Only Time Will Tell: Speaking Up About Your Dating Intentions

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black-woman-confused

Last week I posed a question to Twitter asking if it was better to ask a man what his intentions are, or let him know yours when it comes to spending time with someone new. I was pretty surprised by some of the responses I received, which I will share later, but first I’ll give you the back-story so you know where all of this came from.

Let’s rewind to a couple months ago. I went to a happy hour one Friday. The lounge we were at was pretty chill, good music, great food, and overall a great space to end the work week. I ended up in a conversation with some people and met a guy who happened to be friends with one of my male friends that was there. He and I eventually found our way into a side conversation and hit it off. We did some dancing, and some flirting as well. It was nothing serious, but it was definitely a good time. Before he left, he asked me for my number to keep in touch and that was that.  A couple of days went by and I hadn’t heard from him, so I figured it was what it was. He was a nice guy, and I enjoyed our time, but I wasn’t sweatin him. If he were interested, he would call.

A couple of weeks ago, I went out for some drinks with my friends. Ended up running into dude again, we exchanged pleasantries and later went our separate ways. It was in the days that followed, that he started to hit me up. He ended up asking me to a baseball game, and I agreed to go. We had a great time, talked the entire time, ate and drank, and no, I didn’t have to pay for anything. After the game, I was thinking that everything was going well, he seemed interested and appeared not to be on any BS.  This could work.

The only thing I noticed that stuck out to me, both at the game and in later conversations, was that he had a way of mentioning sex a little more often than I thought was normal. He wasn’t being a creep about it, but I just felt like it was coming up way too frequently in this stage of getting-to-know you.  For example, I knew he worked in banking, and usually works on Saturdays. At the game I asked him what was his idea of a perfect Saturday when he didn’t have to work. He responds with, “I wake up, have sex, go back to sleep…” Ok. Cool. Sounds like a good Saturday morning. It caught me off guard, but I’ll roll with it.  Another time, we were talking about hobbies and he mentioned that he wanted to buy a new PlayStation for his birthday. Ok, a gamer. That’s fine. He just made sure to inform me that Call of Duty wasn’t better than drinking or sex. Awesome.

Now in my head I’m thinking, what is it with this guy? He’s a cool dude and not a weirdo (I think). I just don’t get why sex comes up in every conversation. It was because of this, and this only, now I’m thinking, maybe his only or primary intention is to do the casual sex thing. I wanted to let him know what I was on and what I wasn’t looking for, but I didn’t want to come off abrasive. I wasn’t really sure how to bring this up, or even if I should. Thus, my question for the people of Twitter.

The Women: Most of the women who responded felt like I shouldn’t have to ask him his intentions. His behavior would let me know what he was really about. Their consensus was that if he wanted something more than casual sex, I would know, so wait.

The Men: The men who responded, said that I should either ask, or let him know what my intentions are. They felt like it was best to be up front and honest in the beginning, and not get caught up later. They thought this would alleviate the possibility of being led on or getting played in the long run.  I actually agreed with the guys, as I usually do. I feel like, why not just tell someone what you’re looking for in the beginning, and give him or her the option to stick around or bounce. I think that anything else would be a waste of time. All that grey area is frustrating and unnecessary.  Of course you always risk the possibility of someone lying, or even saying one thing and doing another, but that’s life. We all know how that goes.

In case you wanted to know, I didn’t ask dude why he talked about sex so much (there were other examples that I left out for the sake of word count), but I did let him know what my intentions were. I told him that at this point in my 30-year-old life, I wasn’t looking for the casual, FWB, buddy thing, but something with more substance. He assured me that he wasn’t looking for anything casual either. So far, his actions haven’t really given me a reason to feel otherwise. We’ll see how this plays out. I’ll keep you all updated.

Fellas, would you prefer a woman be upfront about her intentions in the beginning or wait for you to volunteer where you see the relationship going or not going? Should men/women state their intentions in the beginning or let someone show you what they want as time goes on? What’s the best approach?

