Come on, hon. He knew you were “the One” at first sight? Really? The idea of spotting you across the room and knowing immediately that you are his destiny is the stuff of fairy tales and old-school R&B lyrics — not reality. And while every woman should be confident enough to think she’s worthy of inspiring such feelings, she should also be realistic enough to accept that it happens not off of an initial glance but over time. That should have been your first sign that not everything was what it seemed.
The second sign was when he started calling himself your man. There’s an element of dysfunctional romance to it — the type oft found in romance novels (full disclosure: I was a romance-novel editor for five years) and romantic-comedy films — but in the real world, that’s just odd.
Declaring himself your man implies that you’re in a relationship, and that’s just not how commitments are established. At the very least, there is — or there should be — a discussion about what’s going on between the two of you and what to expect from a relationship. He was spitting game, and his self-proclaimed moniker meant nothing.
It pains me to write my next sentence, because it’s so pessimistic, but it’s also real: You cannot trust that every man who says he’s all about you actually is. Men should not mislead women about their intentions (and for clarity, women should not mislead men). But until people en masse stop doing it, the onus will always be on you — man or woman — to decipher the games, the lines and the lies.
If you’re seeking a healthy relationship and want to tip the odds in your favor, take months slowly getting to know someone — i.e., dating. There’s a reason it’s called building a relationship. What a potential partner says and does should be in accord consistently over time. Once you’ve found that, then it’s time to discuss a commitment and exclusivity.
Demetria L. Lucas is a contributing editor to The Root, a life coach and the author of A Belle in Brooklyn: The Go-to Girl for Advice on Living Your Best Single Life. She answers your dating and relationship questions on The Root each week. Feel free to ask anything at firstname.lastname@example.org.