Even though I'm personally someone who isn't interested in dating unless the mutual intention is that it will lead to courtship (that's a word that means a whole lot more than hanging out with a gentleman; being with a chivalrous man should be happening regardless), I totally get that not everyone has that same desire. Case in point—one of my favorite people on the entire planet has told me, pretty much since her adolescence (she's 39 now), that marriage is something she's absolutely not interested in or a fan of. Still, she consistently has a dating life that rivals mine and at least 80 percent of the people that I know.
For years now, she has told me about her dating dynamics and how they very rarely lead to an exclusive relationship. Interestingly enough, at the same time, she continues to see 1-3 of the same people, for months—if not years—at a time. When I ask what we should call those types of dating situations, it's crickets on her end. Clearly, she's not going the traditional route. But still, if you're setting aside time, 2-5 times a month, to hang out (and possibly more) with someone else, for months on end, that's not nothing. It is indeed…something.
Until my girl hits me up with a cute phrase to help define it, I've decided to call that type of relationship "seriously casually dating". "Serious" because spending time that you can't get back with someone on a regular basis does hold some type of merit; "casual" because, beyond being in the moment and having a good time while you're in it, there's not much of a long-term goal behind it all.
If you just read those last couple of paragraphs and that sounds exactly like what you want to do, before you make "serious casual dating" an official thing between you and someone else (or several different people), make sure that you know what you are potentially, both emotionally as well as physically, getting yourself into.
Do You Both Want to Take Things Up a Notch?
Perspective is everything. This is definitely the case when it comes to dating. I've shared before that I once had a birthday dinner with a guy. During the dinner, he proceeded to tell me that he was "dating me", along with a whole lot of other women. Yes, he was narcissistic (LOL not LOL), but that's not why I'm bringing this up. I'm saying it to say that this is a great example of the fact that while one person may think a date is just good company over pasta and wine, another could be thinking it's three dates away from forever (or whatever ole' boy was arrogantly talking about).
That said, if you and a guy have been on more than three dates, there is something there. But your "something" may not be "his". So, if you want to go from just hanging out to hanging-out-with-the-intention-of-it-maybe-becoming-more-someday, that's a conversation that needs to be had; not just in your mind or with your girlfriends, but with him too.
The good news is if he's even entertaining the discussion of, "How do you feel about being a little more than hang out buddies?", he's interested beyond just being around you to have something to do. If he shuts it all down, well, he's not only not open to seriously casually dating, you may have some ghosting ahead in your future as well. Just sayin'.
Are You Cool with You Both Still Seeing Other People?
Here's the thing about dating. Just because you are doing it with someone, that doesn't automatically mean that exclusivity is—or even should—be on the table. I often say that a lot of folks have a tendency to think that chivalry and courting are synonymous although they absolutely are not. I don't care what kind of dating status you are currently filed under, you deserve for a man to treat you with respect and care; however, if a man is courting you, by definition, he is intending to marry you (not because you assumed it; he actually told you so). On the other hand, if he's just dating you, that could mean that he likes your company, along with the company of five other women. Or, that he's trying to see if you are someone he wants to be with, long-term.
Category B is a lot more serious than Category A. So yeah, if the two of you are considering entering into serious casual dating territory, something else you both should get clarity on is if you're both OK with the other seeing other people. Honestly, if it's only on the seriously casually dating tip, this shouldn't be that big of a deal.
Is Sex on the Table?
If the two of you like spending time with one another to the point where you're going on at least a couple of dates a month, an emotional connection is going to be established; that's just how life is. And, by the second month or so (at the very latest), you're going to become more physically drawn to one another as well. This means that another thing you need to think long and hard about is if you want to get sexually involved or not.
Out of all the things that we've touched on thus far, this is super important because, if the two of you aren't going to be exclusive but you are open to having sex (oral or otherwise), you could be putting yourself at risk to contract, whatever his other partners may have (whether they know it or not; remember, most people with an STD have absolutely no clue that they do!).
This is why, even if you are down for seriously casually dating, you might want to rethink how "casual" sex ever really is (spoiler alert: it ain't).
Do You Have Realistic Expectations?
I don't know about you, but it's been my personal experience that—both on a romantic and platonic level—men are pretty literal. As it relates to what we're unpacking here, this means if both of you agree that you're both going to see each other and other people, they are not gonna try and see if you have some sort of other agenda in mind. Agenda like what? Something like, "I'll tell him that I'm fine with him dating other folks, but I know that if we spend enough time together, eventually he's gonna leave the others alone and want to be exclusive with me." Could that happen? Lots of things could happen, but don't bet on it going this way just because you want it to.
