Are You Wasting Your Time With "Expiration Dating"?
Gee. Although I wish I had come up with the term "expiration dating", I really must give credit where credit is due. It comes from a scene out of Sex & the City when the girls were trying to get Carrie to have sex with one of Charlotte's groomsmen, believing that the whole, "The best way to get over someone is to get under someone else" philosophy would work (I am absolutely not a fan of that, by the way). As Carrie was going down the list of all of the reasons why she thought it would be counterproductive to do so (including the fact that the guy lived out of town), she said, "What would be the point? It's not going to go anywhere. It would basically be 'expiration dating'."
Expiration dating. Whenever I hear that term, milk cartons immediately come to my mind. There is a time when milk is all good. But if you don't use it by the expiration date, you've got a coagulated mess on your hands. You have to toss it. What a waste.
If you're like a friend of mine who treats casual dating like an art form and you couldn't care less if something lasts for a couple of weeks or six months, do you. But if you are the kind of woman who is getting to the point where you are sick and tired of dating because it never seems to play out the way that you want it to, take out a few minutes to read this. Then ask a girlfriend to meet you for drinks so that y'all can discuss if what you've been doing is dating, or expiration dating.
So, What Exactly Are Y’all Doing, Anyway?
The interesting thing about the word "expire" is the fact that it means to terminate a contract, guarantee or offer. That said, a mistake that a lot of people make is they never even "put an offer on the table" to begin with. One woman I know, she has been telling me for a few months now, that she is absolutely certain that the guy she is currently dating desires marriage. Mind you, she hasn't asked him if that's the case. He never brings up long-term plans. She also hasn't been brought into any part of his world. She simply thinks that because they enjoy each other's company (and have sex) that they both want the same things (check out "One Overlooked Yet Obvious Indicator That A Man Is Husband Material").
One of the best ways to know whether or not you are expiration dating is to ask the person you're seeing if they ultimately desire what you do. Not only that, but do they desire to have it with you?
Unfortunately, some people would prefer to duck and dodge this kind of conversation, believing that with enough time and experiences underneath their belt, the person they're with will come over to their way of thinking. Girl, you are far too precious for that kind of gamble. Better to put an offer on the table and see if he meets you there than to assume for months (or years) on end and end up totally blindsided.
And what if you do discover that he digs you, but not enough to meet you where you are? You're grown. Keep hanging around if you want, but I'm seeing an expiration date in your future.
Are You BOTH Getting What You Want Outta This?
When you have feelings for someone, it's natural to want to do whatever you can to make sure that they're happy. This is fine, so long as there is reciprocity involved. But if you're the one initiating and sacrificing while all the other person is doing is sitting back and reaping the benefits, sooner or later, you're going to end up being disappointed, if not flat-out pissed off and fed up.
Probably one of the biggest causes of expiration dating is when the person who is doing the least amount of relational maintenance gets called to the carpet and suddenly gets all defensive and resentful. When it comes to individuals like this, they will date you for as long as possible, so long as you don't require much. Oh, but the very moment that you have needs, state them and expect them to be met, suddenly the clock is ticking. Suddenly, the situation that was oh so good has immediately turned bad.
Make no mistakes about it. If you involve yourself with someone who is only getting their needs met, this is a form of expiration dating. I say that because either you're going to wise up one day and move on or they are going to try and make you feel bad for having needs and will actually leave you. (It's a bold and arrogant move, but it happens all of the time, chile.)
Are You SPENDING Time or WASTING Time?
Not too long ago, I was talking to a male friend of mine about a woman he's been seeing for about five years now. He's one of the biggest commitment-phobes that I know, so when I asked him how he felt about marriage as it relates to her, he said something that I think a lot of us should pay very close attention to. "Lord. Here we go with the 'defining things' conversation. Why do women always need a definition? I've been seeing her for five years and if we're both having a good time, then it was time well-spent regardless, right?" My response? "It is if you both ultimately want the same things. Otherwise, you're wasting her time. What's worse is she's letting you."
If you're not paying close attention, sometimes it's hard to tell the difference between spending and wasting.
As it relates to romantic relationships, if you're giving your heart and/or body to someone, believing that it will ultimately turn into a real commitment, you're spending time if they are doing the same. Otherwise, if they are basically treating you like "something cool to do in the moment", I don't care how many moments you share together, without a goal in mind on their part, you are setting yourself to end up realizing that you totally wasted your time.
Are You a Priority? Or a Pastime?
Author and former talk show host Greg Behrendt once said something that some of us should pin up somewhere in our house—"If he's not calling you, it's because you are not on his mind. If he creates expectations for you, and then doesn't follow through on little things, he will do the same for big things. Be aware of this and realize that he's okay with disappointing you. Don't be with someone who doesn't do what they say they're going to do. If he's choosing not to make a simple effort that would put you at ease and bring harmony to a recurring fight, then he doesn't respect your feelings and needs. 'Busy' is another word for 'asshole'. 'Asshole' is another word for the guy you're dating. You deserve a f—king phone call." Yes. Sir.
