So…What Are We?

By Slim Jackson

“Umm, we need to talk.”

I’d say most men hate hearing this. It’s the moment of truth comment when we been kickin it with a chick without discussing the status of our relationship. She’s had enough of the late night talks and lovin sessions with no clear relationship title in sight. A lot of us can be involved with a woman, be affectionate, and really not consider it a monogamous relationship. Some of us can be in the “talking” phase for months…or years if women let us. But at what point does talking become a committed relationship? In my opinion, it isn’t a relationship until both of us agree that we either wanna have our cake, or eat it (As usual, get your mind out of the gutter.).

Men have a stealthy way of avoiding this conversation. Sometimes we can sense it approaching. Shorty will start using affectionate names, or introduce us to people high on the significance hierarchy. They may ask us to attend events or engage in activities that are typical of people in a relationship. She may even say “baby, just put it in” with no latex on that thang after using the proper protective measures on a regular basis. Women use a lot of trickery at times to lure a dude into a relationship or see exactly where his head is (ta he he). Some of us recognize it and dodge the faithful bullet, others fall victim and wonder how they ended up with that ankle bracelet wrapped ever so tightly on one leg, while the ball and chain drag along on the other.

It’s a blurry line. For those women that assume optimistically that dude wants to be there for the long hall, it seems obvious. For dudes that dodge the talk, it seems obvious…that “we just talkin and kickin it”. Some women accept the situation for what it is, and if it doesn’t pop off after a certain amount of time they move on. I guess in terms of when talking becomes a relationship, there really are three ways to take it. What do yall think?

Avoiding Relationship Talk Since 1983,

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22 responses to “So…What Are We?

  1. Why are you avoiding the talk dear?

    I mean it isn’t so dreaded. Being in a relationship with me has it’s perks especially if you’re the kinda man being celebrated today. I will always have your back and do what you need. I am just that kinda girl…beyond that the talk is not that bad. I am not trying to ball and chain you because honestly I wouldn’t want you to ball and chain me.

    It’s simply about companionship. Honestly, I’ve had a just put it in moment that sealed the deal. I’ve had my convo moment that sealed it AND I’ve had the plain ol’ natural progression.

    But don’t get me wrong sometimes it’s just about that late night phone call or that I’m on my way get ready that does it..boyfriend or not.

  2. Vanessa aka Miss V

    Thank you for writing this post… I was waiting for this topic!

    OK… I get the whole not wanting to be committed thing (read: having the “main” chick/dude, and the side-pieces, too)…. makes sense to me as long as there is that mutual understanding (and some guidelines) btwn the two parties. However, I don’t understand when the dude/chick does the following: talks to the other on a regular, consistent basis; introduced the other to all his/her best friends and family; spends as much time as possible with the other; and is not messing with anyone else (for whatever reason), and these two people are NOT in a relationship (assuming the other is doing the same)… they are just talking. what??? I feel like if you are doing everything that is characteristic of a relationship, why not call it what it is?

  3. @Vanessa-EXACTLY. It’s like I wanna slap the guy and say you know what THIS is a relationship now deal with it baby.

  4. @ the ladies: I know it sounds stupid, but in my experience, things get messy once the boyfriend/girlfriend title is added. I’ve gotten in way more arguments and fights after the label is added. Admittedly, makeup sex is wonderful…but after a dozen times it gets a bit tired.

    I like “understandings”, the freedom to do u but know that homegirl got your back and is there when you come back. No chains, just let a homie wander back to your yard!

  5. Wander back to the yard…he’ll probably have to keep his nose in the grass to keep her happy.lol

  6. If it walks like a duck, quacks likes a duck…well, you get where I’m going with this. It’s only okay that you not call it what it is for so long. Communication is key. These “let’s talk” convos can be avoided if intentions are laid out from jump. That way there are no expectations, and you don’t have to worry about hearing those cringe-inducing two words.

    You know what, though? I wonder: Why should we have to bring up the subject in the first place? After a certain point, you know we start wondering…

  7. This is so true…guys always do this!

    I did always find it kind of tacky when women, or men for that matter, assume they are in a relationship without having that “talk” that resulted in a mutual agreement to now call one another “boyfriend/girlfriend” or whatever else you wanna call it.

