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by Jennifer Brown Banks

Are You in a Relationship?

“I can’t make you love me if you don’t. You can’t make your heart feel something it won’t." ~ Bonnie Raitt

Seems to me that some things in life ought to be cut and dry. Relationships are one of them. Yet, I ‘m often amazed at how men and women define its dynamics differently; not to mention, how confusion seems to exist for the unenlightened.

A girlfriend of mine recently called me to share that she had just been intimate with a guy she had been dating for a few months. She wanted to know if she should bring up the issue of commitment, or wait until he brought it up first.

Therin lies the problem. If you’re not sure whether or not you’re in a relationship, chances are, you probably ain’t!

Call me crazy, but I believe a romantic union should be evidenced through consistent words and actions; that it should be so obvious that even Stevie Wonder could see it!

According to William July, II PhD., “Today’s dating relationships often seem to cycle through the stages so quickly that people often don’t know where they stand. It’s not unusual for one of the members of the couple to think they’re dating exclusively, or even moving toward marriage. Meanwhile, the other member of the couple is under the impression they’re just dating for fun, or simply as pals, special friends, etc., but this always leads to the inevitable crossroads in a relationship.”

Where do you stand? In case you’re one of the clueless, here are a few ways to tell you’re not in a relationship.

You're Probably Not in a Relationship If:

» You can only contact him/her via cell phone; no home number was ever given.
» He or she doesn’t know your last name.
» You spend more time together in bed than out.
» You’ve never heard those three magic words---“let’s go steady.”
» You never know when you’ll see him or her.
» You never go out in public together.
» You’ve never met his/her family or friends.
» He/she takes very little interest in who you are as a person and the things that matter to you.
» You feel uncertain about your romantic future together.
» There are signs that he/she has been seeing someone else. This however, can sometimes be misleading in that you are in a relationship, but unfortunately with a cheater.

M.K. Allison, of Being Single Magazine gives us some additional clues. Here’s what this author says about how to tell when a man is really into you. Though I don’t agree with all the criteria, it provides some useful insight.

He Loves You If:

» You do most things together. When it comes to spending time with you, he is excuse-free.
» He calls throughout the day with no agenda.
» He doesn’t like pets, but he comes around yours.
» He never says no to you. This is how you can tell if a man finds you irresistible.
» He listens to you and wants you to read to him.
» He buys you gifts unexpectedly with no occasion attached.
» He gives you a pet name and uses it often.
» His friends smile when they meet you.
» He’s affectionate in public, and introduces you to everyone.
» He reaches for your hand when you walk together.
» He brings you stuff and sits with you when you’re sick.
» He sulks when you have plans that don’t include him.
» He enjoys cooking for you.
» He likes to surprise you.
» He gets off the other line when you call.
» He waits for you without complaining.
» He stares at you with a smile on his face.
» He spends his money on you, and yours.

If you’re a guy reading this article, take note of what love is supposed to look like, and put it into practice. If you’re not in love, or don’t want exclusivity, communicate, don’t mislead. Let the woman that you’re dealing with make an informed decision as to whether or not to move on. Do the right thing.


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Jennifer's Gems is a weekly column written by award-winning poet and writer, Jennifer Brown Banks. It is published every Wednesday. Click here to read her welcome letter.

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