James is certainly not my boyfriend, even though we might act like a couple when we are together. We call each other friends and I am perfectly okay with that. I’m not a huge fan of labels/titles anyways. And I would much rather people know me by my name instead of referring to me as “James’ girl”. And we've talked about (and agreed to) seeing other people but making sure we are priority to one other. I don’t give a shit as long as I’m number one on his list. This weekend we had our first argument. We've been friends for a good few months now, and we've started getting, dare I say it, “serious”. I guess once a person’s in your life consistently, you start to have expectations. And it's aggravating when people fall short of that. And you become a little more vulnerable too as your trust and comfort levels increase, which the other person might not be used to.
James has been having a pretty rough time. I won't lay out all of his details, but it's the usual, you know when the bullshit piles up so high that you no longer see the light at the end of the tunnel. We have all been there. I make sure I point that out here, not to play it down, but to let him know that it's a part of life, like puberty. And I know I'm not handling it well. He's been calling more than usual, running through his list of hundred and one issues each time. I have tried to listen patiently and be a supportive “friend”, but after a few weeks of these two hour conversations about his issues... Well, not that I didn’t want to talk to him, but I was tired of listening to his problems. I have some of my own that need handling too, but you don’t see me throwing all of it on you like you’re my therapist. And it’s kind of hard to go about solving my own problems when I’m sitting here listening to his. Selfish? Maybe. But I didn’t sign up for this. What happened to our free from care, talk about nothing of significance conversations? I used to call and ask how his day was and he'd have some good news or something real funny to tell me. Now all I get are issues. And misery is damn contagious. Not a good look!
But I listened to him anyway, because I figure, he trusts in me to speak to me about this is. It’s the least I could do. I guess this is what people in relationships of even the platonic type do, right? Be there for each other? Plus, I figure the faster his woes get resolved, we can get back to the business of being happy and unattached. After weeks of bad news, he calls me with more Friday night while I'm at dinner with another boo, having a pretty intense conversation. I listen patiently, once again, and offer a few tidbits of advice, as my date sits there, pretending like he isn’t bothered by how rude I am for answering my phone in the middle of a conversation with him.
James then goes into something else, another problem, and I cut him off nicely, asking if I can call him back as soon as I’m done with dinner.
"What’d you say?"
I explain to him again, and this time more sweeter than the first time. What I don't say to him is that I'm a little preoccupied right now, thinking about nothing with any worries enjoying this unusually nice date with this other boo who I usually just ignore for his ass.
"Whatever. Peace." Click.
What the fuck? I stare at my phone. Is he seriously mad at me?
And a few minutes later, the other boo heads to the bathroom and I take a moment to call James. The phone rings a few times and then goes to voicemail. I hate leaving voicemails but I do it anyways. "Hey boo, just wanted to call to make sure you are okay. You sounded upset earlier, wanted to make sure everything's good with us. Call me back ASAP."
He usually hits me right back when he misses a call, even if it's just to say he's busy. But nope, not this time.
Three hours or so later, I go to bed.
I suck at sleeping so a few hours later, I wake up. It's like 3:30 AM. He’s probably just leaving from some party with his boys. I wait a while. Check my email/myspace/facebook. Then I call him and tell him I’m sorry for acting like an asshole. I tell him that I appreciate him. And how I'm so used to him now that I forget some of the assholes I used to deal with. And I'm so glad that he's not like that.
"That's good for you." Excuse me? Maybe I just woke him up?
He tells me he just got in from a party, like I had suspected. "Um, are you feeling alright, is everything okay with you?
"Yeah, I’m fantastic," he says sarcastically.
Are you serious?
"Why don't you go back out with your friend?" he says.
Oh no he didn't! You have got to be kidding me.
It's pretty evident that he is inebriated and is acting like a jerk. And that he clearly doesn't want to speak to me, so I don't argue. I don't know what I did, but no matter how bad I want to stay on the phone with him, I'm not going to beg any nigga to stay on the phone with me.
"Alrighty then. (Pause) Peace." Click.
