Back in May, I came across Ashley's blog post about companionship, relationship "goals," and the overall "talking" idea. I immediately had to tap in and read her "Dating" or Dating? post because at the time, I was dealing with my own fair share of "companionship" issues to say the least. Once I read it, I felt like I wasn't alone. I wasn't the only person confused about how hard it is to date or find love in this day and age. I got in contact with her to discuss the topic in further detail and the conversation we had was much needed! We were going through similar issues, we completely understood one another. In our interview below, Ashley and I talk about the difficulties of dating and how we should change the stigmas of the "talking" stage.
Tell me about yourself.
I am originally from Harlem, I’ve graduated with a Bachelor’s in Audio Radio two years ago. My main dream with that was to be on the radio or do podcasting. In this generation, it’s hard to find anything in your field and that has always discouraged me. One day I was like “hey, why don’t you do a blog?” It wasn’t much easier for me but it was more of a different outlet because it’s hard for me to have a radio outlet. With blogging, I really just thought about it and within a week I was just like “alright, I’ll do it” but I didn’t know it was going to get that much good feedback. It was like, “oh this is good.”
Do you feel its been the best way for you express your ideas or do you wish you had another outlet as well?
I feel both. For me, its been very therapeutic. I overthink every single thing and I’m always in my head but it’s just to be able to write everything and be that open because that was always the thing I felt uncomfortable about. I sometimes wish I had a different outlet, I wanted to do the podcast and I intended to do it but I didn’t stick with it. For the mean time, the blog has been doing it for me.
The blog post that you have, you posted it on March 20th, and you titled it "Dating" or Dating? Just explain a bit of why you wanted to discuss this topic and what made you feel so strongly about it.
I was in a relationship for about three years that ended last year. For me, I noticed like, dang, this is boyfriend and girlfriend but coming out of a relationship it’s a different ballgame. It’s like, okay, you can’t jump into a new relationship, like, you can talk to this person but what are we talking for? It’s levels to it. It’s like okay, you’re fresh out of relationship so there’s talking, there’s pre-talking, and it was just a whole different thing. I didn’t know how to play that game. With me and my friends, we always talk about that and I don’t know how to play this field at all.
What the hell is the talking stage anyway?
EXACTLY! Like in high school, it’s like okay… talking. You guys are just “talking” because you like each other and it can possibly develop into a relationship. So I knew what that was. But, not like, “oh you guys talk and you can have sex and not have anything.” It was just weird and I didn’t understand it at all.
It’s almost like we don’t want to say “friends with benefits” because it sounds crazy.
But that’s literally what it is. That’s the crazy part. That’s exactly it.
What is your take on women and men dating multiple people at a time?
For me, in my freshman year of college I decided to talk to two people at the same time and it’s not that it didn’t go well but they just so happen to find out about each other because Harlem is so small. The back and forth was draining because you always like one person more which is really weird. You end up liking one person more so all the feelings go there and when you do something, you feel a bit bad. I would find myself lying like, “I’m finna go to sleep” knowing I was going to see the next person or talking to the next person. I actually had one of them call me out like, “you don’t look tired.” For me, or women in general, I don’t know. I can only speak for myself because I have feelings and you usually hear people say “act accordingly.” But no, I act on how I feel. For guys it’s different because for them… well I have a lot of guy friends so they break it down for me. It’s still stupid to me. I get it but I still don’t get it. With guys, you can talk to X amount of girls but it’s that ONE. You can’t let her go, you can’t change how you feel about her because it’s more serious but you don’t REALLY take her serious because you still talk to this one, that one, and the third. And they get so used to “I’m going to talk to so and so for years” because those are the type of girls that they’re used to. I’m not like those girls. I’m not talking to you for two, three years. I had someone I was talking to tell me, “it’s crazy, I take you so much more seriously because I don’t buy girls gifts that I've been talking to for two years.” I looked at him like, “what?” Why are you even talking for two years? But that’s what they’re used to. So, based on society, that’s acceptable for them… as a woman, they expect you to take that, you have to deal with that. I’m not dealing with that.
It seems that women often commit to men that we aren't attached to more than men are willing to commit to women.
It’s almost unfair how women can’t seem to date casually but men can.
It’s definitely a double standard. You can’t talk to this one, this one, or this one but it’s like 50% of the time you don’t know what that person’s doing. I’ve had people hide shit in the craziest ways. You never really know. So in my head it’s like… you were doing that in the beginning and he was like, “what guy wouldn’t want his girl to hold him down?” I was like, “but I’m not your girl.” It’s really all about what you believe in your heart.
