This Is How You Know He's Waiting For YOU To Break Up With HIM
So, here's the deal. The reason why I've written articles on this platform like "10 Single Men Shared Some Thoughts They Wish Women Would Take At Face Value" and "10 Things Husbands Wish Their Wives Truly Understood" is because, while I do think that there is something to be said for women's intuition, I also totally agree with Aristotle when he once said that the excess of a virtue is a vice.
And in this particular case, what that basically boils down to is, just because we may be somewhat perceptive about men and what they may be thinking, that doesn't automatically make us right-on-the-dime mind readers nor should it cause us to arrogantly believe that we're always right about 'em. What was it that the master emcee (and my birthday twin) Kendrick Lamar once said? Sit down and be humble. Right?
That's why, when it comes to relationships and why a man does what he does (or doesn't do), I really prefer to discuss it with men who know rather than women who assume. And when it comes to the topic of why a lot of men, men who want to end a relationship, will wait until the woman initiates it, I asked a few fellas that I know to give me some insight. Ready?
Reasons Why (Some) Guys Allow Break-Ups to Be on Us
First, let me say that while a lot of women may want to chalk up a man waiting for us to do it to be cowardly and even cruel, after listening to some guys, I'm not sure it's as black and white as that.
When I asked one guy why he'd prefer a woman to end things he said, "Yeah, some women will say that it's the cowardly way out but usually, we know that a break-up is going to come with a lot of drama. We figure that if you end it, it'll cut that down by at least a third because you will feel like you had the upper hand in the situation which is fine by us—so long as things end peacefully."
Another man said, "For me, things have to be really bad for me to get to the point that I don't want to f—k with someone anymore. Sometimes, we don't want to 'break up' so much as we want things to simmer down. A lot of women don't seem to get that, though. Like, I may not be ready to move towards marriage, but can we still hang out? And no, that's not code for sex. I mean, literally hang out. You'd be amazed by how many women don't get that."
Still another said, "When we pull back, that's usually a sign that wherever the pace is set, that's where we want it to stay. If a woman can't handle that and she needs to leave, then we let her do it because she's the one who is unhappy, not us."
While three guys certainly don't speak for every man on the planet, again, I preferred to hear about all of this directly from them than 20 self-help books that are authored by women. And after pondering all of what was shared, I dug a little deeper. You know what? Something that all three of the men agreed on is the fact that, if it does get to a point that a man, not so much wants the relationship to end altogether but is totally OK if it does, there are some pretty universal signs that we should look for as a clear heads up. If you're curious about what those indicators are, from the mouths of those who carry the XY chromosome, this is what they had to say.
The Communication Is Suddenly on a Surface Level
Boy, am I tired of women—especially Black women—who think taking shots at men—especially Black men—all day long is something to be proud of. One day I'll go deep on how the racists of this world relish in Black men and Black women not being unified; how they completely enjoy our toxic hot takes on how the other gender is nothing more than pure trash (SMDH). That's why I am intentional about making sure I don't sign on to resolves like "men are shallow" or "men are stupid". No, they're not. Men are different from us, yet a lot of them have plenty of depth; especially when they are feelin' someone and they want to get to know them better. Matter of fact, I was recently talking to a semi-newly divorced man in my life who decided to step out into the online dating scene. Interestingly enough, one of his gripes was the women he was encountering seemed more interested in showing off their looks and talking about surface layer stuff when he wanted to know more about their goals and values. He said, "When I was in college, I didn't really care what the conversation entailed, but when you want something real, you don't want to waste your time on bulls—t."
His point is the point. When a man is trying to build with someone, he values his time with her differently; he wants to know who she really is and what truly makes her tick. On the other hand, if he's ready to end things (or he's fine with the relationship staying just where it is), he can stay on the not-very-deep level, basically because there are no plans for things to go anywhere beyond where they currently are anyway.
He Has Less Time for You (and the Relationship)
Those who know me know that I'm not big on the whole "men are hunters" thing. I am not a deer and I wouldn't want someone tracking me down like prey. From a biblical perspective, when you look at the first romantic relationship in the Bible, Adam wasn't a hunter; he was a gardener. He didn't chase his wife down either; she was brought to him by God (Genesis 2:18-25). So, all of this "a man has to kill himself to get my attention" mantra is ridiculous. To me. At the same time, what I will say is men tend to know what they want and what truly interests them, they will most certainly make time for. It's not about whether or not they have the time; again, it's about the fact that they will make it.
