Tipping Points In Love: How To Know When It’s Time To Take The Next Step

Is This The End?

Have you ever found yourself in a situation where a romantic endeavor you thought was going great suddenly, abruptly went south without a warning or an identifiable reason? Whether you’re in the early stages of courting and thought you were heading toward a commitment or whether you’ve been together for years and thought you were headed toward forever, we’ve all had our share of relationships that somehow seemed to fizzle just when things were getting good. Today, I want to take a look at a few points at which a relationship might end and offer an alternative perspective to burying the love.

Scene 1: Ladies, this one’s for you:

 You and the latest guy to catch your eye are kicking it. Things have been going well, he’s taken you out a number of times on some thoroughly enjoyable dates. He’s attractive, smart, funny, demanding in a way that’s inspiring, he gets along well with your friends and knows how to turn on his inner Raheem Devaughn when the lights go out. After about six months or so, your feelings seem like they’re changing. You don’t know why but everything he does seems to annoy you, everything he says seems to angers you, and every decision he makes feels like the wrong one. You start questioning his intentions and his desires – before you know it, you’re losing sight of whatever it was that attracted you to him in the first place. The changes you’re going through aren’t lost on him and inevitably, you guys begin to distance yourselves from one another till whatever it is you had is no more.

Scene 2: Fellas, this one’s all yours:

You and your girlfriend have been together for few years. You’ve had your two or three big arguments and come through them stronger than you were before them. Your families and circle of friends are slowly but surely starting to intertwine and neither of you are afraid to think or talk about your long term future together. But, inside, something is changing. Lazy Saturday afternoons hugged up on the couch watching movies on Netflix now seem completely and utterly boring. You’re finding yourself getting a little more antsy. Suddenly, the night life your friends are immersed in, which never really appealed to you, seems like the most appealing thing you can possibly imagine. On top of that, there’s the shorty at work who you somehow have found yourself taking every lunch with and having full day conversations with over email. You see what’s happening, and you’re not the kinda guy to step out on his woman, so – you do what any man would do … ask for some space and that turns out to be the beginning of the end.

Sometimes, relationships like this end because they’re supposed to end. Sometimes, things just run their course and that’s that. But sometimes – that’s not the case. Sometimes those relationships don’t need to end, but instead need to be challenged so that they can grow and mature. In the first situation, it could be that the two people have realized they’re not as compatible as they initially thought, or they may just need to take that next step and move forward from the less than lovers/ more than friends place they’re in now into a full blown relationship. In the second scenario, maybe they haven’t gone as far as they can go – maybe it’s time to take that next step and get engaged. It’s very possible to get too good at a particular stage in a relationship. When you’ve learned every thing there is to learn about a person it’s natural for that person to become a little less exciting and intriguing. The only way to discover new things about who they are is to enter into new circumstances and situations with them.

The question becomes, how do you know whether or not a relationship has run its course, or whether it’s time to take that next step. This can be a bit difficult. One of the things to consider are the fundamentals of the relationship. When the two of you look out into the future are you still seeing the same things? Are there any major deal-breaking issues present where you guys aren’t in agreement? If you can take a moment to step outside of your situation and look at the relationship objectively, if everything seems like it should be working, but you’re both still having all these issues it may be time advance your relationship.

“But, I Can’t Force Him To Commit”

In scenario one, I’m sure that’s what the ladies are thinking. What are you to do when, in your mind, it’s clear that the relationship has stalled because it has exceeded the expiration date of it’s current stage, but the guy in question seems to be dragging his feet? In that situation you have more power than you think. The choice is still yours. You have to choose whether or not you’re willing to continue on as you have, hoping he’ll eventually make the move, or you can take a step back. Stepping back in these sorts of situations goes a long way toward giving a man clarity. When a woman who’s company we enjoy pulls away, it gives us the opportunity to see whether or not she is someone we want in our lives or whether she is someone we need in our lives. Don’t be afraid to take a step back. It takes discipline, courage, and a great deal of self-confidence; and while you may not get the answer you want, chances are, it’ll be the right answer.

“But I’m Not Sure I’m Ready To Get Engaged”

I know this is what the fellas are thinking at the end of scene 2. What are you to do when you’ve built the perfect relationship with the perfect woman, but it’s clear that you’ve outgrown the boyfriend/girlfriend stage. The first thing you have to realize is that you’re at a tipping point. You need to accept the fact that there are only three places your relationship can go that point. You can break up right then and go your separate ways. You can continue on as you are which usually just means waiting till someone does something egregious and the relationship ends on bad terms. Or, you can get engaged. Accept the fact that there really are no other options when your relationship hits this point; acknowledging it will go a long way in making your decision easier.

On Maturation…

Maturity doesn’t always happen in places of comfort, it often takes the arguments and stresses that come with new circumstances to bring out your relationship’s true potential. You start out dating, and when dating gets boring and you can predict the movie she wants to see, or the restaurant he wants to go to, maybe it’s time you try a committed relationship together. After being boyfriend/girlfriend for a while, you’ll begin to settle into a routine and before you know, you’ll have your next six Fridays all planned out. Then you get engaged, and at first, as you’re planning the wedding and the rest of your life together, you’ll find yourself having some of the worst arguments you’ve had in the history of your relationship. You start to wonder whether or not this is meant to be, you might even consider calling it quits. Still, after awhile, you learn how to deal with each other, how to manage each other’s expectations and how you need to be for each other. Then you get married. Getting good at marriage takes a while, maybe years, but once you do … well … then you find yourself writing blog posts with tittles like “Five Things About Women I’ll Teach My Son,” and “Five Things About Men I’ll Teach My Daughter.” Then you have kids, and that provides decades upon decades of excitement and adventure … at least … I imagine that’s how it works… lol.

