Tuesday, June 22, 2010

How “Greener Grass” can bite you in the a$$


So I was over at New Dude's house chilling when the doorbell rang. We'll call New Dude Derrick. Derrick looked at his watch then at me and I looked back like – um, this is your house. He swung open the door and it was one of his friends. I'll call him Vince. Derrick looked at Vince and said one word: "Bruh." Translation – "Why you at my front door at this time of night without calling first?" Vince looked past him to me, "Hey, Michele wasn't it?" I waved. Vince said, "What ya'll doing? Nothing? Good, let me talk to both of you for a minute. I need a man and a woman's opinion." With that he rolled in the house as if invited and settled on the loveseat across from me. Derrick and I exchanged a look. I smiled and shrugged to indicate it was okay. He shot Vince a look and then came to sit down.

Vince hung his head down and said, "Leslie's gone." I met Leslie ever so briefly at the barbecue; she and Vince had been dating for a little over a year. She seemed nice. Not wanting to overstep, I looked at Derrick. He looked appalled. "What do you mean she's gone? What did you do? She was a good woman!" Interesting. My eyes swung back to Vince. "She was trying to hem me up, gave me one of those ultimatums, I couldn't have that." Vince looked up before I could fix the dismayed look that came across my face. "What?" He asked me.

I looked at Derrick. I wasn't about to be schooling his boy on relationships without a co-sign. Especially not while in the oh-so-delicate getting to know you phase. Derrick said, "Go ahead, I know you're dying to say something." I thought about it and then dove in, "So yeah, ultimatums are bad but I'm assuming that this is a woman over the age of 35 who has already invested more than a year of her life into you?"

"Yeah." Vince shrugged.

"Exclusive?"

"Yeah."

"So what? She demanded a commitment, a timeline, a plan?"

He nodded, "Can you believe that?"

I frowned, "How can you not?"

"Wait, I'm wrong?" He held his hands out in a "who me" gesture?

I sent the seriously silent side-eye to Derrick. He jumped in, "Well what are you waiting on? She's got the look, the personality, the job, she loves your dirty drawers and appears to be treating you right – you gotta either pull the trigger or cut her loose. Ladies have expectations, time clocks, futures to get to." I refrained from hopping up to applaud. I don't know if he meant it but it was a damn good answer.

Vince said, "Well what if there's someone better and I'm stuck with her?"

Again, the dismayed look spread across my face.

Vince sighed, "What now?"

I paused because I was about to go IN but again…. Derrick's boy, Derrick's house, I'm just the new chick. All of a sudden Derrick started laughing, "Michele, do not give yourself an aneurysm holding it in. Vince bust in my house, broke up our evening, please tell this man what he needs to hear so he can go."

I raised an eyebrow like really? Derrick said, "Go head girl, get him."

I exhaled, "So here's the deal… what are you even dating someone seriously with that grass is greener attitude? The fact that you used the words 'stuck with her' to describe a commitment tells me you're not the marrying kind right now. You still think there's plenty of time to find someone better. Maybe there is for you, I don't know. But it's damn near inexcusable to string a woman like that along for this long knowing you only had half a foot in. That's something you do with a 22-year old girl who's just in it for the benefits. What you did is straight shiggity. I hope she's not the type to turn crazy or you have slashed tires in your future. You just can't toy with people like that, son!"

Vince leaned back, "Whoa! I'm just not sure she's The One, that's all. Does that make me the bad guy?"

"Did you tell her that or did you tell her she was the only one for you, best thing that ever happened to you, you never wanted to let her go?"

They both just looked at me. Um-hmm.

I followed up, "I'll tell you something else. A woman of her age and in her position? She doesn't issue an ultimatum unless she's 1) prepared to walk 2) expecting a yes or 3) already got a backup plan lined up if you don't act right. You have a choice. If you're ready to start talking rings and destination weddings, go get her otherwise just let it go. But either way be prepared for the fact that she might not be coming back."

Derrick leaned back and crossed his arms, "Is that how it works? You speak with the voice of experience."

Oops. Got so wrapped up in my preaching I forgot about what I might have revealed to the New Dude so soon. It was out there now. All I could say was, "I'm just sayin'…"

"I see." He said nodding his head in a "to be discussed later" fashion.

Meanwhile Vince is getting all maudlin, "I just wanted a little more time, I didn't want to lose her."

Derrick rolled his eyes, clapped his hands together and got up, "That's what I would lead with when you call her to beg forgiveness. I would leave out the 'stuck' part." He started herding him towards the front door. "Good luck, let me know how it goes." He had Vince out and the door locked in no time. He turned back to me, "You said something about commitments, timelines and plans. Is there a conversation in your head that I need to be a part of or are we cool?"