I don't care how many jobs he's got, how much traveling he does or how much is on his to-do list, if he's totally into you, he's gonna figure it out. For the record, him figuring it out may not always be in the same way or on the same schedule as you had in mind. Still, he will make sure to let you know that you are some type of priority in his life. If you're not feeling that he's doing just that…yeah, that's not good.
The Intimacy Is Waning
Remember how one of the guys that I spoke with said that sometimes a guy may want to pump the brakes and still hang out? And that spending time together doesn't have to involve sex? I agree with that; especially when it comes to men who are in their 30s and 40s. At the same time, when a man is truly into you, he's going to want some sort of intimacy. If his top love language is physical touch, he's going to want to snuggle up and/or hold hands. If the sex has been hot 'n heavy in times past, an abrupt stop is definitely a little weird. If the two of you have been spending the night and/or weekends together and that kind of time is becoming far and few between…that's pretty strange too.
While all relationships have seasons where the passion and desire may be a little hotter than others, there's no avoiding the fact that a sign of a thriving relationship is healthy intimacy while a sign of a dying relationship is a lack of it.
You Try and Plan the Future. He Doesn’t Want to Think Past Today.
This is a big one right here. Mature and ambitious men like to plan. It's simply who they are. They make professional plans. They make plans for how their Saturdays are gonna go. And, if they want you to be a part of their lives, they're gonna have plans for you as well. Note that I did not say that they are going to try and jump the broom in six months or less. At the same time, what I am saying is they will ask you what you are doing next weekend, they will talk about some upcoming event that they would like to take you to and, when it comes to relationship discussions (so long as they don't transpire every hour on the hour), they won't avoid those at all. They want to build with you, so they are interested in talking about what that looks like.
A guy who is OK with you ending things will try and avoid the future at all costs. Like, when you say something along the lines of, "So, what do you want to do for Valentine's Day?" (in January) and he says something like, "Hmm. Let's just wait and see", while that could mean that he's got a surprise for you, typically if that's the case, he will say something more like, "I've got that" vs. "Let's just see how things go". See the difference?
Nothing grows if it isn't moving forward. A guy who is more than cool with stagnation is someone who is 1) absolutely not putting you on his agenda (not long-term anyway) and 2) fine with winging it until you get the hint.
He’s Become the Walking Definition of Passive Aggressive
When I asked the three men who I spoke with to tell me a sign that a man really is getting tired of a relationship, something else that they all mentioned is it's fairly common for a man to become hyper-sensitive. One of the fellas stated, "A lot of us don't look out of the window, pining away at why we're not feeling someone anymore. Sometimes we just are or aren't. But if we're not, we'll start to get irritated; even about the smallest of things." And what that can translate into being is passive aggressive AF.
Suddenly, whatever you say or do is starting to get under his skin. Sometimes, he might even gaslight you by making you think that the very things that you've always done are suddenly driving him completely up the wall. No one should have to walk on eggshells in a relationship. If you are feeling like you aren't able to fully exhale and be yourself in your relationship, this could be another indication that he's waiting for you to get fed up enough to bounce.
You Clicked on This Article Fast AF
While I totally get that some people read articles, simply out of curiosity, oftentimes, when it comes to content like this, it's their subconscious telling them that something just ain't right. Because really—if everything was so awesome in your relationship, why would you be turning your monitor around at work so that no one can tell that you're reading things right now? Exactly.
Look, I'm not saying that all of this means that you need to rush home and break things off. What I am putting on record is two mature individuals should be able to discuss an article like this in order to see where they stand. If you forward this to your guy and you get "crickets", that's another sign that shouldn't be ignored because a man who wants to be in a relationship would be more in the lane of "What did you send me this for?"In a perfect world, all of us would be upfront and candid. That's just not the way that it is. And since time is oh so very precious, I just thought you should know why some men do what they do and what signs to look out for in the break-up department…so that you won't waste any more moments telling yourself that you don't see what you know that you do. If you see the flags, don't deny them. Don't wait any longer, sis. Handle it.
Are you a member of our insiders squad? Join us in the xoTribe Members Community today!