What about you all? Have you had relationships end abruptly and without reason? When you look back on them, did they really all just run their course, or is it possible they might have flourished if pushed further? Are you sitting right in the middle of one of the situations above? Have you figured out how you’re going to proceed? For those of you in relationships, has your relationship hit points where you thought it might be over? How did you work through those? As always, let us know in the comments.

From Our Partners

  • HLBB

    Chemistry and shared values. I find if one or both of those are missing, the relationship will eventually run its course. For me, the initial attraction to a new dude lasts about 4-6 months. By then, I should know what he wants from life (do we share values) and whether he still makes me laugh or I'm laughing at his antics in order to guarantee sex (yes guys, ladies do this too). If he's lacking in these areas, I'll pack up my toothbrush and leave.

    • Tristan.

      Chemistry is so key, even if shes the sweetest baddest girl in the world, if we dont click then welp.

    • http://sarcasmforbreakfast.wordpress.com mizzcam

      Yes, shared values are so important! I always make it a point to find out how a guy feels about having children [not anytime soon, but I like to know if he at least wants them one day]. I like to observe how he is with his family – Are they close, does he keep in contact, etc. Basically anything that I couldn't deal with should we decide to pursue anything serious.
      My recent post What Happened?? The Men of Generation Y

  • cbrantley15

    Recently I had a five year relationship end because she wasn't honest with me about what she really wanted. It's amazing that you can be in a relationship with someone and not really know that they have placed a time limit of when and where they feel you two should be in the relationship… Honesty is the best medicine. If she would have told me that she had a five year plan, I would have never stayed in the relationship. She knew that I had things to handled. She knew it would take time, and when things finally panned out for me, she abandoned the relationship… I knew within a year that she was the one for me, but I was blinded by the fact that she didn't see it the same way… When I think about it now, I can truly see that she never really spoke the same language as I did… When I spoke it was about "we, Us and ours" When she spoke it was always about "me. myself and I" My advice to anyone thinking about the next level is to make sure that you and love one is on the same page. That you are both speaking the same language and want the same things out of life… When I think about most of relationships, I always seem to be the one that was ready for the next level and most of the women I have dated wasn't… Be on the same page and pay attention to the language of the relationship…

    • Come On People

      I think it is self evaluation time for you to really try to get to the bottom of why you attract emotionally unavailable women. Most women are usually down for a progressive relationship, so it is strange that you say that most times you want more than they do. I am not saying that it is nothing wrong with them, but usually we attract the same people because that is what we are attracted to. Seek professional help so someone can help guide you to where you are lacking so you can feel that void and move on.

      • cbrantley15

        @ come on – The evaluation is already done. I suck at relationships… I am now emotionally unavailable… I have taken myself out of the game of relationships… It’s all about me now… Relationships are hard and it requires a great deal of work. I’m 52 and is very tired of the games that women play. They say they want a good man, but when they him, they don’t know what to do with them… Time now for me to ride out this life taking care of myself and being happy with me and only me… Thanks for your input…

        • GirlSixx

          Not to be harsh, but you wrote that you suck at relationships right?? Well did you ever stop to think maybe these women peeped that in you early on as well, therefore the games being played on whoevers part? Because at the end of the day sometimes GAME REALLY DOES RECOGNIZE GAME.

          *My0.02Cents*

        • cbrantley15

          No you're not harsh… I said I suck at relationship because I always seem to attract emotionally unavailable women… This is what I have leaned in hindsight. You're right game does recognize game, but it always amazing that these women always want to come back to me after dealing with someone who is less attentive them than I was… Thanks for your two cents… It is appreciated…

      • cbrantley15

        @ come on – The evaluation is already done. I suck at relationships… I am now emotionally unavailable… I have taken myself out of the game of relationships… It's all about me now… Relationships are hard and it requires a great deal of work. I'm 52 and is very tired of the games that women play. They say they want a good man, but when they get him, they don't know what to do with them… Time now for me to ride out this life taking care of myself and being happy with me and only me… It's a amazing… women always say they want us to express our feelings and when we do we get stepped on and labeled weak… I communicated my emotions to my ex. She knew where I was, but hind sight is 20/20. My focus is now me and only me… Thanks for your input..

        • cynicaloptmst81

          Have you ever seen the movie, Crazy Stupid Love? I think you should see it…

          My Mom is a year older than you, lol. So, its funny that I'm gonna try to give you advice. But, my Mom listens to me sometimes…so…

          Its funny you said you've done a self-evaluation. But, the majority of your comment was focused on what women do wrong instead of the common denominator in those relations…which was you. After my divorce, I went through a process of self-evaluation. And I knew I was done once I had a lot more to say about my behavior and choices in the midst of the relationship than I had to say about his. Since I only have the power to control myself, that's what I focus on…making better decisions that bring me the results I want and need.

        • cynicaloptmst81

          I don't think you're finish with the self-evaluation…and that's ok. We're never really finished. But, as it relates to this situation, I think you should get back in the trenches and do some more work. You seem like a nice, genuine guy who deserves the love that you, deep down inside, know you still want. I say get on the road to getting there. There's still hope. :-)

        • cbrantley15

          Cyn, thank you so much for input… I am always open to advise… You have made some very valid points, however: my life in the game of relationships is now over… I have seen the movie Crazy, Stupid Love. Good movie and even seen myself in a few of the characters… I am a communicator. I always communicate with my significant other, but if they're not on the same page with you, it is truly a waste of time. My process is still on going. It will be year since my break up and I am still reeling from it. The one thing that I have learned in hindsight that I will always be aware of the signs… I didn't pay attention to the signs that my ex was sending me… The focus is on me now… To take care of myself be happy with me… I been through a lot a failed marriage and broken relationship there after… The game is over for me… I am too afraid of getting hurt again… Your mother did a wonderful job with you… you're insightful and very on point… thanks for your advice… Stay up and be well…

        • cynicaloptmst81

          No prob and thanks! :-)

          You're only a year out so this is still kinda fresh…and those were two big blows. Take the time you need…but don't ever say never #jaheim.

