad wolf? One blog platform, Black women who blog, that I participate in simply asked the question, “Do you think it is harder to date as a millennial?” Naturally, my response was as follows:

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But then I started thinking…was I giving my lengthy trisks enough credit? Maybe there are some benefits to situationships.

I can hear the collective groan from all the natural hair sistas out there fed up with the young man bobbing and weaving in and out of your life like Floyd Mayweather in every fight ever. Just, hear me out.

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So many of us call ourselves the long-term relationship type without fully realizing that it requires full-time, long-term commitment to another person. We’re so focused on finding someone who’s  fully invested in us that we forget we’ll have to return an investment of our own. And sometimes that’s the issue. Had I been more committed to myself as a freshman in college then I would’ve never lost my life scholarship chasing after a forever with someone who wasn’t as committed.

We can all recite the host of benefits that comes from a healthy relationship with the right person.Yet, for the working young adult or college student there simply are some benefits to…well…friends with benefits. YES. I dared to say it. Don’t Hate me.

Parents and even older adults my age would love for me to sit up here and tell you the strong black female creed “Focus on yourself girl, don’t let these guys get what they want. It’s all about the money and school and blah, blah, blah”

Truth is whether you’re a female or a male there are basic needs that we usually address either in a relationship or through a situationship. There are other methods too but I’m not that bold to divulge into those. Moving on.

There is a reason why situationships have been on the rise. Yes it could be because everyone’s afraid to commit but maybe one word just sums it up. Convenient.

Having someone pop in and out of your life to make you feel special, service needs, and combat any loneliness you may feel, frees up time for you to focus on your goals without having to factor someone else into your plans.

It’s just convenient. Sad, but true. I’m willing to bet that at some point most people my age have found themselves in the same pickle.We can play victim or we can admit that it was often a two-way street especially when focusing on graduating, or getting that job or starting that business is time consuming.

The real issue with situationships seems to be that we don’t know when to throw that milk out. It spoiled a long time ago but somehow we let it sit in our fridge until December 30th when the expiration date was a month ago. Then we wonder what’s that smell.

Let me say right now I am definitely Team Relationship because I don’t want any backlash from people who think I should only be writing about low income struggles and how to help high school students. This blog also exists to discuss issues young adults face and this is one of them.

I wanted to write this post as an interesting twist on the point of view from situationships. I’m neither condoning nor condemning. Simply put, I hope to foster a healthy discussion about how we interact with one another in the dating process because from what I’ve seen situationships don’t usually led to relationships. So there must to be other mutual incentives that keeps both parties participating.

What do you guys think? Comment below to help me, help you, help us understand. #LetsBuild