I blinked twice. "We cool."

"Okay."

We went back to watching the movie. Found out tonight that Leslie wasn't taking Vince's calls. She had in fact disappeared right after their failed ultimatum discussion and no one seemed to know where she was. Vince, now denied the thing he wasn't sure he wanted, really wanted to have her back and try the "forever thing" <- his words, not mine.

There's a moral to this story if anybody cares to look. So what've you got? You think he still has a chance? Shouldn't he have indicated at some point in 15 months that he didn't think she was his forever thing? Or should she have pressed harder for his "intentions" earlier? Thoughts, comments, insights? The floor is yours.

61 comments:

OnlyMe said...

I think he gets her back but now he's going to work for it which he probably won't like. I think she's better off without him.

diamond life said...

First of all, I'm cracking up on how you just broke it down - LOL, take no prisoners. Secondly, I love hearing a story about a guy thinking grass is greener and then regretting it. Third, New Dude needed to let him know his "drop in" days are done.

SBChitownChick said...

She should stay hidden. Who wants to be with a dude that feels he's "stuck" with you.. no thank you.

Carey Jackson said...

I feel bad for Leslie, that poor girl. I have about 40 people I want to send this email to. Of course he didn't realize what he had until it was gone. Please keep us updated on this one...

And by the way - New Dude steady impressing me. He's earning points.

MsThangPhilly said...

I don't feel sorry for Leslie. She knows what she wants and she is going after it. Bump Vince and his 'forever thing'. She loves him enough to want to settle down with him but I don't think that she should settle with someone who is unsure of how they feel about her.

Jason P said...

As you say... Le Sigh. In defense of Vince, if he wasn't sure and wasn't ready - what else could he do? On the other hand, 15 months is a long time keep saying one thing and doing another,that was lowline shady. From a guy who has made this mistake before, I hope he gets her back and treats her well.

Ola said...

She didn't ask him to marry her, only what his intentions were for their relationship. Ambiguity does not suit me in a relationship. I always like to know where I stand so I can make an informed decision. It is unfair for him to know how they both feel about the relationship but to not share his thoughts and feelings with her. Maybe she's just as unsure of him as he is of her. Nothing like "missing the water 'til the well runs dry." I say Leslie did the right thing. She should only take him back if he's willing to have an open and frank discussion about their relationship.

BTW - I'm kinda liking New Dude. So far he's a keeper.

Grace said...

I feel some kinda way about this. She waited over a year to have the "what are we doing" discussion? What they have is a failure to communicate.

Hannington said...

Seems Vince didn't cherish what he had while he had it. While 15 months seems too soon in a relationship to propose, he didn't have to lead her on like that. He was the recipient of a true woman's heart, something I have yet to ever even come close to getting. Mabye he'll learn from this mistake and not do this to his next woman.

Mr. Skyywalker said...

There's something about relationship by ultimatum that doesn't work for me. If it has to come that, maybe they are both better off moving on.

Sarah said...

She is gone. Like you said, she had a plan. I suspect this wasn't their first conversation on this topic and she was probably aware of his 'stuck with her' thoughts. Men should know this about women in their 30s and beyond. Generally, they have 'heard it all before' and can tell the difference between when somebody says 'you're the best thing that has ever happened to me' and when they mean it.

And big plus for Derrick. Not only did he let you speak your mind, but even before that he said the right thing and then he hustled his friend out the door. Me thinks he has much promise.

BB Waite said...

These folks are in their late 30s, 15 months is plenty of time. Neither one of them is brand new.
As for you, it will happen before you know it.

Yvonne Bynoe said...

I think that homegirl should stay ghost. Getting back with a man who's always looking for the next best thing is a mistake. If she wants to be married she can't waste time on someone who's ambivalent about her or about marriage. For both parties, a year is ample time to learn about the person you're dating and yourself. She wanted clarity on their relationship, he gave it and now they should be done. Vince's "stuck with her" comment said volumes. He assumed that there's a chance to do better, so let him proceed.

BlackestBerry said...

Dudes like VInce make me tired. That's what he gets. And guess what, he probably knew you and Derrick were hanging out and is just making a nuisance of himself. Sounds like one of those "if I can't be happy no one else can either" - boy bye.

SingLikeSassy said...

