Do you remember paper footballs being flicked across your elementary school classroom with your name on it? Once the triangle was opened, you read a quick love note with a call to action to circle YES or NO. That was how we knew someone wanted us to “go with them.”
These days, dating in adulthood is an ocean of grey. The waves of uncertainty ebb and flow on the rocks of our relationships. Between meeting someone and calling them our “bae,” we swim and tread in the thick murky waters of courtship and uneven growth in interest for one another.
At some point, we don’t think its cool for our insignificant other to be seeing other people and have other friends because we want more of their time to ourselves. The opportunity cost of them spending time with someone else nudges us towards setting boundaries they may not be ready for. That internal beckoning leads to jealousy and the emotionally charged conversations that follow.
There are so many unhappy ladies and gentlemen on our social media news-feeds begging for each other’s attention with negative memes and disrespect. Men and women spew pimp-like rhetoric that attracts more pimp-like rhetoric. We high five each other with a quick hit of the like buttons. Memes float by advertising money over love and friendship, until we venture into The Grey.
The Grey is the progression from LIKE to LOVE. It happens when someone’s feelings grow faster than our own. Most times it’s unavoidable. Naturally, men are supposed to guide a willing woman through courtship. That’s how our grandparents’ parents were taught to do it through old school love songs, like Here We Go Again by Smokey Robinson and The Miracles. Chivalry is dead; it’s been replaced with it’s evil step cousins Simping and Macking.
What happened to women motivating their men to be the best versions of themselves so that they can provide them with happiness? What happened to men proving that they should be the “lucky” ones in her life?
Most modern relationships start out with an attraction. There is that moment when two sets of eyes lock from across the room triggering the man to approach a woman whose body language presents her as available. In the beginning the possibilities seem endless. Throughout the relationship those possibilities either diminish, stay the same, or increase. We treat each other as if no one else in the world matters. We get used to it, take each other for granted, and then the treatment changes. What happened? Why doesn’t s/he call us as much anymore? Can you escape the grey?
The Grey leaves us feeling uncertain about where our relationships are going to go. We question if this is the right person for us. We may wonder if they are getting too serious too soon. God forbid you’re the premature lover. This is normal and shouldn’t be avoided. This is the moment you should reevaluate your trajectory in life. Does it match theirs? Are you two really compatible? Can your grey become black and white?
This grey area is great for those avoiding exclusivity, but with clear expectations and communication the transition from grey to black can be easy. Assuming you’re in an exclusive relationship is sure to get you disappointed. Being exclusive is a mutual decision that should be carefully considered. Many kids are born out of wedlock into generational dysfunction because expectations aren't clear. Those little things we did, when no one else mattered more, early on during the relationship should now be religiously practiced and improved.
Without cultural limitations of how we are supposed to behave, the youth of today find themselves reacting naturally to their lower natures that are more developed. Sex is the natural progression for young people whose hormones pump hard. Pheromones escape from pores. The love note received. Are you ready to circle YES or NO? Are you ready to emerge from The Grey? Each action after the decision either makes things more black or more white--the natural progressions from the moment you met to being in a fully committed relationship. When these steps are done out of order, the relationship has potential to fail. Some relationships endure. Most don’t.
What would you add to this conversation? I'd love to hear your thoughts on the matter. Please leave a comment below and let us know how you survive your grey.