I Date for Convenience

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Now this is convenience.
Now this is convenience at its best.

This past week while I was takin’ my hiatus from blogging, I was havin’ one of those all too familiar conversations with one of my boys. We were discussing factors that go into a relationship that often go unmentioned because nobody really wants to admit them. What I’m going to talk about today is something that allows many relationships to succeed (though potentially for the wrong reasons) and also allows many to fail.

For those of you who follow me on Twitter, you may remember me posting a question last week about how much the element of convenience plays in a relationship. Of the 30 people that responded, 29 agreed that convenience plays a larger role that folks admit. Quite honestly, though I agree, I was surprised at the landslide victory that convenience took in the poll. I honestly expected that there would be a good number of people on each side of the fence, but most were willing to call it how they saw it.

I thought about my own past relationships going from high school through college and onward into my post-collegiate professional life. I look back at why a lot of those relationships lasted as long as they did and why damn near all of them failed. Convenience played an unspoken but substantial role. In high school I lived near the girl or went to a school close by so it was easy to hang out and do the things that high school kids do (with protection of course). Everything was peachy with the chick I was dating when I headed to college, but within 6 months or so of me being there, sh*t went downhill. Most people would say that I was pulled away by college commitments or that there was no way I’d have been able to behave given what was availability to me on campus. That may be true. But the realness of it is that it wasn’t convenient anymore. Neither of us could have certain needs fulfilled whenever we wanted. It required work.

See Also:  Are Women More Loyal Than Men?

Similar things applied with the next couple women I dated. Everything was great and peachy until one person got busy with their schedule and then things just tumbled to their demise. Even when I graduated and continue to date a girl from college and we had the distance thing down, things were great until schedules began conflicting and trips to see each other weren’t as regular. Insecurity and immaturity grew uglier heads indeed, but within all that was the factor of inconvenience. Both sides didn’t want to pull their own weight because the convenience was no longer there.

I’ve been in and out of a couple things since then (pause). In those situations, there came a point where the relationships were challenged and for a variety of reasons they failed. I can say that convenience/inconvenience may not have been the largest factor, but it was there nonetheless. And as I think about this a bit more the general context, I can’t help but to think about another word—settling.

The moral of the story is that most people are selfish, no matter how much they claim to be giving of themselves. And more importantly when ish hits the fan and things are no longer a walk in the park, people fold. Not as many folks are up to the challenge as they claim, which is evident in divorce rates. Not quite a happy ending to this post, but honesty is honesty. Nonetheless, what do you think about this idea of relationship convenience? Do you agree or disagree with it’s prevalence? Challenge me. Agree with me. Share your thoughts. Let’s get it poppin’!

See Also:  You've Got Some Splainin' to Do: How Social Media Complicates Relationships

Conveniently Yours,

slim jackson

Comment(42)

  1. I agree, "people fold." This one remark stood out to me big-time. Both men & women buckle under pressure…I don't care WHAT we go through, it's HOW the situation is handled that makes all the difference. Once someone folds it can become very clear how "convenient" the relationship was. Great post!

  2. I definitely agree that convenience plays a factor. The guy I dated while I was in law school graduated a year before me(he was in B-school). He moved 2 hours a way, which was doable, but he received a consultant job that kept him on the road constantly. We rarely saw each other, didn't talk as often, and the webcam loving was not cutting it. I slowly started pulling away, because I realized once I moved out of the state, it would be even more difficult to keep things going strong. It was hard with the distance, and all the travel on his job. Even when I wanted to visit him, he was never available b/c his job would have him in other locations for weeks at a time. It really sucked. But then again, I think if we wanted to make it work, we would have done more to try to make it last. And maybe that's the main point. These relationships of convenience often don't work b/c the parties aren't truly committed to making the relationship work.

  3. Sure convenience plays a role but once you decide that this is THE person, you find a way to make it work. I was in a relationship with a guy for over five years and we never lived in the same city. We both traveled for work so we took pains to coordinate our schedules so we were in the same cities for 3-4 days of at least 3 weeks per month. It wasn't convenient but we were determined to make it work… right up until it didn't anymore (whole different story). So I agree with N.I.A. – once the commitment is there, anything is possible.

    1. I agree that when the commitment is there that anything is possible. However, I feel like the greater majority of people don't step up to the plate. How you and that boo managed to coordinate schedules is actually quite amazing.

