I thought of this when I saw a Tweet from Skinny Black Girl posing the question, “Do grown folks really need to “go together?” is it just me or are options still open until you’re engaged???”
One of the lies women AND men tell ourselves is that we have no claim on the person we’re spending time with because there’s no ring on anyone’s finger (peace Bey). I mean, essentially that is true. If you are not promised/betrothed/engaged/sold (jk) to someone, well then what can you say? They’re still single, at least that’s how Uncle Sam sees it. No one wants to come off as the clingy one. The person who is trying to make more out of the relationship than the other. Know why? Well if you are the clingy one, you can end up pushing him/her away or making them feel claustrophobic. Plus when you let him/her know that you feel some type of way about exclusivity, you’ve basically laid down your cards and shown your hand. Power has likely shifted at that point and you open yourself up to the possibility of getting hurt. Vulnerability is difficult for the majority of us. So we just minimize it all. “If you really want to see other people, I mean, that’s cool. Not like we’re married or anything.” Yeah, okay.
You’re straight up lying to yourself. Of course it’s different when things between the two of you are young, fresh and new (Hi Phonte!). That’s another story. But when things have been going on for a while and you’re spending time and energy, you are most assuredly entitled to feel like exclusivity is warranted. At the very least, you have to admit to yourself and him/her that you would feel some kind of way about them seeing other people. I mean, you can’t tell me that it’s nothing to you if your boo of like two years just up and decides to start dating someone while seeing you. Yall aren’t married. Not even engaged. So you don’t have any call to say whether they should be seeing other people? GTFOOH!
You’re really just doing a disservice to yourself in the end. So in answer to SBG’s inquiry, yes… grown ups still need to “go together” (although I wouldn’t call it that). You ain’t gotta put a ring on it but at some point, there are expectations and both parties need to be held accountable.
5 responses to “You ain’t gotta put a ring on it, but…”
Oh. I love spirited debate! Lol.
Now this is just for me personally. It’s not about trying to seem tough or cute. I’m not big on gestures or false senses of security. To me, boyfriend-girlfriend means, “I like you right now. Let’s see what happens.” That’s a half-assed commitment. No security there whatsoever. If the other party decides that they want someone else, they’re going to be with someone else. Whether they “break up” with you to do so or whether they do it while they’re still “with you.”
You can’t prevent yourself from being hurt when a relationship ends. But I’d rather not look at it as “Oh, he cheated on me” than as “Oh, he moved on.” Because moving on is a natural part of life. Lying or pretending to make a person feel secure? Not so much.
BTW, I did a post on this a few weeks ago.
I wouldn’t use “go together” but like you said below…
“You ain’t gotta put a ring on it but at some point, there are expectations and both parties need to be held accountable.”
I have a friend who always said there are people who treat a bf/gf relationship like marriage and some who treat marriage like a bf/gf relationship…
As adults, people gotta be straight up with one another and stop going around the mulberry bush… discuss what the goal is at the end… either you trying to be together or you’re not…
i totally agree with your take on this subject matter. i mean, if we’re not exclusive, then why the hell should i even bother… “Well if you are the clingy one, you can end up pushing him/her away or making them feel claustrophobic. Plus when you let him/her know that you feel some type of way about exclusivity, you’ve basically laid down your cards and shown your hand.” this is the hard part, knowing when to actually reveal those feelings and not having a curve ball come straight back to you.
SBG, I have to disagree with your “half-assed commitment” comment. A half-assed commitment comes from a person who is half-assed committed, not from a lack of a ring. A person who is half-assed committed can give you a ring, give you a wedding & give you kids and STILL not give you a real commitment. Do you KNOW how many married men try to holla at me on a regular basis? Men who have been married for years and years, men who haven’t been married for very long… with and without children…
You say without a ring, there’s no security… but where is the security you get from the ring? There isn’t any. You get security by being with a responsible adult that cares about you and has your best interests at heart. Any asshole can get married, but a real man doesn’t have to marry a woman not to be a dog. Being a good person doesn’t happen because of a ring. A good boyfriend is better than a raggedy husband any day. Even if it’s not about cheating, there’s no law that says saying vows makes a person act right. If there was, there wouldn’t be so many divorced people (remember, that’s more than 50%…. does that really sound especially “secure” to you? It just sounds like an expensive breakup to me.)
That’s not to say marriage inherently makes a man bad…. it’s just to say it doesn’t inherently make him good either. He is who is he, ring or no ring.