Thots & Thoughts: How Soon Is Too Soon to Not Be Looking for a Relationship?

Why do some people feel the need to explain that they're not looking for a relationship on the first date?

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Complex Original

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"Thots & Thoughts" is a column in which musings on dating, sex, race, religion, and politics all come together—from a bird's-eye view.

When it comes to hearing the words “I’m not ready for a relationship,” my reaction depends on the timing.

If I happen to be very into someone after a few months or so, then I may turn into Mary J. Blige’s "I Never Wanna Live Without You" or Janet Jackson’s “I Want You.” What’s the love equivalent of “How you ain’t gon’ fuck? Bitch, I’m me.” Insert that here.

Have you ever been on the first date and had someone tell you that they’re not ready for anything “serious,” which leaves you two-stepping in total confusion? 

But once I regain my composure and pick my face up off the floor, I become Rihanna’s “Needed Me.” One must never let another tame their inner bird bitch, you know?

Enter scenario two: hearing that same sentence and mentally twerking to Trina’s “I Don’t Need U” (featuring Trick Daddy) seconds later. Like, fuck you, too. I am Beyoncé’s “Formation” video and you are the wack-ass anchor whining about it on Glenn Beck’s The Blaze network. I’ve definitely done this in the past and even once told a friend, “Thank God. He typed like an inspirational Instagram word meme and was a hashtag abuser, too."

However, there’s this third scenario, one that I’d like to use my platform here to hopefully help curb.

Have you ever been on the first date and had someone tell you that they’re not ready for anything “serious,” which leaves you two-stepping in total confusion? When this happens—and it has happened frequently since I made a conscious choice to let the THOT out more—I always have to catch myself before I say something disrespectful. After quickly refilling my filter with premium unleaded gasoline, though, I’ll politely pass on the intel that I’m not assuming date one, two, three, four, or even five magically means I’m searching for a deeply committed relationship.

Whoa dere daddy, daddy. Who said anything about a relationship?

Ideally, I try to meet people where they are emotionally, and to be fair, I’ve had my own Mortal Kombat-style fights with commitment in the past. Even so, I want folks to sip some chill. No, I want people to take several shots of chill until they’re drunk off it. It would make the world a better place.

Now, this is the part where some reader thinks, “Well, at least they’re letting you know up front.” Be quiet. That means you’re guilty, too, and I want to directly point you towards the abyss with the rest of the offending parties.

Here’s the thing about going on a date: it doesn’t necessarily lead to a relationship, but it is usually based on some nominal level of attraction. That is where it ends and begins, especially on the earliest of dates. Wherever you are is where you are, but don’t assume someone is trying to tie you down. Even if they are, maybe it’s not so much for a relationship as it is to reenact Janet Jackson’s “Rope Burn” from the classic album, The Velvet Rope.

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Seriously, when you assume, you are showing your ass in the less fun, non-sexual way. When you go out of your way to immediately declare that you’re not looking for a relationship with someone who is essentially a stranger (or at least, someone you don’t know in a romantic way yet), you are operating from a place that assumes someone wants you (and oh so badly). It’s great to believe in yourself, but try within reasonable limitations that still orbit Earth. You don’t know what this person wants from you. Maybe they just want some ass. Perhaps that person does want a relationship—but maybe, just maybe, they don’t want it with you. At least not yet. After all, things are just starting. Not everyone is trying to lock someone down after knowing them for six minutes. I imagine plenty of us have learned from the mistakes Khloé Kardashian and Lamar Odom and Mariah Carey and Nick Cannon. No shade.

I just want the best for everyone and I want folks to be less annoying in life. To that end, when it comes to jumping the gun on relationships, be more like the Brady Bill, not the NRA. Namaste and shit.

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