Almost Doesn’t Count
“Gonna find me somebody, not afraid to let go. Want a no doubt be there kind of man. You came real close, but every time you built me up, you only let me down and everybody knows almost doesn’t count…”
Brandy said it best in her 1998 single release of Almost Doesn’t Count. It’s amazing how music tells such real stories about love or a false perception of it. Ladies and gentlemen, it’s not enough for a person to be almost committed, almost divorced, almost ready for a relationship, almost mature, almost stable, etc. The fact of the matter is the person you decide to invest your time, energy, and love into needs to be ALL the way ready! I can’t count the times we have settled in this life for less than what we want because someone has the potential to be that person, all the while they have no intentions of ever stepping up to the plate. Ladies, this especially pertains to us. Here we are waiting on a man that is not waiting on us. We prolong empty friendships, make all the plans, and make all the phone calls; meanwhile he isn’t invested in any way. We tell ourselves, oh it’s okay because he goes along with the plans, he pays when we go out, and he is always there when I need a listening ear, but yet, we fail to realize that all the things we are putting in we are not getting out. I mean who wants a robot? A man that just goes with the flow with no investment or urgency being put into making you feel special or important is a waste of your time. Then you say, but he’s my friend. Last time I checked, real and healthy friendships have balance; both put in and both get something out.
Well guess what? I’ve been in this exact space before and my last encounter with him taught me a lot and I want to share with you. The statement I am about to type is one that blinds many women to what is real. On several occasions, “my friend”, would say this to me: “You are everything I could possibly want, plus some, but I’m just not ready. I have to get me together before I can give you or anyone what they deserve. I just want to be the best me I can be.” Now, this is a beautifully crafted and seemingly mature statement. Right? Let’s fast forward almost 3 years later to the present. This is the same statement being repeated to this day, which finally led me to a revelation. He has made no progress or if he has, he is not progressing towards me. You see, if a man really wants you and you are all that he could ever want…PLUS SOME, he isn’t going to lead you through a maze of confusion, keep you in a place of stagnation, and regress in the interest or intention he shows. However, this is exactly what began to happen in my case. I finally woke up and said to myself, Marliceia, stop being stuck on stupid and painting an unrealistic picture for yourself; at this point you are causing your own disappointment and heartache. “Let that nigga go”. My last conversation is what led me to this long overdue epiphany. In that particular conversation, I expressed my disdain for his lackadaisical attitude towards our friendship. I pointed out how we never did anything unless I planned it or how he never really called unless I initiated conversation. His abrupt and aggravated response told me everything I needed to know. He basically said that we’ve discussed this before. “All I can say is I will try and then it’s not going to happen and we are going to end up right back here”. The conversation pretty much ended there.
Let me back up before you get the wrong idea. Things were not always like this between me and him. I wasn’t asking for something I had never received. I was asking for something that had fallen by the wayside. We use to talk almost every night to the wee hours of the morning, which was usually initiated by his calling. We went on dates that he planned and he made time to see me even when it wasn’t a date. Now this is where men go wrong. If you have no intentions of truly pursuing a woman, then your words and your actions need to line up. Don’t tell a woman you are not ready for a relationship and then treat her like your girlfriend. At that point what you said becomes null and void. I’m not saying it should; I’m just saying your actions tend to overshadow your words. Then if it leads over into intimacy, that is a whole different disaster that is on the horizon. You see maturity is making sure you say what you mean and mean what you say while ensuring your actions line up with that. I don’t care what that 2nd brain you have says; If you truly care about a woman as a friend, before ever taking it to that level, then you need to develop self-control. Yes, women have a part to play, but men are meant to be leaders.
Now back to the present. One thing I realize now is that no matter how much we want to blame a man for things, we have to check ourselves first. No it doesn’t make them right, it just makes us wise. We are the gatekeepers to our heart’s door and we shouldn’t just allow anyone to unlock such a sacred place without the proper credentials. It’s hard, trust me I know. Sometimes we don’t want to have to be so guarded. We just want to finally feel safe, secure, and loved, but to be honest; most don’t deserve that type of access. Ladies, we have to learn to be stingy with ourselves, at least at first. Let him show and prove before you dive all in. It’s crazy how much the roles have changed. Here we are becoming the hunters instead of the hunted; here we are wooing and pursing instead of being wooed and pursued; here we are working and bringing home the bacon while he is lying on the couch with no job and driving the vehicle we pay the note on, and shoot he may be picking up his side piece in that vehicle while you are at work, but you don’t hear me though. STOP THIS SHIT, NOW. Wake up! Men do what women allow. It’s so many of us allowing, that they aren’t doing. It’s so many of us chasing that they aren’t pursuing. If a man shows you that you are not worth it. Let him go. All men are not like this, but we are so busy trying to hold on to the wrong one that our arms aren’t free to embrace the real and right one.
Once we realize that we are more than someone’s afterthought or contingency plan, we will cut this behavior before it has time to take root. In my case, I don’t deem the guy to be a bad person and one day I do believe he will be an awesome man for the right woman, he just isn’t the right one for me and that’s okay. It’s okay if it doesn’t work out ladies, so breathe. Everything is not going to work out with everybody. That’s life and it really isn’t any more complicated than that. We just choose to make it complicated. I know this first hand because I over analyze everything as a critical thinker; however, some things in life need no analysis, it just is what it is!
- Listen and Watch – Listen to a man’s words and watch his actions. If they do not line up, then point it out to him. If he gives you a definitive answer on the direction and it doesn’t line up with where you want to go, cut it off.
- No Sex Before Commitment – In a perfect world everyone would wait for marriage, but that is just not reality of the society we live in. If you want a commitment and he doesn’t, then he does not deserve the benefits of enjoying that sacred space. It may be hard if you haven’t been practicing this type of discipline, but you will thank yourself in the end. There is a difference in for the night and forever. You define what it is.
- Forget Forever – As women, we tend to fantasize forever before we even get past today. Stop it. If everyone we met was forever material, we wouldn’t still be dating. Just enjoy getting to know him. Fantasize friendship. Friendships often times make the best relationships.
- Don’t Sweat It – If it doesn’t work out, it’s okay. It’s best to find out sooner rather than later. In the words of Maxine Watters, “Reclaim Your Time”, it is better spent on moving forward that remaining in a holding pattern or back tracking.
Steps to Reclaiming Your Time:
- Limit Time Spent – We have to limit the time spent in conversation and even face to face with this type of man. Long conversation leads to attachment and that is where a face to face is scheduled and next thing you know, you are sucked in all over again. Find productive ways to fill the time and space where he used to be. Before you know it, you won’t even miss talking to or seeing him.
- Be Unavailable – Ladies, sometimes we are just too available. Upfront, we shouldn’t be so available. It’s a difference between making yourself available to someone you are in a committed relationship with and someone you are not. You have a life. Live it! The right one will get in where he fits in and eventually earn all the time you choose to dedicate to him.
- Date Other People – Don’t close the door on potential men. This man you are trying to devote all your time to is not committed to you, so keep your options open. This will keep you from giving too much too fast.
- Establish Boundaries – Healthy boundaries prevent heartbreak. This is where you have to be real with yourself. You know where your weaknesses are as it relates to one men. This is why you have to set boundaries and stick to them no matter what. We can prevent a lot of what happens to us when we keep a sober mind and set boundaries both personally and with others.
Now that you have the tools to succeed, get to work. It’s never too late to make better decisions. Choose to love you more.