This point reminds me of a situationship that I once had with a guy many moons ago. Because my self-esteem was not where it should have been at the time when we met, I put a wall up and said that I was cool with being friends with benefits, nothing more. After months of sex, phone calls and even a pregnancy, I figured that since we had been through so much together, surely, we had a future. What he said in response to my mindset has always stayed with me. "Shellie, you never gave me a chance to see you as more. When you said you wanted to stay friends, I took that to mean just that. So, I've always only seen you that way." Ouch. He was right to process us that way, though.
It reminds me of a man by the name of Mark Gungor who once taught the difference between men's minds and women's minds. He said that men think in boxes (everything is compartmentalized) while women think with string (everything is connected). If you do decide to enter into a seriously casually dating situation, watch that video and then decide if you can realistically handle doing that.
Because many a man can like you, sex you and that be it while you're somewhere thinking that everything is tied in together to mean something more. Maybe. MAYBE NOT.
How Much Should (and Shouldn’t) Be Discussed?
This is a super valid point too. Just because you both have decided to be open about seeing each other and other people, that doesn't give either one of you the "right" to know about the other individuals. You know what else? If neither of you want to discuss the other relationships, that also doesn't make either of you sneaky, shady or someone who lacks integrity or respect for what the two of you share.
You probably know all of this from an intellectual standpoint, but once emotions and possibly sex come into play, it can still do a real number on how you process things. So yeah, if you do decide to seriously casually date, it's a good idea to set a few ground rules about what is cool to talk about and, what both of you would prefer to keep off limits. At least for now.
Besides, if the two of you are keeping it relatively casual, why should either one of you be digging into the other aspects of your dating life anyway? (Hmm…)
Is There an “End Game” in Mind?
I remember once watching a television show and one of the characters on it saying, "With time, everything exhausts itself." If you don't tend to and nurture it—whatever "it" may be—I totally agree. Whenever I ask my 39-year-old friend about how her seriously casually dating situations end up, typically, they don't end well. Someone catches stronger feelings or has a different set of expectations. Or, one or both come to the conclusion that what they were doing was a total waste of time.
This doesn't have to be the case for you, but it is a good idea to always keep in the forefront of your mind that casual means "without emotional intimacy or commitment". If you want to spend months of your life without a commitment, have a ball. But if even a little part of you wants something different, be real with yourself about that.
Seriously casually dating only works if both people honestly want it to. Otherwise, it brings unwanted drama into one's life. And really—who wants that?
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- 5 Subtle Signs He's Dating Other Women - xoNecole: Women's Interest, Love, Wellness, Beauty ›
- If You're Considering Long Distance Relationship - xoNecole: Women's Interest, Love, Wellness, Beauty ›
- 9 Rules Of Casual Dating - xoNecole: Women's Interest, Love, Wellness, Beauty ›
- Things To Take Seriously In Dating - xoNecole: Women's Interest, Love, Wellness, Beauty ›
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 email@example.com. A sistah will certainly do what she can. ;)
In xoNecole's series Dope Abodes, we tour the living spaces of millennial women, where they dwell, how they live, and the things they choose to adorn and share their spaces with.
Annisa LiMara has called this space her home for two years. Her Atlanta sanctuary, which she aimed to give the look and feel of something you'd see in the glossy pages of Architectural Digest, embodies her vision of "stunning, yet functional and cozy."
"My home is a reflection of my brand, The Creative Peach Studios, and I am the 'Creative Peach,'" Annisa explains. "It was so easy to reflect who I am and my personal story in my space. When you walk into my home, you know that it is Annisa’s home. I’m so proud of that. So grateful."
On the journey to becoming a homeowner, Annisa looks back on her experience as a "rough one," detailing that she officially started house hunting in March 2020. It had become so expensive to rent, and the 30-something lifestyle influencer decided she would rather invest the money she spent renting into owning a home. However, nine days into house hunting, her search was put on hold for a year. The following year, in 2021, the process of finding the right home and going under contract took a total of four months.
"The resell route didn’t work out, so my realtor suggested a new construction home, which turned out to be the better option," she tells xoNecole of her experience. "Although it requires more patience, it turned out to be a much easier process and a lot easier to maintain since it’s brand new."
As it turns out, the open floor plan three-bedroom two-and-half-bath would prove to be a blank canvas for Annisa to flex her creativity and design skills.
As a new construction, she watched the townhome get built from the ground up, and due to the "cookie-cutter" nature of new builds, Annisa knew immediately that she would change everything about it. The best part about it? All of her updates were cosmetic, so transformation could occur without having to do major renovations to achieve the look and feel she desired.
"The first things I updated were all the lighting, adding built-ins around my fireplace, and installing wallpaper in my bedroom, office, and dining room! I also had board and batten installed in the upstairs loft to make a statement and the kitchen island," Annisa details.
"Lastly, we painted the loft a soft blush pink, the kitchen island is a gorgeous terracotta, and added contrast with black on the doors, fireplace, and stairwell banisters."
