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Online Dating Magazine > Columns > Jennifer's Gems > Relationship Purgatory

by Jennifer Brown Banks

Relationship Purgatory
and How to Tell When You're In It

- "He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not"

What do you call two people who start out as friends, become a couple, break up, then become friends again?

Give up? 

Me too!

Here’s another brain-teaser.

Define that “gray area” when a guy and a girl are more than friends, but less than lovers?   Still stumped? 


Okay… try this one out for size. What are the benefits of being “friends with benefits?”

Still clueless at this stage?  Join the club!

These are but a few questions that have me biting my nails and baffled when it comes to the current dating scene. 

In former times, things were much simpler.
Boy met girl.  Boy dated girl.  Boy married girl.
Get my drift?

Now, when it comes to dating and mating, there seems to be more buffet selections than at my local Chinese take out joint! 

Even worse is the toll these situations and varied choices, or what I like to call “relationship purgatory” places us in.

In the words of Marvin Gaye…What’s goin’ on?

For instance…will he call?  Should you play hard to get if he does? Should you call him first? Who pays for the expense of an evening out?  Should you carry an essential overnight bag with that “essential black dress?” Are you foolish to have hope that things will work out despite doubts?

The subject came up some time ago when a friend of mine got a call from an ex boyfriend.  They started out as friends then many years later, became a couple.  Then Mr. “I-need-to-find-myself” dumped her, but the friendship was kept in tact.

From time to time they would go out as platonic friends, but there was no denying that the chemistry was still there.  Should she give in to it, or would it relegate her to being a woman ruled by her hormones and not her head?

Would he take advantage of her vulnerability?  Should she ask him for a definition of what they were doing, or just play it by ear?

You see the perplexity this poses?

Perhaps you’re even one of these poor souls that seems confused as to where you stand with the man in your life. 

If so, here’s how to tell if you’re in relationship purgatory and how to get out of the hell!

  1. You never know when he’ll call.  There’s no routine or regularity to your situation.
  2. You don’t know how to refer to him when talking to your friends.
  3. You still haven’t met his mom, family members, or friends.  heck, you don’t even know his email address.
  4. He hasn’t whispered those 3 magic words—“be my girl.”
  5. You never have long term plans together.  you feel as if he’s holding out for something better.
  6. You keep your little black book updated just in case.
  7. He keeps you emotionally off balance.
  8. Your needs are not being fully met.
  9. He gives vague answers or is evasive on key issues.
  10.  You spend way too much time getting input from your girlfriends on how to figure him out.
  11.  He keeps boomeranging back in your life everytime you decide to move on.
  12.  When you’re apart your mind is in turmoil because you’re not sure whether there’s someone else he’s seeing.

 If you see yourself in 8 out of 12 of the above scenarios, you better head for the hills in a hurry, or be doomed to a lifetime of emotional limbo. 

In the words of Beyonce, let him know that he’s not “irreplaceable!”


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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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