For more of Keita and her tactful opinion follow her on twitter @keitathejedi or at www.keitawheats.com

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From Our Partners

  • Vince B

    You can tell me your intentions all you want, but that has nothing to do with my bottom line. In other words, a woman may tell me "I'm not looking for anything serious" or "I'm trying to get married and pregnant by the end of the year". Regardless of what she says, I'm going to do me. Agendas change all the time as people become more or less important to you/your life as well as your actions should. It's all a crap shoot. Shake and roll.

    • GIrlSixx

      Yup!!

  • http://glippost.wordpress.com DarrkGable

    Both parties need to state their intentions if more than 2 dates occur. It’s no point in getting too deep into a dating situation and not know where the other person stands. That way, neither party’s time is wasted.

  • http://twelvepointbuck.tumblr.com/ 12 Point Buck

    Yup, there's no point in being anything but transparent with your intentions… unless your intention is to be shady.

    • Southerngyrl_

      This.

    • GIrlSixx

      "The Road to Hell is Paved with Good Intentions"

      In a perfect world… YES!! someone being 100% honest and upfront about their intentions would make things easier/clearer for all parties involved, but we are dwelling in "I'm just tryin to get mine/"I'm doing me"/"YOLO" era — so Good Luck with that!! every person you meet is not going to give you full disclosure right off jump for whatever reason no matter how many questions you ask and even if they do sometimes the outcome may be something totally different than what they originally stated only time will tell as you watch and observe and it won't take 6 months to a year either.

      • http://twelvepointbuck.tumblr.com/ 12 Point Buck

        This is true– some people have no problem being misleading.

        I can only speak for myself, but you'll know what I'm about real quick. lol. I'll pretty much pull it out in your face.

        I might talk a slick game and make you feel special, but I'm also gonna make sure you're aware of how bad I want to tear your clothes off and toss you on the bed. Now some chicks aint down with that, and thats fine. No love lost. But thats why guys need to get a good read on the chick before they organize that 1-on-1 alone time. I aint trying to waste my time or hers.

        • oh ok…

          ALL OF LAST PARAGRAPH!
          #TEACH!
          Dudes be sleeping and don't know…

  • Chocolate Vent

    I disagree with the fellas. Why should you have to disclose your intentions but they don't have to disclose theirs? How is that fair? Men say that you should be up front, but where's their responsibility?

    Like the women tweeted you, you'll know by how he treats you. Actions speak louder than words, right? So why bother asking? Let him do him…
    My recent post It’s Not The Pace, It’s The Race

    • http://stanoffewwords.wordpress.com Tristan

      you contradicted yourself, as you said the reason men don’t necessarily “disclose” is because our actions do so

    • payne well

      Both should share those intentions. It shouldn't be one sided. That's how many of us fall into situations of uncertainty. There are guys who are really just nice fellows. They will treat all women with the best respect in the world, but that doesn't mean he wants to necessarily wife her. If we both have the same map, we can arrive at the same destination.
      My recent post You were meant for me and I was meant for you: The importance of compatibility

    • payne well

      Both should share those intentions. It shouldn't be one sided. That's how many of us fall into situations of uncertainty. There are guys who are really just nice fellows. They will treat all women with the best respect in the world, but that doesn't mean he wants to necessarily wife her. If we both have the same map, we can arrive at the same destination.
      My recent post You were meant for me and I was meant for you: The importance of compatibility

    • payne well

      Both should share those intentions. It shouldn't be one sided. That's how many of us fall into situations of uncertainty. There are guys who are really just nice fellows. They will treat all women with the best respect in the world, but that doesn't mean he wants to necessarily wife her. If we both have the same map, we can arrive at the same destination.
      My recent post You were meant for me and I was meant for you: The importance of compatibility

    • Uncle Hugh, BP

      Chocolate Vent: "Why should you have to disclose your intentions but they don't have to disclose theirs?"

      Because

      1. Men are the approachers, women respond to our approach. We've been reliably informed here many women will not approach a man. So it makes sense that you tell the approacher, "this is what I'm looking for."
      2. Women complain about being used for $ex only, so they should state that's not what they are looking for.
      3. Basically, it's in your own self-interest. If you won't look out for yourself, who will?