In total, she spent $15K in renovations (plus the cost of furniture and decor). And although she says the second level of her home is a "work-in-progress," two years in, she considers the transformation nearly done.
Annisa defines her decor style as "organic modern meets midcentury modern with a touch of boho," and with thoughtfully placed touches like plants, warm tones, and organic textures, her perspective can be felt throughout. "I found my point of view as a designer in my work and as I worked on my home, so it all came together organically based on what I was naturally drawn to."
"The organic modern meets midcentury modern with a touch of boho' is definitely my signature style. You’ll always see greenery, warm tones, brass, and rattan or wicker in just about every room. My color story is based on my brand [The Creative Peach Studios] colors: blush pink, ivory, olive and sage green, terracotta, and nudes," she adds.
It was her brand colors that would be the jumping-off point for her approach to decorating and styling her space. That, and a picture she had of what would become her sofa from Albany Park. She recalled her decor decisions, "It was their olive Park Sectional Sofa, and I knew instantly I wanted it, and it aligned with my brand colors naturally, so it was a no-brainer."
By drawing inspiration from Pinterest, favorite design brands like CB2, Arhaus, and Souk Bohemian, and through her work, Annisa allowed herself to be guided by her signature style as well as her instincts when making decor and color choices for her own home. "Sometimes there is no rhyme or reason; it just feels right."
Some of the aspects of her home that she regards as her favorites include her bedroom and its little nook where her bed is positioned, the open upstairs loft, and the open concept because "it really allows you to see all of the details I put into the design all at once." Another of her favorite finds is a purchase she copped from the thrift store years ago.
"I have this little brown and gold chair that I picked up for $6 at a thrift store in Jersey six years ago. I couldn’t afford much in my little studio, but the chair was beautiful and unlike anything I had ever seen."
In addition to accent walls featuring blush pink and terracotta tones throughout the space, her gallery wall is another element that immediately draws the eye of any guest who enters. Annisa recalled a fond memory of a fine art piece she purchased from a Black woman artist when she first moved to Atlanta that she now prominently features in her living room. "It was a Black villager from her travels in Africa, and I fell in love with it because it felt like an ancestor I never met. I later found out that she was the sister of one of my very first design clients two years later," she shares. "Talk about a full-circle moment!"
Cultivating a space takes time and patience, and that is a sentiment Annisa echoes when advising people who are looking to infuse more of themselves into their own dope abodes through design. "It is not a race, and you’ll spend more money if you rush into designing without really being intentional about the vision for your space," Annisa concludes. "You just need creativity and patience to do it! And most of all, make sure you feel like it’s an oasis for you!"
For more of Annisa, follow her on Instagram @annisalimara.
Tour Interior Designer Annisa LiMara's Modern Meets Midcentury ATL Home | Dope Abodes
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If you followed Beyoncé’s career, then you know how hair has played an important role in her journey. Her mom, Ms. Tina Knowles, owned a hair salon when the multi-Grammy award-winning artist was growing up, and she has shared on several occasions how it impacted her life. We’ve also witnessed her many hair transformations throughout her career, from braids to her signature long, straight honey blonde tresses. However, it was her pixie cut in 2013 that had everyone talking.
Beyoncé and Tina launched Cécred (pronounced sacred), a hair care line that includes a clarifying shampoo and scalp scrub, a hydrating shampoo, a nourishing hair oil, and much more. The mother-daughter duo opened up about their latest business venture together to Essence in its March/April issue, and the “Alien Superstar” revisited her haircut and how it reflected a life change.
“It did. That’s right. I love how we associate a certain hairstyle with moments in our lives, like that short-hair moment. I remember the day I decided to just cut all my hair off. I didn’t have a particular style in mind,” she explained.
“It wasn’t an aesthetic choice, but it was a very big emotional transformation and metamorphosis that I was going through. So much of my identity as a performer has been connected to flowing hair. Cutting my hair off was me rebelling against being this woman that society thinks I’m supposed to be.”
Beyonc\u00e9 to ESSENCE Magazine on her 2013 pixie cut:\n\n"I remember the day I decided to just cut all my hair off. I didn\u2019t have a particular style in mind. It wasn\u2019t an aesthetic choice, but it was a very big emotional transformation and metamorphosis that I was going through."\ud83d\ude2d\ud83e\udd79— (@)
She continued, “I was a new mother, and something about the liberation of becoming a mother made me want to just shed all of that. It was a physical representation of me shedding the expectations put upon me. I just wanted it off.
Neal Farinah, my hairstylist and friend, was freaking out because it was really long, really thick and really healthy. I just got the scissors and chopped it off. It was very intentional. And it was what I needed to do. And after that, I became super brave. It was the first step to many more audacious decisions I made in my life and my career that have led to who I am now.”
Throughout the interview, Beyoncé shared how her new hair line is her “legacy” and how she wants to use her line to highlight the versatility of textured hair.
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