Leslie did the right thing. Now she knows what she's dealing with and she can make an informed decision. Dude, on the other hand, needs to sit down and decide what he *really* wants. That "grass is greener" mentality can you have alone at 50 wishing you had-da done this and counting regrets. There's always someone hotter, smarter etc. but at some point you have to make a decision. Not saying settle, but contrary to what those skewed stats would have you believe, sistas have options.

SingLikeSassy said...

P.S. New dude is the business. Me likey!

ASmith said...

Uh huh... "Derrick"...yeah... 3 points.

This is definitely a relationship pet peeve of mine.

You know, as often as I've discussed this with people, I've never heard of a scenario where dude actually did find a better option. Maybe it's happened, but I'd venture that odds are pretty low.

Further, I REALLY think "I just want to be sure" is a cop out. Maybe dudes mean it when they say it, but I think if they really considered it, it really just comes down to not being ready and that's ok. But that's what you should say. I like what Derrick said, "Ladies have... futures to get to."

He definitely should've indicated, in 15 months, that forever wasn't in his immediate plans. I don't think, if she made her intentions clear, it was Leslie's job to press and press. It's a shame people don't know what they have until it's gone. What's worse is Vince realized it immediately. I mean he was literally just having his cake and eating it too. He sure was gonna ride that horse until it gave out.

ASmith said...

I agree that this probably didn't come out of nowhere for him. Bet he thought if he just ignored it, it would go away.

tiffanyinhouston said...

While I loathe "ultimatums" as a general rule because they typically misfire, I do feel that what Leslie did was necessary. Since it seems that Vince has a flair for the dramatical, I doubt she dropped bombs on him like that. She probably was like" I really need to know do we have a future that would include marriage in it". He probably got a cause of the stutters and hemmed and hawed, she probably took her cues from there and told him she was going to need to bounce. Please believe this did not come out of the blue, she'd already had the timetable in her head. It's called self preservation. I'd say that if she isn't taking his calls then she's probably at the fed up stage.

And now for a musical selection:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DIciKDEA_5U

And for a little hip hop flavor:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4zNGks3TORE

And that is all. Please tip your waiters.

jcam said...

can i just say that I heart Leslie and I heart you OneChele for giving ole boy some real talk. Thank you for telling this story - it's a wonderful example that not only applies to women in their 30's but women dating at any age. Too many men appear to do what Vince does - deal/be in a relationship with a woman they knowy they aren't totally committed to, while keeping their eyes out for TNBT (The next best thing), a fact unbeknownst to the woman they're dealing with. That's fine for a month or two - hey one can't be expected to know these things right away, but, after a year or more you're wasting someone's time and your own time

. I've been told that men are relatively straightforward, uncomplicated creatures - in that they know who they want and who they don't want - and that it doesn't take a brother a year to figure out how he really feels about a woman. I think this dude knows his own mind about Leslie , he was just a little too comfortable and Leslie shook him up, and rightfully so.

SingLikeSassy said...

Word. Dudes gon' play the clock out and lose the game.

blackprofessor said...

New dude sounds promising and mature!!

While I don't believe in giving men ultimatums, I believe in women giving themselves ultimatums and following through. If you want to get married and the relationship is not moving in that direction, give yourself a timeline and bounce when it doesn't happen.

I have two older brothers, tons of male cousins and a great dad and they say one thing unequivocally: Men know what they want to do with you (marriage or not) sooner rather than later! Some have said that men know by 6 months so there is no point in waiting 2 years. Ladies, we have to date smart and not let men string us along for their purposes. The right man wants to lock you down and take you off the market not waver in ambiguity.

JaymeC said...

Leslie should consider that he did her a favor and stay gone. Guys like him, late 30s still talking about something better... not a good look.

And yes, New Dude doing the right things.

Penny said...

While it may hurt now, I am sure Leslie is much better off without Vince. I have recently observed several older couples (at least 3) where the now husband is "ever so grateful" that he has the wife that he has, in spite of always thinking there was someone "better" out there. Now that these men have major health issues or major personal challenges (adult child terminally ill, etc.) they are singing the praises of the women who stuck by them-never mind previously, they were so sure someone better would come along. I also know men like Vince, who thought someone better would come along, and guess what-no one has. While we as women may have "timelines, expectations, etc." men need to realize they do also. The pool of quality people diminishes as we get older for both men and women. Even if someone better was to come along, who says she would want Vince? That does not sound like something that occurred to him. Just sayin'

Black Butterfly said...

Wow! I don't know why but it still amazes me that men can be so clueless (or selfish???) when it comes to relationship expectations... other than their own. It happens way to often because I think too many times men think of commitment as something that detracts from them instead of enriches. Society would have us believe that women are the ones that believe in the "fairytale" but I say that society has allowed men to become complacent and believe that they deserve somethin' for nothin' and if that isn't a fairytale I don't know what is.