      It does make sense for a man to state what he is looking for. But since we're the ones that have to charm you and win you over, some men will omit some things if it hurts they are looking for. Of course, if asked directly, a man should disclose why he's approaching.

  • http://stanoffewwords.wordpress.com Tristan

    it doesn’t matter if she’s upfront about her intentions now or later, what irks me to my core if when she plays oblivious and simply doesn’t ask the question she doesn’t want to hear the question to. After a while you should know where a courtship is going or at least where you want iit to, it’s at that point that if you choose to keep ur head in the clouds ur asking to be misled so spare the boohoos later

  • http://Singleblackmale.com MR 2 CENTS ($0.02)

    Why aren’t people upfront about their intentions??? Hmm that’s easy….because the hardest thing to hear and accept is…the truth!!

    Speaking from a males point of view it just serves us best if us men say nuthing or just omit when it comes to dealing with women. Fair..probably not, but I’m being honest. How many women will honestly accept it if a man says “I think ur a nice lady and all but I just wanna hit that,nothing serious”?? Not too many women are going to roll with that because of how it makes them look, like she’s just only worthy of having sex with. I’m not saying all women would feel this way,but it’s enough that does . And if a lady does tell a man during the first or second date that she’s looking for marriage/kids or something serious that soon,she comes off as a tad desperate. So these are just some of the reasons people just don’t come out with it in the beginning. The outcome: lots of wasted time and energy,people being mislead, and miscommunication. But what else is expected from the opposite sexes dealing with each other lol.

  • sierra

    Will it be fare to just go with the flow? Even if he just wanna hit it, do he have enough game to do so without her feeling cheap or used. Manners go a long way. Every man does not have game.

    • http://Singleblackmale.com MR 2 CENTS ($0.02)

      @sierra, lol whoa!! Yes it’s fair if someone wants to “go with the flow “. If that’s their approach to dating then so be it. The topic wasn’t about men having game lady,it’s about men/women being upfront with each other about their intentions when dating from the beginning. Also yes it is very possible for a man to be sleeping with a chick and not make her feel cheap or used. A man is very capable of treating a woman like a lady at all times and still not wish to pursue anything serious with her. Manners do go a long way for both sexes. And I’ll take your word for it about lots of dudes not having game lol.

  • http://www.singlikesassy.blogspot.com SingLikeSassy

    Closed mouths don't get fed.

  • Peter Parker

    As a 30+ year old man, yes please state your intentions early on. "I got no time for fake ones" lol

  • payne well

    SPEAK UP! People will do what you allow them to do or what they want to do. Keeping my mouth shut has never gotten me into a fulfilling, respectable relationship. However, speaking my mind has kept me from frivolous trysts that would only lead to hurt. I will tell a man my intentions and where I stand and then watch his actions. I don't fall for words with no legs. If he's down cool, but if he's not he wasn't the one for me. I expect the same from a man. Let's not waste both of our times guessing what might happen, and then months down the road blaming each other for where we ended.
    My recent post You were meant for me and I was meant for you: The importance of compatibility

    • http://Singleblackmale.com MR 2 CENTS ($0.02)

      @payne well, ” I don’t fall for words with no legs”. Aaah I like that lady,well said!

  • Smilez_920

    I don’t think their anything wrong with asking someone what their intentions are and telling them what your intentions are. But the key thing to remember is that they are “intentions” that doesn’t guarantee it will happen. I would say actions but I think actions and words should match. Plus with all the women that end up in the pseudo boyfriend situation (he’s not your man but you act like it, or you think he’s acting like a boyfriend even though when you ask him about it he’s like “WHAT, I said I wasn’t looking for anything serious)

    Were all adults, some of you have already decided if you’re going to have chex with the person you’re on a date with yet scared to ask him “his intentions”. I ask what the person’s intentions are. In all honesty I have gotten truthful answers. Anywhere from “I really like you and I want us to work on going to the next step” (this is the guy I’m currently dating), “I like you and I want to see where this go”, to I’m not looking for anything serious right now. If I don’t like the answer they’re giving me or if actions don’t match words I bounce.