What needs to happen to break this cycle? What do you think needs to be done to reduce the amount of time people are just “talking?”
What I found myself doing over the past few years… well 2017 was pretty rough for me. However, I found myself acknowledging my worth more. Now, I speak up for myself because before I would just stay quiet like “oh no, he’s not doing anything.” But now I’m starting to realize, there’s seven days in a week, why am I only seeing you for one? You have to put that foot forward like, “look, listen. Something isn’t right here.” It’s kind of like offering ultimatums but there should be no reason to do that. Like, “get it together or I’m going to leave.” NO. This is what I want but if we’re not on the same page then… but that’s the thing, knowing your worth. Expressing that. This is what I am, this is who I am, this is what I want and if they’re with it or not then that’s how it goes. I say that and it sounds so easy but no, it’s hard because I would say all those things and it would just be like okay, it’s going to change next time… things are going to be different. But you definitely have to put your foot down.
Often times, we think relationships are really serious when we move in with each other or have kids with one another. Why do we need to rush to a commitment to realize “hey, i really love you.” Why can’t we establish that and work on growing and becoming better versions of ourselves first and we talk about the next steps in years to come.
We forget how young we are and fail to realize that these relationships may or may not last. What is your take on that?
The person I was with previously, for three years, we met in college. It was different for me because he established that we were going to do a bunch of things and he would tell his mom, in front of me, “I’m going to marry her. I’m going to live with her.” And so, I went with that. I went with the fairytale. I thought that in my heart he was the one. That’s how I felt at that time. It was like, okay we’re going to live together and then one day, he told me, “I don’t want to live with you anymore.” I was so hurt from that. I was just wondering why? It’s crazy because he was explaining it to me and I was so self absorbed and hurt about it that now I’m like, “oh shit, he’s right.” He was telling me it had nothing to do with me and he always told me that. Anytime someone does something it’s not necessarily because of you… that’s them. He was explaining to me,” you know, we’re young and I want to have my first apartment by myself, I’ve never had the experience to live by myself.” I was sad about it, it felt like the end was coming and the end was shortly after that (laughs). But, I never understood that. However, now, I understand why people want to take their time. Being out of a relationship, it was like well who’s next? I had to realize, “wait… I have time.”
In the post I said, “we think we get forever with these people but we don’t.” That’s a heartbreaking thing. You really think this it, this is good… but half the time it may not be you, it may be them. The rug can be snatched from under you at any moment. I’ve learned that and I’m still learning that. It doesn’t have to be by you or by that person… but maybe by God. Understanding that maybe this wasn’t the track it was supposed to go on right now.
Getting comfortable in a relationship can be the easiest thing to do but it isn't always the best. Why stay in a relationship for comfort rather than being single if you aren't really happy?
And I think another thing we do, because I did it, you can’t date while you’re healing. It’s the worst because for me, I’m still not over the relationship I was in before. It’s been about a year and two months and I’m still not over that. While I was talking to this person, and I recently started talking to him again, in the beginning I made it known that I just got out of a relationship and it was like, okay he knew that. In my head I used to think he was playing off that by saying, “I can’t be with you now because you’re still not over it.” But he was trying to help me in a way. I never had someone do that. At first I took it as him using that as an excuse but I had to realize that I really wasn’t over it. I knew I wasn’t but I would never tell him that. I had to realize that I had to make a choice. Do you want to be with the person you’re talking to and still miss your ex or what? It was like okay, you’re talking to this boy for a year… you have to figure it out. My ex-boyfriend is living his best life and he’s not coming back. At least not right now. I still cry over it sometimes and then I’m like, “no, no, no.”
Men always conveniently come back when women are healing and finally starting to move on.
The healing process varies. Some people will be over something in three months. I say half the time I was with you will be half the time in which it’s going to take me to heal (laughs).
In the blog post you stated, "we place so much of this pressure on another person rather than on ourselves. Before we expect anything from someone else we need to already give it to ourselves and actually believe it."
You don’t realize that you’re hurting the person. I should’ve taken my own advice. I didn’t realize that and I would feel bad because I wanted to be over it and because he wasn’t putting effort in certain places I felt like he wasn’t helping me get over it. I was getting mad at him and we were always arguing. He would tell me, “you are not over this. I don’t know why you won’t say it.” I would never say no but I would just direct the question somewhere else. Completely changing the topic. Recently, I acknowledged that I couldn’t put most of the blame on him because it’s half and half. I knew what it was but I didn’t tell you.
Read Ashley's blog post and keep up with her other posts here.