Featured image by Shutterstock
- Signs You're Trying To Prove Your Worth - xoNecole: Women's ... ›
- 6 Signs You're Dating The Same Guy Over & Over Again - xoNecole ... ›
- 7 Signs He's Only Around Because It's Cuffing Season - xoNecole ... ›
- Women Share Their Worst Breakup Stories - xoNecole: Women's Interest, Love, Wellness, Beauty ›
- 5 Subtle Signs He's Dating Other Women - xoNecole: Women's Interest, Love, Wellness, Beauty ›
- Signs He Wants You To Dump Him | MadameNoire ›
- 11 Biggest Signs He Wants to Break Up With You But Doesn't Know ... ›
- 20 Signs He's Trying To Get Her To End It So He Won't Have To ›
- 15 Signs The Relationship Is Over For Him & He Wants To Break Up ... ›
- Slow Fade: How to Tell If He Wants Me to Break Up With HIm ... ›
After being a regular contributor for about four years and being (eh hem) MIA in 2022, Shellie is back penning for the platform (did you miss her? LOL).
In some ways, nothing has changed and in others, everything has. For now, she'll just say that she's working on the 20th anniversary edition of her first book, she's in school to take life coaching to another level and she's putting together a platform that supports and encourages Black men because she loves them from head to toe.
Other than that, she still works with couples, she's still a doula, she's still not on social media and her email contact (email@example.com) still hasn't changed (neither has her request to contact her ONLY for personal reasons; pitch to the platform if you have story ideas).
Life is a funny thing but if you stay calm, moments can come full circle and this is one of them. No doubt about it.
Take Our 2-Minute Wellness Quiz To Up Your Self-Care Game!
Black women are not a monolith. We all are deserving of healing and wholeness despite what we've been through, how much money we have in the bank, or what we look like. Most importantly, we are enough—even when we are not working, earning, or serving.
Welcome to Black Girl Whole, your space to find the wellness routine that aligns with you! This brand-new marketplace by xoNecole is a safe space for Black women to activate their healing, find the inspiration to rest, and receive reassurance that we are one small act away from finding our happiness.
Want to discover where you are on your wellness journey? You don't have to look far. In partnership with European Wax Center, we're bringing you a customized wellness quiz to help you up your wellness game. Answer our short series of questions to figure out which type of wellness lover you are, what you need to bring more balance into your life, and then go deeper by shopping products geared towards clearing your mind, healing your body, and soothing your spirit.
Ready to get whole? Take our quiz now!
Here's Why Very Few Relationships Can Actually Be 'Platonic'
Recently, while in an interview, someone asked me if I think that men and women can be just friends. I didn’t even hesitate to answer; my response was immediate, “Absolutely.” What I followed that up with is what intrigued them — “Life has taught me that not a lot of male/female dynamics are ‘platonic,’ though.” When they asked me to expound, the interview ended up taking a whole ‘nother turn.
As a writer who really pays attention to word meanings, something that can be a bit frustrating about our culture is the fact that based on whatever is popular at the time, folks will just up and change the original definitions of words to suit a particular agenda or whim — and the word “platonic” 1000 percent fits into this category. And perhaps that’s why we seem to continue to go in circles about whether or not people of the opposite sex can (and should) be friends and what that even can (and should) look like.
Let’s talk about it for a bit. Because as a word-literal type of individual, while again, I absolutely believe that men and women can be friends, at the same time, I think it’s about as rare as a red diamond to truly find yourself in a friendship that is…platonic.
It’s Time (More) Folks Knew What ‘Platonic’ LITERALLY MeansGiphy
So, let's do first things first — let's define what it literally means for something to be platonic. If you go to your favorite search engine and put something along the lines of "What does platonic mean?", the first thing that you're (probably) going to see is a ton of dictionary definitions that say something along the lines of "of, relating to, or being a relationship marked by the absence of romance or sex" (Merriam-Webster), "designating or of a relationship, or love, between a man and a woman that is purely spiritual or intellectual and without sexual activity" (Your Dictionary) and, my personal favorite, "purely spiritual; free from sensual desire, especially in a relationship between two persons of different sexes" (Dictionary). Yeah, bookmark that last one; I'll be circling back.
Keeping this in mind (and please do), where does the word "platonic" actually come from? From what I've researched, the philosopher Plato once penned something entitled "Symposium." In it, he addressed the topic of two people sharing the kind of love that is free of any type of sensual desire, one that is based on divine love alone. An author from the 1800s broke it down this way: "Platonic love meant ideal sympathy; it now means the love of a sentimental young gentleman for a woman he cannot or will not marry." A write-up on Merriam-Webster's site stated that "The term platonic was initially used to mock non-sexual relationships, as it was considered ridiculous to separate love and sex, but eventually this connotation faded away leaving us with today's notion of close friendships." Yeah, we used to live in a culture where love and sex were not separated. Hmph, that's another article for another time, though (check out "We Should Really Rethink The Term' Casual Sex'").