  • http://www.singlikesassy.blogspot.com SingLikeSassy

    Came back to say, you can only hold someone accountable to what you discussed, not what you hoped and wished for, but what they SAID. Yes, watch the actions but you need for those actions to line up with what they SAID.
    My recent post Alright, alright, alrighttttttt, just keep on livin'

  • http://twitter.com/K_tenKS @K_tenKS

    I have a friend that met a really great guy and they seemed to hit it off. Eventually after a month or a little longer he wanted to take it to the next level. She basically freaked out and made it awkward for him. I'm not sure what all she told him but basically "no" was her response (she's not great at being direct, even with regular friendships). She told me that she still talks to her ex boyfriend that all of us absolutely HATE (he's super needy, isolates her from her friends, etc.) and she'll probably end up marrying him. He's just waiting for her to come around, while she is just messing around and having fun. I thought that was unbelievably selfish, to waste that guy's time. She blamed him for ruining whatever they had for wanting it to be serious.

    What I wish she would do in general, and especially when it comes to guys she meets, I wish she would state her intentions and give clear responses. Because she leads people on. And in this case, makes the guy feel bad when it wasn't his fault. After a few dates, I think intentions should be stated, despite whatever flirting may be going on. I personally have been through a lot of BS in relationships, so in order to cut the BS down, the next guy I start to date, after a few outings I'll state my intentions. It would be great if he did the same, but I've been shown that waiting makes it worse. It's not so much that me, being a woman, would call the shots, I'm just no longer wasting my time and I'm not trying to waste his.

  • WIM

    I have two views:

    For men: If we're keeping it 100, it's in the best interest for a man to keep his intentions vague (unless he knows what he wants from jump). Frankly, this allows him to figure out what he wants, yet benefit from a woman possibly providing him more than he wants. It's like going to the Flea Market. Sure, you might be willing to pay $100, but if the seller offers it up for $10, why on God's green Earth would you let them know you're willing to pay $100?

    For women: I think it's in a woman's best interest to find out what he wants from her or for him to explain what he wants from her as early as possible. Basically, take the inverse reasoning for all I explained above.

    Now, I've been around or on the block long enough to know women want men to look out for their best interest in some kind of "do on to others," "a good man," "a real men" and other altruistic principles of that nature. But, out here in the real world, as best I can tell most people look out for their own self-interest. If their self-interest align with yours, cool. If they conflict, they are more likely to look out for their own over yours. That's just a fact of life. I'm not saying it's the nicest fact but it is what it is. Expecting a random man you've chosen to date to automatically treat you like the woman (wife or other) you think you deserve to be treated as – without clarifying what that treatment entails – is noble at best but ignorant at worst.

    • Larry

      I'll drop the co-sign here.

  • cynicaloptmst81

    I think you should respond to what's happening accordingly. I don't think this is something to bring up during the first chat/date. With some, it'll be necessary for a woman or man to initiate this conversation. With some, you'll be able to tell by their words and actions without "the talk". For me, if I begin to feel uncomfortable its time to bring up what's bothering me or bounce.

  • Lovely

    I think as you get older in age (older than 30:-), you will find that the upfront and honest approach is better. The sooner the better….I mean as early as first conversation. If you know what you want, and not falter from them….than you will not want to waste any of your precious time playing the guessing game.

    After I let a man know what my expectations are. I then listen to their response. Women….all you have to do is listen to a man, let him talk. I guarantee he will let you know, exactly who he is, AND his intentions. Don't assume anything. Just listen and observe. Trust your instincts and you will be right every time.

    • Peter Parker

      Co-sign! Esp about being upfront with your intentions after 30+.

  • Amicus

    To answer the question, I think that *if you want to* you should tell a man what you want from him. I don't think telling him what you want will change what he wants from you, or what he's going to try to get from you – BUT, if it gives you peace of mind to put it on the table – do so.

    @ author, if you want to know his intentions —> You should (1) show him that you like him a lot (cook for him, laugh when he's trying to be funny, listen to him, watch sports with him, ask him for advice, don't criticize him) but (2) don't have sex with him. Then (3) keep not having sex with him. If you do this, he will eventually ask you what your intentions are. When he does, you can politely ask him to go first.

