"The ugly truth is this—when a man says that he doesn't want a relationship, the subtext in that is 'I don't want to be in a relationship with you.'"—Unknown
OK. Deep breath, y'all. Raise your hand if you've been in at least one relationship with a man who you were fully committed to, only to discover that he wasn't fully committed to you. When you stop and replay the entire dynamic in your mind, how did you miss the signs that you were "more in" than he was?
If you think that I'm asking you that to put you on blast, don't. I am the poster child for committing myself to non-committal people. If I were to go really deep into why, I think that growing up in a two-time divorced home played a role in it. Come to think of it, I know it did because whenever my late fiancé and I would argue and I would threaten to break-up, he'd be like, "Why is that always your solution to everything?!" (His parents are still married to this day.) It's because never really saw commitment modeled. What I did see are people who desperately wanted to be loved without really knowing how to get it from their partner. So, that's what the foundation of my hamster-wheel-pattern was all about.
However, after watching a video about a woman who dated a man for 10 years, then, after five months, he up and married someone else, for the sake of sparing others from having our kind of testimony, I thought it'd be a good idea to share some in-hindsight-signs. Ones that clearly depict that, no matter how much you love someone, how long you've been with someone or how hard it might be to face reality about certain things, there is a 90 percent chance that ole' boy isn't going to making a long-term commitment or marry you. Ever. Again, brace yourselves now.
Here's How To Know He Won't Commit To You
I don't know about you, but the men I know, when they want to do something, they find a way with no hesitation. That's why, when a man seems to be so confused, befuddled or whatever other word along those lines about whether they want to be in a relationship or not, I don't really buy it. The combination of experience and observation has taught me that if a guy doesn't know what he wants to do about a particular woman, that usually either means it's a new situation and he needs more time or he's vacillating because he's able to get enough of what he wants without having to invest more on his end—and he's just fine with that. If it's a latter, 8.5 times out of 10, all you're gonna end up doing is wasting your time. Why? Because, as hard as it might be to hear it, indecision is usually its own decision. And the decision is no.
He Keeps a Billion Excuses on Tap
Something I've learned the hard way is a man who is ready for a commitment isn't only open to talking about it; oftentimes, he'll even bring taking things to another level all on his own. He'll ask things like "Where do you see this going?" or "Where would you like us to be a year from now?" (yes ladies, those kinds of men very much so exist). Meanwhile, guys who aren't ready for something serious and long-lasting will act like you're speaking a language they don't understand whenever you bring commitment up. They'll talk about all of the things they want to do first, how much more time they need or why they're not ready to have that kind of conversation, let alone take the kind of steps required to be in a monogamous relationship.
Popular entrepreneur Jim Rohn was really onto something when he said, "If you really want to do something, you'll find a way. If you don't, you'll find an excuse." Why we as women think this doesn't apply to commitment-phobic men is beyond me. Because it does. Absolutely so.
You See No Signs of Him Getting into “Husband Mode”
Someone who's a nice guy or even a great date does not automatically indicate that he is husband material or even that he wants to be married (whether it's to you or at all). I know a guy who is amazing, on so many levels. But he has made it abundantly clear that the choices he makes—staying in a small place when he can afford a larger one, buying a motorcycle instead of a larger car, spending money on travel and going out to eat every day rather than saving up—are all about enjoying his single life, with no intention of preparing for a wife or children.
Meanwhile, a man who's in husband mode, he's gonna make plans to at least start the transition from being a bachelor to becoming a fiancé and then a husband. If he wants to wait, it's gonna be because he's saving up money to get a home or an engagement ring. Not only that but he's gonna mention wanting to talk to your family and/or going to premarital counseling. Plus, his world will be adjusted to make more room for you to fit comfortably into it because these are the kinds of things that a husband-to-be does.
He Makes You Feel Guilty for Even Bringing the Topic Up
Guilt trips are the worst; especially when they come from someone who you are emotionally connected to and you feel like you can discuss any and everything with. If your man is open to talking about your family, your friends, your job or your life overall, but the moment commitment or sharing a future comes up, suddenly he's got you feeling like you're pressuring him or being semi-ridiculous for even mentioning those things, that's another flag that you shouldn't ignore.
No woman should feel bad about or embarrassed for wanting to know what a man's intentions for her are. Any guy who makes—or at least tries to make—his lady feel that way is showing indications that he's not interested in making a long-term commitment. And he wants you to feel guilty for trying to change his mind.
Meanwhile, If You Never Brought Up Marriage, It Would Never Come Up
People tend to talk about things that they actually are interested in doing. Think about it. When your man wants to check out a new live venue, doesn't he say it? How about a restaurant on the other side of town or even a city that he wants to visit on y'all's next vacation? OK, now think about the state of your relationship with him. If you never asked, would he ever mention it? Hmm…
I have a male friend who's been married for a couple of decades now. He was really young when he got married, but he said that when he saw his now-wife for the first time, even though he didn't think he was ready for marriage, what he was also sure of was that he couldn't let her get away. So, he didn't. And he made sure that he let her know, very early on, that he had every intention in the world to make her his wife.