Committed relationships should enrich not detract... Leslie should stay invisible to Vince because his motivation to win her back will only be self serving to meet his needs not hers!

baileyqc said...

You and I need to compare notes, I think I was dating Vince two years ago. I was so sure that since we were "together" we were headed somewhere... not so much. I too had to come with the "Conversation" and did not get the answer I wanted although in hindsight... worked out just fine.

Leon X said...

I'm seriously considering changing my alias to "Man Of A Certain Age" because some of you dudes just don't get it.

Attention my dear brothers, the concept of being in a relationship until something better comes along is a waste of time for BOTH parties. A crap or get off the pot gauntlet was thrown down and Vince got off the pot. Now Vince must eat Le Corneille to get Leslie back.

To quote Jack Nicholson, "What if this is as good as it gets?"

thinklikeRiley said...

Okay so Vince hit the escape hatch and now he wants back in. It happens, don't crucify the brother. She didn't stop loving him in three days, he's got a shot. But um - he better be serious this go round or those tries might get slashed fo' real.

Page Bartlett said...

C'mon Riley, even you have to call this a FAIL on Vince's part.

MochaDudeSpeaks said...

Yes to this brother. Men still playing this sorry song deserve what they get and they usually end with a pale substitute of what they had and lost.

GrownAzzMan said...

First let me say that one of the things I love about your posts is no matter what the subject there is always some humor either generated by you or by the crazy things people seem to say and do around you. That being said, Leslie is gone, deuces, piece out. If she was playing her trump card she would be taking old boy's calls. Unfortunately I am an OG of these type of situations. Best advice for Vince is either go young or be prepared to go all in because real women with real things going on will not wait forever. You told him right Michelle...

jcam said...

"The right man wants to lock you down and take you off the market not waver in ambiguity." - Black Professor - Truer words were never spoken. I think this point is beautifully illustrated in a story my friend told me about her cousin's recent engagement. Reportedly the future groom said something along the lines of the following in regards to his future wife - "She interrupted my life and that's okay, I HAD to get her!"
Now THAT'S what I'm talking 'bout!

Diva (in Demand) said...

I absolutely love it! My sister was my guest on my radio show today and we discussed long term relationships. Her opinion is that if you're not married after a year you need to be prepared to cut your losses and run. Don't ever be the woman who's been "dating" her guy for 10 years. It sounds like Vince wanted to be one of those guys with an "option" 10 years down the line. I'd be interested to know how he'd feel if SHE had been the one to say she didn't want to be STUCK if someone better came along.

GrownAzzMan said...

ASmith,

I am that dude. I not only found a better option I thank God for the wisdom to recognize it and not repeat the same mistake. It doesn't happen often though.

GrownAzzMan said...

Well said!

GDB said...

Since we're talking in general terms and most folks got on Vince. Let's ponder a woman who is 35 and laying down ultimatums. What has she been doing for (let's say) the past dozen years -- laying down ultimatums?

LadyLeslie said...

Well this is interesting. A few weeks ago I went to a cookout with my boyfriend. His good friend's cousin Nikki told me to check out this blog. Imagine my surprise when I look at it today and see my story. I had to read it twice to make sure and then I remember meeting you. Okay Ms. Michele, this is Leslie. And "Vince" was my boyfriend. He actually used the words "stuck with her"?

Wild to read people's thoughts on this. I don't know whether to applaud or justify myself. For the record, I was married once before in my twenties and it did not end well in my early thirties. I took some "me time" and then met "Vince". Funny how you hit on exactly what he said and did. He said I was The One he had been waiting on and assured me we were on the "same page". We had several "what's next for us" conversations and each time he said all the right things. But around month 12, I started getting that feeling. That something wasn't right, was I being strung along?

This time I didn't get a straight answer. I actually decided to break out the ultimatum after seeing "Derrick" at the cookout. If he could move on after the meltdown of his marriage, I was definitely right to want next steps. Well you see how that went.

I am gone. In another state, transferred to another office for the summer gone. Maybe I should've seen it coming but I'm not fool enough to hang out where I'm not valued.

Good Luck with D, he's one of the good ones. I sent you an email also. Thanks for getting him told. As shocking as it was to read about myself in the anonymous third person, I'm so glad I read it. This blog is great by the way.

OneChele said...

This is an interesting situation, never come across it before but I keep forgetting about Nikki. *waves* I can call Cousin Ray-Ray and have him swing on Vince if you like?

tmcydame said...