  4. Yeah, I agree with the comment above.. Men or women as long as they are under pressure and problem they will really get mad. Every human loses it's temper..

  5. You ain't nevuh lied!! It's very possible that you wind up married to someone because it was convenient. How do I know?? Remind me to tell y'all about the time I almost eloped. Pure convenience. And since you can do it in VA with no waiting period or blood tests, the only thing that stopped me was three minutes of clarity in the shower.

  6. People don't like difficulty…once you throw difficult in a situation the love of your love becomes "that dude/chick I be talking to." Once a relation ship stops being microwavable, people start looking for ways to get out. Like One Chele said, you will make it work if you want to. Mr Mister enrolled in a accelerated degree course in Florida; he was in Florida for a solid year, every six weeks I was on a plane for a long weekend with him, why? because he was worth it.

    People who find that things come easy to them often don't like stumbling blocks, they don't want to work for something they feel isn't worth it or if more options become available. Are you dating the person because they are there or because of the person.

  7. I'm in a situation now that is challenging for me. Its a long distance relationship. I am really trying to make it work. Everyday I question how long we can do this but when I think about him not being in my life….I am re-energized to keep it going. Its a choice you make.

      1. We've been together a little over a year. We only live about two hours from each other…it wasn't that bad in the summer. But, we seem to have fallen off a little bit since there have been vehicle issues…..

  8. It's called the propinquity effect (look it up on Wikipedia). Basically we form relationships with those whom we encounter often & are close in physical or psychological proximity. Or, in other words, out of sight, out of mind. Its just human nature. My neighbor beat out a guy I'd been seeing who lived 45 min away….propinquity effect (and gas was $4.35/gallon & I was broke).

    [End nerd moment]

  9. I certainly wish there was some convenience in my relationships. I think inconvenience is normal while convenience is extraordinary. Uh…I'll explain later…

      1. For me, there has never been a convenience geography wise. When I was a teen, most of my relationships involved girls from other hoods all over the city or out in Maryland. I had an overwhelming amount of freedom and responsibility, so I could never meet a girl who had the same or didn't have some overbearing parent blocking by steez.

        As I got older, it seems like I met women in other cities more than my own. Hell, I was involved with someone in the UK…don't ask…its cool but way too much maintenance. Needless to say, I'm burned out and disenchanted with LDRs. Now me finding a woman within a 20 minute drive with some act right? That's the extraordinary part!

  10. Convenience is the reason why I don't date. Depending on what client i'm assigned to, I can travel for weeks/months on end. I don't want to start something right now only to see it fizzle because im flying out Sunday and flying back in Friday night for every week. I'll just focus on the career for a few years and see how stable my travel schedule is, thats the more "convenient" route.

  11. i pretty much agree. convenience plays a large role in relationships. its easy to build on a relationship when everything is peachy keen. when that first bump comes about and things aren't so convenient anymore, its up to each person in the relationship to go beyond their comfort zone and make it work. all too often when the convenience factor in a relationship is lost people take the easy way out and just dip (or worst they do them). its a harsh reality.

  12. The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.

    Martin Luther King Jr., Strength to Love, 1963

    Sums it up well for me. I settled a lot and paid for it, now I know my standards and adhere to em. Its easy to bounce when you have conflict or do something dumb. Good luck to those that can ascend beyond the foolishness

  13. I once worked with a highly functional mentally retarded guy. He was in his mid 20s. He moved to a new apartment and broke up with his girl friend two weeks later. They had been together over two years and seem to be a getting along great up until then. When I asked him why he said she now lived 3 bus transfers away and 3 was too many.

    Convenience was his determining factor.

    1. W.O.W.

      Is the most telling part of the story that he was functionally retarded, or that he parted with her because of lack of convenience?

      Because really, while I understand convenience, in a situation like that I would just assume he didn't have the rationale to realize love (if it was love) is a tad stronger than 3 bus transfers.

      Then again, having to ride 4 buses to get to the one you love is a bit hectic.

      Maybe he had a point.

        1. No Lili he knew what he was giving up. But she had moved past the convenience versus benefits point. He replaced her in like two weeks.

          We had a program for mentally retarded people that had them do the basic cleaning jobs and routine off work in the building. Most of the workers were women and he was like a god in this group. He was smart enough to never date the women who worked with him but he would push up on their friends.