I'm not saying that if you've been seeing a guy for several months now and the words "exclusive" or "marriage" hasn't come up that they never will. What I am advising is you not mention them for a couple of months and see what happens. If the answer is absolutely nothing, well…yeah. You feel me?
He’s Fully Content with Things Remaining Just as They Are
Living in the moment. If a lot of us women were really real with ourselves, we'd admit that we could do better in this area. Sometimes, we're so caught up in—if not full-on obsessed over—what's coming next that we don't enjoy what's happening now. But it's one thing for your man to be relishing in the moments of just being with you (as he should). It's another for months or even years to go by and he doesn't seem to show any desire to do anything more than what the two of you currently are doing.
How does this happen? Sometimes it's our fault because we pretty much act like the wife without actually being one (check out "Why You're Always the One Who Prepares a Man for His Wife"). Then sometimes we make the grave error of mistaking patience for stagnation (check out "The Important Reason You Shouldn't Wait to Be Chosen"). Sometimes, we're waiting for him to bring up what's next even though he's not in the relationship by himself, so it's perfectly fine—encouraged even—to speak up.
I don't know about you, but there's not one man in my life who has a problem with speaking their mind when it comes to getting what they want. So, why we want to make excuses or exceptions for them when it comes to us, that's unfortunate.
You deserve to have what you want. If you want more and he's fine with the way things are and—get this—he doesn't speak on not being fine for the foreseeable future, rather than looking for signs of whether he's going to commit to you or not, maybe you should look for ways to detach from him.
Then maybe, just maybe, you'll be the kind of woman who dated a guy for a while, ended it and then met and married the love of your life shortly after. How did it flip? Because, unlike the guy that you're currently with, "future dude" actually wanted and was ready for a commitment and dated you with that life plan in mind. Funny how that works (wink).
Featured image by Getty Images.
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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.
There’s nothing quite as humbling as navigating adulthood with no instruction manual. Since the turn of the decade, it seems like everything in our society that could go wrong has, inevitably, gone wrong. From the global pandemic, our crippling student debt problem, the loneliness crisis, layoffs, global warming, recession, and not to mention figuring out what to eat for dinner every night. This constant state of uncertainty has many of us wondering, when are the grown-ups coming to fix all of this?
But the catch is, we are the new grown-ups.
As if it happened without our permission, we became the new adults. We are the members of society who are paying taxes, having children, getting married, and keeping our communities afloat, one iced latte at a time. Still, there’s something about doing all these grown-up duties that feel unnaturally grown-up. Enter the #teenagegirlinher20s.
If there’s one hashtag to give you the state of the next cohort of adults, it’s this one. Of the videos that have garnered over 3.9M views, you’ll find a collection of users who are overwhelmed by life’s pressing existential responsibilities, clung to nostalgia, and reminiscent of the days when their mom and dad took care of their insurance plans.
no like i cant explain to her why i had to buy multiple tank air dupes from aritzia #teenagegirlinher20s #fyp
The concept of being a 20-something or 30-something teenager is linked to the sentiment of not feeling “grown up enough” to do grown-up things while feeling underprepared and even nihilistic about whether that preparation even matters.
It’s our generation’s version of when we ask our grandmothers how old they are and they simply reply with, “I still feel 45,” all while being every bit of 76 years old. In this, we share a warped concept of time while clinging to a desire for infantilization.
Granted, the pandemic did a number on our concept of time. Many of us who started the pandemic in our early or mid-20s missed out on three fundamental years of socialization, career development, and personal milestones that traditionally help to mark our growth.
Our time to figure out and plan our next steps through fumbling yet active participation was put on pause indefinitely and then resumed provisionally. This in turn has left many of us hanging in the balance of uncertainty as we try to make sense of the disconnect between our minds and bodies in this missing gap of time.
Because we’re all still figuring out what the ramifications of being locked away and frozen in time by a global pandemic will have on us as a society, there really is no “right” way of making up for lost time. Feeling unprepared for any new chapter of life is a natural rite of passage, pandemic or not. However, it’s important to not stay stuck in the last age or period of life that made sense to us because self-growth is the truest evidence of personal progress.
So whether you’re leaning on your inner child, teenager, or 20-something for guidance as you fill the gap between your real age and pandemic age, know that it’s okay to grieve the person you thought you would be and the milestones you thought you’d hit before you ever knew what a pandemic was. If there’s anything that the pandemic taught us, it’s that we have the power to reimagine a better world and life for ourselves. And if we tap into our inner teenager as a compass, we can piece together our next chapter with a fresh outlook.
Sure, we’ve lost a couple of years, but there are still some really amazing ones ahead.
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Featured image by Stephen Zeigler/Getty Images