        • cbrantley15

          you are most welcome…

        • http://sarcasmforbreakfast.wordpress.com mizzcam

          That's such a good movie!! *ducks back out*
          My recent post What Happened?? The Men of Generation Y

        • cbrantley15

          That was a funny but to the point movie…

        • cynicaloptmst81

          The DVD release date is…..TOMORROW! *fist pump*

          Great for a night in…nice balance between "chick flick" and "man-logic", lol.

        • cbrantley15

          I guess that means you want me to get it for my collection??? LOL!!!

        • cynicaloptmst81

          That…and hopefully you already have "Hitch", LOL…

          Sike. I've been waiting to get it for mine though…figured I'd share the good news with others who enjoyed it as well.

        • cbrantley15

          Yes, have Hitch already… Great movie for the romantics…

  • D.C.

    Yeah I just ended a situaation with a young lady I was dating for 6 months. I felt it was time for us to maybe get a little serious, but quickly learned she wasn't on the same page. It was very weird since we hungout all the time and I met all of her friends. I still battle with this as I have strong feelings for her still (this was very recent). I agree though shared values, honesty, and communication is very key when the courting stages are over

    • cbrantley15

      DC, I feel your pain… I'm a communicator and the women I seem to get involved with aren't… It sucks because I put my heart into the last two relationship and got nothing out of it… So now the focus is on me…

  • Queenbinthestreets…

    Most, Question: What really is the difference to a man between a woman you want and a woman you need, and how does this effect longterm decision making? Insight would be appreciated because this hits close to home for me

    • http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jermaine-spradley/a-millennial-manifesto-jobs_b_956053.html Most

      Well, I think in my life, the women I've wanted I've been able to let go of when the relationship got to the point that it was no longer productive.

      But sometimes you meet a woman that you know you need. I don't know, she just makes you want to be the best person you can be… as corny as that sounds. When you meet that woman it's kinda hard to let her go…
      My recent post The Millennial Manifesto: How 80′s Babies Can Save the World

      • Queenbinthestreets…

        Thanks for answering. Well I asked because I recently ceased a relationship with a man for a couple of reasons but one of the deciding factors was because he said he felt like I was someone he needed. I automatically saw this as a flag, thinking that I want to be wanted. I can see how being needed can be a good thing according to your statement. Welp, hopefully I still made the right decision

        • beefbacon

          I have wondered if I prefer to be needed or wanted. I like being wanted, however, what happens when a person doesn't want you for that moment. And we all know how those moments come and go. I used to fear someone needing me, because that sounds like I am obligated to be there. Both would be great, however, 'wants' are so flimsy therefore I would not want my marriage to be contingent on whether he wants too or not.

        • cynicaloptmst81

          I co-sign this completely.

        • Hugh Jazz

          Well I asked because I recently ceased a relationship with a man for a couple of reasons but one of the deciding factors was because he said he felt like I was someone he needed.

          The question is when he said "need", did he really mean need, or "deeply wants or desires"? If he needs you because he works at Alterra and you're making 70 grand a year, that's one thing. But if he elaborated, and he intimated he really sees himself with you and desired to have you by his side, you might (emphasis on might) have jumped the gun. It probably wouldn't hurt to do one of those, "hey, I was just calling to see how you were doing" calls or texts.

        • http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jermaine-spradley/a-millennial-manifesto-jobs_b_956053.html Most
        • 48.

          "It probably wouldn't hurt to do one of those, "hey, I was just calling to see how you were doing" calls or texts"

          lol.
          My recent post Apologies & Crazies.

        • Queenbinthestreets…

          Hugh,
          I do think it was the latter. He did say he knew there were changes he needed to make in order for us to be together and that he could see himself with me, but there were definitely other deal breakers that factored into my final decision such as past history, stability, leadership issue. I really do feel I din’t give him a chance and I may have jumped the gun a little but I thought a lot about the past relationship we had and at the time I decidet he already showed me who he was and it wasn’t worth another shot. Still in the back of my mind I wonder if I made the right decision….and theres my soap story for the day lol

        • http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jermaine-spradley/a-millennial-manifesto-jobs_b_956053.html Most

          To Me it sounds like you made the right decision. When a man tells you that he needs to make some changes before he can be with you, it usually means – he needs to make some changes before he can be with you.

          It's a real thing to tell someone. Alot of times, because it's not the answer women want to hear, they take it as a sign of immaturity or just plain flat out rejection, when in reality, it's just a true statement about where we are in our lives.
          My recent post The Millennial Manifesto: How 80′s Babies Can Save the World

      • chunk

        One of the things I've said about the end of my marriage is "he needed to be needed more than he wanted to be wanted."

        So this comment is really interesting/enlightening to me… there has to be a whole post simply on the difference between being needed vs wanted and the benefits/drawbacks of each…

        That may or may not be a request. LOL.
        My recent post Embracing the Spinning, A Revelation

        • Queenbinthestreets…

          You know before this convo I associated someone “needing” with settling for someone you don’t really want. Key concern: settling. I definitely don’t want to be someones last choice

        • http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jermaine-spradley/a-millennial-manifesto-jobs_b_956053.html Most

          This is a very interesting concept. I'm going to toss it around over the next couple of days and see if it has the legs to be a full post.

          Thanks Chunk!
          My recent post The Millennial Manifesto: How 80′s Babies Can Save the World

      • D.C.

        I totally agree..It's the one woman you meet and had such an enjoyable time with that is hard to let go. .So how do you deal with that?