Let's go back to the milk point that I brought up earlier. Say that you go to the store to pick up a gallon of it. When you look at the container, you see that, not only does it need to be purchased by a certain time, it must be consumed not too long after as well. Now say that you bring it home and have a glass or two. Then you leave the container on the counter. All throughout the night, you keep telling yourself that you'll put it in the fridge. Then you go to bed, walk into the kitchen the following morning, and realize that it has to be tossed out (because milk is only supposed to stay at room temperature for a couple of hours max). The milk was fine. But because you didn't prioritize its needs, it has to go.
You're worth a whole lot more than some milk, but I think you see where I'm going with this. Things can be a part of our lives so much longer when we make them a priority. When they are nothing but a mere pastime, they tend to "expire" quicker than planned. Greg broke it down best. If the guy you're seeing isn't prioritizing you, self-love will make it abundantly clear that what y'all are doing is expiration dating. Only, he doesn't need to toss you. You need to be the one who is doing the tossing, sis.
Do You (Clearly) See a Dead-End Up the Road?
They say that all good things must come to an end. Eh. Yes and no. I mean, it's true that some things have seasons and we all will leave this planet at some point. But as far as relationships are concerned, so long as they are properly nurtured, they can go the distance; they really can.
Someone else that I know, although she's been exclusively seeing someone for about a year now, when I inquired about an update, she told me that she doesn't see it lasting for too much longer. "It's cool, don't get me wrong. But he doesn't check off all of my boxes, you know? I'm just kind of getting to the place of wondering, what is the point?"
A lot of us will stay with something, just so we don't have to be with nothing. Settling in this way is another form of expiration dating because if the relationship has no real purpose, eventually it will exhaust itself.
If you happen to see a dead-end in your situation, why not rip the Band-Aid off now? The sooner that you stop expiration dating is the sooner you can free yourself up to date with a purpose. It's when you can stop doing what you know is going to bite the dust sooner or later, so that you can get ready for what is totally worth your while. No expiration needed.
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Different puzzle pieces are creating bigger pictures these days. 2024 will mark a milestone on a few different levels, including the release of my third book next June (yay!).
I am also a Professional Certified Coach. My main mission for attaining that particular goal is to use my formal credentials to help people navigate through the sometimes tumultuous waters, both on and offline, when it comes to information about marriage, sex and relationships that is oftentimes misinformation (because "coach" is a word that gets thrown around a lot, oftentimes quite poorly).
I am also still super devoted to helping to bring life into this world as a doula, marriage life coaching will always be my first love (next to writing, of course), a platform that advocates for good Black men is currently in the works and my keystrokes continue to be devoted to HEALTHY over HAPPY in the areas of holistic intimacy, spiritual evolution, purpose manifestation and self-love...because maturity teaches that it's impossible to be happy all of the time when it comes to reaching goals yet healthy is a choice that can be made on a daily basis (amen?).
If you have any PERSONAL QUESTIONS (please do not contact me with any story pitches; that is an *editorial* need), feel free to reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org. A sistah will certainly do what she can. ;)
This article is in partnership with Sensodyne.
Our teeth are connected to so many things - our nutrition, our confidence, and our overall mood. We often take for granted how important healthy teeth are, until issues like tooth sensitivity or gum recession come to remind us. Like most things related to our bodies, prevention is the best medicine. Here are five things you can do immediately to improve your oral hygiene, prevent tooth sensitivity, and avoid dental issues down the road.
1) Go Easy On the Rough Brushing: Brushing your teeth is and always will be priority number one in the oral hygiene department. No surprises there! However, there is such a thing as applying too much pressure when brushing…and that can lead to problems over time. Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and brush in smooth, circular motions. It may seem counterintuitive, but a gentle approach to brushing is the most effective way to clean those pearly whites without wearing away enamel and exposing sensitive areas of the teeth.
2) Use A Desensitizing Toothpaste: As everyone knows, mouth pain can be highly uncomfortable; but tooth sensitivity is a whole different beast. Hot weather favorites like ice cream and popsicles have the ability to trigger tooth sensitivity, which might make you want to stay away from icy foods altogether. But as always, prevention is the best medicine here. Switching to a toothpaste like Sensodyne’s Sensitivity & Gum toothpaste specifically designed for sensitive teeth will help build a protective layer over sensitive areas of the tooth. Over time, those sharp sensations that occur with extremely cold foods will subside, and you’ll be back to treating yourself to your icy faves like this one!
3) Floss, Rinse, Brush. (And In That Order!): Have you ever heard the saying, “It’s not what you do, but how you do it”? Well, the same thing applies to taking care of your teeth. Even if you are flossing and brushing religiously, you could be missing out on some of the benefits simply because you aren’t doing so in the right order. Flossing is best to do before brushing because it removes food particles and plaque from places your toothbrush can’t reach. After a proper flossing sesh, it is important to rinse out your mouth with water after. Finally, you can whip out your toothbrush and get to brushing. Though many of us commonly rinse with water after brushing to remove excess toothpaste, it may not be the best thing for our teeth. That’s because fluoride, the active ingredient in toothpaste that protects your enamel, works best when it gets to sit on the teeth and continue working its magic. Rinsing with water after brushing doesn’t let the toothpaste go to work like it really can. Changing up your order may take some getting used to, but over time, you’ll see the difference.