Anyway, as with many things (especially in our culture), the word "platonic" is kind of used in "broad strokes" these days (bromances, female friendships, etc.). However, because there continues to be this forever discussion — and oftentimes debate — about whether or not men and women can be "just friends," I'm going to tackle this topic strictly from that angle — from the place where platonic actually originated.
Yes, Men and Women Can Be Just Friends. But…Giphy
At this stage in my life, I'm pretty sure that I have more male friends than female ones. There are layers of reasons why, yet I think a huge one is because I like the balance that masculinity brings to my femininity (especially as I'm learning to embrace different aspects of my femininity, intentionally even more). And while every single one of my male friends is respectful and is a super safe space in my world on every single level that I can imagine (and have been for years now), there are probably only a couple who I would say 100 percent qualify as being…trulyplatonic.
Why would I say that? Well, I'll illustrate this point with something that one of my male friends once said to me. He's super cute. He can sing his ass off (and definitely has one of my favorite speaking voices). People see us out together often, and some have told us that they assume that we've had something going on at some point. Anyway, after hearing someone share their theory about us, I told it to him.
Me: "I told him, 'He's my brother. We would never mess around.'"
My Friend: "Correction, you are like a sister. You are not my sister, though. Under the right conditions, you could still get it."
When I shared that exchange with another male friend of mine, he basically cosigned on the sentiment: "Shellie, I have never approached you like that because I really respect you. I want to be good for you for the rest of our lives." (That reminds me: check out "Question: Is The Man In Your Life Good 'TO' You? Good 'FOR' You? Or...Both?" when you get a chance.)
Then I went to one more guy homie and ran both statements by him: "Girl, yeah. If I didn't want to keep you in my life long-term, I would've tried to holla a long time ago!" And he and I have been friends for almost 20 years at this point. When did he get around to telling me this? Eh, maybe two years ago. LOL.
So, my takeaway from all of these "for real?!" exchanges is even though men and women can be just friends, there is a certain level of intention, self-control, and ability to see into the future (on some level) that must go into account — because, just because something more-than-friends-like may not have gone down, that doesn't mean there isn't a "dormant seed" lying around somewhere…whether it's one-sided or on both sides of the friendship dynamic.
As you can see, I just provided you with three instances where the male friends in my life; we've had nothing sexual or even physically intimate beyond a hug when we greet each other in nature — although things aren't exactly platonic if there is some sort of attraction or sexual/romantic curiosity that simply never got explored. Because again, according to Plato, a platonic relationship is free from all of that kind of…tension — or possibilities. Zero. Nada. Zilch.
And now you probably get why I entitled this article in the way that I did…right? I mean, just think about it — out of your male friendships, where is there NO sensual desire or dormant romantic interest…on your side and/or on his? If you're not sure about "his"…have you ever asked him? Or them? Because again, once I really let the definition of platonic sink in, I think maybe two guys in my life totally fit the bill.
This brings me to my next point.
Are You Platonic? Or Are You Friend-Zoning?Giphy
Now that you know that probably 70 percent of the people you know (both online and off) have been using the true meaning of platonic all the way wrong, let’s go about deeper: when it comes to your friendships with men, are they genuinely platonic or…is it more like you’re friend-zoning them?
A few years ago, I penned an article on the topic entitled, “Before You 'Friend Zone' Someone, Read This.” If you’re skimming this on your lunch break, I’ll summarize friend-zoning as knowing that a guy has so-much-more-than-platonic feelings for you, yet because you basically want to keep the benefits of the friendship or even his emotions around, you will string him along on some level.
Personally, I can’t stand friend-zoning. I think it’s selfish, with some sprinkles of manipulation and wasting someone’s time. Don’t agree? How would you feel if a guy was friend-zoning you? (Yeah…exactly.)
This all needs to go on record because, knowing that a guy wants to “take it there” with you (whether sexually or romantically), you not full-on addressing it and/or giving him just enough hope to take you out, listen to all of your stories about other men and give you the attention that you need knowing that he doesn’t have a shot in hell — that is NOT a platonic friendship and honestly, you’re not being a good friend at all. Friends protect each other’s hearts, not abuse them.