  • http://livelovesingwithme.tumblr.com LiveLoveSing

    *copies and pastes into Word for future referencing*

    I just want to highlight this one little nugget: *Maturity doesn’t always happen in places of comfort.*

    This might be my mantra for the week. And I'm out.
    My recent post bawatson:

    “Light Painter”

  • http://twitter.com/itztrizz617 Tristan

    I’ve been in these situations, except instead of getting engaged i just ended things (i am only 22). It wasnt so much a fear of getting engaged or taking the next step, its just it made me look at her differently when it got to that point. I put up with certain things as a girlfriend but what if she got pregnant, what if we moved in together, what if we got married? Waving a blacklight on the relationship, i saw that instead of trying to change 9 things about her, it was better to just try to someone new who might not need enough work when its time to get serious

    • cynicaloptmst81

      "I put up with certain things as a girlfriend but what if she got pregnant, what if we moved in together, what if we got married? Waving a blacklight on the relationship, i saw that instead of trying to change 9 things about her, it was better to just try to someone new who might not need enough work when its time to get serious"

      There's a LOT of wisdom in this. I hope folks don't miss it…

    • fourpageletter

      this is why i fux with trizz.
      that's my e-homie right there!!!!

      My recent post the disconnect: recapping my social media fast

  • Flywheel031

    What is the difference between love and infatuation? I usually find the main reason why the relationship dissipates after a period of 6 months or so is that the relationship is based on lust and physical attraction. Bearing in mind that infatuation can feel a lot like love despite it being just a chemical reaction in our brains and this euphoric sense of emotion and attraction towards someone. The most important question is to determine whether you really in love or not, because eventually a relationship based on infatuation cannot endure the test of time. I recently had an epiphany that I've only been really in love once out of 4 relationships I've had in the past.

    • Hugh Jazz

      What is the difference between love and infatuation?

      Simple answer: love is a decision and infatuation is a feeling. Love usually doesn't reveal itself until you can't stand the other person at times, but you still want to be with them.

      • Camille

        Preach my brother!!! I belive this 100 %!

  • http://musicmakesmehigh.wordpress.com Reecie

    I've definitely been in a relationship I felt could've flourished if it was pushed further but you can't do it alone. Everything happens for a reason, I can't say if the reasoning was right or wrong…

    I can't imagine many men saying "this is getting kinda old, lets get engaged to take this to the next level" though. I do have enough married friends to know however that during that engagement you do have some SERIOUS fights and many do question if they're making the right decision.
    My recent post When I’m without you I’m cool…

    • Tristan.

      Yeah i doubt too many brothas are like i want more lets get married. Maybe a vacation or give her a house key #babysteps
      My recent post ItzTrizz617: I wonder if Tony La Russa is retired cuz Albert Pujols is off that

      • http://www.twitter.com/soul06 larnelw

        MoHaving recently went through the whole engagement/wedding planning stage I can fully confirm what you have said to be true. It will test your relationship. You will get into fights. You will question if y’all really want to do this.

        Now as for the post, I feel like many relationships are lost because people think its come to the end of the road when in actuality there was much more road left to travel. The second scenario was a great example of that. Any relationship will, without a doubt, come to that point of boredom unless both parties put in an effort to keep it exciting. Things that initially excited you about someone WILL become old. In the beginning it is sometimes enough just to be in their company. But given enough time just being together will get old. In the beginning he/she was gorgeous and you could just look at them for hours. But after a while you will grow accustom to their looks. If you don’t know how to keep your relationships interesting then they will ALWAYS end.

    • cynicaloptmst81

      "I can't imagine many men saying "this is getting kinda old, lets get engaged to take this to the next level" though."

      I know, right, LMBO!

      • LetsLove

        But why not??

        Does this indicate that women are giving too much too soon? Shouldn't there be something that men look forward to in marriage that they do not have while dating? How else would they know when it is time to take the next step? This is the fallacy, in my opinion, with 'playing house'. If I am not your wife there is a whole buncha stuff you will not get. There needs to be a difference between dating and marriage – otherwise that next step may be a bit difficult to define and/or justify.

        • AJ

          This right here!!!

        • GirlSixx

          "There needs to be a difference between dating and marriage – otherwise that next step may be a bit difficult to define and/or justify."

          Agreed, and as far as I am concerned THERE IS because there are some things I did as a wife that I know for sho I WILL NOT be doing as someone's Boo/GF

        • Beef Bacon

          I agree Letslove. That's a big part of the reason its hard to get brothers to take the next step…they are already getting all the milk.

        • GirlSixx

          Say that!!

          Thus the birth of the title "Wifey" not to be confused with the title "Wife" and women were putting it on T-Shirts.

          #Swindle

        • fourpageletter

          to the Nth degree! PREACH!
          My recent post the disconnect: recapping my social media fast

        • Camille

          Agreed! :)

        • cynicaloptmst81

          I agree with you.

          I've heard of women getting pregnant to save a relationship. But, I've never heard of a guy proposing to keep a relationship from remaining stale, lol. Not saying it hasn't happened…just saying I've never heard about it, lol…

          In this context, I think there is a difference between wanting more and being bored. I think what you are describing is wanting more…which is not necessarily bred from boredom.

        • http://musicmakesmehigh.wordpress.com Reecie

          exactly Cynical. exactly that.
          My recent post When I’m without you I’m cool…

    • http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jermaine-spradley/a-millennial-manifesto-jobs_b_956053.html Most

      I know saying "this is getting kinda old, lets get engaged" seems like a weird thing to say, but it's really all a relationship needs sometimes. Obviously, there's a lot more that goes into that decision, but I guess the point is, if it looked like you were heading down that path before, it's not always wise to let 3 or 4 month patch of boredom ruin what could be a perfect relationship.