4) Stay Hydrated: Upping your water supply is a no-fail way to level up your health overall, and your teeth are no exception to this rule. Drinking water not only helps maintain a healthy pH balance in your mouth, but it also washes away residue and acids that can cause enamel erosion. It also helps you steer clear of dry mouth, which is a gateway to bad breath. And who needs that?
5) Show Your Gums Some Love: When it comes to improving your smile, you may be laser-focused on getting your teeth whiter, straighter, and overall healthier. Rightfully so, as these are all attributes of a megawatt smile; but you certainly don’t want to leave gum health out of the equation. If you neglect your gums, you’ll start to notice the effects of plaque buildup, which can irritate the gums and cause gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease. Seeing blood while brushing and flossing is a tell-tale sign that your gums are suffering. You may also experience gum recession — a condition where the gum tissue surrounding your teeth pulls back, exposing more of your tooth. Brushing at least twice a day with a gum-protecting toothpaste like Sensodyne Sensitivity and Gum, coupled with regular dentist visits, will keep your gums shining as bright as those pearly whites.
The first big leap was moving to a new city and getting settled into my new home. The next big leap? Was finding community and belonging. Moving to a new city excited me! I looked forward to having my own apartment, decorating it, and exploring what the city had to offer. I also found excitement in the thought of meeting new people and expanding my connections. When it actually came down to it, I felt nervous. I heard that making new friends as an adult can be hard because we all have different responsibilities and schedules that may not align. I knew in order for me to really feel at home in my new city, I had to create community.
Having a community of people who I can share memories with, lean on in times of need, and inspire each other is something I always valued. I took a moment to truly center in on what I desired from the new friends I would make. Then I realized it all would have to start with me. I had to be centered and confident in who I was to attract who I desired to be aligned with. As someone who moved to a new city and established quality friendships, I gathered these six tips that helped me feel grounded and create community in hopes that it will help you, too.
6 tips to start building community and making new friends in a new city:
Sean Anthony Eddy/ Getty Images
Be true to yourself
Do you know who you are? If someone asked you to describe yourself in three words, what words would you use? In order to develop deep friendships, you must be a friend to yourself first. Know what refuels you and what zaps your energy. Self-study your habits and why you do the things you do. All this will be important to keep in mind when looking to create bonds with others. Every day there’s all kinds of people telling you who you should be, how you should act, or what you should wear. At the end of the day, the only opinion about yourself that truly matters is your own. Spend some alone time with yourself indoors or out at an event you like to truly discover who you are in this season of your life.
Pray about it
Before you step out into the world and cross paths with all kinds of people, it’s important to pray about building your community. God outlines what true friendship looks like in numerous Bible verses such as "Iron sharpens iron." - Proverbs 27:17 and “Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed.” - Ecclesiastes 4:9-12. If you desire friendships that last, pray about what you seek in friendship. I remember praying for mentally stable, happy, and whole women who moved through life with abundance mindsets. Take a moment to journal about the community you want to build and then pray on it.
Go to fun events to meet people who share your interests
Most metropolitan cities like Washington, D.C., New York City, and Atlanta are known to have strong young professional communities and events where you can connect with others. I highly encourage you to attend events in or near your community to see what the city is like and meet people. It’s likely that the people at the event have the same interests as you, which is a great way to start a conversation. You can start by searching for events on Eventbrite or following Instagram pages that highlight events happening in your city.
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Accept that you won’t be compatible with everyone you meet
While living in your new city, it’s likely you’ll meet a variety of people. Please know that everyone you meet will not bud into lasting friendships, and that’s okay! You are uniquely created and not made for everyone. Then you’ll meet people who are good for only surface-level connections, and then you’ll have your girls who you can get deep with. I think sometimes people can look down on surface-level friendships, but not everyone needs to fully know you. That’s a privilege to have and to accept within yourself. Continue to check in with yourself and be real about who you crave to spend more time with and who is nice to see for a monthly or quarterly catch-up.
Join Facebook groups & GroupMe chats
If you haven’t used Facebook in a couple of years, it’s time to dust your profile off. Facebook Groups is a great place to join online communities for people who just moved to a new city like you. Typically, you have to agree to the group’s guidelines, and then you can join. For example, you can search for groups in the Facebook app by using keywords like women, Black girl, or [the name of your city] foodies. With the GroupMe app, you’ll have to be invited to join an already existing group. While you’re out and about networking, don’t hesitate to ask if they’re in any online groups/communities they recommend you join too.
Be friendly to folks in your neighborhood
When I first moved to my new apartment, I spent the first week walking around the complex and working in the community spaces to get a better feel of it. I was able to meet people in my neighborhood, enjoy small talk, and learn more about what the community has to offer. Step outside of your comfort zone and work in your apartment’s community space or a local coffee shop to connect with others.
Overall, you may feel alone in your new city, but I guarantee you’re not. There are other people experiencing living in a new city too, and all you need to do is find each other. I hope these tips help ease the nervous feelings you have about building a new community and inspire you to make a new friend today!
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