That One Time I Stopped Dating Potential

A few things about me — I adore Aretha Franklin, abhor Jason DeRulo and never really got the hype about Chris Brown as a vocalist, #NoShade. I love Game of Thrones, am falling in love with Atlanta and just entered a strong like with Westerworld. When it comes to my pop culture consumption my decisiveness is on fleek however, when it comes to men, my stance on right and wrong has always had some flexibility.

Case in point, Chief F**k Boy No. 1 who, for the purposes of this article, we’ll call him Dumba$$. I met Dumba$$ in college and immediately we clicked like Chrisette Michele and Trump dollar signs. For a while (meaning years) all the signs of a possible bae were there — pet names (that despite his wretched ways still make me smile to this day. I know, he hooked me good. Smh.), conversations ‘til the sun came up, body contact, dates and a decent amount of emotional support when life threw a curve ball. Cool, right? NO. Hell to the no no no. Nearly 10 years of this and our gear has yet to shift positions. Like, not even a half a shift, or even a thought of a shift.

Bottom line, you’re not a hobby so don’t let anyone treat you like one. If a man or woman is into you, they will be into you.

Superficially, I blame him. Dumba$$ knew he wasn’t ready to commit, had no intentions of committing and couldn’t even define the word “commit” if the dictionary were handed to him by Merriam-Webster herself. *throws hands in the air because I really care* Bruh, why’d you even look my way, ask for my number, build a rapport and make me catch real feelings? Ugh. In the words of the highly anointed B. Simone, if you ain’t ‘gon do right, ain’t ‘gon be right, leave me alone.

But all the glory can’t be given to Dumba$$. Reflecting with my Iyanla hat on, I slowly came to realize that much of the blame for my actions, or lack thereof, rested squarely on my shoulders. You teach people how to treat you and somewhere along the way I continuously gave Dumba$$ the green light to be content with not treating me like the best thing he’s had since sliced bread.

Why did I do this? Why did I settle for a lunchmeat man when I know good and well I deserved filet mignon? One word. Potential. Not a promise but a possibility; a great big bundle of potentiality. You see, despite all the warning signs and never being fully integrated into his life, I told myself he would change. One day he’ll be man enough for me. One day he could be a great boyfriend turned husband. One day he would make me his No. 1 priority. Well that day never came and after double-digit years of foolishness, I finally broke the news to myself that it ain’t coming.

I was entertaining the guy I would advise a friend to leave.

I kept hope alive when in reality it had left the building eons ago. I was entertaining the guy I would advise a friend to leave. The guy who isn’t consistent. The guy who doesn’t step up when it counts. The guy who views you as disposable. The guy who likely knows the woman he wants yet uses you to pass the time. The guy who gets your body but never your heart. The guy who gets boyfriend privileges without ever earning the title. It’s sort of like when you have a gift card to Walmart but have zero cares to shop at Walmart but because you have a gift card you force yourself to buy a pair of sheets. I was a freaking pair of sheets. Let me be clear, despite his moniker, Dumba$$ was a very nice guy and I’m sure we’ll be great friends one day. He just wasn’t bae and had no intentions of ever converting to one, at least for me.

I guess deep down I figured this was the best I’d get when it came to men. Oh how little we sometimes think of ourselves when the reflections of shattered self-worth blind our judgment. I wonder what would have happened if I took all of the energy I wasted on him and instead poured into me. I’m sure I would have ended world hunger by now or at least found Naomi Campbell’s edges.

Bottom line, you’re not a hobby so don’t let anyone treat you like one. If a man or woman is into you, they will be into you. They will be thoughtful of your feelings, conscious of your opinions and go out of their way to make you happy. Contrary to what you may have been conditioned believe, it’s not asking too much to have a person make you a priority. You’re you and that means you’re deserving of it and then some.

Time, courting, respect, meeting the homies, deleting side chicks, family time, whatever quality is for you, you deserve it. It’s a tough lesson to learn, trust me; I’m a living witness, but once you’ve nailed this down, the reward of unbridled happiness makes it so worth it.

Also equally worth it is the pure joy you’ll get from stunting, twirling, Instagram’ing and Milly Rockin’ your new you all over Mr. or Mrs. Wrong/Never Again.

Hey Dumba$$.

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