I don't hear from him all Saturday. He calls me pretty much every Saturday morning once he has recovered from his hangover. He didn't that day. I figured he needs some time because he's upset about some dumb shit. It really was starting to get to me because I didn’t think I did anything wrong. I finally called him around 5 PM to ask him why he’d acting like a bitch and he basically just tells me he's busy and can't talk.
This time I decide to just fall back. I don't know what the hell is wrong with him. He sounds real bothered when I call and has nothing to say. He hasn’t returned my call. This is the longest we've gone without speaking to each other and I can’t front, I kind of miss him. Hey, I can be needy sometimes too. Maybe he needs his space and I am just crowding him?
I don't hear from him for the rest of the day. I’m still in fallback mode because I know he has work Saturday night, so I decide not to send him his routine text before he heads out. The one time I actually fall asleep before 1 AM, around 3:30 AM, I get woken up to “Sexual Healing”, the ringtone James had set for himself on my phone. Surprise Surprise, in typical asshole fashion, it's a ONE word text from him. "Wow."
I'm trying to figure out what the hell he's so damn amazed by when he calls as I’m still texting him back asking for an explanation to the fuckery of a text message he sent.
So I answer. All I hear is him yelling and complaining.
My first instinct was to flip out on him and then just proceed to write him off. But its still less than two weeks into the new year, I remembered my resolution about being less of an asshole and to trying to be patient and kind even when you feel like being an asshole. I'm slowly getting more and more aggravated as the foolishness keeps flowing out of his mouth.
But I decided to stay on the phone for the next 2 hours talking it out until the shit was completely resolved. He was pissed that I blew him off (his words, not mine) on Friday. I was wide awake by then(and although less aggravated, still far from calm) so I stared at the ceiling fan and thought about life, what I often do when I am trying to sleep or figure out my life out my life.
I’ve come to realize I've avoided relationships for the past few years. There are a few reasons that I’m so predictable and that I rotate dudes on such a regular basis, as my friend pointed out, I change dudes with seasons. And I know why. I don't think I'm built for this relationship shit. At the first sign of real conflict, somewhere around where the new season begins, I’m out, PEACE. Not that I haven’t done the whole relationship thing before but I just can’t be in one right now. I have much more important things to worry about, like my career.
I keep thinking, what the fuck does a healthy relationship even mean? What’s entailed in it? I have to not only figure out which way I feel about something and why, but figure out what my significant other is feeling too? And does it mean I have to care even when I don't feel like it and listen to him too? Do I have to be tolerant and kind even when I don't feel like it? Do I have to hold back my usual assholishness and my tongue from saying reckless shit just so he doesn’t think I “blew him off”? I have to forgive and pretend like I’m over it? I have to spend time to work through a conflict and move on when it's resolved? I have to take my time out to deal with his problems while dealing with my own too? SMH
Don’t get me wrong though, James is a really good dude. It’s the first time in a good minute that I am actually feeling someone the way I feel him. But I think I've been in an open relationship and single for far too long, too used to thinking about just me. And I know I’m going to sound selfish but, there's a part of me that likes not having to be the primary person who's concerned about another person's problems.
Can I even do this relationship thing with James? Can I keep building with him to see where this goes? Couldn’t Valentine’s Day be in a few months instead of next month? I know he’s going to want to be with me on Valentine’s Day and I know I’m going to have to say yes if I want to keep him around. Then what if he says those 3 forbidden words, “I Love You”, I can’t lie and say I do too. Most people think Valentine’s Day is spending it with the one you love. Unless of course he can look over that and think like the Boss Lady does and realize that the real underlying theme of Valentines Day isn’t all flowers, candy and the mushy gushy stuff, it’s NOOKIE! I just hope he doesn’t try and get serious after Valentine’s Day. This is how it always happens. Then there’s going to be the talk about how we should stay monogamous. And I don’t know if I’m ready for that, I really don’t.
This brings me to my final question:
Do you think it’s possible to love someone, and only them, while messing with other people?
MY ANSWER: Since I am all for open relationships, I think it is. I have loved someone who I was in an open relationship with. I think every other person that we mess around with is just a reminder to us why we are with the person we are with. Let’s say if your significant other leaves you for one of the jump offs, then it was inevitable. They were bound to leave you sooner or later.