          It is my goal in life to write a book about this dude because he was no joke.

  14. I agree that people are selfish and when the tough gets going the selfish follow. You always know who your friends are or if your SO actually cares about you in these moments. I had an ex who was out of work for over 8 months and within 2 weeks of his new job he broke up with me. So it was convenient for his broke ass to lay up under me, but things quickly changed. Lol…I can laugh now but how dumb was I? To be in a relationship for mere convenience is purely selfish and all out mean. Somethings are inevitable and long distance is just plain ol hard. But other than those instances to dip when a challenge erupts just means you're a coward.

  15. When I graduated college I was living back home with the folks. There are two women who I dated for awhile because of the convenience of having somewhere else to sleep. One lived far from me, but pretty close to my job. One was super close to my house, so I would go over there as a way to escape my own house.

    So … with the latter of those situations, when I got my own place … she could never get me to visit.

  16. Convenience is something I don't usually factor in when I'm dating. For me its convenient to be…well, inconvenient.

    I'm dating someone now who is on a totally different schedule than mine as far as days of the week and is also a full time, single parent. We see eachother about once a week, talking during the week, and I….kinda like it.

    It's just enough time to enjoy his company without getting to deep into anything…

    More hours spent= feelings= potential for me to flee.

    I have time to work, study, go to the gym, date other people, hang with girl friends, and fill out the rest of my life in general.

    I am most comfortable in the medium feeling/ medium convenient zone. I don't care if you live in Brooklyn or the BX. Long as you can make it to me once a week..I'm good. "Less is more" works for me at this moment.

  17. @truthinrumors

    I wish more women had that attitude. Im @ a point right now where I work the corporate 9-5( may travel), have to study for the CPA exam, do the spiritual church stuff, blahblahblah. No real time to hook up more than 1-2x a week.

    I agree that if you are in a serious relationship that can go the next level, you should fight to keep it and disregard convenience. I think the key problem is that the lack of convenience kills relationships before they grow. Nobody goes out of their way if things become too inconvenient in a new relationship, there isn't enough time invested yet.

    1. I've been known to lay low or be MIA for weeks (sometimes by choice, sometimes because of work/ other priorities), and suddenly throw down in the kitchen, or clean ur shit from top to bottom. Just because.

      But its because my schedule allowed it, I didn't mind at the time, or because i felt so inclined. It was convenient for me and it didnt F up my routine.

      On the flip side, I also think that when you NEED and WANT to see someone, you'll make time or do what it takes. You'll know its worth the trouble, and it will just come.

      But if its not organic, or natural, or I dont feel right without your presence in my hellish and CRAZY week….

      Take a number.

  18. I'm in a relationship now that was based upon convenience (we went to neighboring schools). Since we graduated its been a struggle to keep the relationship going but we made a commitment to one another. Every month we choose who visits whom and split the cost of flying. So far its been okay and it gives me something to look foward to at the end of the month. I think if we hadn't been dating for almost 2 years before our big move then maybe the we would have gone through the the trouble.

  19. Convenience plays a big role, but don't ever ever EVEEEEER say the word out your mouth when talking to your significant other. I once asked the question is it wrong for me to require that the women I talk to have a car? I just hate having to go pick them up all the time. I realize now that may have been too much, but it wasn't too far fetched.

    I think that in terms of distance, distance works differently for different people. It's all about what stage in life you are in.

    1. Ppl may think it's a bit much, but I totally understand. Most (read: all) women that I have known haven't dated men without cars.

      When I was younger I couldn't deal with guys who didn't have cars because, well, I couldn't drive. However they never had an issue riding out to pick me up.

      When I got a little older and started driving I realized what a hassle it must have been for my current BF and ex to have to pick me up and drop me off every time we went out.

    2. "I think that in terms of distance, distance works differently for different people. It’s all about what stage in life you are in."

      That is very true; distance is completely subjective.

      My boo and I…when we were at home base (suburbs of Maryland) we're about 45 minutes a part (on the highway no less). People think it's a crazy distance, but I really enjoy driving so flying across one end of 495 to the other has never really been a hassle for us.

      Besides like I mentioned in my earlier comment, he used to drive all the way over to my side of town, scoop me, take me out, drop me off and drive all the way across the highway home. Again, when I finally started driving and realized what a distance it was…I felt a tad guilty. lol

      His apartment by his university (in Va) is 2hrs from home base (DC area).