    Although I do agree w/ the above comments that if it looks like a duck, quacks like a duck, it is a duck…but I would say personally I wouldn’t feel comfortable calling a guy a boyfriend until I knew he wanted me to.

    On a larger issue…why do men avoid relationships so hard now? Is it just me or does this seem like a trend in the last 5-10 years? Seems like guys do what they can to avoid commitment. OR they do what they can to have a couple sideline girls…I don’t know. I don’t judge it but it just seems relationships are few and far between.

  8. I’ll have the talk when I feel like I’d be caught out there if I dropped by ole’ girls crib and found her boo’ed up with Ray Ray or Tito. If I don’t care about her being with someone else, then there’s no reason for us to put labels on things.

    I don’t think women realize how difficult being in a relationship is for dudes. First of all, your stock goes up, so unless you’re gonna be the typical grimey dude, you’ve gotta expend alot of energy deflecting advances. That goes against the laws of physics if you ask me. Then, you’ve also got all these rules and responsibilities that you’re supposed to adhere to as a boyfriend. Not only that, but women are supposed to be equal now, so there’s pretty much no responsibility a guy can rely on or expect once a girl gets the title. It’s no wonder that dudes don’t want commitment lately…there’s not a whole lot to gain from it nowadays.

  9. I’m a fan of “the talk” I have learned the hard way that not having the talk can lead to all types of confusion and heartache.

    I don’t get why men are so deathly afraid of it. It doesn’t have to be painful. Usually the talk is needed just to clarify where we’re at. It doesn’t mean I want to marry you and birth your big headed children, it just means I want to make sure we’re on the same page, or at the least, update you on where my head is at.

    Years ago a good (male) friend of mine shared a GREAT parable with me that I often use as a segue to “the talk”…

    We call it… THE MACY’S STORY:

    There’s a couple, a man and a woman, walking down the street. They come to an intersection and wait at the corner to cross…

    The man is just chillin, taking in the scenery. His focus is on crossing the street to the next block. He’s taking his stroll block to block.

    The woman on the other hand is looking 5 blocks ahead and sees Macy’s down the street and is thinking it might be fun to go there.

    So they continue on down the street. Now dude doesn’t know homegirl is thinking about going to Macy’s, as far as he knows they’re just going for a stroll, not a shopping trip.

    Now if she were to tell him she was thinking about going to Macy’s he might be able to provide some useful information. He might know for instance that Macy’s is closed. On the other hand he might want to go to and they pick up the pace and head straight Macy’s. Hell, he might know that Macy’s is having a sale.

    But she doesn’t say anything and gets all worked up for blocks and blocks, anticipating going to Macy’s, and might be setting herself up to be disappointed and mad if she finds out it’s closed or dude is not in a shopping mood.

    If she had have said something sooner she could have saved herself a walk and a headache.

    ***

    This is where you then turn to your boo and say “so… are we just walking, or are we headed to Macy’s?”

  10. Wow…I love that parable you gave….I got to write that down somewhere…

  11. Ife1Love’s parable pretty much sums it up. Make it clear where it’s going up front. That whole “let’s just see where it goes” sh*t is usually going to leave the woman salty and the dude looking confused.

    If a dude brings up the talk, he either really wants ish to slow down, or he thinks your stock is super duper high and wants to fill you full of seed. There usually isn’t much middle ground. We’ll bring it up sometimes if we realize we’re dangerously close to commitment. Honestly, you should probably be nervous if we bring it up though.lol.

  12. Ahhh, the dreaded talk.

    Firstly, I dont think you should tell your SO that “we need to talk”. Now i know something is up. I think you should just suprise a mo’fo. Casually bring it up over dinner or something, cause when I hear it the first thing that comes to mine is “O Lord, I done went and got this girl pregnant”.

    Secondly, I think you should just wake up and realize you’re in a relationship. It shouldn’t be no “starting from this moment we’re a couple”. That’s just stupid to me.

    Thirdly, it was hard for me to get in a relationship b/c I had a whole bunch of girls that I was talking to and I had no idea how to cut em off and not look like an SSAhole.

    That is all.