      My recent post The Millennial Manifesto: How 80′s Babies Can Save the World

  • madscientist7

    great post man. i know that i've definitely had relationships end abruptly. i can now admit that even though some of those were great relationships with great women i didn't fight as hard as i could or should have. i became nonchalant and put on an facade that i wouldn't care if the relationship died. looking back i was wrong. you live and you learn though.
    My recent post Holding It In

  • GirlSixx

    "Maturity doesn’t always happen in places of comfort, it often takes the arguments and stresses that come with new circumstances to bring out your relationship’s true potential"

    This is a mouth full right. here.^^^ Cosign!!

    Definitely one of the surefire ways to see if that person is in to WIN IT (you) or just for good times.

    • http://www.twitter.com/soul06 larnelw

      Double cosign!!!!

      You really don’t know how strong your relationship is till its been tested in the fire. Its easy to get along when everything is sunny skies and roses. But get into a real fight. That’s when you find out what its made of.

      • http://musicmakesmehigh.wordpress.com Reecie

        "sunny days, everybody loves them. but tell me baby can you stand the rain?"

        yes, I just quoted New Edition. thats a dope song, though.
        My recent post When I’m without you I’m cool…

  • Sherel

    The timing of this couldn't be more on point for me. Thanks

  • Beef Bacon

    The last serious relationship I ended taught me that when a relationship has run its course, you will know. In that relationship I had several moments where I would teeter on whether I should stay or go; however when it was time to go I did not teeter. It was very evident that it was over FOR ME at least.
    I don't end relationships easily. I give many chances, warnings and offer all solutions I can come up with. By the time I make up in my mind that it’s a wrap, I don't feel guilty or second guess my choice. I walk away with a clear mind knowing I gave my all. Although that still doesn't stop the other person from pretending as if the split came out of left field…smh. This is why I don't take the state of my marriage for granted. Some people warn while others go into a cave. If you are aware of your partner's emotions, you know if something is off….that's when you find out who, what, when, where and how and see if can be worked out. Don't sleep on it though.

    A relationship REQUIRES work if it is worth having. Meaning YOU have to determine…is it worth having! After the honeymoon phase, pull your boot straps up…because rough seas will come and go. Whether you are boyfriend and girlfriend or married, WORK is necessary. Once you settle in the comfortable phase, all sorts of things will creep up. I think it is Satan's way of ending the relationship. It's EASY to be there as long as it feels great (honeymoon phase), but when those shades come off…it won't be as easy (hence the work). Granted there are situations that need to be dissolved (abuse of any kind, cheating, and other things that present danger).

    • Denise

      I am the SAME way! In my current relationship (we've been dating for a year in November) he has a lot to work out, but in line with an earlier posting, he wasn't man enough to tell me his issues once things started getting serious. Now that I know, I look at him differently and view him differently. Our relationship has had a bad couple of months and that's because I was dealing with my feelings on everything and I was not a nice person to be around. We are seeing if we can work things out. But I have told him this is what he needs to do, etc. and laid down my expectations and have stuck by my guns. I gave him the rope…either he can walk away from it or tie it around his neck. But if he decides to hang himself, I will have no hard feelings about walking away while he swings in the wind. We are at that point where we either move forward or walk away. It's actually in my hands and I am trying to choose now, so wish me luck.

      • GirlSixx

        "But if he decides to hang himself, I will have no hard feelings about walking away while he swings in the wind."

        I'm sorry. But this sentence made me keel over. Lmbo.

  • Angela

    Describe stepping back. No contact???

    • cynicaloptmst81

      Not that you asked me, lol…but, since I've done this before, I think I can speak on it.

      You can have contact. But, that contact is limited. That person should not have the same access to you as they once did. Be friendly…not bitter…when you talk. And don't discuss "y'all". Treat him like you would any other friends. Hang…but for lunch…separate cars on a day when you have other things you must tend to afterwards. Talk to him like you would a general friend…but leave out boo/date stuff cause the goal isn't to make him jealous…and no super deep conversations like you're talking to a bff cause they goal is to create emotional distance. You just want him to realize that a part of you is not enough for him. You want him to realize how much he needs to share things about himself with you…and how he needs you to share those things with him. You want him to notice how "off" he is without the knowledge that you are coming…that you are phonecall away to give him a laugh, a shoulder.

      • cynicaloptmst81

        That's what you want. And if it happens, GREAT! Accept him back when he comes after you but only if he comes with a committed relationship contract…no exceptions.

        If he doesn't come after you or is unwilling to submit a committed relationship contract…well, you needed to know that he wasn't as into you as you thought…and now you know…so move on.

      • Hugh Jazz

        What Cynical said.

    • http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jermaine-spradley/a-millennial-manifesto-jobs_b_956053.html Most

      Echoing Cyn's words, to put it simply, by stepping back I mean, remove the romantic intimacy… in all of its forms from your relationship.

      My recent post The Millennial Manifesto: How 80′s Babies Can Save the World

  • NiaNeek

    This whole post has me questioning my definition of relationship.
    Anyway, I usually will know pretty soon if the man is someone I want to "We" with. I like to go out and you do too? Great. I like to have mind blowing sex and you do too? Great. We share the same values and long term goals too? Oh my, this feels like heaven. The problem though, a lot of the times, "WE" can not do these things together without one of us coming off phony to the other.
    So when he decided to abruptly end the "we" did I let it be? Of course. I need you to want to be honest with me, and if your way of dealing with complicated matters is to check out, by all means, do you. Better to know now rather than later when I'm married to you and you abruptly buy a motorcycle, or you abruptly plan a weekend in DR with your homies. *sike* I take communication and lack there of as honest signs of how people deal with all anxiety, including the kind that comes with a new relationship.
    Have I abruptly "ended" relationships? Yes, I'm guilty. Usually, I'll know before they do. They'll be designated friend if I don't find myself wanting to jump bones at the same rate when we first started. That usually means it's the beginning of the end. Problem with that approach is that by the time a conversation is had, it's almost always too late and chemistry is fizzled. It doesn't help when I still enjoy the company of the dude either. I understand there are phases folks have while in a relationship that can change the dynamics of it. However, the moment someone gets corny I get nervous because I don't want to commit to someone I could cheat on. It's a terrible anxiety I have because I want to avoid hurting a man's feelings.
    I know men aren't mind readers but I love when they're skilled at anticipating my needs. It's impossible I know, which is why I'm single. Sabotage is how I deal with relationship anxiety so it move slow slow slow.