    You can call it a game if you want, but the best part of doing this is that while he's waiting for you to give him sex and you're waiting for him to ask you why you won't give him sex, you guys will get to know each other in other important ways. Also, if he stick around for a while without knowing whether you're a sure thing or not – that's a very good sign that sex isn't *all* he thinks about when it comes to you. Consequently, it will be easier for you to trust him when he says he wants more than sex.
    My recent post Proverbs 31: A Life Worth Living?

  • http://twitter.com/DamnPOPS @DamnPOPS

    When I meet another potential lady and we've had a few convos I'd like for us both to just put on the table what we ideally want. I don't want anymore confusion on either end.

  • langwichartz

    Another example of romantic endeavors sounding like corporate board meetings. The thing about "being up front" all the time is it has the tendency to put people on the defensive, and it doesn't allow tor organic reaction to occur. A guy may only wanting to smash, but he gets mesmerized by the other aspects of a woman and boom she has herself a husband. I'm not totally against being up front, but I do believe in being too forward. Just like ladies can scare men off with the whole "I'm looking for something serious" conversation up front. In my humble opinion, it stifles the chance for people to go through the process to change. To me it just makes things so inflexible and unnatural.

    • cynicaloptmst81

      Exactly!

      That's why I just said respond accordingly to what's happening. If a dude is being too pushy, tell him…and tell him as an FYI that you don't give away freebees (meaningless chex…if that applies). If the girl seems nonchalant, ask if she's cool with how things are going.

      Like WIM said, you don't know each other. How do you know what you want to even really communicate that after one date?

      • oh ok…

        Exactly….don't jump down his throat w/ monogamy. He should just be real w/ you.

        Tip of the day…I told my guy that I deserved the same amount of respect that he gives his friends.
        Its just the truth.

    • uNk

      +1 aint nothing like some good ol natural attraction and progression

  • Southerngyrl_

    Being up front is the only way I live. I don't want to waste anyone's time and I definitely don't want them to waste my time.

    Now, if you choose to believe that somehow I will change my mind later on, that is on you. When I find out, I will cut you loose. I am too old for that BS.

  • oh ok…

    Just wanted to say "kudos" to you for speaking up about your intentions.

    My guy still talks about how open and upfront I was in the beginning about my intentions, but that's only because "I don't have time". Period. By week 3, we had a real convo on both of our intentions and here we are(Dec.2yrs). It's good to have somebody that actually knows you and not a facade.

    Anywhooo good luck w/ your guy! ;-)

  • http://confessionsofaserialdaterinla.com/ Monique K

    You should always be upfront and honest about what your intentions are. I think lots of women get nervous about the answer they will get from a guy they just don't ask. They end up sleeping with him and then havethe conversation later. Bad move. Be grown and upfront. The worst think a woman can do is assume a man knows what they are thinking. I had a similar situation which I ended up blogging about. http://confessionsofaserialdaterinla.com/2013/09/
    My recent post Pillow Talk

  • GC

    I’ll start with a question: why is it assumed (by women mostly) that being forward about your sexual interests mean you’re seeking something casual? What some women fail to understand about us as men is our intentions ALWAYS include sex, and it is her job to decipher what else we might have in mind.

    To the scenario in front of us, I don’t follow what in his ACTIONS were making her uncomfortable. She said she enjoyed his company on separate occasions and he only SPOKE of sex. Was he otherwise making her uncomfortable? Apparently not. I take that to mean she was enjoying his charms and she’s ready to explore the possibility. For what other reason are you asking friends after seeing him just twice?

  • nur

    As impractical as it may sound, I like to be in control (as much as I can) of processes, situations and own the outcome, so I will like to know your intentions and if you won’t exactly spell it out, I’ll tell you mine and set a silent time within which if I don’t see actions that show me what you want is in line with what I want, I’m walking.

  • nur

    A better question will be: Do guys have long/short term thought out intentions when they see a girl, fancy her and actively try to chat her up?