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From Black Voices — You knew all along this person wasn’t the one, but it happened anyway. Four months in and you find yourself in a full throttle relationship. This wasn’t the plan. You weren’t looking for anything serious, at least not with the person. It’s a familiar story.

Here’s the thing: Casual dating is tricky. Not everyone wants the same thing at the same time. For example, you may hear the pitter-patter of his or her heart as they lay next to you. They, on the other hand, hear the pitter-patter of your feet scurrying across the hardwood floor as you make your customary 3 a.m. exit. Still, they refuse to give up on you. It’s a classic game of cat and mouse.

And if it weren’t difficult enough already, there are other forces at play – friends, family, co-workers, the creepy eHarmony dude. Everyone wants you to find someone special and they’re often too eager to help. This is why avoiding unwanted relationships is to stay one step ahead of everyone conspiring against you. But don’t fret. Being outnumbered doesn’t mean you have to be out-maneuvered.

What’s key is being able to recognize the behavior that suggests your casual relationship is in jeopardy of becoming something more serious? Here are a few signs to look for.

The Writing on the Wall
Sometimes the writing is literally on the wall, as in the Facebook wall. Become “friends” too early, and you’ll likely regret it. It’s too much exposure too soon. Invariably, he or she will stalk you, tag you, status update the details of your evening, send you a drink, borrow sugar, give you Facebook herpes, something. Look, when Diddy spoke the words on ‘Big Poppa,’ “Tell your friends to get with my friends and we can be friends,” he didn’t have this Facebook sh*t in mind. He meant real interactions and real herpes. In fact, the founder of Facebook was only 10-years-old at the time. So before the two of you rush to become friends on Facebook, wait. Then wait a little longer. Then send me a Facebook message thanking me for my sage advice.

Assumed Date Nights
Things are not going your way when spending time on Friday and Saturday nights becomes the routine rather than the request. This is no longer casual. This relationship now has expectations. To do something different with your time, you find yourself proactively stating “oh, I didn’t’ tell you; I’ve made plans to retrieve my life from this black hole that you refer to as a relationship”. which is followed by the autoreflexive uncomfortable gulp.

The Abrupt Change in Pronoun Usage
When you first started casually dating, conversations were peppered with pronouns like you and I. And I don’t mean “you and I” as in one set of quotations. I’m talking about two sets of quotations, as in “you” and “I” are still getting to know each other. There was clear and present separation of the pronouns. But watch, give it enough time and they’ll try to slide in a “we” to see how “you” respond. What are “we” going to do this weekend? When are “we” going to take the next step? This is your cue to say “I” don’t think “yooouuuu” get it. “Weeee” aren’t doing sh*t. Now, excuse me while “me, myself and I” extricate “ourselves” from this emotional wreckage that I’m about to leave behind when I tell you that it’s over.

(Continue Reading @ Black Voices…)

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  • “set relationship parameters early and often” <–yes! stay clear with your intentions from the beginning and as they change

  • Funny and enlightening. I needed this like, 3 months ago. :-/ Now we’re already kinda serious and I never wanted any relationship. He’s a great guy, I just don’t want a commitment right now. I have set my parameters often though, but guys don’t listen!

    • Shay

      Yes! I completely agree! Through my experience I have had the issue of men still continuing to pursue me even though i have consistently stated Im not interested. its like Im not believed. I have had a couple of situations where it was rushed way to fast. That is the biggest red flag of all.

  • sleemama

    I couldn’t agree more! I am in this same situation right now, where I am the one ready for something serious and my partner is not. But, she was clear up front with her intent and I was ok with that, it just got to a point where I realized that I couldn’t do the casual thing and I was starting to have expectations of our relationship and it wasn’t fair to either of us. So, I stopped it in its tracks. Bottom line, you have to do whats best for you and if you know your partner cant give you what you want and deserve in a relationship, its time to cut the cord!