We can be guilty of being so eager to reach that end game of whatever relationship we’re seeking that sometimes in our sprint to the finish line we forget how important it is to stop and smell the roses along the way; especially if the scent and look of those roses are a dead giveaway of what awaits us there. – Mr. SoBo
Dating is fun. Scratch that, dating is exciting. It’s also frustrating as hell and disappointing . But through it all, there is no denying the thrilling allure of being in the presence of someone you have yet to experience while eagerly searching for a romantic connection with him/her. After all, isn’t that why we date – to connect like dots and legos? Not my eggos.
It starts off with that highly anticipated telephone conversation you’ve both been eagerly awaiting since you first met. Two weeks in, a few phone calls and several text messages later, you have an actual date or two (if you’re lucky these days). Things are going seemingly well. So well, that all that goodness leads you to the bedroom. Thereafter, you find yourself noticing things about this person you are not particularly fond of. Perhaps its his ascot and 3 sets of extra tight suits that rub you the wrong way. Or perhaps its the wife and three children he was hiding that eventually turns you off.
Fellas, maybe she doesn’t like to use coasters and the thought of her leaving watermarks all over your precious glass tables makes you wanna chuck kittens out the window. Maybe its how filthy she keeps her own home or perhaps its her flare for dramatics that sends you running for the hills. Or simply, maybe this person’s personality just doesn’t mesh well with yours. Whatever the case, why does it seem that after finally sleeping with someone we discover we can’t stand them? Do we skeet ourselves to clarity? What are we seeing after sex that we didn’t see before having it? It’s almost as if getting naked and exchanging a few licks, some gyrations, and body fluids magically reveals that his bald spot isn’t really a part; or that her sweet sassiness is really just…well,… ‘Evelyn Lozadaness’.
Ratchet hyperbole aside, most times the indicators of incompatibility are much more subtle, but in our quest for that romance we either simply ignore the obvious, or haven’t gathered nearly enough information to determine if this person is either worth our time or a headache we’d like to happily avoid. Now although we’re not able to control who we are (in)compatible with, we can still avoid much of our dating woes if we were to tailor our approach just a tad.
What do I mean by that you ask? Welp, wrote a post ’bout it…like ta hear it go.
There are times we only want simple love affairs and other times we desire commitment; but how many of us desire to become friends? Yeah, you read that right – friends. Not friends as the end all be all of our romantic endeavors, but actual friends before AND in addition to the romance being sought after?
Far fetched concept right? Seriously, as much as we theoretically understand the importance of a solid foundation to any relationship we desire, the reality is that in practice, much of our romantic affairs are built on straws. Sometimes its intentional, other times not so much. The thing is a lot of our modern ‘dating’ typically follows this pattern:
Meet ->> Interest piqued->> SEX ->> Attempt to build a relationship/or simply go your separate ways.
Somewhere in the middle of all this and typically after we’ve explored the bedroom is when a good many of us attempt to dig deeper into who this person actually is, or at least pay closer attention to them. We want deeper intimate, romantic relationships/connections and we want them now! Fcuk first, ask questions later. Can you blame us? I mean, that curiosity and desire to explore new terrain can be rather intoxicating.
Yet such an approach often finds us in undesirable relationships with experiences we later regret and/or want to forget, or at the police station filing for a restraining order. Now this isn’t to suggest that developing a friendship first will somehow help you to avoid all the nonsense. However, it might place you in a better position to avoid taking things to a level with someone you’re probably better off not going there with.
That said, here are 5 Benefits to Being Friends Before Lovers.
1. You’ll determine your (in)compatibility
With dating, we are driven by motive. We want companionship, love, sex or some combination of the three. The hard part is figuring out which of those three things the person you’re seeing wants as well (assuming they even want anything from you at all). By putting your agenda to the side, you’ll eliminate the dating pressures and expectations which will result in a more genuine interaction. You’ll find it easier to focus more on the actual individual and not your ‘wants’ from them; making it easier to recognize early on what you have in common (or not so much), and uncover any undesirable personality and character traits.
2. You’ll build better trust
This is the glue. If someone were to ask you to name two people you trust and respect in life, chances are you would name either a family member and/or *drumroll*, you guessed it, a friend. Whether you have three besties or just one, there is no denying the trust and respect that exists in the friendship you share. Those things are established because there tends to be much more openness, realness and honesty within a friendship. Not as much fear of judgment. You simply allow yourself to be who you are. Plus, there is no agenda.
When dating, trust is more complicated. We are more preoccupied with being judged, and since there is an ‘unknown’ agenda on both ends, we tend to be much more guarded with our feelings making it a little more challenging to establish trust. But that aint stopping us from fcukin’ though. Funny how that works, right.? We trust more with our bodies than we do with our hearts. Sh*t some of us don’t even trust our wives or husbands. But our friends!?….we usually trust with our lives. How many of you reading this have friends that know you more intimately than your significant other ever will? How’s that for trust?
3. It’ll improve your chances at experiencing a more fulfilling relationship
How many of us have had more than our fair share of short-lived ‘romances’? I’m talking anything under six months. Chances are may of those instances left much to be desired. Its a gamble indeed. Yet there is no denying the dependability, growth and fulfillment we experience with our friends. Sure the dynamic is different, but a romance built similarly (in addition to the fire and desire) could be the difference between having another ‘passerby’ and the type of relationship you crave.
4. It may keep your ‘list’ shorter
And I aint talking about the one that Santa checks twice a year. Fcuk your wish list and your grocery list. I’m talking about that list. No slut shaming here because life is about experiences; and truth be told all of our experiences including the one’s we feel we could have done without, serve a purpose. They all contribute to our personal growth. But philosophical bullsh*t aside, we all know damn well we wouldn’t have wasted nah a condom or two minutes of our lives with some of them ‘fresh faces’ we let into our bedrooms had we exercised a little due diligence. If only life came with a do over button.
5. You get to witness their crazy, so you don’t make it yours
If this person is already exhibiting slightly concerning behavior while you are getting to know one another, can you imagine how much more turnt up it will be after ya’ll cross that bridge into lovers territory? I don’t know about you, but I like my family pet cute, cuddly, unboiled and… alive. Anyhoot, what do I know – it aint like I got the answers anyway. Sway.
So my OM family, what are your thoughts on all of this? Do you believe there are benefits to being friends before lovers, or is that an unrealistic approach to dating? Does sleeping with someone open our eyes to their ‘faults’, or is it that we just stop turning a blinds eye to what we already knew all along? What would you add to this list?