Somewhere in the world, Q-Tip just said the following: Joni Mitchell never lies...

and yikes to the fact that Leslie showed up in the comments. LOL.

Ashleyist said...

Leslie is my heroine of the day. That said, it is my humble opinion that a timeline has to be used very carefully, not on its own but as a marker for the actualization of milestones, goals. The latter is where a lot of people slack off, but that's where the substance lies. As with driving directions, it's very difficult to get to a place if you don't know where the turns are and have a realistic assessment of how long each segment should take.

maureen palmer said...

Life is a contact sport; you can't be on the sidelines, you have to get down and dirty to get a win. I say this to say ,Mr V, you can't have her sitting on the fence as you try to figure out if she is the "one". doing that is a major character flaw in my opinion. I take it you are above 25, so in grand scheme of things you know exactly what you want, no need of tiptoeing. Life is to short to be dancing around issues like this one, make an exit and keep it moving.

OneChele said...

What?! Dame in the house... all is good in BougieLand. ;-)

SpkTruth2Pwr said...

Oooo tough love. I think everyone honestly learns a lesson from the "grass is greener" mentality at least once in the game of love and relationships. So I can't even look at Vince in this story as an ignoramus or disillusioned man playing "the game". It just depends on if he has experienced exactly what I think is developing now - the loss of someone who had everything going for themselves, that you lose because of selfishness.

datdudeincali said...

It does happen but it would real grimy for him to try and get back knowing he's still not feeling at.

datdudeincali said...

Run girl, run quickly... but if you find yourself in Cali, you know - holla.

derek love said...

And let the record reflect that women like this one seems to be - cute, smart, her own $$$, about her man - aren't everywhere. Few and far between, not the type to let slip through your hands if you can help it.

I Am Me said...

Word! Preach.

derek love said...

Excellence in video choice. Impressive.

SingLikeSassy said...

"real women with real things going on will not wait forever." <-- This is the real point of this post.

Eye Candy said...

I don't have a problem with him not being ready, I have a problem with him not telling her he isn't ready. Ultimatums suck but they are usually the act of a person desperate for resolution one way or the other. How terrible to put someone in a corner like that.

Javalicious said...

Thing is Chele, this whole conversation was probably 10 minutes start to finish but you managed to take it, draw us in, make us care and laugh and get angry all at once. Whatever happens next, just keep writing about it.

tiffanyinhouston said...

Leslie, girl you do what you have to do. When I bounced on a dude, I moved from MN back to TX to be rid of his ass. You can show them better than you can tell them.

brownstocking said...

Sorry you had to read some of that, but you're not alone, and I'm glad you got out of town. As another poster said, sometimes you gotta show them, you can't tell them. Lessons all around.

happinessisme said...

If your 35 I think a commitment is to be expected. I'm assuming by that age everyone should have a bit of life/dating experience to draw from. It shouldn't be new or surprising.

Penny said...

I wish you the best. Similar thing happened to me recently (not quite the same, but close) and I did the same thing-new state, new job, etc. I wondered if I did the right thing, and your response reaffirms that I did. Again, the best in your new location.

Hannington said...

Still, 15 months? Even if they're in their late 30s, I'd say wait at least five years before you think of marriage. 15 months is barely more than a year. And thanks. There is one girl I'm looking at now, but I'm not sure she'll go for it. Thinking of telling her, but bracing for another rejection.

BB Waite said...

Oh no, five years is way too long especially for people that have already played the game. By 35, people for have been dating for 15-20 years. They know in six months if it's a go or not.

But as for you, if you feel that strongly about someone, definitely share it. Thinking good thoughts for you.

superwoman said...

wow.... leslie showed up here. "vince' must feel bloody awful right now!!! this was definitely one of your greatest posts!

Fatima said...

I've noticed this way of thinking in many men. They are so afraid of being "stuck" with someone and possible missing something better. I think its a flaw in their makeup...

rikyrah said...

I go away for a couple of days, and you drop this beauty on us.

Bravo..

Bravo..

Bravo...

for every woman who is finished with games...

thank you.

Aishaoaktree1122 said...

i would rather be single than hang on to a man for a year without some sort of commitment beyond words, having been married once and knowing what "real love" feels like i refuse to settle for less. i had a recent guy who won't define the relationship and although i didn't leave the state i made it known i changed the number cut the FB and kept it moving and i applaud Leslie for doing the same DONT settle just so you can say you have a man Know you own worth, that's something my first love taught me, that a man's gotta need you like air, cause if he only thinks of you as a friend or the chick that will always be there he will never need to do more to keep you

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