  13. “Thirdly, it was hard for me to get in a relationship b/c I had a whole bunch of girls that I was talking to and I had no idea how to cut em off and not look like an SSAhole.”

    Easy. Just let them know you found the greatest woman in the world, and then let them think you’re great while being angry at her.lol.

  14. People — I have to say — read this book “Why Men Marry Bitches” … it’s like a NYTimes bestseller and has the answers to this stuff. I bought it and have read it at least 5x! Men zone out with the ‘let’s talk’ stuff. You have to approach it in a ‘logical and rational way’ and most importantly women do it way too soon. We shouldn’t give men that much power … when you ask where you stand you act as if you don’t hold any cards and that he is in charge of your relationship fate! It shifts the power in the relationship and is guaranteed to go downhill afterwards — we have all experienced it and know that to be true. Do yourself a favor — spend 15 bucks and save yourself a ton of heartache! I love it! Best wishes!

  15. RightCoastLexSteele

    Ok. A couple things…

    “…Fill you full of seed…”

    This is going on my new hot ish to say list for 2008. Gangsta.

    Ife, if son knows that there is a sale at Macy’s, he’s gay. Not sure how that fits in the parable, but facts are facts.

    Now let’s backtrack for a second and get to the heart of the matter. The problem why we need to talk in the first place is because initially ms. thang didnt know what she wanted or what she’s getting into with this particular guy. Yea, everybody wants to go to Macy’s but unless you’ve already been to Macy’s with a dude, I’m pretty sure you’ve started walking with a few other dudes and along the way he might have stopped to get something else to eat, or he just walked with you until he got to his train stop, or maybe it started raining really really hard and you just didnt make it to Macy’s. And this aint the first time you havent made it to Macy’s. You stay trying to go to Macy’s. (Really though, Macy’s?) At what point are you going to stop randomly walking with some nigga to Macy’s?

    The problem: women use their vag like bait. For whatever reason you give in, now a couple months later you want clarity. It’s real clear to me. I’m getting stupid laid. I’m getting so much cooch, it’s damn near falling out my ear. Really aint nothing else to talk about. How about this for a parable:

    A man and a woman are walking. Just walking. He knows exactly where Macy’s is. She does too. But we all know most men hate shopping. And you know if you bring up going to Macy’s, he’s finding the next 4 train back to BK. Now Macy’s is waaaaaaaaay down the block. But right next to you on the corner is a Century 21 or a Marshall’s or a Filene’s Basement. Some stupid voice in her head tells her that if she drags him in there first, he’ll be all warmed up for Macy’s. So they walk into Century 21. Shop to their hearts content and walk back out the store. Got mad bags. At this point, dude isnt even thinking about Macy’s cuz he just got this fly ass peacoat in Century 21. To hell with Macy’s or even walking any further for that matter. I’M GOOD. Time to cop a dutch and go home.

    Ladies, if it’s meant to be, if you talk about Macy’s up front, and we want to go, we’ll go. We’ll even find a white guy to hail us a cab so we can get there quicker. But just be real. And if he dont want to go to Macy’s just deal with it. Stop using the bait. It obviously isnt working. Do you know I can go out to my front lawn and get some bait? Bait is everywhere. Stop the madness.

  16. “women are supposed to be equal now, so there’s pretty much no responsibility a guy can rely on or expect once a girl gets the title. It’s no wonder that dudes don’t want commitment lately…there’s not a whole lot to gain from it nowadays.”

    I’d have to disagree. The thing that usually prompts me to have “the talk” with someone is when the person I’m “just talking” to or “kicking it” with starts requesting “girlfriend” things of me.

    What are “girlfriend things”? Glad you asked! Here’s a list:

    Acting like you have Requesting carte blanche access to my residence… ie., popping up whenever and just assuming it’ll be cool

    – Venting/asking me for advice about real life ish like your career path, your relationship with your family, etc.

    – Expecting me to coddle your insecurities

    – Asking me to be your Girl Friday… look up your flight info, pick up your drycleaning, proof read your resume/paper/thesis

    – Asking me to care for you when you are sick

    – Monitoring my whereabouts

    I might come off sounding like a bitch cold, but don’t misunderstand my point. I’d love to Cater 2 U ala Destiny’s Child, however I cater to my MAN, not someone I’m “kickin it” with. (so many men reference that song and skip over that small yet important lyrical detail).