    • http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jermaine-spradley/a-millennial-manifesto-jobs_b_956053.html Most

      Really enjoyed this comment. Thanks for sharing. Feel like I learned a whole lot about you.

      My recent post The Millennial Manifesto: How 80′s Babies Can Save the World

      • NiaNeek

        Thanks Most. PTO had me home today…since i can't participate at work.

  • http://www.WisdomIsMisery.com WisdomIsMisery

    Not sure how I feel about this one, sir. I've had a few relationships I probably could have made work but it would have been forced. For example, I have at least two – if not more – X's that I know for a fact I could have "wifed up" but I'm not sure the struggle would have been worth it. While I encourage women to move on if a man is not offering them what they want in a relationship, I also advocate for men not to rush into a commitment if they are not ready. I believe it will end in misery for both parties. (1/2)
    My recent post I Can’t Date Women With Name Brand Purses

    • http://www.WisdomIsMisery.com WisdomIsMisery

      (2/2) A man shouldnt feel guilty if he isnt ready to commit to a woman – even if she is a good woman – just like a woman should not feel guilty for leaving a man – even if he is a good man. Sometimes it's as simple as right people, wrong time. Put another way, "this isn't your parents generation." Sure, you can get married and stay in a miserable marriage you werent ready for based on tradition and the vow of your word – and I can respect that but that's not the road I would take. Perhaps I'm too calculating/controlling (and I have been accused of such) but I want to be as close to 99.9% this is the woman I want to spend the rest of my life with, rather than simply putting a ring on it because a passage of time has occured, 'her clock is ticking' and now we have to make an arbitrary decision to commit because we're bored in our current relationship status. That, to me, doesnt seem like a sound foundation to leap to that next step from.
      My recent post Do Black Men Not Value Marriage

      • beefbacon

        "Perhaps I'm too calculating/controlling (and I have been accused of such) but I want to be as close to 99.9% this is the woman I want to spend the rest of my life with…"

        WIM, what's going to happen when that number goes down? That number WILL go up or down depending on several uncontrollable factors.

        • beefbacon

          Oh and BTW, would you elaborate on…..

          "That, to me, doesnt seem like a sound foundation to leap to that next step from".

          What WOULD be a sound foundation?

        • http://www.WisdomIsMisery.com WisdomIsMisery

          I dont understand. Why would it go down?

          To answer your second question, I'd like to be as positive she is the right woman for me as possible. To me that makes more sense than just going on a 'leap of faith.' Holding my breath and hoping it will work out because she seems cool. But, honestly, in my case it has been more about me being ready to commit to one woman than it is about me finding one "good woman." I dont believe in soul mates myself, so as I've said before, there are any number of good woman out there that I could see myself with. It's more about meeting one good woman at a place when I'm ready to be with her. Quite frankly, given my experiences, I really dont think it will be that difficult to find.

          My recent post Faded: Breaking Up With Your Barber Is Never Easy

        • cynicaloptmst81

          It just sounds to me like you haven't met the woman you can't live without…and possibly reserved about allowing yourself to "need" someone that much.

        • http://www.WisdomIsMisery.com WisdomIsMisery

          Hmmm, it's funny you should say that because I completely disagree. lol I think that goes to the "soul mate" reference I made above. I'm not saying that doesnt work for some folks but that's not the vision I have of life. In fact, I think the whole fairy tale pursuit of some "woman you cant live without" keeps a lot of men (and women) on the fence about ever committing because something better could theoretically always be out there. I'm more of the mindset that one day I will make the choice to be with one woman until death do us part and I will honor that choice.

          Of course, I could be wrong, because if I "havent met the woman you cant live without" I obviously wont know if or until I meet her. I just dont see that happening though. Not in my nature.
          My recent post Faded: Breaking Up With Your Barber Is Never Easy

        • cynicaloptmst81

          We all say and think a lot of things…until something…or someone, lol…moves us to change our whole flow.

          I'm not even suggesting that this person is a guaranteed winner…not at all saying that this woman will make it down the aisle with you or that the relationship will ultimately work. But, if it doesn't work, it's because you tried everything you could do and nothing could be done to save the relationship. And that passion and desperation is needed to maintain a marriage. Trust me…divorce is too easy to get married without that…you'd be begging for failure.

        • Beef Bacon

          Oh WIM, really you have to ask "I dont understand. Why would it go down'? It will go down because people change and reveal more of themselves over time. The things you love about this person today may be the things you can't stand later. Your 99.9% can vary 5 times in one week…lol.

          Even AFTER you put a ring on it, that number will vary depending on the week or day. You HAVE to be willing to risk seeing ALL sides of the person you choose to marry. When you are ready to be with that one good woman, you will have to take the good with the bad. A leap of faith is exactly what it is…because you cannot control the outcome. As time passes, people reveal more and more about themselves. How boring would life be if you knew EVERYTHING right off the bat?

        • GirlSixx

          Yup!!!

          School Em BB.

        • Larry

          All this is true….but to be fair, I believe he was more or less referring to being to a point where he is 99.9% certain he would want to ask her to marry her and be confident it's b/c he sees himself with said person for the remainder of days as opposed to asking b/c it's been 18 months and that's just want I gots to do. Now as far as staying marrried and all that good jazz…that's a whole nother metric separate from the 99.9 % sir WIM is eluding to in his example. At any rate, that 99.9% can vary 5 times in one week….but it only has to be 99.9% for 10 seconds…long enough to pop the question.