A platonic friendship means that you both have no interest in each other, and, as Plato put it, while you may have a strong and solid bond, it’s spiritual love that connects you. And what exactly does that mean? Spiritual love also deserves its own article, yet the gist would be that you recognize there is a purpose in your friendship, yet it’s about wanting what’s best for one another and even helping each other to get there.
For instance, a platonic friend of yours may know that you desire to be married one day, so he has no problem setting you up with a good guy in his life. And if things go well, he would have no problem standing up as your own best man (without feeling like he’s dying inside) because he never saw you beyond anything but a friend. A guy in the friend zone doesn’t move like this; he likes you too much to help you move on with someone else. See the difference?
Why Relationships Should Start Off As NON-PLATONIC FriendshipsGiphy
Before I end this with some tips on how to properly care for the few platonic friendships you may actually have, since the use of the word may require a bit of mental reprogramming, I do think we should also address that if you've got a good guy in your life, who right now is a friend and either you've never thought of him in that way or the topic has never come up — he's someone that you may not want to brush off.
What I mean by that is, it's one thing for there to be absolutely no interest in someone vs. never considering it before — and the reason why you might want to give it some thought is because, ask any healthy married couple who's been together for more than five years and I'll bet you my next rent check that they will say that the best relationships are birthed out of friendship (check out "Are You Sure You're Actually FRIENDS With Your Spouse?").
Yeah, just because you've filed someone in the "I see him as a good guy" category, that doesn't automatically mean that y'all's friendship is platonic. For instance, I have a male friend who is fine and I adore on many levels, yet the reason why it would never work on my end is because there are certain relational standards that I have that he does not meet. However, don't get it twisted — I've considered him because, on so many levels, we "fit." So, the mere fact that I ever seriously thought about him on that level means that we are "good friends," yet it's not exactly platonic.
I'm not free of potential sensual desire…I just choose not to act on it. Yet because I get the value of having friendship as the foundation for my own future marriage (should life play out that way), I am wise enough to know that I would've been a fool to not at least…ponder him and the possibilities.
So yeah, if there is a male friend in your life that the thought of dating or having sex with him doesn't make you want to throw up in your mouth, there's a pretty good chance that it's not a classic platonic dynamic — and you might want to consider if it could/should go to the next level — if not immediately, eventually. Because there's a pretty good chance that if you are thinking that way, he probably is as well.
Protect Your Genuine Platonic Friendship(s) At All CostsGiphy
Let me end this with how one of my platonic friendships rolls. We both think that the other is attractive, yet neither of us is attracted. We both give each other opposite-sex insights. We both have said that the mere thought of dating each other makes our noses turn up like there’s an odor in the air. And even when I try to imagine us together, my mind goes blank. I love, love, LOVE this man — oh, but it is absolutely nothing more than platonic — and he feels the same way. It’s as close to familial love without being blood relationships. It’s a rare dynamic, and that is what makes it so special. There is definitely a spiritual type of love there; no more, no less.
If you’ve got someone in your life who you feel the same way about (again, it’s got to be mutual; he must feel that way, too), you’ve got a gem of a situation going on because there is nothing like having the kind of friendship where you and a guy can hang out, exchange perspectives and thoroughly enjoy each other’s company, knowing that’s all it is and will ever be. Things will never get weird. No one’s feelings are gonna get hurt (from the whole friend-zoning thing). You don’t have to walk on eggshells. You can just be.
And that’s why I’m all for platonic friendships. And listen, if you’re blessed enough to have even one in your lifetime, be fiercely protective of it. Don’t take it for granted. Nurture it in a way that your male friend needs (because it probably won’t be the exact same as your female friendships). Y’all, platonic friendships are so bomb because, if it’s honored and protected correctly, it’s the one male friend that you can probably keep for life because even your romantic partner will not find it to be a (true) threat — hell, they honestly could probably end up becoming (some level of) friends with your platonic homie as well.
I hope that I broke this all down enough to where, when you decide to use a word to describe your opposite-sex friendships, perhaps you will pause and ask yourself, “Wait, is this a platonic friend or a good or close friend?” Because the clearer you are on the differences, the easier it will be to know how to maintain your friendship — and feel about your friend. Feel me? Cool.
Let’s make things inbox official! Sign up for the xoNecole newsletter for daily love, wellness, career, and exclusive content delivered straight to your inbox.
Featured image by Klaus Vedfelt/Getty Images