    It’s a universal truth that having the right person on your team can make all the difference in the world. I’m clutch… I have a tshirt that says so and someone has plenty to gain by making me their star player. However I’m not going to invest in a franchise that’s not willing to come to the table to discuss my contract.

    So, if you don’t wanna have “the talk” then don’t ask me to pull two-a-days just to ride the bench.

  17. RightCoastLexSteele

    YES! A sports analogy! Ok…so you want a contract but you dont want to come to practice…
    You might have been an All State athlete in high school or college but this is the pros. You want a contract based on what? All the JV teams you ran over years ago? So what, you gonna stop dropping passes once you get a contract? Right now you not even pulling two-a-days! You want to sign a contract off of watching you work out at the facility? ARE YOU KIDDING ME!!!!! I need to know where your head is at 4th and goal, 0:17 seconds left. And if the ground game is shaky, I’m passing to OCHO CINCO. You may question OCHO CINCO’s character, but guess what…OCHO CINCO got hands.

    Contracts…HA! PRACTICE!!!!!!!! YES, I’M TALKING BOUT PRACTICE A.I. Yea, you are SUPPOSED to be the franchise player, so yea we talkin about practice. As a great man once said “Shiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiit”

  18. See now i had a problem a little while ago, i met this young lady. She told me, she is all about her career and she didn’t really have time for a relationship. Now we hung out here and there, she would call me when her job stressed her out. There were the late nights when she wanted me to come over and do my part in a fair exchange.
    She pretty much called the shots when we were chillin. I worked around her schedule, which honestly was cool with me cause, i felt like i didn’t have to worry about “so what are..” talk.

    You know what ended everything with us, i got a text one night that said she couldn’t do this anymore. She felt like things weren’t going anywhere and so forth. I was like you didn’t want nothing serious when we first met. I realized it was all front, to make me feel comfortable with her. She didn’t sweat me, didn’t ask me questions of where i was or who i was with. So i can get sucked in and boom im in a relationship..lol. Honestly she was a good girl but i wasn’t looking for a relationship at the time.

  19. ife1love – I absolutely love that analogy!

    I cannot speak on anyone else, but I personally hate having this conversation. And here is why. I do not like the idea of making a guy commit. I like to know that if a man is spending time with me, it’s because he wants to, not because he has to under the rules of an obligatory title. If we’re spending time together and enjoying it, then I’m trying to relax and let it ride for as long as possible because as soon as the “C” word comes up, shit get strange. If we end up falling into a relationship-like routine, cool. If we don’t, I’ll get over it. But what I won’t do is stress it.

    I’m sure that this will change as I get older. But I’m 24. I like spending time with men I can generally enjoy. I don’t really care what we call it. As long as its honest and genuine and makes me feel good, I’m with it. But then again, that’s just me.

  20. Vanessa aka Miss V

    You know what made me mad about this whole thing… I was once “talking” to this dude, and the whole time we “talked” I assumed it was just that… “talking.” A couple years later, we meet again, and he says he was my boyfriend….. what???

    Also, I hate it when dudes say that things change (read: gets worse) when the title is added on. I mean, if two people are already acting like they are in a relationship, what difference does a title make? I mean, if anything, if you’re with a person long enough, it’s not as fun as when it first started, so basically things change as a result of time, not title…

  21. Ditto to Skinny Black Girl.

    I enjoy quality time with a quality man–whether I have expectations or not. I don’t have any underlying expectations beyond what’s on the surface. (If I do, I’ll send an email let him know from jump. Otherwise, I go with the flow. Of course, my mind wanders every now and again: Does he feel anything? Is he enjoying my company as much as I his? But it stops there. If I haven’t established, defined, or even thought about what it is I want, why ask him to define it for me?

    If we transition into relationship-land and implicitly decide that that’s something we’re both ready for, like Jill Scott says, Let It Be.

  22. Eff those Jill Scott references by the way. She does not rule the world!

    Shout out to the readers holding it down with the comments. I been out on a golf course with my company all day chillin. I’ma respond to some of these comments later. Word.

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