        • http://www.WisdomIsMisery.com WisdomIsMisery

          Yes, this is actually exactly what I was trying to say, sir.
          My recent post Men Already Know How to Act Right

      • LetsLove

        What is the difference between putting in work and the relationship being forced?

        It seems to me that work implies (or requires) a bit of force. If you are not forcing yourself to do something you may not normally do, or enjoy, I kind of feel like thats not 'working'.

        Sometimes I feel like that whole "forced" bit is kind of a cop-out. Or maybe I genuinely don't understand – which is quite possible because sometimes I think I (and many women) are far too willing to put in work – so maybe it SHOULD be more rigorously defined. Or are you looking for a relationship where the work fits into what you feel comfortable doing, and is, therefore, not forced?

        I agree with you on the foundation – but 99.9% sure? That seems high! What about the 80/20 rule??

        • http://www.WisdomIsMisery.com WisdomIsMisery

          In my humble opinion, a relationship should not be forced. I would not be in a relationship I had to force. I do agree relationships require work. I guess, using an anology, it would be like working in a job you hate and working in job you love. Both require work, but one is easier to justify.

          I stick by my foundation percentage, although, I think you and BeefBacon are reading too much into that. But, that's cool. Anyway, I'm a fairly easy guy to please so, for me, reaching 99% would not be that difficult. At the end of the day, I think this thread is simply showing that men and women view relationships differently and therefore, approach them differently. That's fine and neither way is right or wrong but as it stands, I cannot agree with you or BeefBacon in whole because how I approach and view relationships is clearly different. What works for me may not work for yall and vise versa. It's cool.
          My recent post Faded: Breaking Up With Your Barber Is Never Easy

        • cynicaloptmst81

          "In my humble opinion, a relationship should not be forced. I would not be in a relationship I had to force. I do agree relationships require work. I guess, using an anology, it would be like working in a job you hate and working in job you love. Both require work, but one is easier to justify."

          I completely co-sign this, btw. I def clicked that thumbs up button, lol…

        • LetsLove

          "I guess, using an anology, it would be like working in a job you hate and working in job you love. Both require work, but one is easier to justify. "

          Oh okay… I can understand this MUCH better.

        • Larry

          Co-sign x 100

        • Beef Bacon

          "What is the difference between putting in work and the relationship being forced?"

          For me, putting in work is defined as exerting energy when I wouldn't have to otherwise. When things are going well in the relationship, things are somewhat second nature. However, when things get rough, you have to mentally and emotionally put yourself in check from time to time. That's like breaking in a new pair of shoes, they may be a lil tight at first but after a while they fit just right.

          IMO, the relationship is being forced when it falls below that 80/20 threshold for a significant amount of time. I know that relationships have low points, but when the low points outweigh the high ones too long, it may be time to re-evaluate things. That's like trying to squeeze your size 9 foot into a 6…no matter how much you work, it isn't fitting…ever.

        • LetsLove

          Your definition of forced relationships = perfect. Love that!

    • Sherel

      I think the message is that when a bump comes in the relationship just don't bounce. That may successful relationships aren't smooth and you need to evaluate what the issue is beforehand. And maturity is definitely a prerequisite when it comes to this thought process. Just being able to wife them up as you say, sorry I am old school, but not want to endure the struggle and believing misery was at the end of the tunnel you made the right choice. I agree that timing is everything and that you need to meet the right person at the right time. Many times people say they met the right person at the wrong time but I disagree. They can only be right if they are the person for that time in your life!!

    • Come On People

      that is such a balancing act. when it comes to men in relationships, it is all about timing. However, both have to be honest with themselves to know when to say when. A co-worker of mine was in a 5 year relationship, and for the last two he knew for a fact that he was not going to marry this woman, but she wanted to get married and she made that known. My advice to him was that if you don't want to marry this woman, and you know she wants to get married, let her go so she can find someone that can give her want she wants. Your wasting your time and hers. It goes the other way also, if a woman knows that she wants to get married and she knows through word and action that he is not there yet, let him go, unless you are willing to wait. Sometimes you can, but sometimes it is not going to happen. However, if it is something that you feel you need at this point and time in your life, let him go so you can find someone that will give you want you want and not settle.

      • Sherel

        Hmm Five years. I do not know how old they were when they started but in any even, I am sure there were signs at some point after a few years!

  • cynicaloptmst81

    I've always known why my relationships ended…and I find it hard to believe that most people don't. "Infatuation never transitioned into love" is a reason. "A "Let me buy you some Puffs for that cold" type love never transitioned into an "I will cross the ocean for you" type of love" is a reason. You shouldn't have to work super hard for that kind of love. Falling is the easy part (even if you're trying to delay the fall…its begging you to chose it)…the work comes during the staying part. So if you have to work just to fall, let him or her go. That relationship won't last.

    I think the "tipping point" phase comes in all relationships. And I've chosen all the options…wait, leave, step back, and stay. When relationships end abruptly, its usually an abrupt ending for the unsuspecting party…the one who got dumped. When both parties feel the end coming, that's more of a slow, painful death.

  • http://sensesocommon.blogspot.com Candi

    "Have you ever found yourself in a situation where a romantic endeavor you thought was going great suddenly, abruptly went south without a warning or an identifiable reason?" <<< this is me!!!

    My relationship ended on a "WTF-just-happened" note w/ an immaculate history of 4 1/2 years. In a way, this post lifts my spirits because 6 months later we are back at trying to make things official for Round 2. What puts things in an awkward situation is the way that it ended (too horrible to discuss) and I tend to flashback and think, "how could you do that to someone that you say you are in love with"? So if it is going to move forward, how do you move past the tragedy?