      My apartment by my university (eastern MD) is 2 hrs from home base.

      The distance between our apartments? 4 hours. LOL!

      Totally extreme, but totally worth it.

      When I was learning to drive, he basically taught me how to highway drive (i.e. get used to driving long distances). I'm eternally grateful because I'm one of the few women in my family who can/will drive long distances. If not me, everything is left to the men (which is fine, but I like to be in control).

      Point is, I love to drive, he loves to drive, and we're in love. We're both on the road pretty often anyway, so making the drive on a whim or planning our time and visits isn't problematic for us.

      It works…for us. Would it work with another guy? I doubt it.

      I guess when you've invested time, energy and emotions and truly appreciate what you have, it's easier to make the effort.

  20. @Dr. J – I have more long term ambitions so I get it out there. If they flip over questions concerning convenience, I feel as if I've saved myself mad time. I find that convenience only really affects those who are very clingy and need that physical interaction 4-5nights a week mandatory, no matter what the cost.

  21. I don't think what you are describing is what I would consider "dating for convenience." When I hear that phrase, I usually think of someone dating someone they would not ordinarily date, but since that person was around, (and pickings were Slim, lmao) the 2 people ended up together. I think its different when you get separated by distance from someone that you have already started to date, or someone you would normally be attracted to, vs dating someone who was just around because it was convenient. Am I making sense???…

  22. This article made me smile. My man and I are hundreds of miles apart (and will be for a few more months) and he has put in so much work to make our thing work (I hope I have too), we try to improvise as much as possible so we don't miss out on each others lives but the "inconvenience" of distance has made us so strong (thank God for technology though, we can see each other almost everyday), the physical touch thing is not present all the time but it builds up anticipation for when we see each other.

    What I thought was going to be an inconvenience has made us better.

  23. @ nyhoop – I hear what you're sayin…workin with what we got around us. Doesn't this notion of convenience always depend on where we are at the time of these "convenient" relationships? I see two situations here. One, where you settle for the people around despite the preferences you may have once had, and the other where you're with someone you'd generally be attracted to, but when that stops, going out of your way for it becomes questionable.

    Both of these situations are unfavorable. I see 90% of people posting on here talking about their success and ambition. Why do we go for these hot jobs and careers? Because we feel enormous potential in ourselves, and want to max out on our abilities. Same applies with relationships – we want to max out by being with a person we feel is everything we, as individuals, could want. Unfortunately, for some people, there's always going to be something else out there…even during the course of a marriage that lasts for decades.

    1. "Unfortunately, for some people, there’s always going to be something else out there…even during the course of a marriage that lasts for decades."

      I didn't get to explore this in the post, but this is also an excellent point. I think it once again goes back to the selfishness of people. People treat their relationships and careers similarly. Many, but not all, are always looking for the next best thing.

  24. Most things we do in life are based on convenience, not just relationships. That's why when we graduate high school and graduation, there is always a weeding out effect that takens place regarding friends. The ones who matter stick around but most people you were hanging out with b/c they were there and it's convenient. Also, most people stick with their jobs because its convenient (and safe in this economy!) not because they're passionately in love with what they do.

    I believe dating is primarily a game of convenience. So many of my girlfriends date guys that they're not even that crazy about but it's convenient. I think part of it stems from the fear that they'll end up alone or never find someone better, so as you said before, they settle. It's pressure, especially on females, to be with someone when you're in your 20s. I've been guilty of continuing to date a guy out of convenience but then I cut it off quick when they do things that annoy me too much to keep it going. These days it feels like it's worse to be single than to be dating someone out of convenience and I think that's pretty sad. I am trying, actively, to never settle in everything I do.

  25. Oh baby I have killed modern couples for this instant behavior did a lot of that killin on this blog. Lemme refresh: todays couple dates as if life now as a couple will be a life of peaks never a valley which is a sign of weakness. We demand the Other enhance our lives now eff a struggle, shoot the degree better had make the Other mildly rich. Old school got married and sum moved back in wit the folks to save money we, either wreck our credit to get the lifestyle or dated the dude that did it. Last I stay asking women whom go one to knock their ex or baby father what they saw and what was his redeeming accomplishment. To date its always his stuff and the sex.My friends this is what you get when the surface becomes depth

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