    I'm hoping Round 2 ends up here: " you learn how to deal with each other, how to manage each other’s expectations and how you need to be for each other." Great Post!
    My recent post Superior's Common Sense: Mom's Self Study 101

  • Streetz

    All my relationships ended because they were supposed to. it was realizing this which was difficult. once I did, i was straight. You just have to get to the point where tough decisions need to be made and then make em!
    My recent post What's a Papoose?! [Flickr]

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001170037344 Edwin Azel

    I had a 9 year marriage end when my husband passed. Many people do not understand what it takes to sustain a relationship that is worth having. Sadly, many people will never know. I do believe that it is best to wait a bit and mature and grow up and experience life and people and always try to grow from each encounter and to see how you could have done something different. In many cases it may not change the outcome but it helps you to become your best. Also, to maintain a positive attitude and have confidence in your direction and path in life.

  • Camille

    Mr. Spradley,
    What I liked most about your post today was I read between the lines. You have a vision for your life. That's a beautiful thing as far as how it translates within your relationship. There's a Bible scripture that says "where there is no vision people perish". I would surmize that some relationships perish because the people within them are going with the flow with no concrete vision for that particular relationship. Otherwise it would flourish into something greater (as you stated for options for going to the next level).

  • Camille

    I have had relationships perish because I used to travel a lot for work, both nationally and internationally. Long distance hasn't worked well for me. The greatest love I have know was from a beautiful (strictly plutonic) friendship. One day my friend told me he loved me and he proposed. There was never any physical intimacy. We knew each other and trusted each other on a deeply intimate level. He knew all of my great qualities and accepted my flaws. He was a for NFL player with money who could've been with any woman. This relationship eneded abruptly because he was killed by a stray bullet a week later. This taught me that love is not about great sex (it's a bonus). Love is built on values and the deeper things, not surface/superficial things. This experience also taught me that life is precious. I know everyone is different because of various experiences and belief systems. I take my time and get to know people. A friend of mine recently married a guy she had been friends with (strictly plutonic) since HS. I'm digressing, but I guess I'm saying if we take out time and really get to know people + have a vision= less break ups :)

    • http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jermaine-spradley/a-millennial-manifesto-jobs_b_956053.html Most

      Great comment – really sorry to hear about how you lost you friend. That's tragic.

      I agree, there are a lot of rungs on the ladder that leads to love. Climbing them is worth it, but the higher you get the tougher the fall.
      My recent post The Millennial Manifesto: How 80′s Babies Can Save the World

  • http://blackgirlmd.wordpress.com blackgirlmd

    LOL. I was totally at the “But I’m Not Sure I’m Ready To Get Engaged” stage just this past year. And I… chose to fall back. We're seeing other people now. I wasn't going to force myself into something I wasn't ready for, I wasn't going to stay in our relationship either. I'm glad I left, dating around has allowed me to get a better sense of what's important to me and what my needs vs. wants are.

    I don't think it would have been a bad decision to stay and get engaged though. He's a wonderful guy, but I didn't want to. So I'm glad I left.

    Good advice though.

  • Top5DOA

    It's been at least 7 years since i genuinely knew it was time to take the next step without the need for ultimatums or coercion. With that being said, I think i've forgotten that feeling when u know, therefore when that feeling does come back its simple, thats when i know too bad it'll prolly come directly after sex

  • fourpageletter

    can i just say that i love love LOVE this post???

    My recent post the disconnect: recapping my social media fast

  • fearfullyandwonderfullymade

    so what if there was the feeling of something missing from the relationship and you as the women in the relationship, plans a lovely weekend for you and your man to rekindle…..the low and behold you find out that your pregnant!!!!! knowing that the passion, intimacy, and very little communication were missing…you want to make this work; the child is not to blame. But then your hit with “i need some space to get over my insecurity and the unresloved issues with my dad; because i dont want my son to grow up feeling the same way I did” as a women who believes in standing by your man and being supportive when times are hard but its ovbvious that this man is pushing you away……5 yrs gone and now a child is in the mix what should your “next step be”?

    • Breebree

      fearfully your imo your next step should be to move on and be the best mother you can to your child and be patient and wait for a man who will love you and your child, accept you and never push you away.
      Be patient and wait for the love you deserve from the right man.

    • Breebree

      Other thing I just thought of is the possibility that when you give this man the time and space he asks for he just may come back to you a better man. However in the meantime, focus on raising your child and live your life.

  • MissMe

    "…and while you may not get the answer you want, chances are, it’ll be the right answer."

    THISS!!!

    I sure as heck didn't get the answer i wanted…talk about an abrupt end! lol but hey, i can't argue the result. He just wasn't into me…anymore, after a year! *shrugs* we live, we learn…

    Pretty much co-sign most if not all cynical's posts. Great post Most!

  • Sauna

    So I've been dating this guy for over 2 years. We started off really good, going on dates every two weeks, talking on the phone; I'll spend the weekend with him (we were long distant). During the early phase of our relationship, he stopped call or communicating with me, just ignored me for days. Then randomly he'll call a week later like nothing hasn't happened and wanting to go on a date. Safe to say I remained confused about our relationship, because when I would ask "what are we doing" he'll say we're dating exclusively; but I'm not at the "in love" point yet, takes time for that to develop. But he'll send me messages "I love" you, don't want to lose you, you're the best thing that happened to me…noe two years later were still at the same point. Whenever I try to end it and not talk to him anymore; he starts acting right; which of course pulls me back in. I do know what to do. I spent so long being a good friend to him. Helping him through school, helping him get settled in his new home, supporting him through and through…I know its time to cut loose, but how?

  • Bree

    Damn I hate that I missed this post….this was soooooooo freakin good.
    You spit some serious Wisdom on this one Mr. Sprad.